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In reference to the subject of extraordinary pas. sages made in open boats on the wide ocean, and the note thereon at page 113, the following may be added as another instance, the most painfully interesting, and the most calamitous, perhaps, ever recorded. It was related to Mr. Bennet, a gentleman deputed by the Missionary Society of London, together with the Rev. Daniel Tyerman, to visit their several stations in the South Sea islands, by Captain George Pollard, the unfortunate sufferer, whom these gentlemen met with at Raiatea, then a passenger in an American vessel, having a second time lost his ship near the Sandwich Islands. The narrative is extracted from “The Journal of Voyages and Travels," just published, of the two gentlemen above-mentioned, and is as follows:
“My first shipwreck was in open sea, on the 20th of November, 1820, near the equator, about 1180 W. long. The vessel, a South Sea whaler, was called the Essex. On that day, as we were on the look out for sperm whales, and had actually struck two, which the boats' crews were following to secure, I perceived a very large one—it might be eighty or ninety feet long-rushing with great swiftness through the water, right towards the ship. We hoped that she would turn aside, and dive under, when she perceived such a balk in her way. But no! the animal came full force against our sternpost; had any quarter less firm been struck, the vessel must have been burst; as it was, every plank and timber trembled throughout her whole bulk.
“ The whale, as though hurt by a severe and unex. pected concussion, shook its enormous head, and sheered off to so considerable a distance that for
some time we had lost sight of her from the star hoard quarter: of which we were very glad, hoping that the worst was over. Nearly an hour afterward, we saw the same fish-we had no doubt of this, froin her size and the direction in which she camemaking again towards us. We were at once aware of our danger, but escape was impossible. She dashed her head this time against the ship's side, and so broke it in that the vessel filled rapidly, and soon became waterlogged. At the second shock, expecting her to go down, we lowered our three boats with the utmost expedition, and all hands, twenty in the whole, got into them-seven, and seven, and six. In a little while, as she did not sink, we ventured on board again, and, by scuttling the deck, were enabled to get out some huscuit, beef, water, rum, two sextants, a quadrant, and three compasses. These, together with some rigging, a few muskets, powder, &c. we brought away; and, dividing the stores among our three small crews, rigged the boats as well as we could ; there being a compass for each, and a sextant for two, and a quadrant for one, but neither sextant nor quadrant for the third.* Then, instead of pushing away for some port, so amazed and bewildered were we that we continued sitting in our places gazing upon the ship, as though she had been an object of the tenderest affection. Our eyes could not leave her, till, at the end of many hours, she gave a slight reel, then down she sank. No words can tell our feelings. We looked at each other-we looked at the place where she had so lately been afloat—and we did not cease to look till the terrible conviction of our abandoned and perilous situation roused us to exertion, if deliverance were yet possible.
“We now consulted about the course which it migh! be best to take-westward to India, eastward to South America, or south-westward to the Society Isles.
* If there were three instruments and three boats there must have been one for each, for the q!ladrant was just as good as a sextant.--ED.
We knew that we were at no great distance from Tahiti, but were so ignorant of the state and temper of the inhabitants, that we feared we should be devoured by cannibals, if we cast ourselves on their mercy. It was determined, therefore, to make for South America, which we computed to be more than two thousand miles distant. Accordingly we steered eastward, and though for several days harassed with squalls, we contrived to keep together. It was not long before we found that one of the boats had started a plank, which was no wonder, for whaleboats are all clinker-built, and very slight, being made of half-inch plank only, before planing. To remedy this alarming defect we all turned to, and having emptied the damaged boat into the two others, we raised her side as well as we could, and succeeded in restoring the plank at the bottom. Through this accident, some of our biscuit had become injured by the salt-water. . This was equally divided among the several boats' crews. Food and water, meanwhile, with our utmost economy, rapidly failed. Our strength was exhausted, not by abstinence only, but by the labours which we were obliged to employ to keep our little vessels afloat amid the storms which repeatedly assailed us. One night we were parted in rough weather; but though the next day we fell in with one of our companion-boats, we never saw or heard any more of the other, which probably perished at sea, being without either sextant or quadrant."
“When we were reduced to the last pinch, and out of every thing, having been more than three weeks abroad, we were cheered with the sight of a low, uninhabited island, which we reached in hope, but were bitterly disappointed. There were some bar. ren bushes and many rocks on this forlorn spot. The only provisions that we could procure were a few birds and their eggs; this supply was soon reduced; the sea-fowls appeared to have been fright. ened away, and their nests were left empty after we had once or twice plundered them. What distressed us most was the utter want of fresh water; we could not find a drop anywhere, till, at the extreme verge of ebb tide, a small spring was discovered in the sand;
* The mistake is here again repeated; it would be absurd to supporo
that olle boat had both quadrant and sextant
but even that was too scanty to afford us suffi. cient to quench our thirst before it was covered by the waves at their turn.
“ There being no prospect but that of starvation here, we determined to put to sea again. Three of our comrades, however, chose to remain, and we pledged ourselves to send a vessel to bring them off, if we ourselves should ever escape to a Christian port. With a very small morsel of biscuit for each, and a little water, we again ventured out on the wide
In the course of a few days our provisions were consumed. Two men died; we had no other alternative than to live upon their remains. These we roasted to dryness by means of fires kindled on the ballast-sand at the bottom of the boats.* When this supply was spent, what could we do? We looked at each other with horrid thoughts in our minds, but we held our tongues. I am sure that we loved one another as brothers all the time; and yet our looks told plainly what must be done. We cast lots, and the fatal one fell on my poor cabin-boy. I started forward instantly, and cried out, “My lad, my lad, if you don't like your lot, I'll shoot the first man that touches you.' The poor emaciated hoy hesitated moment or two; then, yuietly laying his head down upon the gunnel of the boat, he said, I like it as well as any other. He was soon despatched, and nothing of him left. I think, then,
another man died or himself, and him too we ate. But I can tell you no more-my head is on fire at the recollection; I hardly know what I say. I forgot to say that we
* It is not explained with what kind of fuel they performed this disressing operation.
had parted company with the second boat before
After some more days of horror and despair, when some were lying down at the bottom of the boat not able to rise, and scarcely one of us could move a limb, a vessel hove in sight. We were taken on board, and treated with extreme kindness. The second lost boat was also picked up at sea, and the survivors saved. A ship afterward sailed in search of our companions on the desolate island, and brought
Captain Pollard closed his dreary narrative with saying, in a tone of despondency never to be forgota ten by him who heard it, “ After a time I found my way to the United States, to which I belonged, and got another ship. That too I have lost by a second wreck off the Sandwich Islands, and now I am utterly ruined. No owner will ever trust me with a whaler again, for all will say I am an unlucky man."
The following account respecting the three men that were left on the uninhabited island, is given in a note of the same work, and said to be extracted from a religious tract, No. 579, issued by the society in Paternoster-row.
66 On the 26th December the boats left the island. this was indeed a trying moment to all: they separated with mutual prayers and good wishes, seventeen* venturing to sea with almost certain death before them, while three remained on a rocky isle, destitute of water, and affording hardly any thing to support life. The prospects of these three poor men were gloomy: they again tried to dig a well, but without
success, and all hope seemed at an end, when providentially they were relieved by a shower of rain. They were thus delivered from the imme diate apprehension of perishing by thirst. Their
* Here again is another mistake; the number must have boon eleven ut most, one of the boats having parted before the othors reachod the Inland.-ED