Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/165

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CHAPTER VI

CAPTAIN PADDOCK ON THE COAST OF BARBARY

THE veterans of the Revolution of '76, who had won a war for freedom, were still young men when American sailors continued to be bought and sold as slaves for a few dollars a head on the farther side of the Atlantic. It was a trade which had flourished during the colonial period, and was unmolested even after the Stars and Stripes proclaimed the sovereign pride and independence of this Union of States. Indeed, while hundreds of American mariners were held in this inhuman bondage, their Government actually sent to the Dey of Algiers a million dollars in money and other gifts, including a fine new frigate, as humble tribute to this bloody heathen pirate in the hope of softening his heart.

It was the bitterest touch of humiliation that this frigate, the Crescent, sailed from the New England harbor of Portsmouth, whose free tides had borne a few years earlier the brave keels of John Paul Jones's Ranger and America.

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