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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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CHAPTER XXIX [sic]. Leave Rio, and arrive at New York: a wide interval, but a short chapter.

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During the time that I was confined to my
cot, our ship was relieved by the arrival of the
Corvette Union; but a revolution having broken
out in Rio, the American merchants residing
there, and the English admiral on the station,
sent to our captain, requesting him to delay his
departure for a few days, until the result of the
outbreak should be known; but he had promised
his crew that he would weigh anchor for home
the day after his relief should arrive; and before
he returned an answer to these requests, he called
the crew aft, and told them he felt it his duty to remain,
but that he could not do so without they
would release him from his promise; they, however,
were too anxious to get home to do so,
and they insisted on his fulfilling it, which he

Mr. Wallop's cough had grown so bad he considered
it prudent to remain on the station, and
when he left the ship, the crew could hardly be
restrained from giving three cheers. The third

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day after the ship left Rio, I came upon deck, and
continued to perform my duty the remainder of
the time I was on board, without experiencing
any inconvenience from the effects of my fall.
The officer who succeeded Mr. Wallop as first
lieutenant, was Mr. Futtuck, a good sailor and a
strict disciplinarian; under his command the duty
of the ship was well performed; the crew were
cheerful and obedient, and the cat was dispensed
with. The brutalizing exhibition of one man
flogging another was never again repeated. Mr.
Futtuck was not one of those imbeciles, who are
forced to seek the aid of a boatswain's mate
to compel respect from their inferiors in station.

We were favored with bright skies and full sails
on our homeward passage, and on the forty-seventh
morning after leaving Rio, we came in sight of
the Highlands of Neversink, with their woody
sides and white beach, standing like an old
friend, to greet me on my return, with an unchanged

The wind being favorable, we sailed directly
up to the Navy Yard, and the next day the crew
were paid off. As I was only rated an ordinary
seaman, it will readily be supposed that the
amount of my wages was but small, which was

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true enough, and yet I was paid off with more
than double the amount that any of the crew had
to receive.

Mr. Futtuck, the first lieutenant, called the
petty officers together the morning on which we
were paid off, and told them if they did not get
up a subscription for me, as a compliment for my
generosity in refusing to inform on them, even
at the risk of my life, they were no men, and
not deserving the name of sailors; and he promised
them if they did not, he would work the
souls out of them, if he ever caught either of
them on board of a ship again.

They all acknowledged it to be a good and
seamanlike proposition, and showed their convictions
of its propriety, by ripping out some of the
roundest oaths that were ever uttered. A paper
was accordingly drawn up, requesting the purser
to stop out of each man's pay the sum which
should be subscribed against his name, and to pay
the same over to me.

Mr. Ruffally headed the list, by putting down
his name for fifty dollars; but it was not paid, as
he had already overdrawn his account; but he
told me not to think the less of his generosity, as
he intended, when he went back to North Carolina,
to make me a present of a rice plantation

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and a hnndred negroes. The boatswain, determined
not to be outdone by a reefer, put down his
name for fifty dollars, which was paid. When
the list was handed in to the purser, it amounted
to something more than a thousand dollars.

As I was the last man that joined the ship, I
was the last paid off; and when the purser reached
me a check, I was startled at the amount, and
told him he had made a mistake; for I knew
nothing about the subscription, it having been
kept a secret from me on purpose. When the
purser explained to me, and told me the money all
belonged to me, I could not help bursting into
tears. I told him my conscience would not allow
me to keep the money, as I had done nothing to
entitle me to it.

“Don't be a simpleton,” said the purser, “you
must take it, for the men are now all ashore, and
most of them drunk before this time. So take the
check, and make a good use of the money. I am
only sorry it is not twice as much.”

So I put the check into my pocket, and having
packed up my few clothes in a canvass bag, I was
about leaving the ship, when Mr. Futtuck called
me to him on the quarter deck.

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“Now, Franco,” said Mr. Futtuck, “how
much money have they given you?”

I showed him the check which the purser had
given me.

“Now that is something like,” he exclaimed;
“I am glad of it; you deserve it all, and more
too. If it were not for my poor old aunt, who is
on my hands just now, God bless her! I would
add something handsome to it, I'm d—d if I
wouldn't. However, it's a pretty good sum; more
than I ever expect to be worth, unless the `bill'
should pass both houses, and I know it wont.
But, my fine fellow, don't go among the girls
with a copper in your pocket; they are the very
devil for getting money away from sailors, as I
know to my cost. And take my advice, and don't
go to sea again; it's a dog's life. And yet it is
a pity that you should not, for I don't know exactly
what a smart youngster like you could do
ashore; perhaps you might get the cashiership of
a bank, or something of that sort. However,
keep a stiff upper lip, and if the bill for creating
admirals should pass through Congress, I will
use my influence with the Secretary to get you a
midshipman's warrant. I will, upon my soul; but
the service is going to kingdom come, as it is.
Bless my soul, it eats into my happiness, like

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salt water on a gilt button, to think that a set of
broad-shouldered, strong-fisted, stout-hearted,
clear-headed, and free-thoughted, fine fellows,
should be at the mercy of a third rate lawyer or
a second rate hack novelist—fellows that don't
know a cat-head from a cat-harping.”

Knowing it was a peculiarity of Mr. Futtuck's
to talk as long as any one would listen to him, I
thought there would be no more incivility in cutting
him short at one time than another. So I
thanked him for his kind promises and good advice,
which I promised faithfully to observe, and
bade him good bye.

I took my bag under my arm, jumped into the
boat along side, and pulled myself ashore.

All my shipmates had left the ship some time
before me, and she looked dreary enough. The
only signs of life about her were two or three
midshipmen standing on the poop, looking very
anxiously upon the green fields of the Wallabout.
Her colors were hauled down, her masts housed,
her rigging was hanging about in disorder, and
her top gallant yards, the scene of my triumph,
lay upon deck. I gave her a parting glance, and
calling to mind the gang-way and gratings, and

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the cat o'nine tails, I turned my back upon her,
and quickened my pace.

My first object was to find a boarding house,
and to divest myself of my short jacket and nankin
collared shirt.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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