After a time, Mrs. Morris found an opportunity of showing, that, although in principle she might be a Tory, she was at heart a good, kind Quaker lady ready to give help to suffering people, no matter whether they belonged to the side she favored or to that which she opposed.
Some of the people who came up the river in the gunboats--and in many cases the soldiers brought their wives with them, probably as cooks--were taken sick during that summer; and some of these invalids stopped at Burlington, being unable to proceed farther.
Here, to their surprise, they found no doctors; for all the patriots of that profession had gone to the army, and the Tory physician had departed to the British lines. But, as is well known, the women in the early days of New Jersey were often obliged to be physicians; and among the good housewives of Burlington, who knew all about herb teas, homemade plasters, and potions, Mrs. Morris held a high position. The sick Continentals were told that she was just as good as a doctor, and, besides, was a very kind woman, always ready to help the sick and suffering.
So some of the sick soldiers came to her; and from what Mrs.
Morris wrote, one or two of them must have been the same men who had previously come to her house and threatened the life of her boy, who had been looking at them with a spyglass. But now they very meekly and humbly asked her to come and attend their poor comrades who were unable to move. At first Mrs. Morris thought this was some sort of a trick, and that they wanted to get her on board of one of the gunboats, and carry her away. But when she found that the sick people were in a house in the town, she consented to go and do what she could. So she took her bottles with her, and her boxes and her herbs, and visited the sick people, several of whom she found were women.
They were all afflicted with some sort of a fever, probably of a malarial kind, contracted from living day and night on board of boats without proper protection; and, knowing just what to do with such cases, she, to use her own expression, "treated them according to art," and it was not long before they all recovered.
What happened in consequence of this hospital work for those whom she considered her enemies, is thus related by Mrs. Morris:
"I thought I had received all my pay when they thankfully acknowledged all my kindness, but lo! in a short time afterwards, a very rough, ill-looking man came to the door and asked for me. When I went to him, he drew me aside and asked me if I had any friends in Philadelphia. The question alarmed me, supposing that there was some mischief meditated against that poor city; however, I calmly said, 'I have an ancient father-in-law, some sisters, and other near friends there.' 'Well,' said the man, 'do you wish to hear from them, or send anything by way of refreshment to them? If you do, I will take charge of it and bring you back anything you may send for.' I was very much surprised, to be sure, and thought he only wanted to get provisions to take to the gondolas, when he told me his wife was one I had given medicine to, and this was the only thing he could do to pay me for my kindness. My heart leaped for joy, and I set about preparing something for my dear absent friends.
A quarter of beef, some veal, fowls, and flour, were soon put up, and about midnight the man came and took them away in his boat."
Mrs. Morris was not mistaken in trusting to the good intentions of this grateful Continental soldier, for, as she says, two nights later there came a loud knocking at the door:
"Opening the chamber window, we heard a man's voice saying, 'Come down softly and open the door, but bring no light.' There was something mysterious in such a call, and we concluded to go down and set the candle in the kitchen. When we got to the front door we asked, 'Who are you?' The man replied, 'A friend; open quickly': so the door was opened, and who should it be but our honest gondola man with a letter, a bushel of salt, a jug of molasses, a bag of rice, some tea, coffee, and sugar, and some cloth for a coat for my poor boys--all sent by my kind sisters. How did our hearts and eyes overflow with love to them and thanks to our Heavenly Father for such seasonable supplies. May we never forget it. Being now so rich, we thought it our duty to hand out a little to the poor around us, who were mourning for want of salt, so we divided the bushel and gave a pint to every poor person who came for it, and had a great plenty for our own use."
As the war drew to its close and it became plain to every one that the cause of the patriots must triumph, the feeling between the two parties of Americans became less bitter; and the Tories, in many cases, saw that it would be wise for them to accept the situation, and become loyal citizens of the United States of America, as before they had been loyal subjects of Great Britain.
When peace was at last proclaimed, those Tories who were prisoners were released, and almost all of them who had owned farms or estates had them returned to them, and Mrs. Morris could visit her "ancient father-in-law" and her sisters in Philadelphia, or they could come up the river and visit her in her house on the beautiful Green Bank at Burlington, without fear or thought of those fellow-countrymen who had been their bitter enemies.
THE REMARKABLE VOYAGE OF THE BOUNTY
This is a story of a man who, when in command of his ships and when everything went prosperously with him, was so overbearing and cruel that some of his men, in desperation at the treatment they received, mutinied against him. But the story shows another side of his character in adversity, which it is impossible not to admire.
In 1787, Captain Bligh was sent from England to Otaheite in charge of the _Bounty_, a ship which had been especially fitted out to carry young plants of the breadfruit tree for transplantation in the West Indies.
"The breadfruit grows on a spreading tree about the size of a large apple tree; the fruit is round, and has a thick, tough rind.
It is gathered when it is full-grown, and while it is still green and hard; it is then baked in an oven until the rind is black and scorched. This is scraped off, and the inside is soft and white, like the crumb of a penny loaf."
The Otaheitans use no other bread but the fruit kind. It is, therefore, little wonder that the West Indian planters were anxious to grow this valuable fruit in their own islands, as, if it flourished there, food would be provided with little trouble for their servants and slaves.
In the passage to Otaheite, Captain Bligh had several disturbances with his men. He had an extremely irritable temper, and would often fly into a passion and make most terrible accusations, and use most terrible language to his officers and sailors.
On one occasion he ordered the crew to eat some decayed pumpkins, instead of their allowance of cheese, which he said they had stolen from the ship's stores.
The pumpkin was to be given to the men at the rate of one pound of pumpkin to two pounds of biscuits.
The men did not like accepting the substitute on these terms. When the captain heard this, he was infuriated, and ordered the first man of each mess to be called by name, at the same time saying to them, "I'll see who will dare refuse the pumpkin or anything else I may order to be served out." Then, after swearing at them in a shocking way, he ended by saying, "I'll make you eat grass, or anything else you can catch, before I have done with you," and threatened to flog the first man who dared to complain again.
While they were at Otaheite, several of the sailors were flogged for small offences, or without reason, and on the other hand, during the seven months they stayed at the island, both officers and men were allowed to spend a great deal of time on shore, and were given the greatest possible liberty.
Therefore, when the breadfruit plants were collected, and they weighed anchor on April 4, in 1787, it is not unlikely they were loath to return to the strict discipline of the ship, and to leave an island so lovely, and where it was possible to live in the greatest luxury without any kind of labor.
From the time they sailed until April 27, Christian, the third officer, had been in constant hot water with Captain Bligh. On the afternoon of that day, when the captain came on deck, he missed some cocoanuts that had been heaped up between the guns. He said at once that they had been stolen, and that it could not have happened without the officers knowing of it. When they told him they had not seen any of the crew touch them, he cried, "Then you must have taken them yourselves!" After this he questioned them separately; when he came to Christian, the latter answered, "I do not know, sir, but I hope you do not think me so mean as to be guilty of stealing yours."
The captain swore terribly, and said, "You must have stolen them from me, or you would be able to give a better account of them!" He turned to the others with much more abuse, saying, "You scoundrels, you are all thieves alike, and combine with the men to rob me!
I suppose you'll steal my yams next, but I'll sweat you for it, you rascals! I'll make half of you jump overboard before you get through Endeavor Straits!"
Then he turned to the clerk, giving the order to "give them but half a pound of yams to-morrow: if they steal _them_, I'll reduce them to a quarter."
That night, Christian, who was hardly less passionate and resentful than the captain, told two of the midshipmen, Stewart and Hayward, that he intended to leave the ship on a raft, as he could no longer endure the captain's suspicion and insults. He was very angry and excited, and made some preparations for carrying out his plan, though these had to be done with the greatest secrecy and care.
It was his duty to take the morning watch, which is from four to eight o'clock, and this time he thought would be a good opportunity to make his escape. He had only just fallen into a restless slumber when he was called to take his turn.
He got up with his brain still alert with the sense of injury and wrong, and most curiously alive to seize any opportunity which might lead to an escape from so galling a service.
On reaching the deck, he found the mate of the watch had fallen asleep, and that the other midshipman was not to be seen.
Then he made a sudden determination to seize the ship, and rushing down the gangway ladder, whispered his intention to Matthew Quintal and Isaac Martin, seamen, both of whom had been flogged. They readily agreed to join him, and several others of the watch were found to be quite as willing.
Some one went to the armorer for the keys of the arm chest, telling him they wanted to fire at a shark alongside.
Christian then armed those men whom he thought he could trust, and putting a guard at the officers' cabins, went himself with three other men to the captain's cabin.
It was just before sunrise when they dragged him from his bed, and tying his hands behind his back, threatened him with instant death if he should call for help or offer any kind of resistance. He was taken up to the quarter-deck in his nightclothes, and made to stand against the mizzen-mast with four men to guard him.
Christian then gave orders to lower the boat in which he intended to cast them adrift, and one by one the men were allowed to come up the hatchways, and made to go over the side of the ship into it.
Meanwhile, no heed was given to the remonstrances, reasoning, and prayers of the captain, saving threats of death unless he was quiet.
Some twine, canvas, sails, a small cask of water, and a quadrant and compass were put into the boat, also some bread and a small quantity of rum and wines. When this was done the officers were brought up one by one and forced over the side. There was a great deal of rough joking at the captain's expense, who was still made to stand by the mizzen-mast, and much bad language was used by everybody.
When all the officers were out of the ship, Christian said, "Come, Captain Bligh, your officers and men are now in the boat, and you must go with them; if you make the least resistance you will be instantly put to death."
He was lowered over the side with his hands still fastened behind his back, and directly after the boat was veered astern with a rope.
Some one with a little pity for them threw in some pieces of pork and some clothes, as well as two or three cutlasses; these were the only arms given.
There were altogether nineteen men in this pitiful strait. Although much of the conduct of the mutineers is easily understood with regard to the captain, the wholesale crime of thrusting so many innocent persons out to the mercy of the winds and waves, or to the death from hunger and thirst which they must have believed would inevitably overtake them, is incomprehensible.
As the _Bounty_ sailed away, leaving them to their fate, those in the boat cast anxious looks to the captain, wondering what should be done. At a time when his mind must have been full of the injury he had received, and the loss of his ship at a moment when his plans were so flourishing and he had every reason to congratulate himself as to the ultimate success of the undertaking, it is much in his favor that he seems to have realized their unfortunate position and to have been determined to make the best of it.
His first care was to see how much food they had. On examining it, they found there was a hundred and fifty pounds of bread, thirty-two pounds of pork, six quarts of rum, six bottles of wine, and twenty-eight gallons of water.
As they were so near Tofoa they determined to put in there for a supply of breadfruit and water, so that they might keep their other provisions. But after rowing along the coast for some time, they only discovered some cocoanut trees on the top of a stony cliff, against which the sea beat furiously. After several attempts they succeeded in getting about twenty nuts. The second day they failed to get anything at all.
However, some natives came down to the boat and made inquiries about the ship; but the captain unfortunately told the men to say she had been lost, and that only they were saved.
This proved most disastrous; for the treacherous natives, finding they were defenceless, at first brought them presents of breadfruit, plantains and cocoanuts, rendering them all more hopeful and cheerful by their kindness. But toward night their numbers increased in a most alarming manner, and soon the whole beach was lined with them.