The Project Gutenberg EBook of Stephen H. Branch's Alligator Vol. 1 no. 8,
June 12, 1858, by Stephen H. Branch

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Title: Stephen H. Branch's Alligator Vol. 1 No. 8, June 12, 1858

Author: Stephen H. Branch

Release Date: May 26, 2015 [EBook #49052]

Language: English

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James Gordon Bennett, Horace Greeley, and Henry J. Raymond. 2
Early Years—Senator Henry B. Anthony. 4
The Patient and Doctor. 5
War with Great Britain. 7
Tremendous Display of Crinoline. 7
A Queer Letter. 7
Life of Stephen H. Branch. 9


Volume I.—No. 8.]—— SATURDAY, JUNE 12, 1858.—— [Price 2 Cents.




James Gordon Bennett, Horace Greeley, and Henry J. Raymond.

I shall review the editorial career of these men, (whom I regard as extremely vicious,) and I shall begin with Bennett, because he is the eldest and biggest villain of the trio. I have written for the Herald since I was a student at Cambridge in 1836, for which I have received only $250. I have written for the Times nearly since its advent, for which I have received nothing. I have written for the Tribune since the first year of its existence, for which I have received nothing but infinite detraction. So, in all I may say of these ungrateful scoundrels, I shall evince no ingratitude or treachery. Bennett’s face is the reflection of hell and the prince of devils. In conversation, he is obscene and blasphemous, and thoroughly wicked in every thought, and to listen to his obscenity, and blasphemy, and corrupt suggestions, in his old age, makes one shudder with horror to the inner temples of the soul. He is a low and cunning Scotchman, of a large brain, of superficial cultivation—has no critical knowledge of grammar, and his orthography is quite imperfect—could accurately define Websters “science,” only as it represents the mode of extortion—has read very little—is an unnaturalized alien, and a monarchist of the deepest dye. His leading motive, since he acquired his almighty dollar position as a journalist, has been to corrupt the people, and thus subvert our institutions, and cast us again into the embraces of British despots, whom he still loves, and will ever recognize as his native masters. His wife permanently resides in Europe, and the son who bears his name was educated in London, Paris, and Vienna,—and Bennett himself has passed most of his latter years in Europe, with flying visits to America to black mail private citizens and the politicians in our Municipal, State, and National elections. As incontrovertible evidence of his sympathy with corruptionists, he never wrote a syllable in favor of the election of an honorable man to office. In the abstract, he prates of virtue, and has always denounced public rogues as no other man in America, but concretely and in the assassin’s ambush, he toils from choice and for a cash consideration to elect prison birds for our rulers. As long as the candidate for office holds him through a beautiful woman, or will jingle gold before his eyes, he will sustain him, and magnify him into a human god; but the moment she ceases to fondle, and caress, and hug, and kiss his hideous features, or her beauty fades, or her paramour falls through penury, or the loss of the public confidence,—when[3] one or all of these calamities transpire, he seeks new victims, and tramples the old like spiders, as he now does George Law and Fernando Wood, and others, whom he has bled of half a million. And when Mariposa fails to yield its wonted supply of gold, he will abandon Fremont, and support some notorious scamp for President, who is a perjured alien, or a great national plunderer, or a dastard traitor to the Union of our Fathers,—provided the candidate will give him $100,000 in cash, with the promise of a first-class Foreign Mission. There is a married woman alternately in the Metropolis and its suburbs, to whom Bennett has long been an abject slave. And there is a woman alternately in Washington and its suburbs, to whom President Buchanan himself is a Russian serf. Bennett and Buchanan, while I write, are in the embraces of two cunning and bewitching ladies, who control the destinies of America. It was through the fascinations and machinations of these two women, that George Law and Fernando Wood ultimately fell, never to rise; and it was through these two Cleopatras that the English and Jewish alien, Abraham D. Russell and Daniel E. Sickles were elected to the Judiciary and Congress, and will be again, as long as James Buchanan, James Gordon Bennett, Judge Russell, Daniel E. Sickles, and the two lovely ladies in question rule the destinies of the White House, and meet in its gorgeous halls, and around its festive tables. Dan Sickles could pull Buchanan’s nose with impunity, and Judge Russell could pinch Bennett’s big proboscis, and he would not dare breathe the faintest murmur. Pretty women ruled the Egyptians, Grecians, Romans, English, French, Germans, Spaniards, and Italians, and why should they not rule the Americans? Bennett’s Corporation plunder and his black mail of politicians and private citizens will appal the city and country, when I disclose his prodigious operations, and place Frederick Hudson, (his smooth Private Secretary,) and his brother Edward W. Hudson, (the author of the Herald Money Articles,) in the infamous position of their master. Bennett and Fred and Ned Hudson originated the Parker Vein and Potosi villanies, through which my brother William was reduced to beggary and ceaseless illness, for which I will haunt them to their capulets, and beyond, if possible. And now, as the Alligator’s jaws are limited, they cannot hold more of Bennett’s and the two Hudsons’ carcases to-day, but he will bite them mighty hard next week, and take larger chunks from their black mail hides, at his second lunge. And when my Alligator’s[4] fangs reach Greeley and Raymond, he will revel and grin and snap his jaws, and fatten his belly, as though he was basking on the fertile borders of the Chagres.


Early Years—Senator Henry B. Anthony.

When I was in the Providence Post Office, Henry B. Anthony was a student of Brown University, whose noble father resided in Coventry, and the pale and delicate Henry would descend College Hill at evening shades, and present his sweet little face at the Post Office window, and inquire in solicitous and music tones: “Good Stephen, did my dear father or mother write me to-day?” And if I said yes, his tiny face reflected the innocent hilarity of childhood. But if I said no, he would depart in silence, with tears careering on his brilliant and intellectual eyes. One summer evening, while in the doorway of the Post Office, we had a long political disputation. Henry was a Whig and I a Democrat. He was a Hamiltonian, and I a Jeffersonian. Samuel and Joseph Bridgham, Wm. Henry Manton, Giles Eaton, David Perkins, Halsey Creighton, Edward Hazard, Nathan F. Dixon, George Rivers, and other students of Brown University, were there, and most of them were Whigs, and opposed to Gen. Jackson, who was then President. We had a very exciting discussion, and the students applauded as we warmed and glowed and rounded our periods; but Henry received the most applause, and I the most hisses. I endured all this with composure; but when Henry corrected my pronunciation of the military word “corps,” (kore,) which I pronounced like corpse, (korps,) a dead body,—he brought blushes to my cheeks, and copious blood to my brain, and the conquest was his, and I retired into the Post Office, and studied dictionary for some time, and resolved to acquire the principles of the English language. And from that memorable evening, I have been a laborious student. When this same Henry B. Anthony became Governor of Rhode Island, my father was the Senator from Providence County, which is the second honor of the State Administration, and the duties more arduous than those of the Governor himself. And father has told me that Henry often consulted him during his Gubernatorial Administration. When poor father died, I called on Henry at the Providence Journal office, who received me with the cordiality of a brother, and said: “Stephen: My father has recently died, and I profoundly sympathize with you, as I know what it is to lose a good father like mine. As to your father,[5] Rhode Island never had a wiser nor a better citizen, nor a purer patriot,—and years will roll ere she will rear a man of his integrity and penetration. Our whole State is in tears, and will ever cherish him with warm affection.” Henry was elected an American Senator last week from Rhode Island, and here am I, with a dagger and revolver in my hand, exposing the robbers and parricides of my country, and with not one truly reliable friend in all the world; and even the few dollars that I recently received from the Corporation for public services, are in ceaseless danger through the stealth of heartless and greedy wretches, whose avarice will never be satiated until they have wrested the very last farthing from trembling hands that are in constant peril of paralysis. And now, dear Henry, receive my most affectionate congratulation on mounting the ladder of your highest ambition. But if you join the plunderers and traitors of the Senate, and be recreant to truth and justice—to Greene and Perry—to the Rhode Island Line, so fondly cherished by Washington—and to our dear native soil, and to the loved stars of our glorious canopy, and of the long, dark, cold, dreary, and sleepless nights of the Revolution,—if you be recreant to these sacred lights of our early years, I will paralyze you with execrations,—and if I survive you, I will trample and blight the verdure that blushes over your odious and accursed mausoleum.


The Patient and Doctor—The First Interview.

Patient—Doctor, I have got the piles and dyspepsia most awfully. I have taken lots of medicine, and it has made me more costive, and caused my head to ache worse than ever. Now, Doctor, what on earth shall I do to cure me of the piles and dyspepsia?

Doctor—Buy Branch’s Alligator.

Patient—What kind of medicine is that?

Doctor—It ain’t medicine. It is a pepper.

Patient—What kind of pepper?

Doctor—A darn funny pepper.

Patient—How can that cure the piles and dyspepsia?

Doctor—It will make you laugh and cry at the same time, and move your bowels, and it actually gave one of my patients the diarrhœa and hysteric cramps in the stomach last week.

Patient—Where can I find it?

Doctor—At any depot in the city.

Patient—I will try it. How much shall I pay you for your medical advice?

Doctor—Only one dollar.

Patient—There it is. Good day, Doctor.

Doctor—Good day.

Patient—(stumbles going down the steps)—It looks awful cloudy, Doctor.

Doctor—Quite so. It looks like rain.

Patient—Yes, rather. Good day, Doctor.

Doctor—Good day. Call again.

Patient—I will. [Exeunt.]


Patient—Good morning, Doctor.

Doctor—How do you do?

Patient—I am so weak I can hardly stand.

Doctor—It must be owing to the warm weather.

Patient—No it ain’t. I have been reading Branch’s Alligator, and I have got the dysentery so bad that I fear I shall lose my entrails and die before sundown, if you don’t give me something to stop it. Why, lord bless your dear soul, Doctor, I was up all last night, and have been out ten times to-day. O do relieve and save me, Doctor. Only give me back my piles and dyspepsia again, and I’ll be satisfied. The dysentery is more dangerous than either, and I’m not prepared to die. I joined the Church at the time Awful Gardner and Ex-Alderman Wesley Smith did, but I[6] didn’t hold on, and I am worse now than I was before I joined the Old Dutch Church in Fulton street. Do save me, Doctor, do. O do! All this trouble has come upon me, because you told me to read Branch’s Alligator, which made me laugh so, that my bowels got under way, and I couldn’t stop them. Do save me, dear Doctor.

Doctor—Do you ever read the Herald, Times, or Tribune?

Patient—No. I consider it a sin to read those papers.


Patient—Because they lie and black mail so, and deceive and sell the people, and plunder them, and erect such elegant buildings with their plunder. They never could make so much money by honorable industry.

Doctor—Well, now, you go and buy a copy of the Herald, Times, and Tribune, and go home and read the editorials, and the letters of their Albany and Washington correspondents, and their mercenary Wall street money articles, and read their billingsgate of each other, and their horrible black mail articles, and they will so thrill your blood, as to produce an instant reaction, and you will soon be more costive than before you read Branch’s Alligator.

Patient—I’ll do it. How much shall I pay you for your advice?

Doctor—Not a cent.

Patient—You are too generous, Doctor.

Doctor—Not at all. Those editors ain’t worth a cent, only what they steal from the government, and the politicians, and the people. They don’t make a millionth as much on their paper and advertisements, as they do on black mail. They are the source of all governmental evil.

Patient—Them’s my sentiments exactly. Good morning. Doctor.

Doctor—Good morning, patient. [Exeunt.]


Patient—Good evening, Doctor.

Doctor—Good evening.

Patient—Well, Doctor, the Herald, Times, and Tribune have cured me. I swow, Doctor, how Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond can lie. I read their fibs, white and black, and their billingsgate of each other, and their abuse of private citizens, and contractors, and politicians, (which seemed like polite invitations for interested parties to walk up to their gilded offices and settle,) until my blood run cold, and icicles formed in my veins, and my zig-zag circulation flew about and rushed from my toes, fingers, nose, ears, heart, and liver, into my skull, until my dysentery was reduced from ten to four times a day; and then I put ice on my head, and a poultice over my navel, and bathed my spleen with brandy, and went to bed, and slept like Rip Van Winkle, and I now feel as well as I did at my birth,—and I have come to express my gratitude, and pay you a standing fee for disclosing the important secret, that I can always cure the piles and dysentery by reading the abominable lies and black mail editorials of the Herald, Times, and Tribune.

Doctor—I am of a costive nature, and never have the piles nor dysentery, and therefore never read those disreputable newspapers; but if I ever should have the cholera, or violent diarrhœa, I should read those public journals for my life, as I have cured dysentery patients for years by recommending the perusal of those journals for only half an hour. And I shall always recommend Branch’s Alligator for costiveness.

Patient—Don’t mention the Alligator, if you please, Doctor, because I fear it will start my bowels, and again set them in a terrible and dangerous commotion. So, good night, Doctor, and may God forever bless you.


Doctor—Good night, sir.

Patient—Remember me kindly to your wife and children, Doctor.

Doctor—I will.

Patient—Good night.

Doctor—Good night. [Exeunt.]

The Doctor closes the door, and Patient skips up the street, singing, a la Bayadere:

Happy am I,
From piles I’m free,
Why are not all
Merry like me?

Stephen H. Branch’s Alligator.



War with Great Britain.

Don’t let the grannies and daddies get dangerously nervous over the bloody rumors from Washington. Drink your tea, good matrons, and take your snuff, old gentlemen, as strong as ever, and talk as serenely and happily of other days, as though we were to have perpetual peace. There will be no war between parent and child, so long as New York and Liverpool exist in mutual interest and brotherly affection. For these two cities, with their mighty commerce, are the peaceful arbiters of nations, and will be, after all who now behold the Universe have returned to ashes, and coming generations cannot find their mortal caverns.


Tremendous Display of Crinoline.


Omnibus Driver—Broadway—ride up?

Dad (on sidewalk)—I say, driver, have you got room for all my family?

Driver—How many have you got?

Dad—Myself and two female children—two girls in their teens, and my wife and mother.

Driver—Yes, daddy, I can accommodate you, as I have just got room for yourself, old boy, and your two female children, and two kegs, and your two girls in their teens, and two barrels, and for your wife and mother, and two hogsheads. Jump in, old cock, with all your tribes and trappings.

Dad—Thank you, driver, thank you,—but darn your impudent reflections about crinoline. But it rains, and I’m anxious to get home, and I’ll forgive your facetious comments this time. There, now, get in wife, and mother, and girls, and children—get in as fast as possible, and get out of the rain, and save your bonnets, and shawls, and silks, and kegs, barrels, and hogsheads, that our waggish driver prates of with such truthful severity.

Driver (peeping through the hole)—Are you all right inside, daddy? Crinoline all nicely arranged and tucked in? eh? old cock?

Dad—Go ahead, you rascal. I’ll tell Mayor Tiemann and Peter Cooper of your didos, and have you arrested.

Driver—Laughs, and snaps his whip, and away they go.


A Queer Letter.

New York, May 28th, 1858.

Stephen H. Branch, Esq.

Dear Sir,—As a reader of your rapacious Alligator, and a warm sympathiser with you throughout your misfortunes, I think I am entitled to make a suggestion, which I believe to be for your own good. I want to praise the manner in which you have conducted your Journal thus far, and it is because I do not, wish to see it unworthy of consideration that I have taken the liberty to write to you—a perfect stranger, as far as personal acquaintance goes. Your sanguinary and characteristic[8] fearless attacks on the magnates of Tammany and the City Hall have won you great favor among the honest and peaceful citizens of New York, as well as elsewhere, but I am of opinion that an attack on the city press would only be productive of serious mischief to yourself. In your latest number, you mention the apparent slight of the Alligator by Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond, and avow your intention to “let up” on them in your next. I seriously advise you not to do it. It will hurt you. Only a week since you spoke of your unwillingness to attack and expose Russell, because he is Bennett’s friend, who aided you in your misfortunes. It may hurt the man’s feelings somewhat to see his friends or relations calumniated or condemned, but it is much worse (and savors of ingratitude in the assailant) to be set upon himself. Besides, if you wake the wrath of these three Leviathans, it will take a bigger and stronger animal than the Alligator to extinguish it. It is therefore a matter of policy in you not to weaken yourself by entering into a war with the Herald, Times, or Tribune. You are yet weak, and need all the help you can possibly obtain. You know yourself that newspapers are not established in a day, however high their aim or select their contributions, and to be drawn into a controversy with the papers named, will be almost fatal to your editorial prospects.

Again: they may have reasons for not noticing your paper, as a press of business, neglect, overlooking, and so forth, and may, when a more convenient season presents itself, give you a highly flavored puff. Would it not be better to ask them privately to speak favorably of your new enterprise, than to attempt to force them to do it by a public attack in your paper?

Yours very respectfully, and with sincere wishes for your welfare,

R. P. C.


This letter came from the Herald, Times, and Tribune offices, and was the result of the deliberations of Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond, through their Secretaries, Hudson, Dana, and Tuthill. My heart was moved while reading this production. The genial spirits of Houston and Hamilton, of the Herald, and of the equally meritorious dead in the Times and Tribune establishments, passed before my vision, and I was unmanly, and wept like a delicate female. And with electric flights of the imagination, I grasped the long and happy years I have passed in the Herald, Times, and Tribune offices, in the pleasing effort to improve the Fire and Police Departments. I thought, too, of the noble band of intellectual living giants connected with the Metropolitan Press in question, and I wept to know that we would be less friendly, and that my form and intellect were never more to be reflected by the leading Press of America. And why must this be so? Why must I pass in silence, in my whole journey to the grave, such men as Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond, and their Secretaries, Hudson, Dana, and Tuthill? Is it because they have not noticed the Alligator? I would despise myself, if I could be governed by so mean a motive. A spark will light a flame that will defy a million men. Isolated snow will come silently from Heaven, and form mountains that will bury thousands. And I admit that after my gratuitous labors in the Herald, Times, and Tribune establishments for so many years, (in which I devoted the integrity and education that my father gave me,) the refusal of Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond to notice my feeble efforts to establish a truthful press, kindled a blaze in my bosom that they can never quench. For seven weeks I looked with solicitude for[9] the mention of my Journal in their columns, and crushed to the earth with pain and disgust with my species, I resolved to dissect the bodies that were animated by such contracted souls. Their refusal to notice and encourage the efforts of an old and tried friend like me, (who has toiled so long and hard to give them important public documents and early valuable domestic and foreign intelligence,) aroused a million demons that have slumbered in my bosom, and yearned for years to expose the villainy of American editors, who hold the destinies of my country and of human liberty in their palms, and who trifle and play with the people, and sell them like cattle in the face of the morning sun. Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond never meet by daylight, but they do by night light in great emergencies. They fret and scold before the people, but they act in concert in subterranean caverns. And their Secretaries, Hudson, Dana, and Tuthill, daily walk arm-in-arm, plotting deeds of hell for their wicked masters, in which the people are invariably sold. And so with the money-article writers of these public journals. They see each other often, and act in concert, and spread terror in Wall street, and throughout the country, and desolate the hearth of many a happy domestic circle, in the journey of every sun. And shall I be silent, and go down to my grave, with these fatal secrets on my heart, that have depressed me for years? Shall I be recreant to my mission, and to the toiling millions, on whom their accursed treason falls? Shall I not tell the American people, that the evils and corruption that overshadow our land, and threaten to subvert our glorious institutions, have their source in the American Press? And shall I not adduce my proof and argument, and scathing analysis of their pernicious motives? And shall I be silenced by the threats in this letter, that I will be crushed by three Leviathans the instant I open my fatal batteries? No, no. All hell shall not deter me from my exposition of Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond, and their vile Secretaries. For my honor I care every thing, and he who strives to deprive me of it, through unmerited detraction, shall die by my avenging hand. But for life I care nothing, only to be useful to my kind, and to adhere to integrity, and serve the God of my supreme adoration. Life! Take it! Take the poor, trembling, pining, mortal trunk and scabbard, but beware of the sword and soul! Look, but touch not them, lest the ground rock, and open, and yawn, and swallow, and cut, and dash, and burn your demon bones and nerves through undying ages. Beware! I say! O beware! and tremble! For I have a superstition, that a soul is sacred in the eyes of God, according to its love of truth, or its hatred and horror of such hypocrites, thieves, and traitors, as Bennett, Greeley, and Raymond.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1857, by
In the Clerk’s Office of the District Court of the United
States for the Southern District of New York.


Life of Stephen H. Branch.

The news of my return to Providence spread rapidly, and the political newspapers unfriendly to father most cruelly announced my arrival in blazing capitals. I then told my father that if he would furnish me the means, I would go to the sea shore, and he instantly complied. I departed for Boston with White, whose father resided in Pepperell, Massachusetts, whither he went, and I took the stage to Salem and Gloucester, near Cape Ann. When I parted with White, I was overwhelmed with tears and desolation. I passed the first night in Gloucester at a hotel, and the next day engaged private board. I now was[10] very lonely,—had no congenial spirit by my side,—knew no one in Gloucester,—was a mere skeleton,—could not read nor compose, without suffusing my brain with blood, and I sometimes thought I should drop dead, and seriously contemplated self-destruction. But the ocean air revived me, and I gave lessons in penmanship to a Mr. Story and his two sons, who gave me $5 a week, which defrayed my expenses, and diverted my mind from the melancholy past, which was a precious solace. The summer closed, and the leaves began to fall, and the first blast of autumn made its advent from the north, and I returned to Boston, and went to New York by way of Hartford and New Haven. I engaged board with Mrs. Reeve, in Pearl street, near Franklin Square, and hired a cheap piano of Firth, Hall, & Pond, and gave English lessons to the son of Mr. Vultee, for which he imparted musical instruction. I then went to Arthur Tappan, and informed him that I contemplated the instruction of colored persons, who sent me to his brother, Lewis Tappan, with whom I had a long conversation, at his store in Pearl street, during which he examined my qualifications in spelling, reading, figures, and penmanship, and gave me a letter of introduction to a colored man named Van Ransselaer, who kept a restaurant under the office of the Journal of Commerce. I taught Mr. and Mrs. Van Ransselaer and their adopted boy for some weeks, for which I received my meals at their restaurant. They had a room in the sixth story of one of the Wall street buildings, and, in climbing the stairs, I often thought I should die before I reached the upper story. I now see an advertisement, and obtain a situation as teacher on the plantation of Mr. Bennett, near Franklin, Alabama, and departed for Apalachicola, in the brig Sampson, Captain Robinson. The passengers could scarcely move in consequence of the barrels of potatoes and apples on deck. We paid our passage in advance. The proprietors of the vessel allowed the captain a limited sum for sailors, and, to save a portion of the money for himself, the captain obtained most of his sailors from the hospital, from those just recovering from protracted illness. One was lame, and another had but one eye, and all were pale and extremely feeble. We had a gale off Cape Hatteras, and some of the more emaciated sailors were instantly prostrated, and retired to their berths, and the passengers had to work night and day, or go to the bottom of the ocean. In a week after I left New York, my hands were nearly raw with blisters from hauling ropes. The owners permitted the captain to provision the vessel as he pleased, and render his account to them at the close of the voyage, and he nearly starved us, although he charged the proprietors of the vessel for the best provisions the market afforded. I often caught the captain drinking wines and eating luxuries behind the masts, which the passengers should have had, and I denounced him, but to no purpose. I discovered the helmsman asleep at midnight, and the vessel going stern foremost, and aroused the passengers just in time to save all from a watery grave. There was a passenger who had been a skilful mariner, and we acted in concert, or we must have been lost. We watched the helmsman on alternate nights, but got weary of the task, and shared the toil with other passengers. I emerged from my berth at midnight, and found both passenger and helmsman asleep, when I aroused all hands to witness the extraordinary spectacle, and our common peril, and, after that, the passengers formed a Vigilance Committee to unceasingly watch the captain and sailors. In a week, land was discovered, although the captain assured us one hour before the discovery, that we were about[11] one hundred miles from land. It was near sunset, and if we had not discovered land before dark, we would have gone ashore, and been drowned, or butchered by the hostile Indians on the coast of Florida, who were then engaged in their final struggle with the Americans. We had a hurricane soon afterwards, and lost all the apples and potatoes from the deck, but we at last arrived at Key West. We took in water, and some bread and herrings, and steered for Apalachicola, and on the following day, we took four men from a vessel that must have sunk in one hour after we rescued them. The poor fellows had been several days on the wreck, without food or water, and they shivered and cried like children, when they reached our vessel. It was a very affecting scene, and none could restrain their tears. We had a gale in the Gulf of Mexico, and expected to be lost, but we ultimately reached Apalachicola, which I found a perfect desert. My employer, and a wagon with two horses, anticipated my arrival, and we went to Saint Joseph, and thence up the banks of the Chattahoochee River, and often passed near the encampment of hostile tribes of Indians. There had been no rain for two months, and the woods were on fire at times throughout the journey, which presented at night a scene of great sublimity. We were often surrounded by smoke and flame, and were scorched and nearly strangled by the dense smoke that emanated from the burning pine trees. On one occasion, the horses were unmanageable, and ran towards the flames, and we supposed we would be lost, but we subdued the terror of the horses, and emerged from the flames after infinite peril and trouble. The miserable habitations were often thirty miles apart, and we nearly died from thirst, but we reached Franklin, Alabama, after unexampled suffering. I soon repaired to Bennett’s Plantation, five miles from Franklin, and opened my school, near his house, in a log cabin, to which Bennett permitted children to come from the surrounding country. My health was poor, and I nearly died with dyspepsia. I soon discovered that Bennett was intemperate and cruel to his slaves, most of whom had committed grave offences, and had been confined in the prisons of Georgia and Alabama. Bennett’s Overseer whipped the slaves every morning, and my feelings were lacerated almost beyond endurance, when I heard the lash, and their piercing cries for mercy. Mike, a slave, fled in the night, and Bennett and the Overseer pursued and captured him partially drunk in a swamp. They tied him to a tree, near my window, and paddled him with a wooden spade full of holes, which brought blood and blisters at every blow. I had witnessed the executions of murderers at the North, but I never beheld brutality like this. I closed my window, and went to bed, and buried myself in the clothes, so that I could not hear the blows, and poor Mike’s thrilling appeals for succor. Chloe, a slave from Africa, (who was seventy years old, and had been the slave of Bennett’s father,) told a lie to screen one of her children, who had been absent two nights on a drunken frolic, and she was tied to a tree, and severely horsewhipped on her naked back. I shall never forget the moans of poor Chloe, as the whip lacerated her scanty flesh, and aged bones. Mrs. Bennett taught her children, male and female, to whip the children slaves, and when they did not strike hard, she would fly into a fearful passion, and lash her own children for their lenity towards the sinless little slaves. These cruel scenes disgusted and harrowed my heart beyond the power of language to express, and I resolved to resort to honorable stratagem to get away from Bennett’s Plantation. So, on Bennett’s return from his favorite amusement of hunting[12] deer at night, with which the country teemed, he was very proud of his success in killing deer, and was partially intoxicated, and in sparkling humor, and I breathed in his merry ears the following plaintive intelligence. I told him that I was ill, and anticipated a return of fits, which sometimes tormented me for months,—that, at times, when I emerged from these fits, I was wild and dangerous, unless confined in irons, and that I once nearly strangled a child, during my delirium. He started back, and stared like an owl, and his wife opened her mouth, and stretched her large gray eyes prodigiously, and asked me how long I had had symptoms of the return of fits. I said, about two days. Bennett then inquired about how long before I expected they would commence. I replied, in a day or two. He asked me if I desired to return to Apalachicola, and thence to New York, or would rather go by way of Columbus, Georgia. I told him that I had a brother in New Orleans, who was proprietor of the “New Orleans Daily Times,” and I would like to go to him, as he knew how to nurse me, when the fits were on. He said that he would let his slave Edward take me in his wagon down the banks of the Chattahoochee, to the point where the mail stage passed, on its way to Lagrange, where I could get a steamer to Pensacola, and thence to Mobile and New Orleans. I told him that I had no money. He said he would supply me with enough to defray my expenses to New Orleans. In the morning, while the Overseer was whipping slaves in the yard, I started down the Chattahoochee, and, after an encampment of three nights, reached the road that led to Lagrange. On the following day, the stage arrived, and I left for Lagrange. General James Hamilton, of South Carolina, was a passenger, with whom I had many a pleasant conversation. After a tedious journey through the piny solitudes of Florida, we arrived at Lagrange, and left for Pensacola, in a ricketty steamer, in which we came near being lost in the Gulf of Mexico, in about half a gale. At Pensacola, we took the steamer Champion, and proceeded to Mobile, and thence to New Orleans, by way of Lake Pontchartrain. I boarded with my brother Albert in Poydras street, and worked in his printing office. I learned, through the newspapers, that the Captain left Apalachicola for Havana, but couldn’t find it, and went to Key West—that he left for New York, and was capsized in the Atlantic ocean, and only the second mate was saved, who stated in substance that “six of us were on a raft for nine days, and, after we ate the dog, we drew lots for each other, and that he who drew the shortest piece of shirt from my inclosed hand, should die, but have the privilege of resisting the other five in their attempted slaughter of his body for his blood and flesh as their water and food,—that a Hungarian passenger drew the shortest cut, and fought for his life for two hours, on the raft, which was the roof of the deck cabin, and very large, and could hold twenty men with safety,—that the Hungarian at last fell asleep at midnight, against his will, and we cut his head entirely off, and drank his blood, and ate his flesh, and I never relished any food like the Hungarian’s,—that on the tenth day, the first mate died from eating too heartily of the Hungarian, and on the eleventh day a passenger and sailor died from exhaustion,—that on the twelfth day a vessel came near, and while on a mountain wave just over my head, the cook discovered myself and the last sailor down in the cavern of the ocean,—the cook screamed,—the helmsman discovered us,—a rope was cast, and I seized it, and tied it around me,—another is thrown,—I tied it around my comrade, and gave the signal to hoist away, and up we went into the vessel,[13] but, alas! my sailor boy was dead, dying from exhaustion and excessive joy at his too sudden and unexpected rescue!” This melancholy news cast a profound gloom over my meditations for several weeks. I now see an advertisement for a teacher in Napoleonville, on Bayou Lafourche, about twenty miles from Donaldsonville, and seventy-five miles west of New Orleans, on the plantation of Thomas Pugh, who was a classmate of President Polk, the Reverend Doctor Hawks, and the Reverend Doctor Thomas House Taylor, of Grace Church, and other distinguished men, at Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Albert C. Ainsworth and Senator Conrad, of New Orleans, gave me letters to Mr. Pugh, which secured the situation. Mr. Pugh was a Member of the Legislature, and so was Mr. Conrad. Mr. Ainsworth was a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and an old school mate of mine, whose father was a school master. Mr. Pugh had about two hundred slaves on his sugar and cotton plantations, and his brother, just below him, on the Bayou, had a thousand slaves. I found Mr. Thomas Pugh to be a noble character, and very kind to his slaves, who most fondly loved him. I had a school house in the centre of a beautiful field, to which came the pretty children of Mr. Pugh, and about a dozen others from the contiguous plantations. I had six hundred dollars per annum, and a horse to ride when I chose, and a slave named Nathan to wait upon me. The country teemed with poultry, and we had the most delicious oysters, and all the choice fruits and vegetables of those sunny and prolific latitudes. I was thrown from my horse one moonlight evening, while riding along the Bayou, and soon after was bitten by a snake, and in about a week found a lizzard in my bed when I awoke in the morning, and I got uneasy and very nervous, and left Mr. Pugh and his interesting family with tearful sorrow, because they had treated me with parental kindness. I returned to New Orleans, and engaged passage in a steamer for Louisville, Kentucky.

(To be continued to our last dream.)

Advertisements—25 Cents a line.

Credit—From two to four seconds, or as long as the Advertiser can hold his breath! Letters and Advertisements to be left at No. 211 Centre street, or at the Post Office.

FULTON IRON WORKS.—JAMES MURPHY & CO., manufacturers of Marine and Land Engines, Boilers, &c. Iron and Brass Castings. Foot of Cherry street, East River.

ALANSON T. BRIGGS—DEALER IN FLOUR BARRELS, Molasses Casks, Water, and all other kinds of Casks. Also, new flour barrels and half-barrels; a large supply constantly on hand. My Stores are at Nos. 62, 63, 64, 69, 73, 75, 77 and 79 Rutger’s Slip; at 235, 237, and 239 Cherry street; also, in South and Water streets, between Pike and Rutger’s Slip, extending from street to street. My yards in Williamsburgh are at Furman & Co.’s Dock. My yards in New York are at the corner of Water and Gouverneur streets; and in Washington street, near Canal; and at Leroy Place. My general Office is at 64 Rutger’s Slip.


JOHN B. WEBB, BOAT BUILDER, 718 WATER STREET. My Boats are of models and materials unsurpassed by those of any Boat Builder in the World. Give me a call, and if I don’t please you, I will disdain to charge you for what does not entirely satisfy you.


SAMUEL SNEDEN, SHIP & STEAMBOAT BUILDER.—My Office is at No. 31 Corlears street, New York; and my yards and residence are at Greenpoint. I have built Ships and Steamers for every portion of the Globe, for a long term of years, and continue to do so on reasonable terms.


CHARLES FRANCIS, SADDLER, (ESTABLISHED IN 1808,) Sign of the Golden Horse, 39 Bowery, New York, opposite the Theatre. Mr. F. will sell his articles as low as any other Saddler in America, and warrant them to be equal to any in the World.

H. N. WILD, STEAM CANDY MANUFACTURER, No. 451 Broadway, bet. Grand and Howard streets, New York. My Iceland Moss and Flaxseed Candy will cure Coughs and Sneezes in a very short time.

JAMES GRIFFITHS, (Late CHATFIELD & GRIFFITHS.) No. 273 Grand st., New York. A large stock of well-selected Cloths, Cassimeres, Vestings, &c., on hand. Gent’s, Youths’ and Children’s Clothing, Cut and Made in the most approved style. All cheap for Cash.

C. TYSON, CORNER OF NINTH STREET & SIXTH AVE. Has for sale all the late Publications of the day, including all the Daily and Weekly Newspapers.


—Obvious print and punctuation errors were corrected.

—A Table of Contents was not in the original work; one has been produced and added by Transcriber.

—The cover image has been created by transcriber and placed in public domain.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Stephen H. Branch's Alligator Vol. 1
No. 8, June 12, 1858, by Stephen H. Branch


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