« AnteriorContinuar »
THE TRUE STORY OF THE CRUISE OF THE PORTLAND.
In the year 1798, being then twenty “0, I can't tell," said he, “ you will
two years of age, I sailed from New be heard in time." York in the good ship Portland, bound But how many cases must be deto Genoa, and thence to Barcelona, cided before mine ?" with an assorted cargo. I was part * A great many,” said he, and lookowner, and commanded her. Before ed up to the shelf; "there are one, two, sailing, I had heard that the French three, (and he counted on to twentyrepublic had issued a decree, subjecting seven) cases, and yours is the twentyto capture all vessels having on board eighth ; perhaps two months.” any article of British origin; and I took “But can't you decide mine first ? pains to remove from the ship all such you will find no difficulty, not an artiarticles.
cle on board is of British origin." The commencement of the voyage “I must decide your case in its turn; was prosperous; but on arriving near have patience. There is a guard at the coast of Europe, we perceived a the door who will conduct you to your suspicious sail hovering about us, ap- place of confinement.” proaching us gradually, and in a short “I do not leave your office till my time she hoisted French colors, and case is decided." fired. Perceiving no hope of escape, I The consul looked at me like a man directed the flag to be lowered, and an
bereft of his senses. He evidently officer came on board and took posses- thought me a fool, or insane. sion of the Portland as a prize. Our " I shall stay in your office till my course was changed, and the ship taken case is decided.'' into the port of Naples. The next day The consul stared at me a moment, she was left in the care of a French offi- then turned to his desk, and busied cer and crew, and I was conducted to himself in writing. At the end of an the office of the French consul, on hour or so, he gave some directions to shore.
his clerk, and left the office. I ascertained that I had been cap The clerk continued writing at his tured by a French privateer, the owner table until late in the evening, casting, of which was on board, and that it now and then, furtive glances at me. was the duty of the consul to decide At about two o'clock he laid his head whether the Portland was or was not a on the table and fell asleep. I sat lawful prize. There were many people sleepless until the morning. in the office; but shortly after noon, the At nine o'clock, the consul entered captain of the privateer brought his his office, and, on seeing me, started case before the consul; and I gained with surprise. He had an earnest conwhat knowledge I could, being but lit versation with his clerk, of which, I tle conversant with the French lan- had no doubt, I was the subject, but guage, of what was done, and intended. said nothing, at that time, to me. The consul took my papers, which had In the course of the forenoon, the been delivered to the captain, looked commissioners returned from the vesthem over, put them into a box, placed sel, and reported that the whole cargo them on a shelf, and the captain and was of British origin. The consul owner left the office.
showed me the report, and asked me The consul then said to me, that it what I had to say. would be his duty to send commission I replied, that the report was false, ers on board the vessel to examine the referred to the invoice, and told him crew, and asked me if I would send di- from what countries each article origirections to my subordinate officers to nated. I remember I pointed to the facilitate their inquiries.
article cassia, which he knew, as well I replied in the affirmative, and did as I, did not grow in any of the posses
I knew the crew could give no in- sions of Great Britain ; and I remarkformation, as they were enlisted in ed, that if the report was false in one Boston, and did not go to New York particular, it should be discredited in until all the cargo had been put on all. Shortly after, the French captain, board. I then asked the consul how and the owner of the privatecr, came soon my case would be decided.
in, and they and the consul had a long
and earnest conversation. In an hour my return. At the wharf I met Mr. or two they departed.
Humphrey. He was too impatient to In the mean time, there I sat, with await my return and came to meet me dogged resolution. In the afternoon, there. I told him all was well, and he the captain and owner came in again, then told me that he had called on the they talked as fast and earnestly as
French consul and asked him how it Frenchmen usually do. The consul happened that he had discharged the appeared to be trying to persuade them Yankee so quickly. to do something, which they were appa Why,” said he, “I found I must rently very reluctant to do. At length, either dismiss him or bury him, and I I saw the former draw up a paper, and preferred the former.” the latter sign it. The owner of the I took supper with the consul, reprivateer brought it to me, and said, quested him to forward my protest to * there, sir, is your discharge. By Boston, and the next day, the wind signing it I have surrendered $100,000. being favorable, set sail for Genoa. Yesterday it was mine, as I thought, On my way thither, I was in constant and were it now mine, it would not re dread of again falling into the power of place what I have lost by this war. I a French privateer. was once a merchant, in extensive busi When in sight of Genoa, I perceived ness, but lost all, except the ship in a strange ship approaching. I unfurled which I am now cruising, and by which every sail, and my pursuer did the same, I was resolved to make
a desperate ef both ships flying with unwonted speed, fort to recover a part of what I had directly into the harbor.
As I came lost. If I have surrendered what I near to a crowd of vessels at anchor, I could have held, it may do you and perceived them in trepidation; but my your owners good.”
enemy being at my heels, I thought not I thanked him, perhaps too coldly; of shortening sail
, until my ship was took the discharge, left the office, and driven, by the impetus which fright had called on our consul, Mr. Humphrey. I given her, into the midst of them, as a omitted to say, that when I was first hen is driven by a hawk into the house. taken to the French consul's office, I Fortunately, very little damage was obtained permission to go to a notary done. I made my vessel fast, and went and make a protest. I asked Mr. H. to visit the consignee on shore. He told if he had any commands for Genoa. me that the van of a French arıny, bound He seemed surprised, and asked when on a distant expedition, had just arrived, I should set sail.
the commander of which seized every* As soon as the wind permits." thing he wanted, for which he paid his " But you are here as a prize." own price; and that he was particularly "I have obtained my discharge." anxious to procuro salted provisions. • It is not possible-how ?"
I had eighty barrels of salt beef on "I cannot tell how, but I have it.” board; and preferring to sell my own “Let me see it."
property at my own price, I landed it I showed him the paper; he read it in the night, and concealed it in an old attentively, and returned it.
barn, in the suburbs of the city, where This is unexampled-mysterious. no mortal would be apt to look for salt They are playing you a trick. Have beef. you been on board your vessel ?"
This done, I proceeded to unload my “I have not."
vessel and sell my cargo. While doing “I will go there with you, if it can this, a French general and suite came be found ; and if we find it, we will see on board. Having examined the ship, what those on board will say to us." he said to me, very politely, that the
“ You are an old man, and I will not French Republic was much in want of a trouble you to go. I will go alone, and vessel to carry the commander and staff return to you immediately."
of a military expedition to its place of I proceeded to the vessel, and there destination; that my vessel was precisefound the Frenchmen regaling them- ly such as was wanted, and he had soselves upon my wine and dainties. I lected her for that purpose. The reshowed them the discharge, which they public would pay a reasonable freight read with dismay, but left the ship to and all charges, and I must be ready in my control. I gave the necessary di a fortnight. rections to the crew; and set out on “ It is out of my power," said I, “ to
comply with your wishes. The vessel Certainly." is not mine, and my orders are to pro “I will, then, deliver you the salt ceed from this place to Barcelona." beef, if you will give me a written per
“Oh! ce n'est rien. The Repub- mission to depart with my vessel.” lic wants your vessel, and must have "Oh; that is not paying a price. it. You were mistaken in supposing Your vessel I must have. You will they were wishes that I expressed. You hereafter thank me for giving you an must be ready in a fortnight.” Then opportunity of laying up for yourself making an imperative bow, he departed. recollections which will always give you
This visit disturbed and vexed me. I pleasure. I must have your beef, too, had sold my cargo at a very great profit, and be assured I shall have it, if it is in and hoped sopn to be at home enjoying the city. General Bonaparte will soon an increase of wealth and reputation. be here, and you must be prepared to
But the General had spoken in a tone receive him on board.” A decisive bow of decision, and I had witnessed, every put an end to the interview. day, striking and distressing proofs that For several days I felt much anxiety. it was useless to resist his resolute will. I had no doubt that he had ordered his
I consulted my friend, but he could subordinates to search for the beef, and give me no hope. I inquired whether feared it would be found. At length an it would be safe or expedient to offer officer came to me, and told me that the money for my ship. He thought it beef was so essential to the army that could do no harm.
the General had concluded to accept I found the General busy with his my proposal. Without any more words, secretaries, and expressed a wish that an order for the beef was exchanged for he would receive a sum of money in a written permission to depart. I took stead of my ship.
a cargo of wheat on board and sailed, in “You are mistaken, my dear sir," a few days, for Barcelona. said he, smiling, “the Republic does On my arrival at the port of Barcenot want money, it is willing to pay lona, several men, ragged and filthy, money. My young friend, your reluct came on board and inquired what cargo ance to go surprises me. I should think we had brought. We answered, wheat, you would eagerly covet the glory of and they left us. Not long afterwards, transporting, in your ship, the con several others, genteelly dressed, and queror of Italy and his staff to Egypt. having the manners.of gentlemen, came Such good fortune does not often fall to on board, and asked me if I had any the lot of so young a man. You will wheat for sale. I told them that I had visit a celebrated country, and connect brought a cargo for their market. They your name in history with the hero of then proposed to purchase it, and, after the age.” And he turned to dictate to some talk, offered me more than I exhis secretaries with an air that said, it pected to obtain on shore. During the must be so.
conversation, my suspicions were awakVisions of glory and delight passed ened, and I wished to ascertain if all before me, but they vanished when I was right. I drew from them, without thought of duty and of home. Reflec much difficulty, that they intended to tion suggested to me another expedient land the wheat secretly without paying to get free. All the salt provisions the duties, and could, therefore, afford known to be in the city had been seized, to give me more for it than I could and I knew that more was wanted. I realize in
I discovered, again called on the General, and asked in short, they were professed smugglers. him if he wished to purchase salt beef. I told them, if they would give me their
• Yes, yes," said he quickly. “Have names, I would consider their offer, and you got any ? I will give you your own let them know my determination. They price for it. Where is it?"
thereupon gave me their names, fairly “I have eighty barrels, but you must written, and departed. excuse me for not telling where it is. Now, I have you, thought I, I will You will give mo my own price ?” complain of you to the Intendant, have Yes.
you punished as you deserve, and susIt is understood, then, is it, that if tain the reputation of the Yankees for I will let you have eighty barrels of salt honesty. beef, you will give me my own price Early the next morning, I hastened for it?"
to the Intendant, made my complaint,
though in his lifetime he boasted, with strength and symmetry by transplanta little aristocratio affectation:
And here as well as anywhere, let me . Nulla taberna meos habeat, neque pila li. bellos
say a word of French translations. A Queis manus insudet vulgi, Hermogenisque minority report on the subject is much Tigelli.
needed. Having no competence to
draw it up, yet, pending the services They say that king Louis was inter- of a fitter pen, I beg the attention of rupted, while making annotations on the “ general reader,” especially of him the margin of his Horace, to hear the who tells me that he reads French as first news of the landing of Napoleon at well as he does English, though he does Cannes.
not speak it, to one or two observations. The “lank-haired Corsican" was no And the first observation is, dear Gelover of our poet. The classic rules neral, that you do not read French as and verses, nine years pressed, pruned, well as you do English-unless you and polished, chimed not with the ar read English very badly. One large dent nature of the great revolutionist part of the pleasure you find in the and practical romanticist. He "walked perusal of Burns, or Bushe, or Jeremy through” the rules with “an astonish- Taylor, lies in the music of their laning disregard” of the traditional pro- guage. A large part of this pleasure prieties and unities. He preferred Os lies undeveloped for you and me in Besian. Was not that characteristic ?
ranger, or Berryer, or Bossuet. My And that it should be an imitation, Mac dear General, you do not know, and, pherson's Ossian, too! A something consequently, do not read, French like grand, dimly sublime, vast and vague, a native, just because your ear, .and real high poetic qualities mingled with eye, and intelligence are not wonted, melodramatic bombast. The book has from birth upward, to its words and great poetic elements floating cha- phrases. In fine, if you will permit otically in a nimbus of puffy words me, you do not read French. "What like, with a difference, the truthful ele- you really read is, at best, a current ments in Macpherson Abbott's history mental translation. And this on the of Napoleon.
supposition that you can translate curSeeking an explanation of his admira- rently. You have gone through Charles tion for Ossian, one is persuaded that XII., and Telemaque, and Gil BlasNapoleon's Ossian might be something admirable works all-and have done a quite different from yours or mine. book full of exercises, and have run Those crude poems, passing through through the story of some of Dumas' or that creative mind, may have changed Geo. Sand's novels. It does not follow " into something rich and strange," not that you know your French, even in conceived by our barrener common the first dictionary sense of knowledge. natures. Falconer's Shipwreck was to I will lay you a wager-of ten to oneWalter Scott a far higher order of poem that you cannot, without preparation, than the Falconer's Shipwreck that render into intelligible English, word for Jenkins reads. The high alchemy by word, ten entire pages of any one of the which dull
pages, submitted to such first three volumes I will take from the seething brains, such shaping fantasies,” shelf. Here is one by Gauthier, one by are transmuted to golden legends, com Hugo, another by Balzac. inands our respect, however occult the We are apt to say, we constantly process may be to our lower reason. hear it said, that the French cannot un
After all, so much depends upon how derstand our authors—that their tongue you look at things—poems, men, or cannot reproduce the richness, the grandead-walls. You see " sermons in stones deur, the depth, and the delicacy of and books in the running brooks,” where, English thought and sentiment. Agreed, accordingly as his views are geological if you insist upon it. Now let us look or industrial, Jenkins sees only “ spe at the other side. Pray show me there, cimens” and “privileges.” It is quite a complete transfer of Molière, of Hugo, possible.withal, that Ossian appears bet of Beranger, of Barbier. I have seen ter in French than in Macpherson's Their grace becomes awkwardEnglish. If pines and oaks nowhere ness, their wit is blunted, their music is fi vurish so well as in their native soil, lost, their fire is quenched, in large part. soine of the less noble growths gain They fall as far behind their originals
as a French Burns or Shakespeare fall a one as I might, with five minutes, behind their originals. Whether Burns searching, have found, you are ready and Shakespeare are not originally far to exclaim, that this is a sad falling off in advance of and higher than any from the original, which, if your meFrench poets, is another question, which mory serve you (Act I., Scene 2], you I do not presume to discuss. I will directly quote to show the contrast, only venture to say, aside and in a with a complacency as if you had writparenthetical way, that Madame Des ten it yourself. General, did its ever bordes Valmore seems to me a sweeter, strike you that the translation you find profounder poet than Mrs. Hemans, and so ridiculous is your own! The that Barbier would vainly seek his French may have wandered from the equal for vigor, conciseness, and imagery original, but what you read, really read at once bold and apt, among contem and are thinking of, is your English porary English satirists.
translation of the French-Shakespeare It will be well worth the while of the diluted to the third degree-a double minority reporters to notice, “in this disadvantage. connection," that the French do have a
A propos of Shakespeare, and still Byron, Milton, Burns, Pope, Young, further aside, if possible, from the Shakespeare, in their own tongue- central point of my general view, several translations of some of them. if I may be considered clearly to The minority can make something of have one, I want to introduce here a this fact, as an argument in favor of the striking proof—though we do not need capacity of the French mind and lan it — of the thoroughness of Shakeguage to take in and render English speare's study, I had better said, of his thought and sentiment. It is noticeable intuitive or inspired surety of glance, that these authors in this shape are the truthfulness of his analysis of hupopularly appreciated. There are, for man nature. You may read it in example, two complete translations of Augustin Thierry's Essai sur l'Histoire Shakespeare's dramatic works :-Le du Tiers Etat, first edition, page 204. tourneur's and Benjamin Laroche's. Colbert, the great statesman who conBoth have passed through many edi tributed so largely to make a Grande Motions. Of the former, one has been narque of Louis XIV., loved and served annotated by Guizot. Of the latter, his master with a sort of a canine there is now in course of publication a affection, believing in him as the percheap illustrated edition, issued in num sonification of the public good. Tobers, for sale at all the stalls for a franc wards the close of his life, bis patriotic and a half a number. Here is a copy counsels rudely rejected by the unof Hamlet-by still another hand—that grateful object of his worship, he discost me but four sous. To say that all covered the illusion. The painful disthe philosophy, and all the sentiment, enchantment hastened and embittered and all the melody of that rare product his last hours. On his death-bed, he of the divinest of human minds is ren said, speaking of the king, “If I had dered here, would not be true. Of the done for God what I have done for that thousands who read it in its primitive man, I should have been twice saved, form, how many of us sound all its and now I know not what is to become depths, soar with the author to all its of me." Louis, who was ill himself at heights, catch all its harmonies? With the time, sent him a letter containing out venturing to answer that question, friendly phrases. When those about which is also aside-I go on to state him asked him to dictate a response, that this translation is imperfect-very he at first seemed not to hear, then said : imperfect if you will:—but mind you, "I do not want to hear any more of the General, not so absurd as, by a very king; at least, let him leave me now in natural mistake, we are at first sight quiet; it is to the King of kings that I inclined to think. Take these lines at must now think of answering." See hazard:
Henry VIII., Act III., Scene 2. Col" Helas ! si cette chair voulait, decomposée,
bert had never read Shakespeare. But Se dissoudre en vapeur, ou se fondre en
Shakespeare had read Colbert, and all rosée !
souls of all times and nations. Et si l'accord pouvait se retablir
un peu One more contribution to the minority Entre la suicide et la foudre de Dieu ! ”
report. It will hardly be denied, that Although the example is not as marked the difficulty of transfer from German