« FöregåendeFortsätt »
runs along the greater part of the eastern coast, but at a considerable distance from it. The boat had been sent out to look for an opening, which was soon discovered, but in the course of the night the ship had drifted past it. “On getting soundings,” says Captain Edwards, in his narrative laid before the court-martial," the topsails were filled; but before the tacks were hauled on board and other sail made and trimmed, the ship struck upon a reef; we had a quarter less two fathoms on the larboard side, and three fathoms on the starboard side; the sails were braced about different ways to endeavour to get her off, but to no purpose; they were then clewed up and afterward fürled, the top-gallant yards got down and the top-gallant masts struck. Boats were hoisted out with a view to carry out an anchor, but before that could be effected the ship struck so violently on the reef, that the carpenter reported she made eighteen inches of water in five minutes; and in five minutes after this, that there were four feet of water in the hold. Finding the leak increasing so fast, it was thought necessary to turn the hands to the pumps, and to bail at the different hatchways; but she still continued to gain upon us so fast, that in little more than an hour and a half after she struck, there were eight feet and a half of water in the hold. About ten we perceived that the ship had beaten over the reef, and was in ten fathoms water; we therefore let go the small bower anchor, cleared away a cable, and let go the best bower anchor in fifteen and a half fathoms water under foot, to steady the ship. Some of her guns were thrown overboard, and the water gained upon us only in a small degree, and we flattered ourselves that by the assistance of a thrummed topsail, which we were preparing to haul under the ship’s bottom, we might be able to lessen the leak, and to free her of water: but these flattering hopes did not continue long; for, as she settled in the water the leak increased again, and in so great a degree that there was reason to apprehend she would sink before daylight. During the night two of the pumps were unfortunately for some time rendered useless; one of them, however, was repaired, and we continued bailing and pumping the remainder of the night; and every effort that was thought of was made to keep afloat and preserve the ship.Daylight fortunately appeared, and gave us the opportunity of seeing our situation and the surrounding danger, and it was evident the ship had been carried to the northward by a tide or current.
“ The officers, whom I had consulted on the sub.. ject of our situation, gave it as their opinion that nothing more could be done for the preservation of the ship; it then became necessary to endeavour to provide and to find means for the preservation of the people. Our four boats, which consisted of one faunch, one eight-oared pinnace, and two six-oared yawls, with careful hands in them, were kept astern of the ship; a small quantity of bread, water, and other necessary articles were put into them; two canoes which we had on board were lashed to.. gether and put into the water; rafts were made, and all floating things upon deck were unlashed.
“ About half-past six in the morning of the 29th the hold was full, and the water was between decks,. and it also washed in at the upper deck ports, and there were strong indications that the ship was on. the very point of sinking, and we began to leapoverboard and take to the boats, and before everybody could get out of her she actually sunk. The boats continued astern of the ship in the direction of the drift of the tide from her, and took up the people that had hold of rafts and other floating things that had been cast loose, for the purpose of supporting them on the water. The double canot, that was able to support a considerable number of men, broke adrift with only one man, and was
bulged upon a reef, and afforded us no assistance when she was so much wanted on this trying and melancholy occasion. Two of the boats were laden with men, and sent to a small sandy island (or key) about four miles from the wreck; and I remained near the ship for some time with the other two boats, and picked up all the people that could be seen, and then followed the first two boats to the key; and having landed the men and cleared the boats, they were immediately despatched again to look about the wreck and the adjoining reef for any that might be missing, but they returned without having found a single person. On mustering the people that were saved, it appeared that eighty-nine of the ship's company, and ten of the mutineers that had been prisoners on board, answered to their names; but thirty-one of the ship's company and four mutineers were lost with the ship."
It is remarkable enough that so little notice ts taken of the mutineers in this narrative of the captain; and as the following statement is supposed to come from the late Lieutenant Corner, who was second lieutenant of the Pandora, it is entitled to be considered as authentic, and if so, Captain Edwards must have deserved the character ascribed to him of being altogether destitute of the common feelings of humanity.
* Three of the Bounty's pcople, Coleman, Nor. pan, and M‘Intosh, were now let out of irons, and sent to work at the pumps. The others offered their assistance, and begged to be allowed a chance of saving their lives; instead of which, two additional sentinels were placed over them, with orders to shoot any who should attempt to get rid of their Setters. Seeing no prospect of escape, they betook themselves to prayer, and prepared to meet their fate, every one expecting that the ship would soon go to pieces, her rudder and part of the stern-post being already beat away."
When the ship was actually sinking, and every effort making for the preservation of the crew, it is asserted that " no notice was taken of the prisoners, as is falsely stated by the author of the • Pandora's Voyage,' although Captain Edwards was entreated by Mr. Heywood to have mercy upon them, when he passed over their prison, to make his own escape, the ship then lying on her broadside with the lar. board bow completely under water. Fortunately, the master-at-arms, either by accident or design, when slipping from the roof of . Pandora's Box' into the sea, let the keys of the irons fall through the scuttle or entrance, which he had just before opened, and thus enabled them to commence their own liberation, in which they were generously assisted, at the imminent risk of his own life, bj, William Moulter, a boatswain's mate, who clung to the coamings, and pulled the long bars through the shackles, saying he would set them free, or go to the bottom with them.
“Scarcely was this effected when the ship went down, leaving nothing visible but the topmast crosstrees. The master-at-arms and all the sentinels sunk to rise no more. The cries of them and the other drowning men were awful in the extreme; and more than half an hour had elapsed before the survivors could be taken up by the boats. Among the former were Mr. Stewart, John Sumner, Richard Skinner, and Henry Hillbrant, the whole of whom perished with their hands still in manacles.
“On this melancholy occasion Mr. Heywood was the last person but three who escaped from the prison, into which the water had already found its way through the bulkhead scuttles. Jumping overboard, he seized a plank, and was swimming towards a small sandy quay (key) about three miles distant, when a boat picked him up, and conveyed him thither in a state of nudity. It is worthy of remark, that James Morrison endeavoured to follow his young
companion's example, and, although handcuffed, managed to keep afloat until a boat came to his assistance."
This account would appear almost incredible. It is true men are sometimes found to act the part of inhuman monsters, but then they are generally actuated by some motive or extraordinary excitement : here, however, there was neither; but, on the contrary, the condition of the poor prisoners appealed most forcibly to the mercy and humanity of their jailer. The surgeon of the ship states, in his account of her loss, that as soon as the spars, booms, hencoops, and other buoyant articles were cut loose, “ the prisoners were ordered to be let out of irons.” One would imagine, indeed, that the officers on this dreadful emergency would not be witness to such inhumanity without remonstrating effectually against keeping these unfortunate men confined a moment beyond the period when it became evident that the ship must sink. It will be seen, however, presently, from Mr. Heywood's own statement, that they were so kept, and that the brutal and unfeeling conduct which has been imputed to Captain Edwards is but too true.
It is an awful moment when a ship takes her last heel, just before going down. When the Pandora sunk, the surgeons say, “ the crew had just time to ieap overboard, accompanying it with a most dread. ful yell. The cries of the men drowning in the water were at first awful in the extreme; but as they sunk and became faint, they died away by degrees." How accurately has Byron described the whole progress of a shipwreck to the final catastrophe! He might have been a spectator of the Pandora at the woment of her foundering, when
Sho gavo a heel, and then a larch to port,
Then shriek'd tho timid and stead still the bruno.