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- REAL SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE - 2/25 -
his Lordship informed General MacIver that in the event of the latter's attempting to land on New Guinea, instructions would be sent to the officer in command of her Majesty's fleet in the Western Pacific to fire upon the company's vessel. This meant that the expedition would be dealt with as a filibustering one.
In _Judy_, September 21, 1887, appears:
"We all recollect the treatment received by Brigadier-General MacI. in the action he took with respect to the annexation of New Guinea. The General, who is a sort of Pizarro, with a dash of D'Artagnan, was treated in a most scurvy manner by Lord Derby. Had MacIver not been thwarted in his enterprise, the whole of New Guinea would now have been under the British flag, and we should not be cheek-by-jowl with the Germans, as we are in too many places."
_Society_, September 3, 1887, says:
"The New Guinea expedition proved abortive, owing to the blundering shortsightedness of the then Government, for which Lord Derby was chiefly responsible, but what little foothold we possess in New Guinea, is certainly due to General MacIver's gallant effort."
Copy of statement made by J. Rintoul Mitchell, June 2, 1887:
"About the latter end of the year 1883, when I was editor-in-chief of the _Englishman_ in Calcutta, I was told by Captain de Deaux, assistant secretary in the Foreign Office of the Indian Government, that he had received a telegram from Lord Derby to the effect that if General MacIver ventured to land upon the coast of New Guinea it would become the duty of Lord Ripon, Viceroy, to use the naval forces at his command for the purpose of deporting General MacI. Sir Aucland Calvin can certify to this, as it was discussed in the Viceregal Council."
Just after our Civil War MacIver was interested in another expedition which also failed. Its members called themselves the Knights of Arabia, and their object was to colonize an island much nearer to our shores than New Guinea. MacIver, saying that his oath prevented, would never tell me which island this was, but the reader can choose from among Cuba, Haiti, and the Hawaiian group. To have taken Cuba, the "colonizers" would have had to fight not only Spain, but the Cubans themselves, on whose side they were soon fighting in the Ten Years' War; so Cuba may be eliminated. And as the expedition was to sail from the Atlantic side, and not from San Francisco, the island would appear to be the Black Republic. From the records of the times it would seem that the greater number of the Knights of Arabia were veterans of the Confederate army, and there is no question but that they intended to subjugate the blacks of Haiti and form a republic for white men in which slavery would be recognized. As one of the leaders of this filibustering expedition, MacIver was arrested by General Phil Sheridan and for a short time cast into jail.
This chafed the general's spirit, but he argued philosophically that imprisonment for filibustering, while irksome, brought with it no reproach. And, indeed, sometimes the only difference between a filibuster and a government lies in the fact that the government fights the gun-boats of only the enemy while a filibuster must dodge the boats of the enemy and those of his own countrymen. When the United States went to war with Spain there were many men in jail as filibusters, for doing that which at the time the country secretly approved, and later imitated. And because they attempted exactly the same thing for which Dr. Jameson was imprisoned in Holloway Jail, two hundred thousand of his countrymen are now wearing medals.
The by-laws of the Knights of Arabia leave but little doubt as to its object.
By-law No. II reads:
"We, as Knights of Arabia, pledge ourselves to aid, comfort, and protect all Knights of Arabia, especially those who are wounded in obtaining our grand object.
"III--Great care must be taken that no unbeliever or outsider shall gain any insight into the mysteries or secrets of the Order.
"IV--The candidate will have to pay one hundred dollars cash to the Captain of the Company, and the candidate will receive from the Secretary a Knight of Arabia bond for one hundred dollars in gold, with ten per cent interest, payable ninety days after the recognition of (The Republic of----) by the United States, or any government.
"V--All Knights of Arabia will be entitled to one hundred acres of land, location of said land to be drawn for by lottery. The products are coffee, sugar, tobacco, and cotton."
A local correspondent of the New York _Herald_ writes of the arrest of MacIver as follows:
"When MacIver will be tried is at present unknown, as his case has assumed a complicated aspect. He claims British protection as a subject of her British Majesty, and the English Consul has forwarded a statement of his case to Sir Frederick Bruce at Washington, accompanied by a copy of the by-laws. General Sheridan also has forwarded a statement to the Secretary of War, accompanied not only by the by-laws, but very important documents, including letters from Jefferson Davis, Benjamin, the Secretary of State of the Confederate States, and other personages prominent in the Rebellion, showing that MacIver enjoyed the highest confidence of the Confederacy."
As to the last statement, an open letter I found in his scrap-book is an excellent proof. It is as follows: "To officers and members of all camps of United Confederate Veterans: It affords me the greatest pleasure to say that the bearer of this letter, General Henry Ronald MacIver, was an officer of great gallantry in the Confederate Army, serving on the staff at various times of General Stonewall Jackson, J. E. B. Stuart, and E. Kirby Smith, and that his official record is one of which any man may be proud.
"Respectfully, MARCUS J. WRIGHT, "_Agent for the Collection of Confederate Records_.
"War Records office, War Department, Washington, July 8, 1895."
At the close of the war duels between officers of the two armies were not infrequent. In the scrap-book there is the account of one of these affairs sent from Vicksburg to a Northern paper by a correspondent who was an eye-witness of the event. It tells how Major MacIver, accompanied by Major Gillespie, met, just outside of Vicksburg, Captain Tomlin of Vermont, of the United States Artillery Volunteers. The duel was with swords. MacIver ran Tomlin through the body. The correspondent writes:
"The Confederate officer wiped his sword on his handkerchief. In a few seconds Captain Tomlin expired. One of Major MacIver's seconds called to him: 'He is dead; you must go. These gentlemen will look after the body of their friend.' A negro boy brought up the horses, but before mounting MacIver said to Captain Tomlin's seconds: 'My friends are in haste for me to go. Is there anything I can do? I hope you consider that this matter has been settled honorably?'
"There being no reply, the Confederates rode away."
In a newspaper of to-day so matter-of-fact an acceptance of an event so tragic would make strange reading.
From the South MacIver crossed through Texas to join the Royalist army under the Emperor Maximilian. It was while making his way, with other Confederate officers, from Galveston to El Paso, that MacIver was captured by the Indians. He was not ill-treated by them, but for three months was a prisoner, until one night, the Indians having camped near the Rio Grande, he escaped into Mexico. There he offered his sword to the Royalist commander, General Mejia, who placed him on his staff, and showed him some few skirmishes. At Monterey MacIver saw big fighting, and for his share in it received the title of Count, and the order of Guadaloupe. In June, contrary to all rules of civilized war, Maximilian was executed and the empire was at an end. MacIver escaped to the coast, and from Tampico took a sailing vessel to Rio de Janeiro. Two months later he was wearing the uniform of another emperor, Dom Pedro, and, with the rank of lieutenant-colonel, was in command of the Foreign Legion of the armies of Brazil and Argentina, which at that time as allies were fighting against Paraguay.
MacIver soon recruited seven hundred men, but only half of these ever reached the front. In Buenos Ayres cholera broke out and thirty thousand people died, among the number about half the Legion. MacIver was among those who suffered, and before he recovered was six weeks in hospital. During that period, under a junior officer, the Foreign Legion was sent to the front, where it was disbanded.
On his return to Glasgow, MacIver foregathered with an old friend, Bennett Burleigh, whom he had known when Burleigh was a lieutenant in the navy of the Confederate States. Although today known as a distinguished war correspondent, in those days Burleigh was something of a soldier of fortune himself, and was organizing an expedition to assist the Cretan insurgents against the Turks. Between the two men it was arranged that MacIver should precede the expedition to Crete and prepare for its arrival. The Cretans received him gladly, and from the provisional government he received a commission in which he was given "full power to make war on land and sea against the enemies of Crete, and particularly against the Sultan of Turkey and the Turkish forces, and to burn, destroy, or capture any vessel bearing the Turkish flag."
This permission to destroy the Turkish navy single-handed strikes one as more than generous, for the Cretans had no navy, and before one could begin the destruction of a Turkish gun-boat it was first necessary to catch it and tie it to a wharf.
At the close of the Cretan insurrection MacIver crossed to Athens and served against the brigands in Kisissia on the borders of Albania and Thessaly as volunteer aide to Colonel Corroneus, who had been commander-in-chief of the Cretans against the Turks. MacIver spent three months potting at brigands, and for his services in the mountains was recommended for the highest Greek decoration.
From Greece it was only a step to New York, and almost
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