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lf frequently by inspecting the magnificent scenery by which I was surrounded, through an excellent telescope. The vegetation of Trinidad is varied, and luxuriant beyond description. As the clouds would break away, and the sun light up the wilderness of waving palms, and other tropical trees and plants of strange and rich foliage, amid which the little town lay embowered, the imagination was enchanted with the picture. The emancipation of the slave ruined this, as it did the other West India islands. As a predial laborer, the freedman was nearly worthless, and the sugar crop, which is the staple, went down to zero. In despair, the planters resorted to the introduction of the coolie; large numbers of them have been imported, and under their skilful and industrious cultivation, the island is regaining a share of its lost prosperity. A day or two after my arrival, I had a visit from the master of a Baltimore brig, lying in the port. He was ready for sea, he said, and had come o
and fragrant banana hung within tempting reach. A little plot of ground had been picketed in with crooked sticks, and in this primitive garden were growing some squashes and watermelons, barely visible under the rank weeds. I said to her, My good woman, you don't seem to have much use for the plough or the hoe in your garden. La! master, said she, no need of much work in this country—we have only to put in the seed, and the Lord, he gives the increase. In time, no doubt, all the West India islands will lapse into just such luxuriant wildernesses, as we were now coasting along, in the Sumter. Amalgamation, by slow, but sure processes, will corrupt what little of European blood remains in them, until every trace of the white man shall disappear. The first process will be the mulatto; but the mulatto, as the name imports, is a mule, and must finally die out; and the mass of the population will become pure African. This is the fate which England has prepared, for some of her own b
ld adage, that the longest way round is the shortest way home. We now made sail for the West India Islands, designing, after a short cruise among them, to run into the French island of Martinique, auled by us, was an English brig called the Spartan, from Rio Janeiro, for St. Thomas, in the West Indies. We had an exciting chase after this fellow. We pursued him, under United States colors, ank. The Spartan being bound to St. Thomas, and we ourselves intending to go, soon, into the West Indies, it was highly important that we should preserve our incognito, to which end, I had charged tsers, that were in pursuit of us, had not, as yet, the least idea that we had returned to the West Indies. For the next few days, we chased and overhauled a number of ships, but they were all neutral. The enemy's West India trade seemed to have disappeared almost entirely. Many of his ships had been laid up, in alarm, in his own ports, and a number of others had found it more to their advant
enemy's ships of war. It was known that the enemy's steam-sloop, Iroquois, Captain James S. Palmer, had been at the island of Trinidad, on the second of the then current month of November, whence she had returned to St. Thomas—this neutral island being unscrupulously used by the enemy, as a regular naval station, at which there was always at anchor one or more of his ships of war, and where he had a coal-depot. St. Thomas was a free port, and an important centre of trade, both for the West India Islands and the Spanish Main, and had the advantage, besides, of being a general rendezvous of the mail-steamers that plied in those seas. One of these steamers, bound to St. Thomas, had touched at Martinique, soon after the Sumter's arrival there, and, as a matter of course, we might expect the presence of the enemy very soon. I used every possible diligence to avoid being blockaded by the enemy, and twenty-four hours more would have enabled me to accomplish my purpose, but the Fates would
his main-topsail. He was already under our guns. The clumsy appearance of the Sumter, and the French flag had deceived him. The prize proved to be the Vigilant, a fine new ship, from Bath, Maine, bound to the guano island of Sombrero, in the West Indies; some New Yorkers having made a lodgment on this barren little island, and being then engaged in working it for certain phosphates of lime, which they called mineral guano. We captured a rifled 9-pounder gun, with a supply of fixed ammunitionrough, and the weather lowering, we got on board from the prize, some water, and provisions, clothing, and small stores. The supply of pea-jackets, whalers' boots, and flannel over-shirts, which our paymaster had been unable to procure in the West Indies, was particularly acceptable to us, battling, as we now were, with the gales of the North Atlantic, in the month of December. We brought away from her, also, two of her fine whale-boats, so valuable in rough weather; making room for them on
ry skies, and cloud and rain; there sometimes being lightning around the entire horizon, with now rolling, now crashing thunder. I had intended when I left the West Indies to touch at Fayal, in the Azores, for coal and water, but I found these islands so guarded and defended, by the Genius of the storm, that it would require severa change of wind takes place, this immense fleet will all be under way, and such of them as are bound to the equator and the coast of Brazil, the United States, West Indies, and South America, will be found travelling the blazed road of which I have spoken; some taking the forks of the road, at their respective branching-off places the Spanish flag predominated. Wearing this flag there were many fine specimens of naval architecture—especially lines of steamships plying between Cadiz, the West Indies, and South America. A number of the merchant-ships of different nations hoisted their flags in honor of the Sumter as she passed; and one Yankee ship— there be
ipped for war, with enlisted crews on board. A case of this kind came under my own actual observation. I was serving as a midshipman on board the old sailing sloopof-war Erie. We happened in at the Swedish Island of St. Bartholomew, in the West Indies, during the war between Buenos Ayres and Spain. We were on our way from New York to one of the South American ports, to land General William H. Harrison, afterward President of the United States, who had been appointed, by President John Quinas often to the advantage of the cruisers, as to that of the enemy. In repeated instances they escaped from British ships of war, under favorable circumstances, and there is no question that in a few cases they captured them. * * * The English West India trade, in particular, suffered largely by the private warfare of the day. Two and fifty sail, engaged in this branch of the commerce, are stated to have been captured as early as February, 1777. The whole number of captures made by the America
ur hemisphere; for hurricanes known to have originated near Cape St. Roque, in Brazil, have made their way straight for the Gulf Stream, and followed it, in its course, for a thousand miles and more, spreading shipwreck and disaster, broadcast, in their track. The violence of these gales is inconceivable by those who have not witnessed them. The great hurricane of 1780 originated to the eastward of the island of Barbadoes, and made straight for the Gulf Stream. As it passed over the West India Islands, trees were uprooted, and the bark literally blown from them. The very bottom and depths of the sea, in the vicinity of some of the islands, were uncovered, and rocks torn up, and new channels formed. The waves rose to such a height, that forts, and castles, removed, as it was thought, far out of the reach of the water, were washed away, and the storm, taking hold of their heavy artillery, played with it, as with so many straws, throwing it to considerable distances. Houses were raz
e, and when it has ceased, nature smiles again; the old monsoon has given up the ghost, and the new monsoon has taken its place. All will be peace now until the next change—the storms that will occur in the interval, being more or less local. We have monsoons in the western hemisphere, as well as in the eastern, though they are much more partial, both in space and duration. The cyclones which sweep over the North Atlantic are generated, as has been remarked, to the eastward of the West India Islands—somewhere between them and the coast of Brazil. They occur in August, September, and October—sometimes, indeed, as early as the latter part of July. In these months, the sun has drawn after him, into the northern hemisphere, the south-east trade-winds of the South Atlantic. These tradewinds are now struggling with the north-east trade-winds, which prevail in these seas, for three fourths of the year, for the mastery. We have, thus, another monsoon struggle going on; and the conseq<
I felt complimented, for it is the galled jade only that winces. There must have been a merry mess in the cabin of the Baron that night, as there were the masters and mates of three burned ships. New York was all agog when the Baron arrived, and there was other racing and chasing after the pirate, as I afterward learned. The engineer having now reported to me, that we had no more than about four days of fuel on board, I resolved to withdraw from the American coast, run down into the West Indies, to meet my coal ship, and renew my supply. Being uncertain, in the commencement of my career, as to the reception I should meet with, in neutral ports, and fearing that I might have difficulty in procuring coal in the market, I had arranged, with my ever-attentive co-laborer, Captain Bullock, when we parted off Terceira, to have a supply-ship sent out to me, from time to time, as I should indicate to him the rendezvous. The island of Martinique was to be the first rendezvous, and it wa
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