FAMOUS ISLANDS and MEMORABLE VOYAGES.
Boston: Published by D. Lothrop & Co. Dover, N.H.: G. T. Day & Co.
I.— A VENETIAN CRUISER. 9
II.— A WINTER IN THE NORTHERN SEAS; OR, CAPTAIN JAMES'S JOURNAL. 30
III.— THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA. 52
IV.— ST. HELENA. 68
V.— THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS. 87
VI.— NORFOLK ISLAND. 118
VII.— THE SOLITARY ISLANDER. 165
VIII.— CAPTAIN COOK'S LAST VOYAGE. 188
A VENETIAN CRUISER.
It was late in the year 1431. The port of Venice was filled with ships from all parts of the world, bringing to her their choicest stores, and their most costly merchandise, and receiving from her and from her Grecian possessions rich shiploads of wine and spices, and bales of finest cotton.
It would have been a sight never to have been forgotten could we have gazed then on that city of the sea, have watched the cumbrous barks, so unlike our light-winged merchant ships, or our swift steamers, which sailed heavily up and down the blue Adriatic, till they came in sight of the famous city, the resort of all nations, in whose canals, and among whose marts and palaces, might be seen the strange dress, and heard the mingled speech of men from all parts of the civilized world.
One ship was just leaving the port. The vessel, rather a large one for those days, seems but poorly manned, and rocks so greatly among the short white waves, that it is plainly to be seen that she is short of ballast and lading. She is a Venetian trading vessel, bound first to the Isle of Candia, where she will complete her cargo and add to the number of her crew. This Candia or Crete (the very Crete by which St. Paul passed on his voyage to Italy) was at that time under the hard rule of Venice, and its poor inhabitants did her service upon land and sea. The ship stayed at Candia only so long as enabled her to complete her stores of cotton and spice and wine, which were destined for some northern or western market, some French or British port. She was deep enough in the water now, and on her deck lay many an unstowed bale, many a cask of wine, for which the sad-looking Cretan sailors, in their tunics and short cloaks, had not yet been able to find room. Sixty-eight men were now on board, including the patron or owner, Master Piero Quirini, and Christoforo Fioravanti, the sailing-master. Quirini, in his quaint Italian dress, looking strangely unlike a modern sailor, stood amid the piles of merchandise, giving quick orders for its stowage, while the sailing master made all ready for the long voyage which was just beginning.
For in those days a voyage into the western sea was counted, specially while boisterous autumn gales made sailing difficult, as a long and hazardous undertaking. They all knew it must be many months ere they could hope to see home again; but little did any of them guess the strange sad fortunes which should befall them. The Cretan sailors looked back wistfully at the groups of their friends, their wives and mothers and children, whom they had left weeping on the shore, but they did not think how many there were among them who would never return to tell the story of their long voyage. But some at least among them knew and felt that they were in the hands of God for life or for death, and that nothing could really hurt them if they were "followers of that which is good."
The ship at first sailed on prosperously enough. The sea was calm, and the sky clear above them. The sailors sang their sweet Italian or Grecian songs, as they hurried to and fro, or leant over the bulwarks, watching the blue water.
Their course lay northward now, and wind and wave were sweeping them toward the perilous northern seas. The days had been already growing short when the ship left Candia, and now December, with its cold and darkness, was upon them, and these southern sailors shivered as they met the keen northern blasts.
The cold grew sharper than ever on one night toward the end of the year, but on that very night Master Piero Quirini chose to remain on deck, braving the winter wind, instead of taking shelter in his warm and comfortable cabin below. He stood looking eastward with his keen eyes, his hand shading his face.
"Come hither, Fioravanti," he called, and the sailing-master approached. "There is a strange appearance in the sky which affrights me; I fear a sudden, and violent storm, and then what will befall our ship, thus heavily laden?" said Quirini.
The old sailor turned towards the part of the horizon which Quirini had pointed out; and as he looked, his face changed. "Quick," said he, calling to the sailors who were nearest, "bid them draw in the sails. Let the rudder be bound firmly, for the tempest is well nigh on us—alas! for these terrible northern storms."
Before he had well finished speaking, his Italian sailors had begun their work, the slower and more apathetic Greeks needing, even in that moment of danger, to be urged with many words before they would obey. Thus it was but slowly that the heavy sails, creaking and swaying in the wind, were drawn in and bound to the masts, and before half the work was done, the storm in its full fury had struck the ship, and each man clung for life to the nearest support, as the reeling vessel ploughed heavily through the swollen seas.
"Master, the rudder is gone, the rudder is lost," cried many voices, as after a sudden lurch forward the ship righted again, and as they cried out, a fresh blast struck her, and the half-furled sails were torn into ribbons, and hung useless over the ship's side.
The morning light found her still driving before the wind, and deep in the sullen water which rose almost above her sides as she flew faster than ever before the fierce wind. At length a sudden squall threw her on her side, while the waters rushed in as if to fill and sink her in a moment.
"Ho, men! an axe, an axe!" cried the master; "down with the main-mast!" and seizing a hatchet which lay at hand, Piero Quirini struck the first blow at the tall mast, whose weight was dragging down the vessel. Others with sword, or axe, or any tool which they could snatch at the moment, followed, and they were but just in time, for before another wave could wash over the vessel, the mast was floating free, and the ship had righted once more. The water was baled out with every vessel on which the men could lay their hands; and this weary work was continued all through the cold dark night, yet when the morning broke hours behind its time, as it seemed to the despairing sailors, the water in the hold was scarcely three inches lower.
The only hope for the crew lay in taking at once to their boats. There were two boats belonging to the ship—the pinnace and the skiff; the first was a long boat, but the skiff, which was considered the safer of the two, would hold but a smaller number.
The master called the men round him on the deck, and told them his decision. "Now, men," said he, "you shall choose your boat; there stands the notary, Nicolo di Michiel, with his ink-horn and parchment; he shall write down the names of all who would fain sail in the skiff."
"Master, there are forty-five for the skiff," said Nicolo, slowly reckoning the long list of written names; "forty-five, and the skiff, saith Christoforo Fioravanti, holds but twenty-one."
"Draw lots, men, we are brothers now in trouble, and none shall have advantage over the other."
The lots were drawn, and then the master proceeded to divide between the two crews the stores of the fast-sinking ship. Bread, cheese, bacon, tallow and oil, and a little wine, as much as she could carry, were given to the crew of the skiff, while the master, with forty-six men, stored in the pinnace what remained on board, and one by one the men passed over the ship's side, and the boats dropped off into the wide sea.
It was calm, the terrible wind had sunk down, and the keen wintry sky was clear once more, but yet the prospect before them was enough to trouble the bravest heart.
They were adrift in the bitter cold in open boats, but ill-supplied for a long voyage, and were, as they believed, five hundred miles from the nearest shore. All night a heavy mist hung over them, and when it was dispersed by the morning sun the crew of the pinnace looked round in vain for their companions,—the skiff was nowhere to be seen.
Six days had passed, and all hope of seeing their companion boat had grown faint, when another storm arose, and the pinnace, heavily laden, shipped so much water over the sides that all feared she would sink.
"Mens' lives before wines and spices! precious and costly though they be," said the master; "we must lighten the boat of all, save a little needful food and water; linger not, my children, therein lies our only hope."
But the days went on, and though the storm passed, and the pinnace still rode safely on the waters, the hearts of the crew were heavy within them. The boat was indeed lighter now, for of the forty-seven who had embarked in her, twenty-six died, and their bodies had been solemnly committed to the deep, there to wait till, at the voice of God's angel, the sea shall give up her dead. Solemn indeed must have been the thoughts of the survivors as they saw one after another of their comrades summoned from their side to stand before God; no one of them knew but that he might be called next, and all were sure that if help did not reach them speedily, none would return home to tell the tale of their sufferings. Some there were of that crew who, faint, weary, in want of covering, tortured with thirst, yet held fast their trust in their Father in Heaven, and cried to Him with agonized prayer to have mercy on them for Christ's sake. And the prayer for deliverance was heard.
It was on the third of January, and the first faint daylight was stealing over the waters, when one of the crew, looking eagerly round as he raised himself from uneasy sleep, saw far off a faint line which seemed to be land. The sun rose higher and colored rose-red the snow-hooded tops of lofty rocks around the unknown coast. All the hope and desire of the shipwrecked crew was now to reach this shore, fearing its unknown dangers but little, compared with the terrible suffering they had long endured.
But, alas! the wind had died away, and in vain did they unfurl their sails, and set their rudder. They must try the oars then, but the arms of the starving sailors were too weak to move the boat, and they could do nothing but trust to the force of the waves and the currents which were bearing her along. It was the sixth of January when they reached the land, and with great difficulty drew their boat to the beach. They soon found that they had landed on an uninhabited island, which lay, as they afterwards found, off the coast of Norway—a strange and foreign land to the Venetians of those days.
No sooner did the wasted remnant of the crew set foot on shore than they rushed to the rocks, climbing them with strength which they had not thought they possessed, and eagerly gathering the pure white snow in their hands, bathed their parched lips and dry tongues, drinking again and again, as if they could never taste enough of this delicious draught.
"Now, men, draw the boat higher on shore, ere the tide go out and float her away," said the master; but when the pinnace was drawn to the dry sand she was found to be so battered and so full of holes, that they all saw at once that it was useless to hope that they could ever put to sea in her again. "We will make her serve for a shelter at least," said Christoforo, and so, dividing her into two parts, they, with the help of her sails, made two huts, in which the twenty-one sailors, who alone were left, might find some slight shelter from the winter wind.
"Our thirst have we slaked," said Nicolo, "and said grace, I trust, for the draught; now, by your leave, good master, must we seek for food, though what food this barren island should afford, I know not."
All the party dispersed at once in search of provisions, some climbing the rocks, some wandering along the beach, and some seeking to penetrate farther inland. Returning towards evening slowly and sadly to the huts, they examined the store that had been found—a few periwinkles and barnacles and some other small shell-fish, but a poor feast for so many famished men. Their search, continued far and wide over the island, discovered no other food, save a kind of small herb which grew under the snow. This they ate day after day, and so were able to keep a little life in them though they were always faint and hungry.
Five out of the little colony were already dead from cold and hunger and exhaustion, when one day a sailor wandering farther than he had yet been, came upon a little hut, empty and deserted, but giving a better and more comfortable shelter than their sail-covered huts.
Six of the company determined to live in this new home, thinking that the chances of finding food for the whole would be increased when they were more widely scattered on the island. And scarcely had they taken up their abode in their new quarters, when they were overjoyed by finding on the beach, close at hand, a large dead fish. They did not know whether it was a whale or a porpoise, but they saw that it was quite fresh and fit for food, and every one of them believed that God had sent this great deliverance in answer to their prayers for help. All hands turned out to drag the fish to their hut, and no sooner was it safely housed than a terrible storm broke over the island, which lasted nine days. So fierce was the wind, so pitiless the tempest, that during all that time not one of the sailors dare set foot outside the cottage, and had it not been for the merciful provision which God had bidden the waves to bring to them, they must all have perished with hunger.
The fish was at length eaten, not a fin, nor a morsel of flesh remained, and once more the sailors were forced to seek along the shore for shell-fish, which was now their only food. Christoforo was one day seated in the cottage. He had grown white and thin, and his long lank hair looked dry and rusty, as it hung over his sunken cheeks. He was gazing listlessly on the dull sea, and on the distant, cloud-like lines which told of other islands, or may be of the main land far off.
"If we could only reach those shores," he thought, "may be men dwell thereon, and we might find food. But we have neither boat nor wood whereof to make one, neither have we strength to row, so seemeth there no choice but we must all perish here; the will of God be done."
Raising his eyes, which had sunk while he pursued these sad thoughts, he suddenly sprang to his feet, and with a glad shout cried, "Rejoice, behold two come to seek us," and as he spoke, his companions, looking out, saw two shepherd lads climbing the hill-side.
The strangers turned and fled in terror at the sight of man on this lonely island, and the sailors following to the shore found there a little boat in charge of an old man. They had learnt some prudence now, and they approached quietly, making signs of good-will and of humility, and asking by look and gesture his pity on their great distress. The two lads soon came down and joined their father, and though none of the three could understand a word of the Italian speech, it chanced that there was one among the sailors, Girado da Lione by name, who had learnt a few words of Norwegian, and by means of this interpreter they managed to tell the visitors of their terrible needs.
The little boat would hold but two besides its owners, and Girado da Lione and Bernardo the pilot were chosen to accompany the shepherds to their home, and to get help to bring off all who remained of the shipwrecked crew. On their way they questioned the shepherd, as well as they could, on the cause of his journey to the island.
"A strange reason was it, truly, my friends," answered the old man, "but my son can tell you better than I. Speak, my son."
The younger of the two oarsmen, a lad of about sixteen, answered bashfully: "It was a dream, strangers, that led our boat to that shore. My father had lost two heifers, white were they, with black stars on their forehead and there were none like them in the island where we dwell. Long did we seek our missing kine, and great was our sorrow when we found them not; but last night I dreamed that I saw them feeding upon this island, the cliffs of which we can sometimes see from our home. When I awakened I persuaded my father to take the boat and let us row to the island."
"We found not our heifers," said the old fisherman, smiling, "but, thank the good God, we found men. Doubtless it was God who sent my son this dream, that so we might be in time to save you."
They were soon received by a crowd of eager peasants, who crowded down to the beach, when the story of the rescue spread. They were in another island now, far larger, and moreover cultivated and inhabited, and food was given them, and shelter offered, and clean clothes brought to replace their own ragged and dirty garments. But of course the first anxiety of the two rescued sailors was to send relief to their companions at the hut, and to those who might yet remain alive on the other side of the island. The kind islanders prepared quite a fleet of little boats in which to hasten to the rescue of these poor deserted men, but at the huts which they had first built, only five were found alive, and their new friends prepared with sad hearts to bury the dead as well as to save the living.
The eleven survivors grasped each other's hands with feeling too deep for words; they the only ones left of the sixty-eight who, in full health and strength, had left the shores of Candia. "Truly," said one, "we had been swallowed up of the sea, if our Lord Jesus Christ had not been merciful to us, who forsaketh not them that religiously call upon Him."
"Now we must part," said they among themselves, "and seek our way to Venice on foot or by sea, as we may find means. Sad news bring we thither, and many heavy hearts must we make. But God has spared us to our dear ones, and let us few that remain remember that we live only to commend to memory, and highly to exalt, the great power of God."
A WINTER IN THE NORTHERN SEAS; OR, CAPTAIN JAMES'S JOURNAL.
The following passages are taken from the journal kept by Captain James, the commander of a vessel bound for the northern seas. His ship, having on board a crew of twenty-two men, left England in May, 1631, to attempt the discovery of the long-desired North-West Passage. After terrible storms and disasters, the ship being fast-locked in ice the adventurers were compelled to winter in the Arctic regions; and, as the journal relates, proceeded to make preparations for passing the long months on an uninhabited island near to the ship. The extracts from the diary tell the story of those months, speaking in words which need no comment, of high hope, of constant courage, and of a sincere and true-hearted dependence on God. Throughout all the disappointments and perils of his expedition, Captain James seems ever to have kept alive trust in God, and a sure belief that all that could befall him and his, would be directed by an All-wise hand; thus his heart did not fail even in the midst of overwhelming perils and disasters.
These brave men were not ashamed to own their entire dependence on God's help, and we find here, as elsewhere, that it is ever the strongest who best know their own weakness—that the noblest are ever the most humble, the most ready to acknowledge the Divine Source of all their courage.
And the heroes whom English boys love to remember, and desire to imitate, have, in proportion as they were true heroes, unselfish, generous, brave, been also the most true and faithful servants of that God who is the source of all strength, all love, all tenderness and truth.
"Oct. 7.—It snowed all day, so that we had to clear it off the decks with shovels, and it blew a very storm withal. The sun did shine very clear, and we tore the topsails out of the tops, which were hard frozen in them into a lump, the sun not having power to thaw one drop of them. Seeing therefore that we could no longer make use of our sails, it raised many doubts in our minds that here we must stay and winter. The sick men desired that some little house or hovel might be built ashore, whereby they might be the better sheltered. I took the carpenter, and choosing out a place, they went immediately to work upon it, while I myself wandered up and down in the woods to see if we could discover any signs of savages, but we found no appearance of any on this island.
Oct. 12.—We took our mainsail, which was hard frozen, and carried it ashore to cover our house, first thawing it by a great fire; by night they had covered it, and had almost hedged it about, and our six builders desired they might travel up into the country to see what they could discover.
Oct. 15.—This evening our hunters returned very weary, and brought with them a small, lean deer, which rejoiced us all, hoping we should have more of them to refresh our sick.
Nov. 10.—I urged the men to make traps to catch foxes, for we did daily see many, and I promised that whosoever could take one of them should have the skin for his reward.
Nov. 17.—I have lain ashore each night until now, all which time have our miseries increased; and, looking from the shore towards the ship, she doth look like a piece of ice in the fashion of a ship; the snow is frozen all about her, and all her forepart is firm ice.
Nov. 25.—The wind shifted easterly, and we encouraged one another, and to work we go, our endeavor being to put the ship to the shore. This evening we broke through the ice, and put an anchor to keep her to shore if possible. Here Sir Hugh Willoughby came into my mind, who without doubt was driven out of his harbor in this manner, and so starved at sea. But God was more merciful to us.
Nov. 20.—I resolved, for the greater safety of the ship, to sink her right down, but she would not sink so fast as we would have her. At noon-day the water rose and beat the bulk-heads of the bread-room, powder-room, and forepiece, all to pieces; thus she continued till three, and then the sea came up on the upper deck, and soon after she began to settle. We were seventeen poor souls now in the boat, and we now imagined that we had leaped out of the frying-pan into the fire, for we thought assuredly the ebb would carry us away into the sea. We therefore doubled-manned four oars, and so, with the help of God, we got to the shore. Being there arrived, we greeted our fellows the best we could; at which time they could not know us, nor we them by our habits nor voices, so frozen all over we were, faces, hair, and apparel. I comforted them the best I could, saying, "My masters and faithful companions, be not dismayed for any of these disasters, but let us put our whole trust in God; it is He that giveth and He that taketh away. His will be done. If it be our fortunes to end our days here, we are as near heaven as in England, and we are much bound to God Almighty for giving us so large a time of repentance. I make no doubt but He will be merciful to us both here on earth, and in His blessed kingdom."
Dec. 1.—To-day it is so cold that firm ice has formed over the boat-track, and we can reach the ship on foot; we have brought over on our backs five hundred fish, and much of our bedding and clothes, which we had to dig out of the ice.
Dec. 10.—We have been busied this past week, save on Sunday, when we rested and performed the Sabbath duties of a Christian, in bringing hither stores from the ship—now bearing them over firm ice, and now wading knee-deep in half-frozen water. I will here describe the house which we have built to shelter us withal. It is among a tuft of thick trees, under a south bank, about a bow-shot from the seaside; it is square, and about twenty feet every way. First we drove strong stakes into the earth round about, which we wattled with boughs as thick as might be, beating them down very close. At the ends we left two holes for the light to come in at, and the same way the smoke did pass out also. Then we cut down trees into lengths of six feet, with which we made a pile on both sides. We left a little low door to creep into, and a porch was before that, made with piles of wood. We next fastened a rough tree aloft over all, upon which we laid our rafters and our roof. On the inside, we made fast our sails round about. Now have we driven in stakes and made us bedstead frames, about three sides of the house. We have made our hearth in the middle of the house, and on it our fire. This house we propose to call our mansion, as we have built two smaller near by for our kitchen and our store-house.
Dec. 31.—Our mansion is now covered thick with snow, almost to the very roof of it; we do not go out save we first shovel away the snow, and then by treading, make it somewhat hard under foot. We have got our boat ashore, and fetched up some of our provisions from the beach, with extremity of cold and labor; and thus we concluded the old year 1631.
Jan. 2, 1632.—I observed the sun to rise like an oval along the horizon; I called three or four to see it, the better to confirm my judgment; and we all agreed that it was twice as long as it was broad. We plainly perceived withal, that by degrees as it rose higher it also recovered its soundness.
Jan. 30.—But little worthy the writing has happened to us this month. The men grow daily weaker, and our stores less. We have three sorts of sick men—those that cannot move nor turn themselves in their beds, who must be tended like infants; those that are as it were crippled; and those that are something better, but afflicted with sore mouths. These last make shift to work; they go to work through the snow to the ship, and about their other business. Our cook doth order our food in this manner. The beef which is to serve on Sunday night to supper, he doth boil on Saturday night in a kettle full of water, with a quart of oatmeal, about an hour. Then taking the beef out, he doth boil the rest till it is thick, which we call porridge, which, with bread, we do eat as hot as we may; and after this we have fish, and thus we have some warm thing every supper.
But many of our sick eat nought save a little oatmeal or pease. Hitherto we have taken but a dozen foxes in all our traps.
Feb. 10.—The cold is as extreme just now as at any time this year, and many of our men complain heavily of sickness; two-thirds of our company are under the surgeon's hand. And yet, nevertheless, they must work daily, and go abroad to fetch wood and timber notwithstanding the most of them have no shoes to put on. Their shoes, upon their coming to the fire out of the snow, were burnt and scorched upon their feet, and they were forced to bind old clothes about their feet. Our clock and watch, though we have kept them ever by the fireside, yet they are so frozen that they cannot go. The inside of our house is hanged with icicles, and many a time when I put my hand into the brass kettle by the fire, I find one side very warm, and the other side an inch frozen.
Mar. 15.—One of our men thinks that he has seen a deer, whereupon he with two or three more desire that they may go and see if they can take it, and I have given them leave.
Mar. 16.—Last evening did our hunters return, not having seen the deer, but so disabled with cold, that they will not be well in a fortnight.
Mar. 31.—Our carpenter is now among our sick, his cutting tools are but few, and these mostly broken and bound about with rope-yarn as fast as may be. Thus our pinnace, on which lyeth so much of our hope of escape, is but in an indifferent forwardness.
April 4.—To-day we have been sitting all about the fire, reasoning and considering together about our estate. The time and season of the year comes forward apace, and we have determined on this course. With the first warm weather we will begin to clear the ship from the ice and water, so that should the pinnace never be finished, as seemeth in doubt through the sickness of our carpenter, we might yet have some hope in our old ship to complete our enterprise, and to return home.
April 6.—This day is the deepest snow we have had all this year; it hath filled up all our paths and ways.
April 16.—This is the most comfortable sunshine that hath come this year, and I have put some to clear off the snow from the upper decks of the ship, and to clear and dry the great cabin by making fire in it. Others have I put to dig down through the ice to come by our anchor.
April 25.—Now have we labored so hard that we are mightily encouraged, for the water doth rise without the ship, and yet doth not make its way into the hold. I have bid the cook that he pour hot water into the pumps, and so thaw them.
April 27.—One of the pumps is cleared, and by means of this we have drawn two feet of water from the hold, and we find to our satisfaction that it doth not rise again.
May 2.—It doth snow and blow so that we must keep house all day; our sick men are so grieved at this unexpected cold that they grow worse and worse.
May 3.—To-day some of the snow melted on the land, and some cranes and geese have come to it. I and the surgeon have been with a couple of fowling-pieces to see if we could kill any for our sick men, but never did I see such wild-fowl; they would not endure to see anything move, therefore we have been obliged to return empty-handed and wearied.
May 9.—We have at last come to and got up our five barrels of beef and pork which were sunk in the hold, and we have also found four butts of beer, which will be as a cordial to our sick men. God make us ever thankful for the comforts that He gives us!
May 13.—This is the Sabbath day, which we have solemnized, giving God thanks for those hopes and comforts which we daily have.
May 21.—This is the warmest day we have yet had. Two of my men have I sent a fowling, and myself, the master, the surgeon, and one more with our guns and our dogs, have been into the woods to see what comfort we could find. We have wandered full eight miles from the house, and have searched with all diligence, but returned comfortless; not an herb, no leaf eatable, that we could find. Our fowlers have had as bad success. The snow is by this time pretty well wasted in the woods. We have a high tree on the highest part of the island which we call our watch-tree, and from the top thereof we can see far over the seas, but we find no appearance of breaking up yet.
May 24.—Very warm sunshine. The ice doth consume by the shore side, and cracks all over the bay with a fearful noise. This morning I sent two to search for the ship's rudder, which was buried among the ice, and a fortunate fellow, one David Hammon, pecking between the broken blocks, struck upon it, who crying out that he had found it, the rest came and got it up on the ice, and so into the ship. O, this was a joyful day to us all; and we gave God thanks for the hopes we had of it.
May 31.—We have found some vetches on the beach, which I have made the men pick up, and boil for their sick comrades.
June 4.—These four days hath it snowed, hailed, and blown hard; and it hath been so cold that the water in our cans did freeze in the very house, our clothes also, that had been washed and hung out to dry, did not thaw all day.
June 15.—This day I went to our watch-tree, but the sea was still firm and frozen, and the bay we were in was full of ice.
June 16.—Here have there lately appeared divers sorts of flies, and such an abundance of mosquitoes, that we are more tormented with them than ever we were with the cold weather. Here be likewise ants, and frogs in the ponds upon the land, but we durst not eat of them, they looked so speckled like toads. By this time there are neither bears, foxes, nor fowl, to be seen; they are all gone.
June 17.—At high water we did heave our ship with such good-will that we heaved her through the sand into a foot and a half deeper water. After we had moored her we went all to prayers, and gave God thanks that had given us our ship again.
June 19.—There hath been the highest tide that we have known since we have been here, and in a happy hour have we got our ship off. This evening I went up to our watch-tree; and this was the first time I could see any open water, anyway, except that little by the shore-side. This sight gave us some comfort.
June 22.—We have sounded all about the ship, where she was sunken, and find it very bad ground, with stones three feet high, and two of them within a ship's breadth of the ship, wherein did more manifestly appear God's mercies to us; for if when we forced her ashore she had stricken one blow against these stones, it had broken her.
June 24.—The wind hath put all the ice upon us, so that for a while we were in such apparent danger that I verily thought we should have lost our ship. With poles and oars did we heave away and part the ice from her. But it was God that did protect and preserve us; for it was past any man's understanding how the ship could endure it, or we by our labor save her.
June 26.—These have been indeed days of fear and of confusion, but also, in the end, of comfort. Yesterday evening I went up to our watch-tree, taking a man with me, who should make a fire on the highest place of the island, to see if it would be answered. When I was come to the tree I laid down my lance, and while I climbed up to the top of the tree, I ordered him to set fire to some decayed wood thereabouts. He unadvisedly set light to some trees that were to windward, so that they and all the rest too, by reason it had been very hot weather, took fire like flax or hemp; and the wind blowing the fire towards me, I made haste down the tree. But before I was half way down, the fire reached its stem, and blazed so fiercely upwards, that I had to leap off the tree and down a steep hill, and in brief, with much ado escaped burning. My companion at last came to me, and was joyful to see me, for he thought verily I had been burned. And thus we went homewards together, leaving the fire increasing, and still burning most furiously. I slept but little all night; and at break of day I made all our powder and beef to be carried aboard. This morning I went to the hills to look to the fire, where I saw it did still burn most furiously, both to the westward and northward. Leaving a man upon the hills to watch it, I came home immediately and made the men take down our new set of sails immediately and carry them to the seaside, ready to be cast in, if occasion were, and to make ready to take down our houses. About noon the wind changed, and our sentinel came running home, bringing us word that the fire did follow him hard at his heels, like a train of powder. It was no need to bid us take down and carry all away to the seaside. The fire came towards us with a most terrible rattling noise, a full mile in breadth, and by the time we had unroofed our houses, and laid hands on our last things, the fire was come to our town, and seized on it, and burnt it down to the ground. Our dogs howled, and then ran into the sea. To-night shall we lie all aboard the ship, and give God thanks that he has shipped us in her again.
June 29.—These three days have we wrought hard in fetching our things aboard, as likewise our water, and have been all about the eastern point, searching for driftwood. Our pinnace, on which hath been spent so much time and labor, we need not, having our ship afloat again, wherefore I have commended her to be sawn in pieces and brought into the ship.
June 30.—To-day have we most earnestly continued our labor, and by eleven this night was our ship in readiness, for we have sought to finish our business with the week and the month, that so we might the better solemnize the Sabbath ashore to-morrow, and so take leave of our wintering island.
July 1.—To-day, the first of the month, being Sunday, we were up betimes. We went ashore, and first we marched up to the high cross we had put up to mark the graves of our dead companions. There we had morning prayer, and walked up and down till dinner-time. After dinner we walked to the highest hills to see which way the fire had wafted. We saw that it had consumed to the westward sixteen miles at least, and the whole breadth of the island; near about our cross and our dead it could not come, because it was a bare sandy hill. After evening prayer we went up to take the last view of our dead, and then we presently took boat and departed, and never put foot more on that island; but in our ship we went to prayer, beseeching God to continue His mercies to us, and rendering Him thanks for having thus restored us. Now go we on our discovery, which achieved, I purpose surely to return to England, unless it should please God to take us first into His heavenly kingdom. And so desiring the happiness of all mankind in our general Saviour Jesus Christ, I end this, my journal, written on the island."
THE DISCOVERERS OF MADEIRA.
It was during the merry days of the reign of King Edward III. of England, that a little ship left the port of Bristol, sailing suddenly and secretly, so that none knew to what port she was bound.
She was no trading vessel laden with English goods for Calais, for her crew was not composed of sailors; there were on board only a few men, and these wore the dress of English gentlemen. The strange crew, the secret departure, all told the tale of some danger from which they were seeking to escape, and had we been on board we should have seen by the anxious faces of the crew, by the quick, eager glances with which they watched the shores as they sailed out of the Bristol Channel, that they feared pursuit, either for themselves or for some one whom they had in charge. Though not really sailors, they were doing their best to guide the little vessel, and they had chosen for captain a young Englishman called Lionel Machin, whose directions they obeyed, and in whom they appeared to have full confidence.
It was for Lionel's sake that the party of friends were now making their escape from England. He had married a girl whom he had long loved, but he had not gained the consent of her father and mother. They were powerful and rich, and he had reason to fear that his young wife would be taken from him through their influence with the king, and therefore he had determined to seek a French port, and to hide himself and wife in some French city which did not own Edward as its king.
But, ignorant as they were of navigation, it was no easy matter for them to direct their course aright, and, high winds springing up, they were beaten about for five days without catching sight of the coast of France. They did not know in what direction they were being carried, and all on board, especially the new-made wife, were full of uneasiness and dismay. Lionel encouraged Arabella with loving and hopeful words, even when his own heart was sinking low, but his friends, who had come only for his sake, and without well considering the dangers and risks which they might encounter, were fast losing spirit and hope. Their merry adventure seemed to be turning into sad earnest, and these light-hearted lads, having nothing to sustain their courage when pleasure was gone, now vented their disappointment in continual murmurs and regrets.
Arabella herself tried to seem indifferent to their danger, and secure in Lionel's care; she hid her tears, lest they might grieve her husband; but when she thought that no one saw her, she gave herself up to sorrow and despair. She thought of her father and mother whom she had left secretly, lest they should forbid her marriage with Lionel, and she longed with an aching heart for one word of love and forgiveness. For hours she would sit, her eyes turned toward that part of the horizon where she had last seen the coast of England, her thoughts busied about her old home: her father, taking his pleasures with a sad heart; her little sister, weeping for her lost playmate; and, most of all, her mother, upright and dry-eyed, after the stern fashion of the day, but yet, as Arabella well knew, ever thinking of her absent and disobedient child, ever missing the light step, the loving smile, the tender touch of the daughter she had loved so well.
But Lionel still kept up heart and hope, still spoke gaily of the new home they would soon make in sunny France—yes, even when day after day passed by, and the watchers saw no land, and knew that they must be drifting far out of their course, away into the wide unknown ocean. They had been at sea more than a month when one morning early, Lionel, who was pacing the deck, heard behind him a sudden shout of joy.
He did not turn, for there were tears in his eyes which he must hide from his companions, for he had now, for the first time, learned from his wife of her repentance and her grief, and he too was sad at heart and well-nigh hopeless. But the shout was repeated and taken up by other voices.
"Land, land at last!" they cried, and Lionel turned to see, far in the distance, the tall sharp outline either of a rock or of the cliffs which guarded some unknown shore. Wind and wave were steadily sweeping the vessel onward towards this haven of refuge, and there was nothing to do but to watch the sharpening outlines, and to see, as fog and mist cleared before the sun, the sheer dark rocks and deep valleys of their new home.
Nearer still and nearer, till the land was full in sight, and the famished and wearied crew could see the green valleys and tree-covered heights of this lovely island, could almost hear the fall of the clear waters which they saw glancing down the face of the rocks.
What land it was they knew not. No houses were to be seen, no ships or canoes flew out from under the shelter of the shore, no natives gathered in fear or wonder on the silent silver beach, only a number of bright-winged birds came as if to greet the new-comers, and settled fearless on the sails and ropes.
Quickly the ship's one boat was lowered, and some of Lionel's companions, well armed, put off for the unknown shore. Lionel would fain have been of the number, but neither Arabella nor his friends would permit him to run this risk. Ere long the boat returned, and the adventurers climbed on board as eager to speak as were their companions to hear.
"A dainty and delicious country, truly, Captain Lionel, but men we saw none," said the first speaker.
"The beasts thereon are tame, and have no fear of man," continued another.
"Yea, and the land is a garden of flowers, and the air soft, that it would give back health to the dying; there will your fair wife recover her bloom, and we all shall rest after our grievous toil."
"Fruits are there in plenty, they dropped on us from the trees as we walked," added the first.
"Here at last we have found a haven," answered Lionel; "here, my kinsmen and faithful friends, may you regain the strength you have lost in my cause, yea, and win your pardon in England by this fair news. Arabella, you will soon be strong again," and Lionel, though he spoke confidently, looked with evident anxiety toward the pale face which bore the traces of sorrow as well as of sickness.
Soon the whole party, save some few who remained in charge of the ship, were on land, wandering with the glee of schoolboys over the green plains and wooded hills on which they seemed to be the first to set foot. Choosing a sheltered spot among the laurels and near to the bend of the river, the new lords of the island soon built a shelter for themselves, and brought thither stores from the ship.
In this happy retreat the fugitives spent nearly a fortnight, seeming to forget, in the peace and rest of the present, their past wrong-doing and their past disasters.
But on the thirteenth day a sudden and violent storm broke over the island. The ship was driven from her anchorage by the force of the wind and waves, and was carried, with those of the company then on board, toward the north coast of Africa, where she was at last completely wrecked. The crew escaped with their lives, but only to fall into the hands of the Moors, who, regarding all Christian nations as their enemies, immediately seized those poor English gentlemen as slaves.
Lionel and the few companions who were left with him on the island, grieved deeply for the loss of their companions, though they knew not the terrible fate which had befallen them. And mingled with their sorrow was penitence too, for the wrong act which had, as they felt, brought on them this deserved punishment. But Arabella's grief was deeper; from the time when this new disaster befell them she never spoke, but sat gazing ever over the now calm sea which parted her from her home; and thus she pined and died, deeply oppressed with grief, and not comforted with the assurance of the pardon which Christ the Saviour gives to all who repent and turn from sin.
Lionel could not endure without her the life which he had sought for her sake, and ere long he, too, died in the arms of his weeping friends, and husband and wife were buried at the foot of the laurels which had been their shelter.
The remaining adventurers determined at any risk to leave the island in the little boat which still remained to them, for the place now became distasteful; but before they sailed they set up over the grave of the husband and wife a wooden cross, on which were carved their names. Then, following the wish of Lionel, they added below a request that if any Christians should hereafter come to dwell in this island, they would build over the grave a church, in which our Saviour Jesus might be worshipped and adored.
The little boat being now ready and stored with birds and other food as provisions for their voyage, they set sail, but were, like their companions, cast on the coast of Africa, and made slaves with those who had gone before them. But the poor Englishmen were not the only captives, for in those times shipwrecked sailors from all parts of Europe were held in cruel slavery by the Moors.
Side by side with the companions of Lionel worked a young Spanish sailor named Jean de Morales, and, glad of any relief from the toil and tedium of their sad life, he listened eagerly to the often-repeated story of the lovely and beautiful island. Of this unknown land he dreamed and thought continually, longing for freedom that he might discover and tread its silent shores, for he was of a nation eager for discovery, and the highest rewards and honors were not thought too great for him who should add a new country to the dominions of the crown of Castile.
At length it happened that a sum of money was sent to Barbary, to ransom some of the Spanish captives, and Jean de Morales was amongst those set at liberty: but the ship in which, with glad heart and high hopes, he sailed for Spain, was captured on its way by a Portuguese man-of-war, under Jean Gonsalie Lascoe. All the captives from Barbary, who had already suffered so much, were permitted to continue their journey home, save only Jean de Morales.
This one exception was made because the Portuguese captain was not willing to give to Spain the glory of the discovery which the Castilian sailor was longing to attempt. Jean de Morales was, however, kindly treated, and at last took service with the Portuguese, his attachment to his native land being doubtless weakened by his long captivity.
Very soon, ships were sent out by Portugal commanded by Gonsalie, with Jean de Morales on board, to seek this new and unclaimed island. The vessels first held their course for the Island of Porto Sanco, near which the new island was supposed to lie, for seen from Porto Sanco toward the north-east was a heavy cloud, sometimes brighter, sometimes darker, but never wholly dispersed.
The ignorant and superstitious inhabitants had many wonderful stories to relate of this cloud; they all believed that no ship could safely approach it. Some held it to be an island hanging between heaven and earth, in which some Christians had been hidden by God from the power of their Moorish foes, some that it led into the land of spirits. Towards this cloud Gonsalie steered his ships, in spite of the murmurs and almost the open mutiny of his terrified crew. "The shadow is but a mist," said he, "a cloud caused by the heat of the sun's rays drawing the moisture from the land beneath; have no fear, my children, for those who do their duty will God protect."
Through the mists and heavy clouds they sailed on, and at last emerged into clear, pure air, to see fair before them the island of their hopes. The sailors who had before resisted the captain's will, now fell on their knees begging his forgiveness, and praying to be allowed to land at once and wander through the valleys of this lovely land. Soon Gonsalie, Jean de Morales, and some of the sailors pulled through the surf and set foot on the island, which they called Madeira, because it was so well wooded. They landed almost on the very spot where Lionel and Arabella had first come on shore, and before long the new-comers stood in reverence and in pity by the graves of the first discoverers.
The island was formally taken possession of in the name of the King of Portugal, and before long a colony was sent thither, Gonsalie being appointed governor.
Then the dying wish of Lionel was granted, and over his grave was built a church, in which the new inhabitants might worship God.
This is the story which we have received as the history of the discovery of the island of Madeira, now so well and so familiarly known to us, where many of our own countrymen go year by year, seeking to recover health and strength amongst the sheltered and wooded vales where the English husband and wife found their last refuge.
The history was written in Portuguese by Don Francesco Alcafarado, a noble at the court of King John I. of Portugal. He was himself one of the discoverers. It is considered possible that some of the details which he has given may have been altered in his memory, or confused by those from whom he heard the story of Lionel and Arabella, but there seems no reason to doubt the chief facts which he relates. The cross erected over the graves of the husband and wife was preserved in Madeira till at least the early part of this century, and possibly is still to be seen.
In the days when voyages were more tedious and dangerous than they are now, when steam was unknown, and the art of navigation little studied, it was especially important to secure safe resting-places for vessels bound on distant voyages. Halfway ports where the health of the sailors might be recruited, where the ship often battered and leaking, might be repaired, and stored once more with water and fresh vegetables, were absolutely essential to safe and profitable commerce.
But until about the year 1500 the Venetian traders to India had found no such harbor of refuge in the South Atlantic. Their ships came and went nevertheless, and if many were lost, yet the profits of the trade were such as to repay the merchants for many a bale of rich goods which lay beneath the waters, and to lead Venice to guard as one of her most valuable rights the trade with India.
The Portuguese also were merchants and explorers, and had a large and important navy, and they were not content to leave the Indian traffic wholly in the hands of the Venetians. Therefore about the year 1501 three vessels were sent out to India by the Portuguese Government. On their return voyage during May of the following year a sudden and violent storm overtook them.
They were in the midst of the wide Atlantic, driven backwards and forwards by the furious wind and waves.
One of the ships was separated from the other two, and was in greater danger. All hope of guiding her was at an end, and the captain and crew stood waiting in despair for the death which could not be far distant.
It seems probable from that which afterwards happened, that some at least among the sailors thought, in their danger, on God, and cried to Him to save them. And we may well believe this to have been so. There are but few who when trouble is near forget God. It is in smooth and fair water, in calm and sunshine, that we are so ready to think that we can guide and help ourselves. When the clouds gather, and the storm-winds blow, then we cry unto God in our trouble. And God is so good that He does not turn away from those who call on Him in their need, even when in their joy they had turned away from Him.
Help came to these sailors tossed on the wide, wild sea, but it did not come in the way that they had hoped. At first it seemed only like greater peril, for through the haze which darkened the sea, the dim outline of land was seen, standing high, sharp, and dark against the sky.
What land it could be they did not know. In such rough charts as they possessed, no rock even was marked, no speck of land for many hundred miles on either side the place where they were now fighting for their lives.
The ship was driven nearer and nearer, and, so far as the mariners could tell, they were being driven to certain destruction, for what ship could hope to avoid the terrible wall of rocks before them, or live in the white seething waters which boiled at its foot. A shout, an eager wondering cry, from one of the sailors, roused his comrades; he was pointing to a narrow inlet between the rocks, on either side of which the sand lay smooth and low—if they could only gain that opening there might yet be hope. But the ship was past all guidance, and the only chance of life seemed to lie in the boats, which might be directed up the narrow inlet, so that the men might land in safety on its shores. At last the anxious, terrified sailors stood safely on the beach, watching the still raging sea as it washed to their feet plank and mast and rudder of their now broken ship.
Their first thought was to offer thanks to God who had delivered them, and then they began to look around at this strange unknown land on which they had been thrown.
"Let us build ourselves a shelter with the planks of the broken ship, she will never sail blue water again," said one sailor.
"Nay," replied another, "rather let us build a house for God, let us leave a church on this island. We need no shelter in the warm May weather, no rain will fall for months yet, I warrant, and some of those rare trees yonder will be our fittest roof."
"But of what use can a church be when none dwell here to worship?" asked a third.
"Doubtless many will come to dwell here when we return home and tell the story of the new land, and many ships will stay here to rest the sailors and to gather stores. Were it not well done that they should find prepared a place which should remind them of their duty to their God, and of His care of them?"
"And," said the captain, speaking now for the first time, "were it not well done that we, whom He has so wonderfully preserved, should try even in this imperfect fashion to show our gratitude? He will accept even such poor service, therefore, in my judgment, let it be done."
"Let it be done," cried all, and, as if impatient to begin, the sailors rushed knee-deep into the sea, seizing and drawing high on the beach the floating spars and planks ready for their new service.
But before such work could be begun it was needful to explore the new land, to search for any traces of inhabitants, and above all to discover, if possible, food and water to refresh themselves.
There was one high peak, towering above the many hills which crowned the island, and towards this a party of sailors made their way, keeping closely together for fear that the natives of the land might suddenly attack them from rock or thicket.
The steep, rugged, broken hill was scaled at last, and from its summit the adventurers looked down on their place of refuge. They were on an island, which seemed to be some miles in length; it was thickly covered with trees, and in one part a broad, open plain, fresh and fertile, stretched before them. There were many streams, dancing merrily down the broken cliffs, or shaded by tall tree-ferns and waving grasses. But nowhere was there any sign of human habitation; no palm-roofed huts, no canoes, no figures crossing the open spaces between the trees. And not only man, but even animals seemed wanting here.
The place was a complete solitude; the sea-birds had not strayed farther than the cliffs where their nests were made, and save one little brown bird, not unlike a sparrow, which chirped among the boughs, the sailors neither heard nor saw any signs of life.
Fruit there was in abundance on the trees, and with this spoil they hastened back to their comrades, who had meanwhile been exploring the sides of the inlet.
A shout from the party of these explorers told the descending sailors that some discovery had been made, and as they came nearer they saw that a fire had been kindled on the beach, though with what object it was hard to guess.
They were not long left in doubt, for shouts of "Turtle, turtle! come and see the turtle we have cooked for dinner!" caused them to hasten to the fire, on which was now seething an immense turtle, great numbers of which were to be seen crawling along the beach.
The fruit was a welcome addition to the feast, and the sailors were soon forgetting peril and disaster over a hearty and refreshing repast.
Then the whole party stretched themselves at ease under the trees; they recounted to each other their adventures and discoveries. It was clear that they were on an island, and that this island was far distant from any known land. There appeared no doubt that it was uninhabited and unknown, and great was the satisfaction of the captain in the thought of carrying home to Portugal the tidings of a discovery so important. For all saw what great service would be done to Portuguese commerce by the establishment of a half-way station on their return from India, and the feeling of regret for their lost ship was swallowed up and forgotten in delight at the honor which they should receive at having first planted the flag of Portugal on the Island of St. Helena, for thus did the captain name the newly-found island.
The sailors made no doubt that now the violence of the storm was over, that they would soon be rescued from their imprisonment by the other ships, and meanwhile they set heartily to work to build their church.
The ship's carpenter undertook the principal directions, while the captain determined on the best site for the new building, and marked its outline on the turf.
Willing hands made the work light, and ere many days had passed the church began to rise, plank by plank, amid the palm-trees and leafy shade around.
The two remaining ships soon arrived, and their crews stayed long enough to complete the church, and to lay in a store of fruit, turtles, and fresh water, and then all set sail for Portugal, and St. Helena for long years was henceforth reckoned among the possessions of that crown.
But though highly prized as a resting-place for ships, it did not at first become a colony. Two small dwellings were built on either side the church, but none inhabited them for about twelve years, when a Portuguese nobleman, named Lopez, came to live there in banishment, with no companions but three or four negro slaves, who under his direction, cultivated the soil, planted and reared many new kinds of trees and fruits, and tended the fowls and animals which were abundantly supplied for his needs.
He did not, however, continue many years in St. Helena, and long the island remained without inhabitants.
Sometimes a passing ship would leave one or more of her crew, who were ill, that they might be restored by the vegetables and fruits, the pure air and clear water of the island.
It happened once, nearly ninety years after the first discovery, that an English crew landed for refreshment, and wandering about the island approached the little church. They believed themselves the only human beings on the island, and were therefore greatly surprised to hear a voice singing within the church.
"It is a Portuguese," they said one to another, "let us enter and make him prisoner."
Without another word the doors were thrown open, and there kneeling alone in the church, they discovered a strange figure, wild and terrified, dressed in a rough suit of goat-skin.
"Who are you?" cried the foremost of the sailors, forgetting that the supposed Portuguese was not likely to answer an English question; but the man started to his feet at the words, gazed round him, looking one by one into the eager and wondering faces before him, and then, as if he could no longer contain his joy, he rushed towards them, and threw himself into the arms of the foremost.
He, in his turn, had feared that the new-comers were Portuguese, and the poor English sailor, for such he was, had endured an agony of terror till the sound of English speech assured him that he was among friends and fellow-countrymen.
His story was soon told. He had been left at St. Helena by a passing ship, because he was so reduced by the voyage that the captain feared that he could never reach his home. Here he had lived for fourteen long months, and had never during that time heard a human voice, or seen the face of a friend. He had lived chiefly on the flesh of goats, which had now multiplied on the island, and had in his wild, free life quite recovered his health. But the joy of meeting with friends after so long a solitude was too great; he was quite unable to sleep, and only lived till the ship in which he had taken passage reached the West Indies.
St. Helena passed at length into the hands of the English, was colonized and brought into cultivation, and it was here that Napoleon ended the career which had laid waste and despoiled Europe. Here in this little island was bounded his wide ambition; the sea set limits to his steps on every side and stretched its strong impassible barrier all around him. Here, though not alone, he endured a solitude which was doubtless heavier to bear and more hopeless than that felt by any of the wanderers who in early days were left upon that shore. For there is no solitude like that of a heart which dwells alone, whose memories of the past can bring no gladness, and whose future lies cheerless and blank before it.
He spent his time chiefly in reading, riding on horseback, and digging in his garden. He was fond of amusing himself with children, and would join in all their little sports. He employed himself, also, in writing the memoirs of his own campaigns. "Let us live on the past," he said. But ah! what satisfaction could a view of his past life have afforded him? Those who have lived only for this world must never expect anything but self-reproach in reviewing the opportunities of usefulness which they have lost, and the precious talents they have misemployed. What a favorable opportunity, however, was afforded to Napoleon in his solitude at St. Helena, of examining his past life. Happy would it have been for him if he had diligently used the time thus given him in mourning for his sins, and humbling himself for the misapplication of the vast talents entrusted to his charge.
That he sometimes thought of the subject of religion, indeed, is evident, if we believe a conversation which Count Monthoton, one of his attendants, has recorded. "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself," Napoleon is represented to have said, "founded empires upon force! Jesus Christ alone founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him. I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth to become food for worms. Such is the fate which so soon awaits him who has been called the Great Napoleon! what a difference between my deep misery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extending over the whole earth. Call you this dying? Is it not living rather? The death of Christ is the death of a God!" Napoleon became every day more and more unhappy. He used to feed some fish in a pond, but they sickened and died. "Everything that I love," said he, "leaves me: everything that belongs to me is stricken!"
At last the event came which released him from all his earthly sorrows. A painful disease, called cancer in the stomach, attacked him; and, after considerable suffering, he expired on the 5th of May, 1821. The night of his dissolution was a terrible one; a fearful storm was raging all around. Napoleon had, for some hours, been insensible; towards six o'clock in the evening, however, he pronounced the words, "Head of the Army," as if his thoughts were running on the field of battle, and immediately afterwards his immortal spirit quitted the tabernacle of clay in which it dwelt. Such was Napoleon's death-bed. Alas! we look in vain upon it for that language of triumph which has so often broken from the lips of the followers of Jesus, when passing through the dark "valley of the shadow of death." With Napoleon's dying moments, contrast those of an eminent saint of God, Dr. Payson. "I seem to swim in a flood of glory," said he to some young persons, "which God pours down upon me. And I know—I know that my happiness is but begun—I cannot doubt that it will last for ever. My young friends, were I master of the whole world, what could it do for me like this! Nothing, nothing. Now all this happiness I trace back to the religion which I have preached, and to the time when that great change took place in my heart, which, I have often told you, is necessary to salvation;—and I now tell you again, that without this change you cannot, no, you cannot see the kingdom of God!"
Napoleon was buried at Longwood, in the Island of St. Helena, under a large willow tree; but in 1840 his remains, with the consent of the British Government, were removed to Paris, and buried with grand honors in that city.
THE PITCAIRN ISLANDERS.
Many islands have at different times risen above the sea, which had for long years washed over and hidden them. There are two ways in which new islands are thus born like a fresh creation from God.
The great volcanic force which sends out flames and ashes from the tops of high mountains, or makes the solid earth tremble and crack, is at work also below the bed of the sea, and from time to time islands are raised there either slowly or by some sudden convulsion, just as we have also reason to believe that other islands are even now sinking lower under the influence of the same force, until, most likely, in years to come, the waves will once more flow over them again. You must not forget that when we talk of the forces of nature we mean really the hand of God. He it is who sends these great convulsions, or who directs the slow upheaving of new land. All is quite as truly the work of God as when, at His word, the dry land first appeared. "Fire and hail, snow and vapors, stormy wind," are all "fulfilling His word."
Many of these islands, when first raised above the sea, must have been active volcanoes, sending out hot from their craters the flood of lava and the heated rocks which now lie cold and hard, and overgrown with moss, to tell us of their past history.
Of course, while this was going on there could be no life either of plants or animals on the mountain, which, indeed, as yet could scarcely be called an island, only a bare rock, around which the waves would beat, as if in hopeless endeavor to extinguish the fire which glowed deep in its caverned centre. But though neither waves nor storms could make this fire die out, yet there comes a time to most of these volcanic islands when the life and energy of the mountain seems gone, taken away, we know not how, by the same Great Hand that lighted it, and the lonely rock is now ready to be turned into a home for man, for this silent crater, this hard, broken crag, will, after a time, become a fair island home. God does not leave His works incomplete, and He has servants who will change this desolate rock into a fertile garden.
He sends the waves; they dash on the sides of the island, which rise generally abrupt and strong from the deep waters, and wherever they can find entrance they wear and powder the rock until it becomes fine soil, and a little beach is formed. Then rains fall and fill the clefts and hollows of the rock, and soften it at length as they wash down its face, till here and there patches of scanty soil are formed.
But something more than soil is needed; the most fertile land cannot of itself produce grass or herbs; there must be a seed before even the smallest weed can spring up, and those which float about in the air with us, are not found on a volcanic rock far away in the sea.
But messengers are prepared to bring them. Birds flying over the water sometimes stoop their wings to rest awhile on the rock, and often leave behind them seeds which they have gathered in far distant lands. At first, perhaps, only a few small weeds are seen. These, dying in their turn, improve the soil for their successors, until at length it can support shrubs and undergrowth, the seeds of which are sometimes washed on the shore by the waves, or found hidden in the clefts of some tree which has floated to the island from a distant shore.
Last of all arises, like a crown of beauty, the graceful cocoa-nut palm, spreading broad leaves around its tall, slender stem, and making the once barren rock a shady and lovely retreat.
The island on which Alexander Selkirk lived is considered volcanic; it is probably formed in some such manner as that which we have described. Madeira, too, and probably St. Helena, are volcanic islands.
Pitcairn, the history of which you are now going to read, is also possibly of volcanic origin, and its high crags and sharp peaks seem as if they must have been thrown up by some sudden force; but as it is in the midst of a sea covered with coral islands, and has been supposed by some to be itself partially formed by coral insects, it may be well that you should hear a little of the wonderful growth of coral islands, which, though formed so differently from those of which you have been reading, are yet, when once their tops have risen above the waves, clothed in the same manner with fair growth, to prepare them for the presence of man. Tahiti, which you will hear mentioned in the story of Pitcairn, is a coral island, and they abound in groups, in pairs, or in single islands, through the wide Pacific Ocean.
They are formed by myriads of tiny insects, which are connected together, and seem to share a common life. One of these insects fastens itself on some hidden rock; sometimes it may be on an extinct volcano which is not lofty enough to appear above the waves, and on this foundation they begin to build, the insect, as it shapes its cells of coral, filling them with beings like itself, so that every tiny chamber has its inmate. Soon the whole rock is covered below the water with a fine network of delicate coral, and from the tops of the open cells the insects put out their delicate tentaculae, or arms, which look like the petals of a flower. By means of the food gathered from the water by these tentaculae, all the coral insects are fed.
Thus each one does its appointed work, laying unseen the foundations of a new land, for the coral growth is still spreading and rising higher and higher, till at length the waves begin to feel its resistance, and to break in white foam around its crests.
Its history, when it has once risen above the reach of the tides, is like that of the volcanic islands. The insects die, and the bare grey rock is left, that God's servants, the waves and winds, may fulfil His will, until in His own good time the coral island becomes lovely and fertile, fit for the dwelling-place of those who should be God's best servants—the men whom He has made for His glory, and for whose redemption His Son came down to die. It is sad to think how often man, to whom God has given the most, is the least ready to use these gifts for his Maker's glory, so that instead of these lovely islands being always full of His praise, they are often homes of sin and of unhappiness, as indeed it was at first with Pitcairn, the history of which we now give.
* * * * *
Far away from any other land, in the midst of the South Pacific Ocean, there is a little island, a mere speck in the sea, for it is not six miles across at its widest point. A passing ship might leave this tiny island unnoticed, save for the lofty cliffs and precipices which guard its shores, running down to the white waves, ever curling and breaking at their feet. Yet it was not a mere rock, inaccessible and barren; for when once a boat has safely won its way through the breakers, and the sailor has climbed the rocks which, steep above steep, stand like a wall before him, he is rewarded by the sight of lovely valleys, of forests of fruit-bearing palms, and of green, fresh-springing plants: a little fairy land, a new paradise seems hidden here from the eye and the foot of man.
It is called Pitcairn's Island, and was discovered more than a hundred years ago by a passing ship. It was uninhabited, and no one set foot on it again, till in 1789 a small ship might have been seen approaching its shores, as if she would seek an anchorage in that dangerous, rocky bay.
The ship is called the Bounty, and carries for her crew nine English seamen, and some colored men and women, natives of Tahiti, an island at which the Bounty had been recently anchored.
There is no captain on board, though the first mate, Fletcher Christian, seems to take his place and to direct the course of the ship; but his words are few, and his face is sad, as if some past trouble or sin weighed on his heart, and, when he is not obliged to be active, he sits gazing listlessly over the water, looking for he knows not what.
It would be a long and sad story to tell how that ship came to be thus cruising in the wide Pacific. Months before, Fletcher Christian and some of the sailors of the Bounty had mutinied; had put their captain, who by his harsh and unjust treatment had provoked their anger, into the ship's launch with eighteen of the crew, leaving them thus to reach home or to die on the ocean.
The mutineers well knew that if they returned to England, their own lives would pay the penalty of their crime, and therefore they determined to spend the rest of their days on some one of the numerous islands scattered in groups throughout the South Seas.
But as they had begun their course by an act which they knew to be wrong, it was not likely that their future would be happy and prosperous; the sweet flowers of peace and content do not spring from the bitter root of sin, "neither do men gather grapes of thorns nor figs of thistles."
Thus we need not wonder that trouble and dissension seemed to follow everywhere the ill-fated crew of the Bounty. They quarrelled and fought with the natives of the first island which they chose for an asylum; they disputed among themselves, suspecting and hating each other, as partners in sin most often do. The hearts of the leaders were full of fear also as they thought of the laws which they had broken, and of the fate which would be theirs should their captain reach England, and a ship be sent out to capture them.
At last the mutineers sailed for the Island of Tahiti, where they knew that the inhabitants were well-disposed and gentle, and would be pleased to welcome the white man to live among them. Fletcher Christian, however, could not rest; he had been the leader in the mutiny, he knew that he would be sought for, and that if found he must die, and die covered with disgrace.
Therefore he determined to seek out Pitcairn's Island, of the discovery of which he had heard, and there pass the remainder of his miserable life. Eight of his comrades decided to go with him, the rest remaining at Tahiti, and, as we have seen, some of the Tahitian men and women agreed to make the voyage with them, and join in the new settlement.
After long seeking, after cruising backwards and forwards for many days in the sailless and shoreless ocean, the island that they sought was seen standing high above a line of white waves, and after much difficulty the Bounty was anchored, and her boat sent on shore with some of her crew.
Everything of value on board was taken to the island, even the iron-work of the ship itself being removed, and when the Bounty was reduced to an empty and useless hulk, she was set on fire and burnt to the water-edge, that no passing ship might see any trace of inhabitants on the lonely island where these unhappy men sought to hide themselves.
Fletcher Christian, who had taken the command hitherto by the consent of his companions, now proceeded to divide the whole island into nine equal parts, one of which he gave to each of the English sailors who accompanied him, choosing for his own portion a piece of land at the farther end of the island, where he made for himself a retreat among the steep rocks which overlooked the sea.
But though the new colony was so small, it had in it all the seeds of dissension and of unhappiness. Even these nine men, though bound together by a common fate and by a common fear, could not agree, could not bear with nor yield to each other in any of the little differences or misunderstandings which arose between them from time to time. Still less could they live in peace with the natives who had accompanied them. They looked on these poor men and women as their slaves, and treated them so unjustly that the Tahitians, who had at first been attached and faithful, now determined on revenge. They were as much less guilty than the English as they were more ignorant; they had never been taught to be merciful, to forgive injuries, to be patient under wrongs; the blessed name of Jesus was not familiar to their ears, nor the lessons of His life and death to their hearts. They knew no law but that of violence and might, and finding themselves unjustly treated by those who had promised to be their friends, they formed a plot to put them all to death, and so to make themselves masters of the island.
Five out of the nine Englishmen were shot, and amongst them was their leader, Fletcher Christian. Ever since he had come to Pitcairn's Island, he had appeared sunk in sorrow and remorse. All day long he had remained hidden among the rocks, away from his comrades, his eyes fastened on the wide ocean, the barrier which he knew must now divide him for ever from his home and from all he loved. In this solitude his companion was the Bible, brought on shore by him from the ship. In this he was observed to be often reading, and though we know nothing of his thoughts nor of his prayers, it may be that God spake through His word to the heart of His erring child, and bade him, not in vain, to seek His face once more.
Let us hope that this Bible charged with such a blessed mission in years to come, was sent also with a message to this desolate heart, and that ere he died, Christian had sought and found the forgiveness which is given through the cross of Christ our Saviour. Some sign of his repentance may be found in a tradition handed down by the islanders, that he had given orders that everyone on the island should repeat each noontide the prayer of the returning and repentant prodigal: "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son."
Four white men had been saved by the interference of the Tahitian women from the fate of their comrades, but they did not feel safe; they believed that the men were still seeking their lives, and, as they imagined, in self-defence, they determined to put these their enemies to death. Thus the evil begun by the mutiny still went on from crime to crime, seeming to grow ever deeper and wider. For the dark and terrible story is not yet ended. Two of the four remaining Englishmen soon after came to a violent end, while intoxicated by a drink which they had contrived to make from some of the plants which they found on the island, thus bringing into this lovely refuge the vice and drunkenness which beset crowded cities.
The sorrowful tale has hitherto been all dark, ever growing more gloomy and hopeless; but now for the first time a faint pencil of light, like the first streak of dawn, marks the sky, a ray which, like all true sunshine, comes from heaven and from God. The great and loving Father had not forgotten the children who had so long forgotten Him; this little island, so far from the eyes of human watchers was not unseen nor unregarded by Him. His messengers, the books which tell of Him, were still there, though forgotten and unread; but the time was now come when they were to speak again, and were to be heard and obeyed.
The two remaining mutineers were a sailor named Alexander Smith, or, as he now called himself, John Adams, and a midshipman named Edward Young. The midshipman had been well educated, and had learnt above all, in his childhood, the blessed lessons of God's love, and of the grace of Christ. These lessons, too long unremembered, now came back to him. Perhaps he thought of the days when, a young child, he had knelt at his mother's knee, or standing by her chair, had read one by one, as her finger slowly pointed them out, the words of the Holy Bible.
The good seed had lain long in a barren soil, now God in His mercy sent the rain and sunshine of His grace to cause it to spring up at last. No sooner had Edward Young begun to desire to return to the Saviour whom he had left, than he also wished that those around him should be taught of His love. The helpless women and children were, he felt, a sacred charge for him and his companion, to teach and guide.
Accordingly morning and evening prayers were established in the island, and a sort of school was begun for the children, John Adams being partly a teacher, partly a scholar, and so preparing to take his comrade's work when, a little time after this change of heart and life, Edward Young died, and left his comrade alone on the island with his untaught charge. He, the only one who had the key to God's book, the only one in whose memory were stored any lessons of His truth, in whose life lay, as it seemed, the only hope that this little colony might be saved from all the cruelty and ignorance of savage life, and added to the number of the servants of Christ.
* * * * *
Nearly twenty-five years had passed since John Adams was left on Pitcairn's Island, the sole protector and teacher of the women, and of the young children who were growing up around him. He was himself but a common sailor, who had enjoyed only a few advantages of education, his only acquirements the simple lessons which had been taught him in his boyhood, and a new but straightforward and earnest desire to serve God in the way which God should teach him, and in penitence and faith to walk himself and to lead others to walk in the way that leads to everlasting life.
But God does not choose only the wise and the great and the strong for His workmen: often the weak things of the world are chosen to confound the mighty, and the poor and lowly to do the work of the High and Mighty One who inhabiteth eternity.
We have seen how evil passions indulged were like a seed of sin, growing and spreading into a mighty and poisonous tree. Then there was planted by its side, through the mercy of God, a germ of good and of life—has that too lived and spread, or has it withered and died beneath the shade of evil?
Two English vessels are approaching the island. At first the crews do not see it, but as evening draws on, the look-out man in the larger ship gives the signal that he has caught sight of land. "Land ho, land!" passes from mouth to mouth among the sailors. What land can it be? No island, no rock even, is marked on the chart, and the officers gather on deck to look over the darkening sea toward that darker point where the new land lies.
"We may have discovered a new island for King George," says the captain. "We must lie to till the morning, and then we will sail nearer, and see this unknown shore."
The morning comes, and almost before it is day some of the officers are on deck with their glasses, eagerly looking toward the island, which they can now see far more plainly. Even without a glass its lofty rocks and steep precipices can be distinguished. The ships are approaching nearer and nearer, till now their anchors are dropped, and one of the captains orders a boat to be prepared.
"Though I doubt how we shall get her through the surf," he says, ponderingly; "it is a dangerous coast, and no pilot within hail. People there too, I see—savages. The men must go well armed. Peters, look to the loading of the pistols."
"Ay, ay, sir," answered Peters, looking, like the rest, towards the rocks, where groups of people coming and going were to be seen.
There was evidently great excitement on the island. A ship was a strange and unusual sight, no doubt.
Before the ship's boat could be launched, two men were seen to climb the top of the steep cliff which almost overhung the narrow beach. They, however, seemed to find no difficulty in their dangerous path, though each carried on his shoulders a light canoe. The strangers wore some kind of clothing, but even through the captain's glass it was impossible to tell of what race they were.
Dark against the clear sky, the two figures were seen for awhile to stand gazing steadfastly toward the ship, and then bounded like goats down the rugged face of the rock, and soon launched their canoes fearlessly in the angry surf.
"Haul the boat up, we'll wait and receive these natives on board," says the captain; and in a few minutes one of the canoes was under the bows of the ship.
"Come alongside," shouted a sailor, trusting that his signs and gestures would explain the meaning of his English words.
"We have no boat-hook to hold on by," cried in answer the foremost of their visitors.
No words can explain the surprise with which the captain and the whole crew listened to these words spoken in pure English by the supposed savage. They looked at him and at each other, but no one spoke till the eager voice was again heard from the boat.
"Won't you heave us a rope now?"
A sailor seized and flung one end of a coil of rope, and in a moment their strange visitor had seized it and climbed fearlessly on deck.
He was a tall man, young, and almost English-looking, save that his complexion was tinged by the hot sun of his country; and his whole face and bearing were those of an educated and civilized man. His dress was a light vest and short trousers, while his palm-leaf hat was adorned with a bunch of brilliant feathers.
"Who are you?" asked the astonished captain, gazing at this strange and unexpected apparition.
"I am Thursday October Christian, the son of the mutineer, and there," pointing to the other canoe, now close to the ship, "is Edward Young."
The mystery was now explained: the ships had anchored at the island where the mutineers, long sought in vain, had taken refuge.
The officers crowded round their visitors, asking question after question, of their age, the number of people on the island, their habits and mode of life.
"Who is your king?" they asked.
"Why, King George, to be sure," replied Christian, quickly.
"Have you been taught any religion?"
"Yes," they replied, "a very good religion; that which the Bible teaches."
The young men were led into every part of the ship; they looked with great interest at the many things they saw around them, the uses and even the names of which were unknown to them, and their questions showed much thought and intelligence.
In the course of the morning they were led to the stalls where the ship's cows were kept.
"What immense goats!" cried Christian; "I did not know there were any of such a size."
Just then a little dog, belonging to some one on board, attracted the attention of one of the new-comers. "I know what that is," he said, "that is a dog, I have read of such things;" and turning to his companion, "it is a pretty thing to look at, is it not?"
When noon came, the two guests were taken into the captain's cabin to lunch, but before touching the food which was spread before them, they both folded their hands, and without troubling themselves at all about the presence of the officers, in the most simple and natural manner asked God's blessing on all that they should eat and drink.
Many of those who were present turned away to hide, not a smile, but a blush of shame that they, the sons of a Christian land, should need to be reminded of their duty to their God by these half-taught islanders.
Lunch over, the two captains went on shore, rowed by their guests, to whose strong and skilful hands they trusted to pilot them safely through the dangerous surf.
On the beach they were welcomed by more of the inhabitants, among the rest by a young girl, the daughter of Adams, who had evidently come to meet the English strangers in order that she might learn if her father was in any danger from them, for John Adams was the last remaining mutineer. Her confidence was restored by the looks and words of the two captains, as she led them, with light step, up the steep pathway by which alone the interior of the island could be reached.
The captains were almost exhausted long before the top was reached, but their guides seemed to climb as easily as the goats of their own island, and even the girls were so sure-footed that they were able to help the strangers up the difficult path. Arriving at the top, a new and beautiful sight delighted their eyes—a lovely valley, rich in fruit-bearing trees, and in cultivated fields, in the midst of which was built an almost English-looking village, with its church and school house, its cottages and gardens, and all that could speak of a simple, religious home life. Here they were welcomed by the remaining inhabitants, with Adams at their head, to whom all looked up as to their father. Beside him stood his blind Tahitian wife, and around him were groups of young men and girls with bright, intelligent faces, and smiles which told of the happiness and innocence of their hearts.
Whatever the daughter of Adams may have feared in her love for her father, he himself did not appear afraid to receive these English visitors to his island refuge. For he felt that as, in the sight of God, his sin had for Christ's sake been pardoned, so in the eyes of men these long years of penitence, and of honest endeavor after a better life, would surely have won pardon for the sins of his youth. It was with feelings too deep for words that he looked once more on the faces of his countrymen and heard the English speech from other lips than those to whom he had taught it. All the memories of early days awoke in him, and he longed to return once more and see his native land before he died. But as soon as those round him understood his wish, they seized his hands, they clung around him, praying him with tears not to desert them, not to leave his children; and Adams, much moved, promised to remain. And indeed he would have been sorely missed had he gone, for he was the chief authority on the island. He it was who each Sunday led the prayers of the islanders, all assembled around him in the church which they had built, thinking, as they joined in the words of the service, of their unknown brethren in the great country beyond the seas. He it was who explained week by week the words of the Bible to his listening companions, taught the children, and married the young people.
It was to Adams that every dispute was referred; all those slight disagreements which spring up from time to time, but which with the islanders were never, as they said, more than word-of-mouth quarrels, and always ended before set of sun.
The captains, though anxious to linger awhile in this island home, were obliged to leave next day, and they departed amid the regrets and farewells of these simple-hearted, affectionate people, a people Christian in heart as well as in name,—sincere, modest, pure, and unselfish, whose life seemed to be fashioned on the words of God's Book, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
And all this peace and happiness has sprung, under the blessing of God, from the seeds of His truth sown long, long years before in the hearts of two English sailors, and from the power of His truth in His written word, and in the teaching of His Spirit.
Far distant from the many other islands with which the Southern Pacific Ocean is studded, one stands alone, rich in natural beauty, and with a climate almost unrivalled.
This lovely island was visited by Captain Cook in 1774, and named by him Norfolk Island; it was then uninhabited, and neither the vegetable nor the animal world had been disturbed. For about two hundred yards from the shore, the ground was covered so thickly with shrubs and plants as scarcely to be penetrable further inland. The account given by Cook led to an attempt at settlement on Norfolk Island; but this was attended with difficulty. The island is small, being only about six miles in length by four in breadth; and was therefore unavailable for a large or increasing population. Lying nine hundred miles from Port Jackson, in Australia, it was inconveniently remote from that country; and, worst of all, its cliffy and rocky shores presented serious dangers to mariners attempting a landing. Its general unsuitableness, however, for ordinary colonization, was considered to adapt it as a penal settlement, subordinate to New South Wales, and to which convicts could be sent who merited fresh punishment while in course of servitude. Thus, one of the lovliest of earthly paradises was doomed to be a receptacle for the very worst of malefactors. It was imagined that the beauty of Norfolk Island, and the fineness of its climate, would greatly tend to soothe the depraved minds of its unhappy tenants, and reconcile them to compulsory expatriation; but such was not the case: the feeling uppermost in the minds of the convicts was to make their escape; and this, along with other circumstances, caused the island, after a time, to be abandoned as a penal settlement. The narrative that follows may be relied upon as a true relation of facts, and will, it is hoped, afford warning to such as may be tempted to go astray, and deeply impress those who may be on the verge of crime, with the danger of their situation, by showing them that a course of error is a course of misery, ending in consequences the most afflicting.
"On the northern side of Norfolk Island, the cliffs rise high, and are crowned by woods, in which the elegant whitewood and gigantic pine predominate. A slight indentation of the land affords a somewhat sheltered anchorage-ground, and an opening in the cliffs has supplied a way to the beach by a winding road at the foot of the dividing hills. A stream of water, collected from many ravines, finds its way by a similar opening to a ledge of rock in the neighborhood, and, falling over in feathery spray, has given the name of Cascade to this part of the island. Off this bay, on the morning of the 21st of June, 1842, the brig Governor Philip was sailing, having brought stores for the use of the penal establishment. It was one of those bright mornings which this hemisphere alone knows, when the air is so elastic that its buoyancy is irresistibly communicated to the spirits. At the foot of the cliff, near a group of huge fragments of rock fallen from the overhanging cliffs, a prisoner was sitting close to the sea preparing food for his companions, who had gone off to the brig the previous evening with ballast, and who were expected to return at daylight with a load of stores. The surface of the sea was smooth, and the brig slowly moved on upon its soft blue waters. Everything was calm and still, when suddenly a sharp but distant sound as of a gun was heard. The man, who was stooping over the fire started on his feet, and looked above and around him, unable to distinguish the quarter from whence the report came. Almost immediately, he heard the sound repeated, and then distinctly perceived smoke curling from the vessel's side. His fears were at once excited. Again he listened; but all was hushed, and the brig still stood steadily in towards the shore. Nearer and nearer, she approached; until, alarmed for her safety, the man ran to summon the nearest officer. By the time they returned, the vessel had wore, and was standing off from the land; but while they remained in anxious speculation as to the cause of all this, the firing was renewed on board, and it was evident that some deadly fray was going on. At length a boat was seen to put off from the brig, and upon its reaching the shore, the worst fears of the party were realized. The misguided prisoners on board had attempted to seize the vessel. They were but twelve in number, unarmed, and guarded by twelve soldiers, and a crew of eighteen men; yet they had succeeded in gaining possession of the vessel, and held it for a time, but had been finally overpowered, and immediate help was required for the wounded and dying.
"June 21, 1842.—My duty as a clergyman called me to the scene of blood. When I arrived on the deck of the brig, it exhibited a frightful spectacle. My heart sickened at the extent of the carnage; and I was almost sinking with the faintness it produced, when I was roused by a groan so full of anguish and pain, that for a long time afterwards its echo seemed to reach me. I found that it came from a man lying further forward, on whose face the death-dew was standing, yet I could perceive no wound. Upon questioning him, he moved his hand from his breast, and I then perceived that a ball had pierced his chest, and could distinctly hear the air rushing from his lungs through the orifice it had left. I tore away the shirt, and endeavored to hold together the edges of the wound until it was bandaged. I spoke to him of prayer, but he soon grew insensible, and within a short time died in frightful agony. In every part of the vessel, evidences of the attempt which had ended so fatally presented themselves, and the passions of the combatants were still warm. After attending to those who required immediate assistance, I received the following account of the affair: