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port the very day the peace was signed. I do
not think the captain committed many murders,
but he must certainly have impoverished many
merchants.

A few days afterwards, something happened
that gave me a sense of the horrors of war, and
especially of war carried on by legalised robbers,
cruel and reckless. A privateer was seen by
a government cruiser lurking about the harbour.
Entangled in a fog, the French robber was
surprised by daybreak within two miles of Dover
chalk-cliffs, and out flew at him our winged
bull-dog. The fight was stubborn. The enemy,
when their shot was exhausted, loaded with
poker knobs, shreds of iron, and tenpenny nails
I am not quite sure if even on this occasion
the old story of the captain firing round Dutch
cheeses at us was not revived. Our sailors
were vexed at the escape of Le Petit Renard,
and at the numerous murders and robberies
committed by the French privateers. The
Channel, once safe as the king's highway, had
grown dangerous as a cut-throat lane near
Bagshot, and our cruisers were to turn "runners,"
and brush off the scum. Our seamen, too, were
the crew of a proverbially smart vessel, and had
the honour of their ship to maintain, and their
pride was hurt that the men of Le Petit .Renard
should be able to brag over their wine, in Dunkirk
cabarets, how they had been under our very
nose, and made us burn a ton of powder
without killing a Frenchman or blowing away
even an old sail. So, they first pounded the
thief well, crushed him up as hungry men
do a biscuit, riddled his sails, cut away his
figure-head, half stove in the stem, then
poured in the boarders with a flood of
cutlasses. In ten minutes the vessel was theirs,
and the captain, found close to the powder-
magazine door, was nailed to that door with a
boarding-pike.

I saw our vessel, the Sea Swallow, return,
blossoming with flags, and having the French
ship in tow. I went down to the pier in the
crowd to cheer and to look. I shall never forget
that bright morning, with the sun burning the
fog away, so that it shrivelled from the sky like
so much dross from a caldron of melting gold.
The sky was liquid blue; the two vessels were
close to the pier; the English ship was little
hurt; already the sails were being patched, and
the rigging repaired, but the French ship lay a
wreck, sails blown to tinder, ropes dangling in
innumerable knots and halters. There was a
crimson sheen on the white splintered planks
and on the white torn seams; the cabin-doors
were broken and split; and the dead men,
brainless and battered, were laid ready for
rough sea-burial, in red heaps. Suddenly
some rough voices broke into a hearty French
song:

"Oh! s'il n'est pas en Paradis,
II est en Purgatoire-a!"

It was a handful of the French sailors who
had come safely out of it (though a few had
their heads tied up); they were sitting round
the galley fire, cooking some soup, and singing.
Light-hearted song-birds, so soon to get
accustomed to their new cage!

None of our family ever had a share in a
privateer but one, and he was not lucky. The Sea
Hawk struck on the bar on her first trip from
the harbour at Jersey, and the second trip, after
being repaired at a great expense, she was
snapped up by Le Petit Renard, and never heard
of afterwardsnot even in that dark fleet of
English merchant-ships and small craft, found in
Dunkirk harbour at the peace. My kinsman
being a conscientious man, and a prudent man,
would never, therefore, have anything more to do
with privateers. There seemed to be, he thought,
a curse upon them.

A friend of mine went the other day to the
seaport where he was born. His first inquiry
was about one of his father's old friends.

"Dead and gone!" said the old sea-captain
he asked, looking thoughtfully at the bowl of
his pipe, as if it aided memory or reflection
"dead and gone, and his money all melted from
him like snow, too. He was the last of the men
in our town who made privateering fortunes,
and they all went to the bad; sou'-west or
nor'-nor'-west, away it all went. It is true enough,
depend upon it, what has been often said in
this ere town, that no good ever came of
privateering money; there was innocent blood on
it."

Can we wonder at the general exclamation,
of horror which arose in England when it was
reported that the Southern States of America
were about to let fly their privateers at the
North, and all without even a special protest
from England on the folly and inhumanity of
the act? Any attempt to partly blockade a
Southern port, and keep in her cotton, England
would not allow; but to let fly a swarm of
pirate ships, many of them chartered by the
scum of the Northmen who would dive into
an Atlantic full of blood, to pick put a dollar
is not even to be protested against. We no
longer poison bullets or stab prisoners, yet we
allow legalised pirates to pursue their devilish
calling, merely because those pirates choose to
hoist a Southern flag and call themselves
Southern privateers.  Yet do not think that in
future wars the toleration of such inhumanity
will not recoil on us. Who is there who can
sow the wind and yet refuse to reap the
whirlwind?

Yet, that statesmen should tolerate such things
is no wonder. Those great-minded helmsmen are
too busy in keeping their legs, to trouble
themselves about ideals. They have to laugh away
popular wrath, to smile away opposition, to scoff
away attacks, to badinage away reforms that
they do not themselves originate. They do not
want vexatious debates on abstract subjects.
Wars are bad things, but they employ officers
and encourage promotion; they keep the
opposition quiet, and are excuses for taxes; they
postpone reform, and increase ministerial
popularity. But the bayoneting, the shooting, the

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