I. COLONIAL ADVENTURERS IN LITTLE SHIPS
II. THE PRIVATEERS OF '76
III. OUT CUTLASES AND BOARD!
IV. THE FAMOUS DAYS OF SALEM PORT
V. YANKEE VIKINGS AND NEW TRADE ROUTES
VI. "FREE TRADE AND SAILORS' RIGHTS!"
VII. THE BRILLIANT ERA OF 1812
VIII. THE PACKET SHIPS OF THE "ROARING FORTIES"
IX. THE STATELY CLIPPER AND HER GLORY
X. BOUND COASTWISE
THE OLD MERCHANT MARINE
CHAPTER I. COLONIAL ADVENTURERS IN LITTLE SHIPS
The story of American ships and sailors is an epic of blue water which
seems singularly remote, almost unreal, to the later generations. A
people with a native genius for seafaring won and held a brilliant
supremacy through two centuries and then forsook this heritage of
theirs. The period of achievement was no more extraordinary than was its
swift declension. A maritime race whose topsails flecked every ocean,
whose captains courageous from father to son had fought with pike and
cannonade to defend the freedom of the seas, turned inland to seek a
different destiny and took no more thought for the tall ships and rich
cargoes which had earned so much renown for its flag.
Vanished fleets and brave memories--a chronicle of America which had
written its closing chapters before the Civil War! There will be other
Yankee merchantmen in times to come, but never days like those when
skippers sailed on seas uncharted in quest of ports mysterious and
The Pilgrim Fathers, driven to the northward of their intended
destination in Virginia, landed on the shore of Cape Cod not so much to
clear the forest and till the soil as to establish a fishing settlement.
Like the other Englishmen who long before 1620 had steered across to
harvest the cod on the Grand Bank, they expected to wrest a livelihood
mostly from salt water. The convincing argument in favor of Plymouth was
that it offered a good harbor for boats and was "a place of profitable
fishing." Both pious and amphibious were these pioneers whom the
wilderness and the red Indian confined to the water's edge, where
they were soon building ships to trade corn for beaver skins with the