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THE COLUMBIA DEHOCMW.
I have sworn upon tlie Altar of Cod, eternal hostility to every form of Tyranny over the Win of W Thomas JcfferBon.
PRINTED AND PUBLISHED BY tt. tVEBB.
BliOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY, PAi SATURDAY, IVIAW 19, 1838:
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Fiom the Gentlemen's Magazine for May.
THE PIRATE JjAW.
BY W1LDERR LANK, PHILADELPHIA.
The morning wind had sunk to sleep on
its ocean bed, and left a small foretonsail
schooner rocking on the long,smooth swells
away westward of the coast of Peru. She,
was a gay and gallant model of naval beau-
,ty. Light as the frightened sea-gull, she
roso on tho clear, deep wave, showing a
long, low, shining black hull of faultless
mould. The tall, elegant masts stood proud
ly up with that graceful rake peculiar to
tins class of vessels ; Tlio clean polished
yards were hung with the nicest accuracy,
tapering from the middle with the rounded
symmetry of a lady's finger; tho spotless
canvas hung in airy folds amid the trim.laiit
rigging, like tho floating dress of a fairy
queen. 'Tho figure-head of i- dark-haiicd
Moorish girl, leaned in laughing loveliness
from the sharp, rising bow, as if to kiss
the glad waters beneath ; with one hand
she held the wild lily of tho Pacific Isles,
In while the othei playfully grasped a scart,
.i.:u ...l:.i iipu t?i.., r
Suit WIIIUII via wiiuuii iiiu nuwui ui iuu
Sea." A single flag dropped above the
narrow stern; as it flapped aside with the
rolling of the waves, It revealed tho bright
blazonry of the Spanish amis: ,
To one untaught lil sea lore; the vessel
i might have passed for a peaceful earner of
jj trade, but a seaman would havo romaiked
uk without regard to burthen, ifo would Iiave
told you that she was too pretty to bo ariy
Ihing else than a shluggler or pirate, such'
gentry always displaying a more classic
taste than their less romantic brethren of
ihe salt water1. His keeii eye, too; would
have detected tho dark mouth of a cannon,
known to the craft by the name of "Long
Tom,'' lurking mysteriously under a heap
of canvas-and coiled rope, just aft tho fore
mast. All do'itbts as to character were put
to rest by the motley crew of whiskered
desperadoes ttidi covered the deck. Some
slept half-naked in the hot sun, some were
gambling arid quarrelling, and others, with
a spice of poetic feeling not uncommon to
the cloth were leaning dver the side to watch
A the frolicsome. porpoises splasliiriir bii the
sunny sea. It seemed, from tlio confusidri
of tongues, that tho mob of every nation
had met together, and sent each ah efivoy
to this ''Assembly of Freo Agency." A
inong them especially wcro to be secti life
Uark, devil-oyed Mexican, and the brawny,
Such was tho pirate. The wars of Spain
and her American colonies had given anew
and dangerous impulse to lawless adventure.
Tho "profession" of piracy rose to a fatal
rank, and, among the rest, "Tho Flower of
the Sea" became known as tlio "Scourge
of the Southern Wave." Her name carri
ed terror far among tho islands rind tho very
ports of the Pacific. Swift and daring,she
V set capture at defiance, and laughed at pur
suit. Many a boastful cruiser had felt her
powers in tho running fight, before sho left
him "hull down" astern. Many an hon
est mariner had espied at dusk a speck of a
Sail prowling on tho red edge of the hori
zon, and ere the evening star had set, With
a blaze and hurrah! the pirato was Upon
Beneath an awning on the quarter deck,
reclined a fierce man, under tho comriton
height, but of powerful fiame. Full whilo
trowsers, girded smooth and close around
tho waist with a crimson belt, scarcely hid
tho outline of a leg too largo to be called
handsome; A pair of Morocco slippers
completed his dress, leaving bare a broad
shaggy chest, and muscular arms of Hercu
lean size. Two largo pistols and a long,
glittering knife, which weapons ho never
laid aside, wcro stuck into his belt. Ilia
fobe, almost covered by whiskers and mus
taches of enormous growth, was terrible as
the storm of ihe desert. An eye that would
scare a murderer's gHdst back to his sheet
less gibbet glared intensely under a bushy
mass of hair tliat overhung his brows:
Such was Bernardo; the pirate chief. Ho
commenced his villainy in early youth, by
murdering an aged and only relative iri Ja
maica, his native land ; he fled, arid became
a freebooter. Growing more daring and
desperate as blood thickened on his hands,
ho now acknowledged no superior in crime
but his great master, the devil, and was of
ten heard in his drunken revelry, to vow a
hard fight for empire with that potentate on
the sulphurous Styx!
Feared and hated by his gang, trie ten
ure of his authority was tho sabre's pdint;
yet he maintained his sway by that consu-
malc boldness and cunning, which men of
his rank and call nig never want. The glance
of tlic chief darted restlessly from timo t'd
time among his tanielcss crew, and then,
like the panther in ambush, travelled keen
ly around the horizon.
nigh amid the angry oaths of a knot of
gamblers, at iho forecastle, aroso Ihelcrufii
voice of Antonio, a gigantic mulatto'; of a
most villainous aspect. Inferior to none
but Bernardo in piratical accomplishments,
lie was acknowledged second in power, and
no oiib dared to dispute his claim. Oppo
site him sat a wild-looking, long-haired
youth; of slender but active form. His fea
tures were onco singularly handsorrio, but a
companionship' of vice and his dwn uritd
med passions, had lent him the reckless
bearing of tho outlaw. His losses were
rapid and heavy: with an impatieht curse
he threw down his last stake; the cards
were played; the mulatto won, and swept
tho gold into his pocket with a fiend's
" Antonio, yoii are ab'asb' cheat," mutter
ed the youth, grinding his teeth with pas
"la cheat?" returned Antonio, rising
wrathfully. "Look you, Arnold Kell, when
a man calls me so, a man, mind you,-
this is hiy answer," touching the handlo of
his knife; "but when a cross boy, I correct
him, as would his mother, thiis," and with
his open hand sent the youth reeling back
With a scream liko thp wild-cat iri her
rage, the young man flashed his knife in
the sun and bounded at his huge antagonist.
Ill an instant his uplifted arm was stilled,
arid liis naked throat clutched in the vice
like grasp of Antonio. "Die like a puppy
d y6U arej Unworthy of bullet or steel,"
growled the ruthless negro, and he laughed
hideoiisly at tho starting eyes and hanging
tdnguo of the gasping Arnold. Tho crew
rushed towards them, and Antonio, bent on
the death of his victim; stept back. The
strangling boy in his last flucfc, tripped his
foo dexteriously as ho retreated. Antonio'
loosed his hold and caught vainly at tho
shrouds'; wildly, triumphantly did Arnold
send homo his knifo in rapid succession;
and ere tho mulatto fcll his heart's blood
was smoking on tlio deck. Tho maniac
yell of the victor was followed by tho
ciirse, tho death-rattlo of tho fallen!
"Hell and furies!" thundered Bernardo,
throwing a'sido tho crowd, "who dares m'y
authority on this deck? who has dono this
"I,'' said the youth, holding up his reek
ing blade, "I, Arnold Kcll, sent the devil to
" Then after him with this message from
me," and Bernardo's pistol glittered at his
" He was right," muttered twenty voic
es, and as many knives started from their
As the crippled snake in its angry pain,
so did Bernardo turn on his rebellious gang
His eye flashed fierce as tlio lightning's
blaze on eyes as fierce as his. Mad with
rage, yet fully awaro of the spirits over
whom he held his wavering asce'ridchcy,the
wily chief searched for ari instailt the dark
faces around. I
" Is there a man," said he, with lofty ve
hemence, "who has joined this daring mu
tiny, that will say when your chief forgot
his duty? When has the sweeping "storm
burst over us that I guided not the helm?
When has the lightning lit upon the mid
night surge; that I trcniblcd at its glare?
When iias tho fight dyed the sea with blood
that my sabro was not there? Arid who
was at my side in all this? Tlicre he lies;
tho murdered A rltbrijdi Who so fearlcscly
sprung aloft when the hurricane rent trie
fluttering canvas ? Who so true to cripple
tho flying prize? Who was before him to
leap on the streaming deck? Who, when
the kneeling coward prayed for histrcmblirig
life, so quick to stop his tongue as Antbnio?
" Dead merf tell no tales."
A murmur of approbation was heard.
Bernardo eyed Arnold with hellish joy.
5 Arid who," continued ho "is his lnutdcr-
rer? A stray cur that has swam off to us
With a rope ab'oiit his neck. A weak fool,
who sleeps on his watch, and starts and
mutters of his father and his home, whose
womari'd tongue preached pity Aq men liko
you, when your'knives aro-cuttingthe way
to victory lid lids basely killed' your
brave companion, whb'se life was worth
hundfed such cowards as he! What says
our law? "Life for life; blobd for blood."
the stern words of the Idw were repeat
ed by all in a lono that sllsriced mercy.
Arnold heard his doom with scorn.
"Coward as I have been called," said he
haughtily, "I will not ask dogs for a life
worth less than this dead jackal!," spurning
the huge coise of Antonio. "I ask for
'death, but let it be on the decks of the eit
''The law, the law! Blood for blood!"
Tho ominous sentence was whispered
again, like the hollow thieat of the mid
A shudder thrilled the frame of the doom
ed; for an instant iri that dicad moment,his
eyo sought tho bright, still sky one bitter
tear stole down and trembled on his lip; he
thought of his far home, his childhood's
song, his mother's smile but again defi
ance mantled on his brow; dark and fearless
he looked on tho seckbrs of his blood.
" I must die; but ere I go; I'll hurl ih'o
lie back to the teeth of the damned one
that spoko it," said he,' bending a hateful
glance dt tho chief. "It becomes him well
to call me cur and coward, who carrie from
the womb squeaking a curse on men; who
grew and fattened on his kindred's blood."
" Fdol! do' you beard riio here?" cried
the furious Bernardo, flashing a pistol in
the face of tho youth. The excited crew
closed between them, when Arnold drew
his bloodstained knife, and sprang up the
mainmast. "Whoever follows," shouted
ho "shall leap with mb from the mast
Tho fearful brawl was arrested by Ih'e
Hurried cry of 'ja sail, a sail, on tho lar
board bow." Iri an instant, all was bustle.
Away to tho west, a dark streak on the sea
maiked tho coming wind. Just within its
edge, a large brig was seen bearing due
South under full sail.
"Sho will escape us by this cutsed calm"
growled Bernardo, ' What coltfrs!"
"American," returned the lookout.
",A prize, but not for us.''
Tho dead Antonio was hastily thrown
overboard, with a shot fastened to his heels,
and his blood carefully washed off tho deck.
It was no time to resume the quarrl, and
Arnold reriiained. sullen and unmolestdd.
Bernardo strode the deck Impatiently, watch
ing the distant sail, like tho shark when he
sees his prey sporting in tlio shoal water.
'Ha!" said lie, stopping short, "perhaps
they have Christian charity; up with a sig
nal of distress! Down below, all; arid be
The orders were .promptly obeyed. True
to thb appedl of humanity, the devoted
brig wore round, and steered directly for
the pirate. It was a moment of intense
anxiety. The brig held her course for half
an hour, when suddenly there was d confu
sion bli board; sho hauled off and crowded
sail! With a stamp of race the chief or
dered his men on deck. The dreaded black
flag was run up, and the long gun cleared
away for tho chase. Presently tho approa
ching wind played and whirled capriciously
on the billows; the first light puff awoke
the sleeping sails, and the. pirate schooner
slipped noiselessly albng. As the young
breeze grew into a steady wind, the accur
sed black banner unwrapped its gloomy
field, and streamed alee; the foam parted
wide from tho bow, and it was soon evi
dent that she gained rapidly on the brig.
("Give them the hot iron," shouted tho
chief. "But where is Antonio? where is
your gunner now? shall his rriurdeicr es
cape? Curses; deep arid angry, wero heard,
and many vengeful looks wcro fastened on
tho condemned youth, perched in tho rig
ging. The politic .Bernardo1 stept forward
to try His skill; he sighted carefully along
the piece as the schooner yawed, and gave
the order to fire. The liglit craft trembled
under the bellowing discharge; but the brig
kept on unharmed. A broadside of oaths
followed the gun's discharge. After a hot
chase of an hour the figure of a man was
distinctly seen at tho helm of the flying
vessel; he stood fearless and alone. Again
the long gun blazed away; as the smoke
swept astern, the pirates shouted to see
the forctopmast falling to the leeward A
few more rapid and well aimed shots, and
the ill-fated brig was crippled and unman
ageable: The pirate hove to, within pistol
shot. Two boat3 were lowered, and in
stantly filled with whooping, ferocious
wretches. Into the foremost sprang Ber
nardo; he stood eagerly in the bowj with
a pistol cocked in one Hand and a heavy
sabre in the other. With a howl like hun
civ wolves they pulled for the prize. A
silence, dread as the famished lion before
ho wakes, reigned aboard her. A small
crew stood around their captain on the
qriarterdeck; a single swivelj a few old
muskets, and a sabre or two, with tho usual
sailor knife, were their only arms. A po w
erful emotion agitated their leader; ho trem
bled, but it was not the coward's quail; his
face was deadly pale; but fear blanced it
riot; his words Quivered through bloodless
lips, brit they breathed not of terror or dis
may. It was the energy of a dauntless
soul mastering its physical tenement. Ho
looked on his faithful crew with thoughts'
that pen cannot portray.
"My men," said he, in a low and anx
ious tone, "we may soon bo at anchor in a
foreign port, but before we set sail, if any
man has aught to say of me, let him speak
his mind. When my poor, wild son left
his father to go I know not where', my ves
sel became my home 5 I havo tried to do
my duty as an honest skipper should I
love you all, would die for you."
"Wo love you; will dlo for you," burst
from tho affected tats.
"My gallant boys, I th'ank you; fight till
the last planks hold together; remember
your wives and sweethearts. I am good for
a dozen of the villains!"
One full bold cheer was the answer
"'Take the forcrriost boat, fire!" shputed
the master of tho brig, discharging his mus
ket, which was followed by a sheet of
flame from the swivel and small arms of tlrV
The effect was terrible; a yell of agony
arose; llornardo tumbled heavily over the
bow. The shattered boat fillsd and went
down, leaving a dense niass of dead, woun
ded, and cursinc pirates j'n tlio blond-
wave. But before the bravo crew could
relbad, tho other boat was alongside the
brig, and a third was putting off frorn the
scnooner. ihe pirates poured on deck;
their wild cries and horrid blasphemies rent
the air, but not less terriflic was the peal
ing hurrah! of the impetuous captain, as ho
whirled his sabre over his head.
" Fight for yo'u lives; your skipper and
your craft, we are one to ten my brave boysj
but I am good for d dozen."
tor a moment the pirates hesitated. It
was a thrilling pause. It is dreadful to war
against hope, but the struggle Is the more
terrible. Another bond leaped crl board
and the fight closed like tho meeting of
whirlwinds. Then came the hot strife of
life and death in its fiercest shape the
scream the blaze the clash tho grasp
the death hug the jetting blood the
heavy fall and the last groan. The sail
ors fought with the fierceness of revenge
and the recklessness1 of despair. Many a'
loul pirate gasped las last curse on that
dear-bought prize. But Ho courage could
withstand the overwhelming numbers of
tho buccaneers. One by one, a deep
plunge told that a son of the ocean Wad
sinking iri liis ocean grave
The pirates wero masters of tlie brig;
the' intrepid captain alone remained; yet
still his sabre whirled its circle of death;
still tHe stirrinc thurider of his voico
chee'red his men to victory. Hb looked a
roiind; arid they were gone! A Jew scald
irig tear's travelled with funeral pace over
his gory cheek. ,
" All gone but me? my poor boys" said
he, Sorrowfully, 'you Hid your duty, ,and
the great skipper 'that sails aloft won't for-'
get you, when all hands are called on decli
to report their watch." Faint and wound
ed, he cut his staggering way to the cabin.
"Take him alive, talie hint alive! ho
shall die by inches," shouted a husky
voice, which the pirates recognized to bo
that of Bernardo. Pale, wet, and bleeding,
he climed on board; a ragged piece of scalp
hung over his right eyo and temple; his left
arm fell splintered and powerless by his
side. "Take him alive," again he cried
hoarse with passion, "for vengeance I must
liave.V , .
After a sanguinary struggle, the heroic
cdptain was taken arid bound. The brig
was plundered, and set on fire; the greedy
element darted its wiry tongue up the rig
ging, and dressed the vessel in flame. Tho
pirates with their prisoner and booty! put
off for their sthb'oner, heedless of the im
ploring cries of their wounded comrades bii
tlie burning prize.
, In a few minutes more; "The Fldwcr of
tlie Sea" fell obediently to the wind, set
tling fully .and gracefully to one side, and
bore rapidly away.
The ill-fated prisoner was dragged with'
curses before the chief, on tho quarter-deck
their eyes met in one long look of hate.
"What is our loss?" inquired Bernardo,
turning to his men.
"Twenty-seven missing, ' waG the an
swer. , . . , ,
What! has a handful of villains florid
ail this? Fc'ol! what do you expect?" roar
ed Bernardo, looking fury at his erect and
scornful captive. , , '.
fhat which you know I fear hotj-2
death!" was the reply.
At the sound of that voice, a quick, bro
ken ciy m'igh'i have been heard from aloft,
but for the noise of the vessel speeding on
'Yes, boasting dog, death ydu shall
have, but it shall be with hot iron in your
hissing flesh, and burning brimstone in your
"Cut-throat coward" ( . ( ,
"Silence! my revenge is' riot to be cheat
ed by words'. Look at me; do you not
owe trie a long debt of vengeance? Look at
this damned scar!"
" I fired that ball; would it had struck