Imágenes de páginas

great day - his arrival — to poor Nolan. Burr had not been at the fort an hour before he sent for him. That evening he asked Nolan to take him out in his skiff, to show him a canebrake or a cottonwood tree, as he said, — really to seduce him; and by the 55 time the sail was over, Nolan was enlisted body and soul. From that time, though he did not yet know it, he lived as A MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY.

What Burr meant to do ... is none of our business just now.... One and another of the colonels and 60 majors 1 were tried, and, to fill out the list, little Nolan, against whom, Heaven knows, there was evidence enough, — that he was sick of the service, had been willing to be false to it, and would have obeyed any order to march any whither with any 65 one who would follow him, had the order been signed, “By command of His Excellency, A. Burr."

The courts dragged on. The big flies escaped, rightly for all I know. Nolan was proved guilty enough, as I say, yet you and I would never have 70 heard of him, reader, but that, when the president of the court asked him at the close, whether he wished to say anything to show that he had always been faithful to the United States, he cried out, in a fit of frenzy:

“Damn the United States ! I wish I may never hear of the United States again!”


1 This refers to the army officers who were seduced by Burr to join his conspiracy and were afterward tried for it.

[ocr errors]


I suppose he did not know how the words shocked old Colonel Morgan, who was holding the court. 80 Half the officers who sat in it had served through

the Revolution, and their lives, not to say their necks, had been risked for the very idea which he so cavalierly? cursed in his madness.

Old Morgan, as I said, was terribly shocked. 85 If Nolan had compared George Washington to

Benedict Arnold, or had cried, “God save King George, Morgan would not have felt worse. He called the court into his private room, and returned in fifteen minutes, with a face like a sheet, to say:

“Prisoner, hear the sentence of the Court! The Court decides, subject to the approval of the President, that you never hear the name of the United States again.”

Nolan laughed. But nobody else laughed. Old 95 Morgan was too solemn, and the whole room was

hushed dead as night for a minute. Even Nolan lost his swagger in a swagger in a moment.

moment. Then Morgan added, “Mr. Marshal, take the prisoner to Orleans ?

in an armed boat, and deliver him to the naval 100 commander there."

The marshal gave his orders, and the prisoner was taken out of court. “Mr. Marshal,” continued old Morgan, "see that

, no one mentions the United States to the prisoner. 105 Mr. Marshal, make my respects to Lieutenant Mit

1 Cavalierly, thoughtlessly. 2 Orleans, New Orleans.

[ocr errors]


chell at Orleans, and request him to order that no one shall mention the United States to the prisoner while he is on board ship. You will receive your written orders from the officer on duty here this evening. The court is adjourned without day.'

I have always supposed that Colonel Morgan himself took the proceedings of the court to Washington city, and explained them to Mr. Jefferson. Certain it is that the President approved them, certain, that is, if I may believe the men who say 115 they have seen his signature. Before the Nautilus got round from New Orleans to the northern Atlantic coast with the prisoner on board, the sentence had been approved, and he was a man without a country.

The plan then adopted was substantially the same that was necessarily followed ever after. Perhaps it was suggested by the necessity of sending him by water from Fort Adams and Orleans. The Secretary of the Navy, was requested to put 125 Nolan on board a government vessel bound on a long cruise, and to direct that he should be only so far confined there as to make it certain that he never saw or heard of the country. We had few long cruises then, and the navy was very much out of favor; 130 and as almost all of this story is traditional, as I have explained, I do not know certainly what his

Without day, a term used in courts, meaning finally, not to be again assembled,



[ocr errors]

first cruise was. But the commander to whom he was intrusted

regulated the etiquette and the 135 precautions of the affair, and according to his scheme they were carried out, I suppose, till Nolan died.

When I was second officer of the Intrepid, some thirty years after, I saw the original paper of in

structions. I have been sorry ever since that I 140 did not copy the whole of it. It ran, however, much in this way: “Washington” (with the date, which must have

been late in 1807).



“You will receive from Lieutenant Neale the per145 son of Philip Nolan, late a Lieutenant in the United States Army.

“This person on his trial by court martial expressed with an oath the wish that he might ‘never hear of the United States again.'

“The Court sentenced him to have his wish fulfilled.

“For the present, the execution of the order is intrusted by the President to this department.

“You will take the prisoner on board your ship, 155 and keep him there with such precautions as shall prevent his escape.

“You will provide him with such quarters, rations, and clothing as would be proper for an officer of

his late rank, if he were a passenger on your vessel 160 on the business of his Government.


"The gentlemen on board will make any arrangement agreeable to themselves regarding his society. He is to be exposed to no indignity of any kind, nor is he ever unnecessarily to be reminded that he is a prisoner.

"But under no circumstances is he ever to hear of his country or to see any information regarding it; and you will especially caution all the officers under your command to take care that, in the various indulgences which may be granted, this 170 rule, in which his punishment is involved, shall not be broken.

"It is the intention of the Government that he shall never again see the country which he has disowned. Before the end of your cruise you will 175 receive orders which will give effect to this intention.

Resp'y yours,

“W. Southard, for the

"Sec'y of the Navy.”

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The rule adopted on board the ships on which I 180 have met “the man without a country” was, I think, transmitted from the beginning. No mess liked to have him permanently, because his presence cut off all talk of home or the prospect of return, of politics or of letters, of peace or of war, - cut off 185 more than half the talk men liked to have at sea. But it was always thought too hard that he should

« AnteriorContinuar »