The Clipper Challenge. — In the Alta California of Nov. 1st, we find the latest intelligence about the troubles which occurred on board the Challenge on her passage from New York to San Francisco.
Yesterday morning, the excitement against Capt. Waterman, of the Challenge, and his mate, Mr. Douglass, had not been calmed. The sailors who had been maimed were removed to the Marine Hospital, and a large crowd early collected on Pacific wharf. At last having determined to search for the captain and mate, they went in a body to California street, to the store of Messrs. Alsop & Co., the consignees. They must have numbered nearly two thousand. The gentlemen of the firm assured the multitude that the men not concealed there. This, however, did not satisfy them, and a committee of six was appointed to go through the store and search it. Meanwhile the bell of the Monumental Engine Company was tapped by order of the Mayor to call together the citizens in order to disperse the mob. The members of the Vigilance Committee met in quite large numbers at their rooms and offered their services to assist the Mayor if any attempt were made by the mob at violence, or to stand by him and see that the crowd were dispersed.
We must pause, to call attention to the prudence and firmness which has been displayed by this body of men, in the midst of every trying scene, Where now are those who called the Committee a mob -- who predicted that they would riot and ruin in our midst? Where are they who predicted that the Vigilance Committee would ride rough-shod over the community? Let the events answer. The Committee found society in a chaotic state -- the distinction between meum and tuum was almost gone -- life, even, was in danger -- and those institutions corrupt, to which, in a well regulated community, we look for security. They formed themselves together, conscious of the solemn responsibility which they were self-imposing. They seized upon culprits and promptly punished them; they dragged those in high station from their criminal recesses, and held them up to the public gaze. Crime shrank before them, and order sprang from the chaos. Having restored security to the city, they yielded their power to the regularly constituted authorities, trusting that they would be enabled, unassisted, to keep off the floodings of crime. And now the Committee are found on the part of the authorities, upholding the law. And they will be found there, until the courts can no longer afford us protection.
To return, the Committee did not find the Captain and Mate in the search, and meanwhile the mayor, who accepted the services of the Vigilantes as a body of citizens merely, gave the mob ten minutes to disperse in. At the end of the time the crowd had mostly left. They, however, soon re-assembled on Pacific wharf in large numbers. Here a proposition was made to scuttle the ship or burn her. It was stated by one person, who mounted a box, that it was the owners fault that the outrages were committed; that they knew the character of the Captain, and should not have shipped such a man; they were the parties to suffer, and that he would be one of a party to burn the ship. No violence was, however, committed. The U.S. Marshall went on board the vessel and dispersed the crowd, informing the sailors that if they had any complaint to make they might go with him. The complaint was made, and yesterday the U.S. authorities were searching for Capt. Waterman and his mate.
Up to a late hour last night Mr. Douglass, the mate, had not been found. It is supposed that he has gone down in the direction of San Jose. We are informed that by the warrants against Capt. Waterman, he is charged with murder and with knocking a man down. We learn that he is ready to stand this trial and to place himself in the hands of the U.S. Marshal so soon as there is a certainty that he will be secure from the people.
The following, in relation to the passage of the Challenge, is from the Alta California of Oct. 30th:
This splendid clipper ship, commanded by Captain Waterman, whose arrival has been so impatiently awaited at this port, arrived yesterday at 1 P.M. She has experienced light winds on her passage, and off Cape Horn had heavy gales of twelve days duration. She has also experienced an unusual mortality, ten men having died on board since she left New York. A few days before her arrival a difficulty occurred on board between the mate and some of the sailors, the mate having been stabbed. Her greatest run in 24 hours was 14 knots, with sky sails set and the wind abreast the beam. Her least day's run was 35 miles. She was 56 days from New York to the Cape, 34 days from the Cape to the Line (which she crossed in long. 110 deg. 20 min. W.), 19 days from the Line to this port. Capt. Waterman informs us that she is a noble sea boat and behaved well off Cape Horn during the heavy blows.
(From the San Francisco mails of Nov. 1). The clipper ship Challenge, from new York, arrived at San Francisco Oct. 29th. Ten of the crew of the Challenge died on the passage; and six more were taken on arrival, to the hospital, in a dreadful condition, in consequence, it is reported, of injuries received from Capt. Waterman, who has escaped. A heavy reward is offered for him, but he has yet, avoided arrest. All the ships is port had been searched by the citizens, and the excitement against him was intense.
The following intelligence was telegraphed on to the Evening Gazette:
The California Courier, in reference to the deaths among the crew, denounces Waterman in the most emphatic terms, and demands the fate of nine of his men -- four of whom it is said were shaken from the mizen topsail yard into the sea and drowned -- and five died of wounds and ill treatment. It further says that if the accounts are true, Captain Waterman is one of the most inhuman monsters of the age -- fit only to be burned alive, and that it is an infamous outrage to have such a bloody murderer command a ship. Waterman went ashore before the ship got up, and has remained concealed ever since. Rumors of the cruelties had reached the city before the vessel got to her wharf, and a great crowd had assembled -- and boarded her as soon as she touched. The mate effected his escape in a boat, but very narrowly, and the Courier says they heard that he had been arrested on the night of the 31st of October.
The Herald and Alta Californian, without even alluding to reported deaths, say they have been assured that no more punishment had been inflicted than was requisite to maintain discipline. Many of the sailors were in bad condition, and have employed council, and lodged complaints before the proper judicial tribunal.
The Herald says, it is stated that Captain Waterman smuggled himself away on the steamer Isthmus, which left for Panama on the 31st.
Transcribed by Lars Bruzelius.
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