King of the Beggars - Chapter XIV

Chapter XIV

His Further Adventures in America

            Captain Read being now ready to sail, and Mr. Carew having a curiosity of seeing more of the country, he thought proper to leave Philadelphia without taking leave of any of his good friends there. From this place he went into Buckingham county, where he inquired for one George Boon, a justice of the peace in that county, who formerly lived at Bradnich, in Devon, his father being a weaver there. Here he went by his own name, telling him, he had been taken prisoner, and carried into the Havana, where he had lain many months. The justice having known his father very well, entertained him generously, showed him the country, and gave him three guineas at his departure, to help to pay his passage.

            From thence he went to Burlington, the first town in West New-Jersey, which contains about two hundred and fifty families, and has an answerable number of acres laid out for plantations. The houses are well built, and almost all of brick. The market affords plenty of all sorts of provisions, which are as good here as anywhere in America.

            From thence to Perth Amboy, so called in honour of the Duke of Perth. It is at the mouth of the Rantan, which runs into Sandyhook bay, and is able to contain five hundred ships. The plan of this city was laid out very regularly and spaciously. The plot of ground was divided into one hundred and fifty shares, for purchasers to build upon. Four acres are preserved for a market-place, and three for public wharfage—very useful things, if there had been inhabitants, trade, and shipping. The town being thus skilfully and commodiously laid out, some Scots began building, especially a house for the governor, which was then as little wanted as a wharf or a market. The whole plan of the city consists of one thousand and seventy-nine acres, and there are two good roads from it to Piscataqua and Woodbridge. Ships in one tide can come up to the port, and be at the merchants' doors, though of three hundred tons burden; but the Perth city has not above two or three hundred men, women, and children.

            From thence over a ferry, into a town called Trent-town, in Staten-island; and from thence over Brunswick ferry to East Jersey, where he found out a Mr. Matthews, a miller, who formerly lived at Whitechurch, near Lime, in Dorset; and, making use of his old story of having been taken, he was received by Mr. Matthews with great hospitality; he kept him three days in his house, and would have entertained him still longer. At his departure he gave him a guinea, with several letters of recommendation, and remitted letters by him to his friends in England, sending his servant with him as far as Elizabeth town, which is three miles within a creek opposite to the west end of Staten-island. Here the first English settlement was made, and if any place in the Jerseys may be said to have thriven, it is this; for, notwithstanding the endeavours of the proprietors to make a capital of Perth, by calling it a city, Elizabeth town has near six times the number of inhabitants, containing above two hundred and fifty families, and forty thousand acres of land laid out. Here the proprietors have a plantation, which goes by the name of their farm. The government of the province is here managed, courts are kept, assemblies held, and the greatest part of the trade of the colony carried on. Here he met with one Mr. Nicholas, a Cornish man, who gave him a ten-shilling bill, and recommended him to one Mr. Anderson, in Long-island, sometimes called Nassau-island, stretching from Fairfield county, in a fine spot of ground, one hundred and fifty miles in length, and twenty in breadth. Here he changed his religion, and turned Presbyterian, most of the inhabitants being of that denomination: he travelled quite through the island, and then crossed over a ferry into Block-island, from whence there are great quantities of timber transported to the town of Boston.

            Soon after, crossing another ferry, he came into New York, which is a very fine city. There are now about one thousand one hundred houses, and near seven thousand inhabitants in it. The houses are well built, the meanest of them is said to be worth one hundred pounds, which cannot be said of any city in England. The great church here was built in the year 1695, and is a very handsome edifice. Here are also a Dutch church, a French church, and a Lutheran church. The inhabitants of the Dutch extraction make a very considerable part of the town; but, most of them speaking English, one may suppose they went pretty much to the great church, especially all those that are and hope to be in offices. Here he was surprised at the sight of a great number of gibbets, with blacks hanging upon them; but, upon inquiring, he found the negroes had not long before entered into a conspiracy for burning the whole city; however, the plot being timely discovered, great numbers were executed and hung up to terrify others. His first care here was to inquire the names, circumstances, families, and countries, of the principal inhabitants of the city; amongst the rest he inquired out Captain Lush, who was formerly of Carmouth, by Lime, in Dorsetshire, to whom he had recommendatory letters from Mr. Matthews, of East Jersey. He was received very hospitably by Captain Lush, who likewise gave him two shirts, and informed him, there was no ship ready to sail for England there, but that he would find one at New London. Having found there was one Mr. Lucas, formerly of Taunton, in Somersetshire, in New York, and judging he was brother to Mr. Lucas, of Brampton, in Devon, whom he knew very well, he went boldly to his house, which was in the fish-shambles, and knocking at the door, it was opened to him by a negro; he enquired if Mr. Lucas was at home; and, before the negro could give him an answer, out came Mr. Lucas with a little boy, and demanded what he wanted: he replied he was an Englishman, born in Devonshire, who had the misfortune to be cast away in a ship behind Long-island, and hearing his name was Lucas, he had made bold to apply to him for his assistance, as he was very well acquainted with his brother, Mr. Lucas, of Brampton. Mr. Lucas asked him, if he could tell him whom his brother married; he replied, Mrs. Mary Tristam. Do you know Huntsham? Yes, replied he, and Mr. Beer, who first courted Mrs. Tristam. And how many children has my brother? To this likewise Mr. Carew answered very exactly; and Mr. Lucas, being convinced by this of his being no imposter, bid him come in, telling him, he expected his youngest brother there in three weeks' time. He was entertained here very generously, and at his departure Mr. Lucas gave him two guineas.

            From thence he went through Seabrake and Seaford to New London, which is situated on a river called the Thames. The first branch of which river goes by the name of Glass river, the next branch by that of Russel's Delight, and the third by that of Indian river. There is a small river which falls into the sea at Manchester. The trade of ship-building flourishes here. He now inquired if there were none of the name of Davy in that city; and being asked why, he replied, they were near heirs to a fine estate near Crediton in Devon, formerly belonging to Sir John Davy. He was then shown to two ancient sisters of Sir John Davy, whose sons were timber-men: they asked a great many questions about the family, and he told them that Sir John Davy was dead, and his eldest son also, who had left two sons; that the youngest brother, Humphrey Davy, was then living at Creedy-house, and the little boys somewhere about Exeter. Then they gave him two letters to give to Mr. Humphrey Davy; after which, each gave him a guinea, with recommendations to one Justice Miller and Captain Rogers, who was bound for England. Justice Miller received him very kindly, with whom he agreed to take a run to England for ten gallons of rum, ten pounds of sugar, ten pounds of tobacco, and ten pipes.

Chapter XV.
He Returns Home and Avoids the Press-gang by Feigning Smallpox

            Captain Rogers having taken in his lading, which consisted of rice, tobacco, and pipe staves, set sail with a fair wind from New London, and run to Lundy in a month and three days. Nothing happened material on their voyage, and the sailors passed this time very joyfully, having so favourable a gale; but our hero, who knew that fortune, like a common jilt, often puts on the fairest smiles when she is about to discard you, thought it prudent to provide against her slippery tricks as much as lay in his power; he therefore pricked his arms and breast with a needle, and then rubbed it with bay salt and gunpowder, which made it appear like the small-pox coming out; in the night-time he groaned very dismally, till at length the captain called to him to know the reason of his groaning so in his sleep. Alas! Sir, replied he, I have been dreaming my poor wife was dead, and that she died of the small-pox. Be of good cheer, man, says the captain, dreams are but fables; and, for your comfort, I believe we shall quickly make land: however, they did not do this as soon as the captain expected; for, towards the next evening, the wind springing up a fresh gale, the captain ordered to stand out to sea again: during all the day, Mr. Carew did not stir out of his hammock, pretending to be very ill. Towards the morning, the wind was somewhat laid, and they stood in before it; but it being very hazy weather, the captain ordered a good look-out, crying, my brave boys, take care we don't run foul of some ship, for we are now in the channel. The men replied, all is well.

            Now the cocks began to crow on board, and Sol took his last embrace of Thetis, to begin his daily stage; for, indeed, already had his equipage waited near an hour for him. Reader, if thou art acquainted with the inimitable history of Tom Jones, thou mayest perhaps know what is meant by this; but, lest thou shouldest not, we think it not improper to inform thee, that we mean no more than what we might have told thee in three words, that it was broad day-light. The captain called out, how goes the glass, my brave boys? Eight glasses are just run, replied the men; then look out sharp for land. Soon after, the cabin boy hallooing out, land, land! the captain ran nimbly to see if it was so, saying, I am afraid we are embayed. No, replied the mate, I will be bound for it, it is Lundy-island. The captain ran up immediately to the main-topmast head, to look out for other lands to the right and left, and found it to be indeed Lundy-island; upon which several sailors ran up the rigging, and, among the rest, Mr. Carew creeps out with nothing but a blanket upon his shoulders, and makes an attempt to run up the rigging; which the captain seeing, he hastily cries out, where is old John going? take care of the old man, he is light-headed: upon which, some of the sailors took him down, and carried him back to his hammock. They then crowded all the sail they could for Lundy. When they came near, they perceived several ships laying at anchor there, and made a signal for a pilot. Soon after comes up a pilot of Clovelly, who was then upon the island, waiting to pilot ships up to Bristol. The captain welcomed him on board, and agreed for seven guineas to be pilotted up to Bristol: then the captain asked him what news, and if any New-England men were gone up the channel? He replied, that none had passed, but that he could inform him of bad news for his men, which was, the Ruby man-of-war, Captain Goodyre, lay then in King-road, and pressed all the men he could lay hold of. Mr. Carew, hearing this, immediately comes upon deck, with his blanket upon his shoulders, and pretended to vomit over the ship's side. The pilot, observing him, asked what was the matter with the old man. I believe, replies the captain, he has got the small-pox; he dreamed the other night that his wife was dead of them, which frightened him so much, that I think the small-pox is come out upon him. The pilot then stepped up and asked him to let him look upon him, which he complying with, and showing him his arms, the pilot swore he had got the small-pox heavily upon him, and Mr. Carew kept on groaning very mournfully. They then sailed by Appledore, Biddeford, and Barnstaple, (where Mr. Carew, notwithstanding his having the small-pox so heavily, wished himself on shore, drinking some of their fat ale,) so to the Holmes, and into King-road early in the morning. He then thought it advisable to take a pretty large quantity of warm water into his belly, and soon after, to their concern, they saw the Ruby man-of-war lying in the road, with jack, ensign, and pendant hoisted.

            Now were all the sailors, who had been so jovial before, struck with a dreadful panic; but our hero, secure of the favour and protection of the goddess prudence, was quite easy at heart. Soon they perceived the man of war's boat making towards them, upon which Mr. Carew grew sicker and sicker: the captain ordered the ropes to be flung out for a man-of-war's boat, and the stanchions and red ropes to be got ready for the lieutenant, as though they had been to receive some good visitor on board; such are the polished arts of the world; for we think we may venture to say, that both the captain and the crew, at the time they were making these preparations to receive the lieutenant, had rather have seen him gone to the bottom of the sea, than come on board their vessel. At length the man-of-war's boat came along side of the ship, when Mr. Carew went down into the steerage with his belly full of hot water, and the lieutenant came on board. Sir, you are welcome on board, says the captain; or, rather, that little part of the captain called the tongue; for the heart, mind, and every other particle, of the captain wished him at the d—l at the same time. The lieutenant inquired from whence they came and what passage. The captain replied, from Boston, in a month and four days; and then asked him to walk aft, and take a drop of rum; but, before he did so, the lieutenant asked how many hands there were on board. The captain answered, he had only fifteen, for men were very scarce. Of what burden is your ship?—Two hundred and fifty tons. I must have your hands, sir, said the lieutenant: come in, barge crew, and do your duty. No sooner were the words spoken, than the crew leaped upon the deck, and the lieutenant ordered all the ship's company aft, saying he wanted to talk with them. He then accosted them with an oratorial harangue: "Gentlemen sailors," said he, "I make no doubt but you are willing to enter voluntarily, and not as pressed men; if you go like brave men, freely, when you come round to Plymouth and Portsmouth, and get on board your respective ships, you will have your bounty money, and liberty to go on shore and kiss your landladies." Though this oration was pronounced with as much self-applause as Cicero felt when, by the force of his eloquence, he made Caesar the master of the world to tremble; or as the vehement Demosthenes, when used to thunder against king Philip; yet we are not quite certain whether it was the power of eloquence alone persuaded the men to enter voluntarily, or whether being seated between the two rocks of Scylla and Charybdis, it was indifferent to them which they dashed upon; however this was, all but one of them entered (though with sad hearts) without being pressed, which we make no doubt the lieutenant attributed to the eloquence of his oration.

            The lieutenant observing a stout fellow, in a frock and trowsers, who did not come aft with the other men, asked the captain who he was. The captain replied, he was an Indian, and a brave sailor, so called him by his name. Wat ye want wit mee, replies the Indian, mee wont come, dammee. Upon which the lieutenant sent some of the barge crew to bring him forward which the brave Indian perceiving, he caught hold of a handspike, and put himself in a posture of defence, crying out to the barge crew who came up towards him, dammee, ye meddle wit mee, mee dash your brains out. The crew, finding him resolute, did not think proper to attack him: upon which the lieutenant asked him, if he would serve king George. Dam king George, mee know no king George: mee be an Indian, mee have a king in my own country, whom mee love and fightee for, because he be de very good king: at which the lieutenant and captain fell a laughing, and left him.

            Are these all your men? says the lieutenant. Yes, replied the captain, except an old man, who dreamed the other night that his wife died of the small-pox, and was so much frightened, that the small-pox is come out upon him. The captain then ordered the bills to be made for what was due to the men, and asked the lieutenant in the mean while to walk down and taste his rum. Accordingly down comes the lieutenant, humming a tune. Mr. Carew, hearing this, prepared himself, and, taking an opportunity of putting his finger down his throat, discharges his stomach just under the lieutenant's feet, crying out in a most lamentable tone at the same time, O, my head! O my back! What! cried the lieutenant very hastily, is this the fellow who has the small-pox? No, no, replied Carew; I have had the small-pox many years ago, and have been with Sir Charles Wager and Sir George Walton up the Baltic; and now, for God's sake, take me on board your ship, noble captain, for I want only to be blooded. The lieutenant whipped out his snuff box, and clapped it to his nose, swearing, he would not take him on board for five hundred pounds, for he was enough to infect a whole ship's crew; that the devil should take him before he would—hurrying at the same time as fast as he could into the great cabin. When he came there, Mr. Carew heard him complaining how unfortunate it was that he should come on board, as he had never had the small-pox himself. When the rest of the men had had their bills made out, the captain, willing to get rid of Mr. Carew, said to him, come, old John, I will have your bill made to; which was accordingly done, and it amounted to seven pounds ten shillings, for which the captain gave him a draught on merchant Tidiate of Bristol. The captain then ordered the boat to put him on shore; but he besought the captain to let him die on board. No, no, says the captain; by all means take him on shore. Ay, ay, says the lieutenant, take him on shore. Then the captain called to some of the sailors, to help the poor old man over the side of the ship, and out came Mr. Carew, with the blanket wrapped about his shoulders, and so well did he counterfeit, that he seemed a most deplorable object of compassion. The boat having got a little distance from the ship, was called back again, and the lieutenant tossed him half-a-guinea, charging him not to go into the city of Bristol, as he was enough to infect the whole city.

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