ABOUT WILLIAM HENRY (BULLY) HAYES
BLACKBIRDER AND BIGAMIST
The reputation of the notorious American sea-captain, William Henry Hayes, known around the Pacific Ocean from the 1850s to the 1870s as "Bully" Hayes, has been so blackened by fictioneers that it is difficult to sift fact from fables. It is said he died violently, but this is hard to prove, though the legend lives on. His deeds were dark, but who can say how many of the charges made against him are true? I have read almost everything written about bully Hayes and some of the crimes attributed to him make fascinating reading. but in many cases I have been unable to discriminate between the true and the false.
These crimes, allegedly committed under the American flag, would surely have been enough to land him in the calaboose, or to bring him to the gallows on his frequent visits to San "Francisco, but he was never jailed there. Nor was he strung from the yard-arm of any of the British and American warships patrolling the Pacific. In 1873, at the peak of his notoriety, Hayes was taken into custody in Uncle Sam's naval corvette Narragansett, to answer charges of piracy, slave-trading and murder on the high seas. As the evidence against him was not sufficient, he was allowed to go free. Later he was investigated by the captain of the British naval sloop HMS Rosario, but once more the charges against him were not proved.
Throughout his restless voyages for a quarter of a century in the South Seas, Hayes was constantly "exposed" in newspapers on every Pacific shore as a rogue, villain, cheat, swindler, barrator, buccaneer, bilker, bigamist, freebooter, polygamist, seducer, murderer, pirate, slave-trader, robber, rapist, hooligan and bully. I fully believe he was capable of those crimes, but he was never convicted in any civil court of law for any serious criminal offence. Not one of these charges made against him by journalistic assassins could be sustained by the kind of proof needed by juries.
Bully Hayes was jailed only twice, as far as I can discover - in Sydney for debt, and in Manila for aiding political prisoners to escape. yet, according to the legend launched by his literary detractors, Captain Hayes was the last of the pirates, the worst since Captain Kidd. In fact, Hayes was never a pirate. He gained possession of several ocean going vessels by fraud or something very near it, but he never seized one piratically, that is, by force, nor was he a buccaneer in the accepted meaning of that term, that is, a sea-robber engaged in armed plundering. Most of bully Hayes's plundering had some cover of legality. he was a swindler who frequently vamoosed from ports, leaving debts unpaid and creditors lamenting. Merchants, money lenders and ship-chandlers who accepted the security of a mobile asset, such as a ship, had no reason to be surprised if the security vanished over the horizon, bound for parts unknown. That was the risk they took, and Hayes was a smarter business-man than some who trusted him in the hope of making money out of him. Bilking creditors ashore is not piracy or buccaneering even when it happens to be done by a sea captain. bully Hayes was a filibuster conducting business warfare against British and German traders in the Pacific' but with impartiality he swindled Americans also when the chance arose. If swindling makes a man a pirate, there are more pirates on land than on sea. yet bully Hayes was a rogue, and something should be done to put his rascally deeds into correct historical perspective, with a narrative of the proved and probable facts.
The false literary legend rose in the 1890s after Hayes was dead. Its main source was a more or less fictional work entitled Bully Hayes - Buccaneer, by Louis Becke, an Australian. Becke as will be told later, sailed on one short voyage of a few weeks with Hayes, but he claimed that he had sailed as supercargo with him for four years. This bogus claim gave Becke's yarns the appearance of being a disclosure by an accomplice in roguery. The same technique was used by another best selling imaginative novelist, Rolf Boldrewood, in A Modern Buccaneer, published in London in 1784. It purported to be a narrative of the desperate deeds of bully Hayes, whose name was thinly disguised as "Hayston". In this case, the author, Rolf Boldrewood, proved to be a bigger buccaneer than bully Hayes. (I might mention that the name "Rolf Boldrewood" was taken from a novel written by Walter Scott. Boldrewood's current name was T.A. Browne. He was the author of Robbery Under Arms.)
This is how the Australian Encyclopaedia tells the story "... Becke sold to 'Rolf Boldrewood' (T.A. Browne), for 25 pounds - of which amount he received only half - a lengthy manuscript which was intended to be the framework of a book. Soon afterwards he was astonished to find that his manuscript comprised two-thirds of Browne's book of 1894, A Modern buccaneer, and that it had been published practically verbatim and without acknowledgment. He wrote a protest on the matter to Browne, and the later published an acknowledgment, by advertisement, in the Daily Telegraph, Sydney, on 15th August 1894, and subsequently included this in other editions of the book."
Another book that nourished the Bully Hayes legend was published in 1951 by the eminent British nautical writer, Basil Lubbock. Its title is Bully Hayes, South Sea Pirate. Lubbock's text frequently refers to Hayes as a "pirate" and as a "buccaneer", but he adduces no facts to fit these loosely applied terms. There had, however, been plenty of discreditable stories about Captain Hayes during his lifetime. One of the earliest "exposures" was in the San Francisco Herald of 8th September 1859, when Hayes was thirty years of age, just a beginner in the art of vamoosing. The report, headlined "A Bold Operator", described how Captain Hayes, in his brig Ellenita, had sailed through the Golden Gate for an unknown destination, leaving debts of $3794 owing to longshore merchants. This was not the first time in history that creditors had been left lamenting, or kept waiting. There was nothing to indicate that the captain of the Ellenita would not return to pay what he owed. but the Bold Operator's victims on the San Francisco waterfront raised a howl to high heaven that reverberated round the Pacific, to warn all ship-chandlers to beware of a bilker.
There was sound commercial logic in these publicity tactics. In those days there were no undersea telegraph cables in the Pacific to speed international news. The only communications were by mail. Most newspapers scissored clippings from foreign newspapers to compile their editorial coverage of international events. And no Captain Hayes was tabbed as an absconding debtor by numerous scissors and paste reprints of the San Francisco Herald article. The story was copied, with imaginative additions and caustic comments, three weeks later in the Honolulu Advertiser, and three months later as far afield as in the Sydney Morning Herald in Australia.
For many years until his death, wherever Hayes went, whatever he did and whomever he did, the newshounds were on his scent to expose his alleged rogueries. When he returned to "San Francisco in 1872, after an absence of thirteen years, he was attacked in the San Francisco Bulletin as "a vile and brutal miscreant, who should be hanged on the same gallows with Alabama Semmes and Shenandoah Waddell".
The Alabama and the Shenandoah were two warships built for the Southern Confederates and used in the Civil War against the Northerners. The Shenandoah steamed into Australian history on 15th January 1865, when she entered Port Phillip flying the Confederate flag, and towards sundown dropped anchor near the pier at Port Melbourne. Her commander, Captain J.J. Waddell, at once sent a letter to the Governor of Victoria, Sir Charles Darling. Then trouble began. The Shenandoah was notorious for the havoc she had caused among the shipping of the United States. Among the trophies in her wardroom were the chronometers of nine ships she had sunk on her voyage between the Cape of Good Hope and Port Phillip. Ernest Scott, Professor of History at the University of Melbourne, descried her "as a formidable terrier of the seas", though at that time she was in need of repairs.
She also wished to unload eight prisoners of war. This was not granted, but the prisoners went ashore without hindrance. Soon the United States Consul, William Blanchard took a hand. He wrote to the Governor that the Shenandoah was a pirate, and should be seized. Day after day, for more than three weeks, the argument went on between Governor Darling and Mr Blanchard, with His Excellency refusing to take sides. The daily newspapers, the Argus and the Age, took opposite points of view, clashing on such points as the violation of neutrality, the enlistment of sailors to join the Shenandoah, and the damage to goodwill between the United States and Great Britain.
"Nevertheless," said Professor Scott, "the Shenandoah was allowed to proceed to sea at 7 o'clock in the morning of 18th February. She cleared the heads at noon, and steered south-west for about twenty miles, and was soon lost to sight in the mist." Later the Annual Register of 1865 claimed that after General Lee had surrendered and the war had ended, Captain Waddell refused to believe it, and while fleets of whalers in the Bering Straits and Arctic waters were destroyed by the guns of the Shenandoah. "Nothing more was heard of the Shenandoah until her arrival in the Mersey, Liverpool, England. She had no guns on deck, all her armament being stowed below the boxes. The crew numbered 133 men, and as soon as she was surrendered, Captain Waddell and some of the officers separated. since setting out on her work of destruction the Shenandoah had destroyed 37 vessels, the majority of which were whalers."
At war's end, the United States made a claim against Great Britain for damages to the extent of over $19,000,000, of which over $6,000,000 was on account of the havoc wrought by the Shenandoah. The British government agreed to submit the claims to arbitration. Five arbitrators were appointed, and by three votes to two, the tribunal decided that Great Britain, as responsible for the negligence of the British colony of Victoria, should be called upon to pay compensation for the belligerent acts committed by the Shenandoah after she left the port of Melbourne. Of the total damages of $15,500,000 awarded against Britain, $807,375 was for the acts of the Shenandoah.
So Bully Hayes, when he side-stepped creditors to the value of several thousand pounds, was hardly to be compared to the Shenandoah sinking 37 ships and helping to sock Great Britain for millions of dollars. We return to San Francisco, where the Herald had branded Bully as a vile and brutal miscreant. he still had some friends, however, among the journals of that city. The Chronicle described him "as one of nature's gentlemen", the Daily Alta was even more emphatic, declaring that "Captain Hayes is a venturesome and high-spirited American gentleman, who has upheld the honor of the flag in the South Seas by disregarding he hateful tyranny of petty British consuls".
The truth about Bully Hayes is somewhere between the venom of his enemies and the admiration of his supporters. His career proves that if you give a dog a bad name it will stick to it. Hayes was a mixture of good and bad, like most men; but on balance he was a scallywag and a bold one. He was essentially a man of action, who put his interests first and trampled on the rights of others. Many businessmen of his day did likewise and became millionaires, being highly respected for operations on land more ruthless than his at sea. The conditions that gave scope to his roguery were peculiar to the heyday of sail and to the South Seas at that time. They ended when telegraphic and steamship communication made vamoosing difficult, and secret maritime movements almost impossible.
No one except Hayes knew the whole truth about his transactions. In the maritime poker games he played, he kept a straight face and aces up his sleeve. The unknown facts of his history are more numerous than the known ones; but what is known indicates that he had a strong reserve of resourcefulness, persistence, and fighting spirit. His career proves that it is impossible to keep a good man down - or a bad one either!
William Henry Hayes was born in 1829 at Cleveland, Ohio, a thriving port on Lake Erie. As a youth he learnt fresh-water seamanship on the Great Lakes and in river barges. His father, Henry Hayes, it is said, was a bargee. some say his father kept a liquor saloon. The name Hayes, common in Ireland, suggests Irish ancestry. Young Hayes worked for his father until he was eighteen years of age. he had little school education, but learnt to read and write and reckon - though not to spell words conventionally. William Henry developed into a powerfully built man, six feet tall, weighing over two hundred pounds in his prime, with piercing blue eyes, reddish-brown hair and beard, a pleasant baritone singing voice, and charming gentlemanly manners. And he could fight like a threshing machine!
About 1847 Hayes became a salt-water sailor in down-easters voyaging round Cape Horn to California. These were the smartest, best-furnished, hardest-driven and toughest-disciplined sailing vessels in the world at that time. Hayes was promoted from able seaman to bos'n, until he eventually became an uncertified third mate in a down-easter carrying passengers on the Cape Horn route from new York to San Francisco for the gold-rush of 1849, as news spread of the fortunes made by picking gold out of creeks. But digging was not for William Henry Hayes, who loved the sea. Only a training in down-easters would explain his superb knowledge of seamanship, combined with fist-cuff discipline, and a special passion for keeping his vessels spick and span.
The only known photograph of William Henry (Bully) Hayes
After six years' salt-water sailing, Hayes became uncertificated mate of the American barque Canton, 198 tons. Captain Elisha Gabbs. The vessel sailed from New York on 4th March 1853, with a crew of nine and eighty-five passengers, bound via Cape Horn on the gold-rush to Melbourne, Australia. As we have seen, Hayes had been employed in transporting passengers in the earlier gold-rush to California. Among the adventurers who flocked to California from all over the world was Edmund Hammond Hargraves from Australia, who tossed in his job and sailed to the barque Elizabeth Archer from Sydney in July 1849 for San Francisco. he did not make a fortune, but he did discover that the geology of California was similar to land near Bathurst in New South Wales. Home sailed Hargraves, rode over the Blue Mountains, and aided by two hard working young Australians, found gold in the granite creeks of Ophier in February 1851. A few months later gold was discovered in Chines, near Ballarat, by James William Esmonds, who had also been to California. His find, named 'Clunes Ridge', was recorded 1st July 1851, the day on which the Port Phillip district became the separate colony of Victoria. Thus gold-rushes began in both New South Wales and Victoria. And that is how Hayes arrived in Melbourne on the barque Canton on a voyage for gold, the passengers, all men, roughing it in cramped bunks, helping the crew with 'pully-hauly" whenever required.
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By now William Henry Hayes had become "Bully" Hayes, a bucko mate, and one of the toughest of that breed who ever hazed a crew in a down-easter beating to windward against bowling icy gales of the high south latitudes. Besides being mate of the Canton, Bully Hayes was her part-owner, and had papers to prove it. Since he was not a certificated master mariner, he had engaged Captain Gibbs to command the barque. A vessel without a qualified master could not have obtained clearance papers from the port of New York. After calling at Rio de Janeiro for supplies, the Canton had rounded Cape Horn and fought bitter westerlies all the way to Melbourne. She dropped anchor in Port Phillip Bay on 25th August 1855, after a strenuous passage of 145 days from New York. Besides her passengers, the Canton carried a cargo of "Yankee notions" - cheap factory-made articles such as mouth-organ, pocket-knives, trinkets and mirrors.
The port of Melbourne was a forest of masts. Hundreds of sailing vessels moored alongside wharves or in Hobson's Bay were crewless; the sailors and deserted and gone up country to the gold-diggings of Ballarat. Business on shore was disorganized. It was impossible to obtain outward passengers or cargo from Melbourne. 'The Canton made a few voyages across Bass Strait to Tasmania for lumber, then sailed in ballast for Sydney, New South Wales. Alas, Sydney likewise lacked cargoes. Hayes offered the Canton for sale, gut there were no bidders. Sydney Harbour, like Port Phillip Bay, was crowded with sailing ships - a forest of masts - from Ireland, from Britain, from America. Even ships from Asia brought cargoes of coolies, skilled in sluicing for tin in Siam and Malaya. It was boom time for squatters and farmers, who found an ever-hungry market for miners needing beef and bread. Finally, unable to get a crew, the Canton, in ballast, sailed on 27th May 1854. her destination was supposed to be Guam, but she arrived in Singapore, after a slow journey of forty-seven days.
The Canton was again offered for sale, and this time found a buyer named Harvey, who put her under the British flag and changed her name to Santubong. This transaction was officially approved and recorded on 19th 1854 by the American Council at Singapore, C.W. Bradley, Junior, who was satisfied by documentary evidence that William Henry Hayes, owner of the barque, had the right to sell her. The approval of the American Consul was necessary for the legal sale of an American vessel in a foreign port.
With the proceeds of the sale, Hayes shipped as a passenger to San Francisco, where he arrived at the harbour of the Golden Gate towards the end of 1854. Up for sale was an old barque, the Otranto, 150 tons. Hayes decided to buy her for the China trade, but she needed refitting. Lacking funds to do the job and refit her in style, he entered into partnership with a successful Californian gold-digger, Jay Collins, who had plenty of dollars to invest. Until now Bully Hayes, aged twenty-six, had no black marks against his name. while voyaging in the Canton he had learnt enough of navigation from Captain Gibbs to enable him to obtain a master's ticket from the port officials in San Francisco. The examination for master was not as strict as it later became, and Hayes could answer any questions on the rig and handling of sail and could prove his experience. he could also read charts and use a sextant. So the barque Otranto became his first command. Early in 1855 the Otranto passed through the Golden Gate, which Hayes left his sleeping partner to pay bills to ship-chandlers and the cost of refitting, and also of a cargo of notions for the China trade. Whether Hayes ever intended to pay Jay Collins his share of the profits I cannot say.
Unfortunately for Collins, and even more so for Hayes, there was no profit in that voyage. It was about this time, when Bully Hayes had attained the status of his first command, and was part-owner of the vessel he commanded, that he developed the kink that, marred his prospects of a respectable nautical career. He forgot that honesty is the best policy and that a good name is better than riches. he had also failed to learn that in business a man may cheat others, but must not cheat his partners, and that a man does better in the long run by not betraying the trust of those who trust him. He never knew, or he disregarded, those old warnings that the road to hell is an easy grade, wide, and paved with good intentions, and that the first step in deceit is the easiest to take and the hardest to retract. Arrived on the China coast, Captain Hayes visited Hong Kong, Shanghai, Amoy, and Swatow, selling his Yankee notions for gold dollars. His was not a freighting voyage, but a merchant's adventure of the old-fashioned kind. He and his sleeping partner owned not only the ship, but also the cargo that was offered for sale.
According to routine, Hayes should then have bought a cargo of Chinese silks and other merchandise and returned to San Francisco to sell it there, the two-way voyage showing a two-way profit in trading. Instead, Captain Hayes held the dollars and did a deal with a Swatow tong Boss to ship Chinese coolies to Singapore. This was not a slave trade, but it was near it. The Tong Bosses 'recruited' the coolies by methods of their own, which were a mixture of persuasion, threats, social pressure, and actual force. They shipped the human cargo, in the guise of "indentured labourers', to work for Chinese Tong Bosses at Singapore, on the gold-diggings of Australia or America, or in the mines and guano islands of Peru and Chile, to the profit of the tong Bosses and at pittance wages for the coolies. Respectable shipmasters would not take on this trade unless other cargoes were not obtainable. but Bully Hayes was tempted by the cash payment for a short voyage to Singapore. He filled the holds and 'teen-decks of the Otranto with the dumb, driven, human cattle, and delivered his living freight at Singapore in December 1855. such work, however effective in adding to his bag of golden dollars, was destructive of the sense of human decency that might have remained in the young adventurer's breast. He had now been absent from San Francisco for eleven months, and had ample cash to buy a cargo of goods to sell in his home port and to settle with his partner.
Instead Hayes lay at anchor for two months, sunning in the tropics. Then he sold the Otranto for cash on 10th March 1856, and begged the dollars. This transaction, like his previous sale of the Canton, could only have been put through with consular sanction, which meant that Hayes held a proper authority to sell the Otranto. (This account of Hayes's dealings with the Otranto seems to me, from the evidence available, the most likely one, but there are other versions. Later, as we shall see, on anonymous American journalist claimed that Hayes virtually stole the Otranto, which was later seized for debt. Bully Hayes, in denying this, stated that he was not her owner, and that she was sold by the owner's agent.) His next move was surprising. On 1st April 1856 Hayes bought back the Canton (now named Santubong) from Mr Harvey, the man to whom he had sold her twenty months previously. He did not register her in the joint names of himself and his sleeping partner, Jay Collins, but became her sole owner. Putting her again under the American flag, he renamed her the C.W. Bradley Junior, in honour of the American Consul at Singapore, who approved the transaction.
It is possible, but not very likely, that Hayes remitted to his far-away partner in San Francisco his share of the profits on trading and the proceeds of the sale of the Otranto. This point is not known. Hayes's detractors assume that he swindled Jay Collins, yet the American Consul and other shipping people of Singapore would at once think of that point, and were evidently satisfied. Jay Collins, yet the American Consul and other shipping people of Singapore would at once think of that point, and were evidently satisfied that Hayes had done the right thing. Further, a hard-boiled firm of Singapore ship-chandlers. Dare and Webster, lent Captain Hayes three thousand dollars on mortgage, with the C.W. Bradley, Junior as their security, to complete his purchase of her. Hayes then made a voyage with freight to Hong Kong and returned to Singapore in ballast, arriving on 18th November 1856. He then ordered a quantity of ship's stores, which were delivered on board by Dare and Webster. On 20th November the C.W. Bradley, Junior sailed from Singapore. The ship-chandler's bill was unpaid, but this was not in itself irregular, since Captain Hayes was only going on a short voyage to Batavia, to pick up a cargo with the intention of returning to Singapore.
The Swallow sailed leaving the C.W. Bradley, Junior, in Singapore, it being understood by the Allens that she was to go to Rangoon for rice. In the Singapore Straits the Swallow had to anchor for the night, since the wind had fallen and the current was strong. Next morning as they were lifting their anchor, the C.W. Bradley, Junior sailed up. Captain Allen hailed her and said to Hayes, "I thought you were going to Rangoon?" Hayes replied, "We don't tell our business to everybody. I am going to drift about China." the vessels parted company, and some time after, owing to an accident to her water tank, the Swallow had to put back to Bali in the Dutch East Indies, consequently she did not arrive in Fremantle until 18th March 1857. Said Mrs Allen, "We were astonished to hear that only eight days previously the C.W. Bradley, Junior had sailed for Adelaide, that Hayes had arrived in Fremantle on 20th January and had been the lion of Perth for about six weeks."
* * * * *
Just how Hayes's movements, as recorded by Mrs Allen, fit in with his voyage to Batavia must remain obscure. It seems clear, however, that he had authority from Dare and Webster to draw on them in payment for goods bought from Dutch merchants at Batavia, and when he arrived there the temptation to pull a smart trick proved too strong to resist. Having filled his holds with cargo, Hayes farewelled Batavia and headed for, not Singapore, but Fremantle in the Crown Colony of Western Australia. Strange to say, the chroniclers who assert that Hayes vamoosed from Singapore without clearance papers have missed the point that he could not have entered Port Fremantle if his papers were not in order. He may have had the good intention of selling the cargo at Fremantle, and then settling accounts with Dare and Webster. His failure to do this, or the mentality that made him neglect it, was the primary cause of the bad reputation he earned as a vamooser. The date of his arrival at Fremantle was 30th January 1857.
At Fremantle, the port of Perth, the enterprising young captain saw several opportunities. He was a social favourite in nautical circles to such an extent that he became engaged to Miss Scott, daughter of the Harbour-master. Detractors say that he already had a wife in America, but no proof was ever produced of this statement. The next nautical opportunity that Hayes grasped was to convert the C.W. Bradley, Junior to a passenger-carrying vessel, for the coastal run of 1850 miles from Fremantle to Adelaide. At this time (1857) there was a general exodus of adventurers from Western Australia to the diggings in the eastern States, via Adelaide. but shipping was scarce. Instead of using the money from the sale of his cargo to pay his debts - including interest on the mortgage to Dare and Webster at Singapore - Hayes used the money to install passenger accommodation in his barque and buy provisions for the voyage. The C.W. Bradley, Junior sailed from Fremantle to Adelaide on 11th March 1857, with six cabin passengers and eighty-eight steerage passengers, to make a profit of nearly a thousand pounds on a voyage of one week's duration. Even then it would not have been too late to make a settlement with his creditors in Singapore. Perhaps he intended to do so. But cable services were non-existent, mail service irregular, and excuses for delay are always easy to find. ... Then another complication entered the life of our hero. In Adelaide he met a beautiful young widow named Amelia Littleton, and fell in love with her. He naturally did not mention to her the fiancee who awaited him in Fremantle. Dalliance with Amelia proved so attractive that he delayed his departure for several weeks.
The Leonora (formerly The Pioneer) at sea. From a contemporary sketch.
Captain Hayes now saw a new business opportunity. A Portuguese full-rigged ship, the Estrella Do Norte (Star of the North) had arrived at Adelaide from Macao. Her captain, Manoele Goularte, was in financial trouble for payment of wages, port dues, and provisions. bully Hayes lent him 3000 pounds and took out a bottomry bond over his ship, as security. That was what appeared on the documents, but more likely the transaction was a swindle cooked up between two rogue shipmasters to prevent Manoele's creditors from seizing the ship. further, it was probably a scheme to allow bully to foreclose later, sell the ship, and split the proceeds of the sale with Manoele. while this wily scheme was maturing, Hayes advertised on 27th March 1857 that the C.W. Bradley, Junior with excellent accommodation, would sail for Swan river, via King Gorge's Sound, on 3rd April. She sailed with eighty-six Chinese passengers and a few bags of wheat and flour. The Chinese were to be landed at Robe Town, but Hayes double-crossed them and headed for Fremantle across the Great Australian Bight to prepare for another eastern run. But chill winds were blowing there, since the Harbour master had learnt, in a dispatch from Singapore in the schooner Swallow, that Hayes's creditors were anxiously inquiring the whereabouts of the C.W. Bradley, Junior. Hayes explained that the whole thing was a misunderstanding and that he had every intention of settling his debts at Singapore.
On this assurance, the Harbour-master cleared him out, from Fremantle on 24th June 1857 with ninety-nine passengers for Adelaide. The C.W. Bradley, Junior arrived in that port on 3rd July. Next day Captain Hayes dressed shi and had a banquet on board to celebrate Independence Day. Leading citizens of Adelaide attended the birthday fest of American Independence. A few days later the blow fell. Authority arrived from Singapore for a firm of attorneys to seize the C.W. Bradley, Junior and sell her in satisfaction of Dare and Wesbters's mortgage. This was done. Hayes was put ashore, and the barque sold by auction on 21st July 1867. Bully Hayes rose superior to this adverse blow of fortune. He took up residence in Adelaide and lived in style having plenty of cash from the various transactions since leaving San Francisco. Next news of Captain Hayes was his marriage to the widow, Amelia Littleton. The wedding took place at Penwortham, a tiny village near Clare, about eighty miles north of Adelaide, nestling in the shade of Mount Horrocks. This eminence was named after a pioneer pastoralist who was born in 1818, at Penwortham Hall, Lancashire. He emigrated to Australia at an early age, and in 1839 selected land north of Adelaide, which he named after the place of his birth. Soon , because of his courage and energy, he became known as "King of the North". In July 1846, while on an expedition in search of new grazing country, Horrocks was accidentally shot while unloading a gun from a kneeling camel. The wounded man was brought one hundred miles to Penwortham, where he died on 23rd September 1846, at the age of twenty-eight.
When I visited Pentwortham a few years ago I saw a plaque to the memory of Horrocks. My inquiries about Bully Hayes, however, were fruitless. Gone is the pub, once kept by Charles Greenslade, where bully and his bride had their wedding breakfast. I wonder why bully Hayes chose such a remote spot for his wedding. Was it a desire to avoid publicity? Some biographers of Hayes have assumed that the reason for secrecy was that he had a wife somewhere in the United states, and that his marriage to Amelia was bigamous. His motive could just as well have been the desire to avoid a breach of promise suit by his fiancee, Miss Scott, the Harbour master's daughter at Fremantle. Or perhaps Amelia had friends or relatives at Penwortham, or the captain impulsively decided to do the right thing by her when they were holidaying there. The marriage was solemnized on 25th August 1857 in the Church of Saint Mark, Pentwortham, by the Reverend William Wood. The witnesses were Charles Greenslade, innkeeper, and the clergyman's wife, Elizabeth Wood. The bridegroom stated that his age was twenty-eight, and the bride that her age was twenty-four. The bride kept a small shop at Queenstown, a suburb of Adelaide.
While the happy pair were resting in the village in the shadow of Mount Horrocks, the Star of the North had voyaged to Western Australia for jarrah timber. she returned to Adelaide on 24th October 1857, two months after Hayes's wedding. Writes Mrs. Allen: "In October 1857, I again arrived at Port Adelaide, and renewed our acquaintance with Captain Hayes, for the time being he was without a ship." At the end of October Captain and Mrs Allen sailed for Madras. Captain Hayes and his bride took up residence on the Star of the North and lived in her for five months in the lay at anchor at Port Adelaide, unable to obtain cargoes or a charter. Hayes evidently expected that he would be able to foreclose on his bottomry bond and gain possession of the vessel. This plan was frustrated by a mishap that Hayes had not foreseen. His creditors at Singapore and Batavia did not cause him to be arrested for fraud, as they would have done if he had drawn bills on Dare and Webster without their authority in payment for the goods he shipped at Batavia. Instead, they issued power of attorney to their agenda in Adelaide to sue him for debt. When these summonses were issued local merchants joined in the hue and cry. Bully Hayes had the alternative at paying what he owed or going bankrupt. Like many another man in such a predicament, he went bankrupt. The date was 9th February 1858. Despite his ups and down, Hayes and his young wife continued to have a gay time.
Writes Mr Saunders: "New Year's Day 1858 was a great day at Port Adelaide. A grand regatta was held, the Governor, Sir richard Graves MacDonnell attended, and the Ladies' Purse was made by Lady MacDonnell, so it was a swell function. In the ship's gig race was the Estrella-do-Norte, owned by Captain Hayes, which won handsomely." Later, "Hayes challenged the Vision and Nancy to race the gig of the Estrella-do-Norte. A match for 25 sovereigns was arranged, to come off on 5th January, and at the appointed time ahayes, in the gig, was at the starting post, but the others did not turn up." While Hayes was enjoying these festivities his creditors were busy in court pleading their case. The claims against him amounted to 5951 pounds. He stated that his assets were 2297 pounds. This was the sum still outstanding on his bottomry bond on the Star of the North. The Maritime Court adjudicated, and bounced bully's bottomry bond out of court, which left his assets is nil. As an undischarged bankrupt he could not lawfully leave South Australia, but that little point of law did not worry him. He still had a bag of gold dollars, not declared among his assets. With this he planned a getaway. A passage was booked for his wife on the coastal steamer Admella to Melbourne. Hayes himself vamoosed from Adelaide as a passenger in the small coastal schooner Waitemata, bound for Portland in Victoria. The story of his escape was reported in the press of 16th March 1858. To make sure that he would not be stopped, he arranged with his friend, the Portuguese Captain Goularte, to inform the port authorities hat Captain Hayes had absconded in the brig Fayaway, bound for Newcastle in New South Wales. Hayes's creditors then chartered a steam gut, the Young Australian, to pursue the Fayaway out to sea.
The Young Australian overtook the Fayaway and searched her, while the schooner Waitemata, with Bully Hayes out of sight below deck calmly sailed past them and got clean away. From Portland, Bully travelled by coach overland to Melbourne, and there was reunited with his steadfast and loving Amelia. In those days, nearly half a century before the Australian Commonwealth was founded in 1901, the legal process of extraditing an absconding bankrupt from one Australian colony to another was expensive, so Bully Hayes's creditors at Adelaide decided not to throw good money after bad let the vamooser go, with maledictions. There was a smell now on the name of Hayes that would remain for many y4ears, for hell hath no fury like a creditor bilked! By now, Captain Hayes had left a trail of creditors behind in many lands, with his list of crooked dealings on ships constantly growing. It began with the Otranto from 'Frisco, the C.W. Bradley, Junior from Singapore, and the Star of the North from Adelaide. Where would it end?
* * * * *
Captain Hayes arrived at Melbourne ahead of the news of his misfortunes. He had committed no serious crime in going bankrupt. The mortgagees who had seized the C.W. Bradley, Junior were not pirates, but sound businessmen. The Court that had declared Hayes's bottomry bond on the Star of the North invalid had given the other creditors of that ship preference over him, and he had lost his investment in her. British mercantile marine law had ruined the Yankee Captain and put him in the wrong as well. He had lost everything, except his self-confidence, and he had gained a loving wife. He was on the bench at Melbourne, a captain without a command. Then he heard that a British full-rigged ship, the Orestes, 680 tons, bound for Vancouver with passengers needed a captain. Applying to her owner, D.A. Osborne, Hayes was given command and cleared her out of Melbourne on 2nd September 1858, with his wife on board as a passenger. This was the biggest vessel he ever commanded. The fact that he was allowed to take her to sea with passengers from a strictly supervised port such as Melbourne is a complete answer to detractors who have suggested that Hayes was not a qualified mariner. The American certificate he held was good enough for a ship under the British flag insured at Lloyd's of London. Unless it was forged - and even this has been suggested - he was a master mariner in legal status as well as in his practical nautical ability, which has never been questioned.
A year after the departure of the Orestes from Melbourne a coy of the Singapore Straits Times, dated 30th August 1859, arrived in Melbourne telling "the escapades of Captain W.H. Hayes". "Not a few of our chief traders, indeed, have a rather melancholy reason for recognizing the name of an old acquaintance, for every time they open their ledgers of 1856 they behold the records of a rather extensive business transacted with this worthy. In turning over the pages of a recent number of the Rangoon times, we find a letter from a Melbourne merchant, D.A. Osborn, addressed to the British Consul at Rangoon, stating that Captain W.H. Hayes had been appointed master of the Orester, of which the writer was the owner; that he had sailed for Vancouver's Island with passengers on 1st September 1858 with instructions to return to Melbourne again with a cargo of timber; that after his departure the owner had discovered that Captain Hayes was not a trustworthy person to have command of a ship; and therefore praying the British Consul that in the event of the Orester by chance coming within his jurisdiction, he should adopt such measures with regard to the vessel as would secure its return to Melbourne." The Straits Times reprinted the letter, which was signed by Daniel A. Osborn, sole owner of the barque Orester, which he had purchased from the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. Osborn also stated that the Orester was a barque of 680 tons register, built of teak wood at Bristol in the year 1835, her port of registry being London.
The Straits Times then retold the story of Hayes, "whose reappearance renewed confidence among our tradesmen as to his honesty, and the admirable nonchalance with which he comported himself enabled him to make extensive additions to the large sums he already owed. He named a day on which he intended to leave the harbour, and requested that his creditors should send on board for the payment of their respective accounts at a certain hour on the day in question. Long, however, before the hour fixed the C.W. Bradley, Junior had disappeared. She was mortgaged to Singapore creditors and the mortgage was duly registered at the American Consulate, but what cared Hayes for that? This common barrator describes himself as an American and affects the nasal twang of a genuine Yankee. In personal appearance, however, he is utterly unlike a native of the United States. He is fair in complexion and of tall and portly figure, weighing about 15 or 16 stone. He reads but writes imperfectly."
Fortunately, the owner of the Orestes had placed on board a supercargo, Mr Clements, to manage the accounts of the voyage and to act as the owner's representative. It was not until after the ship sailed from Melbourne that the owner heard that Captain Hayes had a bad reputation. Then, in a panic, fearing some roguery, Daniel Osborn circularized British consuls throughout the Pacific, requesting them to protect the interests if the Orester should come within their jurisdiction. This circular, which ought to have been confidential, was published several months later in newspapers at Rangoon and then at Singapore. The owner had no r4eal reason to suppose that Hayes could steal a ship filled with passengers. In the meantime, on the Orestes, the supercargo, Mr Clements had a serious disagreement with Captain Hayes. It was stated that the captain had obtained 400 pounds from a cabin passenger, on a pretext of investing it in liquor for sale to steerage passengers. "bully Hayes himself was a teetotaller, or almost so. If he made a snide deal, as the complaining passenger alleged, the 400 pounds was paid in gold, without documents and there was no proof of the transaction.
When the Orestor put into for provisions the supercargo exercised his rights in the owner's attorney and dismissed the captain. No charge was laid against Hayes of obtaining money from the passenger by false pretences. It is possible that the English supercargo merely acted officiously in dismissing a Yankee captain he disliked personally, and that the passenger's allegation was cooked up as an excuse. Whether true or false, Bully Hayes and his wife Amelia were on the beach again. he had also his best friend with him - his bag of gold. Taking passage from Honolulu in the sailing packet Adelaide, Captain Hayes, with his wife and bag, arrived in San Francisco in January 1859. Four years had passed since Hayes had sailed through the Golden Gate in command of the Otranto for China. The fact that he was game enough to return to San Francisco showed that he had either a good conscience or a hide like a hippopotamus. If he had swindled Jay Collins and left a lawful wedded wife in San Francisco, as the legend asserts, he was risking a heavy jail sentence by returning to that port, without a ship and with an Australian bride.
Jay Collins was still alive, and was now a hard-boiled financier, the owner of several grog saloons and other businesses. He could scarcely have failed to hear that Hayes had returned, but there is no record of his taking action against him. The reasonable assumption is that Hayes had made a settlement with him. As for the allegations of bigamy, Hayes and Amelia settled on shore in San Francisco and stayed there for seven months, but no prosecutions was launched against him on the grounds of bigamy, or any other grounds. It was at San Francisco that Captain Hayes now made his home; for a sailor's home is where his wife lives. for several years thereafter Amelia lived at San Francisco, while her seafaring husband roamed the oceans in quest of what was needful for the upkeep of his home. This quest led him far and wide, so that Amelia, like the wives of most mariners, was for most of her married life without the comfort of her husband's company. There has never been any suggestion that Captain Hayes neglected to provide for her support.
After being idle on shore for six months, Bully Hayes began looking for an opportunity to go to sea again. An old wooden brig, the Ellenita, was laid up in the bay. she was in a neglected condition, and her owner, M.S. Morrison, was willing to sell her for $800. bully bought the brig, paying a deposit of $500. He had her run on the slips and her seams caulked. He also contracted with a firm of shipwrights to install passenger accommodation in her and to do some repairs and refitting. This work was done on credit, in the normal way of business. Captain Hayes made no secret of his intentions. He advertised for passengers wanting a voyage to Sydney. The brig was moored in the bay and provisioned for the voyage, on credit. Hayes who bought on credit a cargo of beans, onions, and potatoes, intending to trade these for goods at one of the tropic islands along the route to Sydney. Through an agency on shore, berths were booked in the brig for sixteen passengers - ten men and three women, one of the women with three children. As usual, the passage money was paid in advance. Hayes next signed on a crew of nine, consisting of a first mate, second mate, cook-steward, carpenter, sail-maker, and four able seamen. No vessel could leave an important port like San Francisco without clearance papers from the Harbour-master, certifying that she was seaworthy, properly manned, provisioned and stowed, and that there was no legal impediment to her departure.
That clearance was certainly obtained by Hayes; without it, he could not have entered at his port of destination, or at any port of call on his route. Passengers and crew were ordered to be on board the brig before midnight on Sunday, 28th August 1859. it must be assumed that during that afternoon the Harbour-master notified the controlling officer at the signal station and the artillery garrison at Fort Point that the Ellenita was properly cleared outwards. she would not otherwise have been allowed to pass through the Golden Gate at any hour of the day or night. This is the simple fact that all the biographical denigrators of Bully Hayes have overlooked. They all assert that he left San Francisco secretly - an impossibility, for this was one of the busiest sailing-ship ports of the world. What actually happened is that one or more of Hayes's creditors attempted, late on Sunday night, to obtain payment before he sailed and threatened to "libel" the brig - that is, to have her detained for debt - after the passengers were aboard and the clearance papers had been issued. Hayes fobbed off this threat by engaging a lawyer on shore, and giving his word not to sail pending settlement through the notaries. On this undertaking, the United States Marshal refrained from nailing a writ to the brig's mast.
Bully had played for time, and obtained it by falsely persuading his attorney that the claims for debt would be settled before he sailed. When he broke that promise he committed an unforgivable breach of commercial, maritime, and legal ethics. This was the prime cause of his being branded for the rest of his life as an incurable rogue. At 2.30 a.m. on Monday, 29th August 1859, the tide being full and the wind fair, the brig, provisioned, watered, and cleared, and with all her passengers, crew and a pilot aboard, was ready to go, Captain Hayes could not bear the thought of a debt for litigation which might have led to the cancellation of the voyage, the loss of the perishable cargo and provisions, and an order to refund the passage money. Being a man of action, he gave the order to heave up the anchor and make sail for Sydney Town, about seven thousand miles south-west across the Pacific.
The Ellenita passed through the Golden Gate at dawn, dropped the pilot, and was well out to sea with a fair breeze before his creditors and his attorney had an inkling of his intention. The creditors hastily held a meeting on shore on Monday morning. They chartered a steam paddle-wheel tug, the Martin white, to pursue the absconder. This was foolishly throwing good money after bad, since the brig in the favourable breeze could outsail the steamer. She was already hull down on the western horizon before the pursuit vessel left the wharf. It was like a wallowing domestic duck attempting to catch a seagull. Even if the United States Marshal were in the tug, his authority to serve a civil process would not be valid beyond the three-mile limit. The tug returned to port at sundown, without having sighted the Ellenita. The bilked creditors were a laughing stock.
Exaggerated rumours flew round the port. These culminated in the sensational report in the San Francisco Heralds of 5th September, headlined "A bold Operator". That article, published one week after Bully Hayes had vamoosed, listed the total of the debts he had left behind as $3794, made up of various sums, including $500 still owing on the purchase of the brig; $250 for caulking; $800 for refitting by shipwrights; $500 to plumbers; $1200 to grocers and victuallers; $300 to vegetable dealers; $344 borrowed by Hayes in cash; and $100 for legal advice. This was swindling in the petty rather than in the grand manner. The newspaper hinted, without giving any details, at "a multitude of other liabilities of less note, making in all about $4000". There was nothing to indicate that Captain Hayes would not return from his voyage to settle his debts. The attack on him in the press was probably inspired by his own attorney, who in good faith had stalled off the legal processes and thereby had incurred odium. Now he felt obliged to protect his professional reputation by listing himself as a duped creditor.
Beyond that, the rumours that flew around as a sequel of the futile pursuit of the vamooser probably brought to life some information of Hayes's previous slick transactions in Australia and elsewhere. Publicity was the only way to protect the mercantile community from a vamooser, but the clamour that was raised on this occasion in the San Francisco herald and in other journals of that city was out of all proportion to the circumstances and the amount of the debts. The Ellenita was making a voyage with cargo and passengers from her home port, or port of registry, where the wife and children of her master and owner lived. Mercantile marine business in ports was often conducted on a long-term credit basis, when voyages in sailing vessels outwards and homewards seldom occupied less than a year. The debts would be recoverable against the vessel herself when she returned from her voyage, if her master then refused to pay them. What then was the cause of such a clamour within only one week of the brig's departure from San Francisco? Did Hayes have some enemy, or enemies in that city, of old or recent vintage, who had made no move against him during the seven months he had lived ashore, but provoked a bitt4r attack on him in his absence, as soon as he was safely at sea again?
Whatever the cause, that attack dogged Bully Hayes for the rest of his life. Thereafter he was never given the benefit of the doubt. His reputation, continuing to the present day, hinges not on the benefit, but on the malice of the doubt, in everything he did.
* * * * *
There was a curse on the voyage of the Ellenita from its beginning. Captain Hayes set course for the Hawaiian Islands, a run of two thousand miles south-westerly across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco. Though the Ellenita had made such a smart getaway from the Golden Gate, she proved to be no flyer on this part of her voyage, and perhaps met adverse winds. She made a landfall at Maui Island on 15th September 1860, having taken seventeen days for the passage, at an average speed of five knots. She dropped anchor in Kahului Harbour, on the northern side of Maui, and was there three days. The passengers went ashore to stretch their legs, and to buy native curios, while the captain began selling some of his cargo of beans, potatoes and onions, in barter for sugar and coconut oil. Kahului was not a regular port of entry. Foreign vessels calling at Maui Island were required to enter with the Customs Department at Lahaina, on the southern side of the island. At this time, Hawaii had the status of an independent kingdom ruled by a native dynasty, which employed many white men as officials. Among these was Peter Treadway, Sheriff of Maui Island, who lived at Lahaina. Peter was a retired mariner. Hearing that a foreign brig was at Kahului, he rode over the mountains, fifteen miles from Lahaina and, obtaining a dinghy at the beach, went out to the brig at nightfall to inform Captain Hayes that he was under arrest for suspected smuggling of grog or forearms.
Bully indignantly denied the accusation, but offered to sail round next day with the sheriff to Lahaina, to enter the ship with proper formality. Then he invited the sheriff to have a drink, and this was followed by several more. Towards midnight Peter Treadway was unconscious. Now was Bully's chance for a quick getaway. He put Peter back into his dinghy, cast him adrift in the bay, then hove up the anchor and made sail, continuing the voyage. This was technically an escape from lawful custody, and when Sheriff Treadway came to he made an official report to his Government at Honolulu. That news reached Honolulu at about the same time as the mails arrived from San Francisco with the news of how the Ellenita had left that port.
The editor of the Honolulu Advertiser was personally acquainted with Captain Hayes, whose dismissal from the command of the British ship Orestes at Honolulu in the previous year had created a local sensation. Captain Hayes and his wife had lived for a while ashore at Honolulu, and it was rumoured that Hayes had borrowed money from a local clergyman for his passage home to San Francisco, and had not yet repaid it. The mails had brought a warrant to the American Consul at Honolulu to arrest the Ellenita for debt, if she sailed at that port. The editor of the Honolulu Advertiser scented a good story, and wrote a grand burst of invective against the vamoosing bilker, published on 24th September 1859, a week after Bully had dumped the drunken sheriff into his dinghy. As well as copying the report from the San Francisco papers, the Honolulu editor added everything he could glean from rumour, plus his indignant imagination. He also had information from the British consul of Hayes's bankruptcy and other shady transactions at Adelaide, Singapore, and Batavia. Worse still, he knew about the bottomry bond on the Portuguese vessel, Star of the North, which was capable of being construed as the nautical crime of barratry - namely an attempted fraud by a shipmaster on a ship's owners.
The article in the Honolulu Advertiser ended with the assertion that Hayes would not take the Ellenita to Sydney, but that he would probably make for a South American port and sell her. Unaware of the hostility he had left behind, Captain Hayes was keeping the Ellenita on her course for Sydney, probably intending to call at the Samoan or Fijian Islands for supplies, and to continue the trade that Sheriff Treadway had interrupted. But now he had a more serious worry than the pangs of a vamooser's conscience. The Ellenita was leaking badly. All wooden sailing ships leaked, but their hand-pumps were usually sufficient to eject bilge-water with a little work in each watch. Unfortunately, soon after her departure from Hawaii, the Ellenita ran into heavy weather and took a battering which opened her newly caulked seams and let out the oakum from the grip of the pitch, which had been softened by tropical heat. As she wallowed in the doldrums, crossing the Equator, the brig was making water so fast that all hands and the passengers had to man the pumps day and night. Yet the water gained, and washed round in the hold, ruining the cargo and rising towards the passenger cabins.
Hayes decided to seek sanctuary in Samoa. Sitting deep in the water, the brig sailed sluggishly, and on 16th October 1858, when within seventy miles of Samoa, the captain ordered the crew to make a raft. There was only one lifeboat, big enough to hold twelve people. That meant that fourteen men would have to go on the raft if the brig foundered. Hayes launched the boat and veered her astern with water and provisions, in readiness for abandoning ship. Three women and three children, with two seamen, were put into the boat as it towed astern in the fortunately calm weather. Yet that calm meant that the brig was almost at a standstill, her sails flapping loosely as she settled deeper - ever deeper. The raft had been made with a foundation of spare topmasts and yards, empty water-casks lashed to them for buoyancy, and hatch-boards, cabin doors and planks lashed across for decking and superstructure. it was launched overside as the water began washing on the main deck of the brig. More planking was then added, and provisions, with spars, ropes and sails were stowed. fourteen men were ordered on the raft, in the charge of the second mate. The captain now decided that the three women, the three children, three male passengers, one seaman, the first officer and he would go in the boat. This was nautically correct procedure, as the captain and the mate, with their instruments and charts, would be able to navigate better from the boat than from the raft. The captain, intending to keep the raft in company, set sail and used oars in both the raft and the boat, making for the nearest land, which he reckoned was Savaii Island, Samoa, seventy miles away.
In accordance with the best traditions, the captain was the last to leave the sinking brig. When the poop-deck of the Ellenita was awash, Captain Hayes stepped from the poop into the boat; the crew hastily rowing away as the brig toppled over on her beam ends, and gradually sank beneath the waves. He took with him into the boat his instruments, charts, and the ship's papers, and also a valise. It is reasonable to suppose he had in this valise his own gold, and also the cash that had been deposited in his keeping by some of the passengers. This was the first of many nautical disasters in the career of Bully Hayes. No tragedy can be greater for a shipmaster than to lose his vessel - especially when she is not insured. The wreck of the Ellenita was not due to carelessness, but to lack of seaworthiness. she was an old and leaky vessel when Hayes bought her, but there was a curse on her and on him. The boat stood by the raft until nightfall. No tow-line was passed to the raft, because its crew were rigging a jury mast and sail in an endeavour to make their own way, in company with the skipper's boat, towards the shore. suddenly, during the night, a heavy squall blew up with rain, high seas, and turbulent wind. At dawn, as the raft was not in sight, Hayes decided to make for Samoa with the women and children and to seek help for a search for the raft. In the circumstances, he could not have done better. His detractors, however, saw a sinister motive in his every action.
* * * * *
Among the passengers in the brig Ellenita was a lass named Cornelia Murray, aged fifteen, who was nursemaid to the three children of Mr and Mrs Clarke. It was later alleged that Captain Hayes cast covetous eyes on Cornelia soon after the brig sailed from San Francisco. but if anything happened between them against her will, in a small brig with twenty-four other persons on board, Cornelia had only to cry, "Help! Help!" loudly enough, and help would have come in a hurry to a damsel in distress. After the lifeboat of the Ellenita became separated from the raft, Captain Hayes steered for Samoa, also known as the Navigators' Islands. Hayes had not been there before, but had with him a chart of the islands made by the United States Exploring Expedition, under the command of Captain Charles Wilkes, in 1859 - the first official foreign exploration made under the American flag.
After an eventful voyage of four days, Hayes sighted Savaii Island, the biggest and most westerly island of the group. soon he beached the boat in a cove at Satou village, twelve miles from Cape Falealupo, at the western extremity of the island. The date was 20th October 1859. At this time Samoa was in theory an independent native kingdom, but several rival chiefs were contenders for sovereignty, and intertribal wars were chronic. There were, an American and a British Consul at Apia, on Upolu Island, and trading posts for coconut oil at various villages round the shores. There were also mission stations of the Congregational Methodist, and roman Catholic faiths, where native Samoans were trained as teachers to go out to the villages. The natives at Satou village were not hospitable. They stole many things from the boat, including, as Hayes later deposed, a bag of his clothes and money. The Captain and the mate, with two seamen, and the male passenger, Clarke, were able to protect Mrs Clarke, Mrs Armstrong, Cornelia Murray, and Mrs Clarke's three children from violence, but they had no protection from the larceny of some of their effects.
Help arrived when three white traders came in a boat from the trading station at Cape Falealupo. The shipwrecked people were taken by boat and housed at the Cape, while news of their arrival was sent to Apia. A British war vessel, Her Majesty's brig Elk, 480 tons, twelve guns, Captain champion, was anchored at Apia. The American consul, James Derickson, and the British Consul, John Williams, embarked in the Elk and sailed to the rescue of the castaways at Cape Falealupo, and brought them to Apia, principal port of the Isles of the Navigators. A.G. Findlay in the Directory of the South Pacific Ocean states that Samoa or Navigators' Islands consists of four main islands and a number of smaller ones. They were supposed to have been discovered by Roggeveen in 1721, but there are doubts about it. It is certain that they were seen in 1768 by Bougainville, who named them the "Iles des Navigateurs", from the skill with which the natives managed their canoes. To Apia "the remains of the unfortunate and respected Mr Williams, and also those of Mr Harris, were brought by H.M. Sloop Favourte, in 1839 from Erromanga. Apia is the place where the consul and the principal missionaries reside."
In the American Consulate at Apia, on 16th November 1859, Captain Hayes made a sworn declaration about the loss of the Ellenita and the pilfering by the villagers of Satou. Consul Derickson then arranged for the survivors of the Ellenita to be sent to Sydney in a brig, the Antonio, which left Apia on 5th December 1859. Captain Hayes and the other survivors had the status of destitute and shipwrecked people, and were maintained and sent to Sydney at the expense of the Government of the United States. First news of the wreck was published in the Sydney Morning Herald of 24th December 1859, in an account headed "Foundering of the Ellenita" and describing the wreck on 20th October, the separation of the boat from the raft, and the arrival of the ship's boat at Apia with Captain Hayes.
In the same issue of the Sydney Morning Herald appeared a letter signed by W.H. Hayes, master of the Ellenita, saying "The great kindness manifested towards us by the European inhabitants was beyond anything I could ever have expected, or had a right to anticipate. Mr Abraham Hort, of the firm of Hort Brothers, walked thirty-five miles at night, over stones and quagmires in the bush, to offer us a passage in his vessel to Apia, besides placing at our disposal all other assistance in his power. Messrs Purcell, Crichton, Alvord and Craig, residing near where we first landed, gave us their homes and clothes, besides doing everything to make us comfortable, and relieve the distress in which they found us. We had nothing to offer in return but grateful hearts." The letter was written from Salaibra village, island of Savaii, and dated 4th November 1859. This was the first visit of Captain Hayes to Sydney. In ordinary circumstances he would have received generous help and sympathy from the American Consul and from the shipping fraternity generally. But the circumstances were not ordinary. Four months had passed since the Ellenita had vamoosed from San Francisco. Captain Hayes was now identified as none other than "the notorious Captain Hayes" who had been castigated in the columns of the San Francisco and Honolulu press.
The American Consul at Sydney had a warrant for the arrest of the Ellenita for her debts incurred in San Francisco. In maritime law, such debts were distrainable upon the vessel, and not her master; but as the Ellenita was sunk it was clear that the San Francisco creditors would get nothing. Captain Hayes was also identified as the same Captain Hayes who, as an undischarged bankrupt, had made a getaway from South Australia two years previously, leaving his creditors lamenting. The dog had a bad name, which he deserved. furth4r, he was penniless. by his own statement he had saved nothing from the wreck but the clothes he stood in and his sextant, value thirty shillings. More news of the Ellenita appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald of 2nd January 1860, leaded "Remarkable Coincidence Connected with a Shipwreck". The story continued: "The perils of the oceans have frequently led to occurrences of a very singular nature, and ample are the records that have no parallel in fiction. Yesterday two vessels arrived in our harbour from different places: H.M. brig Elk from the Feejees: and the Antonio from Navigators' Islands, each having on board survivors from the wreck of the American brig Ellenita, which vessel foundered at sea on her passage from San Francisco to this port. When the vessel went down, it will be remembered that one portion of the crew and passengers took to a boat, and the other to a raft."
As stated earlier, they parted company during the storm, and the boat of the Ellenita made the Navigators' Islands in safety. "The raft, after being wafted for many days on the ocean, was at length borne to Wallis Island." Before reaching this haven, about two hundred miles west of Savaii Island, they had endured hunger and thirst for twenty days. One man had perished from the severity of his ordeal, and his comrades were barely alive when they were succoured by the natives of Wallis Island. Ship news in the Sydney Morning Herald: "H.M. brig Elk, commander champion, from the Feejee Islands and Norfolk Island, arrived 30th December, Captain Wilson and seventeen shipwrecked seamen. The principal item of intelligence at the Feejees was a grand meeting of the chiefs that had been convened for the purpose of handing over the group to the English authorities. Two celebrated chiefs were present - Mafoo of Tonga, and Thokamboo of Feejee: the Elk also touched at Norfolk Island, at which ,place everything was going on prosperously." A few days after noting the "remarkable coincidence" of the joint arrival in Sydney Harbour of the Antonio and the Elk, the Sydney Morning Herald on 6th January 1860 published "The Remarkable Story of a Scoundrel", extracted from the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. The same story had also appeared in the Pacific Commercial Advertiser of Honolulu dated 24th September 1859.
The "Scoundrel" was "William Henry Hayes, now about thirty-two years of age, the son of poor and not very respectable parents in Cleveland, Ohio, his father being the keeper of a grog-ship in that place. At an early age, Hayes acquired a knowledge of the manual part of the seafaring profession, and was, if we are correctly informed, married in Cleveland." After this damning disclosure, the anonymous biographer continued "About that year 1852, he was so unfortunate as to mistake a few horses belonging to a neighbour for his own and sold them accordingly, pocketing the cash. Unfortunately, again for the world, he escaped prison by a flaw in the indictment." After marrying another woman "whose doubtful character was more than compensated for by the possession of a small amount of property," Hayes fled with her from "the danger of a more perfect indictment" to California. There he persuaded "a San Francisco gentleman over whom he acquired considerable influence" to advance money to establish his wife in a liquor saloon, and then "by promises of great speculation and princely returns assisted by a confederate, whom he employed to persuade the part of a wealthy Francisco merchant, he induced him to purchase the barque Otranto, and fit her out in the most costly style for a China voyage" Hayes sailed in her as master, "and this was the last the owner saw or heard of him or of the vessel until his return to San Francisco last winter after an absence of five or six years".
According to this writer, the Otranto was seized in China to settle Hayes's liabilities, and Hayes then bought the C.W. Bradley, Junior. "After pursuing as long as prudent the same course of borrowing and raising money on bottomries, he suddenly left." In Shanghai, one of the last ports at which he touched in China, "Hayes employed a tailor to furnish him with five hundred dollars worth of clothing for himself, and forty dollars' worth for each of the crew. The clothing was made and delivered, and when the poor Knight of the Shears came on board to get his money, Hayes received him very politely requesting him to wait a while until he was more at leisure/ At length the vessel approached the mouth of the river, and the tailor, beginning to 'smell a mouse', urged him again for the immediate payment. 'Sir,' said Captain Hayes, 'it is very inconvenient for me to pay you now; I shall return in two weeks, and then we shall square our accounts. At the present moment I am going to sea, and if you don't get into your boat you shall go with me.' The tailor went ashore without his money."
The story continues with the adventures of Hayes around Australia, much as we have already heard it, and his arrival at Honolulu as skipper of the Orestes, where he was sacked by Mr. Clement the supercargo for "various dishonest acts", including "a payment by one of the passengers of 2000 dollars for the purpose of investing it in liquor and selling it". While in Honolulu, his wife, "a lady of interesting demeanour and irreproachable character, procured a separation from him by act of law, on account of his brutal treatment towards her. Hayes subsequently left for San Francisco in the Adelaide, leaving worthless drafts and debts to the amount of nearly 2000 dollars. His wife took passage in the same vessel for the coast, with the hope of joining friends in California, and bidding adieu to her worthless husband. But her woman's nature prevailed, and after their arrival at San Francisco she, alone and friendless in a great city, returned to the arms of him who had forsworn his vows to love and cherish her."
In San Francisco, according to this account, Hayes saw the original owner of the Otranto, and "succeeded in abating his resentment by telling him that he had several thousand dollars due to him by the owners of the Orestes, which he would pay over as soon as received. He had the pleasure, too, of a rencontre with his second wife; and it was only by promising to pay 3000 dollars that he persuaded her to relinquish her claim upon him." The anonymous hatchet man of the San Francisco Evening Bulletin now drove his weapon deeper into the scalp of his victim. "After taking French leave of his San Francisco victims, Hayes carried off the wife and children of one of his passengers whom he left behind." Thus the story of Hayes's infamies was repeated in the Sydney Morning Herald, proceeding to the arrival of the Ellenita in Hawaii, the abducting of the sheriff, the shipwreck and the arrival of the survivors in Sydney Harbour. The article concludes: "Hayes is a man of little education and of but little talent except for rascality. He is very plausible and gentlemanly in behaviour when he has an object in appearing so, and seems to have the dangerous faculty of impressing strangers with the belief that he is an honest man. he is minus one ear - said to have been bitten off in a fight. His most intimate friend and accomplice, is a man by the name of Robert Parkinson, who navigates his vessel for him, and plans the rogueries which Hayes carries out. Whatever may be said in extenuation of his crimes, he is now to all intents and purposes a pirate, and we trust may meet the reward his conduct so justly deserves."
This was the first time Hayes was described as a pirate. These was on basis for this description of him, except as a loose term in a farrago of journalistic invective denouncing a maritime swindler. yet the legend that Hayes was a pirate remains to this day, with the addition that "he was the last of the pirates, and the worst except Captain William Kidd". The scribe who linked the names of Hayes and Captain Kidd cannot have known much about the careers of the two men. Captain Kidd, born about 1645, was given commander of the ship Adventure to root out pirates who infested the trade routes between India, Madagascar, and the Cape of Good Hope. Instead, he joined the pirates, and was later arrested for his crimes. Sent to England for trial, he was found guilty of murder and piracy, and was hanged in London on 23rd May 1701.
* * * * *
The story about Hayes was printed in the Sydney Morning Herald of 6th January 1860. Next day another story appeared in the Herald, which read: "William Henry Hayes, late master of the brig Ellenita ( foundered at sea) appeared in a surrender of his recognisances, he having been apprehended under warrant granted on the complaint of Cornelia Murray, which charged him with having committed an indecent assault upon her." Mr Moffat was for the prosecution. Mr Moffat was for the prosecution, Mr Redman for the defence. Before proceeding to the merits of the case, Mr Redman raised a question as to the jurisdiction of the Court to deal with those persons sailing in ships under other than the British flag on the high seas. After a long argument between the two solicitors the point was reserved, and evidence was taken. Reported the Sydney Morning Herald: "Cornelia Murray, a somewhat plain-looking girl, being sworn stated: 'I am fifteen years and seven months old, unmarried, have a father in Sydney. My mother I believe is in California. I first saw Captain Hayes on board the Ellenita in San Francisco, she was sailing under the new Grenadian flag.'
Cornelia added that she left San Francisco on the Ellenita with her two brothers as steerage passengers. A week later sailing, her brother spoke to the captain, who said "the steerage was not a proper place for me among so many vulgar men, and that the cabin would be the best place. There was a Mrs Clarke in the cabin with three children, and it was proposed that I should assist her. I consented to do so. About the 4th September, my brother removed my bedding from the steerage to the cabin floor. About ten o'clock that night I went to my bed and fell asleep in my clothes without having seen Mrs Clarke or the captain. Cornelia continues her story: "I was wakened by feeling something heavy across my breast, and said, 'Who is there?' I felt the hand of the captain, who said, 'Hush, do not make a noise, be still!' I was rising when he caught me by the feet, and said he wished to speak to me." Cornelia replied she did not wish to talk to him, but Captain Hayes said "the ship was rolling so that he was obliged to get out of his berth to lie on the floor beside me. I told him that if he did not go, I would scream, and he said that if I did scream it would be the last time I ever would. "Captain Hayes remarked also that if I made a noise, he would leave me on the Sandwich Islands, and I replied, 'I do not care where you leave me.'" Cornelia then gave evidence that when she tried to rise the captain caught hold of her with one hand and tried to put the other up her clothes. She struggled and prevented him in the dark, and at last got away in the corner of the cabin. "He followed me, and I was about to utter a scream, when he said, 'You be d----d!' and turned to go to his bed." next morning Cornelia returned to the steerage, and stayed there until the evening of 16th October; when the Ellenita sank.
On cross-examination, Cornelia deposed that Captain Hayes left her before she carried out her threat to scream. She knew George Anderson, she had never slept with him, but he had been in the same room when she was in bed, and had lain on the bed speaking to her whilst she sat up. Mrs Clarke heard the noise in the cabin and asked witness if the captain had been taking liberties with her, when witness told her what had taken place. Cornelia admitted that after this occurrence with the captain, "she took her meals in the cabin". With the exception of this incident she was treated very kindly by the captain. He said as she was the only female in her steerage it would be better for her not to sleep downstairs. when the captain pulled her down he caught hold of her leg, but whether inside or outside of her clothes she could not swear. "She did not fel his hand touch her person."
Next day the Sydney Morning Herald reported the conclusion of the case. "When the case was called this morning, the attorney for the prosecution asked for leave to withdraw the charge, but his worship, the presiding magistrate, being informed that there was no further evidence to be brought forward, dismissed the case." Bully Hayes was now a free man, and for the next few days he seems to have been busy with his pen. The Reverend John West, editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, was apparently fair minded enough to give the rascally "pirate" space to answer the charges made against him in the story reprinted from the San Francisco Evening Bulletin. On 12th January 1860 the Sydney Morning Herald printed bully's defence under the heading, "The Story of a Scoundrel Continued". It is too long to repeat in full, but here is a precis.
Bully began eloquently: "Much as I am painted by a perusal of this libel, I feel some pleasure that I have personages in this city who can, on oath, when necessary, contradict the gravest charges - which fact coupled with my innocence, support me in my trying adversities. The bitter malice, and unrelenting cruelty of the tenor of the article, is apparent from the beginning. A lie in itself, and, even if true, only serves to show the intense hatred of the writer, without affecting me. If the offence alleged against me were true, then Providence has been signally merciful in rescuing me from the perils and privations of shipwreck." With dignity, the supposed pirate then defended himself in words that reproached his calumniators, but failed to prove his innocence. "That I am not hanged, which the kindly writer suggests I ought to be is not from his clemency. One would have imagined that my misfortune would have spared me this last calamity; but I find that that mercy of man is more merciless than the raging sea, and that even the gravest misfortunes will not shield their victims from the unscrupulous, or the cruel stings of calumny."
Hayes also stated that the article which originally appeared in the San Francisco Evening Bulletin and had been repeated in the Sydney Morning Herald was "an attack by some secret and malignant enemy taking advantage of my absence, inventing crimes and distorting facxts and anonymously casting them to an irresponsible press." Most people Hayes added, "too readily believe the slanderer, rather than credit the little good sometimes spoken of a man". Hayes went on to answer the statements made by his "secret enemy". "My father was not an innkeeper, or, as the writer maliciously says - 'poor and not very respectable, being the keeper of a grog shop'. Even if my father had been poor, or had been an innkeeper, I have yet to learn that poverty is a crime, or that any lawful trade or calling is disreputable, if respectably carried out. The veracious writer goes on to say, I 'was married in Cleveland'.
No doubt about Bully Hayes! he could talk the leg off an iron pot, and make black look like white. It was over a century ago that he wrote his apologia pro vita sua to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, yet there are plenty of plausible confidence men promoting public companies today who are just as scoundrel as Captain Hayes. Readers may form their own opinions whether Bully Hayes was "A Remarkable Scoundrel", or an unlucky victim of circumstance. We return to his letter dealing with his arrival in China, and the sale of the Otranto. "I then purchased the C.W. Bradley, Junior, upon which I did not raise a bottomry, but which I mortgaged for twelve months for $3000. This vessel cost me just double that sum, and the mortgagees, thinking she was so old as to run them risk of condemnation, urged me to sell her when I reached Adelaide, which I did, honestly placing her in their agent's hands. They sold her, and paid their principals." As for the story of the "Shanghai tailor", who made suits of clothes for bully and his crew and was never paid, it was "false from beginning to end", said Bully. The account of his doings in Adelaide was also incorrect. Another lie was the statemehnt that he got $2000 from a passenger on the Orestes to invest in liquor for sale to steerage passengers. "This dwindles to 80 pounds, which a passenger did invest in grog, disposing it as required, and paying himself."
But the greatest falsehood was the statement that his wife procured a divorce in Honolulu. "This is cruelly false to both her and me; I never ill-treated her, as those who know her best can testify." Bully Hayes now returns to the catalogue of his alleged crimes. "The Ellenita was my own vessel. It is said that I ran away with 2000 dollars' worth of jewellery and 6000 dollars is, in reality, sixty dollars only, deposited by the cook, now here to testify the same, and if that is fifty times as much were lost in the Ellenita does this lying writer lay also the act of God to my charge?" Bully Hayes now becomes annoyed. "Am I," he cries, "to be charged with crime because I was unable to rescue money from the shipwreck when I nearly lost my life, my ship actually uninsured?" This statement answered rumour mongers who circulated yarns that bully Hayes had sunk the Ellenita to claim insurance.
"The jewellery story is another fabrication. I bought nothing but a few trinkets paid in cash, by the desire of my, as it is said, 'ill-treated wife'. Again it is said, 'I would not dare to show my face in Australia, or china.' This prediction might have been true, but my appearance here gives lie to that assertion, and I have dared whatever he would not give me credit for in point of daring, simply because I have nothing to dare, although I freely confess, had even half of his lying be true. I would not dare to face Australia again, or indeed any of my former scenes." At long last, Hayes now makes an admission of guilt: "While I have denied what is false, I will confess what is true. I did do the Sheriff of the Sandwich Islands, and would do so again under similar circumstances, which are plainly these." but his version of what happened was quite different from that given by his enemies. As stated earlier, after the Ellenita sprung a leak, Hayes pushed on for the nearest and most convenient place for repairs. "I discovered when too late that the Customs Department of the Sandwich Islands was only allowed an entry in a proclaimed port and the over zealous and acute Sheriff, Peter Treadway, too readily suspected I only put in to smuggle. However, I had only a cargo of potatoes, onions and beans, of which they had plenty." As he did not choose "to be arrested upon an unfounded suspicion of a bare intention to do an act", and because of the trouble that might have been caused to his passengers, said Hayes, "I thought it better to evade an arrest which aI thought morally wrong, productive only of vexation and delay. I scarcely think that jolly Sheriff believed the justice of his suspicions after he saw what was on board, for he and some friends with him spent a jovial evening - he actually helping to work the ship out, being an old sailor. I now took my farewell to the Sheriff, recording it to his honour, that he did better duty in my ship as a sailor than ever he did as a sheriff." After a cordial handshake and a drink, before parting the best of friends. Bully said, "Good-bye Sheriff, how little your employers dream of the good old soul that lies concealed beneath your parchment coverings."
Bully's letter to the editor of the Sydney Morning Herald ends with a request "to solicit the favour of the insertion of the letters enclosed, in corroboration of my contradiction of some of the graver charges". Four testimonials follow, the first from B.T. Baker, a passenger with Captain Hayes in China, Singapore and Adelaide, who denied the false tale of the trusting tailor who was bilked for his money in Shanghai. The second was a letter from Catherine Armstrong, a cabin passenger on the Ellenita until it foundered. Catherine denied that bully had sailed from San Francisco with another man's wife and child, and left the husband behind. "There was but one lady on board with a family and that was Mrs Clarke, with three children, whose husband was with her." Another testimonial to the virtues of Hayes came from Henry E. Nealds, who knew Hayes in Melbourne. "I contradict the statement, " he said, "that Captain Hayes ever sold a ship in Melbourne. I never heard anything against Captain Hayes's character, only that he was very strict with his crew, and would punish them if they deserved it."
The final credential for Bully came from Charles W. Jackson. "I was in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1849," he said, "and remained there until 1856. I knew Captain Hayes and two of his brothers. I knew Captain Hayes as master of sailing vessels and steamers. I never heard anything against Captain Hayes's character until I saw it in the Sydney Morning Herald". Now the Empire newspaper of Sydney had a go at Bully! the issue of 9th January 1860 published an article headed "The Career of a Remarkable Scoundrel - up to the latest date", The editor of the Empire was Henry Parkes, who had arrived in Australia as an assisted migrant from England in 1839 and who was later to become famous as Premier of New South Wales. After tackling many jobs, Henry Parkes started the Empire newspaper, a radical gnat fly which hovered on the edge of bankruptcy during its existence. Later it was revived, and lingered on, mainly by copying (without payment) material published by its competitors, including the article in the Sydney Morning Herald about Bully Hayes.
It begins thus: "Captain William Henry Hayes is a man of some six feet high, about 15 stone weight, and of rather plausible bluff exterior, which with many, it would seem, has enabled him to pass himself off, until a settlement came, as a very honest jolly seaman." On rolled the Empire, repeating the crimes of Bully Hayes as told in the Sydney Morning Herald. It followed bully's trail from Cleveland through San Francisco, Honolulu, Shanghai, Canton, Adelaide, Melbourne and elsewhere to San Francisco, until he vamoosed in the Ellenita, and foundered that ill-fated brig near the Navigators' Islands in the evening of the 16th October 1859. Henry Parkes then descended to malicious, in fact stupid, allegations that Captain Hayes sank an uninsured ship for his own vile purposes. "This difficult-to-be-disposed-of-vessel, the Ellenita, having foundered apparently at a most convenient moment, under circumstances not only quite inexplicable as yet, but singularly suspicious, with only the loss of one life so far as yet known, and serious injury for life to some dozen others, the bold Hayes, after a pleasant trip, stands now in a new field of action, and with the Californian jewels and dollars to back him and, for the nonce relieved from the attentions of ruined tradesmen, deserted wives and obnoxious creditors."
The Empire concluded its diatribe against Hayes by stating that "his favorite peculiarity is an extended system of credit. He had committed with impunity more scoundrellism than the aggregate of crime which in former days has sent many a hundred men to the gallows."