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where he condenses them in the Index. Better pamphlet-fighting has not been seen since Bentley. The hardship of the matter is, that people commonly are more ready to believe slander than to trouble themselves with reading a refutation of it.
It gave us particular satisfaction to see that the American Association for the Advancement of Science had shown its sense of the merits of the quarrel by electing Dr. Gould vice-president of their body.
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A MAGAZINE OF LITERATURE, ART, AND POLITICS.
VOL. IV.- DECEMBER, 1859.–NO. XXVI.
THE EXPERIENCE OF SAMUEL ABSALOM, FILIBUSTER.
In the winter of 1856, the outlook times are changing in California ! Once, of the present writer, known somewhere no one knew but this battered hat I sit as Samuel Absalom, became exceedingly under might partially cover the head of troubled, and indeed scarcely respect- a nobleman or man of honor; but men able. As gold-digger in California, For- begin to show their quality by the outtune bad looked upon him unkindly, and side, as they do elsewhere in the world, he was grown to be one of the indiffer- and are judged and spoken to accordingent, ragged children of the earth. Those ly. I will shake California dust from my who came behind him might read as feet, and be gone!” they ran, stamped on canvas once white, In this mood, I thought of General “ Stockton Mills. Self-Rising Flour!"- Walker, down there in Nicaragua, strirthe well-known label in California, at ing to regenerate the God-forsaken Spanthat day, of greatest embarrassment. ish Americans. “I will go down and
One morning, after sleeping out the assist General Walker,” said I. So next night in the streets of Oroville, he got up, morning found me on my way to San and read these words, or some like them, Francisco, with a roll of blankets on my in the village newspaper:
:-“ The heavy shoulder and some small pieces of money frost which fell last night brings with it in my pocket. Arrived in the city; I at least one source of congratulation for sought out General Walker's agent, one our citizens. Soon the crowd of vagrant Crittenden · by name, a respectable, honstreet-sleepers, which infests our town, est-looking man, and obtained from him will be forced to go forth and work for the promise of two hundred and fifty warmer quarters. It has throughout this acres of Nicaraguan land and twentysummer been the ever-present nuisance five dollars per month for service in the and eyesore of our otherwise beautiful army of General Walker, and also a steerand romantic moonlit nights.” “ Listen age-ticket of free passage to the port of to this scoundrel!” said he;" how he can San Juan del Norte by one of the steaminsult an unfortunate man! Makes his ers of the Nicaragua Transit Line. Of my own living braying, lying, and flinging voyage down I do not intend to speak; dirt, and spits upon us sad devils who fail several unpublished sensations might have to do it in an honest manner! Ah, the been picked up in that steerage crowd of
bog Irish, low Dutch, New Yorkers, and crowd, blackguard effectively the witty California savages of every tribe, return- or witless dogs that crack jokes at us ing home in red flannel shirts and boots of and forebode hard fate ahead of us. cowhide large; but my business is not with When we came into the town of San them, and I say only that after a brief Juan, we found there a general and coland prosperous voyage we anchored ear- onel of the filibuster army, and reported ly one morning in the harbor of San ourselves forth with as a party of recruits Juan del Sur, at that time part of the just arrived and at their service. The dominions of General Walker.
general was altogether absorbed hob Whilst the great crowd of home-bound nobbing with the old friends whom he passengers, with infinite din and shout- bad discovered in the passenger crowd, ing, are bustling down the gangways to and would not listen to us; but the colward the shore, our little party of twenty onel pointed out an empty building, and or thirty Central American regenerators told us to drop our luggage there, and assemble on the ship's bow, and answer amuse ourselves until we heard further to our names as read out by a small, from him. mild-featured man, whom at a glance This town of San Juan del Sur is entireI should have thought no filibuster. It ly the creation of the Nicaragua Transit seems he was our captain pro tem., and Company, and is the Pacific terminus of bore recommendations from the agent at the Isthmus portage-road. It consisted San Francisco to a commission in the of half a dozen board hotels, and a litter Nicaraguan service. He had made the of native grass-thatched huts, and lay at voyage on the cabin side of the ship, and the foot of a high, woody spur, which I saw him now for the first time. His curves out into the sea and forms the looks betokened no fire-eating soul; but southern rim of a beautiful little harbor, your brave man has not necessarily a completed by another less elevated point truculent countenance; and I was, in- jutting out on the north. The country deed, thankful for the prospect of fight- inland is entirely shut out by a dense ing under an honest man and no cut- forest, into which the Transit road plung. throat outwardly.
es and is immediately lost. Whilst I was We followed this our chief down the walking about this sequestered place, now vessel's side to the shore, catching a
all alive with the California passengers, a glimpse of Fate as we passed over the party of Walker's cavalry came riding in old hulk in our course.
It was one of from the interior, and at once drew all Walker's soldiers in the last stage of fe
eyes upon them. They were mounted ver. His skin was as yellow and glazed on horses or mules of every color, shape, as parchment, and seemed drawn over and size,— themselves yellow-faced, raga mere fleshless skeleton. Poor man! ged, and dirty; nevertheless, their deadhe lay there watching the noisy passen- ly garniture, rifles, revolvers, and bowiegers descend from the ship.“ His eyes knives, and their fierce and shaggy looks, are with his heart, and that is far away," kept them from being laughed at. They carried back by the bustling scene to an- dismounted and tied their beasts in front other shore, the goal of that passing of one of the hotels, and then dispersed crowd, — never more to gladden his dim about the town in search of whatever was eye. The unrelenting grasp of death refreshing. was on him; and even now, perhaps, the From these men we learned that Genwaves are rolling his bleaching bones to eral Walker's prospects were never so and fro on that distant beach. I say fair as now. His enemies, they said, worn that this dismal omen damped the spir- out and ready to despair, had drawn off it of us all. But nothing in this world to Granada, where they now lay irresocan long dishearten the brave; we soon lute and quarrelling amongst themselves. grow lighter, and, marching along in the General Walker held the Transit route from ocean to ocean, and a single filibuster the Californians were already hurrying migh: walk all through the country with- aboard a little steamer, which puffed and out danger. This news was not satisfac- whistled at the wharf. In half an hour tory to all of us. A small, bright-eyed afterwards they were steaming across the youth, from the California theatre, who lake for the entrance or head of the Rio had been noted on the voyage down for San Juan. his loud talking, declared that for his It was here that we ate our first meal part he had come to Nicaragua to fight at the expense of General Walker, or, and, now that there was no more fighting rather, at the expense of an innkeeper to be done, he would pass through and of Virgin Bay; for he, our entertainer, take ship for the United States. The looked upon us as little better than sornfilibusters smiled at each other grimly, ers, declaring he had already fed filibusand told him, if that was the difficulty, he ters to the value of six thousand dolhad better not go, for Walker intended lars, without other return than General driving the enemy out of Granada short- Walker's promise to pay, which he proly, and he would there find all that he fessed to esteem but slightly or not at all. wanted. And well it was that they sat- These hotel-keepers of Virgin Bay and isfied him to stay; for on that day this San Juan, who came in the wake of the youth went without his dinner because Transit Company, and made their monhe had no cent in bis pocket to buy it, ey by the California passengers, seemed and ship-captains refuse to assist all such to be a good deal worried by General as lie under that unhappy cloud. Oh, Walker. Their business was no longer thou light-bodied son of Thespis! Where profitable, and their families lived in a art thou now? I saw thee last, with state of continual alarm between the comheavy musket on thy shoulder, marching batants; yet they were not allowed the wearily to the assault of San Jorge. Did alternative of flight; for it was General the vultures tear thee there? Or art thou Walker's policy, wise or unwise, when he still somewhere amongst men, blowing had got a man into Nicaragua who was the great deeds wrought by thy feathery useful to him, to keep him there; and the arm that day? I hope thou wast not last Transit Company, being entirely in left on that dismal shore !
bis interest, carried no emigrant out of Late in the afternoon, when the Cali- the Isthmus unfurnished with a passport fornians had departed for Virgin Bay, from President Walker himself. where they were to embark on Lake Ni- That night we slept in an empty buildcaragua, our party of recruits took the ing, and were aroused next morning at road for the same place, on our way to daybreak, and ordered to continue our Rivas, the head-quarters of the filibuster march to Rivas, which was said to lie army. A short distance from the Pacif- nine miles to the north of us. We set ic, we began the ascent of the Cordille- forward, grumbling sorely for lack of ra chain, not very formidable here, but breakfast, and stiff from our twelve-miles' broken into spurs and irregular ridges, march of the evening before. Our path with deep umbrageous hollows, and lit- led us sometimes under the deep shades tle streams of clear water winding noisi- of a tangled forest, sometimes along the ly among them. Coming down from this open lake-beach, on which the waves rugged high ground, we entered a wide rolled with almost the swell of an ocean plain, stretching away to Lake Nicara- surf. A few miles short of Rivas we gua, out of whose waters we saw the blue emerged from the ragged forest, and encones of Ometepec and Madeira lifting tered a beautiful, cultivated country, their heads up above all, and capped through which we passed along green with clouds. Before we had crossed the lanes fringed with broad-leaved plantains, twelve miles between ocean and lake, bending oranges, tufted palms, and all and entered Virgin Bay, it was dark, and tropical fruit-trees,-a very Nicaraguan