« VorigeDoorgaan »
sending in to obtain leave. These singular | remembrancers of each other. Having preregulations did not prepossess the ship's sented my new warrant to the captain of the company in his favour; but, on the contrary, Lizard, I inquired for the doctor, whom I no gave scandal an opportunity to be very busy sooner saw, than I recollected him to be one with his character, and accuse him of main- of those young fellows with whom I had been frolic with Jackson, as I have related before. taining a correspondence with the surgeon committed to the round-house, during our not fit to be named. In a few weeks, our ship being under He received me with a good deal of courtesy, sailing orders, I was in hopes of revisiting and when I put him in mind of our former my native country in a very short time, when acquaintance, expressed great joy at seeing the admiral's surgeon came on board, and me again, and recommended me to an exceedsending for Morgan and me to the quarter- ing good mess, composed of the gunner and deck, gave us to understand, there was a master's mate. As there was not one sick great scarcity of surgeons in the West Indies: person in the ship, I got leave to go ashore that he was commanded to detain one mate the next day with the gunner, who recomout of every great ship that was bound for mended me to a Jew that bought my ticket England: and desired us to agree between at the rate of forty per cent discount; and ourselves, before the next day at that hour, having furnished myself with what necessawhich of us should stay behind. We were ries I wanted, returned on board in the thunder-struck at this proposal, and stared evening, and, to my surprise, found my old at one another some time without speaking: antagonist Crampley walking upon deck. at length the Welshman broke silence, and Though I did not fear his enmity, I was offered to remain in the West Indies, pro- shocked at his appearance, and communicated vided the admiral would give him a surgeon's my sentiments on that subject to Mr Tomlins warrant immediately; but he was told there the surgeon, who told me that Crampley, by was no want of chief surgeons, and that he dint of some friends about the admiral, had must be contented with the station of mate, procured a commission, constituting him lieutill he should be further provided for in due tenant on board the Lizard; and advised me, course: whereupon Morgan flatly refused to now he was my superior officer, to behave quit the ship for which the commissioners of with some respect towards him, or else he the navy had appointed him; and the other would find a thousand opportunities of using told him as plainly, that if we could not me ill. This advice was a bitter potion to determine the affair by ourselves before to- me, whom pride and resentment had rendered morrow morning, he must cast lots, and abide utterly incapable of the least submission to, When I recalled to my or even a reconciliation with, the wretch by his chance. remembrance the miseries I had undergone who had on many occasions treated me so in England, where I had not one friend to inhumanly; however, I resolved to have as promote my interest, or favour my advance-little connection as possible with him, and to ment in the navy, and, at the same time, reflected on the present dearth of surgeons in the West Indies, and the unhealthiness of the climate, which every day almost reduced the number, I could not help thinking my success would be much more certain and expeditious, by my staying where I was, than by returning to Europe. I therefore resolved to comply with a good grace, and next day, when we were ordered to throw dice, told Morgan he needed not trouble himself, for I would voluntarily submit to the admiral's pleasure. This frank declaration was commended by the gentleman, who assured me, it should not fare the worse with me for my resignation. Indeed, he was as good as his word, and that very afternoon procured a warrant, appointing me a surgeon's mate of the Lizard sloop of war, which put me on a footing with every first mate in the
ingratiate myself as much as I could with the rest of the officers, whose friendship might be a bulwark to defend me from the attempts of his malice.
In less than a week we sailed on a cruise, and, having weathered the east end of the island, had the good fortune to take a Spanish barcolongo, with her prize, which was an English ship bound for Bristol, that sailed from Jamaica a fortnight before, without convoy. All the prisoners who were well we put on shore on the north side of the island; the prizes were manned with Englishmen, and the command of the barcolongo given to my friend the master's mate, with orders to carry them into Port Morant, and there to remain until the Lizard's cruise should be ended, at which time she would touch at the same place in her way to Port Royal. With niards as well as Englishmen, who amounted him I was sent to attend the wounded SpaMy ticket being made out, I put my chest to sixteen, and to take care of them on shore, and bedding on board a canoe that lay along-in a house that was to be hired as an hospital. side, and having shook hands with my trusty This destination gave me a great deal of friend the serjeant, and honest Jack Rattlin, pleasure, as I should for some time be freed who was bound for Greenwich hospital, I took my leave of Morgan with many tears, after we had exchanged our sleeve-buttons as
from the arrogance of Crampley, whose on two or three occasions since he was inveteracy against me had already broken out
become a lieutenant. My messmate, who | sion, which was extreme, he clasped me in very much resembled my uncle, both in figure his arms, and bedewed my face with tears. and disposition, treated me on board of the prize with the utmost civility and confidence; and, among other favours, made me a present of a silver-hilted hanger, and a pair of pistols mounted with the same metal, which fell to his share in plundering the enemy. We arrived safely at Morant, and, going on shore, pitched upon an empty storehouse, which we hired for the reception of the wounded, who were brought to it next day, with bed and other necessaries: and four of the ship's company appointed to attend them and obey me.
A strange adventure-in consequence of which I am extremely happy-Crampley does me ill offices with the captain; but his malice is defeated by the good nature and friendship of the surgeon—we return to Port Royal- —our captain gets the command of a larger ship, and is succeeded by an old man— -Brayl is provided forwe receive orders to sail for England.
WHEN my patients were all in a fair way, my companion and commander, whose name was Brayl, carried me up the country to the house of a rich planter, with whom he was acquainted, where we were sumptuously entertained, and, in the evening set out on our return to the ship. When we had walked about a mile by moonlight, we perceived a horseman behind us, who, coming up, wished us good even; and asked, which way we went? His voice, which was quite familiar to me, no sooner struck my ear, than, in spite of all my resolution and reflection, my hair bristled up, and I was seized with a violent fit of trembling, which Brayl misinterpreting, bade me be under no concern. I told him he was mistaken in the cause of my disorder; and, addressing myself to the person on horseback, said, "I could have sworn by your voice, that you were a dear friend of mine, if I had not been certain of his death." To this address, after some pause, he replied, "There are many voices as well as faces that resemble one another; but pray, what was your friend's name?" I satisfied him in that particular, and gave a short detail of the melancholy fate of Thomson, not without many sighs and some tears. A silence ensued, which lasted some minutes, and then the conversation turned on different subjects, till we arrived at a house on the road, where the horseman alighted, and begged with so much earnestness, that we would go in and drink a bowl of punch with him, that we could not resist. But if I was alarmed at his voice, what must my amazement be, when I discovered by the light the very person of my lamented friend! Perceiving my confu
It was some time ere I recovered the use of my reason, overpowered with this event, and longer still before I could speak; so that all I was capable of was to return his embraces, and to mingle the overflowings of my joy with his; whilst honest Brayl, affected with the scene, wept as fast as either of us, and signified his participation of our happiness, by hugging us both, and capering about the room like a madman. At length I retrieved the use of my tongue, and cried,—"Is it possible, can you be my friend Thomson? No, certainly alas! he was drowned! and I am now under the deception of a dream!" He was at great pains to convince me of his being the individual person whom I regretted, and, bidding me sit down and compose myself, promised to explain his sudden disappearance from the Thunder, and to account for his being at present in the land of the living. This task he acquitted himself of, after I had drank a glass of punch, and recollected my spirits, by informing us, that, with a determination to rid himself of a miserable existence, he had gone in the nighttime to the head, while the ship was on her way, from whence he slipped down as softly as he could by the bows into the sea, where, after he was heartily ducked, he began to repent of his precipitation, and, as he could swim very well, kept himself above water, in hopes of being taken up by some of the ships astern: that, in this situation, he hailed a large vessel, and begged to be taken in, but was answered that she was a heavy sailor, and therefore they did not choose to lose time by bringing to: however, they threw an old chest overboard for his convenience, and told him, that some of the ships astern would certainly save him: that no other vessel came within sight or cry of him for the space of three hours, during which time he had the mortification to find himself in the middle of the ocean alone, without other support or resting place but what a few crazy boards afforded; till at last he discerned a small sloop steering towards him, upon which he set up his throat, and had the good fortune to be heard and rescued from the dreary waste by their boat, which was hoisted out on purpose. "I was no sooner brought on board," continued he, “than I fainted; and when I recovered my senses, found myself in bed, regaled with a most noisome smell of onions and cheese, which made me think, at first, that I was in my own hammock, alongside of honest Morgan, and that all which had passed was no more than a dream.Upon inquiry I understood that I was on board of a schooner belonging to Rhode Island, bound for Jamaica, with a cargo of geese, pigs, onions and cheese; and that the master's name was Robertson, by birth a North-Briton, whom I knew at first sight to
be an old school-fellow of mine. When I discovered myself to him, he was transported with surprise and joy, and begged to know the occasion of my misfortune, which I did not think fit to disclose, because I knew his notions with regard to religion were very severe and confined; therefore contented myself with telling him, I fell overboard by accident; but made no scruple of explaining the nature of my disagreeable station, and of acquainting him with my determined purpose never to return to the Thunder man of war. Although he was not of my opinion in that particular, knowing that I must lose my clothes, and what pay was due to me, unless I went back to my duty; yet, when I described the circumstances of the hellish life I led, under the tyrannic sway of Oakum and Mackshane; and, among other grievances, hinted a dissatisfaction at the irreligious deportment of my shipmates, and the want of the true presbyterian gospel doctrine; he changed his sentiments, and conjured me, with great vehemence and zeal, to lay aside all thoughts of rising in the navy: and, that he might show how much he had my interest at heart, undertook to provide for me, in some shape or other, before he should leave Jamaica. This promise he performed to my heart's desire, by recommending me to a gentleman of fortune, with whom I have lived ever since, in quality of surgeon and overseer to his plantations. He and his lady are now at Kingston, so that I am, for the present, master of this house, to which, from my soul, I bid you welcome, and hope you will favour me with your company during the remaining part of the night.' I needed not a second invitation but Mr Brayl, who was a diligent and excellent officer, could not be persuaded to sleep out of the ship: however, he supped with us, and, after having drank a cheerful glass, set out for the vessel, which was not above three miles from the place, escorted by a couple of stout negroes, whom Mr Thomson ordered to conduct him. Never were two friends more happy in the conversation of each other than we, for the time it lasted; I related to him the particulars of our attempt upon Carthagena, of which he had heard but an imperfect account; and he gratified me with a narration of every little incident of his life since we parted. He assured me, it was with the utmost difficulty he could resist his inclination of coming down to Port Royal to see Morgan and me, of whom he had heard no tidings since the day of our separation but that he was restrained by the fear of being detained as a deserter. He told me, that, when he heard my voice in the dark, he was almost as much surprised as I was at seeing him afterwards! and, in the confidence of friendship, disclosed a passion he entertained for the only daughter of the gentleman with whom he lived, who, by his description, was a very amiable young lady,
and did not disdain his addresses; that he was very much favoured by her parents, and did not despair of obtaining their consent to the match, which would at once render him independent of the world. I congratulated him on his good fortune, which he protested should never make him forget his friends, and towards morning we betook ourselves to rest.
Next day he accompanied me to the ship, where Mr Brayl entertained him at dinner; and we having spent the afternoon together, he took his leave of us in the evening, after he had forced upon me ten pistoles, as a small token of his affection. In short, while we staid here, we saw one another every day, and generally ate at the same table, which was plentifully supplied by him with all kinds of poultry, butchers' meat, oranges, limes, lemons, pine apples, Madeira wine, and excellent rum; so that this small interval of ten days was by far the most agreeable period of my life.
At length the Lizard arrived; and my patients being all fit for duty, they and I were ordered on board of her, where I understood from Mr Tomlins, that there was a shyness between the lieutenant and him on my account; that rancorous villain having taken the opportunity of my absence to fill the captain's ears with a thousand scandalous stories to my prejudice; among other things, affirming, that I had been once transported for theft, and that, when I was in the Thunder man of war, I had been whipt for the same crime. The surgeon, on the other hand, having heard my whole story from my own mouth, defended me strenuously; and, in the course of that good-natured office, recounted all the instances of Crampley's malice against me while I remained on board of that ship: which declaration, while it satisfied the captain of my innocence, made the lieutenant as much my defender's enemy as mine. This infernal behaviour of Crampley, with regard to me, added such fuel to my former resentment, that, at certain times, I was quite beside myself with the desire of revenge, and was even tempted to pistol him on the quarter-deck, though an infamous death must inevitably have been my reward. But the surgeon, who was my confidant, argued against such a desperate action so effectually, that I stifled the flame which consumed me for the present, and resolved to wait for a more convenient opportunity. In the mean time, that Mr Tomlins might be the more convinced of the wrongs I suffered by this fellow's slander, I begged he would go and visit Mr Thomson, whose wonderful escape I had made him acquainted with, and inquire of him into the particulars of my conduct, while he was my fellow-mate. This request the surgeon complied with, more from curiosity to see a person whose fate had been so extraordinary, than to confirm his good opinion of me, which, he assured
geon, through the scandalous aspersions of Crampley-the captain dies-Crampley tyrannizes over the surgeon, who falls a victim to his cruelty-I am also ill used -the ship strikes the behaviour of Crampley and the seamen on that occa sion-I get on shore, challenge the captain to single combat-am treacherously knocked down, wounded, and robbed.
me, was already firmly established. therefore set out for the dwelling-place of my friend, with a letter of introduction from me; and, being received with all the civility and kindness I expected, returned to the ship, not only satisfied with my character beyond the power of doubt or insinuation, but also charmed with the affability and conversation of Thomson, who loaded him and me with presents of fresh stock, liquors, and fruit. As he would not venture to come Now that I could return to my native counand see us on board, lest Crampley should try in a creditable way, I felt excessive pleaknow and detain him, when the time of our sure in finding myself out of sight of that departure approached, I obtained leave to fatal island, which has been the grave of so go and bid him farewell. After we had many Europeans; and as I was accommodavowed an everlasting friendship, he pressed ted with every thing to render the passage upon me a purse with four doubloons, which agreeable, I resolved to enjoy myself as much I refused as long as I could without giving as the insolence of Crampley would permit. umbrage; and, having cordially embraced This insidious slanderer had found means each other, I returned on board, where I already to cause a misunderstanding between found a small box, with a letter directed to the surgeon and captain, who, by his age and me, to the care of Mr Tomlins. Knowing infirmities, was rendered intolerably peevthe superscription to be of Thomson's hand-ish, his disposition having also been soured writing, I opened it with some surprise, and learned that this generous friend, not contented with loading me with the presents already mentioned, had sent, for my use and acceptance, half a dozen fine shirts, and as many linen waistcoats and caps, with twelve pair of new thread stockings. Being thus provided with money, and all necessaries for the comfort of life, I began to look upon myself as a gentleman of some consequence, and felt my pride dilate apace.
by a long course of disappointments. He had a particular aversion to all young men, especially to surgeons, whom he considered as unnecessary animals on board of a ship: and, in consequence of these sentiments, never consulted the doctor, notwithstanding his being seized with a violent fit of the gout and gravel; but applied to a cask of Holland gin, which was his sovereign prescription against all distempers. Whether he was at this time too sparing, or took an overdose of his cordial, certain it is, he departed in the night, without any ceremony, which indeed was a thing he always despised, and was found stiff next morning, to the no small satisfaction of Crampley, who succeeded to the command of the vessel. For that very reason, Mr Tomlins and I had no cause to rejoice at this event, fearing that the tyranny of our new commander would now be as unlimited as his power. The first day of his command justified our apprehension; for, on pretence that the decks were too much crowded, he ordered the surgeon's hen-coops, with all his fowls, to be thrown overboard; and at the same time prohibited him and me from appearing on the quarter-deck. Mr Tomlins could not help complaining of these injuries, and, in the course of his expostulation, dropped some hasty words, of which Crampley taking hold, confined him to his cabin, where, in a few days, for want of air, he was attacked by a fever, which soon put an end to his life, after he had made his will, by which he bequeathed all his estate, personal and real, to his sister, and left to me his watch and instruments as memorials of his friendship. I was penetrated with grief on this melancholy occasion; the more because there was nobody on board to whom I could communicate my sorrows, or of whom We depart for Europe-a misunderstand- I could receive the least consolation or ading arises between the captain and sur-vice. Crampley was so far from discovering
Next day we sailed for Port Royal, where we arrived safely with our prizes and as there was nothing to do on board, I went ashore, and, having purchased a laced waistcoat, with some other clothes, at a sale, made a swaggering figure for some days among the taverns, where I ventured to play a little at hazard, and came off with fifty pistoles in my pocket. Meanwhile, our captain was promoted to a ship of twenty guns, and the command of the Lizard given to a man turned of fourscore, who had been lieutenant since the reign of King William, and, notwithstanding his long service, would have probably died in that station, had he not applied some prize-money he had lately received, to make interest with his superiors. My friend Brayl was also made an officer about the same time, after he had served in quality of a midshipman and mate five-andtwenty years. Soon after these alterations, the admiral pitched upon our ship to carry home dispatches for the ministry; and we set sail for England, having first scrubbed her bottom, and taken in provision and water for the occasion.
Nothing but a speedy deliverance could have supported me under the brutal sway of this bashaw, who, to render my life the more irksome, signified to my messmates a desire that I should be expelled from their society. This was no sooner hinted, than they granted his request; and I was fain to eat, in a solitary manner, by myself, during the rest of the passage, which, however, soon drew to a period.
the least remorse for his barbarity, at the likelihood, he should be in eternity in a few news of the surgeon's death, that he insult- minutes. "All's one for that," said the ed his memory in the most abusive manner, plunderer, "let us live while we can." and affirmed he had poisoned himself out of "Miserable wretch that thou art," cried the pure fear, dreading to be brought to a court-purser, "what must be thy lot in the other martial for mutiny; for which reason he world, if thou diest in the commission of would not suffer the service of the dead to robbery ?" 66 Why, hell, I suppose," replied be read over his body before it was thrown the other, with great deliberation, while the overboard. purser fell on his knees, and begged of heaven, that we might not all perish for the sake of one Jonas. During this dialogue, I clothed myself in my best apparel, girded on my hanger, stuck my pistols loaded in my belt, disposed of all my valuable movables about my person, and came upon deck with a resolution of taking the first opportunity to get on shore, which, when the day broke, appeared at the distance of three miles ahead. Crampley, finding his efforts to get the ship off ineffectual, determined to consult his own safety, by going into the boat, which he had no sooner done, than the ship's company followed so fast, that she would have sunk alongside, had not some one wiser than the rest cut the rope and put off. But before this happened, I had made several attempts to get in, and was always baulked by the captain, who was so eager in excluding me, that he did not mind the endeavours of any other body. Enraged at this inhuman partiality, and seeing the rope cut, I pulled one of my pistols from my belt, and cocking it, swore I would shoot any man who should presume to obstruct my entrance. So saying, I leaped with my full exertion, and got on board of the boat with the loss of the skin of my shins. I chanced in my descent to overturn Crampley, who no sooner got up than he struck at me several times with a cutlass, and ordered the men to throw me overboard; but they were too anxious about their own safety to mind what he said. Though the boat was very deeply loaded, and the sea terribly high, we made shift to get upon dry land in less than an hour after we parted from the sloop. As soon as I set foot on terra firma, my indignation, which had boiled so long within me, broke out against Crampley, whom I immediately challenged to single combat, presenting my pistols, that he might take his choice; he took one without hesitation, and, before I could cock the other, fired in my face, throwing the pistol after the shot. I felt myself stunned, and imagining the bullet had entered my brain, discharged mine as quick as possible, that I might not die unrevenged: then flying upon my antagonist, knocked out several of his fore teeth with the butt-end of the piece, and would certainly have made an end of him with that instrument, had he not disengaged himself, and seized his cutlass, which he had given to his servant when he received the pistol. Seeing him armed in this manner, I drew my hanger, and having flung my pistol at his head, closed with
We had been seven weeks at sea, when the gunner told the captain, that, by his reckoning, we must be in soundings, and desired he would order the lead to be heaved. Crampley swore he did not know how to keep the ship's way, for we were not within a hundred leagues of soundings, and therefore he would not give himself the trouble to cast the lead. Accordingly, we continued our course all that afternoon and night, without shortening sail, although the gunner pretended to discover Scilly light, and next morning protested in form against the captain's conduct, for which he was put in confinement. We discovered no land all that day, and Crampley was still so infatuated as to neglect sounding; but at three o'clock in the morning, the ship struck, and remained fast on a sand-bank. This accident alarmed the whole crew; the boat was immediately hoisted out; but, as we could not discern which way the shore lay, we were obliged to wait for day-light. In the mean time, the wind increased, and the waves beat against the sloop with such violence, that we expect ed she would have gone to pieces. The gunner was released, and consulted: he advised the captain to cut away the mast, in order to lighten her; this expedient was performed without success: the sailors seeing things in a desperate situation, according to custom, broke up the chests belonging to the officers, dressed themselves in their clothes, drank their liquors without ceremony, and drunkenness, tumult, and confusion ensued. In the midst of this uproar, I went below to secure my own effects; and found the carpenter's mate hewing down the purser's cabin with his hatchet, whistling all the while with great composure. When I asked his intention in doing so, he replied very calmly, -"I only want to taste the purser's rum, that's all, master." At that instant the purser coming down, and seeing his effects going to wreck, complained bitterly of the injustice done to him, and asked the fellow what occasion he had for liquor, when, in all