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- Journeys Through Bookland - 30/71 -

of recovering any part of it from the deep sea which was rolling, and tossing it about. But, though it was now an old story, and the most aged people had almost forgotten that such a vessel had been wrecked, William Phipps resolved that the sunken treasure should again be brought to light.

He went to London and obtained admittance to King James, who had not yet been driven from his throne. He told the king of the vast wealth that was lying at the bottom of the sea. King James listened with attention, and thought this a fine opportunity to fill his treasury with Spanish gold. He appointed William Phipps to be captain of a vessel called the _Rose Algier_, carrying eighteen guns and ninety-five men. So now he was Captain Phipps of the English navy.

Captain Phipps sailed from England in the _Rose Algier_, and cruised for nearly two years in the West Indies, endeavoring to find the wreck of the Spanish ship. But the sea is so wide and deep that it is no easy matter to discover the exact spot where a sunken vessel lies. The prospect of success seemed very small, and most people would have thought that Captain Phipps was as far from having money enough to build a "fair brick house" as he was while he tended sheep.

The seamen of the _Rose Algier_ became discouraged and gave up all hope of making their fortunes by discovering the Spanish wreck. They wanted to compel Captain Phipps to turn pirate. There was a much better prospect, they thought, of growing rich by plundering vessels which still sailed in the sea than by seeking for a ship that had lain beneath the waves full half a century. They broke out in open mutiny, but were finally mastered by Phipps and compelled to obey his orders. It would have been dangerous, however, to continue much longer at sea with such a crew of mutinous sailors, and, besides, the _Rose Algier_ was leaky and unseaworthy. So Captain Phipps judged it best to return to England.

Before leaving the West Indies he met with a Spaniard, an old man, who remembered the wreck of the Spanish ship and gave him directions how to find the very spot. It was on a reef of rocks a few leagues from Porto de la Plata.

On his arrival in England, therefore, Captain Phipps solicited the king to let him have another vessel and send him back again to the West Indies. But King James, who had probably expected that the _Rose Algier_ would return laden with gold, refused to have anything more to do with the affair. Phipps might never have been able to renew the search if the Duke of Albemarle and some other noblemen had not lent their assistance. They fitted out a ship and gave the command to Captain Phipps. He sailed from England and arrived safely at Porto de la Plata, where he took an adze and assisted his men to build a large boat.

The boat was intended for the purpose of going closer to the reef of rocks than a large vessel could safely venture. When it was finished the captain sent several men in it to examine the spot where the Spanish ship was said to have been wrecked. They were accompanied by some Indians who were skilful divers and could go down a great way into the depths of the sea.

The boat's crew proceeded to the reef of rocks and rowed round and round it a great many times. They gazed down into the water, which was so transparent that it seemed as if they could have seen the gold and silver at the bottom had there been any of those precious metals there. Nothing, however, could they see--nothing more valuable than a curious sea-shrub which was growing beneath the water in a crevice of the reef of rocks. It flaunted to and fro with the swell and reflux of the waves, and looked as bright and beautiful as if its leaves were gold.

"We won't go back empty-handed," cried an English sailor, and then he spoke to one of the Indian divers: "Dive down and bring me that pretty sea-shrub there. That's the only treasure we shall find."

Down plunged the diver, and soon rose dripping from the water, holding the sea-shrub in his hand. But he had learned some news at the bottom of the sea.

"There are some ship's guns," said he the moment he had drawn breath, "some great cannon, among the rocks near where the shrub was growing."


No sooner had he spoken than the English sailors knew that they had found the very spot where the Spanish galleon had been wrecked so many years before. The other Indian divers immediately plunged over the boat's side and swam headlong down, groping among the rocks and sunken cannon. In a few moments one of them rose above the water with a heavy lump of silver in his arms. The single lump was worth more than a thousand dollars. The sailors took it into the boat, and then rowed back as speedily as they could, being in haste to inform Captain Phipps of their good luck.

But, confidently as the captain had hoped to find the Spanish wreck, yet, now that it was really found, the news seemed too good to be true. He could not believe it till the sailors showed him the lump of silver.

"Thanks be to God!" then cried Captain Phipps. "We shall every man of us make our fortunes!"

Hereupon the captain and all the crew set to work with iron rakes and great hooks and lines fishing for gold and silver at the bottom of the sea. Up came the treasure in abundance. Now they beheld a table of solid silver, once the property of an old Spanish grandee. Now they found a sacramental vessel which had been destined as a gift to some Catholic church. Now they drew up a golden cup fit for the King of Spain to drink his wine out of. Perhaps the bony hand of its former owner had been grasping the precious cup and was drawn up along with it. Now their rakes or fishing lines were loaded with masses of silver bullion. There were also precious stones among the treasure, glittering and sparkling so that it is a wonder how their radiance could have been concealed.

There is something sad and terrible in the idea of snatching all this wealth from the devouring ocean, which had possessed it for such a length of years. It seems as if men had no right to make themselves rich with it. It ought to have been left with the skeletons of the ancient Spaniards who had been drowned when the ship was wrecked, and whose bones were now scattered among the gold and silver.

But Captain Phipps and his crew were troubled with no such thoughts as these. After a day or two they lighted on another part of the wreck, where they found a great many bags of silver dollars. But nobody could have guessed that these were moneybags. By remaining so long in the salt water they had become covered over with a crust which had the appearance of stone, so that it was necessary to break them in pieces with hammers and axes. When this was done a stream of silver dollars gushed out upon the deck of the vessel.

The whole value of the recovered treasure--plate, bullion, precious stones, and all--was estimated at more than two millions of dollars. It was dangerous even to look at such a vast amount of wealth. A sea- captain who had assisted Phipps in the enterprise utterly lost his reason at the sight of it. He died two years afterward, still raving about the treasures that lie at the bottom of the sea. It would have been better for this man if he had left the skeletons of the shipwrecked Spaniards in quiet possession of their wealth.

Captain Phipps and his men continued to fish up plate, bullion, and dollars as plentifully as ever till their provisions grew short. Then, as they could not feed upon gold and silver any more than old King Midas could, they found it necessary to go in search of better sustenance. Phipps resolved to return to England. He arrived there in 1687. and was received with great joy by the Duke of Albemarle and other English lords who had fitted out the vessel. Well they might rejoice, for they took by far the greater part of the treasure to themselves.

The captain's share, however, was enough to make him comfortable for the rest of his days. It also enabled him to fulfil his promise to his wife by building a "fair brick house" in the Green Lane of Boston. The Duke of Albemarle sent Mrs. Phipps a magnificent gold cup worth at least five thousand dollars. Before Captain Phipps left London, King James made him a knight, so that, instead of the obscure ship-carpenter who had formerly dwelt among them, the inhabitants of Boston welcomed him on his return as the rich and famous Sir William Phipps.

He was too active and adventurous a man to sit still in the quiet enjoyment of his good fortune. In 1690 he went on a military expedition against the French colonies in America, conquered the whole Province of Acadia, and returned to Boston with a great deal of plunder. In the same year Sir William took command of an expedition against Quebec, but did not succeed in capturing the city. In 1692, King William III appointed him governor of Massachusetts.

THE HUTCHINSON MOB [Footnote: From _Grandfather's Chair_.]


On the evening of the 26th of August, 1765, a bonfire was kindled in King Street. It flamed high upward, and threw a ruddy light over the front of the Town-house, on which was displayed a carved representation of the royal arms. The gilded vane of the cupola glittered in the blaze. The kindling of this bonfire was the well-known signal for the populace of Boston to assemble in the street.

Before the tar barrels of which the bonfire was made were half burned out a great crowd had come together. They were chiefly laborers and seafaring men, together with many young apprentices and all those idle people about town who are ready for any kind of mischief. Doubtless some schoolboys were among them.

While these rough figures stood round the blazing bonfire you might hear them speaking bitter words against the high officers of the province. Governor Bernard, [Footnote: It was Governor Francis Bernard who did much to hasten on the Revolutionary War. He was very harsh in his treatment of the colonists, and it was on his representation of their secret traitorous designs that the British ordered troops stationed in Boston. This aroused a violent opposition, which was not quelled before war finally broke out.] Hutchinson, [Footnote: This Thomas Hutchinson was the last royal governor of the Province of Massachusetts Bay. He was born in Boston, and was a descendant of the famous Anne Hutchinson. At the time of the incident described in this selection, he was lieutenant-governor of the province, and as chief justice, had issued the so-called Writs of Assistance, which brought upon him the anger of the colonists. Under these Writs it was possible for a constable, or other public officer, to enter any building and take therefrom goods upon which the duty had not been paid. In the hands of tyrannical officers, these Writs would entirely destroy the privacy of any family. When the Stamp Act was passed, Hutchinson accepted it as legal, though he had opposed it on principle. By this

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