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Royal Naval Biography/Hall, Basil


BASIL HALL, Esq.
A Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh; and a Member of the London Astronomical and Madras Asiatic Societies.
[Post-Captain of 1817.]

This officer is the son of Sir James Hall, Bart, of Dunglass, N.B. by Lady Helen Douglas, a daughter of the fourth Earl of Selkirk, who was present at St. Mary’s Isle when the noted Paul Jones made a descent on the coast of Galloway with the intention of seizing her father; but finding him absent, was obliged to allow his people to carry off the family plate, every piece of which, however, he restored some years afterwards[1]!

Mr. Basil Hall entered the royal navy in May, 1802; and served the whole of his time, as midshipman, in the flag-ships of Sir Andrew Mitchell and the Hon. George C. Berkeley, on the Halifax station. His first commission bears date Jane 10, 1808; at which period he was appointed junior lieutenant of the Endymion frigate. Captain the Hon. Thomas Bladen Capel; under whom he assisted in covering the retreat and embarkation of Sir John Moore’s army, at Corunna, in Jan. 1809. We subsequently find him serving on shore in cooperation with the Spanish patriots[2].

Lieutenant Hall’s next appointment was, Mar. 9, 1812, to the Volage 22, from which ship he removed to the Illustrious 74, bearing the flag of Sir Samuel Hood, on the East Indian station. In 1813, he had the acting command of the Theban frigate, under the orders of the same distinguished officer, whom he accompanied during a journey over great part of the island of Java. His promotion to the rank of commander took place, Feb. 22, 1814; on which occasion he was appointed by the Admiralty to the Victor sloop, then building at Bombay.

The Victor arrived in England about the time that the embassy to China, under Lord Amherst, was projected; and Captain Hall had not been long on half-pay when he was appointed to the Lyra, a 10 gun brig, attached to that expedition. On his return home, in 1817, he published a very interesting account of “A Voyage of Discovery to the Western Coast of Corea, and the Great Loo-Choo Island, in the Japan Sea[3], with a Vocabulary of the Language of the Island {by Lieutenant H. J. Clifford, R.N.), and an Appendix, containing Charts and various Hydrographical and Scientific Notices. Illustrated by eight coloured engravings of Scenery, and the Costume of the People of Corea, and particularly of the more interesting Inhabitants of Loo-Choo.

The second edition of “Loo-Choo,” published in 1820, is confined to the narrative alone, to the exclusion of all technical and other details, not calculated to interest the general reader. A later edition, forming the first volume of “Constable’s Miscellany,” consists partly of matter entirely new, and partly of what was previously before the public; the latter, however, carefully revised, and, in some places, augmented by further selections from the original notes: one of the new chapters in this edition contains an account of Captain Maxwell’s attack on the batteries at Canton, Nov. 12, 1816[4]; and from which we shall here extract a passage or two.

“On leaving our primitive and kind friends at Loo-Choo, we steered directly across the Japan sea, and having sailed between the Philippine Islands and Formosa, made directly for the anchorage of Lintin, which takes its name from an island lying opposite the mouth of the great river flowing past Canton. On the 3d of November, 1816, shortly after anchoring, we received despatches from the British Factory, announcing the unsuccessful issue of the embassy, and the expected return of Lord Amherst. The failure of the mission, it appeared, had disposed the Chinese authorities at Canton to treat the interests of the British Factory with great contempt, and in several instances to visit his Majesty’s peaceful subjects with insult and direct injury. Next morning was received a copy of a recent edict, or proclamation, of the Viceroy of Canton: in this document, worded in the most offensive terms, it was stated that the Ambassador would not be permitted to embark in the river, but must find his way as he best could to the ships, which were to remain at anchor amongst the Ladrone Islands, almost in the open sea. There was every reason for supposing that this insulting mandate was a gratuitous piece of impertinence on the part of the local authorities, not authorized by the Supreme Government. In China every thing is regulated by custom; and the precedent of the embassy under Lord Macartney was more likely to be adhered to, than that so inconvenient and degrading a mode of embarkation should be wantonly assigned to Lord Amherst. The hostile sentiments of the Viceroy towards all foreigners, and especially the English, had long been well known to our establishment at Canton; and as these proceedings were precisely what had been anticipated, the greatest anxiety was felt by our countrymen, and indeed by all the foreign residents, as to the line of conduct which Captain Maxwell would adopt on the occasion.

“Nothing could be conceived more dissimilar to our recent occupations than the duties which now devolved upon this officer. Instead of the pacific, timid, hospitable Loo-Chooans, he had to deal with the arbitrary and unsociable military authorities of China, at no time very friendly, and at the present moment professedly hostile to his nation. the same deliberate good sense, however, carried him successfully through these diametrically opposite services, and what in one instance took the character of patient forbearance, became in the other the most prompt and vigorous action. Both lines of conduct were so admirably suited to the occasions respectively, that had their order been reversed, as they might readily enough have been by a less judicious officer, the consequences roust have been mischievous in the highest degree. It should not be forgotten, that as neither our visit to Loo-Choo, nor the discussions with the Chinese, could have been anticipated, no specific instructions beforehand could by any possibility have been given for the performance of these services. The most perplexing dilemmas, indeed, must often occur in a profession, the extent of whose range is only limited by that of the globe itself. But it is on such occasions that the distinction between one officer and another comes into play: that the man who dreads and shuns responsibility, or whose shoulders are not broad enough to bear it when it happens to fall on them, is crushed beneath the weight; while the professional genius of another will sport with the difficulty, and, like Nelson, turn what to ordinary eyes seems irreparable disorder into the means of enhancing his country’s honor. * * * * * *

“While Captain Maxwell was thus busily employed, I had proceeded by his orders on the 7th November, to a harbour called the Typa, within a mile or two of Macao. Early next morning a large Chinese war vessel, mounting seven guns, and crowded with people, anchored about a quarter of a mile to the eastward of us. All eyes were turned to this new and strange sight, for we had not before seen any junk nearly so large; but whilst we were engaged in examining her more minutely, another still larger dropped anchor under our stern; presently another took her station on the bow, and one on the quarter, till in the course of half an hour we found ourselves fairly encaged by these immense vessels. One very zealous officer amongst them took a birth rather too close as I thought, as he brought up actually within the Lyra’s buoy. So great a departure from professional etiquette I imagined must be intended as a prelude to something hostile, and I prepared my little ship for the contest. We had only ten guns, indeed, but these were thirty-two pound carronades, and we might, I dare say, have done very well on the occasion of coming to blows, unless, indeed, it had occured to the Chinese to have sailed their immense castles one on each side of us, in which case the poor Lyra must have been crushed like an egg-shell. For the smallest of these junks could not have been less than four or five times our tonnage, and at least three times as high out of the water. As soon as the guns were shotted, I sent my boat to the junk which had anchored so close as almost to be touching us, to beg he would move a little further off. The officer of my boat found a linguist on board, to whom he readily explained the impropriety of anchoring so near; and I confess I was not sorry to observe my friend comply so readily, and get his anchor up again to take his station along with the rest of the fleet. It was soon apparent they intended us no immediate mischief, but were sent to watch us, and I suppose to keep us in awe; for every morning and evening, at sun-rise and sun-set, there was a grand mustering on board each junk; all the crews were displayed on the decks, and a furious beating of gongs set up, which was doubtless meant to be very terrific and impressive.

“We took no further notice, but proceeded with our re-equipment, till on the 15th of November accounts reached Macao that Captain Maxwell had been engaged with the batteries, and had afterwards sailed up the river. I was on shore at Macao at the time the news arrived, but went on board instantly to see what part the Chinese fleet would take, not knowing how far it might suit the admiral’s ideas of the service, to visit the sins of the frigate upon the sloop of war. But to my surprise I beheld them all getting under weigh in the utmost hurry and confusion, as if the pigmy Lyra was going to swallow these giants up; and without waiting for order of battle, or any order at all, ran off as hard as they could scamper out of our reach, into the inner harbour of Macao, where they crowded themselves together like sheep, and moored in a compact body, actually touching one another.

“As I knew nothing of the Alceste’s procecdings, except through the reports of the Chinese and Portuguese, which varied every hour, I resolved to wait Captain Maxwell’s further instructions. It was a week before I heard from him, and my orders then were to proceed up the river, to where the Alceste lay, and not to return the fire of the batteries, should they recommence hostilities, but in that case to anchor below the Bogue, until I was joined by the frigate. In order to avoid all mistakes, or misunderstandings, he also sent me positive directions to avoid all intercourse with the Chinese, whatever advances might be made by the commanders of the forts or fleets. In pursuance of these directions, I tripped my anchor on the 25th, and sailed out of the Typa; but the tides not being favourable, we were obliged to force our way through the mud, and at one place actually sailed for upwards of half a league in two feet less water, by the sounding line, than the ship drew: that is to say, we appeared to be in ten feet water, while the vessel drew twelve. The moment our sails were set, we observed a stir amongst the men-of-war junks, and in a little while they came out one by one. As the wind was against us, we had to make a tack towards the harbour’s mouth, where we were met by the whole eight sail of the line, gaily dressed out in long swallow-tailed streamers, and led by their gallant commodore, who carried a flag twice as large as any of the rest. At sunset it fell calm, and the tide having turned, we all anchored together, no one of the junks being above a cable’s length, or two hundred yards from the brig. As soon as the sails were furled, the commodore manned his barge, and came himself to pay the Lyra a visit. I should have been very glad to have received him, but Captain Maxwell’s orders against any intercourse being explicit, I could do nothing but decline his civility, and keep him off. In spite of all I could do, however, he rowed alongside, and sent an officer up with his card. This personage, who forced his way on board, addressed me in these words, ‘I come to see about your pigeon.’ – ‘My pigeon,’ said I; ‘I have no pigeons on board, and you must go away – I cannot receive you – go down the side, if you please.’ – ‘No! no,’ exclaimed he, by way of clearing up the mystery, ‘my master, this great Mandarin,’ pointing to his chief, ‘has come to see about the ship’s pigeon.’ While I was puzzling over this speech, I observed the commodore and two or three of his attendants climbing on board the brig, and therefore called out to some of the sailors, ‘Here, my lads, put this gentleman into his boat again.’ In an instant a couple of strapping fellows, who liked no better sport, leaped up, and would have tumbled the poor Chinese over the gangway in a trice, had I not caught their arms. The interpreter, seeing what was going to happen, made a wise and precipitate retreat, dragging the commander-in-chief along with him by the tail, and screaming to the boatmen to shove off.

“I was really extremely sorry to be guilty of such rudeness; but my orders being imperative, I had no other way of resisting such determined intrusion, but that of threatening to throw the foremost of my visitors over-board. I was glad it was not the chief himself who led the way, as I must have used some equally uncivil arguments with him, which I confess would have been a monstrous breach of naval etiquette.

“I afterwards learned that the word ‘pigeon,’ in the strange jargon which is spoken at Canton by way of English, means business, so that what the linguist meant to say was, ‘I am come to see about your business.’ It is, perhaps, not generally known, that all transactions between foreigners, of whatever nation, are carried on here in a singular dialect, called English, but which is scarcely intelligible at first, even to an Englishman, and must be totally unintelligible to every other foreigner. It is made up of English, Portuguese, and Chinese, and although barbarous in the highest degree, must be studied by every trader at the port. Until very lately, all business was transacted by the British Factory in this most absurd language. Of late years, however, the Company’s servants at Canton have made themselves acquainted both with the written and spoken Chinese, and every thing material now passes in the language of the country. The natives themselves, whose principle it is to discourage all assimilation, sometimes lament this newly acquired power of communicating, and look back with regret to the times when the supercargoes drank a great deal of wine, and spoke not a word of their language. ‘Now,’ as I heard one of the Hong merchants say, with a sigh and a shake of the head, ‘the English speak Chinese as well as I do, and drink nothing but water.”

“As soon as the tide served next morning, after daybreak, we weighed in company with the fleet, and continued all day beating to windward. For some time these vessels held very good way with us; but when the breeze freshened we left them to leeward, though not by any means so fast as we had been led to expect we should have done. During the day we often crossed one another, on opposite tacks, sometimes to windward, Sometimes to leeward, and often so close as almost to touch, making a very amusing and spirited sailing-match.

“As the night closed in I let go my anchor, not being willing to incur the risk of running upon the shoals. The Chinese commodore and two of his next best sailers were just in sight at sunset, far to leeward, but being well acquainted with the river they had no occasion to anchor, and before midnight, they were once more clustered round their little charge. We were now at Chuen Pee, where Captain Maxwell had anchored previous to entering the Bogne, and I could observe from the lights in the batteries, and an occasional rocket, that the garrison were no less upon the alert than they had been upon that occasion.

“By the first peep of dawn next morning we were again under weigh, and about breakfast-time steered for the narrow neck, or Bogue, the scene of action on the 12th. The flags were hoisted at all the signal-posts, and the batteries every where crowded with people. I went as close as possible to Annanhoy, in order to see what damage had been done. Thirty-nine pieces of cannon were counted, none of them less than twenty-four pounders, and all within five or six feet of the level of the water; and so judiciously arranged, that if properly served, they might repulse a considerable force. The face of the wall, blown down by the Alceste’s broadside, had been built up again, and the Chinese must have worked night and day to conceal their disaster. From the new appearance, however, of the works, and the marks of shot on the sleep face of the rock immediately behind the guns, I should think that most, if not all the guns, must have been dismounted, and the embrasures beaten together. As the Alceste passed considerably within her own length of the buttery, and the water was perfectly smooth, every shot must have told.

“We were greeted very differently; for as we passed, a boat with four large skulls, and dressed up with long streamers reaching to the water, came from the fort with an officer, who hailed us, and said he was sent by the governor to ask if we wanted a pilot or any other assistance. But he did not come close alongside, having probably heard from the admiral, whose boat we saw lying at the sally-port of the battery, that we were not very civil to our visitors. I hesitated a moment whether or not I should take a pilot, but upon considering the matter a little, declined his offer, and he rowed back again, after making the most respectful salams as he took his leave. I refused this offer not only from feeling confident that we could do without assistance, but also because I thought it likely that Captain Maxwell, who had himself taken the frigate up, might wish to demonstrate to the Chinese that we could do without them in this matter; a circumstance, we learned afterwards, which caused almost as much surprise at Canton as the passage of the batteries. There was, however, no mystery in the case, as an admirable chart of the river had been constructed shortly before this period, by Captain Daniel Ross, a gentleman to whom the navigators of every nation, whose business leads them to the Eastern seas, are indebted in the highest degree.

“The East India Company have the sole merit, and a very high one it is, of having originated the splendid idea of surveying in a scientific manner, not only the vast seas and coasts of China, but all the straits, bays, and islands in the Indian Ocean and Malay Archipelago. This work, perhaps the most useful, and certainly the greatest of its kind that any nation ever undertook, has been steadily carried on at an enormous expence for many years under every circumstance of peace or war. To many persons this language may seem too strong; but I write without exaggeration, at the dictation of feelings which most people will be ready to make allowance for. In an open sea, in broad day-light, and in fine weather, nothing can be more delightful than sailing along on such a voyage as ours to visit strange countries. But when the scene is changed to a dark stormy night, in narrow rocky passages, with rapid tides sweeping through them, the blessing of such charts as those of Captain Ross, and such directions as those of Horsburgh, is felt in a manner that the ‘gentlemen of England, who live at home at ease,’ can form but a faint conception of.

“The flood tide was now making, and we were carried gently past the various batteries on both sides of the river, every one of which sent off a boat to offer us any assistance we might require; but I declined all their offers. At noon it fell almost calm, but the water being perfectly smooth, the brig still had steerage way, and I sent the people to dinner, thinking we should not require them to perform any evolution before one o’clock. The last drain of the flood was now stealing along, and the river seemed like a bowl filled up to the brim. The banks were low and swampy, without trees or houses, or any definite land-mark, by which our precise place could be told. Every thing looked so perfectly placid, that I dreamed of no danger, after having already navigated by the chart, for thirty or forty miles through a succession of intricate and dangerous shoals. I was thus lulled into an undue degree of security, and permitted the tide to drift the brig silently and imperceptibly towards the eastern bank of this immense river. While I was standing on the poop, endeavouring, if possible, to catch some object on the monotonous flat shore, by which the vessel’s progress might be indicated, a small Chinese boat glided slowly up under the quarter, as if to watch our motions. I took no notice of the boatman, who, however, after lying in the same spot for five minutes, stood up, and said in English, ‘Don’t you want a pilot?’ I said, ‘Oh, no – I know the river as well as you do. I want no pilot.’ The man shrugged his shoulders and sat down again. It now wanted only ten minutes of one, but I was unwilling to disturb the people at their meal, although I began to suspect, from seeing the bullrushes a little more distinctly, that we were drifting too near, and in the next moment we slipped gently upon a shoal – so gently indeed, that I should not have known it, had not the tide, along with which we had been borne insensibly, now streamed past us. The hands were up instantly, and an anchor and hawser, kept in readiness alongside for such accidents, sent out to draw us off the ground. While this was going on, the Chinese in his boat paddled once more close under the spot where I was standing, and said, with his former tone and manner, and the addition of a knowing smile, ‘Don’t you want a pilot?’ I laughed, and told him to come on board.

“In half an hour we were again afloat, and a light breeze springing up, we soon reached the anchorage called the Second Bar, where a fleet of fourteen large ships of the East India Company lay at anchor. Being uncertain at first whether the brig would soon get afloat again or not, I had thought it best to make a signal for assistance. In less than an hour, upwards of a dozen of the Indiamen’s long-boats, each manned with not less than eighteen hands, came to us. Before they reached the brig we had got off the shoal, and I might have made signals to show they were no longer necessary, but was willing to indulge both my own crew and these strangers with a meeting. We had now been nearly nine months from England, during the whole of which period we had either been at sea, or amongst remote countries, beyond the reach of news; and nothing, certainly, was ever better bestowed than this rencontre. Our men were bursting with eagerness to tell the story of their adventures, and the people in the boats, who had Just arrived from England, had much to impart of friends and home.

“On reaching the Alceste, I found orders lying for me to proceed to Canton; and as a captain of one of the tea ships was just setting off in a large and commodious barge, I preferred accompanying him to rowing up alone. Probably, had I gone in a man-of-war’s boat, the Chinese, who had treated Captain Maxwell with great politeness wherever he passed, might have been equally civil to his brother officer. But they observed no such delicacy in the case of the East India captain; for wherever we passed, they climbed to the most conspicuous parts of their boats, and saluted us in a style the very furthest removed from good manners; suiting the rudest actions to words probably not more courteous. The eloquence was quite thrown away upon us, but there was no mistaking the purport of the gesture. For some time this was amusing, rather than otherwise; and to me at least the whole scene, from beginning to end, was subject of unmixed entertainment. But my companion, though one of the best men alive, was not the most patient person in the fleet, and replied at first to these insults by a few emphatic oaths in broad Scotch. Presently he stood up, and shook his fist in a very angry manner, which produced nothing but a loud and scornful laugh; this instantly drove my friend into a towering passion; and before I could stop him, he caught up a fowling-piece, lying on the stern sheets, and discharged it directly at a thick cluster of Chinese, not one of whose faces could be seen, but who nevertheless offered a most conspicuous front to his aim. Fortunately the piece was loaded with snipe-shot, and the distance being considerable, the dose, thus promptly administered, acted merely as a sedative, not only upon the crew of the nearest vessel, but upon that of every other in sight. ‘There, you long-tailed rascals,’ exclaimed the Highlander, ‘there is a second edition of Maxwell and the batteries for you!’ And no doubt the effect was analogous; for many weeks afterwards, when I passed in the same boat with the same person, the natives recognised the hand that had peppered them, and were extremely civil as we rowed along.

“We had time to fight our way, step by step, into the good graces of the Chinese. The last conflict which we had with them took place about an hour after I had reached Canton, at Captain Maxwell’s lodgings. We heard a great noise at the top of the stairs, and on going out to see what was the matter, found my cockswain and boat’s crew in high altercation with a Chinaman, who was endeavouring to deprive them of a trunk which they carried on their shoulders. My boat had followed me to Canton, and the sailors on landing naturally brought the things to our lodgings: just as they crossed the threshold, however, they were observed by the Mandarin of the custom-house, who called out to them to stop, and insisted upon searching the packages. Jack resisted this, and both parties having entered the house, the action which had disturbed us was raging on the staircase.

“As it was an established practice at Canton for no Chinese authority to enter the house of a European resident without first obtaining permission, this proceeding was quite contrary to usage. At all events, Captain Maxwell, who had commenced by assuming a high tone in great matters, was resolved to carry it through even in trifles, and turning to the Chinese, asked him by what right he had dared to violate the quarters assigned to his Britannic Majesty’s officers, without first appealing to him. The Mandarin looked a little surprised; but a reply being insisted upon, he said it was quite a mistake – that he had imagined the trunks had belonged to some merchant ship, and not to a king’s ship. ‘Well, then,’ said Captain Maxwell, ‘you must learn better in future.’ And turning to the sailors, ordered them to put the officer out of the house, and retired to his own room, whispering to me in passing to take care that the intruder was not hurt. I had enough to do, however, to attend to this hint, for my fellows, the moment they heard the words ‘turn him out,’ caught up the unhappy Chinaman, and bore him along over their heads, till they reached the door, whence, as they expressed it, they gave him fresh head-way into the street; and in fact, had it not been for the crowd assembled before the door, against whom he fell headlong, it might have fared worse for the poor Mandarin; who, gathering himself up, took to his heels, and never stopped till he reached his little office at the beach. The rest of the crowd, fancying, by the impetus with which their countryman had been projected from the house, that the terrible Captain himself was in his rear, were seized with a panic, and in a few seconds not a soul was to be seen.

“Under any other than the very peculiar circumstances in which we were placed, such determined measures for maintaining our independence might have been questionable. As it was, however, we remained after these contests several months at Canton without receiving the slightest insult; and the gentlemen of the Factory declared, that they had never, till now, been treated even with common attention; and when at last the Embassy arrived from the interior, the Chinese vied with one another who should be most obliging. It must be remembered, in considering these questions, that England has no treaty with China: everything, therefore, relating to the intercourse of foreigners, being regulated by custom alone, it becomes really important, when an opportunity occurs, to establish convenient, instead of irksome usages. In this view. Captain Maxwell, the next day, explained in an official communication to the Chinese authorities, that as his Majesty’s ships had nothing to do with trade, none of their boats ever carried goods; and he pledged himself to take care that no smuggling occurred through their means: but he positively refused to allow a king’s boat, or a king’s officer, under any pretence whatsoever, to be searched. And although at a distance this may be thought an insignificant matter, it was considered a material point gained, in a country where such trifles take the place of more important affairs; and where, in fact, if they were not attended to from time to time, the life of a foreigner would soon become almost insupportable. In this point of view, it is extremely satisfactory to learn, that ever since the wholesome lessons which Captain Maxwell read to the Chinese on the score of good manners, there has been a remarkable improvement in the condition of all the foreign residents, who have the supreme happiness, as the Chinese express it, of being suffered to live in the Celestial Empire.

“So much has been written respecting China, and especially about Canton, that I shall be excused for not entering on so threadbare a subject. We were allowed to walk about the streets to a great distance from the Factory, without meeting any kind of obstruction or insult; and when we happened to come near the gates of the citadel or inner town, were warned off by sentinels with long poles, but no impediments were ever thrown in the way of our examining the shops, or the different manufactories, with which the other parts of this immense city abound; and as the sight of Europeans was familiar to the people, no notice was taken of us, and every one continued at his business as if no stranger was looking on. The gentlemen of the Embassy, when they returned from travelling upwards of a thousand miles through the interior of the country, declared that in a few days they had seen m Canton not only everything they had met with before, but could observe it to better purpose than during the journey.

“The only evil likely to attend these perambulations through the streets, was the loss of a handkerchief or two. A Chinese thief picked my pocket one day, so dexterously, that I did not perceive the loss: but my companion, the same gentleman who had silenced the significant salutation of the Chinese boatmen, and who was better acquainted with the people, detected the rogue, and caught him by the end of his long tail, as it was whisking round the corner of the street. He began instantly to belabour the thief with his cane, and what seemed odd enough, to the entire satisfaction of the multitude, who, so far from attempting a rescue, encouraged the due infliction of this discipline. After a certain number of blows had been given, however, there was a cry of ‘enough,’ and I was informed that if the punishment had not been discontinued at once, the extra allowance bestowed on the culprit, would have been paid back to the donor with a certain per-centage of interest. It seems every conceivable offence in China has its numerical value expressed in terms of the bamboo, by which alone it can be expiated; and as this scale is well known to every man in the streets, a stranger is safe in administering the law himself, since he may be quite sure of having a limit set to his proceedings when, according to the refined calculus alluded to, justice has been satisfied. I was never very desirous of putting this to the test of actual experiment, but some days afterwards when the same fellow again picked my pocket, I seized him by the collar and was carrying him to the Police Office close at hand, when he fell on his knees and supplicated me to beat him, knowing perhaps that the sitting Mandarin would not let him off so cheaply as I should. The oddity of the request disarmed me entirely, and I gave him a small copper coin, bidding him not rob me any more – and he adhered faithfully to his promise, although I passed him frequently every day. This man was as well known to the police, as our professional rogues in London are said to be to the officers of Bow-Street, and as far as I could learn, made his bread by the same laudable calling. The convention between him and me did not extend to my countrymen, however, and in the course often days, one of the midshipmen of my ship, a careless, gaping mortal, whose insatiable curiosity led him to wander in a sort of ecstacy through the streets, lost no less than twelve pocket-handkerchiefs; so that he became a sort of little fortune to my friend the pickpocket, who looked very ill pleased one day when I passed in company with the youngster, and by keeping between them convoyed him in safety for once. This persevering rogue never shifted his station, but sat curled up like a spider in his hole, at the end of one of the numerous little bridges which cross the streets of Canton. It may not be uninteresting to Italian travellers to mention that about two years afterwards, when in Venice, I was struck with the exact resemblance between one of the canal bridges of that city, and the post of this Chinese thief.

“On the first of January 1817, a grand procession of the boats of the men-of-war, and of all the Indiamen, left Canton, where they had been assembled in readiness for two days, and rowed about a league and a half up the river to meet the Ambassador. The Chinese authorities were sorely annoyed by such a host of men in their city, for there were thirty large boats, each carrying about sixteen men, all dressed alike, and kept in the strictest discipline under their respective officers. These preparations were made to ensure the Ambassador as respectable an entry into the city as possible, but not until it was found, upon application to the local government, that it was intended to pay him none of the usual honours. When the baffled Viceroy, however, beheld boat after boat arriving in his city, he would have been glad to have made any conditions on the subject of Lord Amherst’s reception; but Captain Maxwell had taken his line, and it was now too late.

“When the procession reached the Factory, the boats drew up and saluted his Excellency with three hearty cheers, the sound of which reached as far as the Viceroy’s palace, and is said to have disturbed him exceedingly.”

The last additional chapter contains the following account of Captain Hall’s interview with Napoleon Buonaparte, at St. Helena, in 1817.

“In pursuance of Captain Maxwell’s plan, arrangements were made by which Lord Amherst left Canton with still greater pomp and ceremony than he had entered it. He embarked at Wampoa on board the Alceste, which for this purpose was anchored at the highest point ever reached by any foreign ship: and such was the improvement in Chinese manners in the interval, that as the frigate dropped down the river, and passed the batteries a second time, the British flag was honoured by a complimentary salute from each in succession. The Embassy finally quitted China in January 1817. The subsequent fate of the frigate, and the new and arduous duties which fell to the lot of her commander on that trying occasion, are well known to the world. The Lyra was sent to Calcutta with despatches to the Governor-general; from whence she proceeded to Madras and the Isle of France, and after a prosperous and pleasant passage round the Cape of Good Hope, anchored at St. Helena on the 11th of August.

“Of course, nothing could engage our attention on arriving at this island so strongly as its wonderful inhabitant. Napoleon Buonaparte. For many weeks before, the probability of seeing him had engrossed the thoughts of every one on board in a degree which it is difficult to describe, and would hardly be credited by those who, from distance or other circumstances, never by any possibility could have been admitted to his presence. Whatever prejudices or opinions we might previously have entertained respecting his character, every former sentiment was now overwhelmed by the intense anxiety to see a man who had exercised such an astonishing influence over the destinies of mankind. The vivid interest recently excited in our minds by travelling into remote countries, and being the first to contemplate unknown nations, and a totally new state of manners, high though it had been, and universally fell, was feeble in comparison to what we now experienced, when conscious of being within so short a distance of such a man as Napoleon. I say this without the least affectation, hut simply as a curious fact in the history of curiosity, if I may use so quaint an expression, by which every individual on board, high as well as low, was infinitely more occupied about this one man, than he had been with all the incidents of our singular voyage put together. Even those of our number who, from their situation, could have no chance of seeing him, caught the fever of the moment, and the most cold and indifferent person on board was roused on the occasion into unexpected excitement. If this were true of others, it was ten times more striking in the case of those who had any expectation of being admitted to an interview; and I landed with two gentlemen who were passengers in my ship, in a state of greater anxiety than I ever experienced before or since.

“As I had the pleasure of being personally acquainted with the governor and his family, and had received an invitation to live at Plantation House, I calculated with some confidence on the assistance which this acquaintance would afford in forwarding the object in view. Before taking any steps, however, I waited upon the Admiral to receive his orders for my further proceedings. He had no objections to my attempting to see Buonaparte, but gave me very slender hopes of success: and on reaching the governor’s country-house, I was much disappointed by finding that Buonaparte and he were on terms which rendered it impossible for him to request an interview for any stranger. He most kindly, however, undertook to do all that was in his power, and immediately wrote a note to Captain Blakeney. the officer who was at that period in charge of Longwood, to say that I had just arrived from the Eastern Seas, and was desirous of waiting upon General Buonaparte, to whom my wishes were to be made known in the manner most likely to succeed.

“No answer came that evening; and I did not sleep a wink all night. A positive refusal would probably have had a different effect; the disappointment must have been submitted to; but this uncertainty was harassing and agitating in a degree which, though it surprised me a good deal at the time, I have since learned to consider perfectly normal; for I see abundant explanation of my anxiety and want of rest, on comparing what I feel now on the subject, with the lasting regret I should inevitably have experienced, had I failed, when so very near, to see the most remarkable man of the age.

“This night was succeeded by a still more anxious morning. After breakfast an answer came from Longwood to say, that my name had been mentioned to Buonaparte, as well as my desire of paying my respects to him, but it seemed he had not taken the slightest notice of the communication. Captain Blakeney added, that he thought it might be as well for me to come to Longwood, as Buonaparte might possibly choose to receive me if actually on the spot: I accordingly rode over, accompanied by my two companions.

“Dr. O’Meara and Captain Blakeney received us as we entered the grounds of Longwood, but gave us no hopes. Buonaparte, they were sorry to say, was not in a humour to see any one: he had not even mentioned my name; and in all probability did not choose to have the subject spoken of again. It was a pity, they said, that we had not been a few minutes sooner, as he had been walking in the garden, and we might at least have had the satisfaction of seeing him. Here was a fresh mortification, and we felt that we could have gone away contented and happy had we got but one glimpse of him, and have had it to say, or rather to feel and recollect, that so prodigious a meteor bad not shot across the political sky of our times without arresting, if only for an instant, our actual observation.

“I have often heard this description and degree of curiosity called unreasonable, and have even known some people who said they would have cared mighty little to see Buonaparte; that in short they would hardly have crossed the street merely to see him. With such persons I can acknowledge no sympathy in this matter; and without fearing to lay myself open to the charge of trifling, I can assert with confidence, that no exertions I have ever made, have been nearly so well repaid by subsequent reflection, as those which have had for their object to get even a momentary view of distinguished men. This is most especially true in the case of Buonaparte; and it would be easy, were it not tedious and out of place, to explain, and, as I think, to justify all this.

“Meanwhile we proceeded onwards to Count Bertrand’s house, at the bottom of the gently sloping bank, on the western brow of which stood the dwelling of Buonaparte. Between the two houses lay a neat flower-garden, intersected by gravel walks, and enclosed by a low hedge: the immediate vicinity was distinguished from the surrounding bleak and desolate country by a few trees, dropped as if by accident in the desart. The Countess Bertrand received us in the midst of her family, in a small, low, uncomfortable apartment, which was rendered still more incommodious in consequence of some repairs in another part of the house, from whence the furniture had been removed; so that sofas, beds, and tables, were huddled together where they had no proper places. The good lady herself seemed to be suffering from toothache; the day was cold, and the scanty fire scarcely warmed the room; a little child was moaning in its mother’s arms, and in short, everything wore an air of discomfort. The person most concerned, however, appeared to be the least sensible of anything being wrong, and received us with smiles and kindness, and spared us all apology for the disorganized state of her establishment. Several very pretty children hearing the voices of strangers, came running in, and played merrily round us during all our stay, unconscious, poor little things, of the strange reverses of fortune under which their parents were suffering. The Countess appeared a remarkably lady-like person; and what was more to our purpose, spoke English perfectly well, and soon gained our good-will by the active interest she took in the object we had so much at heart, and on which alone we could think or speak. In a short time she had wrought herself into s much anxiety about our seeing the Emperor, that a stranger coming in might have thought she was one of the party who were endeavouring to see him for the first time. Her husband was also very obliging, and seemed willing to forward our views as much as lay in his power; but he partook little of the vivacity of his wife, and seemed upon the whole rather out of spirits, and not altogether pleased with his situation. He described himself, indeed, as having suffered considerably in health from the confinement and the insalubrious air of the climate.

“After sitting for about half an hour chatting on various topics, but always coming round to the original subject which filled our thoughts. Count Bertrand caught some portion of the interest we felt, and in which his wife so strongly participated. He said it was just possible the Emperor might admit us; at all events he would wait upon him, to communicate our wishes, and return presently to let us know how he had fared in his mission. The interval was passed in a state of the utmost anxiety, and at every casual sound which we thought might be Count Bertrand’s footstep, we started up, in expectation of a summons. Madame Bertrand meanwhile alternately consoled us, and rallied us upon our taking the matter so much to heart. Half an hour at least elapsed before we heard anything of his success: at length the door opened, and instead of the Grand Marshal himself, a servant entered and said he was desired to tell us, that the Emperor, on returning from his walk, had thrown off his coat, and lain down on the sofa; in short, that he did not choose to receive any visitors.

“Here, then, was a termination to all our expectations; and we rose to take leave with a mixed feeling of regret at having lost the pleasure we had promised ourselves; some degree of provocation at Napoleon’s cavalier treatment of us; and perhaps a little dash of self-reproach, for having given the whole affair such immense importance.

“After mounting our horses, and riding away for about a quarter of a mile, it was recollected we had not seen Dr. O’Meara on leaving the grounds of Longwood; and, having heard that this gentleman was intimately acquainted with Buonaparte’s disposition and habits, we turned our horses’ heads back again, and found the Doctor at the gate. He gave us little or no hopes of accomplishing a sight of Buonaparte by any means he could think of; and we were just coming away, when I chanced to mention my regret at not seeing the Emperor, as I wished to ask about Brienne, where my father, Sir James Hall, had passed some time at the very period he was a student at the iMilitary College there. Dr. O’Meara said this materially altered the case, since Buonaparte took great interest in every circumstance relative to Brienne, however minute, and might very possibly have admitted me, had he known more particularly who I was. He added, that Buonaparte had already made some inquiries respecting the Lyra’s voyage to the East, but was not sufficiently interested by what he had heard, to see me on that account alone; and that some farther motive was wanting to induce him to afford me an audience. It was now, however, long past his usual hour of seeing company, and Dr. O’Meara recommended us to go away for the night, promising, if an opportunity occurred, to speak to him on the subject; and, if anything encouraging took place, to inform the Governor of it by telegraph. With this slender hope we again left Longwood; my friends took the direct road to James’s Town, while I recrossed the hills to Plantation-House.

“We were greatly surprised next morning not to receive any telegraphic message, favourable or otherwise; but I kept my horse at the door, saddled, and all ready to start at a moment’s warning. At one o’clock it was discovered that a signal had been made and duly received, more than an hour before, at the gate of Plantation-House, to the following effect: – ‘General Buonaparte wishes to see Captain Hall at two o’clock.’ The signal-man, knowing nothing of me, naturally conceived that I must be in James’s Town, and repeated the signal to the Fort, near the anchorage; so that it was not until the message had been transmitted back again from the town to Plantation-House, that I knew anything of the matter.

“It was as much as I could now do to save my time, by galloping at the risk of my neck over the hills to Longwood, at the gate of which I found the other gentlemen, who had hurried from the ship on hearing of the signal. The Countess Bertrand, to whose house we were conducted, was un-affectedly delighted to hear the news. Her rooms were now all in order, the toothache gone, and everything wore a more smiling aspect than on the day before.

"The Count informed us it was the Emperor’s desire that I should be introduced first, alone, and my companions afterwards, together. As I had been told of his impatient manner to those who understood French imperfectly, I requested General Bertrand to be present, in case I should happen not to understand what was said, or, from want of familiarity with the language, not be able to make myself understood. He assured me that there need be no difficulty on this head; and observed, that I was quite mistaken in supposing the Emperor at all impatient on such occasions, since, on the contrary, he was extremely considerate, and always ready to make allowances. Thus reassured, I proceeded to an anti-room, where I waited for about ten minutes, till a servant announced, that his Majesty the Emperor was ready to receive me.

“On entering the room, I saw Buonaparte standing before the fire, with his head leaning on his hand, and his elbow resting on the chimney. piece. He looked up, and came forward two paces, returning my salutation with a careless sort of bow, or nod. His first question was, ‘What is your name?’ and, upon my answering, he said, ‘Ah, – Hall – I knew your father when I was at the Military College of Brienne – I remember him perfectly – he was fond of mathematics – he did not associate much with the younger part of the scholars, but rather with the priests and professors, in another part of the town from that in which we lived.’ He then paused for an instant, and as he seemed to expect me to speak, I remarked, that I had often heard my father mention the circumstance of his having been at Brienne during the period referred to; but had never supposed it possible that a private individual could be remembered at such a distance of time, the interval of which had been filled with so many important events. ‘Oh no,’ exclaimed he, ‘it is not in the least surprising; your father was the first Englishman I ever saw, and I have recollected him all my life on that account.’

“It may be right to mention here, that although the conversation was carried on entirely in French, I prefer reporting it in English, as I can be certain of conveying the correct meaning in a translation, while I could hardly pretend to give the precise words in the original language; certainly not the exact turn of expression; and a false conception might therefore be formed of what passed. The notes from which this account is drawn up, were made within a few hours after leaving Longwood, before I slept, or was engaged in any other occupation. But in fact, the impression left upon my mind by the whole scene dwelt on my thoughts, to the exclusion of almost every thing else, for many days afterwards.

"In a few seconds after making this remark, Buonaparte asked, with a playful expression of countenance, as if stunned with what he was saying. ‘Have you ever heard your father speak of me?’ I replied instantly, ‘Very often.’ Upon which he said, in a quick, sharp tone, ’ What does he say of me?’ The manner in which this was spoken seemed to demand an immediate reply, and I said that I had often heard him express great admiration of the encouragement he had always given to science while he was Emperor of the French. He laughed and nodded repeatedly, as if gratified by what was said.

“His next question was, ‘Did you ever hear your father express any desire to see me?’ I replied that I had heard him often say there was no man alive so well worth seeing, and that he had strictly enjoined me to wait upon him if ever I should have an opportunity.’ ‘Very well,’ retorted Buonaparte, ‘if he really considers me such a curiosity, and is so desirous to see me, why does he not come to St. Helena for that purpose?’ I was at first at a loss to know whether this question was put seriously or ironically; but as I saw him waiting for an answer, I said my father had too many occupations and duties to fix him at home. ‘Has he any public duties? Does he fill a public station?’ I told him, ‘none of an official nature; but that he was President of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the duties of which claimed a good deal of his time and attention. This observation gave rise to a series of inquiries respecting the constitution of the society in question. He made me describe the duties of all the office-bearers, from the president to the secretary, and the manner in which scientific papers were brought before the society’s notice: he seemed much struck, I thought, and rather amused, with the custom of discussing subjects publicly at the meetings in Edinburgh. When I told him the number of members was several hundreds, he shook his head, and said, ‘All these cannot surely be men of science!’ When he had satisfied himself on this topic, he reverted to the subject of my father, and after seeming to make a calculation, observed, ‘Your father must, I think, be my senior by nine or ten years – at least nine – but I think ten. Tell me, is it not so?’ I answered, that he was very nearly correct. Upon which he laughed and turned almost completely round on his heel, nodding his head several times. I did not presume to ask him where the joke lay, but imagined he was pleased with the correctness of his computation. He followed up his enquiries by begging to know what number of children my father had; and did not quit this branch of the subject till he had obtained a correct list of the ages and occupation of the whole family. He then asked, ‘How long were you in France?’ and on my saying I had not yet visited that country, he desired to know where I had learned French. I said, from Frenchmen on board various ships of war. ‘Were you the prisoner amongst the French,’ he asked, ‘or were they your prisoners?’ I told him my teachers were French officers captured by the ships I had served in. He then desired me to describe the details of the chase and capture of the ships we had made prize of; but soon seeing that this subject afforded no point of any interest, he cut it short by asking me about the Lyra’s voyage to the Eastern Seas, from which I was now returning. This topic proved a new and fertile source of interest, and he engaged in it, accordingly, with the most astonishing degree of eagerness.

“The opportunities which his elevated station had given Napoleon of obtaining information on almost every subject, and his vast power of rapid and correct observation, had rendered it a matter of so much difficulty to place before him anything totally new, that I considered myself fortunate in having something to speak of beyond the mere common places of a formal interview. Buonaparte has always been supposed to have taken a particular interest in Eastern affairs; and from the avidity with which he seemed to devour the information I gave him about Loo-Choo, China, and the adjacent countries, it was impossible to doubt the sincerity of his oriental predilections. A notion also prevails, if I am not mistaken, that his geographical knowledge of those distant regions was rather loose – a charge which, by the way, Buonaparte probably shares with most people. I was, therefore, not a little surprised to discover his ideas upon the relative situation of the countries in the China and Japan seas to be very distinct and precise. On my naming the island of Loo-Choo to him, he shook his head as if he had never heard of it before, and made me tell him how it bore from Canton, and what was the distance. He next asked its bearing with respect to Japan and Manilla, by the intersection of which three lines, in his imagination, he appeared to have settled its position pretty accurately, since every observation he made afterwards appeared to imply a recollection of this particular point. For instance, when he spoke of the probability of the manners and institutions of the Loo-Chooans having been influenced by the interference of other countries, he drew correct inferences as far as geographical situation was concerned. Having settled where the island lay, he cross-questioned me about the inhabitants with a closeness – I may call it a severity of investigation – which far exceeds everything I have met with in any other instance. His questions were not by any means put at random, but each one had some definite reference to that which preceded it or was about to follow. I felt in a short time so completely exposed to his view, that it would have been impossible to have concealed or qualified the smallest particular. Such, indeed, was the rapidity of his apprehension of the subjects which interested him, and the astonishing ease with which he arranged and generalized the few points of information I gave him, that he sometimes outstripped my narrative, saw the conclusion I was coming to before I spoke it, and fairly robbed me of my story.

“Several circumstances, however, respecting the Loo-Choo people, surprised even him a good deal; and I had the satisfaction of seeing him more than once completely perplexed, and unable to account for the phenomena which I related. Nothing struck him so much as their having no arms. ‘Point d’armes!’ be exclaimed, ‘c’est à dire point de cannons – ils ont des fusils?’ Not even muskets, I replied. ‘Eh bien donc – des lances, ou, au moins, des arcs et des flêches?’ I told him they had neither one nor other. ‘Ni poignards?’ cried, he with increased vehemence. No, none. ‘Mais!’ said Buonaparte, clenching his fist, and raising his voice to a loud pitch, ‘Mais! sans armes, comment se bat-on?’

“I could only reply, that as far as we had been able to discover, they had never had any wars, but remained in a state of internal and external peace. ‘No wars!’ cried he, with a scornful and incredulous expression, as if the existence of any people under the sun without wars was a monstrous anomaly.

“In like manner, but without being so much moved, he seemed to discredit the account I gave him of their having no money, and of their setting no value upon our silver or gold coins. After hearing these facts stated, be mused for some time, muttering to himself, in a low tone, ‘Not know the use of money – are careless about gold and silver.’ Then looking up, he asked, sharply, ‘How then did you contrive to pay these strangest of all people for the bullocks and other good things which they seem to have sent on board in such quantities?’ When I informed him that we could not prevail upon the people of Loo-Choo to receive payment of any kind, he expressed great surprise at their liberality, and made me repeat to him twice, the list of things with which we were supplied by these hospitable islanders.

“I had carried with me, at Count Bertrand’a suggestion, some drawings of the scenery and costume of Loo-Choo and Corea, which I found of use in describing the inhabitants. When we were speaking of Corea, he took one of the drawings from me, and running his eye over the different parts, repeated to himself, ‘An old man with a very large bat, and long white beard, ha! – a long pipe in his band – a Chinese mat – a Chinese dress, – a man near him writing – all very good and distinctly drawn.’ He then required me to tell him where the different parts of these dresses were manufactured, and what were the different prices – questions I could not answer. He wished to be informed as to the state of agriculture in Loo-Choo – whether they ploughed with horses or bullocks – how they managed their crops, and whether or not their fields were irrigated like those in China, where, as he understood, the system of artificial watering was carried to a great extent. The climate, the aspect of the country, the structure of the houses and boats, the fashion of their dresses, even to the minutest particular in the formation of their straw sandals and tobacco pouches, occupied his attention. He appeared considerably amused at the pertinacity with which they kept their women out of our sight, but repeatedly expressed himself much pleased with Captain Maxwell’s moderation and good sense, in forbearing to urge any point upon the natives, which was disagreeable to them, or contrary to the laws of their country. He asked many questions respecting the religion of China and Loo-Choo, and appeared well aware of the striking resemblance between the appearance of the Catholic Priests and the Chinese Bonzes; a resemblance which, as he remarked, extends to many parts of the religious ceremonies of both. Here, however, as he also observed, the comparison stops; since the Bonzes of China exert no influence whatsoever over the minds of the people, and never interfere in their temporal or eternal concerns. In Loo« Choo, where everything else is so praiseworthy, the low state of the priesthood is as remarkable as in the neighbouring continent, an anomaly which Buonaparte dwelt upon for some time without coming to any satisfactory explanation.

"With the exception of a momentary fit of scorn and incredulity when told that the Loo-Chooans had no wars or weapons of destruction, he was in high good humour while examining me on those topics. The cheerfulness, I may almost call it familiarity, with which he conversed, not only put me quite at ease in his presence, but made me repeatedly forget that respectful attention with which it was my duty, as well as my wish on every account, to treat the fallen monarch. The interest he took in topics which were then uppermost in my thoughts, was a natural source of fresh animation in my own case; and I was thrown off my guard, more than once, and unconsciously addressed him with an unwarrantable degree of freedom. When, however, I perceived my error, and of course checked myself, he good-humouredly encouraged me to go on in the same strain, in a manner so sincere and altogether so kindly, that I was in the next instant as much at my ease as before.

“‘What do these Loo-Choo friends of yours know of other countries?’ he asked. I told him they were acquainted only with China and Japan. ‘Yes, yes,’ continued he; ‘but of Europe? What do they know of us?’ I replied, ‘They know nothing of Europe at all; they know nothing about France or England; neither,’ I added, ‘have they ever heard of your Majesty.’ Buonaparte laughed heartily at this extraordinary particular in the history of Loo-Choo, a circumstance, he may well have thought, which distinguished it from every other corner of the known world.

“I held in my hand a drawing of Sulphur Island, a solitary and desolate rock in the midst of the Japan sea. He looked at it for a moment, and cried out, ‘Why this is St. Helena itself.’ When he had satisfied himself about our voyage, or at least had extracted everything I could tell him about it, he returned to the subject which had first occupied him, and said in an abrupt way, ‘Is your father an Edinburgh Reviewer?’ I answered, that the names of the authors of that work were kept secret, but that some of my father’s works had been criticised in the journal alluded to. Upon which he turned half round on his heel towards Bertrand, and nodding several times, said, with a significant smile, ‘Ha! ha!’ as if to imply his perfect knowledge of the distinction between author and critic.

“Buonaparte then said, ‘Are you married?’ and upon my replying in the negative, continued, ‘Why not? What is the reason you don’t marry?’ I was somewhat at a loss for a good answer, and remained silent. He repeated his question, however, in such a way, that I was forced to say something, and told him I had been too busy all my life; besides which, I was not in circumstances to marry. He did not seem to understand me, and again wished to know why I was a bachelor. I told him I was too poor a man to marry. ‘Aha!’ he cried, ‘I now see – want of money – no money – yes, yes!’ and laughed heartily; in which I joined, of course, though to say the truth, I did not altogether see the humorous point of the joke.

“The last question he put related to the size and force of the vessel I commanded, and then he said, in a tone of authority, as if he had some influence in the matter, ‘you will reach England in thirty-five days’ – a prophecy, by the by, which failed miserably in the accomplishment, as we took sixty-two days, and were nearly starved into the bargain. After this remark he paused for about a quarter of a minute, and then making me a slight inclination of his head, wished me a good voyage, and stepping back a couple of paces, allowed me to retire.

"My friends, Mr. Clifford and Mr. Harvey, were now presented to him. He put some civil commonplace questions, and after an audience of a few minutes, dismissed them.

“Buonaparte struck me as differing considerably from the pictures and busts I had seen of him. His face and figure looked much broader and more square, larger, indeed, in every way, than any representation I had met with. His corpulency, at this time universally reported to be excessive, was by no means remarkable. His flesh looked, on the contrary, firm and muscular. There was not the least trace of colour in his cheeks; in fact, his skin was more like marble than ordinary flesh. Not the smallest trace of a wrinkle was discernible on his brow, nor an approach to a furrow on any part of bis countenance. His health and spirits, judging from appearances, were excellent; though at this period it was generally believed in England, that he was fast sinking under a complication of diseases, and that his spirits were entirely gone. His manner of speaking was rather slow than otherwise, and perfectly distinct: he waited with great patience and kindness for my answers to his questions, and a reference to Count Bertrand was necessary only once during the whole conversation. The brilliant and sometimes dazzling expression of his eye could not be overlooked. It was not, however, a permanent lustre, for it was only remarkable when lie was excited by some point of particular interest. It is impossible to imagine an expression of more entire mildness, I may almost call it of beniguity and kindliness, than that which played over his features during the whole interview. If, therefore, he were at this time out of health and in low spirits, his power of self command must have been even more extraordinary than is generally supposed; for his whole deportment, his conversation, and the expression of his countenance, indicated a frame in perfect health, and a mind at ease.

“We sailed next morning from St. Helena, and reached England in the middle of October, 1817, after an absence of twenty months. In that brief interval we had traversed a distance of nearly forty-two thousand miles, or little short of twice the circuit of the globe, having visited great part of the coast of China, many islands of the Eastern Archipelago and Japan Seas, several of the principal stations on the continent and islands of India, and twice rounded the Cape of Good Hope.”

Captain Hall obtained post-rank, Nov. 5, 1817; and subsequently made a tour on the continent of Europe. In May, 1820, he was appointed to the Conway 26; and on the 10th Aug. following, he sailed from England for the South American station. After touching at Teneriffe, Rio de Janeiro, and the River Plate, he received orders from Commodore Sir Thomas Hardy to proceed to Valparaiso, where he arrived “at a moment when the Christmas festivities were at their height; and multitudes of people had been attracted from the country to witness the bull-fights and other shews.” The following are extracts from a journal written by him while employed on the coasts of Chill, Peru, and Mexico, in the years 1820, 1821, and 1822:–

“Whilst we were establishing an agreeable acquaintance with the inhabitants of the capital, our intercourse was suddenly cut short by a circumstance which obliged me to return with my officers to the port. Accounts had reached Santiago, that a French line-of-battle ship and a frigate had touched at Conception, and intended soon to visit Valparaiso. The arrival of such a force at this moment, excited considerable sensation among the Chilians, many of whom entertained apprehensions of its object being hostile. Whatever might be the intention of the French Admiral towards the Chilians, I felt it right to be on board the Conway at the time of his arrival; and therefore lost not a moment in returning to Valparaiso. To quit the capital at this time was to me a matter of considerable regret, both on account of the agreeable society, and of the importance of cultivating the personal acquaintance of men with whom I was likely afterwards to hold official intercourse.

“The independence of the South American states had not yet been acknowledged by England; neither had any consuls, or accredited political agents, been sent out. The commercial intercourse, however, between the two countries, being already very extensive, and every day increasing, points of doubt often arose, which made it necessary to open frequent correspondence of a diplomatic aud commercial nature with the various local governments. The only constituted authority on the part of England, in that quarter of the globe, was the naval commander-in chief; and upon him necessarily devolved the whole responsibility of all these discussions. The task was one of great difficulty and importance, chiefly from the vast extent of his command, and the uncertainty and delay of all communications. The varying nature also of every political relation in those countries – the instability and inexperience of the governments – the agitated state of the public mind, with the consequent absence of mercantile confidence – the novelty, in short, of every institution – all conspired to complicate, in a remarkable degree, a subject at no time simple, or of easy management. Owing to the difficulty of communication between the different parts of the station, it became impossible for the commander-in-chief to attend to the details of business at more than one spot: the ships of the squadron were therefore distributed at those points where the presence of a British authority was most essentially required, namely, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil; Buenos Ayres in the River Plate; Valparaiso in Chili; Lima in Peru; and San Blas on the coast of Mexico. There were, besides, many intermediate ports, where the activity of our merchants had found means to introduce a taste for our manufactures; and all these places required to be occasionally visited, that the British interest might not want protection.

“Without going into details which might perhaps seem tedious, it would be difficult to give a comprehensive view of the various duties, which at this juncture devolved upon the captains of his Majesty’s ships, stationed along the coast of South America and Mexico, It may be sufficient to mention, that as the whole of the consulate affairs fell to their charge, every dispute which arose between British subjects and the local governments was necessarily carried on through them. This was rather a new class of obligations for naval officers, but it was one which, from their being the only disinterested individuals on the spot, they alone were qualified to undertake. The greater number of the misunderstandings alluded to arose out of commercial regulations, which the merchants complained of as oppressive; sometimes they originated in the actual seizure of English vessels, on the plea that attempts were made to introduce goods without paying the established duties; sometimes the merchants were accused of concealing Spanish property in their ships; at others the laws of the port, or of the country generally, were said to be infringed, the imputed delinquency being followed by imprisonment, or by confiscation of property. On these, and many other occasions, appeals to Government, from the captains of his Majesty’s ships, were looked for; it was, however, their special duty merely to remonstrate, and, if possible, to arrange matters amicably, but on no occasion to threaten or to act hostilely without instructions from the commander-in-chief, in reply to the representations made to him of all the circumstances. But, in almost every case, it was of immediate consequence to the advancement of the commercial interests, that such disputes as have been alluded to should be settled at the moment. The state of trade, indeed, and of every political circumstance in these countries, was liable to such perpetual fluctuation, that, long before an answer could be received from the Commodore, every thing material in the case might be altered. The impossibility of foretelling changes, or of estimating, with any precision, the probable effect of the great political convulsions by which the country was torn, rendered it a matter of great difficulty for the commander-in-chief to give instructions to his officers, for whose proceedings, however, he was officially responsible. Still less, it may be supposed, could his Majesty’s Government at home have any clear conception of what ought to be the details of management, in the midst of such a prodigious confusion of circumstances, varying every hour. In the end, it became obvious that the only method was, to make the officers well aquainted with the general principles by which their conduct was to be regulated, and to leave them afterwards, as a matter of absolute necessity, to act to the best of their judgment and abilities, according to circumstances, but always in the spirit of their instructions. With every possible care, however, cases would sometimes occur, so difficult and complicated, as to seem utterly incapable of adjustment, without an extension of their powers. On such occasions, a reference to higher authority became indispensable.

“The port duties, on the other hand, were of an easier nature, relating chiefly to matters of difference between our own countrymen, and regulated, to a certain extent, by established written authorities, which might be referred to. As the number of merchant ships in harbour was generally considerable, these discussions became very engrossing, and, when super-added to our ordinary professional avocations, often left us little leisure for attending to the novel scenes of a local and characteristic nature, daily passing around us.

“It will readily be understood how materially oar objects, in the official intercourse above alluded to, were likely to be forwarded by a previous personal acquaintance with the parties on both sides of the question. For it often happened that both were to blame; and the only mode of adjustment, therefore, was by compromise, through the instrumentality of a disinterested third party, the success of whose interference would evidently depend very much upon his knowledge of the respective characters of the disputants. It was on this account, chiefly, that I wished to have remained longer in the capital, to have seen more of the different members of Government, as well as to extend my acquaintance amongst the English residents, and the merchants of the country.

“I reached Valparaiso before the French ships made their appearance, and was much struck with the ill-suppressed anxiety with which the inhabitants awaited the event. National pride forbade the expression of any alarm, but a knowledge of the defenceless state of the place filled them with very natural apprehension. Nothing, however, as the event proved, could be more unfounded than such fears; for the Frenchmen, after a short and friendly visit, sailed away again, carrying off the hearts of half the ladies of the port.”

On the 22d Jan. 1821, the Owen Glendower frigate arrived at Valparaiso; and on the 27th, the Conway sailed for Callao, the sea-port of Lima, where she arrived after a passage of nine days.

“At the time of our arrival, the state of Peru, both domestic and political,, was highly interesting, though differing in almost every particular from that of Chili.

“In Chili, national independence had been for several years established, and a free and extensive commerce had, as a natural consequence, speedily sprung up; knowledge was gradually making its way; the moral and political bonds in which the minds of the people had been so long constrained were broken asunder: and the consequences of such freedom were rapidly developing themselves in a thousand shapes. In Peru, on the contrary, the word Independence was now heard for the first time; but as yet only in whispers, under the protection of San Martin’s cannon. In Lima, where such free sentiments were still deemed treasonable, prejudice and error had established their head-quarters; and the obstinate bigotry with which old customs and opinions were adhered to, was rather strengthened than diminished by the apprehension of a total subversion of the whole system. The contrast between the two countries. Chili and Peru, as it met our eyes, was most striking; and if due justice could be done to the description of each, a pleasing inference would be drawn by every Englishman in favour of the popular side of the question.

“The contrast between a country in a state of war, and one in a state of peace, was, perhaps, never more strikingly displayed than upon this occasion: but, besides the interest arising out of such contrast, as applicable to the states of peace and war, the view was curious and instructive, as displaying the rapid effect produced by a change in the government of one of the two countries. As long as both were similarly administered, Peru had an infinite advantage over Chili in wealth and importance; but as soon as Chili became independent, she at once assumed the superiority.

“We left Valparaiso harbour filled with shipping; its custom-house wharfs piled high with goods, too numerous and bulky for the old warehouses; the road between the port and the capital was always crowded with convoys of mules, loaded with every kind of foreign manufacture; while numerous ships were busy taking in cargoes of the wines, corn , and other articles, the growth of the country; and large sums of treasure were daily embarked for Europe, in return for goods already distributed over the interior. A spirit of enquiry and intelligence animated the whole society; schools were multiplied in every town; libraries established; and every encouragement given to literature and the arts: and as travelling was free, passports were unnecessary. In the manners, and even in the gait of every man, might be traced the air of conscious freedom and independence. In dress also a total change had very recently taken place, and from the same causes. The former uncouth, and almost savage costume of the ladies, and the slovenly cloaks worn by the men, had given way to the fashions of Europe: and although these may be deemed circumstances almost too minute to mention, they are not unimportant when connected with feelings of national pride, heretofore unknown. It is by these, and a multitude of other small changes, that these people are constantly reminded of their past compared with their present situation; and it is of essential use to their cause, that they should take delight in assimilating themselves, even in trifles, with other independent nations of the world.

“No such changes, and no such sentiments, were as yet to be found in Peru. In the harbour of Callao, the shipping were crowded into a corner, encircled by gun-boats, close under the fort, and with a strong boom drawn round them. The custom-house was empty, and the door locked; no bales of goods rose in pyramids on the quays; no loaded mules covered the road from Callao to Lima; nor during the whole ascent was an individual to be seen, except, perhaps, a solitary courier galloping towards the fortress. In Lima itself the difference was as striking: jealousy and distrust of one another, and still more of strangers, tilled every breast; disappointment and fear, aggravated by personal inconvenience and privation, broke up all agreeable society; rendering this once great, luxurious, and happy city, one of the most wretched places on earth.

“Lima was not, however, on this account, the less interesting to a stranger: and although we often regretted not seeing it in its days of glory, we could not but esteem ourselves fortunate, in having an opportunity of witnessing the effect of a combination of circumstances, not likely to be met with again. The immediate cause of this unhappy state of things, was the spirit of independence which had recently burst forth in South America; and it may be remarked, that none of those free states have achieved their liberty without first running a similar course of suffering – a sort of ordeal, to purify them from the contamination of their former degradation.

“Lima, up to this period, had been exempted from the sufferings of the countries by which she was surrounded. It is true there had been wars of a revolutionary character, in the interior of Peru; but their desolating effect had not till now reached the capital, the inhabitants of which went on in their usual style of splendid luxury, in thoughtless ease and security, till the enemy came and knocked at the ‘silver gates of the city of the kings,’ as Lima was proudly called in the days of her magnificence. San Martin’s expedition took the Limenians quite by surprise; for they had always held Chili in contempt, as a mere appendage to Peru, from which no attack could be apprehended. The attack, however, was made, by land and by sea; and while San Martin was making head steadily with his troops drawing nearer and nearer to the capital, cutting off its supplies, and gaining over to his cause all the districts through which he passed; Lord Cochrane swept the sea of Spanish ships; blockaded the Peruvian ports; and carried off their finest frigate, from under the very guns of their strongest fort.

“The violent irritation produced in Lima, by these operations of the enemy was quite natural; for the fortunes of the inhabitants, who had been accustomed for ages to revel in luxury and wealth, were now reduced to the lowest ebb; and the Spaniards, proud by birth and education, were cut to the soul by such humiliating reverses, of which these unaccustomed privations made them only the more sensible. As they were aware that Lord Cochrane and the greater part of his officers and crew were English, it was to be expected they would be jealous and distrustful of all Englishmen, however unconnected with the Chilians, or however circumspect in their conduct. A person professing neutrality is placed in an awkward situation, between two contending parties: his indifference is ascribed to ill-will – the slightest expression which escapes him in favour of the other party is resented as hostility – and any agreement, on a single point, is instantly seized upon as an indubitable proof of his friendly disposition.

“To a mere traveller, this state of things might have been amusing enough; but to us, who had a particular line of conduct to pursue, and a number of objects to attend to, it was frequently the source of considerable embarrassment. We were obliged to communicate occasionally with both parties, on business relative to commerce, and other matters affecting the British interests; and as th« nature of the subject often required personal intercourse, we were inevitably led, at times, to a greater degree of apparent familiarity with one party, than the other could allow to be consistent with our professed neutrality. Each, however, in turn, invariably forgot this reflection, when the intercourse happened to be with themselves: so that, to maintain our neutral character on these occasions, and not at the same time to give offence, required some address. With the Chilians, who were advancing, it was not so difficult as with the Spaniards, who stood in need of countenance. The Chilians also had good reason to believe that we wished them success on account of our trade; as well as from the sentiments known to be expressed on the subject in England. But with the Spaniards, who were sinking in the world, it was otherwise: nothing would satisfy them but a declaration of cordial adherence to their cause, and hatred to that of the Insurgents, as they, in the bitterness of their hearts, called the Patriots. At the same time they always affected to despise their enemies, and to be perfectly indifferent to our opinion; yet, with the perversest spirit of inconsistency, they occupied themselves in watching us, and misinterpreting all our actions and expressions to such a degree, that nothing was too extravagant to be told and believed in Lima respecting our breaches of neutrality. It was in vain, by a frank and open behaviour, to hope to escape suspicion; for it had become a sort of disease amongst the Spaniards to suspect the English; and its symptoms were aggravated every moment by the increasing distresses to which they were exposed. It will be easily conceived that, under such circumstances, we had not much enjoyment in visiting Lima, and that, situated as we were, with many anxious duties to attend to, little leisure could be found to remark or to record peculiarities of society and manners.” * * * * * * *

“The Royalist army, in common with the people, as usual, referred every evil to the mismanagement of the executive government; and having decided, in their summary way, that the Viceroy was unfit to reign, they forthwith deposed him at the point of the bayonet; and raised one of their own Generals in his place. This strong measure had been carried into effect a few days before we arrived, and we found the city in considerable bustle, preparatory to the festivities usual on the installation of a new Viceroy. The soldiers, of course, were confident the change would immediately turn the fortunes of the day, and even in the city, a faint hope for a moment animated the inhabitants: but most reflecting persons saw clearly, that these violent proceedings only betrayed to the enemy their own want of union and discipline.

“As we were not, and, indeed, could not be competent judges of these proceedings, and were not accredited to any particular government or authority, we were always left free to take things as we found them, and to communicate with the person at the head of the government, for the time being, whoever he might be, and without enquiring how he got there. It thus became my duty to pay my respects to the new Viceroy, General La Serna; as it would have been to have waited on his predecessor, General Pezuela, had I arrived a few days sooner.” * * * * * * *

“Our interview, being merely ceremonial, was short, and led to nothing worth relating.

“Next morning we called upon the deposed Viceroy, rather as a civility than a duty, for his authority was utterly destroyed, and he had retired to his country-seat, called La Magdalene, not far from Lima. He was more dejected than we thought a haughty grandee ought to have been; but he explained this to us, by saying, that he felt deeply for this lost country, which he foresaw would never prosper under such rebellious guidance. Instead, however, of his being afflicted at the change, it is probable he secretly rejoiced at his dismissal from the command. He had done his duty as long as he could, by making a respectable stand against the enemy; and it was clear, that he must, ere long, have yielded up the capital, not so much to the force of San Martin’s army, as to the overwhelming influence of public sentiment, the tide of which had decidedly turned, and was at this time flowing directly against the Spanish authority.

“During the first few days, our thoughts were so much taken up with official duties, that little time was left for observing either the town or the society. We became every day more and more sensible of our precarious footing, and the necessity of observing the greatest circumspection in our intercourse with these jealous people. Living entirety on board ship, would at once have confirmed all their suspicions of our favouring the enemy, whose squadron was anchored in the outer roads; while residing altogether in Lima might have been attributed to our wish to spy into the nakedness of the land. The course we did follow, of being at Lima, or at Callao, or on board, as circumstances required though it did not exempt us from suspicion, was the best we could adopt, and we hoped, by caution and forbearance, to avoid giving cause of offence; but in this, as will be seen, we found ourselves much mistaken.” * * * * * *

“18th of Feb. – I learned, when at Lima this morning, that two officers of my ship had been arrested at Callao on the evening before, and were imprisoned in the Castle, on suspicion of being spies from Lord Cochrane’s Squadron, though landed by my boat. In ordinary times, had such a mistake happened, it would have been easily explained; but at a moment of such popular ferment, especially when the English were held in universal distrust, it was likely to prove a serious affair. All Lima was thrown into commotion by this circumstance; every one implicitly believed the story, and at Callao, the uproar was described as infinitely worse. At the time of receiving a report of this transaction from the ship, a letter from the Viceroy was put into my hands, stating that two persons, giving themselves out as officers of the Conway, had landed in my boat; and that, as five men at Callao had recognized and sworn to their having belonged to Lord Cochrane’s ship, they had been confined in the Castle; and the formal declarations of the witnesses were to be taken preparatory to the trial of the prisoners. I immediately waited on the Viceroy, and assured him there must be some mistake: but, in order to prevent all further misunderstanding, before making an official requisition to the Government for the officers to be delivered up, I wished to have access to them at Callao. This, however reasonable, was at first objected to, on the ground of improper communication; but as I merely asked to have the means of identifying their persons, an order was given for that purpose, which I carried with me to the Castle.

“The ferment at Callao, a place at all times liable to violent popular commotions, was supposed to be so great on this irritating occasion, that many people counselled me not to excite the mob to greater fury by showing myself amongst them. But it seemed very obvious that any delay in visiting my officers in confinement at this particular moment, would tend directly to confirm all the suspicions against them; and possibly lead to their being sacrificed to the fury of the populace. The executive Government, it was to be feared, possessed at this critical season no very great authority; and as the military partook deeply of the wild opinions of the people, their subordination, especially in a popular point like this, could not be relied on. I saw, too, with much regret, that whatever might be the issue of this affair, all chance of our remaining afterwards on any good understanding with the Spaniards was gone.

“On reaching Callao, I rode slowly through the streets, which were filled with people, over whose countenances hung a scowl that spoke any thing but civility or welcome; there was also some little murmuring, and an occasional appearance of surprise at my presence: but no violence or insult of any kind was offered to me.

“The Spaniards are so devoted to form, that my order for admission to the prisoners was required to pass through innumerable hands before I was permitted to look at them; and then I was not allowed to speak a word. This done, the prison doors were again locked, and I returned to Lima to make an official application to the Government for the individuals who had been arrested, and whom I had now identified as officers of my ship.

"There is some reason to think that the peaceable reception I met with at Callao was owing to a mere accident. All commercial intercourse between Chili and Peru having been cut off from the moment the expedition sailed, the only mode of communication between Valparaiso and Callao was by means of the neutral men-of-war; and as, in former times, there had been a constant intercourse between these two ports, and numerous connections had been formed between their respective inhabitants, the effects of the war were now severely felt in the interruption of correspondence. I have stated, that, at Valparaiso, I sometimes amused myself by going into the cottages to observe the habits of the lower classes; and as it happened that most of those people had some relative or connection settled at Callao, I was charged, on sailing, with many messages and letters, all of which, it may be mentioned as characteristic of the times, they insisted on my first reading in their presence, lest they should accidentally contain political matter likely to prove prejudicial to their correspondents, or to me the bearer. Shortly after my arrival at Peru. I took care to deliver all these letters and messages in person. The letters were few, but the neighbours flocked in on hearing that tidings had come from Valparaiso; and though many were disappointed, many also were made happy by hearing of their friends, from whom they had received no other direct communication for a long time. I had fortunately taken the precaution to write down the very words of the different, messages from the people at Valparaiso in my pocket-book; so that when these little memorandums were torn out and given to the parties, they became a sort of letter, and were prized as such by the receivers. For my own part, I was well satisfied with seeing people so easily made happy, and thought no more of the matter. Just now, however, when I had become an object of suspicion, and when the lives of two of my officers were at stake, it was of some consequence to maintain any good will that accident might have gained for me amongst the mob – a mob, it may be added, of a notoriously sanguinary character, since, on a recent occasion, they had actually put a whole boat’s crew to death, during a popular tumult. This occurred a few days after the capture of the Esmeralda, in consequence of an idea, equally preposterous with that which possessed them now, that the American frigate Macedonian had co-operated with Lord Cochrane upon that occasion.

“As I was mounting to return to Lima, on coming out of the Castle after seeing the officers, a crowd rapidly collected around me, seemingly in no cordial mood. I walked my horse deliberately to the nearest of the houses to which any letter or message from Valparaiso had been delivered, and under pretence of asking for a glass of water, stopped at the door. The people of the house came running out to receive me, and one of them said, in a tone partaking both of kindness and reproach, ‘Oh, Senor, I did not think you would have allowed spies to land in your boat.’ ‘And I, my good lady,’ said I, ‘never could have supposed you would allow such an absurd suspicion to enter your head.’ The crowd had, by this time, collected in great numbers round us, listening to all that passed, and many of my old acquaintances came forward to renew the subject of their Valparaiso friends. In this way the conversation went on for about ten minutes, after which I turned my horse towards Lima. The crowd opened a passage for me: and I was never afterwards molested or threatened in the slightest degree, though I passed through Callao several times every day during the next week, at a time when the hatred and suspicion of the English were at their greatest height.

“The delay of a Spanish pleyto, or cause, if, above all others, proverbial; and, therefore, it was not matter of surprise, however it might be of vexation, that the release of my officers was not obtained at once. An official letter was written to Government to require their restitution, as they had been identified by me, and I pledged myself, of course, to the truth of this statement. The difficulty was to determine the value of my word, as opposed to the oath of no less than five men at Callao, who had sworn, it seems, most positively, that they had recently seen these very officers doing duty on board Lord Cochrane’s ships; whereas, in point of fact, neither of them had ever set their foot on board any one of the Chilian squadron. The Viceroy admitted that the character of the witnesses was utterly worthless; but he did not, or, perhaps, could not, do me the justice to act upon that admission. It was clear enough that he doubted his own power; for he said very candidly, that the tide of popular feeling could not be safely resisted, without a little delay. This want of confidence on the part of the Executive Government was a real source of alarm; and I was made still more uneasy, by learning that the officers were to be tried by a military commission – an ominous court at best, and one, in such times, of a nature not to be trusted.

“The Viceroy told me, at this interview, that he had just received advices of ten or twelve deserters from the Chilian squadron having arrived: he had ordered them to Callao, that their evidence might also be taken in the case of the officers. The testimony of these men, he thought, would probably not agree with that of the first five witnesses, who might well be suspected of having concerted their story. This seemed sensible enough; but the manner in which the scheme was carried into execution was highly characteristic. The Government considered that they had done everything towards the advancement of justice, in originating the idea of this cross-evidence; and, therefore, merely gave an order for the deserters to be sent to Callao, without stating that they should be kept apart from the first witnesses: so that they absolutely were placed, for a whole night, in the same room with the very men whom they were sent to confront.

“I attended next morning, along with the officers, whilst the declarations of all the witnesses were taken, by the commission appointed for that purpose; when fifteen men swore on the cross to the fact of these two gentlemen, whom they pointed out, having served upwards of two years with Lord Cochrane. They were all men of the most abandoned character, and well known at Callao as such; but that circumstance mattered little, as their evidence ministered to the heated imagination and violent prejudices of the people. As far, therefore, as this sage inquiry went, it would certainly have left matters worse than it found them, had not three Spanish gentlemen voluntarily come forward, greatly to their honour, in the very face of the popular clamour, and in a manner well deserving our acknowledgments. Two of them were naval officers, the other a respectable merchant: all three had been prisoners of war on board Lord Cochrane’s ship at the time specified by the witnesses; and they swore positively, that neither of the prisoners had then been on board the flag-ship, nor in any other of the Patriot squadron.

“Had not the latter witnesses fortunately come forward, there is no saying what might have been the result of the inquiry. The military commission, however, appointed to consider the evidence, after a violent discussion, in the course of which it was seriously proposed to hang the officers as spies, agreed, by a small majority, to liberate them.

“The military commission took this occasion to recommend to Government, not to allow any stranger to land from the foreign ships in the roads, during these turbulent times. As this part of the despatch is curious, from showing the state of feeling at the moment, I subjoin a translation of it: ‘And in order to maintain the friendship and harmony so valuable to both nations; to place out of reach all motive of dissension; and to avoid misunderstandings between the English and Spaniards, which, in consequence of the opinions held at Lima, and still more at Callao, neither the prudence, the foresight, nor the zeal of the commanders can prevent; it seems necessary to the Government, under existing circumstances, (the port being blockaded by the Chilian squadron, under Lord Cochrane,) that all strange ships should anchor outside of the line, (of gun-boats,) and that no individuals, of whatever class and condition they be, shall come on shore. On the 23d of February, we accordingly embarked, and, for the present, took leave of Lima, without any great regret; for the period of our visit had been one of constant irritation and difficulty.

“Lord Cochrane, who had been at sea for some time, rejoined the blockading squadron in the roads just before the above discussion ended; and on the 24th, I had an interview with his Lordship, on board his flag-ship, the San Martin.

“On the 25th his Majesty’s ship Andromache returned to the anchorage; and on the 28th, with a ship full of passengers, I sailed for Chili.” * * * * *

Valparaiso, 19th March 1821. We anchored here yesterday evening, after eighteen days passage from Lima, which is considered rather quick, the average for ships of war being somewhat more than three weeks. I landed in the evening to deliver letters and messages, being principally in answer to those we had carried on last sailing from Valparaiso, and already alluded to in the account of our proceedings at Callao. Many of the people at Valparaiso would scarcely believe that we had been in Peru at all, not being acquainted with the expeditious manner in which passages are now made. We had been absent only seven weeks, whereas in old times as many months at least would have been required to have performed the same service. At the first house for which I had letters, the family received me with a look of disappointment, and begged reproachfully to have the letters returned, not supposing it possible that I could have delivered them; but when they beheld the answers, their joy and gratitude knew no bounds; the news of our arrival spread rapidly, and in ten minutes the house was filled with people beseeching us for letters. In no country could a more lively interest be expressed than by these persons for their absent friends; and this furnishes a complete answer to the statements so often made, of their coldness and indifference in their domestic relations. After delivering all my letters and messages, I was overpowered by questions from the ladies as to the appearance, manners, and various other qualities of persons whom they had not seen, but who had married into the families of their relatives in Peru. This was a hard task; but the little I recollected was extremely well bestowed, and it was pleasing to observe the effect which all this produced in developing character. Many people, who had always been cold and formal before, came up and offered their hands with a cordiality and frankness, quite contrary to what had seemed their natural disposition, but which proved ever afterwards sincere and steady.

“Just as I was leaving the house to return on board, two young men came to enquire for their sister, a widow lady, of whom they had not heard for more than a year. It so happened that this very person was one of my passengers, and nothing would satisfy the brothers and their wives, and two or three more, but going on board the Conway instantly, though it wan near midnight. Accordingly I stowed the whole party in my boat, and carried them off, to the great joy and astonishment of the widow.

“As the Commander-in-chief was at the capital, I proceeded there on the 23d to make my report.” * * * * * *

“From the 5th of April to the 26th of May, we remained at Valparaiso; but our occupations, however interesting to ourselves, were not of a nature to be here detailed. The few leisure moments which our professional avocations left us, were employed in making surveys, in astronomical observations, principally on a comet which remained in sight from the 1st of April to the 8th of June, and in experiments with Captain Kater’s pendulum, the object of which was to determine the figure of the earth.

“The observations on the comet were successful, as they furnished data for the computation of its orbit: a task performed by Dr. Brinkley of Dublin. The results of his computations have been published, together with the original observations, in the Philosophical Transactions for 1822.

“The experiments with the pendulum were of a more delicate and complicated nature, and required much care and exclusive attention. But the circumstances under which we were placed deprived us of that degree of leisure and abstracted thought, which this difficult and extensive problem requires. In all its details, however, it carries along with it the liveliest interest; yet only those who have been similarly employed can have a correct idea of the cruel disappointment which a cloudy night, or any other interruption, produces in the midst of a series of observations. On such occasions, when all our hopes were gone, and our day’s labour wasted, for want of a few clear hours of star-light, we employed the unwished-for leisure in visiting our neighbours near the observatory, or in calling on the English residents, and other well-informed persons. In this manner we were enabled to form a tolerable estimate of the state of political feeling at Valparaiso, where the intercourse with strangers was the greatest; and by comparing it with that at Santiago, of which also, we had now seen a good deal, to draw conclusions on the grand question of the effect of the Revolution on public opinion throughout the country.” * * * * * *

On the 26th May, Captain Hall sailed from Valparaiso, and proceeded along the coast towards Lima. During the greater part of this voyage the land was in sight, and he had many opportunities of seeing not only the Andes, but other interesting features of the country. On the 7th June, he anchored off Arica, and on landing found the town almost completely deserted, and exhibiting in every part marks of having been recently the scene of military operations. In the evening of the 9th, he had a fine view of the Cordillera, or highest ridge of the Andes, not less than between 80 and 100 miles off. On the 12th, he anchored at Ylo, a town which, as well as Arica, is often celebrated in the voyages of Dampier and the old Buccaneers. “We landed,” says he, “at a little sandy beach, sheltered from the swell of the sea by a reef of rocks, on which the surf broke with prodigious violence, and covered half the bay with foam. We were greeted by two men and a woman: the lady was evidently a native: her two companions also were deeply dyed with aboriginal blood; one was a young and active man, the other an old ragged beggar-like person. I asked the first to point out the Alcaldé’s house. ‘This is the Alcaldé himself,’ said he, pointing to his aged companion; and certainly, of all the constituted authorities whom we had to deal with on the shores of the Pacific, the ‘Alcaldé or Mayor’ of Ylo was the least like what the imagination conceives of a chief magistrate. But things must be judged with reference to their mutual fitness; and in this view, our shabby Alcaldé was appropriate to his office; for in his town we encountered only three living things – a half-dressed wild-looking patriot soldier – an Indian from the mountains, asleep in the middle of the street – and a lean, half-starved, solitary jack-ass. On our way back, the Alcaldé told us the cause of the present deserted state of the town, and described the miseries of the war in language which showed him worthy of a higher office. We invited him to go on board the Conway, but could not prevail upon him to accompany us.”

“In the morning of the 13th June, we anchored in the open roads of Mollendo, for there are no harbours on this coast; in circumstance nearly immaterial, since the wind is always so gentle, that ships anchor and lie exposed in perfect security. The water being deep, vessels are obliged to approach the shore, within a quarter of a mile, before they can find anchoring ground; and, as there is nothing to break the prodigious swell which rolls in from the Pacific against the rocky coast, a surf is caused of enormous magnitude, which dashes up and roars along the base of the cliffs in the most terrific manner, trying the nerves of strangers, who, in spite of their conviction that all is safe, and that no storm will occur, cannot at once divest themselves of the most disagreeable associations, connected with a shore so formidable in appearance.

“The operation of landing, at such a place, is both difficult and dangerous, especially at the full and change of the moon, when the swell is always much increased; a remark which applies to the whole coast. I had been told that ships’ boats seldom succeeded in crossing the surf, and that the balsa, or canoe of the country, was the proper thing to use; I made the experiment, however, in my own boat, which was accordingly swamped, and I got soundly ducked for my pains. The balsa, which we employed ever afterwards, is made of two entire seal-skins inflated, placed side by side, and connected by cross pieces of wood, and strong lashings of thongs; over all a platform of cane mats forms a sort of deck, about four feet wide, and six or eight feet long. At one end the person who manages the balsa kneels down, and by means of a double-bladed paddle, which he holds by the middle, and strikes alternately on each side, moves it swiftly along; the passengers, or goods, being placed on the platform behind him. The buoyancy of these balsas enables them to cross the surf in safety, and without wetting the passengers, at times when an ordinary boat would inevitably be swamped. All the goods which go to the interior, at this part of the coast, are landed in this manner. The great bars of silver, and the bags of dollars also, which are shipped in return for the merchandize landed, pass through the surf on these tender, though secure conveyances.

“The Alcaldé, or Governor, was a more dignified personage than our friend at Ylo, inasmuch as he had under him a guard of six soldiers, and a population of nearly one hundred souls. As he treated us in the best manner he could, it was but common civility to give him and his friends a dinner in return. Such grotesque-looking company, however, having rarely been seen before to enter the cabin, many a smile was raised on board the ship at the expence of the captain and his guests.

“On the 20th we left Mollendo, and sailed along the coast with a fresh and fair wind, till the evening of the 24th June, when we anchored in Callao roads, after a passage of twenty-nine days from Valparaiso.” * * * *

“25th of June. – I had an interview this day with General San Martin, on board a little schooner, a yacht of his own, anchored in Callao roads for the convenience of communicating with the deputies, who, during the late armistice, had held their sittings on board a ship in the anchorage. * * * * * On going to Lima next day, I found it in the most singular state of agitation. It was now generally known, that the Royalists meant to abandon the city to its fate; and it was clear, that whatever happened, a violent revulsion must take place; but as no one knew, or could guess, what its extent might prove, every one deemed the crisis full of danger and difficulty. The timorous were distracted by the wildest fears; the bold and steady knew not how to apply their courage; and the irresolute were left in the most pitiable state; but the strangers, unwilling to offend either side, did wisely by putting a good face on the matter, and taking their chance * * * * * *. On every successive day things became worse; and towards the close of the week, the terrors of the people, assuming the character of despair, it was utterly useless to reason with them, or to at. tempt impressing upon their minds the value of calmness and patience at such an alarming moment.

“On the 5th of July, the Viceroy issued a proclamation, announcing his intention of abandoning the city, and pointing to Callao as an asylum for those who felt themselves insecure in the capital. This was the signal for immediate flight: a rush was made towards the castle by multitudes, who, when questioned as to their reasons for leaving the city, could give none but that of fear; and, indeed, the majority acted from mere panic, which spread amongst them in the most extraordinary manner. I had gone to the ship in the morning, but hearing that the capital was certainly to be deserted by the Royalists next day, and wishing to be near the British merchants, whom I had recommended, come what might, to stay by their property in Lima, I landed, and proceeded along the Callao road. It was with no small difficulty that I could make head against the crowd of fugitives coming in the opposite direction: groups of people on foot, in carts, on horseback, hurried past; men, women, and children, with horses and mules, and numbers of slaves laden with baggage and other valuables, travelled indiscriminately along, and all was outcry and confusion.

“In the city itself the consternation was excessive; the men were pacing about in fearful doubt what was to be done; the women were flying in all directions towards the convents; and the narrow streets were literally choked up with loaded waggons and mules, and mounted horsemen. All night long the confusion continued; and at day break the Viceroy marched out with his troops, not leaving even a single sentinel over the powder magazine. Up to this moment many people, with a strange degree of incredulity, arising out of long cherished prejudice and pride, would not believe that such events were possible: when the moment actually arrived, their despair became immeasurable, and they fled away like the rest. Fur an hour or two after the Viceroy’s departure the streets were filled with fugitives; but by mid-day scarcely an individual was to be seen; and in the course of the afternoon I accompanied one of the English merchants, during a walk of more than a mile, through the most populous parts of Lima, without meeting a single individual: the doors were all barred, the window-shutters dosed, and it really seemed ‘some vast city of the dead.’”

Captain Hall was at Callao, when a deputation of the principal persons of Lima was sent to invite San Martin formally to enter the capital. To this requisition the Liberating General assented, but delayed his entry till four days after. “On our way back to Lima,” says Captain Hall, “we were threatened with an attack from a body of a dozen robbers; men let loose upon society by the events of the day. Our party consisted of four gentlemen, each armed with a pistol. As we rode up the great approach of the city, we saw the robbers pull three people off their horses, and strip them of their cloaks, after which they formed a compact line across the road, brandishing their cudgels in defiance. We cantered on, however, right against them, with our pistols cocked and held in the air. The effect was what we expected: an opening was made for us, and the robbers, seeing their purpose frustrated, turned about, and suddenly became wonderfully good patriots, calling out, ‘Viva la Patria! Viva San Martin!’”

The 12th July, 1821, is memorable in the annals of Peru, from the entry of General San Martin into the capital on that day. The ceremonies of proclaiming, and swearing to, the independence of the state, took place sixteen days afterwards, and were witnessed by Captain Hall, whom we subsequently find visiting Conception, the frontier town on the coast of Chili; and Aranco, the capital of an unconquered Indian district of that name, from which little city, Benavides, a piratical chief, had very recently fled, leaving it and his prizes in flames, and taking with him into the interior a number of North American and British seamen whom he had captured while they were employed in whaling.

On the 14th Nov. 1821, Captain Hall, then at Valparaiso, received orders to proceed again to Lima, and to call at the intermediate ports on the coasts of Chili and Peru. The object of this cruise was to inquire into the British interests at those places; to assist and protect any of his Majesty’s trading subjects; and, in a general way, to ascertain the commercial resources of the coast. The Conway accordingly visited Coquimbo, in the neighbourhood of which bay are several series of horizontal beds, along both sides of a valley, resembling the “Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, in the Highlands of Scotland;” – Guasco, a port where the produce of the copper mines is shipped for exportation; – and the harbour of Copiapó, which one of her midshipmen trigonometrically surveyed, and carefully sounded, while Captain Hall, with two of his officers and three passengers, rode into the country, to witness the effects of the great earthquake of April, 1819, and also to visit the silver mines in the mountains near the town. Speaking of the change produced by the revolution in Peru, Captain Hall says:–

“Our stay at Lima, upon tins occasion was short, but very interesting. We arrived on the 9th, and sailed on the 17th of December, 1821. In the interval of four months, which had elapsed since we left Peru, the most remarkable change had taken place in the aspect of affairs. The flag of Spain had been struck on the castle of Callao; and in its place was displayed the standard of Independence. The harbour, which we had left blockaded by an enemy, was now open and free to ail the world; and, instead of containing merely a few dismantled ships of war, and half a dozen empty merchant vessels, was crowded with ships unloading rich cargoes; while the bay, to the distance of a mile from the harbour, was covered with others wailing for room to land their merchandize. On shore all was bustle and activity. The people had no longer leisure for jealousy; and, so far from viewing us with hatred and distrust, hailed us as friends; and, for the first time, we landed at Callao without apprehension of insult.”

On the 13th Dec, Captain Hall went to the palace to breakfast with the Protector of Peru, and to see a curious mummy, or preserved figure, which had been brought the day before from a village to the northward of Lima, and is now in the British Museum, it having been sent to England in the Conway. On the 16th, he witnessed the ceremony of instituting the Peruvian Order of the Sun.

The Conway sailed from Lima, this time, with orders to visit the coast of South America, as far as the isthmus of Panama; thence to proceed along the shores of Mexico, which are washed by the Pacific, to call at the various ports by the way, and then to return to Peru and Chili. Circumstances, however, occurred to prevent the completion of this plan, and to render it necessary for Captain Hall to repass Cape Horn, without again visiting the western coast. His Journal informs us, that he successively touched at Payta, a place celebrated in “Anson’s Voyage,” as well as in the histories of the old “Buccaneers;” – at Guayaquil, the principal port of Quito; – at the Galapagos, an uninhabited group of volcanic islands, scattered along the equator, at the distance of 200 leagues from the main land, and serving as a place of resort for ships employed in the whale fishery; – at Panama, then occupied by a detachment of Bolivar’s troops; – at Acapulco, a name familiar to the memory of most people, from its being the port whence the rich Spanish galleons, of former days, took their departure to spread the wealth of the Western over the Eastern world; – and at San Bias near the gulf of California, where he arrived on the 28th March, 1822, having completed a coasting voyage from the island of Mocha, on the south coast of Chili, a distance of 4,600 miles; during the whole of which, with exception of about 200 leagues between Guayaquil and Panama, the land was constantly in sight.

As no English man-of-war had ever before anchored in the port of San Bias, the arrival of the Conway created considerable interest; and she was scarcely secured before boats were seen bustling on board, from all quarters, to enquire for and to give news. On the next day. Captain Hall set out for the neighbouring town of Tepic, to learn the state of the commercial intercourse with England, and whether he could in any way contribute to advance the interests of the British trade in that quarter. On his arrival there, he had several conferences with the merchants of that place, and with the agents of those at Guadalaxara, the capital of New Galicia; when it appeared, that the commercial capitalists of this part of Mexico were desirous of opening, for the first time, a direct communication; and, in order to do this safely and effectually, they proposed to remit a considerable quantity of specie to London, in the Conway, for which returns were to be made in English goods, in the manner practised ever since the opening of the trade in Peru, Chili, and Buenos Ayres. After a long discussion, he agreed to remain till a certain day, to give time for communications to be held with Guadalaxara, and with Mexico, it being necessary to obtain permission from the Supreme Government, before any treasure could be exported.

On the 26th April, a favorable answer was received from Mexico; and on the 6th May, more than half a million of dollars were embarked in the Conway: other large sums were subsequently received on board, all destined for London. Some of this treasure was sent by Spanish merchants; a small quantity by Mexicans; but the whole intended for the purchase of British goods.

During their stay at San Blas, Captain Hall and Mr. Foster made some experiments with an invariable pendulum of Captain Kater’s construction; as they had before done at Abingdon Island, one of the Galapagos. The details of these experiments were published in the Philosophical Transactions for 1823. They also surveyed the harbour and the town of San Blas, under the sanction of the commandant, “a remarkably sensible, unprejudiced, and well informed old Spaniard.”

On the 15th June 1822, the Conway sailed from thence; and after a voyage round Cape Horn, of nearly 8,000 miles, anchored in Rio de Janeiro on the 12th September; having been at sea upwards of twelve weeks without seeing land. She returned to England, and was paid off in the spring of 1823.

On the 17th April 1827, Captain Hall embarked at Liverpool, with his family, and sailed for New York, from whence he returned to the Isle of Wight, on the 22nd July 1828. During this interval of fifteen months and five days, independently of the double voyage across the Atlantic, he had travelled in North America, both by land and water carriage, 8,800 miles. In the course of his extensive tour, he made a visit, by invitation, to the Count de Survilliers, elder brother of Napoleon Buonaparte, and formerly King Joseph of Spain, who has resided for some years near Bordentown, in the state of New Jersey.

Captain Hall is the author of the following publications.

I. A Voyage to the West Coast of Corea and the Great Loo-Choo Island.

II. Extracts from a Journal, written on the coasts of Chili, Peru, and Mexico, in the years 1820, 1821, and 1822, with an Appendix, containing a Memoir on the Navigation of the South American Station; – A Table, by Mr. Henry Foster, of the Latitudes, Longitudes, and Variation of the Compass, of the various Ports on the Shores of the Pacific Ocean, visited by the Conway; – A List of Minerals collected on those Shores, and since presented to the College Museum of Edinburgh, the Geological Society of London, and the Royal Institution of Liverpool; – A Notice, by Mr. George Birnie, Surgeon, on the Climate of the Western Coasts of South America and Mexico; and a Sketch, by Captain Hall himself, of the Duties of the Naval Commander-in-Chief on that Station, before the appointment of Consuls.

III. Travels in North America in the years 1827 and 1828.

IV. An Account of the Geology of the Table Mountain.

V. A letter to Captain Kater, detailing experiments made with an invariable Pendulum in South America, and other places, for determining the Figure of the Earth.

VI. A Series of Observations made on a Comet seen at Valparaiso.

VII. An Account of the Ferry across the river Tay at Dundee, published in Jameson’s Journal.

VIII. A Paper upon the Use of Chain Cables.

IX. A Sketch of the Professional and Scientific Objects which might be aimed at in a Voyage of Research.

X. A Paper on the Method of laying down Ships’ Tracks on Sea-Charts; – published in Brewster’s Philosophical Journal.

XI. A Letter on the Trade Winds; published in the Appendix to Daniell’s Meteorological Essays. In this paper, he describes the actual direction and variations of these winds, and gives a theory of their action, which he conceives may be useful to practical seamen[5].

Captain Hall married. Mar. 1, 1825, Margaret, youngest daughter of the late Sir John Hunter, his Majesty’s Consul-General in Spain, and by that lady has issue.

Agent.– Sir F. M. Ommanney.



  1. The Life of Paul Jones,” from original documents in the possession of John Henry Sherburne, Esq. Registrar of the United States’ navy, was published by Mr. Murray, of Albermarle street, London, in 1825.
  2. See Commander Charles Thomas Thruston.
  3. Performed while the British Ambassador was engaged in dignified discussion with the flower of the human race.
  4. See Vol. II. Part II. p. 808.
  5. Nos. IV. V. and VI. were published in the Reports of the Royal Societies of Edinburgh and London.