Lost Ships and Lonely Seas/Chapter 2

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CHAPTER II

HOW THE SCHOONER EXERTION FELL AMONG THIEVES

THIS is the story of a very shabby set of rascals who wrecked and plundered an honest little merchant vessel a hundred years ago and disgraced the profession of piracy. In truth, even in the heyday of the black flag and the Spanish Main, most pirates were no better than salt-water burglars who would rather run than fight. The glamour of romance has been kinder to them than they deserved. Their vocation had fallen to a low ebb indeed in the early part of the nineteenth century, when they still infested the storied waters of the Caribbean and struggled along, in some instances, on earnings no larger than those of a minister or school-teacher of to-day. Ambitious young men had ceased to follow piracy as a career. The distinguished leaders had long since vanished, most of them properly hanged in chains, and it was no longer possible to become a William Kidd, a Captain Ned England, or a Charles Vane.

The schooner Exertion, Captain Barnabas Lincoln, sailed from Boston, bound to Trinidad, Cuba, on November 13, 1821, with a crew consisting of Joshua Brackett, mate; David Warren, cook; and Thomas Young, George Reed, and Francis De Suze as able seamen. There was nothing in the cargo to tempt a self-respecting pirate; no pieces of eight or doubloons or jewels, but flour, beef, pork, lard, butter, fish, onions, potatoes, apples, hams, furniture, and shooks with a total invoiced value of eight thousand dollars. In this doleful modern era of the high cost of living, such a cargo would, of course persuade almost any honest householder to turn pirate if he thought there was a fighting chance of stowing all these valuables in his cellar.

The Exertion jogged along without incident for a five weeks' passage, which brought her close to Cape Cruz and the end of the run, when a strange sail swept out of a channel among the sandy Cuban keys, with sweeps out and a deck filled with men. There were forty of them, unkempt, bewhiskered, and they appeared to be so many walking arsenals of muskets, blunderbusses, cutlasses, pistols, and dirks. Their schooner mounted two carronades, and flew a blue-and-white flag of the Republic of Mexico, which was a device popular among sea-rovers who were no better than they should be. It permitted liberty of action, something like a New Jersey charter which corporations have found elastic in times more recent.

Captain Lincoln hove the Exertion to and hoped for the best, having only five men and seven muskets with which to repel boarders. The United States was at peace with Mexico and Spain, and he tried to believe, as he tells us, that "the republican flag indicated both honor and friendship from those who wore it." Alas! it was soon discovered that these were common pirates, for they sent a boat aboard in charge of the first lieutenant, Bolidar, with six or eight Spaniards, "armed with as many of the aforementioned weapons as they could well sling about their bodies." The Exertion was ordered to follow the other schooner, the Mexican by name, and the two vessels came to anchor off Cay Largo, about thirty leagues from Trinidad.

There one of the pirates, the sailing-master, who called himself Nikola, remained in the Exertion to examine the captain's papers. This forbidding person was, in fact, a Scotchman, as his speech readily disclosed, and he was curiously out of place among the dirty crew of Spanish renegades. In him the unlucky skipper of the Exertion had found a friend, of whom he said:

 
This Nikola had a countenance rather pleasing, although his beard and mustachios had a frightful appearance,—his face, apparently full of anxiety, indicated something in my favor. He gave me back my papers, saying, "Take good care of them, for I am afraid you have fallen into bad hands."
 

The pirates then sent a boat to the Exertion with more men and arms, leaving a heavy guard on board and taking Captain Lincoln and his Yankee seamen off to their own low, rakish craft, where they served out the rum and vainly tried to persuade them to enlist, with promise of dazzling booty. Captain Lincoln was not at all attracted by this business opportunity, and sadly he returned to his schooner, where he found Lieutenant Bolidar in the cabin and the place in a sorry mess. It is well known that, whatever their other virtues, pirates as a class had no manners. With a few exceptions the best of them lived like pigs and behaved like hooligans. The captain's narrative declares:

 
They had emptied a case of liquors, and broken a cheese to pieces and crumbled it on the table and the cabin floor and, elated with their prize as they called it, they had drunk so much as to make them desperately abusive. I was permitted to lie down in my berth but, reader, if you have ever been awakened by a gang of armed desperadoes who have taken possession of your habitation in the mid- night hour, you can imagine my feelings. Sleep was a stranger to me and anxiety was my guest. Bolidar, however, pretended friendship and flattered me with the prospect of being set at liberty, but I found him, as I suspected, a consummate hypocrite. Indeed, his very looks indicated it.
 
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THE PIRATE CAPTAIN BOARDING THE CAPTURED "EXERTION"

 
He was a stout and well-built man, of a dark swarthy complexion, with keen, ferocious eyes, huge whiskers and beard under his chin and on his lips. He was a Portuguese by birth but had become a naturalized Frenchman,—had a wife and children in France and was well-known there as commander of a first-rate privateer. His appearance was truly terrific. He could talk some English and had a most lion-like voice.
 

Next day the scurvy knaves began plundering the Exertion of her cargo of potatoes, butter, apples, beans, and so on, ripped up the floors in search of more liquor, found some hard cider, and guzzled it until officers and men were in a fight, all tipsy together, and then simmered down to sing sentimental ditties in the twilight. Soon after this both schooners got under way and sailed to another haven in the lee of Brigantine Cay. Captain Lincoln now saw something more of the roving scapegrace of a Scotchman who called himself Nikola. He was a pirate with a sentimental streak in him and professed himself to be unhappy in his lawless employment and declared he had signed articles in the belief that he was bound privateering.

A theatrical person was the bewhiskered Nikola, who properly belonged to fiction of the romantic school. Sympathetic Captain Lincoln wrote that he lamented most deeply his own situation, for he was one of those men whose early good impressions were not entirely effaced. He told me that those who had taken me were no better than pirates and their end would be the halter, but he added, with peculiar emotion, "I will never be hung as a pirate," showing me a bottle of laudanum which he had found in my medicine chest and saying, "If we are overtaken, this shall cheat the hangman before we are condemned."
 

Another day's cruise to the eastward and the trim, taut little Exertion suffered the melancholy fate of shipwreck, not bravely in a gale, but mishandled and wantonly gutted by her captors. First she stranded on a bar while making in for a secluded creek, and was floated after throwing overboard the deck-load of shocks for making sugar-barrels. Then her sails were stripped, the rigging cut to pieces, and the masts chopped over the side lest they be sighted from seaward. After that the pirates hewed gaps in the deck and bulwarks in order to loot the rest of the cargo more easily, and the staunch schooner was left to bleach her bones on the Cuban coast.

The amiable Nikola found himself in trouble because of his friendly feeling for Captain Lincoln. The Spanish sailors tied him to a tree and were about to shoot him as a soft-hearted traitor who was guilty of unprofessional conduct, but a courageous French pirate surged into the picture with several men of his own opinion, and remarked that when the shooting began there would be other targets besides Nikola. This convinced the mob that it might be healthier to let the Scotchman alone.

The captain and crew of the Exertion were threatened and ill used, but there seemed to be no intention of making them walk the plank or hewing them down with cutlasses. What to do with them was a problem rather perplexing, which was proof that the trade of piracy had fallen from its former estate. These were thrifty freebooters, however, and the business was capably organized. There were even traces of the efficiency management which was to become the religion of the twentieth century. The pirates' largest boat was manned by a crew which discarded some of its weapons, combed its whiskers, even washed its faces, and set off for the port of Principe in charge of the terrifying Bolidar.

The boat carried letters to a merchant by the name of Dominico who acted as the commercial agent of the industrious pirates and sold their plunder for them. A representative of his was kept on board the wicked schooner and went to sea with her, presumably to make sure of honest dealings, a sensible precaution in the case of such slippery gentry. The whole arrangement was most reprehensible, of course, but it had flourished on a much larger scale in the godly ports of Boston and New York during an earlier era.

It was to put a stop to such scandalous traffic that Richard Coote, Earl of Bellomont, had been sent out by King William III in 1695 as royal governor of the colonies of New York and Massachusetts. Colonial merchants, outwardly the pattern of respectability, were in secret partnership with the swarm of pirates which infested the American coast and waxed rich on the English commerce of the Indian Ocean.

"I send you, my Lord, to New York," said King William to Bellomont, "because an honest and intrepid man is wanted to put these abuses down, and because I believe you to be such a man."

As a result of these instructions. Captain William Kidd was employed to hunt the pirates down by sea while Governor Bellomont made it hot for the unscrupulous merchants ashore who were, no doubt, the ancestors of the modern American profiteers in food and clothing, who are also most respectable men. Captain Kidd was a merchant shipmaster of brave and honorable repute who had a comfortable home in Liberty Street, New York, was married to a widow of good family, and was highly esteemed by the Dutch and English people of the town. A

 
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ARMED WITH AS MANY OF THE AFOREMENTIONED WEAPONS AS THEY COULD WELL SLING ABOUT THEIR BODIES

 

shrewd trader who made money for his owners, he was also a fighting seaman of such proved mettle that he had been given command of privateers which cruised off the coasts of the colonies and harried the French in the West Indies. His excellent reputation and character are attested by official documents.

How Captain Kidd, sent out to catch pirates, was convicted of turning pirate himself rather than sail home empty-handed is another story. Fate has played strange tricks with the memory of this seventeenth-century seafarer who never cut a throat or scuttled a ship, and who was hanged at Execution Dock for the excessively unromantic crime of cracking the skull of his mutinous gunner with a wooden bucket.

Poor Captain Barnabas Lincoln of Boston, having lost his schooner and cargo, was righteously indignant at discovering how the infamous business was carried on. Said he:

 

I was informed by a line from Nikola that the pirates had a man on board, a native of Principe, who in the garb of a sailor was a partner with Dominico, but I could not get sight of him. This lets us a little into the plan by which this atrocious system has been conducted. Mer- chants having partners on board of these pirates! Thus pirates at sea and robbers on land are associated to destroy the peaceful trader.

 

Nikola remained true to Captain Lincoln, even sending him a letter from Principe to tell him about the disposition of the stolen cargo and what prices it was fetching. In this letter he revealed the fact that his true name was Jamieson and concluded with this romantic flight:

 
Perhaps in your old age, when you recline with ease in a corner of your cottage, you will have the goodness to drop a tear of pleasure to the memory of him whose highest ambition should have been to subscribe himself, though devoted to the gallows, your friend,

Nikola Monacre.

 

Another streak of sentiment was discovered in one of the Exertion's sailors, Francis De Suze, a Portuguese, who finally weakened and decided to join the outlaws. He was won over by the artful persuasions of his fellow-countryman. Lieutenant Bolidar of the ferocious mien and lion-like voice. To Captain Lincoln he explained, with tears in his eyes:

 

"I shall do nothing but what I am compelled to do and will not aid in the least to hurt you or your vessel. I am very sorry to leave you."

 

The pious master of the Exertion bore up under his troubles with a spirit truly admirable, but it was one thing after another, and under date of Sunday, December 30, he wrote in his diary:

 

This day, which particularly reminds Christians of the high duties of compassion and benevolence, is never observed by these pirates. This, of course, we might expect, as they do not often know when Sunday comes and if they do, it is spent in gambling. Early this morning, the merchant, as they call him, came with a large boat for more cargo. I was ordered into a boat with my crew, without any breakfast, and carried about three miles to a small island out of sight of the Exertion and left there by the side of a pond of thick, muddy water with nothing to eat but a few biscuits. One of the boat's crew told us that the merchant was afraid of being recognized, and when he had gone the boat would return for us, but we passed the day in the greatest anxiety. At night, however, the boat came and took us again on board the Exertion where to our surprise and grief we found they had broken open the trunks and chests and taken all our wearing apparel, not leaving me even a shirt or a pair of pantaloons, nor sparing a small miniature of my wife which was in the trunk.

 

The pirate schooner was employed a few days later to fill her hold with cargo from the Exertion and hoist sail for Principe. They lifted the stuff out with a "Yo, ho, ho!" which made Captain Lincoln so unhappy that he pensively wrote:

 

How different was this sound from what it would have been had I been permitted to pass unmolested by these lawless plunderers and been favored with a safe arrival at the port of my destination where my cargo would have found an excellent sale. Then would the "yo, ho, ho!" on its discharging have been a delightful sound to me.

 

As a final touch to affect the modern reader with a sense of comedy and the captain with additional woe, the pirates fished out the Exertion's consignments of furniture and, for lack of space below, sailed off with chairs lashed to the rail in rows and tables hung in the rigging. There now appears the figure of the pirate commander himself, for Bolidar was merely the lieutenant, or executive officer. To Captain Lincoln, gloomily watching the pirate schooner in the offing, with her picturesque garniture of hand-made New England furniture, came Bolidar with five men, his own personal armament consisting of a blunderbuss, cutlass, a long knife, and a pair of pistols. This fearsome lieutenant took Captain Lincoln by the arm, led him aside, and imparted:

"My capitan sends me for your wash."

Properly resentful, the master of the Exertion replied:

"Damn your eyes! I have no clothes, nor any soap to wash with. You have stolen them all."

"Ah, ha, but I will have your wash, pronto!" cried Bolidar, waving the blunderbuss. "What you call him that makes tick-tock, same as the clock?"

Disgustedly Captain Lincoln extracted his watch from the place where he had hidden it. The cloud had a silver lining, for Bolidar graciously handed over a small bundle at parting.

 

It contained a pair of linen drawers sent me by Nikola, also the Rev. Mr. Brooks' Family Prayer Book. This gave me great satisfaction. Soon after, Bolidar returned with his captain who had one arm slung up, yet with as many implements of war as his diminutive self could conveniently carry. He told me (through an interpreter who was his prisoner) that on his last cruise he had fallen in with two Spanish privateers and beat them off, but had fourteen of his men killed and was himself wounded in the arm. Bolidar turned to me and said, "It is a d—n lie," which words proved to be correct for his arm was not wounded and when I saw him again he had forgotten to sling it up.

 

An accurate and convincing portrait, this, and painted with very few strokes—the strutting little braggart of a pirate chief who resorted to such cheap and stagy tricks as bandaging his arm to make an impression! Having disposed of the cargo, it now transpired that the prisoners were to be marooned and left to perish. After all, the traditions of piracy had not been wholly lost and these sordid rascals were running true to form. With an inkling of this fate, Mr. Joshua Brackett, the mate of the Exertion, was heard to say:

"I cannot tell what awaits us, but it appears to me that the worst is to come."

This is how Captain Lincoln quoted it in his diary, but the mate of the schooner, sorely tried as he must have been, was more likely to exclaim:

"I can't fathom all their —— —— tricks, but it looks to me as if the bloody rogues had made up their minds to scupper us, and may they sizzle in hell for a million years!"

The pirate chief and his officers held a whispered conference and then spent the last night ashore in gambling, the diminutive leader "in hopes of getting back some of the five hundred dollars he had lost a few nights before; which made him unusually fractious."

Before they were marooned. Captain Lincoln took pains to note down that the pirates were sporting new canvas trousers made from the light sails of the Exertion and that they had cut up the colors to make fancy belts to keep their money in, and he added this vivid little touch to the portrait of the chief, "The captain had on one of my best shirts, a cleaner one than I had ever seen him wear before."

At sunset the crew of the 'Exertion', with several prisoners taken out of a Spanish merchant prize, were put into a boat. At this lamentable moment, Nikola stepped to the front again and said to Captain Lincoln:

"My friend, I will give you your book," (a volume of Rev. Mr. Coleman's sermons). "It is the only thing of yours that is in my possession. I dare not attempt anything more. Never mind, I may see you again before I die."

There were eleven prisoners in all, without arms, and to sustain life only a ten-gallon keg of water, part of a barrel of flour, one ham, and a little salt fish, not forgetting the precious volume of Mr. Coleman's sermons. They were carried to a tiny key, or islet, no more than a shoal of white sand an acre in extent and barely lifted above high tide, forty miles off the Cuban coast and well out of the track of vessels. No wonder that Captain Lincoln was moved to ejaculate:

 

"Look at us now, my friends, left benighted on a little spot of sand in the midst of the ocean, with every appearance of a violent thunder tempest and a boisterous night. Judge of my feelings and the circumstances which our band of sufferers now witnessed. Perhaps you can, and have pitied us. I assure you we were very wretched, and to depict the scene is beyond my power."

 

They found a fragment of a thatched hut built by turtle fishermen, but now whipped bare by the winds, and it served as a slight shelter from the burning sun. Fire they kindled by means of a piece of cotton-wick yarn and a flint and steel. They dug holes for fresh water, but it was too salty to drink. At bedtime the captain read aloud selections from the Rev. Mr. Brooks's Family Prayer-Book, and they slept in the sand when the scorpions, centipedes, lizards, and mosquitoes permitted.

Of driftwood, palmetto logs, and bits of board they fashioned a little raft and so explored the key nearest them. There they discovered some shooks, planks, and pieces of spar which had been in the Exertion's deck-load and were thrown overboard when she grounded on the bar. With the amazing handiness of good seamen they proceeded to build a boat of this pitiful material. "Some of the Spaniards had secreted their long knives in their trouser-legs, which proved very useful in fitting timbers, and a gimblet of mine enabled us to use wooden pins," explains Captain Lincoln. "And now our spirits began to revive, although water, water was continually in our minds. Our labor was extremely burdensome, and the Spaniards considerably peevish, but they would often say to me, 'Never mind. Captain, bye-and-bye Americans or Spanish catch 'em and we go see 'em hung.’"

David Warren, the cook of the Exertion, had been ailing, and the cruel ordeal of being marooned was too much for him. The captain perceived that he was soon to leave them and suggested, as they sat by the fire:

"I think it most likely that we shall die here soon, David, but as some one of us may survive to carry the tidings to our friends, if you have anything to say respecting your family, now is the time."

The young sailor—he was only twenty-six—replied to this: "I have a mother in Saco where I belong—she is a second time a widow. To-morrow, if you can spare a scrap of paper and a pencil, I will write something."

No to-morrow came to him. He passed out in the night, and the skipper thought of his own wife and children in Boston. They dug a grave in the sand, made a coffin of shooks, and stood with bare heads while Captain Lincoln read the funeral prayer from the consolatory compilation of the Rev. Mr. Brooks. One of the Spanish prisoners, an old man named Manuel, made a wooden cross, and with great pains carved upon it the words, "Jesus Christ Hath Him Now," and placed it at the head of the grave. There was the old Puritan strain in Captain Lincoln, who commented, "Although I did not believe in the mysterious influence of the cross, yet I was perfectly willing it should stand there."

Enfeebled and lacking food and water, they stubbornly toiled at building the boat, which was shaped like a flat-iron. When at length they launched the wretched little box, it leaked like a basket, and, to their dismay, would hold no more than six of them and stay afloat, four to row, one to steer, and one to bail. Three Spaniards and a Frenchman argued that they should go in search of help because they were acquainted with the lay of the coast and could talk to the people. This was agreed to, and Mr. Brackett, the mate, was also selected to go, because the captain considered it his duty to stay with his men. The sixth man was Joseph Baxter, and there is no other mention of him in the narrative, so he must have been one of the prisoners who had been brought along from another prize. They were given a keg of water, "the least salty," a few pancakes and salt fish, and embarked with the best wishes and prayers of the other survivors.

On the torrid key waited the captain, old Manuel, Thomas Young, and George Reed, while the painful days and the anxious nights dragged past until almost a week had gone. The flour-barrel was empty, and they were trying to exist on prickly pears and shell-fish, while the torments of thirst were agonizing. At last they sighted a boat drifting by about a mile distant, and hope flickered anew. The raft was shoved off, and two of them overhauled the empty boat, which seemed to offer a way of escape. Imagine their feelings at discovering that it was the same boat in which Mr. Brackett and the five men had rowed away to find rescue in the last extremity! It was full of water, without oars or paddles. No wonder that Captain Lincoln wrote in his journal next day:

 

"This morning was indeed the most gloomy I had ever experienced. There appeared hardly a ray of hope that my friend Brackett could return, seeing the boat was lost. Our provisions gone, our mouths parched extremely with thirst, our strength wasted, our spirits broken, and our hopes imprisoned within the circumference of this desolate island in the midst of an unfrequented ocean,—all these things gave to the scene the hue of death."

 

Later in this same day a sail was seen against the blue horizon. The sloop boldly tacked among the tortuous shoals and was evidently heading for the islet. Soon she fired a gun, and the castaways took her to be another pirate vessel. She dropped anchor and lowered a boat in which three men pulled to the beach. "Thinking it no worse to die by sword than famine," Captain Lincoln walked down to meet them. As the boat drove through the svu-f , the man in the bow jumped out, waded ashore, and rushed to embrace the captain.

It was none other than the Scotchman, Nikola Monacre, henceforth to be known by the reputable and rightful name of Jamieson! He had shorn off his ruffianly whiskers and abandoned his evil ways. The moment could have been no more dramatic, the coincidence any happier, if it had been contrived by a motion-picture director. To the modern reader it will come as an agreeable surprise, I fancy, for until now the character of Nikola, as conveyed in glimpses by Captain Lincoln, fails to win one's implicit confidence. While among the pirates he seemed a bit mushy and impressionable, not quite the man to stand by through thick and thin and hew a way out of his difficulties ; but this was an unfair judgment. He was leal and true to the last hair of his discarded mustachios. As though he surmised that Captain Lincoln might have formed the same opinion of him, the first words of this worthy hero were:

"Do you now believe that Jamieson is your friend? And are these all that are left of you? Ah, I suspected, and now I know what you were put here for!"

Captain Lincoln explained the absence of the mate and the five sailors who had vanished from the waterlogged boat. Jamieson had heard nothing of them and ventured the conjecture:

"How unfortunate! They must be lost, or some pirates have taken them."

He called to the two comrades who had come ashore with him, Frenchmen and fine fellows, who also embraced the castaways and held to their parched lips a tea-kettle filled with wine, and then fed them sparingly with a dish of salt beef and potatoes. The others of the sloop's crew were summoned ashore, and while they all sat on the beach and ate and drank, the admirable Jamieson spun the yarn of his own adventures. The pirates had captured four small coasting-vessels and, being short of prize-masters, had put him in charge of one of them, with a crew which included the two Frenchmen. The orders were to follow the piratical Mexican into a harbor.

His captured schooner leaked so much that Jamieson abandoned her and shifted to a sloop, in which he altered his course at night and so slipped clear of the pirates. First he sailed back to the wreck of the Exertion on the chance that Captain Lincoln might be there. Disappointed in this, he went to sea again and laid a course for the key on which the prisoners had been marooned.

"We had determined among ourselves," he explained, "that, should an opportunity occur, we would come and save your lives, as we now have."

All hands went aboard Jamieson's sloop, and left the horrid place of their banishment over the stern. The first port of call was the inlet in which the Exertion lay stranded. She was a forlorn derelict, stripped of everything, and Captain Lincoln bade his luckless schooner a sorrowful farewell. While beating out of this passage, an armed brig was sighted five miles distant. She piped a boat away, which fired several musket-balls through the sloop's mainsail as soon as they drew near each other, and it was suspected that these might be the same old pirates of the Mexican. Declining to surrender, Jamieson and Captain Lincoln served out muskets, and they peppered the strange boat in a brisk little encounter until the brig sent two more boats away, and resistance was seen to be futile.

The armed vessel turned out to be a lawful Spanish privateer, whose captain showed no resentment at the fusillade. Indeed, he was handsomely cordial, a very gentlemanly sailor, and invited Captain Lincoln and his men into the cabin for dinner, where he informed them that he had commanded a Yankee privateer out of Boston during the War of 1812. Jamieson and his crew, for reasons best known to themselves, signed articles as privateers-men and stayed in the brig. This was preferable to risking the halter ashore.

Captain Lincoln was landed at Trinidad, Cuba, where he found American friends and was soon able to secure a passage to Boston. It was not until months later that he learned of the safe arrival on the Cuban coast of Mr. Brackett, the mate, and the five men who had vanished in the open boat. What befell them at sea, and how they were picked up, is not revealed.

It would be a pity to dismiss the engaging Jamieson without some further knowledge of his checkered career. A year and a half after their parting. Captain Lincoln received a letter from him. He was living quietly in Montego Bay, Jamaica, and at the captain's very urgent invitation he came to Boston for a visit. While in the privateer brig, as he told it, they had fought a Colombian eighteen-gun sloop-of-war for three hours. After a hammer-and-tongs engagement, both ships drew off, very much battered. The Spanish privateer limped into Santiago for repairs, and Jamieson was sent to a hospital with a bullet through his arm. From there he had made his way to Jamaica, where friends cared for him and kept him clear of the law.

He had the pleasure of seeing several of his old shipmates of the Mexican brought into Montego Bay, whence they were carried to Kingston and ceremoniously hanged by the neck. Among them was Baltizar, pilot of the pirate schooner, and in the words of Captain Lincoln:

 
"He was an old man, and as Jamieson said, it was a melancholy and heart-rending sight to see him borne to execution with those gray hairs which might have been venerable in virtuous old age, now a reproach and shame to this hoary villain, for he was full of years and old in iniquity."
 

You may be sure that the picaresque Scotch rover, who had been so faithful and kind, found a warm welcome at the fireside of Captain Lincoln and in the taverns of the Boston waterside. He was contented to lead the humdrum life of virtue and sailed with the skipper as mate in a new schooner on several voyages to the West Indies. In his later years he tired of the offshore trade and joined the fishing-fleet out of Hingham during the summer months, while in the winter he taught navigation to the young sailors of the neighborhood who aspired to rise to a mate's or master's berth.

His grave is on the shore of Cape Cod, and as Captain Lincoln wrote of him, "Peace to his ashes. They rest in a strange land, far from his kindred and his native country."

According to his own account, Jamieson was of a very respectable family in Greenock. His father was a cloth merchant of considerable wealth, but being left an orphan, he had run away to sea and engaged in an astonishing variety of adventures. Of him Captain Lincoln said:

 

He had received a polite education and was of a very gentlemanly deportment. He spoke several languages and was skilled in drawing and painting. He had travelled extensively and his wide fund of information made him a most entertaining companion. His observations on the character of different nations were very liberal; with a playful humorousness quite free from bigotry and narrow prejudice.

 

An entertaining companion and philosopher, indeed, whose outlook had been mellowed by the broadening influence of piracy, and you and I would like nothing better than to have sat down with this reformed gentleman of fortune a hundred years ago and listened to his playful comments on the virtues and the vices of mankind, and his wondrous yarns of men and ships and the winds that tramp the world.

Perhaps as he moved so sedately in the ordered life of Boston and Hingham, or fared to the southward again as mate of a trading-schooner, he shivered at recollection of that day in Kingston when ten of his old shipmates of the Mexican dangled from the gallows-tree and the populace crowded to enjoy the diverting spectacle. And in his dreams he may have heard the wailing voice of Pedro Nondre, when the rope broke and he fell to the ground alive: "Mercy! mercy! they kill me without cause! Oh, good Christians, protect me. Is there no Christian in this land? Muero innocente! Adios, para dempre adios!"

A true tale this, every word of it, as are all the others in this book, but lacking one essential thing to make it complete. There is no mention in the diary of Captain Lincoln to bring us the comforting assurance that Bolidar, the swaggering lieutenant, and his diminutive blackguard of a chief received the solicitous attention of the hangman, as they handsomely deserved.