The Man Without a Country and Other Tales by Edward E. Hale


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Page 1

THE DOT AND LINE ALPHABET

THE LAST VOYAGE OF THE RESOLUTE

MY DOUBLE, AND HOW HE UNDID ME

THE CHILDREN OF THE PUBLIC

THE SKELETON IN THE CLOSET

CHRISTMAS WAITS IN BOSTON




THE MAN WITHOUT A COUNTRY.

FROM THE INGHAM PAPERS.


This story was written in the summer of 1863, as a contribution, however
humble, towards the formation of a just and true national sentiment, or
sentiment of love to the nation. It was at the time when Mr.
Vallandigham had been sent across the border. It was my wish, indeed,
that the story might be printed before the autumn elections of that
year,--as my "testimony" regarding the principles involved in them,--but
circumstances delayed its publication till the December number of the
Atlantic appeared.

It is wholly a fiction, "founded on fact." The facts on which it is
founded are these,--that Aaron Burr sailed down the Mississippi River in
1805, again in 1806, and was tried for treason in 1807. The rest, with
one exception to be noticed, is all fictitious.

It was my intention that the story should have been published with no
author's name, other than that of Captain Frederic Ingham, U.S.N.
Whether writing under his name or my own, I have taken no liberties with
history other than such as every writer of fiction is privileged to
take,--indeed, must take, if fiction is to be written at all.

The story having been once published, it passed out of my hands. From
that moment it has gradually acquired different accessories, for which I
am not responsible. Thus I have heard it said, that at one bureau of the
Navy Department they say that Nolan was pardoned, in fact, and returned
home to die. At another bureau, I am told, the answer to questions is,
that, though it is true that an officer was kept abroad all his life,
his name was not Nolan. A venerable friend of mine in Boston, who
discredits all tradition, still recollects this "Nolan court-martial."
One of the most accurate of my younger friends had noticed Nolan's death
in the newspaper, but recollected "that it was in September, and not in
August." A lady in Baltimore writes me, I believe in good faith, that
Nolan has two widowed sisters residing in that neighborhood. A
correspondent of the Philadelphia Despatch believed "the article untrue,
as the United States corvette 'Levant' was lost at sea nearly three
years since, between San Francisco and San Juan." I may remark that this
uncertainty as to the place of her loss rather adds to the probability

writer in the New Orleans Picayune, in a careful historical paper,
explained at length that I had been mistaken all through; that Philip
Nolan never went to sea, but to Texas; that there he was shot in battle,
March 21, 1801, and by orders from Spain every fifth man of his party
was to be shot, had they not died in prison. Fortunately, however, he
left his papers and maps, which fell into the hands of a friend of the
Picayune's correspondent. This friend proposes to publish them,--and the
public will then have, it is to be hoped, the true history of Philip
Nolan, the man without a country.

With all these continuations, however, I have nothing to do. I can only
repeat that my Philip Nolan is pure fiction. I cannot send his
scrap-book to my friend who asks for it, because I have it not to send.

I remembered, when I was collecting material for my story, that in
General Wilkinson's galimatias, which he calls his "Memoirs," is
frequent reference to a business partner of his, of the name of Nolan,
who, in the very beginning of this century, was killed in Texas.
Whenever Wilkinson found himself in rather a deeper bog than usual, he
used to justify himself by saying that he could not explain such or such
a charge because "the papers referring to it were lost when _Mr. Nolan_
was imprisoned in Texas." Finding this mythical character in the
mythical legends of a mythical time, I took the liberty to give him a
cousin, rather more mythical, whose adventures should be on the seas. I
had the impression that Wilkinson's friend was named Stephen,--and as
such I spoke of him in the early editions of this story. But long after
this was printed, I found that the New Orleans paper was right in saying
that the Texan hero was named Philip Nolan.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Wed 24th Apr 2019, 14:32