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The welcome of the people also was cordial, as Washington found on arriving at the hamlet of Greenland, a few miles outside of Portsmouth. Here so many people from the country round had assembled to see him pass that he left his carriage, as was his wont on entering the larger towns, and mounting his horse, "rode through ranks of men, women and children."
There was perhaps nothing finer in the way of a reception to the Father of His Country while he was in New England, or in his manner of acknowledging one, than this gathering of country people at Greenland and his graceful recognition of them.
Washington thus describes his journey from the State line into Portsmouth, the limit of his journey in "the Eastern States":
"With this cavalcade we proceeded and arrived before 3 o'clock at Portsmouth, where we were received with every token, of respect and appearance of cordiality, under a discharge of artillery.
"The streets doors and windows were crowded here, as at all the other places; and, alighting at the Town House, odes were sung and played in honor of the President. From the Town House I went to Col. Brewster's Ta'n, the place provided for my residence."
WINFIELD M. THOMPSON.
(To be continued)
THE STORY OF A PACIFIC HURRICANE
HEN dawn broke over Apia Bay, Samoa, on March 17, 1889, after the memorable hurricane there, the United States frigate Nipsic lay beached on the sands, apparently beyond hope of rescue; the German warship Olga lay near by, and the Adler had been hurled by a wave far over the reef's edge, and was left high and dry. The ill-fated Eber had pitched down to her grave on the seaward edge of the reef, and only four of her crew of eighty men were alive. The Trenton, flying the Stars and Stripes and the pennant of Rear-Admiral Kimberley, was pounding atop of the Vandalia, fortythree of whose men had gone down. The six merchantmen which had ridden at anchor in Apia Bay two days before were splintered driftwood in the surf; and of all the thirteen vessels of peace and war on which the sun had gone down on the fifteenth, there was only one left afloat, the British ship Calliope, which, in a desperate chance, had steamed out to sea in the teeth of the hurricane, hailed by a cheer from the men of the doomed Trenton as she passed. That cheer will make the episodes of disaster and heroism in Apia Bay live when other catastrophes have dropped through the sieve of history. It was the same spirit that made Kimberley, on the morning after that fearful day, parade the Trenton's band and greet the sun with the crashing strains of "Hail Columbia."
The frigate Nipsic, which was salvaged from the sands, was repaired and put in commission, and saw more than a decade of service after 1889 in Pacific waters. Afterward, she was sent to Bremerton navy yard, where she was a prison ship for six years; and in 1912 the Government sold her. There are few ships of the navy which have had a more adventurous career on the seas than the Nipsic, whose name recalls particularly the Samoan disaster of 1889.
Of the events which led up to the presence of the German, United States, and British warships in Apia harbor, little need be retold. In 1878, we had obtained, by treaty, the Samoan harbor of Pago Pago for a coaling station. The German and British Consuls in Apia signed a convention, acquiesced in by the United States Consul, for the preservation of order, but the Germans soon obtained the ascendency in the affairs of Samoa. Conferences were suggested by this country whereby, Germany, England, and the United States might arrange an election of a ruler by the natives. Bismarck did not abide by the understand
ing to maintain the status quo,* and in March, 1889, Samoa was in a state of civil war, with Tamasese, Germany's ally, on the throne, and Mataafa, who had the sympathy of Britain and the United States, in arms against him. The feeling between this country and Germany over what was considered the perfidy of the latter was running high, and trouble seemed near at hand. It was this situation that called the three American warships, the Trenton, the Vandalia, and the Nipsic; the three German vessels, the Eber, the Adler, and the Olga; and the British Calliope, to Apia in March, 1889.
The weather had been threatening for days, and on several occasions the ships had kept up steam to ride at their anchors. The harbor was dangerous, a veritable trap; yet this high feeling between the nations served to make each determined to stay in close touch with Apia, rather than leave the Samoan country in that troubled state. The civil strife on shore was acute; and rumors of actual warfare between the German and American ships in the harbor had reached Honolulu. Because of this suspicion, the seven warships and six merchantmen stayed at their moorings in Apia harbor, where there was room only for four large vessels, in the face of nature's warnings.
Let Robert Louis Stevenson describe this fatal harbor, as he writes it in "A Footnote to History":
The so-called harbor of Apia is formed in part by the recess of the coast line at Matautu, in part by the slim peninsula of Mulinuu, and in part by the fresh waters of the Mulivai and the Vaisingano. The barrier reef—that singular breakwater that makes so much of the circuit of Pacific islands-is carried far to sea at Matautu and at Mulinuu; inside of these two horns it runs sharply landward, and between it is burst or dissolved by the fresh water. The shape of the inclosed anchorage may be compared to a high shouldered jar or bottle with a funnel mouth. Its sides are almost everywhere of coral: for the reef not only bounds it to seaward and forms the neck and mouth, but skirting about the beach it forms the bottom also.
As in the bottle of commerce, the bottom is reentrant, and the shore-reef runs prominently north into the basin and makes a dangerous cape opposite the fairway of the entrance. Danger is therefore on all hands. The entrance gapes three cables wide at the narrowest, and the formidable surf of the Pacific thunders both outside and in. There are days when speech is difficult in the chambers of shore-side houses; days when no boat can land; days when men are broken by stroke of sea against the wharves. As I write these words, three miles in the mountains and with the land-breeze blowing from the island summit, the sound of that vexed harbor hums in my ears. Such a creek in my native coast of Scotland would scarce be dignified with the mark of an anchor in the chart; but in the favored climate of Samoa, and with the mechanical regularity of the winds of the Pacific, it forms, for ten or eleven months out of the
*How like 1914 and Belgium!
twelve, a safe, if hardly a commodious port. The ill-found island traders ride there with their insufficient moorings the year through and discharge and are loaded without apprehension. Of danger, when it comes, the glass gives timely warning; and that any modern war-ship, furnished with the power of steam, should have been lost in Apia belongs not so much to nautical as to political history.
On March 15 the barometer fell to 29.11 in the afternoon, and there was still ample time to put out to sea. But all the vessels remained at their moorings; even Capt. Kane, of the Calliope, who was sensible of the danger, did not fully appreciate what was to come; he was misled, too, by a faulty barometer. Through that night the rain and the wind increased, until by an hour before the dawn it blew with hurricane force; and the clouds blown close down upon the waters made the bay dark even after the hour of sunrise, at six o'clock. Over the barrier reefs of the harbor the huge seas of the Pacific piled mountain high.
The Trenton held on at the mouth of the bay, fighting desperately to hold her moorings, Inside, five other warships, less fortunate, had been driven well in toward the inner reef, and were smashing about on each other in helpless collision. In that wind and sea, where the vessels plunged and reared wildly, with great, spasmodic jerks, which no anchors could stand, a ship might have been glad to live with the broad reaches of the Pacific in which to run before the tempest; in Apia Bay there was death on the reefs within half an dozen cable-lengths. Before dawn the Nipsic, dragging her anchors, had rammed the Olga and had injured her; the United States frigate herself lost her smokepipe in the crash, and thereafter she kept up steam by feeding the furnaces with barrels of fat pork, while the top of the smokepipe, cut flush with the deck, belched flame in the midst of the men.
No human eyes on that dawn saw the German ship Eber. There was not an earthly chance that she had made her way out; and the alternative was only too true. Torn from her moorings, and slightly unseaworthy because of a broken rudder, she had been caught on a wave and dashed on the edge of the cuplike harbor's rim, and had pitched down into the deeper water to depths which even that hurricane could not trouble. Of her eighty men, four were washed ashore alive; beyond these, the sea gave up only her dead.
The Nipsic, steaming desperately, was more fortunate than the Eber, and an hour after the dawn she was driven ashore on the sands, where the running seas battered her cruelly. She was thrown stern
on first, and afterward her propeller was found to be crumpled up in the shape of a penny paper pinwheel. The Nipsic's crew had to take their slim chances in the raging waters; and it was due only to the heroism of the Samoans, splendid watermen, that there was not more loss of life.
Capt. Mullan, of the Nipsic, was the last man to leave the ship, except for Lieutenant John H. Shearman. A number of seamen had been drowned by the capsizing of one of the ship's boats; but the remainder of the crew got ashore by aid of the Samoans who rushed in the water waist-deep to pull the Americans ashore. Captain Mullan, who could not swim, was saved only by using an empty water cask.
It was some two hours after the dawn when the anxious watchers on the beach saw the Adler going on the inner reefs, and she seemed destined to share the fate of the Eber. But Captain Fritze, in desperate danger, conceived a plan of superb daring. The Adler was not a biscuit's toss from the reef's edge, over which was a chance for life-under which was death. When almost upon the coral ledge, he loosed his moorings suddenly as a huge wave came; and the Adler was lifted on the crest over the reef's edge! It was hours before the survivors of the crew could be taken off from the ship, while the heavy seas beat on her, but Captain Fritze's daring had snatched them from certain death.
Of the four ships that still rode the storm's fury, the Calliope, Captain Kane, was farthest inside, with the Vandalia and the Olga plunging in imminent danger of collision. The Olga, nearly helpless now, was blown down upon the Vandalia, ramming her twice, so that she was carried down upon the Calliope. Fighting as he was to hold his place in the hurricane, with all steam up and anchors out, Captain Kane had yet to pay out his anchor chains, as the Vandalia's stern plunged under his bow; and the reef's edge was a bare ten yards from the Calliope's hull. "Between the Vandalia and the reef was destruction," as he reported; and he took the desperate chance which remained for him to try to make the open sea!
The Calliope's furnace walls were glowing, and her machinery was dangerously hot with the strain of holding the vessel to her moorings, and it was doubtful whether the steering gear would hold against that battering. But Kane took his forlorn hope, and headed the Calliope into the storm, pointing her for the harbor's mouth, and with his pro