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labor. All bands went to work with a hearty good. will. Curiosity to learn what the sea had to yield wrought upon them as much as desire for reward. Up came the silver, sow after sow. In a short time they had brought up no less than thirty-two tons of this precious metal, with six tons besides that were raised and appropriated by a Captain Adderly, of Providence, whom Phips had engaged to help him, and who took this means of helping himself. His crew was small, but his diligence great.
The silver was not all in sow8. Much of it was coined, and this coined silver was, in many cases, covered with a crust, several inches thick, of limestone-like material. It came out in great lumps, the crust needing to be broken with iron tools, when out would tumble whole bushels of rusty pieces of eight. Nor was the treasure confined to silver. There came up gold in large quantities, and also pearls and other precious stones. The Spaniards had gleaned actively in those days of old, when the treasures of Peru were theirs for the taking; and the ocean, its secret hiding-place once found, yielded generously. In short, the treasure recovered is said to have been worth nearly three hundred thousand pounds sterling. They did not exhaust the deposit. Their provisions failed, and they had to leave before the work was completed. Others who came after them were well paid for their labor.
The treasure on board, Captain Phips had new trouble. The men, seeing “such vast litters of silver Bows and pigs come on board,” were not content with ordinary sailors' pay. They might even be
tempted to seize the ship and take its rich lading for themselves. Phips was in great apprehension. He had not forgotten the conduct of his former
He did his utmost to gain the friendship of his men,
and promised them a handsome reward for their services, even if he had to give them all his own share.
England was reached in safety, and the kingdom electrified by the story of Captain Phips's success. The romantic incidents of the narrative attracted universal attention. Phips was the hero of the hour. Some of his enemies, it is true, did their utmost to make him a wronged hero. They diligently sought to persuade James II., then on the throne, to seize the whole treasure as the appanage of the crown, and not be content with the tithe to'which his prerogative entitled him. James II. was tyrannical but not unjust. He refused to rob the mariners. Captain Phips,” he said, “he saw to be a person of that honesty, ability, and fidelity that he should not want his countenance."
Phips was certainly honest,-80 much so, indeed, that little of the treasure came to him. His promises to his men were carefully kept; his employers were paid the last penny of their dues; in the end, out of the whole, there remained to himself less than sixteen thousand pounds. The Duke of Albemarle, moved by admiration for his honesty, gave him, as a present from his wife, a gold cup of the value of nearly one thousand pounds. As for the king, he was so pleased with the whole conduct of the adventurer, and perhaps so charmed by Phips's silvery speech, that he conferred on him the honor of knighthood, and the plain Kennebec boy became Sir William Phips, and a member of the aristocracy of England.
Every one acknowledged that the discoverer owed his success to merit, not to luck. He was evidently a man of the highest capacity, and might, had he chosen, have filled high places and gained great honors in England. But America was his native land, and he was not to be kept from its shores.
He became such a favorite at court, that one day, when King James was particularly gracious to him, and asked him what favor he desired, he replied that be asked nothing for himself, but hoped that the king would restore to his native province its lost liberties, by returning the charter of which it had been deprived.
Anything but that l" exclaimed James, who had no idea of restoring liberty to mother-land or colony.
He appointed Phips, however, high sheriff of New England, and the adventurer returned home as a man of power and station. On his way there he visited the silver-ship again, and succeeded in adding something of value to his fortune. Then, sailing to Boston, he rejoined his wife after a five years' absence, and, to complete the realization of his predictions, immediately began to build himself a “fair brick house in Green Lane."
We have finished our story, which was to tell how the sheep-boy of the Kennebec rose to be high sheriff of New England, with the privilege of writing “Sir” before his name. His after-life was little less
memorable than the part of it told, but we have no space
left to tell it in. King James was soon driven from the throne, and King William took his place, but Sir William Phips retained his power and influence. In 1690 he led an army against Port Royal in Acadia, took it, and came back to receive the plaudits of the Bostonians. He next attempted to conquer all Canada from the French, attacked Quebec with a strong force, but was repulsed, largely in consequence of a storm that scattered his ships. The Bostonians had now no plaudits for him. The expedition had cost New England about forty thousand pounds, and there was not a penny in the treasury. The difficulty was overcome by the issue of treasury-notes, an expedient which was not adopted in England till five years afterwards. Charles Montagu, the alleged inventor of exchequer bills, doubtless owed his idea to the sharp-witted Bostonians.
The beginning of 1692 found Sir William again in England, whence he came back to his native land as captain-general and governor-in-chief of the colony of Massachusetts. From sheep-boy he had risen to the title of “Your Excellency.” Phips was governor of Massachusetts during the witchcraft delusion. The part he took in it was not a very but when, in 1693, he found that grand juries were beginning to throw out indictments, and petit juries to return verdicts of “Not guilty," he ended the whole mad business by emptying the prisons, then containing about one hundred and fifty persons committed, while over two hundred more were accused.
active one ;
In 1693 Governor Phips led an expedition against the Indians of Maine, and forced them to conclude a treaty of peace. In 1694 he went to England, to answer certain accusations against his conduct as governor, and here was taken suddenly sick, and died February 18, 1695.
The noble house of Phips, thus instituted, has steadily grown in rank and dignity since that date, bearing successively the titles of baron, viscount, earl, until finally, in 1838, a Phips attained the rank of marquis of Normanby. It is a remarkable development from the life of that poor boy, one of a family of twenty-six, whose early life was spent in tending sbeep in the wilderness of Maine.