Day Five Hundred Twenty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The crew is scared witless. Elijah has been sharing with them portents of future events. He did temper his vision with reasons to hope, but they have only been able to focus on the downside. I took every opportunity to share with them out of our experience about how that hope is real and has the power to see us through anything.

I passed part of my time today with P to instruct him in the duties of a purser. (Yes, he has been approved for the position by all concerned). He has asked a lot of questions – always a good sign. I encourage him to ask more, as it gives me the best insight into what I should teach.

Day Three Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I should have paid more attention to Tomas. To his state of being.

But his duties kept him out of our sight and busy. And the Captain, not yet familiar with his personality, had no standard against which to judge any seeming anxiety or concern in his new First Mate.

Our paths crossed today. Off duty, Tomas stood idly by the rail, staring blankly into the sea. I gauged his demeanor to be due to homesickness, and tailored my comment in an effort to bring him out of his funk. It failed.

I sent for Elijah who got to the bottom of the matter. He assured Tomas that his family is safe and like him had a job to do.

Day Two Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The leader of the guard would not leave Elijah’s side. Instead they conversed the night through. His men joined them upon rising with the sun.

All camp discipline and duties have been pushed aside.

I puttered about and got together a meal for everyone.

Then served each one as the meeting continued.

At the last, the leader begged Elijah to remove his mark. Elijah turned to me and called for a mirror. I soon returned with a small hand one. As soon as he gazed on his image, the mark faded. Elijah said he would now be called Sy.

As he sent them away to our former host, Elijah was candid about what lay ahead for them.  Hardship and persecution.

Day One Hundred Ninety Three Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Grazie is being held at her post in the vineyard. And we can’t do anything about it.

She had left for it at the normal hour this morning. One of the patrolling drones pealed off and followed her. That seemed normal too, until Moglen came into the camp to claim his daughter Terresta.

Regret seized me. I should have insisted a change in Grazie’s duties to keep her in the camp. But then again she always made herself scarce if ever there were even a hint of her father anywhere near.

I told Moglen we will oppose him however we may.

Day One Hundred Eighty Eight morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

An exercise in futility? I prefer to see it as battling the temptation to impatience.

Stayed all day yesterday, returning to camp with no answers. Grazie remained until the end, and would have been waiting there still if I had not prevailed upon her that she had other duties and responsibilities.

Encouraged her to take her post at the vineyard today, and promised that I would remain in camp. She made me vow further that I would not venture to the city without her.

Two drones, one after the other, buzzed the camp.

I stood out front and waved.

Day One Hundred Seventy Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle has not returned. Not last night, not this morning.

All are upset by this, but Grazie most of all. I assured her and the others that nothing can happen to him. (Left unspoken is my confidence, nay my growing conviction that the vision is true and cannot be thwarted).

I reminded them of Lyle’s history in similar situations. He always returns.

I decided to set an example and went about my normal duties. And urged them to do likewise.

I took Grazie with me and we reported for seed sorting. Over our work I picked up on our former conversation. I explained she need not fear losing us. In fact, they will all be removed from the coming storm.

Day One Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

All from the meeting now know what to expect. They will know what to do when they hear and see the Glorious Appearing.

Lyle was equally clear that in the meantime they are not to neglect their normal duties. And especially to use all opportunities to bring in others that they may not miss it.

Those attending disseminated the vision throughout the encampment.

For his part Lyle went in search of Flowers again. Above all he wants him to know that he has a place here where there is no condemnation. No one has seen or heard anything more about him.

Grazie turned to me with her questions. She has such a tender heart. I did my best to answer.

When is a naval officer not a naval officer?

When is a naval officer not a naval officer

When is a naval officer not a naval officer?

The question does not rest upon what the word “IS” means. Rather it pivots upon what the phrase “naval officer” can mean in two different circumstances. The fact that the same two words describe or denote two different offices is the source of the confusion.

At least I was confused when I first came upon the designation of “naval officer” when reading about the makeup of the US Customs Service in the 19th Century, and in this specific instance I was looking at the appointed officials of the Port of New York. The chief officer in charge was called the Collector, the one responsible for collecting the import tax due on any foreign goods entering via that port. These taxes were the only revenue for the US government from the inception of the country until the beginnings of an income tax which saw its introduction at the time of the American Civil War.

(Aside – the Port of New York at times supplied as much as two thirds of all the revenue, and never less than half of what was taken in by the US Treasury).

The Collector, therefore, was a very important position, and he was appointed directly by the President of the United States. In practice it was a political plum, awarded to a fellow member of the President’s political party, as thanks for his aid in a successful election campaign. The Collector in his turn appointed the officials that would serve with him – with titles such as Auditor, Appraiser, Weigher, and their assistants such as Deputy Collector, etc., and in the case at hand – the Naval Officer and his deputy.

Originally I thought that this Naval Officer must be an officer of the US Navy who had been assigned duty to help out the US Customs Service. It would seem a simple request for the Treasury Department (the branch of the US government controlling the Customs and Revenue services) to ask for the loan of an officer from the Navy Department. In a similar vein I had found many examples where Acting Midshipmen left the Naval Academy (usually by resignation or dismissal) and ended up in the Revenue Service to command the ships that agency employed to enforce customs law, to interdict smuggling and occasionally to aid in life-saving. But this was not the case. The Naval Officer in the Customs House was a civil appointment, and he had a particular purpose to fulfill. The position was designed as an important check and balance to the Collector. The naval officer had to sign off on all the transactions that his boss approved. That was the theory, but in practice the fact that they owed their position to the Collector colored their judgment when it came to what their boss was doing, a recipe for fraud and corruption

I learned more about all of this when looking into the father of Midshipman Morgan Lewis Ogden jr., the subject of my two recent Research posts. His father Morgan Lewis Ogden Sr. had been the deputy naval officer of the Port of New York, commencing in May of 1843. From his time at the New York Customs House, Ogden learned some valuable lessons about the workings of this agency. He parleyed that knowledge into a whole new profession after his time there.

Ogden was instrumental in the 1850 Supreme Court decision (US vs Southmayd) that changed the way duties were assessed “on all future importations of sugar and molasses.” He advised Benjamin F Butler, the lawyer who was hired to argue the case before the court. According to prior statute, the assessments were made on the weight stated on the invoice – prior to shipment. By the time the shipment arrived in New York the weight was always less due to leakage and drainage. You can understand the shipper’s sense of injustice when he was taxed on the portion that was lost in transit. Now thanks to this decision “the duties are to be levied upon the actual quantity arriving in the United States.”

Subsequent to this, Ogden became a claims attorney, representing firms or individuals with claims against the US government for overcharges on import taxes. He kept a home and office in Brooklyn, and also a home and office in Washington DC. One might say that he was a bit of a “fixer” in these matters for he had a lot of clout in both cities. And it did not hurt that his older brother Samuel Gouverneur Ogden was the Auditor of the New York Customs House between 1841 and 1878.

So, when is a naval officer not a naval officer? It’s a bit of a trick question. Both are. But a civil appointee who is a part of the Treasury Department is not the same as a commissioned officer in the armed services of the United States.

(Side note – I have found, so far, ten individuals who were appointed to the US Naval Academy in the ante bellum period with relatives that were Collectors in the Customs service. And only one who was related to a naval officer in the Customs Service).