« PreviousContinue »
closed, and in a moment he stood at bay, in the presence of six constables. He drew a pair of pistols from inside his coat, and, holding one in each hand, prepared to sell his life dearly.
Making a rush towards the door, he had nearly gained it, when a pistol shot, fired by one of the constables, bit him in the back and passed into his chest. Hester and her mother fled from the room when the constables entered, and Wayland, who now lay bleeding on the floor, called for his wife, who was speedily by his side. He fixed his eyes upon her, but could not speak, at length with an effort, which seemed to give him intense torture, he said, "the boy Charles is in the schooner," and he waved his hands, as if trying to indicate the direction, when a kind of convulsive shudder passed through his frame, and Gerald Wayland was a corpse. This fearful scene, which occurred as quickly as it could be told, excited in the minds of all present a feeling of horror, Hester and her mother fled from the honse, which was left in possession of the constables and their guilty victim. The day but one after his death his remains were consigned to a nameless grave. Weary and anxious were the days and nights wbich the sorrowing Hester spent waiting for some tidings of her son. Nothing could be gleaned from what her dying husband said, beyond the fact that the child was on board a vessel. The captain of the schooner kept his word with Wayland, and at the time appointed he “ hove-to” off the place where he had landed. The boat was in readiness, and good “look out” was kept during the night for Wayland, who was never destined to return. As the sun was about to rise Rentoul resolved to stay no longer, but to make a run for Rotterdam. Accordingly all bands were piped, and the “Charmer," soon after sunrise, was on her course for Holland.
Charley seemed to enjoy sea life vastly, and even Rentoul began to feel a kind of affection for the boy, who was now rigged in sailor trim. The coarse blue jacket was studded over with mother-of-pearl buttons, a canvaz trousers, and a check shirt, made the little tar look as comic as possible. He enjoyed the voyage much, and when the “Charmer" arrived at her destination he was taken ashore, where it was clear poor Charley would be on the high road to destruction unless his nautical career soon terminated. Little did the poor fellow think of the deep anguish which his absence occasioned to one who had singled him out of the whole world to love and cherish.
The “Charmer,” in a few days after her arrival, got on board her cargo, and on a fine night put to sea for the coast of Ireland.
On clearing the land the wind began to blow in heavy squalls, which from time to time put the schooner's gunwale under. The sea assumed a dark slate colour as it tumbled and tossed about. The wind grew stronger but steadier as Rentoul ordered all the hatches to be battened down, and two reefs to be taken in” in the mainsail and the fore and aft foresail. The jibboom was housed, and everything made handy for bad weather. Away she went into the sea-way like a dolphin, running fully twelve knots with every tack on her “ drawing,” and her weather shrouds playing music for the sneezing south-eater whistling after her abaft the beam. At daylight
the wind rose to a storm, but the “Charmer," on being close reefed," seemed to like it, and made great running. It was as much as could be accomplished to keep Charley below during the storm, and when the weather moderated he could not be induced to leave the deck. As the schooner neared the Arklow-banks, Rentoul, who had been anxiously looking to windward, said to the pilot, “ I don't like that craft on our starboard tack. If she is not after us what business has she to be making for the land here. Do you know this part of the coast well ?”
The reply was in the affirmative, accompanied by the suggestion that it would be advisable to stand in for the land. The seasonable hint was at once acted on, and the schooner was soon sailing briskly over the dreaded Arklow-banks. “We have not an inch to spare here, sir,” said the pilot, as the “Charmer” stood in boldly for the land, and as the wind began to give indications of dying away, many an anxious glance was thrown at the cruiser which stood upright in the heaving sea, with her sails flapping for want of wind.
“ The breeze has failed him, and will fail us soon,” said Rentoul. “Ah ! they are taking to the boats,” and, as he foretold, the wind died suddenly away, and the schooner rose and fell like a log on the sea. “ It is all over with the Charmer,'” continued Rentoul ; “ all we have for it is to make for the land in the boat, and I think we can out-pull them revenue lubbers." When the boat was being got over the side the schooner gave a lurch in a sea, which struck the boat and stove her in. Thus deprived of all chance of escape, the “Charmer" and her crew and cargo became an easy prize to her pursuers.
The cruiser's boats were soon alongside, and Rentoul and his crew, including Charley, were conveyed on board the cutter, which brought the schooner into Dublin. On arriving Rentoul told who Charley was, and he was at once restored to his mother. It is needless to say that the “Charmer" and her cargo were condemned as a prize, or that Rentoul and his crew had to spend several months in jail. It was said the skipper was paid by Mrs. Flannedy after his liberation, and that he returned home to live on the savings of his adventurous life. Tim Slevin married, and became the proprietor of the “ Two Rangers” on the death of Mrs. Flannedy. Tim often recorded his first and only voyage. Hester and her son went to live on the continent, and the last that was heard of Charley was that he had entered the Austrian army, and had risen to eminence in his profession.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR IRELAND. The cotton manufacture of England has been, more than all its other sources of furtune, the greatest spring of its vast wealth. With the product of the mills of Lancashire half the world has been clothed. The Siberian Mujik, in the far North, round by the icy seas and frozen rivers of polar climes, has enjoyed his cotton garment as a luxury cheaply supplied to him, not
withstanding heavy tariffs, by the “Nation of Shopkeepers," as Napoleon the First used to term the English people. The black Aborigines of Australia, in the forest of scrub with which the land of Kangaroos abounds, have worn the pleasing tissue, and admired its texture as something of which to be proud. The Chinese, Mongols, and Tartars, Taepings and Imperialists, with equal impartiality have been endued with it. The Hindu and Affghan tribes, the Sikh and Cashmerian have rejoiced in the prints of Manchester. Everywhere, from the snows of Spitzbergen to the sands of Egypt, cotton has been king, and waved his sceptre with equal sway, and in triumphant monopoly over the salons of Paris, “ amid fair women and brave men,” to the bazaars of Constantinople and Dehli, and amid the wildernesses of countries yet but half peopled.
This cotton manufacture creates a vast trade. Ships laden with its raw material, for the purpose of fabrication, swept the seas to England, from those lands where the plant, the “ gossypium herbacum” was produced. Nubian slaves gathered it in the fields of Egyptian fellahs, and it came from the ports of Palestine to Liverpool. Indian ryots picked it in the season from cotton plants in the gardens from Bengal to Beloochistan; but mostly from the plantations of Southern America came the staple England reqnired for her mills. All the supplies from every portion of the world were together hardly equal to one-fourth of that which was afforded by the States now confederated in war against the American Union, and, consequently, one-fourth of the cotton manufacture of England can now only be carried on, until again peace settles down amid the belligerents of the far West. It must be so until, as before, the shovel and the hoe are busy in the plantations of Louisiana, Carolina, and Florida, and the song of the field-hand is the only sound that breaks the air, when the thundering gun, the rattling rifle, and the hoarse voice of command are hushed in the halcyon calm of a tranquil country.
But in the meantime what are people to do for cotton ? Already fabrics of that material have been raised nearly one hundred per cent, and there is every prospect they shall take a higher range. This could be regarded as a temporary inconvenience surmounted by patience, but patience would
* In 1860 we received the following supplies of cotton from the undermentioned countries :-United States, 2,581,000 bales ; Brazil, 103,000 bales; Egypt, 109,000 bales; West Indies, 1,000 bales ; East Indies, 563,000 bales; total, 3,366,000 bales. The total amounts of cotton imported into Liverpool in the 8ļ months to the 15th of September, in 1861 and 1862 were respectively as follow :-To September, 1861, 8} months, 2,508,672 bales; to September, 1862, 8; months, 725,917 bales ; deficiency, 1,782,755 bales. The average prices of New Orleans cotton, September, 1861, and September, 1862, were : In 1861, from 7 d. to 104d. per lb.; in 1862, from 24d. to 30d. per
in crease, 16 d. to 20d. per lb., or more than 200 per cent. In ordinary times the price of yarn, 40's, bas been from 4d. to 5d. per lb. more than the price of the raw cotton, and a proportionate additional price for weaving. In 1862, it has been no unusual thing for the spinner and manufacturer to take orders for the yarn and the cloth, at the market price on the day of sale of the raw cotton from which it was made. These facts may be taken as sufficient to indicate the unparalleled extent of the present cotton crisis.
be threadbare, as all cotton materials will be, long before relief can be afforded. The American war is one of those which is not soon to be ended. Long as a stern chase, wbich maritime proverbs describe as a long chase, civil
wars have ever been ; and the American civil war, with such power upon one side, and such skill, and dauntlessness, and determination upon the other, will be a very long war indeed. Even when it is over, however it may end, the peaceful avocations that once were carried on in the south will be a considerable time before they can be practised in the saine vigour and to the same extent as previous to the eruption of this contest. Tbis is a fact which demonstrates that a substitute, more or less competent for supplying the general uses of cotton will be required. What is that substitute to be? Recently the public mind was filled with the details of a discovery which was to be a perfect substitute for the material wanting. Alba marina, prepared by a certain process was to supersede cotton fibre, it was to be woven into a fabric whose texture was to be as available for general use as cotton was. Under the stimulus of the first brush of excitement thus created, jute, an article before selling in the market at a low price, went up to £38 per ton. A reaction set in, and it dropped down to £24, and finally seemed to be settling for a further reduction. Nothing more amply demonstrates that the zostera marina, or jute, will not afford a substitute for cotton, than this fact, that the zostera marina, and jute, is a failure, and that in' some other material must be found a substitute for cotton. Of a material which has afforded a substitute perfectly like in tissue, colour, and strength we shall say something.
Now there is one stuff which cotton has very much substituted, and that is linen, and there is a certainty that in those uses in which cotton has substituted it, we must revert to the use of linen again. That conclusion cannot be avoided. The linen trade of Ireland must thus receive a very great impetus, and it is no exaggerated estimate to make that within one year the consumption of linen must be double of its present proportions. Now, one Irish province, Ulster, has thriven wonderfully on this last remnant of our native manufacture. The richest men in Ireland are in Belfast. The most thriving community in Ireland is to be found in the towns of the north. What a meaning then is there not in the fact, that the trade which has made the people so prosperous, so thriving, and so hopeful, affords every immediate prospect of an increase, to double the amount of its present extent ? Material to afford two Ulsters to Ireland ought to be news of good omen, and above all, ought to be endeavoured to be realised!
Here, of course, arises the question how is the realization to be made? That must be done by the united effort of the people, and the united effort of the people will result when the market is created, and when they become aware of its existence amongst them. There is much speculation now entered into of making a compromise between linen and calico fabrics, or rather between cotton and flaxen tissues. It is believed that a very useful web could be woven from the combination of both materials, but in England it would require very radical changes to be made in the machinery used for cotton milling to turn it to advantage for this purpose. The expense would
be very great indeed, and English manufacturers will think long before they venture on the change. In Ireland at a small expense, a modification in the machinery for linen manufacture could be undertaken, which would be sufficient for the purpose of weaving the mixed fabric, and in Ireland, therefore, it is most likely to be carried out.
Now, there is little doubt, from all those circumstances, that flax will be largely required in this country—there is little doubt that there will be a great home market for its consumption, and from the great advance in price it has already reached, there can be no doubt whatsoever, that flax, wherever grown, will be the most paying crop in Ireland. In times when cotton was at its cheapest, and linen consequently depreciated in the market, a farmer in Ulster, who held his land from the Dean of Dromore, in the Barony of Corcelany, near Waringstown, by name William Blakely, cultivated one acre three roods and sixteen perches of his land according to the directions of the representative of the “Society for the Encouragement of the Growth of Flax in Ireland.” An exact account was kept of the returns of the crop, which was found to consist of one hundred and twenty stone of flax when rippled and scutched. This having been carefully managed, and being of the finest sample, sold at the rate of fifteen shillings per stone, and the whole produce of the piece of land realised the sum of ninety pounds, sterling, or paid beyond £45 per acre ! Of course, this was an instance in which the best mode of cultivation was adopted, the greatest care taken in the management of the crop, and the most accurate system adopted in regard to it. As flax is selling at present, the result would be far greater, and the farmer much more richly remunerated.
It has been found, however, by other statistical returns, that the average production of flax in the province of Ulster, is at the uniform rate of 42 stones fit for the market. Samples of Irish in this state, have sold as high as the very best production of Holland and Belgium. The best descriptions of this has frequently sold as high as £150 per ton, whilst some have reached the figure of £180. However, not taking an average so high, but calculating the flax at what was a low price in former years, that is, fifty pounds per ton, or six shillings and three pence per stone, we find that this average produce of a province, gives a return of thirteen pounds two shillings and six pence per acre, which is by no means an unprofitable rate for the farmer. If the cotton crisis had never occured, if no enhancement in the value of flax bad ever taken place, there was a field here for initiating prosperity for many a home in Ireland. The consumption of flax in those countries ranged, before any new stimulus it may have lately received, from 80,000 to 105,000 tons per annum. Of this amount only 35,000 tons were produced by the United Kingdom. Ireland contributing as her quota 30,000 tons. Of this some is entirely manufactured, and more is exported to Germany, France, and Spain, in the form of yarn. The imports of flax are very large in seed, fibre, and oil-cake. In the year 1844, they were valued at no less a sum than six millions of money. It has been calculated that, if the whole home supply of flax were afforded by these countries, the quantity required would be four hundred thousand acres for