Imágenes de páginas

The American Prisoners.

585 was displayed, with the words • AU in the cellars at Prince Town was Canada, or Dartmoor prison for frozen into a solid mass.

The prilife;' whilst one of the prisoners soners were allowed to remain in delivered a characteristic oration,' their hammocks during the day; and in which the stars and stripes were no sentry could be kept on duty exduly lauded, to the confusion of the cept in the barracks. Such a time British officers within hearing, who promised much for those who were left the yard much chagrined at inclined to try the dangers of an esfacts which they could not deny.'* cape ; and many attempts were • There was,' continues our friend made accordingly, although few were Andrews, scarce a day but some successful. dispute or strife took place be After the release of the French tween the turnkeys or guards (the war still continuing with the and the prisoners; who would United States), the Americans were not hear any abusive language dispersed through the prisons, thus against the President of the United obtaining more space and liberty. States; and on the first disrespect, They immediately set to work upon ful word from a sentry stationed a plan for their escape which the singly in the yard, they would knock French had never dreamed of athim down, and he could get no relief tempting. It was found that a till they were willing to release him, passage two hundred and fifty feet for the prisoners immediately sur Iong, would carry them from three rounded him by hundreds. And the of the prisons to the road beyond the garrison declared that they had more outer wall. Upon this they set to trouble with four thousand Ameri work in each building, digging by cans than with twenty, thousand night in alternate parties, and carryFrenchmen.' • Here be brave ing the earth from the passages into words :' nevertheless these worthies the stream that ran through their enlisted in the English service in yard. About sixty feet of ground great numbers. It must be ad had been got through in this manner, mitted, however, that their first ac when the proceedings in one of the quaintance with Dartmoor was as prisons were discovered and stopped. unfavourable in every respect as it After some delay the work was concould well have been. They were tinued in the others, until the pasplaced in the same prison with the sages were within forty feet of the most degraded French, and mixed road without the wall. Every man with the blacks from their own ships. was then provided with a dagger, And besides this, the winter of made by the prisoners who worked 1813-14 is still mentioned as having as blacksmiths; and they proposed, been the most severe that was ever on escaping, to make at once for remembered in Devonshire. The Torbay, where lay, says Andrews, stream that ran through the prisons a large number of unarmed vessels, was frozen for many months; and fishing boats, and other small craft.' the snow drifted in the yards as high But at this point, one of the prisoners, as the walls-fifteen feet. The com. who perhaps had some discreet munication between Plymouth and doubt as to the result of the enterDartmoor was stopped for some prise, 'walked out in open day, time. Birds and animals everywhere before all then in the yard --went up. died; and so intense was the cold to the turnkeys, and marched off that, as we have been assured, wine with them to the keeper's house,

* The orator was most likely Andrews himself, who was also poet-laureate of the prison. He celebrated in verse the action in which the British frigate Phabe took the Essex; but gave, of course, the honour of the day to America. A more remarkable claim appears in the following lines to the memory of one James Hart:

Your body on this barren moor,
Your soul in heaven doth rest,
Where Yankee sailors, one and all,

Hereafter will be blest. + Two men who had thus enlisted afterwards claimed their American citizenship, and returned to Dartmoor. They were recognised by the prisoners, seized, and tattooed on each cheek with the letters, ‘U.S.T.,' United States Traitor. Three men concerned in this matter were tried in consequence, at Exeter.

gave him information of all the the governor's attempts to stop it. operation and designsmand we never At first, the muskets were fired over saw him after;' quite as well perhaps the heads of the prisoners, who for the informer. The prisoners raised a cry of blank cartridges,' were at once removed to the oppo and continued their own attack on site side of the enclosure.

the guard. It is not to be wondered The confirmation of the treaty of at that the soldiers lost their temper. Ghent set free the Americans. There Seven of the prisoners were killed, was still however much delay-per and sixty more or less dangerously haps unavoidable – in the arrange,

wounded. ments for their final release ; and Such was Mr. Andrews's horrid considerable excitement was the massacre.' The jury who attended result. They hung Beasley, the the inquest returned a verdict of American agent, in eiligy; and a few justifiable homicide; and both the days later a very serious disturbance American and English commistook place at the prisons, owing to sioners who conducted a subsequent some mismanagement in distributing inquiry found it impossible to do the bread allowances. They broke more than express their sorrow at open the first three gates, drove the the whole affair. sentries to the guard-house, and were The prisoners prepared a large only checked by the soldiers of the white flag as a memento, and had in garrison, who advanced upon them the middle of it the representation with fixed bayonets. Not a blow of a tomb, with the goddess of however was struck; but the alarm Liberty leaning on it, and a murwas great; and the governor, who as dered sailor lying by its side, with it happened was absent at Plymouth, this inscription over it in large returned in the morning with addi capitals, Columbia weeps, and we tional strength from the troops there. remember." This was intended to On the evening of that day it was be carried home with them as a found that an attempt had been record, and a token of respect for made to pierce the wall between the the sufferers. Their whole body, prisoners' yards and an adjoining about five thousand, were almost at court, in which were kept the arms once released, and conveyed in of the guard who were off duty. cartels from Plymouth ; and on the As soon as this discovery was made, 23rd of April, 1815, our friend it was thought proper to place an Andrews, as he left the Sound, took additional force on the wall com his farewell look of the rocky hills manding the courts, and to ring the of Dartmoor. alarm bell, as a signal that all was We have been dwelling on what not well. Unfortunately the pri are at the best but sad details. soners, who seem to have had no · Who loseth his freedom,' says old intention of at once creating a dis Lydgate, turbance, crowded to the first gate :

'In faith he loseth all the iron chain by which it was fas

And I had lever in the wooddes grene tened was broken ; and as many as

Mekely to sing among the leves small were able_pressed into the market Than in a cage of silver, bright and

shene.' square. It was naturally inferred that they were on the point of a Of all the miseries caused by a desperate attempt at an escape ; and long war, although many may be the governor, after for some time more sharp and sudden, few can be vainly endeavouring to induce the harder to endure, few more destrucprisoners to return to their yards, at tive to both mind and body, than fast ordered the guard to charge these dreary imprisonments, where them back. This they did : but the the captive, whose sole crime conAmericans still refused to enter their sists in having served his country, prisons, insulting the soldiers, daring is in many cases not so well prothem to fire, and at last pelting them vided for as the convict or the felon with large stones.

Whether any
stained with the very

blackest guilt. command to fire was given is uncer. It is, indeed, true that such statetain: but it then commenced ; and ments of British cruelty as appear was without doubt continued and in the monstrous production of renewed without orders, in spite of General Pellett, and even in the

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Voyages of Dupin, generally 80 well informed, have been refuted over and over again. And yet, after all this has been deducted, how much remains painful even to read -what, then, to endure? The re. lease of the prisoner, the alleviation of his sufferings, are among the great landmarks of Christianity. The nations of modern Europe may not, indeed, offer up their captive generals in solemn sacrifice, after the high Roman fashion,' or give over their prisoners to be the serfs of their captors; but has all been done that might be to soften what is necessarily so severe an infliction p' And yet, even in the darkest times, testimony as to the true Christian feeling in this matter has not been wanting. Many a bishop of the church has followed in danger and in pain the Saracen host as it retreated through the passes of the Pyrenees, or into the mountains of Piedmont, endeavouring to ransom, as best he might, the captives they were bearing with them; and many a saint's legend, wild and strange

enough, nevertheless bears witness that in those ages, when the dungeon of the baron's tower was rarely without its victim, it was to the prayers of the hermit, or the power of the departed confessor, that the prisoner looked for succour or release. Among those alleviations of the sufferings of war which Dr. Arnold teaches us to look for with advancing civilization and increasing knowledge, a careful attention to the wants of the prisoner, together with the obtaining for him as great a measure of liberty as is at all consistent with his safe keeping, seem to be the least chimerical and the most to be hoped for.* There are other questions-such as the chartering of privateers, and the taking of merchant ships—which are connected, but which are, in every respect, more difficult of settlement. The abolition of war is, as human affairs are constituted, an utter impossibility; but let the Peace Society turn their attention to the alleviation of its sufferings, and they will, perhaps, not be without reward.

THE NORTH AMERICAN FISHERIES. THE twenty-second of December of the gods of the old and of the 1 is often a very uncomfortable new year has commenced, and the day in New York. If warm, the uncertain skies now pour down pulpy mud in Broadway is showered sunshine, now rain, now sleet, now profusely by omnibus wheels upon snow, into that to-be-magnificent the pedestrians who swarm the street, it is still more disagreeable. trottoir, and keep it in constant London uncertainty is well life, and suggests navigation to the enough in London, with comfortperson who is bold enough to think able clubs, warm fires in chambers, of crossing. If cold, on the con plenty of jolly men in town, and trary, the frost congeals the same with the liberty of doing nothing mass into a river of frozen mud, in grandiose style, and in his which the constant passage breaks own way, for a lazy man like the through in places, and makes appear writer. But a London day in New like a badly ploughed field, over York, fogs and sleet, and blasts of which the growling passengers jog wind chasing each other up and along, bumping the body of the down the long back-bone of the carriage on the axles every step, island like a young lady's hand on and trying their own temper even the keys of the piano, and other more than the spring elliptics. Or if blasts sweeping across from river to the interregnum between the reign river as the same beautiful fingers

• The convention between St. Cyr and Reding, after the taking of Rens, in 1809, arranged that the wounded on either side should not be regarded as prisoners, but allowed to remain where they were, and rejoin their respective armies upon their recovery. We cordially re-echo Alison's wish that such an arrangement could be extended to all civilized warfare; but the difficulties are obvious.

+ Report on the Principal Fisheries of the American Seas. By Lorenzo Sabine. Submitted to the Senate of the United States, in the Report of Secretary of the Treasury on the State of the Finances. 1853.

power instead

glide over the harp, onlyten thousand ping; and who are so ingenious, times less musically-pray that you that the same authority tells us may never suffer that infliction. If, they will go into a tree with however, it becomes your lot to be the same knife, stay an hour, and caught in that dear, gay, bright, come down with a wooden clock lively, wicked capital on such a under each arm. They boast that twenty-second of December, wrap they are emphatically the Americans your stoutest beaver about you, and that their race, emigrating to all take the Fourth Avenue railway from parts of the country, has stamped its the Clarendon (of course you will stop character on the institutions of every there), and run down to Astor. New State, and impressed itself on every York is not unlike a Yankee-very society. You see by a glance at the long and very lean; but the enter two or three hundred comfortable prising Gothamites have contrived smokers before you, that their boast, to turn even this to advantage by lay like many others of the same sort, ing down several lines of railway in is not very well founded, and that their broadest streets, on which they these well-to-do gentlemen have run large cars by horse

little in common with the reckless, of omnibuses; and if they would generous-hearted, lazy, adventurous, be content with filling, instead of whisky-loving, manly, son of the cramming them, and would not com Prairie, who already rules the des. pel a gentleman, when the thermo tiny of the Western Empire. meter is ten below zero, or the snow Your entrance does not interfere is drifting before a hurricane, to stand with the oration of the tall gentleupon the outside platform because a man speaking through his nose, and • lady' wants his seat, the substitute gesticulating forcibly with each would be a great improvement. period, and you seat yourself near

While we have been making the chairman, light a cigar, and these wise reflections, you have been pound upon the table with your carried, dear reader, over two or knife and wineglass as lustily as anythree miles of the city, and dismount body when he finishes. He tells in the Park (an open ground about you of the greatness of the Puritans half as large as Eaton-square), oppo (perhaps you have been at Boston site the Astor House. You manage and seen how their descendants still to cross Broadway without a ferry, wear the mantle of their sanctity and though at the risk of life, and to the ape their long-drawn faces), tells you ruin of your cleanly lower man; how they fled from oppression (for. and you ask Steton what is going getting to say how well they profited on in the house. He tells you, that by the lesson), dwells upon their the New England Society are cele

expanded influence, and brating Pilgrims' Day, and probably sketches, in conclusion, the branches will invite

in a distin

of industry which they have deveguished foreigner (for the Americans loped for the country-how they have are very civil to Englishmen). You created wealth out of barren rocks find the magnificent dining-room and fields of ice-how their ships go rather too full of tobacco smoke for to every clime-how their manufac. real comfort; but being used to the tures thrive and increase—how their weed, and to fogs and smoke at agriculturalists prosper from the home, you are

soon able to see same causes; and lastly, he touches through the haze, and take your mournfully on the fisheries-tells bearings. You find yourself in the you of a people dwelling on rocks midst of Yankees, the original Simon and sands, where literally no blade Pures, who boast of their English of


grow-how they came descent, and meet once a-year, at to this bleak coast, enticed by this very disagreeable season, to rumours of rich fisheries--how they celebrate the day when their an suffered in their early days, and cestors first set foot on Plymouth were driven on the water for the Rock-the men who were said by sustenance denied by the inhospiSam Slick to be so cute,' that put table shore, and established the fishtwo in a room together, with a eries in the American waters with jack knife' a-piece, and they would the first northern British colony on come out in half an hour, each a the American continent-how they



1853.] Disputes between Fishermen of United States and Colonies. 589 honour of the British crown, and to tional honour in the Manchester extend British dominion-how, at way, by pounds, shillings and pence), length, the foe was driven out-how would buy up all the fish that ever they then began to quarrel with the swam-mermaids excepted. Barmother country—and how, since the num would bid too high for a separation, they have gained a hardy feuchtes Weib' fresh from the Rhine, livelihood, but have remained sta to permit us to include them in the tionary while all around them has estimate. At this very moment it is advanced. And if he touches upon understood that they (the fisheries, the difficulties which surround the not the mermaids) are the subject cherished interest of New Eng. of negotiation in London, in conland, the troubles between the fish sequence of the repeated squabbles ermen of the States and of the Colo between the fishermen of the United nies, and the example set by de States and of the British Colonies. parted statesmen of a zealous deter.

Fraser is not disposed to take mination to stand by Yankeydom, the question out of the hands of hook and line, bob and sinker,' and the negotiators. There let it rest protect this ‘right armof the national quietly — let the American Legastrength,' you feel, from the voci tion duly, bombard the Foreign ferous applause with which he is Office with a 'note'-let Downingreceived, that he has reached a sen street fire a full broadside of foolscap sitive chord in the national heart. at Portland-place in reply-let the

The picture we have drawn is not battle rage fiercely (taking good care one of pure imagination. The Bank to have a judicious bottle-holder) and Coast fisheries, as is well known, let the war of words be magnificent, have always been subjects of solici. but take care that there is nothing tude to the federal government, but a paper contest; and when all is whom they furnish with a constant amicably arranged, let triumphal and sure supply of excellent sailors crowns of codfish and cotton deck for the national marine. The late the heads of the successful negotiaadministration directed one of the tors, and let Mons. Jullien compose Massachusetts Members of Con an international quadrille, blending gress, who had been long resident the stirring notes of Yankee Doodle among the fishermen, and who had and Rule Britannia ; and then let given his life to this one study, to the American Minister and Lord report upon the history and the con Clarendon lead off, while the fraterdition of this branch of the national nizing nations rejoice! industry. He did his work con Until the triumphal procession is amore. The curious document whose formed in honour of this peaceable name stands at the foot of the first settlement (which we shall join of page of this article, contains some

course) we are disposed to leave the common-place matter, and is evi- knotty questions in dispute exactly dently the work of a person unac where they now rest. customed to book-making; but it English commerce is an affair of also displays research, and an inti the last three centuries, and really mate knowledge of the subject; a began on an extensive scale in the good judgment in sifting the facts, prosecution of these very fisheries. and indomitable antiquarian An enterprising German, Dr. Pauli, energy in bringing them to light, who had before brought to light the that redeem it from little errors of Saxon treasures of the Bodleian, has judgment and ignorance of art; and lately discovered in the accumulated it is full of a generous enthusiasm dust of the Tower, which he had the rivalling that of old Izaak himself. bravery to penetrate, a quantity of We have read the historical, and the curious and instructive corresponpersonal portions of it with great dence concerning the trade of the pleasure, and shall draw freely from island with the Continent prior to the information it contains.

and at the time of the discovery of These fisheries have been the America, when the Low Countries cause of more quarrel and bloodshed and the free towns of Germany conthan any other interest of equal trolled the commerce of the world. value in the world. A tithe of the The more shame to Englishmen that treasure that has been expended in this work has been done by a





Tilant lotot hot

« AnteriorContinuar »