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victim; black spirits and white, blue spirits and gray. There were seamen of all grades, from the boy just off his first cruise as a privateersman, to the old · Forecastle Jack,' with his quid in his cheek, his strongly-marked weather-beaten countenance, and grave and resolute demeanor ; the characteristic of the ancient mariner' when in a medi. tative mood : but when he is engaged in conversation, or as he terms it, has a 'yarn on the stretch,' his countenance brightens; his stern eye beams with intelligence as his mind expands with his subject; he becomes animated, and stands before you a different being from what he appeared a few moments before. Knavery, as I have remarked, had also its representatives among us. One day as I was taking my usual rambles through the different prisons, I was accosted by one of the inmates, who asked my opinion of a five-pound note which he held in his hand. As I was not on intimate terms with money, I told him I was not able to vouch for its character; but as my principle was to speak ill of no one, I felt inclined to think well of it. It was however a wellexecuted counterfeit. On another occasion, on entering one of the prisons, I was assailed by a shower of spurious shillings, which some person had inadvertently let fall from one of the upper stories. I was told that the paper currency was of domestic origin; but touching the specie, I could get no information. It may have been put into the hands of some of the capitalists' within by some knowing one outside, to be circulated among the country people on market days.
It was now mid-winter, and it was generally understood that the United States and Great Britain had appointed ministers to negotiate terms of peace. The prisoners were all looking with intense anxiety for the hour of their release, that they might once more return to their long-forsaken homes and friends. Many could hardly sleep, or persuade themselves that the treaty was not signed, so completely had this idea taken possession of their minds. One of our mess one night insisted upon it that he distinctly heard one of the guard utter the cry of peace;' and although no one but himself pretended to hear it, he easily found many ready to believe it, so strong were their hopes; and some went so far as to spend the little money they had hoarded with miserly care and selfdenial, that they might celebrate the joyful event with becoming spirit. But when days and weeks had passed without bringing the glad tidings, their disappointment knew no bounds, and they sank to the lowest state of despondency. The alternate hopes and fears to which they were subjected created a restless and feverish excitement among them, which they were wholly unable to control. They gradually neglected their employments and amusements, and the one only theme took possession of their minds.
At length the long-desired news arrived. Extravagant joy now took the place of abject despondency ; not a chest that was not exami. ned, nor a pocket that was not turned inside ont, to raise funds to vie with each other in honoring the great event. At night the building in which I was confined exhibited within one blaze of light; for every one who could procure a candle divided it with those who could not, and by this means every post throughout the establishment was decorated with six or eight pieces of burning candles. The mirth and revelry knew no bounds. The prisoners feasted, and drank, and danced, without ceasing. There was no sleep that night. It was amusing to see the rueful faces of the revellers when they learned that the report was false. Two of my mess-mates had given way to the temptation ; and I shared with them the good things which I had ; that is to say, a good supper, topped off with a mug of beer, which was allowed to be brought in at all times. From this time forth, all was hubbub and confusion, occasioned by the preparations for leaving. Many in the ardor of their feelings forgot that the treaty of peace had yet to be ratified at Washington City, and that it would take a month or two, at that season of the year, to go and return.
About this time came the news of the great victory at New Orleans: this reänimated the captives, and occupied their minds for several days. The daily expectation of leaving the Dépôt had suspended all mechanical employments; and the police, which had been established at an early period by themselves, for mutual protection and good order, began now to lose its influence: theft, gambling, and licentiousness soon got the ascendency; and what still farther augmented the discontent was, that about this time a small stipend of about six shillings and eight-pence, which had been allowed by our government monthly, for soap,
tobacco, or for whatever purpose they chose to apply it, became due, and their anger rose to the highest pitch when they learned that it was Mr. Beasly's intention to withhold it altogether; an assumption of a responsibility which he was not entitled to assume. This with his former conduct caused the hitherto smothered discontent to break forth. The pri. soners procured an old suit of clothes, of which they formed an effigy of Mr. Beasly, and trying him before Judge Lynch's court, he was found guilty of divers misdemeanors, and sentenced to be hung and afterward burnt; which sentence was carried into execution by those appointed for the purpose.
At length, about the middle of March, intelligence was received of the ratification of peace; and although the joy was as great as when the news was first heard, it was not manifested with the same outward appearances, for the want of means, the money having been nearly all spent on the former occasion. From this time forward the captives were not so strictly guarded : the yards were thrown open in common through the day, and they were permitted to take such exercise and engage in such amusements as were consistent, until arrangements could be made for their return home.
One morning, at the usual time of serving out the provisions, it was announced that there was no bread, and that ship-biscuit must be substituted. This met with decided opposition; the prisoners were determined not to be imposed upon by the contractors and agents, nor to allow them to palm upon them the damaged remnant of ship's bread which they had on hand, in lieu of the usual kind. They were informed that there was no other, and that they must take that or none. They remained without bread all that day, but toward night they grew restless. At night-fall they became like a raging tempest.' From some cause, which I never heard accounted for, the prison doors had been left open, and the inmates had free access to the yards, where a great
number had assembled, giving vent to their feelings in curses loud and deep. All at once, and as with one mind, they made a rush toward the market-square, where the provision stores were situated. In an instant the ponderous gates and massive iron barriers were prostrated: then seizing the bread, which had probably lain there during the whole day, they quietly returned to the prisons, and suffered themselves to be locked in as usual. They then divided the bread, and partook of their scanty fare, the only food which had passed their lips for the space of thirtysix hours or more. I never before or since saw the old proverb realized, that • Hunger will break through stone walls;' in this case it was literally breaking through walls of iron. If the prisoners had been desirous of escaping, they certainly had at that time a fair opportunity; for I did not hear of the slightest resistance being made to them by any one; and another and a less effort would have put them in possession of the arms. It was said that Captain SHORTLAND was absent at the time; I think this very probable, for if he had been present blood would have been shed. It was reported that on his return, learning what had taken place, he became frantic with rage. I have no doubt of it; for threats which were then uttered were terribly fulfilled but a few weeks after. ward.
Time wore tediously on, appearing tenfold longer in proportion to the growing impatience of confinement, which seemed so uselessly prolonged. As the season advanced, the weather became more temperate; and the sun seemed to coquet with the earth, in occasional glimpses through the thick veil of fog which enveloped that dreary waste; and the prisoners embraced the opportunity of enjoying her smiles. At this time they were allowed to do pretty much as they pleased ; indeed, they were scarcely considered as prisoners, being only confined at night, and having the free scope of the yards during the day. They appeared merely to be kept together, until arrangements could be made for their embarkation for the United States.
On the sixth day of April, 1815, the sun broke forth with unusual splendor. A warm, gentle breeze dispersed the heavy pall of vapor which had enveloped the place during the winter; and it appeared as though all nature smiled, to make glad the heart of the poor captive. All that day the yard was thronged, and faces were lighted up with joy, hope, and peace, that had long been worn and furrowed with care. The sick and feeble came forth to enjoy the air; the hale and the strong were there ; the youth of fourteen, and the gray headed man of sixty, were there; some amusing themselves at various games: some wrestling, some walking, and meditating upon their homes, wives, children, and friends, whom they hoped soon to see, after a separation of many years. Tears filled their eyes, and sobs choked their utterance, as they conversed together upon their anticipated happiness. The day was spent as in a happy dream.
Late in the afternoon, a small party was engaged in a game of ball, in the upper part of the yards of prisons Nos. 5, 6, and 7, and near the wall separating them from the soldiers' quarters. During their play, the ball was sometimes knocked over the wall, which was as often thrown back by some one of the guard who was not then on duty.
At length, becoming tired of returning the ball, the amusement was at an end. They then threatened, if the ball was not returned, that they would break through and get it. Receiving no answer, they proceeded at once to put their threat into execution ; and with their knives soon succeeded in making a small breach. By this time it was nearly dark, and most of the prisoners had retired to their quarters, it being about their usual supper time : a few remained in the lower part of the yard, walking and conversing together, enjoying the tranquillity of the evening; and some dozen or two continued around the hole which had been made in the wall.
I was within the building, standing by a window, when a person who had just come in, observed, “ There will be trouble soon, caused by that break in the wall.' This was the first intimation conveyed of the occurrence; myself and a large majority of the prisoners were totally ignorant of it up to this time. While conversing, we heard the report of fire-arms, and looking out, we beheld the walls lined with soldiers, and down in the yard, saw the prisoners closely pursued by a platoon of soldiers at a charge speed, led on by Shortland. All was now in the utmost confusion. It was discovered that the monster Shortland, in order to make surety doubly sure,' had unobserved closed all the doors but one, of each prison. The long-threatened storm had now burst upon them in all its fury. On the first alarm, many of those within rushed out to learn the cause, by which means the only entrance was for a time blocked up; and those outside, finding escape cut off at the closed doors, hastened to that which was open, closely pursued by the soldiers, who used their bayonets without mercy; they suffered severely at the same time from a cross-fire from those stationed on the walls. The scene now baffled description. The fugitives, in their haste to get under shelter, were met by those coming out, by which means they were for a time exposed in a body to the balls and bayonets of Shortland and his mercenaries. At length they all got in, dragging with them at the same time several of the killed and wounded of their comrades. The door was then closed and secured, and Shortland and his heroes retired.
It would be impossible to give a correct description of the scene which now presented itself. On the floor opposite where I messed lay a handsome youth, of about fifteen years of age, stiff, and cold as marble, pierced through the heart by a bayonet. A few yards farther on, lay another: a ball had entered his forehead, and passed out at the back of his head. I examined the spot the next morning, and saw part of his brains which had been dashed against the wall nearly opposite the prison door. Among the wounded, who were brought in by their comrades, was one with a wound in the shoulder; another with his thigh broken; another had a most miraculous escape with his life; a musket ball had passed through his mouth from side to side, taking out nearly the whole of his teeth. I saw him after he had got well: he could take no food except with a spoon. It was several days before the full extent of the mischief was known, when it was ascertained that the amount was seven killed, and fifty wounded, some of
them severely. The accompanying engraving will afford a correct idea of the several prisons, and the scene which I have endeavored to describe :
No language can depict the deep, burning feeling of hatred and indignation which now broke forth in bitter execrations from the sur. vivors. If they could have obtained arms of any kind, dreadful would have been the retaliation! In about an hour a litter was sent in, and the dead and wounded were taken to the Hospital. Not an eye was closed that night. Some gave vent to their feelings by threats and exclamations, others brooded over their wrongs in silence. Alas! who can tell what a day may bring forth ! Who could have believed that a morning of so fair a promise would close in blood and sorrow ? Who could have imagined that a body of unarmed men, in time of peace, in charge of one of the most enlightened and christian nations on the earth,' would be most foully and cowardly butchered in cold blood ? Would that this were the only blot upon the history of that arrogant nation ; that champion of the civil and religious liberty of the world ! When this brutal transaction became rumored abroad, it was scarcely believed for a time; but when it was confirmed, astonishment at the atrocity of the deed bewildered the minds of the people, and they exclaimed, Can such things be! To allay the public ex. citement, and attempt a justification of their proceedings, a court of