Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 25.djvu/122

This page needs to be proofread.

118 Southern Historical Society Papers.

the South proceeded to withdraw, and when the North insisted upon blocking the way, did the parties come to blows. In regard to slavery, which was merely incidental to the struggle, Mr. Lincoln, in his inaugural in 1861, pointedly said: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so." And when on January i, 1863, he issued his emancipation proclamation it was nothing more than a war measure, or, as he called it in the procla- mation, a "military necessity," and the sentimentality we hear of now about the. "apostle of freedom " and "striking off shackles with the stroke of a pen," etc., came afterwards. The North freed the slave not from sympathy for the slave, but as a military move to weaken and conquer the South.


We spent most of our time at sea under sail. Melbourne, Aus- tralia, was really the only port at which the ship made a stay of any length. At the island of Tristan da Chuna, in the South Atlantic, she laid off long enough to land some prisoners, and at Ascension Island, in the Pacific, we only went into the harbor to burn four whalers at anchor, in fact we were constantly cruising. After leav- ing Ascension on the i3th April, 1865, the Shenandoah did not anchor until she reached Liverpool on the 6th November, nearly seven months after, and in that time while running from Behring Straits, in the North Pacific, around Cape Horn to Tuskar light on the coast of Ireland, we were four months out of sight of land.


The LaureV s crew was intentionally much larger than she needed. It was expected that a number of them, and also most of the crew of the Sea King, would ship on the Shenandoah, but at the last mo- ment, when about to part company, most of them declined to go with us. Under ordinary circumstances we might have appreciated the gravity of the situation of being left with a ship at sea without a crew, but the temper of the officers at that time would hardly have admitted of any delay. A fair complement for the Shenandoah was a crew of about one hundred and ten men, but in addition to the officers, only twenty-rhree men joined us, not quite twenty-five per cent, of what was needed. In time, however, the crew was increased by shipments from the prizes.