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tavus Conyngham began to cruise from outfitted in America, were in a different the moment he had a good offing.
class, so far as the French Government Good fortune attended the Revenge was concerned, from the Revenge, but from the very moment she sighted the still their coming further incensed British coast of England, for on her second day popular feeling and hurried Lord Storout she captured a large ship, and the mont in his preparations for departure. day following a brig. They were des- So they clapped Mr. Hodge into the Baspatched, as were all the subsequent tile, and the Comte de Vergennes, in writprizes, to Spanish ports, where Hortalez ing to Mr. F. Grand, the Commissioners' & Co. had established agencies, and banker in Paris, under date of August there they were disposed of to French 21, '77, states that Hodge gave bonds and Spanish merchants and the money and engagements that there should be no forwarded to the Commissioners and their cruising on the French coast, and says, agents. During this remarkable cruise referring to Mr. Hodge, “It is a very Conyngham kept at sea for two months, serious matter to lie to a king, which he and then made a visit to Spain and re- hath done when he declared and gave turned once more to the cruising-ground. bonds that the vessel leaving Dunkirk Over forty sail of all kinds were taken as should not make a cruise." prizes, and but few of them were recap- Lord Stormont's threats, gathered from tured or destroyed.
his correspondence, were as follows: He The Revenge ran in and out of Irish declared that if a summary example were and, on one or two occasions, English not made of the American agents, orders ports with impunity. In the harbors of would be given to the British feet to his own birth-country Conyngham paid intercept and seize the French Newfor what he took in the way of supplies foundland Aeet just then expected to with orders on Lazzonere & Co., Spanish arrive. He also on August 10 declared agents of Hortalez et Cie., representing to the French Court "that any French himself as an honest merchantman. He ships bound to the American ports with crossed the Bay of Biscay a half-dozen arms or ammunition shall be deemed lawtimes, and from Corunna and other places ful prizes by the Court of Great Britain if made reports to the Commissioners in taken.” He also declares it “ to be the Paris. It was while he was engaged in intention of the English Court to treat all this exciting occupation that King George American privateersmen as pirates." III. is reported to have said to Lord A letter in the “ Times," dated from North that “if they could catch that Paris, at this juncture reads as follows: pirate Conyngham, he would rejoice to go “ England threatens France with her to his hanging.'
navy; France menaces her with an army; Of course, with the first news that Con- they are both tinder—the least spark will yngham was taking prizes along the coast kindle a flame. War is suspended by a there arose a storm of indignation in threat. It is the power of any Captain in England, and troublesome clouds began the navy to begin it on the morrow. ... to gather at Paris and Versailles. The The commission of Congress must be long-suffering English Ambassador actu- considered valid on the part of France to ally began to pack up his things and to make a capture a lawful prize ... which threaten open war. So a scapegoat must was shown by the conduct of the Court be found, and poor Hodge, the agent at in regard to Conyngham, who was placed Dunkirk, was the man at whom the finger within the walls of a prison while he enof the Comte de Vergennes was pointed, joyed in secret all the advantages of a for he was the one who had appeared first free man. Cover is now no longer neceson Conyngham's bond. All of the cir. sary. France has an army in readiness ; cumstances were aggravated by the fact she has fleets; she is ready to strike a that during the first week of Conyngham's blow. May England be prepared. Stordeparture Captain Wickes and his three mont was not wanting in attaining intellivessels, having narrowly escaped capture, gence. He had good spies, but thought returned to French ports after having the Ministry were in his favor and the taken a few prizes in the Irish Channel. Queen only in favor of Franklin; hence They, of course, having been built and he became a dupe to their arts.”
Let us see what Franklin thought of the the Revenge was turned over to Conwhole proceeding. He writes from Paris gressional authorities and sold at public on July 27, 1777, thus:
sale by the National Government. The King has complied with the re- Odd to remark, Conyngham, a few quest of Lord Stormont and committed weeks later, was on the quarter-deck of Mr. Hodge to the Bastile. 'Mr. Hodge the Revenge again, for the vessel was will not experience any inconvenience purchased by his cousin's firm, Conyngexcept a temporary deprivation of liberty.” ham, Nesbit & Co., and he sailed in her
So Conyngham was helping to accom- as part owner and as privateersman from plish the very thing he most wished to the Capes of the Delaware, under his old see-war between France and England. commission of March 2. But now he
In a letter from Silas Deane to Robert begins to meet with misfortune. After Morris, referring to the doings of Yankee referring to his detention in Philadelphia cruisers in English waters, Mr. Deane and his sailing under his old commission, observes that “they effectually alarmed he writes thus : England, prevented the great fair at Ches
I went round to New York-laid in the ter, occasioned insurance to rise, and even roads, two privateers who followed me kept deterred the English merchants from in sight-I made every effort to get them to shipping goods in French bottoms, at any
come down, but to no effect-then made chase
after them, but to no purposemat length, as rate, so that in a few weeks forty sail of
the d- would have it, led me into the very French ships were loading in the Thames teeth of the Gallatea (Captain Jordan). Í on freight, an instance never before made effort to escape, but in vain, her teeth known.” Further on the Commissioner
were too many. I was taken my crew were
sent on board the prison ship in New Yorkadds : "In a word, Cunningham (Con
I was lodged in the condemned dungeon for yngham), by his first and second bold fourteen days. I lived on a four-penny loaf exhibitions, is become the terror of all the of bread, with bad water. I was then exameastern coast of England and Scotland. ined, taken out of the dungeon, put in a room
called Congress Hall, with other prisoners. and is more dreaded than Thurot was in
Again I was removed-had iron shackles the late war."
weight of 55 lbs. put on me, placed in irons on Cooper says in this same reference: the deck of the packet; then carried to Pen" Insurance in some instances rose as
dennis castle, a large figure 4 of iron placed on
each hand, then sent to Plymouth, lodged in high as twenty-five per cent., and it is
the guard-room outside of the prison—then even affirmed that there was a short taken before the judges, examined and comperiod when ten per cent. was asked be mitted to Winchester under the high treason tween Dover and Calais, a short distance
statute, attempted afterwards to escape, but
was retaken ; again attempted it and was sucof only seven leagues.”
cessful, with a constitution shattered by illWe have left Mr. Hodge in the Bastile. treatment, but with a spirit unbroken. I Upon the safe arrival of the Newfound determined to be revenged or die a glorious land fleet he was released, and that is all death on behalf of my adopted country. there is to say of that.
G. CONYNGHAM. Captain Conyngham at last gave up The date of his capture was the 27th cruising in British waters and took the of April, 1779, and he arrived in England Revenge into the harbor of Ferrol. Un- the first week of July. His life in prison fortunately, he was now in hot water with seems to have been a succession of hardthe Spanish Court, for he had sent in a ships and attempts to escape, of all of vessel that claimed to be Spanish, and it which he made record in a most remarkwas taken, at the written request of his able diary. Twice he broke loose. Once crew, into Teneriffe, with order to be sent he deliberately walked out in the disguise to Martinique. There was much corre- of a visiting doctor, and at last he sucspondence and protest between the Count ceeded in digging out, with fifty-three d'Aranda, Spanish Minister at Paris, with American prisoners, on the 3d of Novemthe Comte de Vergennes and with Frank- ber, after six months' imprisonment. lin.
He succeeded in reaching London, Touching at the West Indies, where where he found friends, and there, in he stayed for a short time, Conyngham disguise, he walked the streets and read sailed at last for home, and arrived in with amusement of the attempts made to Philadelphia in February, 1779, where recapture him and his companions. He had the satisfaction of seeing a picture of his commission and orders were delivered himself in a print-shop window, labeled him. The commission under which he - The notorious pirate, Conyngham," and acted as Captain of the Revenge is dated, representing him to be an enormous crea. I apprehend, after the taking of the Harture almost seven feet in height, of fierce wich packet. It is on this circumstance, aspect, with a belt full of pistols, and an no doubt, that the charge of piracy is enormous hanger almost six feet in length founded. His first commission was taken trailing at his side.
from him in Dunkirk after he was put in The party that had escaped with him gaol, and sent up to Paris, and I think was had broken up into small detachments, and lodged in the hands of Mons. le Comte before he had found opportunity to get de Vergennes. I have to request that away from London and cross the Channel your Excellency will do everything in your several of his companions had worked power to prevent this poor fellow from their way to Portsmouth and succeeded suffering.” Then he goes on to recapituin reaching the shores of France in an late the value of Conyngham's services, open boat; but it must not be supposed of which, as we know, the good Doctor that during the time of his imprisonment was well informed. his good friend, Dr. Franklin, had neg. To this letter Franklin replied from lected him—this we can see by looking Passy, under the date of September 29: once more at Franklin's correspondence,
TO MR. NESBIT There is one letter that is of interest in
Passy, Sept. 29, 1779. this connection:
Sir,-Capt. Conyngham has not been “I see by your newspapers,” wrote
neglected. As soon as I heard of his arrival Franklin from Paris to Hartley at Lon. in England, I wrote to a friend to furnish him don (Hartley. M.P., secret friend of with what money he might want, and to assure America) during the summer of 1779,
1779 him that he had never acted without a com
mission. I have been made to understand in " that Capt. Cunningham, one of our
answer that there is no intention to prosecute cruisers, is at length taken and carried him, and that he was accordingly removed prisoner into England, where it is proposed
from Pendennis Castle and put among the to try him as a pirate, on the pretence
common prisoners at Plymouth, to take his
turn for exchange. The Congress, hearing of that he had no commission. As I am the threats to sacrifice him put 3 officers well acquainted with the fact, I can assure in close confinement to abide his fate, and you that he really had a Congress com
acquainted Sir George Collier with their mission. And I cannot believe that mere
determination, who probably wrote to the
British Ministers. I thank you for informing resentment, occasioned by his uncommon
me what became of his first commission. I success, will attempt to sacrifice a brave suppose I can easily recover it, to produce on man, who has always behaved as a gener
occasion. Probably the date of that taken
with him, being posterior to his capture of the ous enemy-witness his treatment of his
pacquet, made the enemy think they had an prisoners taken in the Harwich pacquet,
advantage against him. and all afterwards that fell into his hands. I know I shall not offend you recommend
Nothing was heard from Conyngham ing him warmly to your protection.” except the fact that he was alive, until
Mr. Jonathan Nesbit. of the firm that Franklin received the following letter : owned the Revenge at the time of her
Amsterdam, Nov. 18th, 1779. capture, was in L'Orient in September of Dear Sir,-I have the pleasure to inform '79. Under the date of 22d of that month you that on the 3rd instant, with about 50 of he wrote to Benjamin Franklin a letter in our unfortunate countrymen, broke out of
Mill prison. I brought 3 officers with me. which he informs the American Minister I came by the way of London, it being the of the capture of Conyngham, supposing safest. At London we meet with our good that the news was unknown to him. In friend Mr. Digges, who did everything in his it he relates that Conyngham had been power to serve one and all his countrymen serve my country, and happy should I be to his suit for restitution of funds and back be able to come alongside some of those petty payments was held not proven. He tryants. I find something of the effects of my confinement. In a short time will be able to retaliate. I shall at this time go out with of the prizes taken, that proportion being Capt. Jones or in the squadron, could I have due to all regularly commissioned officers heard froni you. I should be glad to go for of the navy under an Act of Congress. the Continent if a good opportunity served. In this I shall take your advice, and act
that chance to fall in his way. Happy we to *nt to England to be tried for piracy, and
have such a man among that set of tryants *** on to say: “They pretend to say that they have in that country. The treatment I be took the Harwich packet without hav- have received is unparalleled. Irons, dun11.4 any commission, which your Excel- geons, hunger, the hangman's cart I have
experienced. I shall set off from here the Jally must know to be false, as I believe 19th from Dunkirk. There I shall be glad to $1,áll you were in Paris at the time that hear from you. I shall always be ready to
During the quasi-war with France accordingly. The cash Mr. Digges supplied Conyngham was in comniand of the armed me with, and some necessaries I got at brig Maria, of which he was part owner, Plymouth ; the friend we have at Plymouth is
and made several cruises, which, however, obliged to act with the greatest caution. Mr. Redmond Conyngham, in Ireland, has ordered
did not bring him in much money in me some little supply through the hands of return. In the War of 1812, though David Hartley of London, a mortel enemy of advanced in age and broken down in America by all accounts. From your most health, he endeavored once more to go obet. and very humble servt,
CONYNGHAM. to sea, but was forced to give it up.
During all this time he endeavored to Of course at this time John Paul Jones keep alive his fight for recognition. Year was the hero of the hour in Europe; a after year he sent in petitions to Congress little less than two months before, he had and tried to get a review of his claims. captured the Serapis, which was the cul- He caused many inquiries to be made for mination of his career of successful cruis- the lost commission, the possession of ing on the coasts of Great Britain ; but which would have determined at once his owing to the trouble with the Dutch Gov- position in earlier days. ernment, Commodore Jones was forced to In a review of his case by Benjamin put to sea on the 27th of December from Walker for the Government, much stress the Texel, and with him sailed as an officer was laid upon the fact that he could proCaptain Conyngham. He went round to duce no proof in substantiation of his L'Orient and thence to Corunna, where he assertions. The commission had not been joined the Experiment and sailed for recorded at the time, and even the one America.
that the British had taken from him could Unfortunately for poor Conyngham, not be produced in evidence. however, the Experiment was captured Every man has his enemies, and some by the British Admiral Edwards, and were found who declared that the first Conyngham found himself again a pris commission had never existed and that oner. He was sent to Plymouth and then Conyngham had been a freebooter, who to Mill prison. Again he suffered untold had turned everything he could get to his hardships until the day of his release. credit. In vain he presented his sworn
That Captain Jones had considered him accounts, receipts, and bills from the Spana regular appointed officer of the United ish agents, but in answer he was told that States Navy is proved by the fact that he they were acting for a private corporation. had summoned him while on board the Bitterer and bitterer he grew, until by some Alliance as a member of a court martial. he was considered to have his mind un
As soon as Conyngham was free again hinged on the subject. Twice he himself he found himself in a peculiar position. searched for the missing commission in For some reason (principally from lack Paris, but no trace of it could be found, of money), the Government deferred the and at last he died in Philadelphia, on the settlement of claims to a future date, and 27th day of November, 1819. fought with all possible vigor many just And now out of the mysterious past payments that should have been made comes to light the very paper for which from the public treasury. Again and he sought. It might be some satisfaction again was Conyngham put off, though he if the half-undecipherable inscription on petitioned yearly, as he himself states, the crumbling tombstone in St. Peter's from '79 to the year '98. Then, in '93, churchyard could be renewed and if there the case came under judgment; but many could be added to the curious old acrostic of the witnesses were dead, Dr. Franklin the words “Captain in the Navy of the among them. Some of the Commis- United Colonies by virtue of "-by virtue sioner's agents turned against him, and of what we know now.
By Grace Denio Litchfield EAUTIFUL Mrs. Haviland was remove her wraps, and Ruth, peeping dashing through the Park in her over the banisters, had a gratifying vision
victoria, her six-year-old son by of her mother reflected in the long hallher side. The autumn breeze was blow- glass, as the lady stood before it while ing freshly, and the two exquisite rose- the maid deftly pinned back a lock estinged faces, one a smaller replica of caped from the loose coil of her hair. the other, made a rare picture. Almost Do mirrors realize when they are blessed ? every one turned to look at them as they Not to many is it given to reflect so compassed. Those who knew the lady bowed plete and satisfying a beauty as was this and smiled, or bowed and did not smile, lady's. But all too soon she turned away, while she had only the same slight but and, calling to Harry, took him in with captivating glance of recognition for each. her to the tea-table to stand at her elbow A gentleman on a fine bay joined her like a bewitching little page while she before she had gone far, and made the poured tea. She often took him in with tour beside her carriage. After that still her so that is, if people were coming. more of the passers turned to look, and Ruth went slowly away from her post, fewer smiled as they bowed. But the therefore, knowing that Harry would not radiance of her look never faltered, and come up as long as the good time lasted. if the rose of her cheek was somewhat On her way to the school-room she passed deeper, so was the boy's, and the after her father coming down from his study. noon was grown cold.
He did not see her in the semi-darknessIt was five o'clock when the victoria nobody ever seemed to see Ruth unless left the Park, and, rolling down the avenue, there were a bright light-and she slipped turned into the broad, substantially built silently by, not caring in the least that he side street near the corner of which was had not seen her, nor that if he had he the lady's home. The gentleman on the might not have noticed her save by bay accompanied her as far as the street a grave nod. It was Harry whom he corner, and there took leave. A little girl, always saw and always stopped to speak watching with straining eyes from an up- to. Why should he or any one speak to stairs window, saw him as he lifted his her? For there was nothing about her hat from his handsome blond head, and even remotely like her mother. She was wondered vaguely who he was. Any one a singularly plain child, upon whom no of Mrs. Haviland's many servants could amount of tasteful dressing conferred any have told her. But Ruth never talked saving distinction, and the consciousness with the servants. She rarely talked even of her unattractiveness lay like an added with the nurse or with Miss Murray, her blight upon her personality. governess, who, however, though a mira. It was past the children's supper hour cle of gentleness and well-preserved if when Harry came dancing into the nursery, characterless prettiness, was not precisely where he and Ruth took their meals. a confidence-eliciting person. She did Mrs. Haviland, too, would soon be coming not talk much even with her ltttle brother, upstairs to dress for dinner. Ruth was though she played with him by the hour meditating slipping out into the hall for on rainy afternoons, keeping him absorbed another sight of her as she swept radiantly from first to last when no one else could down the passage to her room, whenmanage the self-willed little fellow for ten wonder of wonders !-the nursery door minutes at a time.
opened and she came in. It was only to She went now to the head of the stairs, give the nurse some direction about Harry's partly to meet Harry, but more to catch toilette for the next day's drive, but Ruth's a glimpse of her idolized mother. Harry heart beat with joy at the sight of her. did not come up, however. Mrs. Havi- Harry was looking particularly charming land's maid was sent for downstairs to just then. His curls were tumbled all