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Editor's Note-In bringing to a close the story of the adventurous life that came to an end only last January in New York City, Captain Boynton's exploits in Hayti, Jamaica, Colombia and certain of those in Venezuela are omitted. These omitted portions will be published in full in the volume of reminiscences to be issued after the completion of our magazine series.

WITHOUT knowing where or how the cruise would end, but confident it would lead to trouble— though I did not imagine how much of it there really would be or how unpleasant it would prove—I bought the Alice Ada, a brigantine of three hundred tons, and got a general cargo for Rosario, Brazil, on the River Parava. From Rosario I went one hundred miles up the river to St. Stephens and took on a cargo of wheat for Rio Janiero. While the cargo was being unloaded my expectant eye distinguished signs of a nice little revolution which was just being shaped up, so I sold my ship and took quarters at the Hotel Freitas to watch developments.

When the last Emperor of Brazil, Dorn Pedro II, was dragged out of bed at night and deported without the firing of a shot, in the "peaceful Revolution" of November 15, 1889, Deodoro da Fonseca was made President. Before his weakness had become apparent he was made constitutional President, and Floriano Peixotto was elected Vice-President. Deodoro's policy was weak and vacillating and his popularity waned rapidly. A revolution had been quietly fomented by Floriano, the Vice-President. He soon had the army at his back and gained the support of Admiral Mello, ranking officer of the Brazilian navy, and Admiral Soldanlia da Gama, commandant of the naval academy. They brought matters to a head on the morning of November 23, 1891. Mello took up a position at the foot of the main street of Rio in the cruiser Riachuelo, the finest ship in the navy, trained his guns on the Palace of Itumary and sent word to Deodoro that he would open fire on him in two hours if he did not abdicate in favor of Floriano. Deodoro abdicated in two minutes, dropping dead soon afterward from heart disease, and Floriano was proclaimed President.

Before he had time to get his new chair well warmed he had a row with Mello, who considered that he was rightfully entitled to be the power behind the throne. Floriano made it plain to him that, while Mello might give friendly advice, he could not go an inch beyond that. Floriano was perhaps one half Indian and the rest corrupted Portuguese; sixty years old, with clear, brown eyes and iron-gray hair and whiskers—a strong, fine character, perfectly fearless, absolutely honest and devoted to his country, whose interests he greatly advanced. He was proud of his Indian blood, which he made a synonym for courage and fairness, and often referred to it. He was the best president I have ever known, not excepting even the great Guzman.

Mello was a younger man and more of a Spaniard in his blood and his characteristics. He had considerable bravery, of the kind that is best displayed in the presence of a large audience, but he was impetuous and at times foolish. At that, he was more a man after my own heart, for he stood for revolt and anarchy, while Floriano stood for law and order. Soldanha da Gama, the third figure in the drama, was a strange mixture of naval ability, cowardice and theatrical warrior.

Mello worked chiefly among naval officers, aristocrats, adherents of Dom Pedro and the Catholic clergy, and in the end they all became his allies. He was unable to shake the army, and the influence of the priests was minimized by the fact that the people generally were blindly in love with the new scheme of self-government, and were loyal to Floriano.

As Mello's plot shaped up I began to suspect that his real purpose was to restore Dom Pedro to the throne and make himself the power behind it. Mello cared nothing for titles; it was his ambition to be the dictator of Brazil. Later events led me to believe that he had an understanding with several European rulers who were keenly anxious to see the "divine right of kings" perpetuated in South America. Dom Pedro had issued a protest against his deposition as soon as he reached Europe, in which all the princes of the house of Coburg joined, and was conducting an active campaign for his restoration.

IT WAS amusing to watch the development of Mello's rebellion. One would have thought two friendly leaders were planning rival surprise parties, in which there was to be nothing more serious than the throwing of confetti. Floriano, surrounded by spies and assassins, but also by many loyal and devoted friends, knew perfectly well, from his own spies, what Mello was doing, but, relying on his own strength and the public sentiment behind him, he made no move to check him. Mello was well aware that Floriano knew all that was going on, yet neither one gave any outward sign of this knowledge and when they were together they appeared to be friends.

It was along in July or August, 1893, that Mello sent for me and expressed a wish that I go down to Santa Catarina Island, off the southern coast of Brazil, and blow up the Republica, the one Brazilian warship whose officers had so far remained loyal to Floriano, though finally, just before the revolution was declared, they went over to Mello. With the exception of Soldanha da Gama, who was neutral, but whom he regarded as more of a friend than an enemy, Mello had converted the rest of the navy to his cause. He offered a cash payment and a commission in the navy in return for her destruction, but I could never get him down to definite terms.

While we were still negotiating I received a call from one of Floriano's aides, who asked me to accompany him to the palace. He took me in the rear entrance and up a back stairway to Floriano's private sala where, after presenting me, he left me, as I supposed, alone with the President.

"I understand," said Floriano, "that you were in Venezula with President Guzman and have had military training and experience.

"That is correct, sir."

"I am told, too, that you have made a study of high explosives and have invented a remarkable torpedo."

"That is also true."

"Would you be willing to undertake a mission that would involve considerable danger, but for which you would be well paid?"

"I am open to anything except vulgar assassination. That is my business."

"What do you charge for your services?"

"That depends entirely on the nature of the work."

"Then we can leave that question open until the nature of the work has been decided on, provided it is understood that your compensation will be such as you are ordinarily accustomed to."

"Very good, sir."

"Brazil may need your services, Colonel Boynton."

"I beg your pardon," I interrupted. "Captain Boynton."

"I repeat, Colonel Boynton," he replied, with a smile and the suggestion of a bow. "Brazil may need your services, but I can not tell how soon nor in what capacity."

"If I enter your service it will be a loyal service to the end," I told him.

"Consider yourself, then, in the service of Brazil." As he said this he raised his hand and from behind a curtain appeared Captain Cochrane, a descendant of the English Admiral Cochrane, who had fought for Brazil seventy years before.

"As we were strangers I took this precaution," explained Floriano. "It will not be necessary again."

"It was perfectly justifiable," I replied. Captain Cochrane then repeated in English my conversation with the President to be sure I understood it. Immediately on my arrival at my hotel I sent word to Mello that I would consider no further proposition from him.


A FEW days later the revolution was declared, under conditions such as one would look for on the light-opera stage but never in real life, not even in South America. On the evening of September 5th Floriano went to the opera, accompanied by Mello, Soldanha and several other officers of the army and navy, and they all sat together in the Presidential box. Mello and Soldanha excused themselves after the second act. They left their cloaks in the box and said they would be back in a few minutes. Knowing full well the reason for their departure, Floriano bowed them out with an ironical excess of politeness. Soldanha, who had not yet taken sides, though his sympathies belonged to the "rebellion," with which he subsequently allied himself, retired to the Naval School, on an island near the city, and Mello went on board his flagship, the Aquidaban.

During the night he assembled his captains and impressively gave them their final orders, with the dramatic announcement that the standard of revolt would be hoisted at sunrise. His fleet, in addition to the flagship, consisted of the Guandbara, Trajano and Almirante Tamandate, protected cruisers; the Siete de Setembro, a wooden barbette ship; the gunboat Centaur and two river monitors. The protected cruiser Republica, whose officers had just decided to join with the rest, was coming up from down the coast, and the Riachuelo, with which Mello had forced the abdication of Deodoro, was cruising in the Mediterranean. It was not an imposing force, but it was sufficient to give Mello command of the sea, while Floriano was in control of the forts and the land forces.

At daybreak Mello seized all of the Government shipping in the bay and announced a blockade of Rio harbor. He then sent word to Floriano that if he did not abdicate, without naming his successor, by four o'clock that afternoon, he would bombard the city. This threat was also communicated to the foreign ministers, evidently in the hope that they would try to persuade Floriano to step out, in the interests of peace, but they promptly protested to Mello against any bombardment. Under any circumstances, they told him, unless he proposed to violate the international rules of warfare, he could not bombard until after formal notice of forty-eight hours, to allow the removal of neutrals and non-combatants.

Floriano's reply was an emphatic refusal to abdicate, and, precisely at four o'clock Mello answered it with one shell from a 3inch gun, winch exploded near the American Consulate and killed a foreigner. During the next week Mello fired forty or fifty shots into the city every day, but they did little damage. The fact that they apparently were not aimed at any particular spot probably made no difference in the execution. Frequently he would send boats ashore for supplies, to which nobody paid any attention, and at four o'clock every afternoon the Aquidaban would steam solemnly over and engage in a comic-opera duel with Fort Santa Cruz, which was located at the point of the harbor entrance opposite Sugar Loaf Hill.

Mello's shots invariably went clear over the fort, or buried themselves in its walls, while the gunners at the fort could not have hit him if he had stood still for an hour, so no damage was done to either side. After about twenty shots the Aquidaban would return to her anchorage, slowly and with great dignity, and hostilities would be over until the next day at the same hour. This daily duel, which was the star act in the serio-comic program, always drew a crowd to the water-front. Business went on as usual throughout the "revolution," which was regarded with amused interest rather than with fear.

VERY soon after the firing of the first shot, Italian, English, German, Austrian and Portuguese warships appeared at Rio, ostensibly to protect the rights of their citizens, but their prompt arrival, made possible only by the fact that they were cruising close at hand, which was in itself significant, and the attitude they assumed, made it plain to me that they were there under secret orders to aid in the restoration of Dom Pedro. Mello was not a rebel, but a pirate, yet the commanders of these foreign ships, all representing monarchies, gave him their moral support, and, I have always believed, that only the belated arrival of an American naval force prevented them from giving him their active support as well.

Their influence was so strong that when Rear Admiral Oscar F. Stanton, of the United States Navy, finally reached Rio he made the mistake of saluting Mello. For this he was speedily recalled, Rear Admiral Gherardi being sent down to succeed him. Stanton's excuse was that he wished to maintain a neutral position, but no question of neutrality was involved. I know that several of the American naval officers who arrived later shared my view that Mello was a pirate and should have been blown out of the water by the combined fleets. It was evident, from the prompt recall of Stanton, that the Navy Department at Washington held the same opinion, but had not sufficient courage in its convictions to order the suppression of Mello. The ranking officer of the combined fleets was the Italian Vice-Admiral, Magnani. The senior British officer present was Captain Lang, of the Sirius. Until the arrival of an officer of flag rank, Captain Henry F. Picking, of the Charleston, was the senior officer present of the American navy, and next to him was Captain (now Rear Admiral, retired) Silas W. Terry, on the Newark.


ABOUT a week after the firing of the first shot I was on my way to the waterfront to witness the regular afternoon duel between the Aquidaban and Fort Santa Cruz, when I was overtaken by a Government carriage, and Colonel Pimental, whom I knew well, asked me to get in with him, as he had orders for me from Floriano. He drove along the shore of the bay to a new galvanized building at a point some distance beyond the island of .the Naval School and near the railway machine-shops. On the way he explained that this building had been erected for my use and in it I was to construct, as rapidly as possible, a large torpedo with which to destroy the Aquidaban.

I was to have whatever I called for, but from the time the work was begun on the torpedo until it was finished I was to allow no one to enter or leave the building, for fear that word of what was being done would get to Mello's spies. The structure was of ample size and had comfortable living accommodations for ten men, which was as many as I could use. I took up my quarters in the building at once and, after drawing on the master mechanic of the railroad for a lot of copper plates and such other supplies as I would need, got right to work.

Late that evening I heard the rumble of a carriage outside and a moment later in walked Floriano, an old gray shawl around his shoulders, with the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Marine and a Senator. Floriano inquired first as to my comfort and I assured him I was entirely satisfied. Then he said: "I am relying on you, Colonel Boynton, to save Brazil from further trouble by destroying the Aquidaban. You will have to make and use your torpedo, with such help as we can give you. Now that you know what you are to do, what is your, price?"

I told him I would expect to be paid the appraised value of the ship if I sank her or put her out of commission. After consulting with the others Floriano agreed. We fixed the value of the ship at $600,000 gold, and a contract along these lines was drawn up and signed the next day.

The torpedo I built for this business was the largest I had ever made. It was twelve feet long, four feet in diameter in the middle and carried more than five hundred pounds of dynamite, for I wanted to be certain that the ship would be at least disabled by her contact with it. It floated just below the^ surface of the water. Floriano came down to witness the final test, and handed me a commission as Colonel in the Brazilian army. He approved the plan of campaign which I had mapped out and said the necessary orders would be issued at once.

"I believe you will succeed," were his parting words. "I hope you will come back as General Boynton!"

WHILE Mello had seized all of the Government vessels in the harbor, there were a few tugs left, which, to prevent his interference, were flying the British flag, on the pretense that they were owned by Englishmen. I was to be given one of these tugs, and my plan was to steal around into Nictheroy Bay at night and anchor close under the hill at the end of the peninsula, where I would be hidden from the rebel fleet. In the morning I would load the torpedo and wait for the daily exchange of cannon courtesies between the Aquidaban and the fort. An officer at Santa Cruz was to signal me when Mello left his anchorage and then, towing the submerged torpedo by wire rope too small to be detected, I would steam out across the course of the Aquidaban, which would pick up the towing-line on her bow, drag the torpedo alongside and be destroyed by the contact.

The line was 2,000 feet long, supported at intervals by little floats painted the color of the water. I did not think Mello would see anything suspicious in an insignificant little towboat, under the British flag, running diagonally across his bow at a distance of a quarter of a mile. There never has been any doubt in my mind that the plan would have worked perfectly but for the fact that Mello's spies in high places had kept him constantly advised as to what we were doing.

My tug, in charge of a French engineer and four Brazilians, was sent down to me on the afternoon of September 25th, and as soon as it was dark, with the torpedo covered with canvas on deck and twelve 50-pound boxes of dynamite in the pilot house, we steamed around to Nictheroy Bay. To have loaded the torpedo before we started would have been extremely dangerous, for any accidental pressure on one of its arms would have blown all of us to pieces. We anchored well out of sight of the rebel fleet, and as soon as it was daylight I unscrewed the manhole of the torpedo and proceeded to pack it full of dynamite.


I WAS just putting in the last box of the explosive when there was a shrill whistle, and a launch from the Sirius swung alongside. The lieutenant in charge jumped aboard of us and came aft before I could brush the dynamite from my arms.

"Who commands this craft?" he demanded.

"I do," I replied.

"What are you doing with that flag up there?" pointing to the British ensign.

"That flag was there when I came aboard and took command," I said, which was true. "I am flying it for protection from a pirate fleet, just as others are displaying it on Rio Bay and in the city. Your commanding officer has sanctioned that custom by his silence. I am an officer of the established Brazilian Government, obeying the orders of my superiors in Brazilian waters, and I claim the right to take advantage of that custom, if I care to do so, just as others have done and are doing."

"I think the other cases are different from yours," replied the lieutenant. "What is that?" pointing to the dynamite.

"Examine it for yourself."

"It looks like dynamite."


"Well, sir, I am ordered by Captain Lang to take you on board Her Majesty's ship Sirius."

It was of no use to make a fight, so I accompanied him, with excessive and sarcastic politeness. He took all my crew with him, leaving a guard on the tug. Captain Lang was on deck waiting for me and was quite agitated when I was brought before him, but he was much more heated before we parted company, and it was a warm day to begin with.

"Captain Boynton, what does this mean?" he roared at me.

"What does what mean?" I innocently answered.

"Your lying over there in a vessel loaded with munitions of war and flying the British flag!"

"It means simply that I am an officer in the Brazilian army, on duty under the guns of a rebel fleet, and that I am flying the British flag for whatever virtue it might have in protecting me from that pirate, Admiral Mello. That flag has been used as a protection by many others and you have silently acquiesced in such use of it."

"But, sir, are you not aware that this is piracy?"

"I am not aware, sir, that it is any such thing."

"But I tell you that it is piracy to fly the British flag over the ship of another nation and carrying munitions of war!"

"It might be just as well, Captain Lang, for you to remember that you are not now on the high seas. An act of the British Parliament is of no effect within another country, and if you will consult your chart you will find that we are in the enclosed waters of Brazil. Under such conditions no mandate of yours which effects my rights can be enforced unless you have the nerve to take the chances that go with your act."

"You may soon find to the contrary!" shouted the Captain, who was letting his temper get the best of him. " I have a mind to send you to Admiral Mello as a prisoner! You know what he would do to you!"

"Oh, Captain Lang!" I said jeeringly. "You know you wouldn't do that!"

"And pray why not, sir?"

"Because you dare not do it, and that's why!" I told him, as I pointed to the Charleston, which, with her decks cleared for action, was anchored only a few hundred yards off to port. "I dare you to do it! I defy you to do it! Send me aboard the Aquidaban if you dare!"

I was making a strong bluff and I got away with it. The outraged Britisher swelled up with anger and turned almost purple, but he did not reply to my taunt. Instead, he summoned the master at arms and placed me in his charge, ordered his launch and dashed off to the Charleston. He returned in half an hour and without another word to me ordered a lieutenant to take me aboard the Charleston.

I WILL not deny that I was a bit easier in my mind when I saw my own flag flying over me, yet had I known the treatment I was to receive under it I would have felt quite differently.

It was easy to see, from the reception Captain Picking gave me, that he had been influenced by the attitude of Captain Lang. I told him that I was an American citizen, temporarily in the employment of the Brazilian Government; that I had violated no law of the United States or of Brazil, and I demanded that I be set ashore. He coldly informed me that I would be confined to the ship, at least until he had consulted with the American Minister and communicated with Washington, and soon after I arrived on the Charleston I was confined to my room, as a dangerous character who threatened the peace of nations. With this decidedly unpleasant recollection, however, it is a pleasure to know that the other American naval officers, who arrived later, took exactly my view of the whole situation and became champions of my cause. They told Picking that Mello was a pirate and should be treated as such, and that I was being deprived of my liberty without the slightest warrant of law, but they were powerless to accomplish my release.


LOOKING forward a little, the manner in which that old fighter, Rear Admiral Benham, put an end to the "revolution" in the following January, soon after his arrival at Rio, should be well remembered, for it was a noble deed and an example of the good judgment generally displayed by American naval officers when they are not hampered by foolish orders from Washington. In the vain hope of arousing enthusiasm for his lost cause, Mello had gone down the coast, where he figuratively and literally took to the woods when he saw the folly of his mission, leaving Da Gama in command of the blockading fleet. The captains of several American merchant ships, who had been prevented for weeks from landing their cargoes for Rio, appealed to Admiral Benham, who took prompt action.

To show his contempt for the rebels, whom he properly regarded as pirates, Admiral Benham assigned the smallest ship in his squadron, the little Detroit, commanded by that great little man, Commander (now Rear Admiral, retired) W. H. Brownson, to escort the merchantmen up to the docks. At the same time he warned Da Gama not to carry out his threat to fire on them when they crossed his line. With his ship cleared for action, Brownson stood in alongside one of the merchantmen. He steamed over close to the Trajano, on which Da Gama's flag was flying and which, with the Guanabara, was guarding the shore.

"I will recognize no accidental shots," shouted Brownson to the rebel Admiral, "so don't fire any ! If you open fire I will respond, and if you reply to that I will sink you!"

As the merchant ship came in line the Trajano fired a shot across her bow. Brownson replied instantly with a six-pound shell which exploded so close to the Trajano that it threw the water on her forward deck. A musket-shot was fired from the Guanabara and it was answered and silenced with a bullet from the Detroit.

After seeing his charge safely tied up to dock, Brownson circled contemptuously around the Trajano and ordered a marine to send a rifle-shot into her sternpost, as an evidence of his esteem for her commander. The discomfited Da Gama, who was looking for some excuse to end his hopeless revolt, fell over himself getting into his launch, raced over to the Detroit and tendered his sword to Brownson. The American told him he had not demanded his surrender, as he seemed to think, and could not accept it, but that he ?must keep his hands off American shipping if he wished to continue his mortal existence.

The "revolution" ended right there, but unfortunately I was not present to witness its collapse. The august naval authorities were scandalized when this display of good sense was reported to them and they carefully prepared a message of censure to Benham for permitting such conduct, but before it was despatched the New York morning newspapers reached Washington, and after a perusal of their enthusiastic editorials on the subject, a message of commendation was sent to him instead.

DURING my confinement on the Charleston I was occasionally allowed on deck for exercise, but I had no other diversion than to watch the intermittent bombardment of the city and the regularly scheduled exchange of shots between the rebel fleet and the forts. In hope of meeting with greater success, Mello would sometimes engage the forts with several of his ships, and as time wore on there was some improvement in the marksmanship on both sides, though nothing like reasonable accuracy was ever attained. The only incident which was at all exciting was the sinking of the Javary, one of Mello's monitors. A shell from Fort Sao Joao dropped between her turrets and, as she heeled over from the explosion, an accidental shot from Fort Santa Cruz struck her below the waterline. She went down by the stem with a rush. The guns in her forward turret were pointed toward the town and they were fired, in a spirit of sheer bravado, just as she disappeared. Mello threw a few shells into the city every day, as evidence that he was still in rebellion, but I was told that less than half a dozen of them did any damage and they certainly produced little excitement. Soldanha da Gama came out in the open and joined forces with Mello while I was on the Charleston.

I was not allowed to communicate with any one on shore, and, except from hearsay, Floriano had no means of knowing whether I was alive or dead. Captain Picking claimed to have been told by a church dignitary, who of course was a friend of Mello, that it would be unsafe to set me ashore, as I was certain to be assassinated by Mello sympathizers, but that doubtless was a subterfuge by which he sought to justify his position.

After I had been subjected to this outrageous treatment for two months, I was suddenly transferred to the Detroit, which immediately put to sea. Off Cape Frio we met another Sirius, a Lamport & Holt liner bound for New York, and, in charge of Ensign James F. Carter, I was transferred to her. We reached New York December 19, 1893, and I was taken to the Brooklyn Navy Yard. An hour after my arrival a message was received from Washington ordering my release. The Navy Department, in line with the vacillating policy then in vogue, took that method of getting me away from the danger-zone.


IT WAS in vexed Venezuela that I was destined to end my days of deviltry, but not until after a protracted warfare, none the less bitter because it was conducted at long range, with Castro the Contemptible, who came into power two years after I had finally settled down at Santa Catalina as manager for the Orinoco Company. Cipriano Castro had been in Congress as Diputado, or Member of the House, from one of the Andean districts while I was in Caracas with President Crespo, and, though he was regarded as a good fighter and a disturbing element, he was never considered as a Presidential possibility.

With all of my hatred for Castro and everything pertaining to him, it must be admitted that he was an exceedingly shrewd scoundrel. Had he been half as honest he could have made himself the greatest man in South America. He supported Anduesa Palacio, the deposed President, who had betrayed Guzman Blanco, in his final campaign against Crespo, before the latter was recognized as Dictator, and defeated General Morales in the battle of Tariba, May 15, 1892. For some time after that he was in full control of that section of the country, but with the firm establishment of the new regime he gave up the fight.

In recognition of the military ability he had displayed, Crespo offered to make him Collector of Customs at Puerto Cabello. He declined the position, but, egotistically exaggerating the purpose of the proffer, pompously promised Crespo that he would not attempt to overthrow his Government. He then came to Congress, where he would have been almost unnoticed but for the amusement he created by solemnly removing his shoes and putting on black kid gloves every time he sat down to the—to him— herculean task of drafting a bill. He was as rough and uncouth as the rest of the mountaineers; short of stature, secretive of mind and suspicious of every one, excepting only a few of his brother brigands from the Andes.

At the expiration of this term he returned to the hills and bought a farm just across the Colombian border. He posed as a cattle-raiser, but all of the reports that reached Caracas said he was much more of a cattle-rustler, or stealer. He was a persistent tax-dodger, and his herd—which was said to show fifty different brands that represented as many thefts—was driven back and forth across the border to avoid the Venezuelan and Colombian collectors. He was engaged in this profitable pastime when I left Caracas, and had disappeared from all political and revolutionary calculations.

I FIRST arrived at Santa Catalina, whither I had gone on the urgent advice of Crespo, early in 1896. It was a straggling little town, with the company's headquarters standing close to the bank of the Piacoa River, a branch of the Orinoco, opposite the lower end of the Island of Tortola—the "Iwana" of Sir Walter Raleigh.

The building contained a store, with a large supply of goods adapted to the needs of colonists in a new and tropical country, and around it were carpenter-, blacksmith- and machine-shops. The company also owned three small steamers, which were used to bring supplies from Trinidad and run back and forth to Barrancas, thirty miles upstream at the head of the Macareo River, the main estuary of the Orinoco, through which all of the commerce passes. The Atlantic Ocean was 150 riffles below us, and Ciudad Bolivar, the principal city on the Orinoco and the head of all-the-year navigation, was 180 miles above.

Tradition says that Santa Catalina was named by Raleigh who, according to the native story, camped there when he was pushing his way up the Orinoco in search of the fabled El Dorado, with its golden city of Manoa. Just above Barrancas are the ruins of a strong fort he built for a part of his force while he went farther on up the river! It is, perhaps, the irony of an unkind fate which pursued the great adventurer, that near this fort, from which searching parties were sent out, is the rich mine of El Callao. If Raleigh had been looking for gold by the pound instead of by the ton, and had searched more carefully, he probably would have found enough to satisfy him.

Stretching away to unmeasured lengths from the pin-prick the headquarters village made in it, was the virgin forest, with its wealth of gold and iron, rubber and asphalt, and its square miles of mahogany, Spanish cedar, rosewood, carapo, greenheart and mora wood, all within the confines of our concession. Far off to the southwest, in a region I never could find time to explore, was the mythical dwelling-place of the people whom Raleigh described—though only on the word of the natives—as having no heads, but with eyes in their shoulders and mouths in their chests, with a long mane trailing out from their spines. Down the Orinoco, half way to the coast, was Imitaca Mountain, a great hill of iron ore which is said to be one of the largest and richest deposits of the precious metal in the world.

THE Jefe Civil at Catalina assisted me in my effort to open up the country, and active operations were soon under way. The natives, who were living just as when Columbus discovered them and wearing no more clothes that could be noticed, were attracted by the prosperity which it was presumed would follow our development work, and little pueblos sprang up along the river on both sides of us.

Our concession covered a territory larger than the State of Massachusetts, nearly all of which was terra incognita. It was out of the question to think of trying to go all over it. But for the boundary dispute between Venezuela and England the Orinoco Company never would have secured its concession, for the shrewd Guzman granted it with the idea that Americans would colonize the territory and effectively resist the British invasion.

In their progressive search for gold—the continued pursuit of Raleigh's will-o'-the-wisp—the Englishmen in Guiana were advancing farther and farther into Venezuela and carrying the boundary with them, or claiming that it was always just ahead of them; which, so far as Venezuela's protests went, amounted to the same thing. It was, in fact, the sweet, siren song of gold that caused the establishment of the three Guianas, so that the British, French and Dutch might prosecute the search under the most favorable conditions.

An expedition I made Guianaward was the hardest trip I have ever-undertaken and yet one of the most interesting. We had to cut our own trail through the thick underbrush and could carry few supplies, but it was easy to live off the country. Not knowing what to make of us, the jaguar, puma, tapir and ocelot came so close that they were easily shot, while overhead were millions of monkeys, parrots and macaws, to say nothing of great snakes that would have made the fortune of a menagerie manager.

At long intervals we encountered a few wild Indians, living on the banks of rivers, who were terrified until they found we were not tax-collectors sent to take them into slavery on account of their inability to pay extortionate taxes levied for no other purpose than to compel them to work for years without pay. When they became convinced that we meant them no harm they were very friendly and generously offered us things to eat, which I was afraid to touch. They never had seen a white man before and I regretted that some of my friends were not hidden in the bushes to witness the reverence they showed me.

They were armed with bows and arrows, which they used with wonderful accuracy, and crudely fashioned spears, and wore nothing much but feathers in their hair. They dived on fish and game, with yams and plantains, and sometimes corn, as side dishes, and native fruits for dessert, and they were the healthiest looking people I have ever seen. I pushed into this veritable paradise for all of a hundred miles, which carried me dose to the border, and discovered one outcropping of gold which will some day be developed into a rich property. Our progress was so slow that it was two months before we were back in Catalina.


AFTER getting the development work well started I returned to Caracas and early in 1897 resumed my old confidential position with President Crespo. His term expired the following February and I found that he had already decided on General Ignado Andrade as his successor. He had planned to continue as dictator of the country, à la Guzman, and spend much of his idle time and money abroad, and he wanted a man who could be relied on to keep his organization intact and turn the office back to him at the end of his term, for the Venezuelan constitution prohibits a President from succeeding himself.

Donna Crespo, who besides being the greatest smuggler in the country was a shrewd judge of men, had taken a pronounced dislike to Andrade and advised strongly against his selection. Without knowing how truly she spoke, she predicted that if Andrade was made President, Crespo would be dead within six months. I added my advice to the Donna's, for I knew Andrade was a weak man and one who could not be trusted. Powerful friends of Crespo in Trinidad also urged him to select a stronger man, but he could not be moved. He credited Andrade with having saved his life, and planned that he should be made President by the first "popular election" in the history of Venezuela. The peons idolized Crespo and he had such a strong grip on the country that he was able to carry out his plan, but with disastrous results.

On election day the soldiers at Guatira, Guarenas and Petare doffed their uniforms and donned blouses, with their revolvers strapped on underneath, marched to the polls and voted as often as was required. Other towns throughout the country witnessed the same performance. The peons also voted for Andrade, either because they knew Crespo wanted them to or because the soldiers so instructed them, and they kept at it until the designated number of votes had been deposited. For a popular election it was the weirdest thing that could be imagined.

It was immediately followed by mutterings of discontent from the better class of citizens and on the night of Andrade's inauguration General Hernandez, the famed "El Mocho," who was Minister of Public Improvements in Crespo's Cabinet but an opponent of the new President, took to the hills at the head of 3,000 troops. Crespo really was responsible for the curse of Castro, for had he selected a strong man as his successor the mountain brigand never could have commanded a force sufficiently powerful to overthrow him.

WITHIN a month Andrade went through the form of appointing Crespo Commander in Chief of the army, in order that he might clinch his dictatorship. For a while Crespo contented himself with enjoying his new title and directing operations from the capital, but the Hernandez revolution finally assumed such proportions that he took the field in person to stamp it out. The two armies met in the mountains near Victoria, June 12, 1898. Hernandez was led into a trap, given a drubbing and captured. After the battle Crespo walked across the field and was leaning over a wounded man when he was shot from behind and instantly killed.

It was claimed that the shot was fired from the bush by one of the escaped rebels, but the bullet that killed Crespo was of a peculiar pattern and exactly fitted the pistol of one of his own officers, who was not a Venezuelan. I doubt whether there was another weapon exactly like it in the whole country. The responsibility for the minder could easily have been fixed, but the cowardly Andrade refused to order a real investigation. Crespo's body was packed in a barrel of rum and brought to Caracas for burial.

The capture of "El Mocho" checked the spirit of revolt, but not for long. Andrade had nothing to commend him but his honesty, a quality so little understood in Venezuela that it counted for nothing, and he became more and more unpopular. Only inability to agree on his successor prevented his speedy overthrow.

Some few months after Crespo's death, Castro, who had made himself Governor of the State of Los Andes, visited Caracas and called on Andrade to demand an important position in the new administration, as the price of peace. Andrade, to his credit be it said, flouted him. Castro left the Yellow House in a rage, sought the councils of Andrade's enemies and, after many conferences, a general insurrection was arranged for early the following Summer. The Presidency was to go to the leader who developed the greatest strength during the campaign.


CASTRO went back to his mountain home to discover that his cattle had been seized and a warrant issued, at the instance of Andrade's friends, for his arrest for cattlestealing. He resorted to his old trick of dodging across the border, but a similar warrant was secured from the Colombian Government, which had no more love for the Indian upstart than had the one at Caracas; in fact, Castro at one time seriously considered starting a revolt in Colombia in the hope of gaining the Presidency.

With officers of both countries searching for him he went into hiding and remained under cover until May 23, .1899, when he invaded Venezuela with a force of sixty peinilleros, so called from the fact that they were armed with the peinilla, a sword shaped like a scimitar. They were the lowest type of Indian, but they were brave and hard fighters. His old cattle-rustling neighbors hailed him with joy, for until then they never had dreamed that any man from the mountains could become a really important factor in Venezuelan affairs, and more than a thousand of them flocked to his standard. He encountered little opposition, and as he captured successive towns he opened the prisons and the freed convicts fell in behind him. When he reached Valencia, less than one hundred miles from Caracas, he had an undisciplined but effective force of 3,000 bloodthirsty brigands. General Ferrer was stationed there with 6,000 well-equipped regulars and, though he was by no means enthusiastic in his loyalty to Andrade, he did his duty as a soldier, according to the quaint standards of the country.

He marched his men out and surrounded Castro, with the exception of a conspicuous hole through which he could escape, and then went into camp for the night. This proceeding was in strict accord with the ethics of that strange land. Except in extreme cases it is the unwritten law that when a rebel leader is encountered by a superior Government force, the regulars must surround him with a great show but be careful to leave a wide hole in their line through which he can run away during the night. Invariably he takes advantage of his opportunity and it is officially announced that he "escaped." Of course, after a rebel chieftain has made several escapes of this kind and still continues in revolt he is surrounded in earnest, but harsh measures are not resorted to until he has had ample opportunity to escape or come into camp and be good.

Castro violated all precedents by failing to run through the hole that had been left for him. When Ferrer saw him the next morning in the middle of the ring, calmly waiting for the fight to begin, he was nonplussed. He could not understand that method of warfare and, concluding that Castro must be a real hero and perhaps, as he even then claimed to be, a genuine "man of destiny," he solved the problem by joining forces with him, for which he was subsequently rewarded by being made Minister of War.

CASTRO learned from Ferrer that he was alone in the revolution, his promised partners having failed to take the field on account of bickerings and jealousies among themselves. This discovery and the addition of Ferrer's forces gave him his first really serious notion that he might become President and he marched forward in a frenzy of bombastic joy. He picked out a star as his own and ceremoniously worshipped it. At Victoria, only thirty-five miles outside of the capital, he made terms with General Mendoza, who was disgruntled with Andrade, and picked up another army.

When the tottering President heard of this final evidence of disloyalty he boarded a gunboat at La Guayra, taking with him a well-filled treasure-chest, and went to Trinidad. The alleged warship leaked badly and Andrade, who had a sense of humor, sent word back to Castro by her commander to have her repaired at once so that she would be in better shape for a hurried departure when it came his turn to be deposed.

By this time the people of Venezuela, believing that no one could be worse than Andrade, and finding out, as had Castro himself, what a powerful person he really was, accepted him as their master. He entered Caracas without opposition October 21, 1900, and, rejecting the modest title of Provisional President, which his predecessors had used, proclaimed himself Jefe Supremo, or "Supreme Military Leader."

He filled all important posts with men from the mountains, on whose loyalty he could rely, and as they were able to secure plenty of graft, not one penny of which was overlooked, he very soon had a tight hold on the country, One of his first acts was to release General Hernandez. He soon found that the old warrior was too patriotic and too dangerous to be at large, so he slapped him back into San Carlos, on the pretense that he was planning an insurrection, and kept him there for years.

March 30, 1901, Castro was elected by Congress to fill out the unexpired part of Andrade's term, and in the following February he was elected Constitutional President. Then began in earnest his reign of robbery, through the establishment of monopolies whose profits went to his private purse, and his vicious anti-foreign policy which, through the minders and injustices committed in its name, made the Boxer uprising in China look like a soft-spoken protest.

I WAS not in Caracas to witness the advent of Castro, as I had returned to Catalina more than two years before, immediately after Crespo's funeral. I had come into possession of a block of stock in the Orinoco Company, which made it better worth my while to stay with it. But it was only the influence of the Jefe Civile that had kept the natives in bounds before, and with the death of my friend, Crespo, that official suddenly became at least lukewarm in his loyalty to the law and to me.

It naturally followed that the natives overran the concession, refused to pay royalty on the balata gum, which they carried off in enormous quantities, and stole everything except the headquarters building and the iron ore, which was too heavy and not worth while. Extortions of all sorts were winked at or openly approved. As Andrade's unpopularity increased, natives took sides and began to spy on each other, with the result that false and malicious reports were sent to Caracas as to the company's attitude.

When Castro took the field Andrade assumed a much more friendly air, but it was too late to be of any value, He sent General Marina up the Orinoco to try to arouse enthusiasm for his cause in the east, which furnishes the only soldiers that can cope with the hardy mountaineers of the west. Mariana told me that if I did my best to hold my district in line for Andrade, the President would grant anything I asked as soon as the revolt was suppressed. At just about the moment this request was made Andrade was fleeing from La Guayra, and Castro was assuming full control at Caracas.


ALMOST the first thing he did was to annul our concession, along with a dozen others, on the ground that its terms had not been complied with, as the beginning of his war on all foreigners. I denied this right to cancel our grant, especially as it contained a clause which stipulated that any disagreement between the Government and the concessionaire should be referred to the Alta Corte Federal, or Supreme Court, for adjustment. As the case had not been brought before that court I held there could be no legal annulment, even if that power did rest in the executive, which I denied. This contention was subsequently upheld by the International Court of Arbitration, following the blockade and bombardment of the allied Powers, which decided that our concession was still in full force.

When Castro saw that we did not propose to submit to his arbitrary annulment and realizing that so long as I remained on the concession we could claim to be in full possession, he proceeded to harass me in every conceivable way in the hope of making it too hot for me. Under our contract we were to nominate and pay all of the officers within our territory, and the Government was to appoint them. My old chief of police, Abreu, was arrested and taken away on some false charge, and a new man, Tinoco, in whose selection I had no voice, was sent to take his place. He was, I learned, a spy and had orders to send in reports which would make it appear that the company was stirring up revolts and otherwise violating the terms of its concession. This I discovered in time to induce Tinoco, with the aid o| a pistol, to sign a statement in which he denied all of his dishonest reports and gave' the company a clean bill of health. He died soon afterward.

Castro created a military district known as the Territorio Delta-Amacuro, which took in all of our property, and made Catalina the capital, so that the Governor and the other officials could keep me under their eyes. They all had instructions to make the place so uncomfortable for me that I would leave. Fortunately, when it received its concession the company had bought the land on which its buildings were erected. Only the fact that I was an American citizen and held the deeds to the property restrained them from expelling me by main force and awkwardness. However, I could see trouble coming, so I dug rifle-pits under the porches on the two sides of the house from which we could be attacked. I had plenty of arms and ammunition and about twenty men of whose bravery and loyalty I was sure.

I was prohibited from buying anything at the pulperia, or commissary, and we were hard put to it at times for enough to eat. We caught fish in the river, and my men stole out into the woods to hunt at every favorable opportunity, but the moment they left our property they exposed themselves to arrest on some trumped-up charge. Sometimes we were able surreptitiously to buy supplies from the natives, and we managed to get along. I filed protests at Caracas, with the Governor and with my company, but they accomplished nothing. I was told by the officials of the company that they were doing the best they could, with representations to the State Department at Washington, and that I would have to do the best I could, and I did it.

THE troops were continually spying on us and annoying us with fictitious charges, but it was a year or more before the Government, angered by its failure to get rid of me, resorted to extreme measures. A new Governor was sent down with strict orders to remove me, by force if necessary. He advanced toward the house with about seventy-five soldiers. I ordered my men into the rifle-pits and met the General at the gate.

"What do you want?" I demanded fiercely.

"I beg your pardon," replied the commander, with all the treacherous suavity of his race, "but I have orders to take you under my care and escort you to Trinidad in order that no injury may come to you. Our country is troubled and the Government is anxious as to your safety."

"My compliments to President Castro," I told him, "and assure him that I feel perfectly secure here, and quite comfortable. You can also tell him that I propose to stay here."

"That is much to be regretted," responded the still overly polite general, "for in that case I have to inform you that my orders are to arrest you and take you to Trinidad."

"In that case," I said, imitatively, "I have to inform you that you will find it impossible to carry out your orders and T advise you not to attempt it!"

"You mean that you will resist arrest?" he exclaimed in surprise.

"Most assuredly," I replied. "This is my property. You have no right to invade it, for I have violated no law of Venezuela. If you enter on it, I will fire on you!"

"But," he almost shouted, as he waved his arms excitedly toward his ennervated patriots, "my men are here to enforce my orders! You would be insane to resist! You do not know the Venezuelan army, sir!"

"You are mistaken," I told him. "I do know the Venezuelan army. It is you who are ignorant. You do not know my army! It is because I know both that I have no fear. You have not a shadow of right for seeking to arrest me, and your blood will be on your own head if you advance!"

With this declaration which, in keeping with the comic-opera custom of the country, was delivered with all the dramatic effort I could throw into it, in order that it might carry greater weight, I retired to the house.


THE General could see my rifle-pits, but he did not know how many men they held nor how well they could shoot. After a short consultation with his staff, he gave the order to advance, while he bravely directed operations from the rear. As his men crossed the line we fired and eight of them fell. They continued to advance and we fired again, dropping nine more of them, while several others were hit. That was too much for them and they broke and ran, leaving seven dead and ten badly wounded.

They did not fire a shot, perhaps because our men were so well concealed that Venezuelan marksmanship would have accomplished nothing against them. The General and his staff returned in an hour and asked permission to remove his fallen warriors. After burying their dead they returned to their steamer and went on up the river.

In two or three days they came back, with their force slightly increased, and the General again called on me to surrender under penalty of being arrested as a disturbing factor. I gave him the same reply as before and, after thinking it over for a while, he marched his troops away again.

That little encounter produced pronounced respect for the Americans among Castro's soldiers and they did not give us much trouble afterward, though they continued to annoy us for a time. With the establishment of the blockade of Venezuelan ports by the allies—England, Germany and Italy—in the latter part of 1902, and the signing of the peace protocols at Washington early in the following year, there came a cessation of hostilities against us. So far as driving us off the concession was concerned, Castro seemed to have given up the fight, but on account of the disturbed condition of the country and the fact that the Government was known to be inimical to us, it was impossible to do anything of consequence toward the development of the property.

This enforced idleness eventually became intolerable, and early in 1906, the company in the meantime having sent one of its officers to Caracas to protect its interests, I returned to New York, after having held the fort for ten years. I came back much poorer in pocket, but with a fund of information regarding Venezuela and its people.


I HAVE been in every country in South America, and have studied all of them, and there is no possibility of doubt that Venezuela is beyond comparison the richest in its natural resources. With the setting up of a firm and civilized government, which must come in the end, under an American protectorate if by no other means, all of the fairy-stories that were told of it centuries ago will come true, and its development will eclipse all of the dreams that have been realized in our own country.

It is a strange fact that Cumana, in Venezuela (their respective names then being New Toledo and New Grenada), which was the first European settlement in South America of which there is authentic record, was founded one hundred years, less one, before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. In each case there was a fervent prayer for divine aid in establishing a Christian colony and building up a great country. Why one prayer was answered and the other was not is a question I will not attempt to answer.

Like her West Indian neighbors—of which beautiful isles Americans now know so little, but of which they will know much more when their flag flies over all of them, as it must within the life of the present generation—Venezuela has been treated most bountifully by nature and most brutally by man. Cursed they all may have been by the seas of innocent blood in which they were barbarously bathed during their extended infancy and their prolonged childhood, from which they have not yet merged. It seems that all the powers of darkness have conspired to retard their growth and hold them slaves to savagely. Accustomed from the days of the Spanish conquistadores, and the pirates who followed them, to being plundered and persecuted in every way that the mercenary mind of man could devise, the Venezuelans have grown so hardened to turmoil and torture that it has become second nature to them to live in an atmosphere which generates riot and robbery.

Their blood is an unholy mixture of Indian, Carib and Spanish, with other and more recent strains of all sorts. They are the most inconsequential, emotional, ungrateful and treacherous people on the face of the earth—and yet I love them. The ambition of their leaders runs only to graft, while the underlings yearn for war as a child cries for a plaything. At the behest of some self-constituted chieftain, who has strutted in front of a mirror until he imagines himself a second Simon Bolivar, they rise in rebellion because it gives them a chance to prey on the country, and, if their revolt is successful, to continue and extend their preying. But some day a real man will rise up among them and lead them out of their blackness and butchery into peace and prosperity, and Venezuela, with her wild waste of wealth, will become great beyond the imaginings of her discoverers.

THIS is not the full story of my life, but it tells some of the incidents that I have enjoyed the most. My best fight was with old Moy Sen, the pirate king, in the China Sea, and my closest call was when I was sentenced to be shot at sunrise in Santo Domingo. These events supplied the most delightful feasts of the excitement which my nature has ever craved, yet I have lived well, in that respect, all along. I have fought under nineteen flags and I am proud of the fact that I gave ,to each of them, and to every one of my undertakings in a life-long search for adventure, the best that was in me.

I have no disappointments and no regrets, except that this existence is too short. If I had my life to live over again it would be lived in the same way, though, I would hope, with a still greater share of excitement, because, it was for just such a life that I was created. What the purpose of it was I neither know nor care, nor am I in the least concerned as to what my destiny next holds in store for me. I hope, however, that in some land with opportunity for wide activity I will be reincarnated as a filibuster and a buccaneer and that I will so continue until my identity is merged into a composite mass of kindred souls.