[635] *Extracts from the History of Don Francisco de Miranda’s attempt to effect a revolution in South America. Boston, 1808.

[636] * * * * * 12th, 8 o’clock a.m.—At this moment a cry from a man stationed at the mast-head announces a sail in sight; she is too far distant, however, to enable us to distinguish what kind of vessel. I [Page 158] notice it creates considerable anxiety on board, particularly with the general. We shall probably know something more of this strange sail before long, as she is sailing nearly in a line with us; is somewhat to leeward, but if disposed, may speak us in two or three hours. 11 o’clock a.m.—The strange vessel turns out to be a large vessel in pursuit of us. Captain Lewis has shortened sail to let her come up. If she is French or Spanish, she will probably speak to us in harsh language, and we shall be obliged to fight. God knows what our fate would be if captured, for I believe we must appear to them a suspicious set, who are on the high seas in a very questionable shape. If she is English, perhaps “all may be well.” I must conclude, as we are going to prepare *for action. Our sea commander says, “If she is an enemy we must overcome or perish.”

13th.—The affair is settled very much to our satisfaction; but not without a thousand alternate hopes and fears. Within four hours after my last, we expected to be now making the best of our way to Bermuda, under the lee of a British frigate. Yesterday, at half past one o’clock in the afternoon, we were spoke by the ship seen in the morning; she proved to be His Britannic Majesty’s ship Cleopatra, of forty guns, commanded by Captain John Wight. The first lieutenant of the frigate came on board and examined our ship and crew. We were detained nearly twenty-four hours, and had ninétéen men pressed, mostly Irish, with American protections. As a kind of return for the impressed sailors, we received twelve Americans, who had been taken out of American vessels lately captured by the Cleopatra, to the list of which the Leander was nigh being added. Captain Lewis went on board with the t hip’s papers, which showed her to be the Leander, an American ship bound to St. Domingo. These were, on examination, declared by Captain Wight to be unsatisfactory.

[637] A gentleman then by the name of Armstrong *went on board with instructions from the general, and joined with Lewis in expostulating with the commander of the frigate, but without effect. At last the general himself was obliged to appear on board the Cleopatra. He stated certain particulars to Captain Wight, and showed him documents which justified the English captain in allowing our ship to proceed. This event has confirmed our impressions respecting the nature and objects of this expedition. General Miranda, I think, must have effected the release of the Leander by explaining a part or the whole of his plan relative to South America, and by producing credentials from the British government authorizing, or at least protecting him in the undertaking.

[638] This idea is strengthened by Miranda saying that Captain Wight had promised to assist in the enterprise. The general remained on board the frigate all night, and returned this morning at eleven o’clock. I am extremely glad we were overtaken by this ship, for the result tends to put us at ease about the consistency of our design with the laws of nations, ard proves to the world that we are not a “band of desperate pirates,” a description given to us by some persons before we sailed from New York, and propagated afterwards in whispers through the ship. Besides, the expedition is now placed on a respectable footing by having, as we presume, the acknowledgment and countenance of England. We are all in high spirits and in high hopes. The general now speaks more openly about the enterprise; he expresses great anxiety to begin his operations, and complains of having been so long detained in a good wind, notwithstanding it has turned out so much to the advantage of his project, both on account of the promised assistance, [Page 159] and a certificate that he procured of Captain Wight, to prevent further search or déténtion by other British cruisers which we may happen to meet.—(Pages 10, 11, 12, 13.)

* * * * * On the 24th, at evening, we saw two vessels, one a large ship, which we endeavored to avoid by tacking; bat the next morning the same ship being found in chase of us, it was resolved to run no more. It was at length admitted that we might as well die by sword as famine. When the ship had got nearly within gunshot, we being to windward did not bear down, and she fired upon us,-but without her shot reaching us. Lewis, being persuaded she was English, hove to and she came up. Seeing a French distinguishing vane at her mast-head, we began to flutter. But on speaking us, she proved to be His Britannic Majesty’s sloop of war Lily, who had been for some time searching for the Leander. The commander, Captain Campbell, came on board to pay his compliments to General Miranda, and on returning to his vessel sent us some most necessary and most welcome supplies. It was détérmined that we should put into this island, where we arrived the next day. The general and suite disembarked the moment the ship anchored; and several officers were allowed to step on terra firma and partake the comforts of the shore.* * *

[640] The governor of this island, Maitland, has received our chief with great politeness and hospitality, and given him encouragement to expect important assistance from the British in-a second attempt upon the Spanish main. As an earnest he is answerable for our supplies. *These circumstances a little revive the spirits of our volunteers, who had become rather sick of their undertaking and disposed to abandon Miranda.—(Pages 92–94.)

* * * * We arrived here the 6th. The rumor among us is such as to make us suppose the expedition is to raise its head again. Admiral Cochrane, who is on this station with three ships of the line and several frigates, intends to further it by putting some of his smaller vessels under the orders of Miranda. No regular troops and but few volunteers will be joined to it here; but it is said they will be obtained at Trinidad.

15th. It is reported that though Admiral Cochrane is favorable, Lord Seaforth, governor of this island, and General Bowyer, commander-in-chief of the West India troops, are not at all inclined to take up our enterprise. Twenty-five or thirty volunteers have joined us here. In this number may be half a dozen gentlemen; the rest, I fear, must pass for vagabonds. * * * * * (Page 95.)

[641] * * * * Admiral Cochrane undoubtedly intended to give him all the chance that a sufficient naval force could supply. In proof of this, several armed vessels, including one seventy-four, were sent to support the squadron first put under his orders and supposed to be at Cow, with directions to land a number of men, as they might [Page 160] be found necessary and useful; but finding that we had departed in an unaccountable manner, they have naturally concluded that he is unequal to his enterprise and is not worth supporting. It is not surprising that their orders should not extend to conducting him from one part to another of the Caribbean Sea, or to assist in a second attempt on the main when he had made such a faux pas in the first. Undoubtedly they are ready to seize the prétéxt which they now have for dissolving a connection attended with expense to the government and mortification to its patrons; satisfied that they do more than justice to his claims in conveying him to a place of safety. * * * (Page 175.)

[642] * * * * Our reception and treatment in this island are naturally very different from what we experienced when we were here before. At that time, notwithstanding the influence of a numerous French and Spanish party, opposed to our scheme, of course, the governor espoused it; knowing *that it had received encouragement from higher authorities than himself. The government house was given to Miranda for his residence, and took the name of headquarters. The governor and officers, civil and military, paid him the respect which corresponded to the rank he claimed. He received many visits, and his design many good wishes and benedictions from merchants and others, though after some time, as we delayed long there were signs of distrust; and the popularity of our project was not sufficient to procure any considerable quantity of supplies or number of men without money. The means which were presented to Miranda, by the offer of merchants already mentioned, he thought proper to reject. * * * * * * * (Page 217.)

[643] *For correspondence relative to the prevention in the ports of the United States of vessels alleged to be fitting out to cruise against the commerce of France in 1864, see vol. 7, Claims of United States against Great Britain, pages 39–42.