ai liberty, and prevail upon Morgan 10 | rascally knave! and by the soul of my grandaccept of his freedom on the same terms— sire! I will impeach, and accuse, and indict Mackshane's malice-We arrive at Ja him of a roppery, if I did but know who he maica, from whence in a short time we is.” Had this misfortune happened at sea, beat up to Hispaniola, in conjunction with where we could not repair the loss, in all the West India squadron- We take in probability this descendant of Caractacus water, sail again, and arrive at Carthage- would have lost his wits entirely; but, when naReflections on our conduct there. I observed how easy it would be to remedy

this paltry mischance, he became more calm, MEANWHILE, a quarrel happened between and reconciled himself to the occasion. A the two modern Greeks; the one, to be re- little while after this transport, the surgeon venged on the other, came and discovered came into the berth, under pretence of taking to us the mystery of Mackshane's dialogue, something out of the medicine chest, and, as I have explained it above. This detection with a smiling aspect, wished us joy of our coming to the ears of the doctor, who was deliverance, which he said he had been at sensible, that (now we were in sight of Ja- great pains to obtain of the captain, who maica) we should have an opportunity of was very justly incensed at our behaviour; clearing ourselves before a court-martial, but he (the doctor) had passed his word for and, at the same time, of making his malice our future conduct, and he hoped we should and ignorance conspicuous, he interceded for give him no cause to repent of his kindness. us with the captain so effectually, that, in a He expected, no doubt, an acknowledgement few hours, we were set at liberty, and order- from us, for this pretended piece of service, ed to return to our duty. This was a happy as well as a general amnesty of what was event for me, my whole body being blistered past; but he had to do with people who were by the sun, and my limbs benumbed by want not quite so apt to forgive injuries as he of motion : but I could scarce persuade the imagined, or to forget, that, if our deliverWelshman to accept of this indulgence, he ance was owing to his mediation, our persisting in his obstinacy to remain in irons calamity was occasioned by his malice. I until he should be discharged by a court- therefore sat silent, while my companion martial, which he believed would also do answered,—“Ay, ay, 'tis no matter. Got him justice on his enemies : at length I re- knows the heart—there is a time for all presented to him the precarious issue of a things, as the wise man saith, there is a time irial, the power and interest of his adversa- for throwing away stones, and a time to ries, and Aattered his revenge with the hope gather them up again.” He seemed to be of wreaking his resentment with his own disconcerted at this reply, and went away in hands upon Mackshane, after our return to a pet, muttering something about “ingratiEngland. This last argument had more tude” and “ fellows,” of which we did not weight with him than all the rest, and pre- think fit to take any notice. vailed upon him to repair with me to the cock- Our fleet having joined another that waited pit, which I no sooner entered than the idea for us, lay at anchor about a month in the of my departed friend presented itself to my harbour of Port Royal in Jamaica, during remembrance, and filled my eyes with tears. which time something of consequence was We discharged from our mess the boy who certainly transacted, notwithstanding the inhad acted so perfidiously, nothwithstanding sinuations of some who affirmed we had no his tears, entreaties, and professions of peni- business at all in that place; that, in order to tence for what he had done ; but not before take the advantage of the season proper for he had confessed that the surgeon had bribed our enterprise, the West-India squadron, him to give evidence against us with a pair of which had previous notice of our coming, stockings, and a couple of old check shirts, of ought to have joined us at the west end of which his servant had since plundered him. Hispaniola, with necessary stores and re

The keys of our chests and lockers being freshments, from whence we could have sent to us by the doctor, we detained the sailed directly for Carthagena, before the messenger until we had examined the con- enemy could put themselves in a good postents; and my fellow-mate finding all his ture of defence, or indeed have an inkling of Cheshire cheese consumed to a crust, his our design. Be this as it will, we sailed brandy exhausted, and his onions gone, was from Jamaica, and in ten days or a fortnight, seized with a fit of choler, which he dis- beat up against the wind as far as the isle of charged on Mackshane’s man in oaths and Vache, with an intention, as was said, to execrations, threatening to prosecute him as attack the French fleet, then supposed to be a thief. The fellow swore, in his turn, that lying near that place : but before we arrived, he never had the keys in his possession till they had sailed for Europe, having first disthat time, when he received them from his patched an advice-boat to Carthagena with master, with orders to deliver them to us. an account of our being in those seas, as “As Got is my judge,” cried Morgan, “and also of our strength and destination. We my salfation, and my witness, whosoever has loitered here some days longer, taking in piifered my provisions is a lousy, peggarly, I wood and brackish water, in the use whereof, however, our admiral seemed to consult the erecting a fascine battery to cannonade the health of the men, by restricting each to a principal fort of the enemy; and in something quart a-day. At length we set sail, and ar- more than three weeks it was ready to open. rived in a bay to the windward of Cartha. That we might do the Spaniards as much gena, where we came to an anchor, and lay honour as possible, it was determined, in a at our ease ten days longer. Here again council of war, that five of our largest ships certain malicious people took occasion to should attack the fort on one side, while the blame the conduct of their superiors, by battery, strengthened by two mortars and saying, that in so doing, they not only un- twenty-four cohorns, should ply it on the profitably wasted time, which was very pre- other. cious, considering the approach of the rainy . Accordingly, the signal for our ship to enseason, but also allowed the Spaniards to gage, among others, was hoisted, we being recollect themselves from the terror occa- advertised the night before to make every sioned by the approach of an English fleet, thing clear for that purpose ; and in so doing, at least three times as numerous as ever a difference happened between Captain appeared in that part of the world before. Oakum and his well-beloved cousin and But, if I might be allowed to give my opinion counsellor Mackshane, which had well nigh of the matter, I would ascribe this delay to terminated in open rupture. The doctor, the generosity of our chiefs, who scorned to who had imagined there was no more danger take any advantage that fortune might give of being hurt by the enemy's shot in the them, even over an enemy. At last, how- cockpit than in the centre of the earth, was ever, we weighed, and anchored again some- lately informed that a surgeon's mate had what nearer the harbour's mouth, where been killed in that part of the ship by a can. we made shift to land our marines, who non-ball from two small redoubts that were encamped on the beach in despite of the destroyed before the disembarkation of our enemy's shot, which knocked a good many soldiers, and therefore insisted upon having of them on the head. This piece of con- a platform raised for the convenience of the duct, in choosing a camp under the walls of sick and wounded in the after-hold, where an enemy's fortification, which I believe he deemed himself more secure than on the never happened before, was practised, I pre- deck above. The captain, offended at this sume, with a view of accustoming the soldiers extraordinary proposal, accused him of pusil. to stand fire, who were not as yet much used lanimity, and told him there was no room in to discipline, most of them having been the hold for such an occasion; or if there taken from the plough-tail a few months be. was, he could not expect to be indulged fore. This expedient, again, has furnished more than the rest of the surgeons of the matter for censure against the ministry, for navy, who used the cockpit for that purpose. sending a few raw recruits on such an im- Fear rendering Mackshane obstinate, he portant enterprise, while so many veteran persisted in his demand, and showed his inregiments lay inactive at home: but surely structions, by which it was authorised. The our governors had their reasons for so doing, captain swore these instructions were dicwhich possibly may be disclosed with other tated by a parcel of lazy poltroons who were secrets of the deep. Perhaps they were loth never at sea; nevertheless, he was obliged to risk their best troops on such desperate ser- to comply, and sent for the carpenter to give vice; or the colonels and field officers of the him orders about it; but, before any such old corps, who, generally speaking, enjoyed measure could be taken, our signal was their commissions as sinecures or pensions thrown out, and the doctor compelled to for some domestic services tendered to the trust his carcass in the cockpit, where Morcourt, refused to embark in such a dangerous gan and I were busy in putting our instru. and precarious undertaking: for which re- ments' and dressings in order. fusal, no doubt, they are much to be com- Our ship, with others destined for this mended.

service, immediately weighed, and, in less than half an hour, came to an anchor before

the castle of Boca Chica, with a spring upon CHAPTER XXXII.

our cable; and the cannonading (which in.

deed was terrible !) began. The surgeon, Our land forces being disembarked, erect a after having crossed himself

, fell flat on the fascine battery-Our ship is ordered, deck; and the chaplain and purser, who were with four more, to batter the fort of stationed with us in quality of assistants, Boca ChicaMackshane's cowardice, followed his example, while the Welshman the chaplain's frenzy-honest Rattlin and I sat upon a chest looking at one another loses one hand-his heroism, and reflec- with great discomposure, scarce able to retions on the battle-Crampley's behaviour frain from the like prostration. And that to me during the heat of the fight. the reader may know it was not a common

occasion that alarmed us thus, I must inform Our forces being landed and stationed him of the particulars of this dreadful din as I have already mentioned, set about that astonished us. The fire of the Span

iards proceeded from eighty-four great guns, had to deal with one corner of Boca Chica beside a mortar and sınall arms in Boca only, we had opened the harbour, and exChica, thirty-six in Fort St Joseph, twenty in posed ourselves to the whole fire of the two fascine batteries, and four men of war, enemy from their shipping and Fort St Jomounting sixty-four guns each. This was seph, as well as from the castle we intended answered by our land battery, mounted with to cannonade; that, besides, we lay at too twenty-one cannon, two mortars, and twenty- great a distance to damage the walls, and four cohorns, and five great ships of eighty three parts in four of our shot did not take or seventy guns, that fired without intermiss- place; for there was scarce any body on ion. We had not been many minutes en- board who understood the pointing of a gun. gaged, when one of the sailors brought Ah! God help us !" continued he, “ if your another on his back to the cockpit, where kinsman, Lieutenant Bowling, had been he tossed him down like a bag of oats, and here, we should have had other guess-work.” pulling out his pouch, put a large chew of By this time our patients had increased to tobacco in his mouth without speaking a such a number, that we did not know which word. Morgan immediately examined the to begin with ; and the first mate plainly condition of the wounded 'man, and cried told the surgeon, that if he did not get up out,—“ As I shall answer now, the man is immediately, and perform his duty, he would as tead as my great grandfather." Dead!” complain of his behaviour to the admiral, said his comrade," he may be dead now, for and make application for his warrant. This aught I know, but I'll be damn'd if he was remonstrance effectually roused Mackshane, not alive when I took him up." So saying, who was never deaf to an argument in which he was about to return to his quarters, when he thought his interest was concerned; he I bade him carry the body along with him, therefore rose up, and, in order to strengthen and throw it overboard. "D-n the body!” his resolution, had recourse more than once said he, “I think 'tis fair enough if I take to a case-bottle of rum, which he freely comcare of my own.” My fellow-mate snatch- municated to the chaplain and purser, who ing up the amputation knife, pursued him had as much need of such extraordinary inhalf-way up the cockpit ladder, crying, - spiration as himself. Being thus supported,

You lousy rascal, is this the church-yard, he went to work, and arms and legs were or the charnel-house, or the sepulchre, or hewed down without mercy. The fumes of the Golgotha of the ship?" but was stopped the liquor mounting into the parson's brain, in bis career by one calling,—“Yo ho, avast conspired, with his former agitation of spirits, there-scaldings.” “Scaldings !"answered to make him quite delirious : he stripped Morgan, “Got knows, 'tis hot enough in himself to the skin, and, besınearing his deed; who are you?” Here's one,” replied body with blood, could scarce be withheld the voice; and I immediately knew it to be from running upon deck in that condition. that of iny honest friend Jack Rattlin, who, Jack Rattlin, scandalized at this deportment, coming towards me, told me, with great endeavoured to allay his transports with deliberation, he was come to be docked at reason; but finding all he said ineffectual, last, and discovered the remains of one and great confusion occasioned by his frolics, hand which had been shattered to pieces he knocked him down with his right hand, with a grape-shot. I lamented with un- and by threats kept him quiet in that state feigned sorrow bis misfortune, which he of humiliation. But it was not in the power bore with heroic courage, observing, that of rum to elevate the purser, who sat on the every shot had its commission; it was well floor wringing his hands, and cursing the it did not take him in the head, or, if it had, hour in which he left his peaceable professwhat then? he should have died bravely, ion of a brewer in Rochester, to engage in fighting for his king and country. Death such a life of terror and disquiet. While was a debt which every man owed, and we diverted ourselves at the expense of this must pay; and that now was as well as poor devil, a shot happened to take us be. another time. I was much pleased and edi- tween wind and water, and its course being fied with the maxims of this sea-philosopher, through the purser's store-room) made a who endured the amputation of his left hand terrible havock and noise' among the jars without shrinking; the operation being per- and bottles in its way, and disconcerted formed, at his request, by me, after Mack. Mackshane so much, that he dropt his shane, who was with difficulty prevailed to scalpel, and, falling down on his knees, prolift his head from the deck, had declared nounced his paternoster aloud; the purser there' was a necessity for his losing the fell backward, and lay without sense or mo. limb. While I was employed in dressing tion; and the chaplain grew go outrageous, the stump, I asked Jack's opinion of the that Rattlin with one hand could not keep battle, who, shaking his head, frankly told him under; so that we were obliged to con. me, he believed we should do no good; “for fine him in the surgeon's cabin, where he why, because instead of dropping anchor was no doubt guilty of a thousand extravaclose under shore, where we should have gancies. Much about this time, my old antagonist Crampley came down, with ex- | Having cannonaded the fort during the space press orders, as he said, to bring me up to of four hours, we were all ordered to slip our the quarter-deck, to dress a slight wound cables and sheer off; but next day the enthe captain had received by a splinter; his gagement was renewed, and continued from reason for honouring me in particular with the morning till the afternoon, when the this piece of service being, that, in case I enemy's fire from Boca Chica slackened, and should be killed or disabled by the way, my towards evening was quite silenced. A death or mutilation would be of less conse- breach being made on the other side by our quence to the ship's company than that of land battery, large enough to admit a middle. the doctor or his first mate. At another sized baboon, provided he could find means to time, perhaps, I might have disputed his climb up to it, our general proposed to give order, to which I was not bound to pay the the assault that very night, and actually orleast regard ; but as I thought my reputation dered a detachment on that duty. Providence depended upon my compliance, I was re- stood our friend upon this occasion, and put solved to convince my rival that I was no it into the hearts of the Spaniards to abandon more afraid than he of exposing myself to the fort, which might have been maintained danger. With this view I provided myself by resolute men till the day of judgment, with dressings, and followed him immediately against all the force we could exert in the atto the quarter-deck, through a most infernal tack; and while our soldiers took possession scene of slaughter, fire, smoke, and uproar! of the enemy's ramparts without resistance, Captain Oakum, who leaned against the the same good luck attended a body of sailors, mizen-mast, no sooner saw me approach in who made themselves masters of fort St my shirt, with the sleeves tucked up to my Joseph, the fascine batteries, and one Spanarm-pits, and my hands dyed with blood, ish man of war; the other three being burnt than he signified his displeasure by a frown, or sunk by the foe, that they might not fall and asked why the doctor himself did not into our hands. The taking of these forts, come! I told him Crampley had singled me in the strength of which the Spaniards chiefly out, as if by express command ; at which confided, made us masters of the outward reply he seemed surprized, and threatened harbour, and occasioned great joy among us, to punish the midshipman for his presump- as we laid our accounts with finding little or tion after the engagement: in the mean no opposition from the town; and indeed, if time I was sent back to my station, and a few great ships had sailed up immediately, ordered to tell Mackshane that the captain before they had recovered from the confusion expected him immediately. I got safe back, and despair that our unexpected success had and delivered my commission to the doctor, produced among them, it is not impossible who flatly refused to quit the post assigned that we inight have finished the affair to our to him by his instructions; whereupon Mor- satisfaction without any more bloodshed; gan, who, I believe, was jealous of my repu- but this step our heroes disdained, as a bar. tation for courage, undertook the affair, and barous insult over the enemy's distress, and ascended with great intrepidity. The cap- gave them all the respite they could desire, tain finding the surgeon obstinate, suffered in order to recollect themselves. In the himself to be dressed, and swore he would mean time Mackshane, taking the advantage confine Mackshane as soon as the service of this general exultation, waited on our capshould be over.

tain, and pleaded his own cause so effectually, that he was re-established in his good graces;

and as for Crampley, there was no more CHAPTER XXIII.

notice taken of his behaviour towards

me during the action. But of all the conA breach being made in the walls, our sol- sequences of the victory, none was more

diers give the assault, and take the place grateful than plenty of fresh water, after we without oppositionour sailors at the had languished five weeks on the allowance same time become masters of all the other of a purser's quart per diem for each man, strengths near Boca Chica, and take pos- in the torrid zone, where the sun was verti. session of the harbourthe good conse- cal, and the expense of bodily fluid so great, quence of this success-we move nearer that a gallon of liquor could scarce supply the townfind two forts deserted, and the the waste of twenty-four hours; especially channel blocked up with sunk vessels, as our provision consisted of putrid salt beef, which, however, we find means to clear-to which the sailors gave the name of Irish land our soldiers at La Quinta-repulse horse; salt pork of New England, which, a body of militia-attack the castle of St though neither fish nor flesh, savoured of Lazar, and are forced to retreat with both ; bread from the same country, every great loss the remains of our army are biscuit whereof, like a piece of clock-work, re-embarked-an effort of the admiral to moved by its own internal impulse, occatake the townthe economy of our expe- sioned by the myriads of insects that dwelt dition described.

within it'; and butter served out by the gill,


that tasted like train-oil thickened with salt. I complaisance in the Spaniards, was wise Instead of small beer, each man was allowed enough to retreat on board with the remains three half quarterns of brandy or rum, which of his army, which, from eight thousand able were distributed every morning, diluted with men landed on the beach near Boca Chica, a certain quantity of the water, without was now reduced to fifteen hundred fit for either sugar or fruit to render it palatable ; for service. The sick and wounded which reason this composition was, by the squeezed into certain vessels, which thence sailors, not unaptly, styled necessity. Nor obtained the name of hospital ships, though was this limitation of simple element owing methinks they scarce deserved such a creditto a scarcity of it on board, for there was at able title, seeing few of them could boast of this time water enough in the ship for a voy- their surgeon, nurse, or cook; and the space age of six months, at the rate of half a gal- between decks was so confined, that the mis. lon per day to each man; but this fast must, erable patients had not room to sit upright in I suppose, have been enjoined by way of pen their beds. Their wounds and stumps being ance on the ship's company for their sins; or neglected, contracted filth and putrefaction, rather with a view to mortify them into a and millions of maggots were hatched amidst contempt of life, that they might thereby the corruption of their sores. This inhuman become more resolute and regardless of dan- disregard was imputed to the scarcity of surger. How simply, then, do those people geons, though it is well known that every argue, who ascribe the great mortality among great ship in the fleet could have spared one us to our bad provision and want of water; at least for this duty; an expedient which and affirm, that a great many valuable lives would have been more than sufficient to might have been saved, if the useless trans- remove this shocking inconvenience. But · ports had been employed in fetching fresh perhaps the general was too much of a genstock, turtle, fruit, and other refreshments tleman to ask a favour of this kind from his from Jamaica, and other adjacent islands, for fellow-chief, who, on the other hand, would the use of the army and fleet; seeing, it is to not derogate so much from his own dignity be hoped, that those who died went to a bet- as to offer such assistance unasked; for I ter place, and those who survived were the may venture to affirm, that by this time the more easily maintained. After all, a suffi- demon of discord, with her sooty wings, had. cient number remained to fall before the walls breathed her influence upon our counsels; of St Lazar, where they behaved like their and it might be said of these great men (I own country mastiffs, which shut their eyes, hope they will pardon the comparison), as of run into the jaws of a bear, and have their Cæsar and Pompey, the one could not brook heads crushed for their valour.

a superior, and the other was impatient of But to return to my narration :-After an equal; so that, between the pride of one having put garrisons into the forts we had and insolence of another, the enterprise mis. taken, and re-embarked our soldiers and ar-carried, according to the proverb,_ between tillery, a piece of service that detained us two stools the backside falls to the ground.'' more than a week, we ventured up to the Not that I would be thought to liken any mouth of the inner harbour, guarded by a public concern to that opprobrious part of the large fortification on one side, and a small human body, though I might with truth as

I redoubt on the other, both of which were de. sert, if I durst use such a vulgar idiom, that serted before our approach, and the entrance the nation did hang an a-se at its disapof the harbour blocked up by several old gal- pointment on this occasion; neither would leons, and two men of war that the enemy I presume to compare the capacity of our had sunk in the channel. We made shift, heroic leaders to any such wooden convehowever, to open a passage for some ships, nience as a joint-stool, or a close-stool ; but that favoured a second landing of our troops, only to signify by this simile, the mistake the at a place called La Quinta, not far from the people committed in trusting to the union of town, where, after a faint resistance from a two instruments that were never joined. body of Spaniards, who opposed their disem. A day or two after the attempt on St Labarkation, they encamped, with a design of zar, the admiral ordered one of the Spanish besieging the castle of St Lazar, which over- men of war we had taken to be mounted with looked and commanded the city. Whether sixteen guns, and manned with detachments our renowned general had nobody in his army from our great ships in order to batter the who knew how to approach it in form, or that town. Accordingly she was towed into the he trusted entirely to the fame of his arms, I inner harbour in the night, and moored withshall not determine, but certain it is, a reso- in half a mile of the walls, against which she lution was taken in a council of war to attack began to fire at day-break, and continued the place with musketry only. This was put about six hours exposed to the opposition of in execution, and succeeded accordingly; at least thirty pieces of cannon, which at the enemy giving them such a hearty recep-length obliged our men to set her on fire, and tion, that the greatest part of the detachment get off as well as they could in their boats. took up their everlasting residence on the This piece of conduct afforded matter of spe. spot. Our chief, not relishing this kind of culation to all the wits either in the army or

[ocr errors]


« VorigeDoorgaan »