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one, but our last, was blown to ribbons; and having none left on board, with great difficulty we unbent the remaining part of the sail, and mended it in the best manner the weather would permit. The violence of the weather still continuing, we went under an easy sail
, a double reefed mainsail and jib. Nevertheless, soon after, two pair of our foremast main shrouds, on the larboard side, were carried away, being old, and unable to resist the severity of the weather.
The next day the wind shifting to the W.N.W. and blowing more violently, we wore ship, and laid her head to the southward; but about eight o'clock in the morning our two fore main shrouds, on the starboard side, were carried away, which obliged us to get up another runner and tackle for the additional security of the mast. For several days the weather was intolerably bad, the seas excessively heavy; and the continued peals of thunder, joined to our incapacity of carrying any sail, except for a few hours, threw a horror over our situation which is not to be conceived by any but those who have unhappily experienced something like those circumstances.
We had been now at sea upwards of two months without speaking to any other ship, or seeing any land. The weather began to moderate, though the change did not carry the appearance of any great duration; and, indeed, next day, to our unspeakable mortification, it came on to blow as hard as ever at W.N.W. so that our fore stay and fore sheets were not only torn away, but the fore sail itself rent in pieces ; and what added considerably to our loss was the not having any other to put in its place. In this situation we lay to, as before, under a double reefed mainsail, the impetuosity of the storm still continuing, and the sea rolling mountains high, and we all expecting the vessel would prove leaky, as she strained inconceivably hard. Scudding away, however, on the following day, under the square sail, about two in the morning, the tack unfortunately happening to give way, this sail was torn all to tatters, so that we were also obliged to cut that from the yard, and heave to immediately under bare poles, till the mainsail was balance reefed. One misfortune is frequently the forerunner of another ; at least we found it so; for while we lay to in the same gale of wind which destroyed our square sail, the flying jib blew overboard from a new set of points, although it was a new sail, and made of top-gallant duck. Notwithstanding all these accidents, we made some little way at intervals, under an easy sail, till being attacked by another violent gale, a dreadful sea broke two of our main chain plates, and shattered our foresail to such a degree as to render it utterly unserviceable. The only bit of canvas we had now left was the mainsail, which we backed, and lay to, having no prospect whatever before us, but what was pregnant with the bitterest distress ; for the conflict which our vessel had so long maintained against wales and winds had by this time occasioned her to leak excessively; and our provisions were so much exhausted, that we found it absolutely necessary to come to an immediate allowance of two pounds of bread a week for each person, besides a quart of water, and a pint of wine a day. The alternative was really deplorable, between the shortness of our provisions and the wreck of the sloop. If we kept the latter from sinking, we were in danger of perishing with hunger; and if we contrived to spin out the former by a rigid perseverance of economy for any time, there was but little probability of our being able to preserve the ship. Thus, on either hand, little less than a miracle could save us from inevitable destruction. If we had one accidental gleam of comfort on the one hand, the fate with which the other so visibly teemed,
gave an instant check to our satisfaction, and obscured every rising ray of hope in a cloud of horror and despair.
We met, indeed, two vessels, one from Jamaica to London, and another to Dublin from New York, who would probably have relieved us, had there been a possibility, in so severe a gale, to open any communication from ship to ship. All they could do was to speak to us; a circumstance which the reader's own imagination must naturally suppose did not a little add to our misery.
Disappointed of succour we were under a necessity of contracting the little • allowance which had lately been settled for each man, and continued gradually lessening the quantity of provisions, till every morsel was entirely exhausted, and not above two gallons of dirty water remaining in the bottom of the cask. In this dreadful situation we beat upon the water seven days without meeting with any relief. I was now, from incessant fatigue, and want of necessaries, reduced to keep my cabin, and began to lock upon myself as devoted to the waves; and to complete the calamity, the captain of the vessel, the only conversable person on board, died in the cot by my side. He had been all the passage in a very weakly condition, and often signified his dissolution was near at hand. In fact it was so; for he died almost suddenly; and by his will left me in possession of the vessel, which was his own; but, alas! it was a miserable inheritance, and, upon the whole, a fatal misfortune, for it entailed a miserable misfortune upon me, as the sequel will announce.
The first thing the sailors did after I took the command of the vessel, was to seize the cargo, which was natural enough, as they observed that the lading, which was wine and brandy, were the only things they had now remaining in the world ; and that I must not be surprised if they made very free with both for their support. I could neither be sorry nor surprised at this motion. What gave me concern was the continued excess to which they drank ; and the continued course of execration and blasphemy which was occasioned by that excess. For my own part, I abstained as much as possible from wine, and very gladly husbanded the dregs of the water cask, which afterwards proved of infinite service to me, and be not improperly reckoned an essential means of my surviving a complication of the most afflicting calamities.
Our vessel had been for some time tossed about at the mercy of the winds and waves, when, in the midst of our despair, we were suddenly transported with the most extravagant sensations of joy, by the discovery of a sail to the leeward, on the 25th of December, in the morning. We all crowded upon deck, and hung out, with the utmost expedition, a proper signal of distress; and about eleven o'clock had the unspeakable satisfaction to come near enough the ship to engage her in conversation, to inform her of our distresses, and to obtain from the captain an assurance of relief. Indeed the promised relief was but small; nevertheless, the smallest to people in our situation was intestimable. It was to be nothing more than a little bread, which the captain assured us was all he could spare, as his stores were scarce in every other article. This, however, he said we should have as soon as he had finished an observation which he was taking, for it was now near twelve o'clock. Having no doubt that the captain would punctually perform his promise, I retired to rest myself in the cabin, being much emaciated with fasting and fatigue ; and labouring at the same time not only under a very dreadful flux, but a severe rheumatism in my left knee; my sight also was considerably impaired; so that, upon the whole, I exhibited as striking a picture of misery as could be painted to the imagination. I had not been many minutes in the cabin when
my people came running down with looks of unutterable despair, and informed me that the vessel was making from us as fast as she could, and that nothing was now left for us but inevitable destruction. I crawled up to the deck at this terrible intimation, with all the expedition I was master of, and found, to my inexpressible affliction, that their account was but too true.
The captain had shaken the reefs out of their topsails and mainsail, and in less than five hours, having a fine breeze in his favour, was entirely out of sight. As long as my poor fellows could retain the least trace of him, they hung about the shrouds, or ran, in a state of absolute frenzy, from one part of the ship to the other, to collect still more visible signals of distress. They pierced the air with their cries, increasing in their lamentations as he lessened upon their view, and straining their very eye-balls to preserve him in sight, through a despairing hope that a sudden impulse of pity might yet induce him to commiserate our situation, and lead him to stretch out the blessed hand of relief. The inexorable captain, however, pursued his course without regarding us; and steeled, as he undoubtedly must be, against every sentiment of nature and humanity, probably valued himself not a little upon his dexterity in casting us off. Notwithstanding I must feel an everlasting indignation against this barbarous man, for flattering people in our circumstances with promises which he never meant to fulfil, I shall not hold him up to universal detestation or infamy by communicating his name to the reader. If he is capable of reflection, his own conscience must sufficiently avenge our cause ; and God grant that the pungency
of that conscience may be my only avenger. One instance of bis cruelties I must not forbear to mention. At our first meeting, I told him neither I nor any of my men would desire a single morsel of his provisions, provided he only took us out of our own wreck; in which we were every moment exposed to the mercy of the waves, as our leaks were continually increasing, and the men declining in their strength in proportion as the necessity grew urgent at the pumps. This request he absolutely refused; though the indulgence of it might, in any succeeding distress, have done him an essential service, and could not possibly have exposed him to the least inconvenience.
My people being thus unhappily cut off from all assistance where they were so fully persuaded of meeting with instant relief, became now as much dejected with their disappointment as they were before transported with their joy. A desperate kind of gloom sat upon their faces, which seemed regardless of the horror that was continually expected to burst upon their heads, at the same time that it indicated a determination to put off the fatal moment to the utmost verge of possibility. Actuated, therefore, by a resolution of holding out as long as we were able, we turned our thoughts upon a pair of pigeons and a cat, which we had not yet destroyed, and which were the only living animals on board besides ourselves. The pigeons were killed for our Christmas dinner; and the day following made away with our cat, casting lots for the several parts of the poor creature, as there were no less than nine of us to partake of the repast. The head fell to my share ; and in all my days I never feasted on any thing which appeared so delicious to my appetite. The piercing sharpness of necessity had entirely conquered my aversion to such food; and the rage of incredible hunger rendered that an exquisite regale, which, on any other occasion, I must have loathed with the most insuperable disgust. After the cat was entirely consumed, my people began to scrape the barnacles from the ship's bottom; but the relief afforded from this expedient was extremely trivial, as the waves had beaten off the greater number that were above water,
and the men were too weak to hang over the ship's side to gather them. Their continned intoxications, however, seemed in some measure, to keep up their spirits, though it hastened the destruction of their health, and every dawi of reflection was carried off in a storm of blasphemy and execration.
For my own part, I imbibed the strongest aversion to wine. The complicated disorders under which I laboured induced me to abstain from it at first; and as the men were perpetually heating it in the steerage, the smell of it be came offensive to the last degree ; so that I subsisted entirely on the dirty water, half a pint of which, together with a few drops of Turlington's balsam, being my whole allowance for four and twenty hours. In this situation I patiently expected the destiny which I thought utterly impossible to avoid : and bad it not been for the pangs which I felt on account of my Penelope and her grandmother, I should have longed for the moment of dissolution, and rejoiced at the approach of that awful period which was to put an end to all my misfortunes.
Providence, however, thought proper to dispose of us otherwise; and everlasting thanks to his infinite mercy, I am still alive to labour for the advancement of my family.
About eight o'clock on the 13th of January, as I was ruminating in my eabin on our approaching fate, two of my people came hastily down, with looks full of the strongest expression, and seizing my hands without saying a syllable, gave me po little apprehension that they intended to sacrifice me to their hunger. Fraught with this notion, I disengaged myself as well as I was able, and snatching up one of my pistols, resolved to sell my life as dearly as I could. The poor men, guessing at my mistake, with some difficulty told me that their behaviour was not the effect of an ill intention, but of their joy ; that they had descried a sail, which appeared to be a large vessel, and that she seemed to stand for us in að fair a direction as we could possibly wish. The rest of the crew came down immediately after their companions, and confirmed the report of a sail ; but with this material difference, that she seemed to bear off upon quite a contrary course.
It is impossible to describe the excess of my transport on hearing that there was a sail, at any rate, in sight: my joy in a manner overpowered me: and it was not without the utmost exertion of my strength that I desired them to use every expedition in making a signal of distress.
After continuing for a considerable time eagerly observing the progress of the vessel, and undergoing the most tumultuous agitation that could be created by so trying a suspense, we had at last the happiness to see a boat drop astern, and row towards us, full manned, with a very vigorous dispatch. The boat at length came along side ; but our appearance was so ghastly, that the men rested upon their oars, and, with looks of inconceivable astonishment demanded what we were. Having satisfied them on this point, they immediately came on board, and begged we would use the utmost expedition in quitting our miserable wreck, lest they should be overtaken by any gale before they were able to recover their ship. We were received on board the ship with a humanity that did highest honour imaginable to the character of the captain. When he came along
side, he, together with his passengers and people, were upon deck, from an equal mixture of compassion and curiosity ; but our bollow eyes, shrivelled cheeks, and squalid complexions, had such an effect upon them, that the captain himself absolutely shook with horror as he was leading me to the cabin, and generously thanking God for being made the instrument of our deliverance.
(To be continued.)
The atrocious acts of tyranny and deeds of horror which were committed by the pontiffs of the papal church are doubtless well known to most readers of modern history. The detestable debaucheries which they practised almost amounted to a proverb, and nearly exceed all credibility.
During the long succession of pontiffs who for some centuries filled the papal chair, we shall hardly be able to select twenty from the list, distinguished for irreproachable morals; the “rest, residue, and remainder" of these “ vicars of God on earth,” as they were blasphemously styled, rendered themselves the objects of " the world's scorn, contempt, and hatred,” by their insatiable avarice, detestable debauchery, pride, insincerity, irreligion, unbounded ambition, cruelty, incest, and other crimes which are nameless. They were, in fact, the most abandoned and flagitious of mortals, who hesitated not at the perpetration of any crime to accomplish their purposes. Even popish writers themselves admit that no throne was ever filled with such monsters of immorality as the chair of St. Peter. They describe them as having been, not only detestable in themselves, but as having given occasion, by their example, to the perpetration of all sorts of wickedness, imposture, delusion, oppression, robbery, tyranny, murder, and massacre. It is only wonderful that their “ reign of blood” should have been suffered to run the uncontrolled length it did. However, in the pontificate of the celebrated Leo X, an event took place which inflicted the severest wound upon the church of Rome it had ever before experienced—a wound never to be healed! This was the glorious reformation of religion under Martin Luther. From this period the gigantic power of the popedom began visibly to decline ; the excommunicating thunders of the Vatican lost their force; its fulminating anathemas became less dreaded ; and the boasted infallibility of the popes, the subject of laughter and derision : bigotry and dark superstition gave way before the light of truth and reason, and the minds of men emerged from the Stygian gloom in which they had been enveloped. VOL. II.