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by the United States steamer, San Jacinto, Captain Wilkes. A few days afterward, I received a Frento attract much attention. I had known friend Wilkes, in former years, and gave him credit for morelutions, were showered upon unfortunate friend Wilkes, without mercy. If he had been an American Neion. The Executive Government approved of Captain Wilkes' conduct—the Secretary of the Navy, whose r the Government had, in fact, approved of Captain Wilkes' act, through its Secretary of the Navy. s open for retreat, when he told him, that Captain Wilkes' act had not been authorized by the Governy flagrant act of violence, on the part of Captain Wilkes, as might well be inferred, from the incom, and customary belligerent proceeding, by Captain Wilkes, to arrest and capture a neutral vessel, e should be going to, or from an enemy's port. Wilkes' act being utterly and entirely indefensible, ound was curious enough. It was, not that Captain Wilkes had gone too far, but that he had not gone[4 more...]
fter a few minutes of apparent hesitation, and doubt, the gong was again struck, and the leviathan— for such the Iroquois appeared alongside the little Sumter— moving in a slow, and graceful curve, turned, and went back whence it came. This operation, much to my astonishment, was repeated several times during the night. Captain Palmer was evidently in great tribulation. He had found the hated pirate at last—so called by his own Secretary of the Navy, and by his own Secretary of State. Captain Wilkes had just set him a glorious example of a disregard of neutral rights; and the seven days penitential psalms had not yet been ordered to be written. If a ship might be violated, why not territory? Besides, the press, the press! a rabid, and infuriate press was thundering in the ears of the luckless Federal Captain. Honors were before him, terrors behind him! But there loomed up, high above the Sumter, the mountains of the French island of Martinique. Nations, like individuals, somet<
r the laws of nations, which he was bound to respect and obey, sent the sailing bark Ino, one of his armed vessels, to Tangier, which received the prisoners on board, and brought them over to Algeziras—the doughty Consul accompanying them. There was great rejoicing on board the Yankee ships of war, in that Spanish port, when the Consul and his prisoners arrived. They had blockaded the Sumter in the Mississippi, they had blockaded her in Martinique, they had chased her hither and thither; Wilkes, Porter, and Palmer, had all been in pursuit of her, but they had all been baffled. At last, the little Tangier Consul appears upon the scene, and waylaying, not the Sumter, but her paymaster, unarmed, and unsuspicious of Yankee fraud, and Yankee trickery, captures him in the streets of a Moorish town, and hurries him over to Algeziras, ironed like a felon, and delivers him to Captain Craven, of the United States Navy, who receives the prisoner, irons and all, and applauds the act! In a
the precedent set by the Trent case. The Sumter having dared to capture and destroy Yankee ships upon the high seas, in defiance of President Lincoln's proclamation, denouncing her as a pirate, had wounded the ridiculous vanity of the enemy past forgiveness, to say nothing of that other and sorer wound which resulted from the destruction of his property, and he was exceedingly anxious, in consequence, to get hold of me. I was resolved, therefore, that, if another zealous, but indiscreet Captain Wilkes should turn up, that another seven days of penance and tribulation should be imposed upon Mr. Secretary of State Seward. We were not molested, however, and after a pleasant run of about twenty days we entered the harbor of Nassau, about 2 P. M. on the 13th of June, 1862. On the same evening of our arrival, I was quartered, with my small staff, in the Victoria Hotel, then thronged with guests, Federal and Confederate; for the Yankee, in obedience to his instincts of traffic, had scen
er the property was Spanish or not, we held that free ships made free goods ), we resolved to commit one of those outrages against neutral rights which have become so common our day, by seizing the cruiser. Admitting the act of the cruiser to have been wrongful, the argument, so far as her seizure by us was concerned, was all against us, and might have been contained in a nutshell; but our captain, if he had ever read any international law, which was exceedingly doubtful, had read it, like Wilkes, wrong end foremost, and went it blind, being quite sure of popular applause from the b'hoys at home, and standing in no fear of consequences so far as Buenos Ayres was concerned, as she was so weak that the Great Republic might kick her with impunity. We first demanded her of the Governor of the island, as a pirate. The Governor replied, that she was a commissioned ship, with a defacto government behind her, and that she could not, so long as she retained this character, be guilty of pi
emy's large steamships, lying close within the mouth of the harbor, with one of the brightest and largest of old flags flying from her peak. She did not anchor, lest she should come under the twenty-four hours rule; but pretty soon lowered a boat, and communicated with the authorities on shore. It soon transpired that she was the famous San Jacinto, a name which has become inseparably connected in the American memory, with one of the greatest humiliations ever put upon the Great Republic. Wilkes, and Seward, and the San Jacinto have achieved fame. They began by attempting to make a little war-capital out of John Bull, and ended by singing, as we have seen, the seven penitential psalms; or, at least, as many of these psalms as could be sung in seven days, short metre being used. I could not help thinking, as I looked at the old ship, of Mr. Seward's elaborate despatch to Lord Russell, set to the tune of Old Hundred, and of the screams of Miss Slidell, as she had been gallantly charg
gro! and away went the dug-out! A similar delay on the part of the cutter ensued as before, and a similar advantage was gained by the dug-out. But all things come to an end, and so did this race. The cutter finally captured the dug-out, and brought back Tom Bowse and Bill Bower to their admiring shipmates on board the Alabama. This was the only violation of neutrality I was guilty of, in Port Royal—chasing, and capturing a neutral craft, in neutral waters. My excuse was, the same that Wilkes made—she had contraband on board. I do not know whether Commodore Dunlap ever heard of it; but if he had complained, I should have set-off the rescuing of two of her Majesty's colored subjects from drowning, against the recapture of my own men. The fact is, the towns-people, themselves, were responsible for all these disorders. They had made heroes of all my fellows, and plied them with an unconscionable number of drinks. Every sea-port town has its sailor quarter, and this in the good o
But we had no better success than before. The wary masters of these ships, if there were any passing, gave the Cape a wide berth, and sought their way home, by the most unfrequented paths, illustrating the old adage, that the farthest way round is the shortest way home. Impatient of further delay, without results, on Wednesday, the 16th of September, I got up steam, and ran into Simon's Bay. I learned, upon anchoring, that the United States steamer Van- derbilt, late the flag-ship of Admiral Wilkes, and now under the command of Captain Baldwin, had left the anchorage, only the Friday before, and gone herself to cruise off the Cape, in the hope of falling in with the Alabama. She had taken her station, as it would appear, a little to the eastward of me, off Cape Agulhas and Point Danger. On the day the Vanderbilt went to sea, viz., Friday, the 11th of September, it happened that the Alabama was a little further off the land than usual, which accounts for the two ships missing each
er of the Kearsarge. What Captain Winslow's notion of humanity may be is a point beyond my knowledge, but I have good reason for believing that not many members of the royal yacht squadron would, from motives of humanity have taken Captain Semmes from the water in order to give him up to the tender mercies of Captain Winslow, and his compatriots. Another reason assigned by your correspondent for that hero's forbearance may be imagined in the reflection that such a performance as that of Captain Wilkes, who dragged two enemies or rebels from an English ship, would not bear repetition. [We have here the secret of the vindictiveness with which Mr. Seward pursued Mr. Lancaster. It was cruel of Lancaster to remind him of the seven days of tribulation, through which Lord John Russell had put him.] Your anonymous correspondent further says, that Captain Winslow would now have all the officers and men of the Alabama, as prisoners, had he not placed too much confidence in the honor of an