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The Georgicks of Virgil, with an English Translation and Notes Virgil, John Martyn Ipsi in defossis specubus secura sub alta Otia agunt terra, congestaque robora, Pierius says it is confecto in the Roman manuscript. And Tacitus also says the Germans used to make caves to defend them from the severity of winter, .

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Get our award-winning magazine Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights. Support our journalism Help Mother Jones ' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation. Mag Promo Independent. In print. In the year , when James I. The men who received this gift associated themselves together under the name of the London Company, and in the same year sent out three vessels, carrying men, but no women or children.

A storm drove them out of their course, and, in the month of May, they entered the mouth of a broad river, which they named the James in honor of their king. They sailed up stream for fifty miles, and, on the 13th of May, , began the settlement of Jamestown, which was the first English colony successfully planted in America. Everything looked promising, but the trouble was that the men did not wish to work, and, instead of cultivating the soil, spent their time in hunting for gold which did not exist anywhere near them. They were careless in their manner of living and a great many fell ill and died.

They must have perished before long had they not been wise enough to elect Captain John Smith president or ruler of the colony. This man is one of the most interesting characters in the early history of our country. He was a great boaster, and most of his associates did not like him. He had been a wanderer in many parts of the world, and had any number of stories to tell of his wonderful adventures. Probably some of those stories were true and many fiction. Be that as it may, he was an energetic and brave man, and the very one to save the perishing settlers.

He made every man work, and none wrought harder than himself. As a consequence matters began to mend at once. Obeying his orders in London, Captain Smith, when it seemed prudent to do so, spent much of his time in exploring the streams that flowed into the James. It must not be forgotten that it was still believed in Europe that America formed a part of Asia, and that no one needed to penetrate far into the interior to reach that country. On one of these voyages Captain Smith was taken prisoner by the Indians, who led him before their chief Powhatan.

The chief decided that he must be put to death, and, with his hands tied together, he was placed on the ground, with his head resting on two big stones. Then one of the warriors stepped forward to dash out his brains with a club. At that moment Pocahontas, the young daughter of the chief, ran forward, and, throwing her arms around the head of Smith, begged her father to spare his life. The chief consented, and the prisoner was set free and returned to Jamestown. Such is the story which Captain Smith told after the death of Pocahontas in England, which she had visited with her husband, an Englishman named Rolfe, and it can never be known whether the incident was true or not.

Some years later Smith was so badly injured by the explosion of gunpowder that he had to return to England for treatment. There he died in His invaluable services in this country have led historians to regard him as the saviour of the Virginia colony. The most woeful blow that was struck the American colonies was in August, , when a Dutch ship sailed up the James and sold twenty negroes, kidnapped in Africa, to the colonists as slaves. It was thus that African slavery was introduced into this country, bringing in its train more sorrow, suffering, desolation, and death than pen can describe or imagination conceive.

The institution became legal in all the colonies, and the ships of New England, as well as those of old England, were actively engaged for many years in the slave trade. The marriage of Pocahontas to one of the settlers made her father a firm friend of the whites as long as he lived. At his death, his brother Opechankano succeeded him. He hated intensely the invaders of the hunting grounds, and began plotting to exterminate them.

On the 22d of March, , he made such a sudden and furious assault upon the plantations, as the farms were called, along the James that people were killed in one day. The settlers rallied, slew many of the Indians and drove the remainder far back in the woods, but by the time this was accomplished half of the 4, settlers were dead and the eighty plantations were reduced to eight.

Opechankano was not crushed, and for more than twenty years he busied himself in perfecting his plans for a greater and more frightful massacre. It was in April, , that he struck his second blow, killing between three and four hundred of the settlers. Once more the Virginians renewed the war of extermination, and pressed it mercilessly until the Indians sued for peace, gave a large tract of land to their conquerors, and retired still further into the wilderness.

It is worth noting that at the time of this last massacre Opechankano was nearly a hundred years old. Sir William Berkeley was the most bigoted ruler Virginia ever had. In one of his messages, he thanked God that there were no free schools or printing in his province. He was very tyrannous, and, having friends in the assembly, they prevented the election of any new members from to The taxes became intolerable, and trade fell into the hands of a few individuals.

Not only that, but the governor disbanded the troops which had gathered for protection against the Indians, who renewed their attacks on the exposed plantations. This was more than the people could stand, and they rose in rebellion under the leadership of Nathaniel Bacon, a popular young planter, who had lost several members of his family through the attacks of the Indians. Berkeley was cowed for a time, but the arrival of some ships from England enabled him to take the field against Bacon.

During the civil war, Jamestown was burned to the ground and never rebuilt. Bacon pressed his resistance so vigorously that his success seemed certain, when unfortunately he fell ill and died. Left without a leader, the rebellion crumbled to pieces. The exultant Berkeley punished the leading rebels without mercy.

He hanged twenty-two, and was so ferocious that the king lost patience and ordered him to return to England. Colonial Virginia underwent several changes in its form of government. A "Great Charter" was granted to it in by the London Company. This permitted the settlers to make their own laws. The House of Burgesses, which was called together at Jamestown by Governor Yeardley, July 30, , was the first legislative body that ever met in this country.

King James was dissatisfied with the tendency of things, and in he took away the charter and granted a new one, which allowed the colony to elect the members of the House of Burgesses, while the king appointed the council and their governor. This made Virginia a royal province, which she remained until the Revolution. Virginia became very prosperous. Immense quantities of tobacco were raised and sent to England and Holland, where it became widely popular.

Its cultivation was so profitable in the colony that for a time little else was cultivated. It was planted even along the streets of Jamestown and became the money of the province. Everything was paid for in so many pounds of tobacco. The population steadily increased, and in was 95,, which was the same as that of Massachusetts.

A half-century later, Virginia was the richest and most important of the thirteen colonies. The people lived mostly on large plantations, for land was plentiful and the Indians gave no further trouble. Most of the inhabitants were members of the Church of England, and their assemblies passed severe laws against the entrance of people of other religious beliefs into the colony.

It required the furnace blasts of the Revolution to purify Virginia and some other provinces of this spirit of intolerance. Education was neglected or confined to the rich who could send their children to England to be educated. Some of the early schools were destroyed by Indians, but William and Mary College, founded in , was the second college in the United States.

It was never a very strong institution. It is worth recording how Virginia received the name of the "Old Dominion. She was true also to Charles II. While in exile, he sent Governor Berkeley his commission as Governor of Virginia, and that ruler was immensely pleased. The king, to show his appreciation of the loyalty of his colony, made public declaration that Virginia added a fifth country to his kingdom, making it consist of England, Scotland, France, Ireland, and Virginia, and he devised as an addition to the motto of the English coat of arms, " En dat Virginia quintam " "Lo!

Virginia gives the fifth". While Cromwell was turning things topsy-turvy in England, a great many of the best families among the Royalists emigrated to Virginia, where they were received with open arms by Governor Berkeley and the owners of the plantations. From this arose the name "Old Dominion," which is often applied to Virginia. During the early days of Virginia there was bitter persecution in England of those whose religious views differed from the Church of England. This cruelty drove many people to other countries, and because of their wanderings they were called "Pilgrims.

One hundred and two Pilgrims, all Separatists, who had fled to Holland, did not like the country, and decided to make their homes in the New World, where they could worship God as their consciences dictated. They sailed in the Mayflower , and, after a long and stormy passage, landed at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 21, , in the midst of a blinding snowstorm.

The Pilgrims were hardy, industrious, and God-fearing, and were prepared to face every kind of danger and suffering without murmur. They were severely austere in their morals and conduct, and, when writhing in the pangs of starvation, maintained their faith unshaken in the wisdom and goodness of their Heavenly Father. All these admirable qualities were needed during the awful winter, which was one of the severest ever known in New England. They built log-houses, using oiled paper instead of glass for the windows, and in the spring were able to buy corn of the Indians, who pitied their sufferings, for in the space of a few weeks one-half of the Pilgrims had died.

At one time there were but seven well persons in the colony. Among those who passed away was John Carver, the first governor. The survivors held their ground with grim heroism, and by-and-by other immigrants arrived, and the growth and prosperity, though slow, was certain. It had no charter, but was governed by an agreement which had been drawn up and signed in the cabin of the Mayflower , about the time the bleak coast of New England was sighted.

For sixty years after the settlement of Plymouth, its history was uneventful. It was never very large, but the real work which it accomplished was in bringing thousands of other colonists to follow it to New England, who were opponents of the Established Church, and who gave to that section of our country a distinctive character of its own.

It is an interesting coincidence that while Virginia had her Captain John Smith, Plymouth possessed a character quite similar in the person of Captain Myles Standish. He was the military leader of the colony, with a courage that was absolutely fearless. He has been described as a very small man, with a "long, yellow beard," and a temper as inflammable as gunpowder. Nothing would rouse his anger sooner than to hear any slur upon his stature. A big, hulking Indian, belonging to a party much larger than Standish's, once looked down upon the diminutive Englishman, and, with a curl of his lip, referred to him as too small to fight.

The next day, in a fight that arose with the chiefs, Standish killed the insulting Indian with his own knife.

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All readers are familiar with the beautiful poem of Longfellow, which tells how Standish employed John Alden to woo Priscilla, the "loveliest maid of Plymouth," for him, and he did it with such success that Alden won her for himself. The Massachusetts Bay Colony included the part of the present State of Massachusetts from the neighborhood of Boston northward. It was founded by Puritans, who, it will be remembered, had not separated wholly from the Church of England, but opposed many of its ceremonies.

In the civil war with England they sided with the Parliament and were subjected to the same persecution as the Separatists. In a number of wealthy Puritans bought the territory from the Council of Plymouth, and, receiving a charter the following year from Charles I. Then the company itself followed, taking with it the charter and officers, thus gaining a colony in America that was wholly independent of England. Salem and some other small settlements had previously been made.

The colony was one of the most important that ever settled in this country. Its leaders were not only of the best character, but were wealthy, wise, and far-seeing. A large number arrived in , and founded Boston, Cambridge, Lynn, and other towns. Although they suffered many privations, they were not so harsh as those of Plymouth, and the colony prospered. During the ten years succeeding , 20, people settled in Massachusetts, and in the two colonies united under the name of Massachusetts.

It would seem that since these people had fled to America to escape religious persecution, they would have been tolerant of the views of those among them, but such unhappily was not the case. The most important part of their work was the building of churches and the establishment of religious instruction. The minister was the most important man in the colony, and no one was allowed to vote unless a member of the church. A reproof in church was considered the most disgraceful penalty that could be visited upon a wrong-doer.

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The sermons were two, three, and sometimes four hours long, and the business of one of the officers was to watch those overcome by drowsiness and wake them up, sometimes quite sharply. Roger Williams, a Baptist preacher, told the Puritans, as the people came generally to be called, that they did wrong to take the land from the Indians without paying for it, and that a person was answerable to God alone for his belief.

These charges were answered by the banishment of Williams from the colony. All the Baptists were expelled in Shortly afterward, Anne Hutchinson boldly preached the doctrine of Antinomianism, which declares that a man is not saved by the help of good works, but by divine grace alone. In other words, no matter how wickedly he lives, his salvation is wholly independent of it. She went to Rhode Island and afterward to New Netherland, where she was killed in one of the attacks of the Indians upon the Dutch settlements.

The Quakers greatly annoyed the New England colonists. They persisted in rising in the Puritan meetings and disputing with ministers. Many were fined, whipped, imprisoned, and banished, but in the face of warnings they returned. As a consequence, four were put to death. Then a reaction set in and the persecution ceased. The most formidable war in which the early colonies of New England were involved was with King Philip, who was the son of Massasoit, a firm friend of the settlers until his death.

Philip was one of the great Indians of history. Like many of his people he saw with anger the growth of the white men, who in time would drive him and his warriors from their hunting grounds. Realizing the magnitude of the work of exterminating all the settlers, he visited the different tribes and used every effort to unite them in a war against the invaders. He was partly successful, and, with the allies secured, King Philip began the war by attacking a party of settlers at Swansea, on Sunday, June 24, , while they were on their way to church.

Several whites were killed, when the Indians hurried off to the Connecticut Valley to continue their dreadful work. All understood their peril, and flew to arms. Every man carried his musket to church, and they were stacked outside the door, while a sentinel paced up and down. More than once the long sermon was interrupted by the crack of the red men's guns and their wild whoops, as they swarmed out of the woods. Springing down from the pulpit, the minister was among the foremost in beating the heathen back, and, when quiet was restored, probably he resumed and finished his sermon.

The war was prosecuted furiously on both sides. In the depth of winter, when the snow lay several feet on the ground, John Winslow led 1, men against the Narragansett stronghold, which was in the heart of a great swamp, and was one of the most powerful fortifications ever erected by the red men on this continent. In the terrible fight, white men and nearly 1, Indians were killed. Finally, Philip was run down in a swamp near his old home on Mount Hope, not far from the present city of Bristol, Rhode Island. While stealing out of his hiding-place, he was confronted by a white soldier and a friendly Indian.

The gun of the former missed fire, whereupon the Indian leveled his musket and shot the Wampanoag leader dead. The war ended a few months later. During its continuance, six hundred white men were killed and many more wounded; thirteen towns were destroyed and five hundred buildings burned, but the Indian power in southern New England was shattered forever. One of the most fearful delusions recorded in history is that of the general belief in witchcraft which prevailed in Europe down to the seventeenth century. Its baleful shadow all too soon fell upon New England.

Massachusetts and Connecticut made laws against witchcraft and hanged a number of persons on the charge of being witches. In the town of Salem went crazy over the belief that the diabolical spirits were at work among them. Two little girls, who were simpletons that ought to have been spanked and put to bed, declared with bulging eyes that different persons had taken the form of a black cat and pinched, scratched, and bitten them.

The people, including the great preacher Cotton Mather, believed this stuff, and the supposed wizards and witches were punished with fearful severity. Suspicion in many cases meant death; evil men disposed of their creditors and enemies by charging them with witchcraft; families were divided and the gentlest and most irreproachable of women suffered disgraceful death. Everybody, including ministers and judges, lost their wits.

The magistrates crowded the jails, until twenty had been put to death and fifty-five tortured before the craze subsided. Then it became clear that no one, no matter what his station, was safe, and the delusion, which forms one of the blackest pages in New England, passed away. Every time his gun flashed some one was hit. This incident was the beginning of the Pequot War. This grant included all the land between the Merrimac and Kennebec Rivers.

The first settlement was made in , at New and at Little Harbor, near Portsmouth. In the proprietors divided their grants, the country west of the Piscataqua being taken by Mason, who named it New Hampshire, while Gorges, who owned the eastern section, called it Maine. The settlements were weak and their growth tardy.

In New Hampshire placed itself under the protection of Massachusetts, but the king separated them in , and made New Hampshire a royal colony. In it again joined Massachusetts, and three years later was set off once more by the king, after which it remained a royal colony until the Revolution. The Connecticut colony included all of the present State of Connecticut, excepting a few townships on the shore of Long Island Sound.

It came into the possession of the Earl of Warwick in , and the following year he transferred it to Lords Say, Brooke, and others. The Dutch claimed the territory and erected a fort on the Connecticut River to keep out the English. The latter, however, paid no attention to them, and a number of Massachusetts traders settled at Windsor in Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, was settled in A great many emigrants came from Massachusetts in , the principal leader being Thomas Hooker.

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They founded Weathersfield, Windsor, and Hartford, and in adopted the name of the Connecticut colony and drew up a written constitution, the first ever framed by a body of men for their own government. Other settlements were made and Saybrook united with them. The most eventful incident in the history of Connecticut was the war with the Pequot Indians, who were a powerful tribe in the eastern part of the State. They tried to persuade the Narragansetts to join them, but Roger Williams, who lived among them, persuaded Canonicus, their chief, to refuse. Then the Pequots committed the fatal mistake of going to war alone.

The settlers, fully roused to their danger, assailed the Pequot stronghold with fury, one summer morning in , and killed all their enemies, sparing neither women nor children. Thus a leading tribe of Indians were blotted out in one day. It was settled in by a company of English immigrants, who were sufficiently wise and just to buy the lands of the Indians.

Other towns were settled, and in the group took the name of the New Haven colony. Neither of the colonies had a charter, and there was much rivalry in the efforts to absorb the towns as they were settled. The majority preferred to join the Connecticut colony, for the other, like Massachusetts, would permit no one not a member of church to vote or hold office. What is known in the history of England as the Commonwealth, established by Cromwell, came to an end in Charles II. It was granted to him in , and covered the territory occupied by both colonies, who were permitted to elect their assembly, their governor, and to rule themselves.

New Haven, after deliberating over the question, reluctantly accepted the charter, and in the two were united under the name of the Colony of Connecticut. Everything was going along smoothly, when, in , Governor Andros came down with a company of soldiers from Boston and ordered the people to surrender their charter. He was acting under the orders of the king, who did not fancy the independence with which the colony was conducting matters. Andros confronted the assembly, which were called together in Hartford.

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They begged that he would not enforce his demands. He consented to listen to their arguments, though there was not the slightest probability of it producing any effect upon him. The talk continued until dark, when the candles were lighted. Suddenly, at a signal, all were blown out. When they were re-lighted, the charter, which had been lying on the table in plain sight, was nowhere to be found. Captain Wadsworth had slipped out during the interval of darkness and hidden the paper in the hollow of an oak. Then he returned and took his place among the members, looking the most innocent of all.

Andros fumed and raved and informed the assembly that their trick would avail them nothing, since their charter government was at an end. He went back to Boston, to be turned out of office two years later, when the precious charter was brought from its hiding-place. No effort was spared to preserve the historical "Charter Oak," that had thus been made famous. It was supported and propped in every part that showed signs of weakness, and held up its head until , when a terrific storm brought it to the ground, shattered to fragments, all of which were carefully gathered and preserved by those fortunate enough to obtain them.

The early division of the colonies was long marked by the fact that Hartford and New Haven served as the two capitals of the State until , when Hartford became the sole capital. It has been stated that when Roger Williams was banished from Massachusetts he took refuge among the Narragansett Indians, who occupied the country at the head of Narragansett Bay. Canonicus, the chief, held the good man in high esteem, and presented him with a large tract of land, which the devout Williams named "Providence" in remembrance of the manner in which he believed God had directed him thither.

Settlers from Massachusetts followed him, and all were hospitably received and kindly treated. The fullest religious liberty was allowed, and even when Anne Hutchinson visited Williams, he treated her like a sister. Williams obtained a charter in from the Parliament and it was confirmed in The new one granted by Charles II. This is still the legal name of the State, which retains its two capitals, Providence and Newport, the Legislature meeting alternately in each.

The charter of Charles II. The existence of Rhode Island was threatened by the claim of Connecticut to all the land on the west to the shore of Narragansett Bay, while Plymouth insisted that the land on the east to the shore of the same bay belonged to her. Rhode Island stoutly resisted, and succeeded in and in fixing her boundaries as they are to-day, which make her the smallest State in the Union. It has been shown that Holland was more anxious to secure trade than territory. Soon after the discovery of the Hudson, by Captain Henry Hudson, the Dutch traders sent vessels to Manhattan Island, now constituting the city of New York, and began bartering with the Indians.

The name given to the territory was New Netherland, while the settlement, which grew in time into the metropolis of America, was called New Amsterdam. The whole island was bought from the Indians for sixty guilders, equal to about twenty-four dollars, a price which is considerably less than would be demanded to-day for the site of Greater New York. Of these, Stuyvesant was by far the ablest, and he made a strong impression on the social and political life of New Netherland. He was severe and stubborn, however, and many of the Dutchmen found his rule so onerous that they were rather pleased than otherwise, when the English, in , claimed the territory by right of discovery and sent out a fleet which compelled Stuyvesant to surrender the town.

The doughty old governor stamped about New Amsterdam with his wooden leg, calling upon his countrymen to rally and drive back the rascals, but little or no heed was paid to his appeals. The Connecticut people had settled a large part of Rhode Island, which they claimed, but the duke was too powerful to be resisted, and Long Island became a part of New York, as the city and province were named. In , while at war with England, Holland sent a fleet which recaptured New York, but it was given back to England, upon the signing of a treaty in The manner in which New Netherland was settled by the Dutch was quite different from that of New England.

Wealthy men, termed "patroons," were granted immense tracts of laud and brought over settlers, whose situation was much like that of the serfs of Russia. Traces of the patroon system remained long after the Revolution, and, in , caused the "Anti-Rent War," which resulted in the death of a number of people. The province of New York suffered greatly from misrule. The people were not permitted to elect their own assembly until , and two years later, when the Duke of York became king, he took away the privilege. William and Mary, however, restored it in , and it remained to the Revolution.

As a proof of the bad governorship of New York, it may be said that there is good reason to believe that one of its rulers was interested with the pirates who infested the coast, while another, who refused to sign the death-warrant of two persons who had committed no serious crime, was made drunk and then persuaded to sign the fatal paper. When he became sober, he was horrified to find that both had been executed. The piracy alluded to became such a scandalous blight that strenuous measures were taken to crush it.

In Captain William Kidd, a New York shipmaster and a brave and skillful navigator, was sent to assist in the work. After he had cruised for a while in distant waters, he turned pirate himself. He had the effrontery to return home three years later, believing his friends would protect him; but, though they would have been willing enough to do so, they dared not. He was arrested, tried in England, convicted, and hanged. Piracy was finally driven from the American waters in In New York was thrown into a panic by the report that the negroes had formed a plot to burn the town.

It is scarcely possible that any such plot existed, but before the scare had passed away four whites and eighteen negroes were hanged, and, dreadful as it may sound, fourteen negroes were burned at the stake. In addition, nearly a hundred were driven out of the colony. The fine harbor and noble river emptying into it gave New York such advantages that, by , it had become one of the most important cities on the coast, though its population was less than that of Philadelphia. At the time named, its inhabitants numbered about 12,, which was less than that of Philadelphia.

The province itself contained 90, inhabitants. The chief towns were New York, Albany, and Kingston.

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Brooklyn, which attained vast proportions within the following century, was merely a ferry station. New Jersey, as has been stated, was originally a part of New Netherland. As early as , the Dutch erected a trading post at Bergen. Carteret was once governor of the island of Jersey in the English Channel, and gave the name to the new province.

In the year mentioned, the first English settlement was made at Elizabethtown, now known as Elizabeth. In , the province was divided into East and West Jersey, a distinction which is preserved to some extent to the present day. Berkeley, who owned West Jersey, sold it to a number of Quakers, some of whom settled near Burlington.

Carteret sold his part to William Penn and eleven other Quakers. The various changes of ownership caused much trouble with the land titles. In , all the proprietors surrendered their rights to the crown and New Jersey became a royal colony. The same governor ruled New York and New Jersey, though those in the latter elected their own assembly.

A complete separation from New York took place in , and New Jersey remained a royal province until the Revolution. Its location averted all troubles with the Indians. Newark, the principal city, was settled in , by emigrants from Connecticut. Burlington, founded in , was one of the capitals and Perth Amboy the other. In , a number of Swedes formed the settlement of Christina on the Delaware, near Wilmington. They bought the land from the Indians and named it New Sweden. Duagerrotype of Matthew Calbraith Perry. Courtesy of the U.

Naval Academy Museum. As a commanding officer off of the coast of Africa in , he displayed a concern for health and discipline aboard naval vessels when he implemented systematic health measures to prevent scurvy and other tropical diseases. He also demanded obedient and cooperative behavior from his crew, and was known to have a liberal taste for flogging. Beginning in , he served at the Brooklyn Navy Yard for ten consecutive years and was responsible for recruitment.

Believing that the education of sailors and officers was paramount for a successful force, Perry organized and helped found a naval lyceum, museum, and library as well as the first naval journal. A supporter of a large navy, Perry also became involved with the mail subsidization project and was the chief naval inspector for many of the steamships created for the line. In January he wrote to the secretary of the navy, William A. Graham, proposing an expedition to Japan. In his letter he related past American relations with Japan and discussed the culture and environment of the mysterious island nation.

The real object of the expedition should be concealed from the public view, under a general understanding, that its main purpose will be to examine the usual resorts of our whaling ships, with special reference to their protection, and the opening to them of new ports of refuge and refreshment. To insure success, the first expedition should be strictly naval, untrammeled by the interference of diplomatic agents, who cannot judge advisedly of the movements and necessities of a squadron in remote and unfrequented seas.

Once the way is open, which must be effected by at least a show of force, -trade and consequently diplomatic appointments would of course follow. Navy to enter Japanese waters again. Seventeen Japanese sailors had been found adrift at sea miles Captain John H. Perry to Willam A. Captain Aulick was preparing to depart from New York for China to begin his service in the East India Squadron and offered to deliver the Japanese men back to their homeland.

In his letter to Secretary Graham, he asked for a vessel to deliver the Japanese sailors from San Francisco to Hong Kong where they would be placed under the direction of Captain Aulick. Webster also instructed Captain. The U. In the commercially minded view of the American government, opening trade between the two countries was completely reasonable, and no right minded nation would deny that simple request.

After leaving New York, Captain Aulick, aboard the new war steamer Susquehanna, was instructed to escort the Brazilian minister to Rio de Janeiro and then continue to China. During the voyage, Captain Aulick quarreled with the commander of the vessel. Graham, ed. Aulick was further charged with providing illegal passage to his son. These allegations, part of a damaging rumor campaign aimed at Aulick, resulted in his removal from the Japan mission. He argued with Graham, claiming that to serve in the place of a subordinate office was similar to being demoted.

Perry had previously requested a position commanding the Mediterranean Squadron, a much more attractive and respected station, and was gravely disappointed by his reassignment. And as with all things that Perry undertook, once he was resigned to his fate, he pursued the mission with vigor.

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In the next two years, Perry was able to do what no other man or nation accomplished. With his indomitable personality, his self-acquired knowledge of Japan and his determination, Perry successfully forced open the doors of Japan to the world and, specifically, to America and its merchants. Trade between the United States and Japan blossomed throughout the rest of the s and 85 Ibid, Graham to Matthew C.

Perry to William A. By , both Japan and China were important trade partners with the United States. With the ever-increasing trade with the Far East, interest in establishing a transpacific steam line re-emerged. In the California Legislature requested that Congress enact a law that establishing a mail route between San Francisco, Japan, and China. Not only was the exchange of goods between the Far East and the port of San Francisco doubling by the year, but there was also an increase in travel to Asia from ports all over the West Coast. The citizens of California claimed that by creating a steamship line connecting the Far East and San Francisco much of this traffic would be channeled through that city.

It was also the only company that had the resources to commit to such an undertaking from the West Coast at the time. The Pacific Mail Steamship Company proposed building four steamers between 3, and 4, tons burden in order to facilitate the service. The vessels would appear in the Far East exhibiting the utmost luxury and latest design features, and would ferry all manner of men, women, and goods back and forth between the Orient and the United States.

The success of these ships would result in a huge influx of Asian immigrants into San Francisco and the west coast as well as increase the profitability of foreign trade. Just as important, these vessels were a statement to the rest of the world that the United States had arrived as a dominant international power in the world economy. The first of these ships to be built was Great Republic. The ship loomed above them on its stocks, ready to slide into the East River. The vessel measured a massive feet The two enormous paddle wheels spanned a full 40 feet The launching of the ship was considered a newsworthy event and was advertised throughout the city, as well as the rest of the United States, as far west as its future home port of San Francisco.

Great Republic. Courtesy of HarpWeek, November 24, Though it was the launch day, Great Republic was still far behind schedule. While the contract issued to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company required a start date of January 1, , not one of the four ships intended for the route was completed in time. To solve this problem the company assigned one of its coastal steamers, Colorado, a handsome vessel that measured feet Colorado in Hong Kong.

Greater Republic of Central America

Courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum. On December 31, , a grand banquet was held at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco celebrating the inauguration of the China line. Two hundred and fifty guests were invited to the eleven-course meal which started at nine in the evening and lasted long into the night. The banquet was as luxurious and ornate as the mighty steamers that it celebrated. The room was decorated with flags and evergreen garlands, and at the head of the table was an elaborate model of the Colorado crafted from sugar.

The guests were further entertained by fifty live canaries placed throughout the hall. Luminaries from both east and west attended the event and the governor of California, Frederick Ferdinand Low, presided over the entire affair. It was a momentous occasion, heralding the start of an important enterprise between the United States and the Far East.

Captain George Bradbury signaled the crew to cast off the quarter line and engage the engines. As the great walking beam began to rock up and down, the ship slowly moved into the channel and headed towards the Golden Gate. Mclean, a petty officer on Colorado, would later describe the event: That day was a great day for San Francisco, it seemed as if half the population was at hand to witness the sailing, which was to be the first steamboat to leave these shores for the faraway land across the Pacific.

Flags waved and bands played the national air. When the moment for the steaming arrived, the great side wheels churned the water and she backed away from the wharf. The crowds cheered wildly and the bands fluted to the high notes. Salutes were fired from guns on the steamer and on the wharves. One of the guns exploded and several people were hurt as we swung into the stream. All the way down the bay the Colorado was saluted until we struck the open mouth of the sea. There were passengers, every stateroom was taken and it was considered something of an honor to be a passenger on the first steamer to leave the Golden Gate for China.

Watkins, the senior officer of the Pacific Mail fleet. Along with these important figures were a multitude of first- class passengers who were mainly missionaries, businessmen, military personnel, and some true tourists. Steerage was made up solely of Chinese immigrants on their way home from the railroads and gold fields.

After the warm reception in Japan, Colorado continued on to Hong Kong and arrived at its final destination just before midnight on January 30, a mere twenty-eight days after leaving San Francisco. Colorado entered San Francisco harbor on March 20 to yet another warm welcome. The citizens of San Francisco poured onto the wharves and crowded every available vantage point to watch the grand ship return home.

Its return into the harbor marked the end of the inaugural run of the China Line and heralded a prosperous new age for the Pacific steam trade. The steamship Hermann was not destined to be a regular transpacific vessel, but rather was intended to serve as a spare or relief steamer in Japan. Hermann had already enjoyed a long career in the oceanic steam trade, having begun its career in on the New York to Bremen route for the Ocean Navigation Steamship Company. Not only were the primary steamers necessary, but additional Ibid.

Colorado made its second voyage to the Far East on April 3, and continued to sail to the Far East on a regular schedule. Once again the people of San Francisco provided a warm reception for the grand ship. From stem to stern she is as perfect a steamer as can be produced in the world, and no successful steamer the Great Eastern is simply a mammoth marine elephant, which regularly ruins a new set of owners with every trip save her companion ship, China, now on her way here, now afloat, can in any manner compare with her.

It would seem at first glance that she is too richly furnished and luxuriously fitted for the trade between this port and Japan and China; but when we take into consideration the fact that steamers of this line are to compete with the indifferently furnished, comparatively small, close and inconvenient steamers of the Peninsular and Oriental Steamship Co.

The second is of it at the newly completed dry dock at Erie Basin, Brooklyn. This photo was taken shortly after launching but before it was sent to the Novelty Iron Works Figure 8. Figure 7. Great Republic on the stocks. Great Republic in dry dock. Courtesy of the Peabody Museum of Salem. Great Republic was finely crafted in the highest fashion of American naval engineering and considered the apogee of wooden steamship technology.

Great Republic was, in fact, the largest wooden American ship at the time, though the hull would be surpassed in size by its sister ship, America. The ship married a massive structure and solid features with elegance and luxury rarely seen in steamships. And even though British steamship engineers had completely Ridgely-Nevitt, American Steamships on the Atlantic, Great Republic and its sister ships were nearly identical in structure and layout.

Each ship carried three full decks, a main, berth, and cargo deck, and an orlop deck fore and aft of the engine room. Due to the more rigorous demands of the ocean crossing, however, the main deck was enclosed forward of the paddle-wheel boxes, and the extent of the upper works was reduced when compared to their coastal counterparts. Horatio Allen, the president of the Novelty Iron Works, actually held a luncheon party for twenty-two individuals within one of the cylinders as it lay on its side! Steam was fed into the cylinder via four horizontal tubular boilers which in turn were heated by four furnaces each, making a total of sixteen furnaces.

Each furnace had a grate surface area of square feet Great Republic, as well as the rest of its sister ships, were bark-rigged, three-masted vessels. Though the ships were intended to rely upon their engines, steam engineering had not been fully refined to the point where complete trust could be placed in the engines. This was proven during a voyage when the Great Republic broke its paddle shaft and had to complete the rest of the voyage solely on sail power. The arduous journey posed greater difficulties for such a large hull, and its design had to be sufficiently strengthened to resist greater stress and deflection problems.

Its frames were constructed from white and live oak, both strong and durable species of timber. The frames were reinforced with a series of iron straps that fitted into the outboard face of the timbers. A second layer of iron braces was installed over the first layer of planking followed by a second layer of planking.

In addition, each frame had to be precisely notched to allow for the diagonal strapping. Figure 9. The hull lines of China. From The Mariners Museum. Each beam for the orlop deck was supported by a pair of grown knees at either end which were fastened to the hull with sixteen iron bolts. The beams for the berth and main decks were supported by three knees at each end. Great Republic and its sister ships were pushing the limits of feasibility for wooden steamship construction. The iron bracing and knees were required by the drastic demands that a vessel of this size presented. The choice to build with wood was a result of a variety of factors, including available resources and maintenance facilities.

However, perhaps the most crucial element was the fact that American shipbuilders lagged behind their British counterparts when it came to a shifting to a radically different technology. Great Britain, with its substantially longer maritime history, began to experience wood shortages for ship building. To remedy this, the British imported wood from Ibid However, as the Industrial Revolution began to grip Great Britain, iron became more available to the shipbuilding community.

Though not immediately accepted as a viable shipbuilding medium, iron eventually became a crucial element in British ship construction. This was largely thanks to the influence of civil engineers and a scientific approach to shipbuilding. Brunel heavily influenced British shipbuilding with innovative techniques and designs that incorporated iron.

This marriage of iron engineering and shipbuilding revolutionized ship construction in Britain. American shipbuilders did not experience the same extensive depletion of natural resources for shipbuilding like Great Britain and, therefore, were not forced to turn to iron as an alternative shipbuilding medium. Additionally, shipbuilding largely remained a traditional enterprise and did not incorporate scientific methods, and relied instead on the methods and designs that were in practice during the colonial period.

Gainesville: University Press of Florida, , The American industry retained a certain level of practicality that was largely based upon manufacturing efficient wooden ships. Since there was little incentive to incorporate new theories, materials and techniques in ship design or construction, the adoption of iron took longer in the American shipyards. Though modern in shape and style, they were built in the prevailing American tradition.

Some shipbuilders were beginning to convert to iron construction, but many during this period still retained the practice of constructing vessels out of wood. Before they were replaced by iron vessels, the wooden behemoths of the Pacific Mail carried passengers to and from the Far East on a regular basis. Great Republic inaugurated a six-week schedule beginning in September Once China reached San Francisco, the monthly regular service to the Far East truly started with a steamship departing for the Orient at the beginning of each month.

America entered San Francisco in October with nearly Chinese immigrants. All four of the ships were not only engineered for stability, but also designed to be as comfortable, safe and luxurious as possible. Figure Upper deck plan of Japan. Lower deck plans of Japan.

Aft of these cabins were the smoke stacks, walking-beam engine, and another public cabin for social activities which also housed the grand staircase entrance down to the main deck. The rest of the spar deck appears to have been an open area with skylights that admitted air and light into the grand dining saloon. This deck, from poop to prow, is all in one piece, and makes a famous walk. The after section of this deck was dominated by the main dining saloon which measured feet On either side of the grand dining hall were situated state rooms.

There were twenty-six state rooms and two bridal suites on America, the largest of the four vessels. It is not known Alexander von Graf Hubner.

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The woodwork and furniture were crafted from black walnut and upholstered with silk. The decks were bare wood, but were designed with alternating planks of spruce and black walnut which provided a zebra stripe appearance. The walls of the saloon, entrance, and bridal suites were painted in luxurious frescoes with gold inlay work.

Additionally, a rare stereo-photograph showing the interior of Great Republic does remain and is reproduced here Figure It is unclear precisely where in the ship this photo was taken. If it was in the main saloon, this is direct evidence that differences also existed since the deck here is ornately decorated with a floral-pattern carpet rather than the zebra stripes described on America. Appleton and Co. Courtesy of Mr. Stephen J. The bathing arrangements aboard Great Republic, located directly forward of the paddle wheels, attracted particular attention from one passenger who detailed the experience in his journal.

There is a bath that is in the paddle-box with a window a yard square. It is filled with fresh Pacific water, and I roll therein like the sea-lions of the Cliff-house while I watch the birds. Now and then a whale blows. None of them can enjoy the air and water more than I do in the early morning… Every morning the English crowd bathes in the paddle-box establishment; an occasional Dutchmen takes a plunge now and again, but we are regular bathers. These berths were temporary structures that could be easily erected and broken down to make efficient use of an area.

The after portion of this deck was similar to the main deck, with accommodations for first- class passengers, though here the accommodations were cheaper and specifically intended for families and female passengers. There were approximately one hundred staterooms with three to six berths each, arranged around a central saloon. These staterooms were finely furnished, well- lighted and well-ventilated, though perhaps not as luxurious as those on the upper deck.

The forward end of the berth deck was arranged for steerage passengers.


While the first-class cabin and second-class cabin passengers were mainly composed of European and American passengers, the steerage was solely Asian. Most of the extant information concerning traveling aboard these vessels comes from the accounts of first-class passengers. These accounts, combined with photographs of the vessels, journals, and newspaper articles, comprise the majority of this data, and almost all depict first-class accommodations.

However, the majority of passengers and sailors aboard these vessels were Chinese. In fact, in addition to the transportation of mail and goods, the transportation of Chinese immigrants was a primary function of these ships. Most of the passengers who recorded their experiences during the Pacific crossing also took the time to discuss their fellow Asian passengers.

You never see one of them on deck. The Chinese quarter is on the lower deck. We have about on board. They are all in their berths, smoking and talking and enjoying the rare pleasure in their lives of being able to spend five weeks in complete idleness. In spite of the great number of men penned into so comparatively small a space, the ventilation is so well managed that there is neither closeness nor bad smells. The captain inspects every hole and corner—literally everything— and everywhere we found the same extraordinary cleanliness.

One small space is reserved for the opium- eaters or smokers, and we saw these victims of a fatal habit, some eagerly inhaling the poison, others already feeling its effects. Seward, an American traveler who ventured across the Pacific aboard China in , recorded a similar observation. In steerage there are five hundred Chinese returning home.

They pay less than half price, and are fed with the simple fare of their country. Knowing no use of beds, they sleep on the floor. In the middle of the cabin they have made, with canvas, a dark room for opium-smoking. When on deck, they appear neatly clad, and amuse themselves with unintelligible and apparently interminable games of chance. Though not luxurious, accommodation in steerage quarters was simple and apparently not unpleasant. Chinese steerage aboard Alaska. This print clearly shows the Chinese steerage during a meal. The area appears to be well lit and clean. Admittedly, all of these articles, journal entries, and illustrations are biased from the American and European perspective.

However, they suggest that the conditions on board the Pacific Mail Steamships, in both first- class and steerage, were as comfortable as possible. The departure received considerable attention in the local newspapers: The departure of the magnificent steamship Great Republic for Japan and China yesterday was one of the features of the year, and attracted an immense number of our people to the city front.

The Chinese population seemed to have turned out almost en masse to bid farewell to their departing countrymen, of whom there were nearly , and Americans, Europeans and Asiatics mingled and jostled each other in the vast crowd, the assumption of dignity of class and pride of race being for the moment, at least, laid aside and forgotten.

The noble steamship, the pride of the steam marine of America, was gaily decked with colors, carrying the P. As her great wheels commenced revolving and she steamed away from the wharf amid the huzzas of the multitude a salute was fired from the Golden City, and the colors of the various craft along the city front were dipped in her honor. Great Republic operated a regular six-week schedule to the Far East transporting a variety of goods and people.

Great Republic and its sisters were responsible for the transportation of a large quantity of goods. The ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company carried everything from fruit and vegetables to rifles and kegs of whiskey as well as large amounts of specie. These commodities were traded for teas, silks, and rice. Once all four commissioned ships were in operation, Pacific Mail was able to maintain a monthly schedule with extra ships available to serve as replacement steamers. This provided the company additional protection, ensuring that a broken-down ship could be replaced immediately.

It also allowed the company time to overhaul ships and provide regular maintenance without affecting the regularity of the service. The importance of additional ships had already been made extremely clear when Great Republic had a brush with disaster on the third voyage. On the morning of March 23, the first assistant engineer, Mr. Cooper, was surprised during his watch by a loud snapping noise. He immediately switched off the engine and began to investigate. At the time of the break, Great Republic was 3, miles Great Republic continued toward Japan with the port wheel slowly turning and all sails set.

Despite the delay, Great Republic was able to make Japan just fourteen days behind schedule, an impressive achievement under the circumstances. The American press declared this incident a triumph and a clear testament to the efficiency of the ships and their crews. Great Republic underwent repairs in Japan and was briefly replaced by Colorado until sailing home later that year and returning to regular service. Despite mishaps like these, the ships retained their reputations for keeping to their schedules.

At a precisely-scheduled time, openly predicted by the captain, the two ships would meet, pulling abreast of one another so that officers could exchange information. Though this feat was not always successfully performed, it still remained a favorite among passengers aboard the vessels and undoubtedly helped the reputation of the already famed Pacific Mail.

Unfortunately, Colorado became a necessity rather than a luxury in August of that year when the first tragedy of the line occurred. America, the largest and newest vessel of the fleet, burned in Yokohama harbor, killing 59 passengers. This subsidy also required that Pacific Mail begin using iron- hulled, propeller steamers of at least 4, tons by October The new world of iron-built ships was quickly approaching, and despite their stout construction and elegant appearance, the wooden paddle ships were already outdated.

To make matters worse, Great Republic broke a paddle wheel shaft again and had to be temporarily removed from the line for repairs in December Macgregor and Quong Se were both chartered British vessels, and they were followed by three more the following year, Granada, Vancouver, and Vasco de Gama. II, Chapt. Finally in , City of Peking and City of Tokio, two large iron-hulled screw steamers were launched. Both were purpose-built for the Pacific route and represented the new age of steam technology in the Pacific.

With the introduction of the iron steamers, the wooden side-wheelers began to be used to a lesser degree. While in China, Great Republic was caught in a typhoon which stripped planking from the paddle boxes and tore away some of the spars. When it returned to San Francisco, the vessel was sold to the shipbuilder John Roach as partial payment for the new iron steamships he was building for the company. Though Great Republic was outdated at the time and expensive to run, it became very popular among passengers.

Cornwall set the rates surprisingly low, and every passage in both directions saw hundreds of passengers. The night was bright with stars and Kemble, Sidewheelers across the Pacific, Wright, ed. The local bar pilot, Thomas Doig, was brought aboard and given control of the great vessel.

His knowledge of the local channel and bar was invaluable to captains unfamiliar with the Columbia River. The ship crossed over the bar safely and began edging upriver. Captain James Carroll was on deck with the first and third officers and was the first to spot Sand Island dead ahead of the steamer. Apparently, unconcerned, Doig continued on his path toward the island.

As Sand Island drew nearer, Captain Carroll became worried. Once again he alerted Doig, suggesting that he haul up the vessel. Doig, confident in his command, claimed that the island was not too near and that they had not entered the mouth far enough. The elegant ship turned toward the small sea town and began to make way, engines steaming and paddles churning the cold waters, but it was to no avail. Doig had miscalculated the currents of the Columbia and the vessel was caught by the ebb tide and ran firmly onto the sandy spit Figure Great Republic stranded on Sand Island.

Courtesy of the Oregon Historical Society. The vessel struck the island so gently that only those awake on deck noticed that the ship had run aground. It was hoped that, since the grounding was so gentle, it would be possible to easily dislodge the steamer from the spot. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Great Republic had run aground at high tide, the worst possible time to strand a vessel.

As the tide went out, the hull settled into the sand, the full weight of the massive ship pressing down on beams and timbers and rupturing the injection pipes. By morning, it was apparent that the ship was in serious trouble. In addition to the already-dire grounding situation, the barometer was quickly rising, indicating an approaching storm. In order to prevent outright disaster, it was decided to remove the passengers and freight from the ship.

Captain Carroll sent the purser, Mr. Two steam tugs, Brenham and Canby, arrived and were soon joined by the steamers Shubrick and Columbia. Passengers were ferried on small boats from Great Republic to these steamers which then transported them to Astoria. All passengers were safely delivered, as well as 1, tons of the cargo. Captain Carroll and his crew remained on board, attempting to free the foundering vessel. They worked the entire day discharging coal in an attempt to lighten the ship, but to no avail. The driving winds and waves pushed the vessel farther onto the spit.

Captain Carroll and his crew braved the dark hours aboard the doomed ship, witnessing the last night of the grand vessel, which began to break up and was becoming increasingly dangerous to stay aboard. Once morning broke, the crew evacuated the wreck. The last rescue boat, loaded with fourteen crewmen, left the ship around ten thirty on Sunday morning April 20, As the rescue boat pulled away from Great Republic, the steering oar broke and the boat capsized in the heavy waves.

Eleven of the fourteen men aboard were drowned. Remarkably, Captain Carroll and Pilot Doig stayed with the dying vessel throughout the day until the conditions became downright hazardous. In a later testimony Carroll recalled the event by stating: …a heavy sea boarded the ship and carried away the staterooms on the starboard side, gutted the dining-room, broke up the floor of the social hall, and carried away the piano.

I remained on board until 5 p. Wasting no time, they immediately set about removing all remaining cargo from the wreck. However, the destructive forces of the Pacific are not slow and on April 22 the main and foremast toppled over the side. The following day, feet On May 2 the entire hull aft of the walking beam broke away and sank under the waves. Legal battles ensued concerning the fault of the incident.

After a complete inquiry, both men had their licenses suspended, Captain Carroll for six months and Doig for a year. Carroll appealed to the Supervising Inspector and received an immediate reversal of the suspension. His crew and passengers publicly exonerated him of all guilt as well.

Parts of the machinery remained visible on Sand Island into the twentieth century, but disappeared over time, undoubtedly buried beneath the shifting sand. The wreck site Ibid. Not wanting to abandon the net, Hughes acquired the assistance of a local commercial diver, Robert Cutting, to retrieve the net. Cutting descended to the location where Hughes reported the snag and upon reaching the river bed discovered that the net had caught on the remains of a partially buried, but very extensive wooden shipwreck.

Cutting freed the net and retrieved a small section of timber for identification. They brought the retrieved timber to the museum for inspection and identification. The timber was slightly rotted at one end and wrapped in gillnets, but the rest of the length was solid and unaffected by the marine conditions. The remarkably sound state of the wood indicated that the wreck had likely been recently uncovered by the shifting sands and had not been exposed for long.

The presence of a treenail in the timber prompted greater interest in the discovery. The presence of a treenail in the Sand Island wreck indicated that the hulk was relatively old for the area. Hughes, who was knowledgeable in the maritime history of the region, was the first to propose a possible identification of the vessel.

Isabella was only the second known ship to have foundered in the area and would have been a valuable historical find. Initially skeptical, Gilmore investigated the matter. Throughout history, the strong currents, deceptive bar, and unpredictable weather have wreaked havoc upon ships. Due to this reputation, Gilmore did not quickly accept the Isabella identification. Map of the Mouth of the Columbia River.