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All



THE PILOT,



THE



PILOT;



TALE OF THE SEA,



BY



THE AUTHOR OF " THE SPY," " PIONEERS,'

&c. &c. &c.



List ! ye landsmen all, to me.



IN THREE VOLUMES.
VOL. I.



LONDON :

JOHN MILLER, 5, NEW BRIDGE STREET,
BLACKFRIARS.

J824.







LONDON .

SHACKELL AND ARROWSMITH, JOHNSON'S COURT, FLEET-STREET.



'

TO

;

WILLIAM BRANDFORD SHUBRICK, ESQ.

MAST. COM. U. S. NAVY.

.:;.



MY DEAR SHUBRICK,

Each year brings some new and
melancholy chasm in what is now the
brief list of my naval friends and former
associates. War, disease, and the casual
ties of a hazardous profession, have made
fearful inroads in the limited number ;
while the places of the dead are supplied
by names that to me are strangers. With
the consequences of these sad changes
before me, I cherish the recollection of
those with whom I once lived in close
familiarity with peculiar interest, and feel



IV DEDICATION.

a triumph in their growing reputations,
that is but little short of their own honest
pride.

But neither time nor separation have
shaken our intimacy: and I know that
in dedicating to you these volumes, I tell
you nothing new, when I add, that it is a
tribute paid to an enduring friendship,

fcy

Your old messmate,

THE AUTHOR.

'
'
.






PREFACE






THE privileges of the Historian and of
the writer of Romances are very different,
and it behoves them equally to respect
each other's rights. The latter is permit
ted to garnish a probable fiction, while he
is sternly prohibited from dwelling on im
probable truths ; but it is the duty of the
former to record facts as they have occur
red, without a reference to consequences,
resting his reputation on a firm foundation
of realities, and vindicating his integrity
by his authorities. How far and how well
the Author has adhered to this distinction
between the prerogatives of truth and
fiction, his readers must decide ; but he



VI PREFACE.

cannot forbear desiring the curious inquir
ers into our annals to persevere, until they
shall find good poetical authority for every
material incident in this veritable legend.

As to the Critics, he has the advantage
of including them all in that extensive
class, which is known by the sweeping
appellation of " Lubbers." If they have
common discretion, they will beware of
exposing their ignorance.

If, however, some old seaman should
happen to detect any trifling anachronisms
in marine usages, or mechanical improve
ments, the Author begs leave to say to
him, with a proper deference for his ex
perience, that it was not so much his in
tention to describe the customs of a par
ticular age, as to paint those scenes which
belong only to the ocean, and to exhibit,
in his imperfect manner, a few traits of a
people who, from the nature of things, can
never be much known.

He will probably be told, that Smollett
has done all this, before him, and in a



PREFACE, V

much better manner. It will be seen,
however, that though he has navigated the
same sea as Smollett, he has steered a dif
ferent course ; or, in other words, that he
has considered what Smollett has painted
as a picture which is finished, and which is
not to be daubed over by every one who
may choose to handle a pencil on marine
subjects.

The Author wishes to express his regret,
that the daring and useful services of a
great portion of our marine in the old war
should be suffered to remain in the obscu
rity under which it is now buried. Every
one has heard of the victory of the Bon-
Homme Richard, but how little is known
of the rest of the life, and of the important
services of the remarkable man who com
manded, in our behalf, in that memorable
combat. How little is know r n of his ac
tions with the Milford, and the Solebay ; of
his captures of the Drake and Triumph ;
and of his repeated and desperate projects
to carry the war into the ' island home'



Vlll PREFACE.

of our powerful enemy. Very many of
the officers who served in that contest
were to be found, afterwards, in the navy
of the confederation ; and it is fair to pre
sume that it owes no small part of its pre
sent character to the spirit that descended
from the heroes of the revolution.

One of the last officers reared in that
school died, not long since, at the head of
his profession ; and now, that nothing but
the recollection of their deeds remains, we
should become more tenacious of their
glory.

If his book has the least tendency to
excite some attention to this interesting
portion of our history, one of the objects
of the writer will be accomplished.

The Author now takes his leave of his
readers, wishing them all happiness.



THE PILOT.



CHAPTER I.

"Sullen waves, incessant rolling-,
Rudely dash against her sides."

Song.

A SINGLE glance at the map will make
the reader acquainted with the position of
the eastern coast of the island of Great
Britain, as connected with the shores of
the opposite continent. Together they
form the boundaries of the small sea, that
has for ages been known to the world as
the scene of maritime exploits, and as the
great avenue through which commerce
and war have conducted the fleets of the
northern nations of Europe. Over this
sea the islanders long asserted a jurisdic
tion, exceeding that which reason con-

VOL. I. B



2 THE PILOT.

cedes to any power on the highway of
nations, and which frequently led to con
flicts that caused an expenditure of blood
and treasure utterly disproportioned to the
advantages that can ever arise from the
maintenance of a useless and abstract right.
It is across the waters of this disputed
ocean that we shall attempt to conduct our
readers, in imagination, selecting a period
for our incidents that has peculiar inter
ests for every American , not only because
it was the birth-day of his nation, but be
cause it was also the era when reason and
common sense began to take place of cus
tom and feudal practices in the manage
ment of the affairs of nations.

Soon after the events of the revolution
had involved the kingdoms of France and
Spain, and the republics of Holland, in
our quarrel, a group of labourers were
collected in a field that lay exposed to the
winds of the ocean, on the north-eastern
coast of England. These men were ligh
tening their toil in husbandry, and cheer
ing the gloom of a day in December, by
uttering their crude opinions on the poli-



THE PILOT, 3

tical aspects of the times. The fact that
England was engaged in a war with some
of her dependencies on the other side of
the Atlantic, had long been known to
them, after the manner that faint rumours
of distant and uninteresting events gain on
the ear ; but now that nations, with whom
^she had been used to battle, were armed
against her in the quarrel, the din of war
had disturbed the quiet even of these
secluded and illiterate rustics. The prin
cipal speakers, on the occasion, were a
Scotch drover, who was waiting the leisure
of the occupant of the fields, and an Irish
labourer, who had found his way across
the channel, and thus far over the island,
in quest of employment.

" The Nagurs wouldn't have been a job
at all for ould England, letting alone Ire
land," said the latter, "if these French
and Spanishers hadn't been troubling them
selves in the matter. I'm sure it's but
little rason I have for thanking them, if a
man is to kape as sober as a praist at mass,
for fear he should find himself a souldier,
and he knowing nothing about the same."
B 2



THE PILOT.

u Hoot ! inon ! ye ken but little of raising
an airmy in Ireland, if ye mak' a drum o'
a whiskey keg," said the drover, winking
to the listeners. " Noo, in the north,
they ca' a gathering of the folk, and fol
low the pipes as graciouly as ye wad jour
ney kirkward o' a Sabbath morn. I've
seen a' the names o' a Heeland raj'ment
on a sma' bit paper, that ye might cover
\vP a leddy's hand. They war' a' Came-
rons and McDonalds, though they paraded
sax ^undred men ! But what ha' ye got
ten here ! That chield has an ow'r liking
to the land for a seafaring body ; an' if the
bottom o' the sea be ony thing like the
top o ? t, he's in gr'at danger o' a ship-
wrack !"

This unexpected change in the dis
course, drew all eyes on the object to
wards which the staff of the observant
drover was pointed. To the utter amaze
ment of every individual present, a small
vessel was seen moving slowly round a
point of land that formed one of the sides
of the little bay, to which the field the
labourers were in composed the other.



THE PILOT. 5

There was something very peculiar in the
externals of this unusual visiter, which
added in no small degree to the surprise
created by her appearance in that retired
place. None but the smallest vessels, and
those rarely, with, at long intervals, a
desperate smuggler, were ever known to
venture so close to the land, amid the
sand-bars and sunken rocks with which
that immediate coast abounded. The
adventurous mariners who now attempted
this dangerous navigation in so wanton,
and, apparently, so heedless a manner,
were in a low, black schooner, whose hull
seemed utterly disproportioned to the
raking masts it upheld, which in their
turn, supported a lighter set of spars, that
tapered away until their upper extremities
appeared no larger than the lazy pennant,
that in vain endeavoured to display its
length in the light breeze.

The short day of that high northern
latitude was already drawing to a close,
and the sun was throwing his parting rays
obliquely across the waters, touching the
gloomy waves here and there with streaks



6 THE PILOT.

of pale light. The stormy winds of the
German ocean were apparently lulled to
rest ; and, though the incessant rolling of
the surge on the shore, heightened the
gloomy character of the hour and the
view, the light ripple that ruffled the sleep
ing billows was produced by a gentle air,
that blew directly from the land. Not
withstanding this favourable circumstance,
there was something threatening in the
aspect of the ocean, which was speaking
in hollow, but deep murmurs, like a vol
cano on the eve of an eruption, that
greatly heightened the feelings of amaze
ment and dread with which the peasants
beheld this extraordinary interruption to
the quiet of their little bay. With no
other sails spread to the action of the air,
than her heavy mainsail, and one of those
light jibs that projected far beyond her
bows, the vessel glided over the water with
a grace and facility that seemed magical
to the beholders, who turned their won
dering looks from the schooner to each
other, in silent amazement. At length
the drover spoke in a low, solemn voice



THE PILOT. 7

" He's a bold chield that steers her ! and if
that bit o' craft has wood in her bottom, like
the brigantines that ply between Lon'on
and the Frith at Leith, he's in raair danger
than a prudent mon could wish. Ay !
he's by the big rock that shows his head
when the tide runs low, but it's no mortal
man who can steer long in tne road he's
journeying, and not speedily find land
wi' water a top o't."

The little schooner, however, still held
her way among the rocks and sandspits,
making such slight deviations in her course,
as proved her to be under the direction
of one who knew his danger, until she had
entered as far into the bay as prudence
could at all justify, when her canvass was
gathered into folds, seemingly without
the agency of hands, and the vessel, after
rolling for a few minutes on the long bil
lows that hove in from the ocean, swung
round in the currents of the tide, and was
held by her anchor.

The peasantry, now, began to make
their conjectures more freely, on the cha
racter and object of their visiter ; some



8 THE PILOT.

intimating that she was engaged in a con
traband trade, and others that her views
were hostile and her business war. A few
dark hints were hazarded on the materi
ality of her construction, for nothing of
artificial formation, it was urged, would be
ventured by men in such a dangerous
place, at a time when even the most
inexperienced landsman was enabled to
foretell the certain gale. The Scotchman,
who, to all the sagacity of his countrymen,
added no small portion of their supersti
tion, leaned greatly to the latter conclu
sion, and had begun to express his senti
ment warily and with reverence, when the
child of Erin, who appeared not to possess
any very definite ideas on the subject,
interrupted him, by exclaiming

" Faith ! there's two of them ! a big and
a little ! sure the bogles of the saa likes
good company the same as any other
Christians !"

" Twa!" echoed the drover; " twa! ill
luck bides o' some o' ye. Twa craft a
sailing without hands to guide them, in
sic a place as this, whar' eyesight is na



THE PILOT. 9

guid enough to show the dangers, bodes
evil to a' that luik thereon. Hoot! she's
na yearling the tither! Luik, mon! luik!
she's a gallant boat, and a gr'at;" he
paused, raised his pack from the ground,
and first giving one searching look at the
objects of his suspicions, he nodded with
great sagacity to the listeners, and conti
nued, as he moved slowly towards the in
terior of the country, " I should na won
der if she carried King George's commis
sion aboot her ; 'weel, 'weel, I wuli jour
ney upward to the town, and ha' a crack
wi' the guid mon, for they craft have a
suspeecious aspect, and the sma' bit thing
wu'ld nab a mon quite easy, and the big
ane wu'ld hold us a' and no feel we war'
in her."

This sagacious warning caused a general
movement in the party, for the intelli
gence of a hot press was among the
rumours of the times. The husbandmen
collected their implements of labour, and
retired homewards ; and though many a
curious eye was bent on the movements
of the vessels from the distant hills, but
B 3



10 THE PILOT.

very few of those not immediately inter
ested in the mysterious visiters, ventured
to approach the little rocky cliffs that lined
the bay.

The vessel that occasioned these cautious
movements, was a gallant ship, whose
huge hull, lofty masts, and square yards,
loomed in the evening's haze, above the
sea, like a distant mountain rising from the
deep. She carried but little sail, and
though she warily avoided the near ap
proach to the land that the schooner had
attempted, the similarity of their move
ments was sufficiently apparent to war
rant the conjecture that they were em
ployed on the same duty. The frigate,
for the ship belonged to this class of ves
sels, floated across the entrance of the
little bay, majestically in the tide, with
barely enough motion through the water
to govern her movements, until she arri
ved opposite to where her consort lay,
when she hove up heavily into the wind,
squared the enormous yards on her main-~
mast, and attempted, in counteracting the
power of her sails by each other, to remain



THE PILOT. 11

stationary ; but the light air that had at
no time swelled her heavy canvass to the
utmost, began to fail, and the long waves
that rolled in from the ocean, ceased to be
ruffled with the breeze from the land. The
currents and the billows, were fast sweep
ing the frigate towards one of the points
of the estuary, where the black heads of
the rocks could be seen running far into
the sea, and, in their turn, the mariners of
the ship dropped an anchor to the bottom,
and drew her sails in festoons to the yards.
As the vessel swung round to the tide, a
heavy ensign was raised to her peak, and a
current of air opening, for a moment, its
folds, the white field, and red cross, that
distinguished the flag of England, were
displayed to view. So much, even the
wary drover had loitered at a distance
to behold ; but when a boat was launched
from either vessel, he quickened his steps,
observing to his wondering and amused
companions, that " they craft were a 5
thegither, mair bonny to luik on than
to abide wiV

A numerous crew manned the barge that.



I

12 THE PILOT.

was lowered from the frigate, which after
receiving an officer with an attendant
youth, left the ship, and moved with the
measured stroke of its oars, directly
towards the head of the bay. As it
passed but a short distance from the
schooner, a light whale boat, pulled by
four athletic men, shot from her side and
rather dancing over, than cutting through
the waves, crossed her course with a
wonderful velocity. As the boats ap
proached each other, the men, in obedience
to signals from their officers, suspended
their efforts, and for a few minutes they
floated at rest, during which time there
was the following dialogue :

" Is the old man mad !" exclaimed the
young officer in the whale-boat, when
his men had ceased rowing ; " does he
think that the bottom of the Ariel is made
of iron, and that a rock can't knock a
hole in it ! or does he think she is mann'd
with alligators, who can't be drown'd !"

A languid smile played for a moment
round the handsome features of the young
man, who was rather reclining than sitting



THE PILOT. 13

in the stern-sheets of the barge, as he
replied,

" He knows your prudence too well,
Captain Barnstable, to fear either the
wreck of your vessel or the drowning of
her crew. How near the bottom does
your keel lie ?"

" I am afraid to sound," returned Barn-
stable. " I have never the heart to touch
lead-line when I see the rocks coming up
to breathe like so many porpoises."

" You are afloat !" exclaimed the other,
with a vehemence that denoted an abund
ance of latent fire.

" Afloat !" echoed his friend ; " ay ! the
little Ariel would float in air !" As he
spoke, he rose in the boat, and lifting his
leathern sea cap from his head, stroked
back the thick clusters of black locks
which shadowed his sun-burnt counte
nance, while he viewed his little vessel
with the complacency of a seaman who
was proud of her qualities. " But it's
close work, Mr. Griffith, when a man
rides to a single anchor in a place like



THE PILOT.

this, and at such a nightfall. What are
the orders ?"

" I shall pull into the surf and let go a
grapnel ; you will take Mr. Merry into
your whale-boat, and try to drive her
through the breakers on the beach."

" Beach!" retorted Barnstable ; "do you
call a perpendicular rock of a hundred feet
in height a beach I"

" We shall not dispute about terms."
said Griffith, smiling ; u but you must
manage to get on the shore ; we have
seen the signal from the land, and know
that the pilot whom we have so long ex
pected, is ready to come off."

Barnstable shook his head with a grave
air, as he muttered to himself, " this is
droll navigation ; first we run into an un
frequented bay, that is full of rocks, and
sandspits, and shoals, and then we get off
our pilot. But how am I to know him ?"

" Merry will give you the pass-word,
and tell you where to look for him. I
would land myself, but my orders forbid it.
If you meet with difficulties, show three



THE PILOT. 15

oar-blades in a row, and I will pull in to
your assistance. Three oars on end, and
a pistol, will bring the fire of my muskets,
and the signal repeated from the barge
will draw a shot from the ship."

" I thank you, I thank you," said
Barnstable, carelessly ; " I believe I can
fight my own battles against all the ene
mies we are likely to fall in with on this
coast. But the old man is surely mad. I
would "

" You would obey his orders if he were
here, and you will now please to obey
mine," said Griffith, in a tone that the
friendly expression of his eye contra
dicted. " Pull in, and keep a look out
for a small man in a drab pea-jacket ; Mer
ry will give you the word ; if he answer
it bring him off to the barge."

The young men now nodded familiarly
and kindly to each other, and the boy,
who was called Mr. Merry, having changed
his place from the barge to the whale-boat,
Barnstable threw himself into his seat, and
making a signal with his hand, his men
again bent to their oars. The light vessel



16 THE PILOT.

shot away from her companion, and dashed
in boldly towards the rocks ; after skirting
the shore for some distance in quest of a
favourable place, she was suddenly turned,
and, dashing over the broken waves, was
run upon a spot where a landing could
be effected in safety.

In the meantime the barge followed
these movements, at some distance, with a
more measured progress ; and when the
whale-boat was observed to be drawn up
alongside of a rock, the promised grapnel
was cast into the water, and her crew
deliberately proceeded to get their fire
arms in a state for immediate service.
Every thing appeared to be done in obe
dience to strict orders that must have been
previously communicated ; for the young
man, who has been introduced to the
reader by the name of Griffith, seldom
spoke, and then only in the pithy expres
sions that are apt to fall from those who
are sure of obedience. When the boat had
brought up to her grapnel, he sunk back
at his length on the cushioned seats of the
barge, and drawing his hat over his eyes in



THE PILOT. 17

a listless manner, he continued for many
minutes apparently absorbed in thoughts
altogether foreign to his present situation.
Occasionally he rose, and would first bend
his looks in quest of his companions on
the shore, and then, turning his expressive
eyes towards the ocean, the abstracted and
vacant air that so often usurped the place
of animation and intelligence in his coun
tenance, would give place to the anxious
and intelligent look of a seaman gifted
with an experience beyond his years. His
weather-beaten and hardy crew, having
made their dispositions for offence, sat in
profound silence, with their hands thrust
into the bosoms of their jackets, but with
their eyes earnestly regarding every cloud
that was gathering in the threatening
atmosphere, and exchanging looks of deep
care, whenever the boat rose higher than
usual on one of those long, heavy ground-
swells that were heaving in from the ocean,
with increasing rapidity and magnitude.






CHAPTER II.



" A horseman's coat shall hide

Thy taper shape and comeliness of side;
And with a bolder stride and looser air,
Mingled with men, a man thou must appear."

Prior.



WHEN the whale-boat obtained the
position we have described, the young
lieutenant, who, in consequence of com
manding a schooner, was usually addressed
by the title of captain, stepped on the
rocks, followed by the youthful midship
man, who had quitted the barge, to aid in
the hazardous duty of their expedition.

" This is, at best, but a Jacob's ladder
we have to clirnb," said Barnstable, cast
ing his eyes upwards at the difficult ascent ;
" and it's by no means certain that we-
shall be well received, when we get up,
though we should even reach the top."



THE PILOT. 19

" We are under the guns of the fri
gate/' returned the boy ; " and you re
member, sir, three oar blades and a pistol,
repeated from the barge, will draw her
fire."

" Yes, on our own heads. Boy, never
be so foolish as to trust a long shot. It
makes a great smoke and some noise, but
it's a terrible uncertain manner of throw
ing old iron about. In such a business as
this, I would sooner trust Tom Coffin and
his harpoon to back me, than the best
broadside that ever rattled out of the three
decks of a ninety-gun ship. Come, gather
your limbs together, and try if you can
walk on terra firma, Master Coffin."

The seaman who was addressed by this
dire appellation, arose slowly from the
place where he was stationed as cockswain
of the boat, and seemed to ascend high
in air by the gradual evolution of number
less folds in his body. When erect, he
stood nearly six feet and as many inches
in his shoes, though, when elevated in his
most perpendicular attitude, there was a
forward inclination about his head and



20 THE PILOT.

shoulders, that appeared to be the conse
quence of habitual confinement in limited
lodging's. His whole frame was destitute
of the rounded outlines of a well-formed
man, though his enormous hands furnished
a display of bones and sinews which gave
indications of gigantic strength. On his
head he wore a little, low, brown hat of
wool, with an arched top, that threw an
expression of peculiar solemnity and hard
ness over his harsh visage, the sharp pro
minent features of which were completely
encircled by a set of black whiskers, that
began to be grizzled a little with age.
One of his hands grasped, with a sort
instinct, the staff of a bright harpoon, the
lower end of which he placed firmly on


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