Account Of The Loss Of His Majesty's Ship Phoenix

The Phoenix of 44 guns, Capt. Sir Hyde Parker was lost in a hurricane,

off Cuba, in the West Indies, in the year 1780. The same hurricane

destroyed the Thunderer, 74; Stirling Castle, 64; La Blanche, 42;

Laurel, 28; Andromeda, 28; Deas Castle, 24; Scarborough, 20; Beaver's

Prize, 16; Barbadoes, 14; Cameleon, 14; Endeavour, 14; and Victor, 10

guns. Lieut. Archer was first-lieutenant of the Phoenix at the time

she was lost. His narrative in a letter to his mother, contains a most

correct and animated account of one of the most awful events in the

service. It is so simple and natural as to make the reader feel

himself as on board the Phoenix. Every circumstance is detailed with

feeling, and powerful appeals are continually made to the heart. It

must likewise afford considerable pleasure to observe the devout

spirit of a seaman frequently bursting forth, and imparting sublimity

to the relation.

At Sea, June 30, 1781.


I am now going to give you an account of our last cruise in the

Phoenix; and must premise, that should any one see it besides

yourself, they must put this construction on it--that it was

originally intended for the eyes of a mother, and a mother only--as,

upon that supposition, my feelings may be tolerated. You will also

meet with a number of sea-terms, which, if you don't understand, why,

I cannot help you, as I am unable to give a sea description in any

other words.

To begin then:--On the 2d of August, 1780, we weighed and sailed for

Port Royal, bound for Pensacola, having two store-ships under convoy,

and to see safe in; then cruise off the Havana, and in the gulf of

Mexico, for six weeks. In a few days we made the two sandy islands,

that look as if they had just risen out of the sea, or fallen from the

sky; inhabited, nevertheless, by upwards of three hundred English, who

get their bread by catching turtle and parrots, and raising

vegetables, which they exchange with ships that pass, for clothing and

a few of the luxuries of life, as rum, &c.

About the 12th we arrived at Pensacola, without any thing remarkable

happening except our catching a vast quantity of fish, sharks,

dolphins, and bonettos. On the 13th sailed singly, and on the 14th had

a very heavy gale of wind at north, right off the land, so that we

soon left the sweet place, Pensacola, at a distance astern. We then

looked into the Havana, saw a number of ships there, and knowing that

some of them were bound round the bay, we cruised in the track: a

fortnight, however, passed, and not a single ship hove in sight to

cheer our spirits. We then took a turn or two round the gulf, but not

near enough to be seen from the shore. Vera Cruz we expected would

have made us happy, but the same luck still continued; day followed

day, and no sail. The dollar bag began to grow a little bulky, for

every one had lost two or three times, and no one had won: this was a

small gambling party entered into by Sir Hyde and ourselves; every one

put a dollar into a bag, and fixed on a day when we should see a

sail, but no two persons were to name the same day, and whoever

guessed right first was to have the bag.

Being now tired of our situation, and glad the cruise was almost out,

for we found the navigation very dangerous, owing to unaccountable

currents; we shaped our course for Cape Antonio. The next day the man

at the mast head, at about one o'clock in the afternoon, called out:

"A sail upon the weather bow! Ha! Ha! Mr. Spaniard, I think we have

you at last. Turn out all hands! make sail! All hands give chase!"

There was scarcely any occasion for this order, for the sound of a

sail being in sight flew like wild fire through the ship and every

sail was set in an instant almost before the orders were given. A

lieutenant at the mast head, with a spy glass, "What is she?" "A large

ship studding athwart right before the wind. P-o-r-t! Keep her away!

set the studding sails ready!" Up comes the little doctor, rubbing his

hands; "Ha! ha! I have won the bag." "The devil take you and the bag;

look, what 's ahead will fill all our bags." Mast head again: "Two

more sail on the larboard beam!" "Archer, go up, and see what you can

make of them." "Upon deck there; I see a whole fleet of twenty sail

coming right before the wind." "Confound the luck of it, this is some

convoy or other, but we must try if we can pick some of them out."

"Haul down the studding-sails! Luff! bring her to the wind! Let us see

what we can make of them."

About five we got pretty near them, and found them to be twenty-six

sail of Spanish merchantmen, under convoy of three line of battle

ships, one of which chased us; but when she found we were playing with

her (for the old Phoenix had heels) she left chase, and joined the

convoy; which they drew up into a lump, and placed themselves at the

outside; but we still kept smelling about till after dark. O, for the

Hector, the Albion, and a frigate, and we should take the whole fleet

and convoy, worth some millions! About eight o'clock perceived three

sail at some distance from the fleet; dashed in between them, and gave

chase, and were happy to find they steered from the fleet. About

twelve came up with a large ship of twenty-six guns. "Archer, every

man to his quarters! run the lower deck guns out, and light the ship

up; show this fellow our force; it may prevent his firing into us and

killing a man or two." No sooner said than done. "Hoa, the ship ahoy,

lower all your sails down, and bring to instantly, or I'll sink you."

Clatter, clatter, went the blocks, and away flew all their sails in

proper confusion. "What ship is that?" "The Polly." "Whence came

you?" "From Jamaica." "Where are you bound?" "To New York." "What ship

is that?" "The Phoenix." Huzza, three times by the whole ship's

company. An old grum fellow of a sailor standing close by me: "O, d--m

your three cheers, we took you to be something else." Upon examination

we found it to be as he reported, and that they had fallen in with the

Spanish fleet that morning, and were chased the whole day, and that

nothing saved them but our stepping in between; for the Spaniards took

us for three consorts, and the Polly took the Phoenix for a Spanish

frigate, till we hailed them. The other vessel in company was likewise

bound to New York. Thus was I, from being worth thousands in idea,

reduced to the old 4s. 6d. a day again: for the little doctor made the

most prize money of us all that day, by winning the bag, which

contained between thirty and forty dollars; but this is nothing to

what we sailors sometimes undergo.

After parting company, we steered south-south-east, to go round

Antonio, and so to Jamaica, (our cruise being out) with our fingers

in our mouths, and all of us as green as you please. It happened to

be my middle watch, and about three o'clock, when a man upon the

forecastle bawls out: "Breakers ahead, and land upon the lee-bow;" I

looked out, and it was so sure enough. "Ready about! put the helm

down! Helm a lee!" Sir Hyde hearing me put the ship about, jumped

upon deck. "Archer, what 's the matter? you are putting the ship

about without my orders!" "Sir, 'tis time to go about! the ship is

almost ashore, there 's the land." "Good God so it is! Will the ship

stay?" "Yes, Sir, I believe she will, if we don't make any confusion;

she's all aback--forward now?"--"Well," says he, "work the ship, I

will not speak a single word." The ship stayed very well. "Then,

heave the lead! see what water we have!" "Three fathom." "Keep the

ship away, west-north-west."--"By the mark three." "This won't do,

Archer." "No, Sir, we had better haul more to the northward; we came

south-south-east, and had better steer north-north-west." "Steady,

and a quarter three." "This may do, as we deepen a little." "By the

deep four." "Very well, my lad, heave quick." "Five Fathom." "That 's

a fine fellow! another cast nimbly." "Quarter less eight." "That will

do, come, we shall get clear by and by."--"Mark under water five."

"What 's that?" "Only five fathom, Sir." "Turn all hands up, bring

the ship to an anchor, boy!" "Are the anchors clear!" "In a moment,

Sir." "All clear!" "What water have you in the chains now!" "Eight,

half nine." "Keep fast the anchors till I call you." "Ay, ay, Sir,

all fast!" "I have no ground with this line." "How many fathoms have

you out? pass along the deep-sea line!" "Ay, ay, Sir." "Come are you

all ready?" "All ready, Sir." "Heave away, watch! watch! bear away,

veer away, no ground Sir, with a hundred fathom." "That 's clever,

come, Madam Phoenix, there is another squeak in you yet--all down but

the watch; secure the anchors again; heave the main-top-sail to the

mast; luff, and bring her to the wind!"

I told you, Madam, you should have a little sea-jargon: if you can

understand half of what is already said, I wonder at it, though it is

nothing to what is to come yet, when the old hurricane begins. As soon

as the ship was a little to rights, and all quiet again, Sir Hyde came

to me in the most friendly manner, the tears almost starting from his

eyes--"Archer, we ought all, to be much obliged to you for the safety

of the ship, and perhaps of ourselves. I am particularly so; nothing

but that instantaneous presence of mind and calmness saved her;

another ship's length and we should have been fast on shore; had you

been the least diffident, or made the least confusion, so as to make

the ship baulk in her stays, she must have been inevitably lost."

"Sir, you are very good, but I have done nothing that I suppose any

body else would not have done, in the same situation. I did not turn

all the hands up, knowing the watch able to work the ship; besides,

had it spread immediately about the ship, that she was almost ashore,

it might have created a confusion that was better avoided." "Well,"

says he, "'t is well indeed."

At daylight we found that the current had set us between the Collarado

rocks and Cape Antonio, and that we could not have got out any other

way than we did; there was a chance, but Providence is the best pilot.

We had sunset that day twenty leagues to the south-east of our

reckoning by the current.

After getting clear of this scrape, we thought ourselves fortunate,

and made sail for Jamaica, but misfortune seemed to follow misfortune.

The next night, my watch upon deck too, we were overtaken by a squall,

like a hurricane while it lasted; for though I saw it coming, and

prepared for it, yet, when it took the ship, it roared, and laid her

down so, that I thought she would never get up again. However, by

keeping her away, and clewing up every thing, she righted. The

remainder of the night we had very heavy squalls, and in the morning

found the mainmast sprung half the way through: one hundred and

twenty-three leagues to the leeward of Jamaica, the hurricane months

coming on, the head of the mainmast almost off, and at short

allowance; well, we must make the best of it. The mainmast was well

fished, but we were obliged to be very tender of carrying sail.

Nothing remarkable happened for ten days afterwards, when we chased a

Yankee man of war for six hours, but could not get near enough to her

before it was dark, to keep sight of her; so that we lost her because

unable to carry any sail on the mainmast. In about twelve days more

made the island of Jamaica, having weathered all the squalls, and put

into Montego Bay for water; so that we had a strong party for kicking

up a dust on shore, having found three men of war lying there.

Dancing, &c. &c. till two o'clock every morning; little thinking what

was to happen in four days' time: for out of the four men of war that

were there, not one was in being at the end of that time, and not a

soul alive but those left of our crew. Many of the houses, where we

had been so merry, were so completely destroyed, that scarcely a

vestige remained to mark where they stood. Thy works are wonderful, O

God! praised be thy holy Name!

September the 30th weighed; bound for Port Royal, round the eastward

of the island; the Bardadoes and Victor had sailed the day before, and

the Scarborough was to sail the next. Moderate weather until October

the 2d. Spoke to the Barbadoes off Port Antonio in the evening. At

eleven at night it began to snuffle, with a monstrous heavy appearance

from the eastward. Close reefed the top-sails. Sir Hyde sent for me:

"What sort of weather have we, Archer!" "It blows a little, and has a

very ugly look: if in any other quarter but this, I should say we were

going to have a gale of wind." "Ay, it looks so very often here when

there is no wind at all; however, don't hoist the top-sails till it

clears a little, there is no trusting any country." At twelve I was

relieved; the weather had the same rough look: however, they made sail

upon her, but had a very dirty night. At eight in the morning I came

up again, found it blowing hard from the east-north-east, with

close-reefed top-sails upon the ship, and heavy squalls at times. Sir

Hyde came upon deck: "Well, Archer, what do you think of it?" "O, Sir,

't is only a touch of the times, we shall have an observation at

twelve o'clock; the clouds are beginning to break; it will clear up at

noon, or else--blow very hard afterwards." "I wish it would clear up,

but I doubt it much. I was once in a hurricane in the East Indies, and

the beginning of it had much the same appearance as this. So take in

the top-sails, we have plenty of sea-room."

At twelve, the gale still increasing, wore ship, to keep as near

mid-channel between Jamaica and Cuba, as possible; at one the gale

increasing still; at two, harder yet, it still blows harder! Reefed

the courses, and furled them; brought to under a foul mizen stay-sail,

head to the northward. In the evening no sign of the weather taking

off, but every appearance of the storm increasing, prepared for a

proper gale of wind; secured all the sails with spare gaskets; good

rolling tackles upon the yards; squared the booms; saw the boats all

made fast; new lashed the guns; double breeched the lower deckers; saw

that the carpenters had the tarpawlings and battens all ready for

hatchways; got the top-gallant-mast down upon the deck; jib-boom and

sprit-sail-yard fore and aft; in fact every thing we could think of to

make a snug ship.

The poor devils of birds now began to find the uproar in the elements,

for numbers, both of sea and land kinds, came on board of us. I took

notice of some, which happening to be to leeward, turned to windward,

like a ship, tack and tack; for they could not fly against it. When

they came over the ship they dashed themselves down upon the deck,

without attempting to stir till picked up, and when let go again, they

would not leave the ship, but endeavoured to hide themselves from the


At eight o'clock a hurricane; the sea roaring, but the wind still

steady to a point; did not ship a spoonful of water. However, got the

hatchways all secured, expecting what would be the consequence, should

the wind shift; placed the carpenters by the mainmast, with broad

axes, knowing, from experience, that at the moment you may want to cut

it away to save the ship, an axe may not be found. Went to supper:

bread, cheese, and porter. The purser frightened out of his wits about

his bread bags; the two marine officers as white as sheets, not

understanding the ship's working so much, and the noise of the lower

deck guns; which, by this time, made a pretty screeching to people not

used to it; it seemed as if the whole ship's side was going at each

roll. Wooden, our carpenter, was all this time smoking his pipe and

laughing at the doctor; the second lieutenant upon deck, and the third

in his hammock.

At ten o'clock I thought to get a little sleep; came to look into my

cot; it was full of water; for every seam, by the straining of the

ship, had began to leak. Stretched myself, therefore, upon deck

between two chests, and left orders to be called, should the least

thing happen. At twelve a midshipman came to me: "Mr. Archer, we are

just going to wear ship, Sir!" "O, very well, I'll be up directly,

what sort of weather have you got?" "It blows a hurricane." Went upon

deck, found Sir Hyde there. "It blows damned hard Archer." "It does

indeed, Sir." "I don't know that I ever remember its blowing so hard

before, but the ship makes a good weather of it upon this tack as she

bows the sea; but we must wear her, as the wind has shifted to the

south-east, and we were drawing right upon Cuba; so do you go forward,

and have some hands stand by; loose the lee yard-arm of the fore-sail,

and when she is right before the wind, whip the clue-garnet close up,

and roll up the sail." "Sir! there is no canvass can stand against

this a moment; if we attempt to loose him he will fly into ribands in

an instant, and we may lose three or four of our people; she'll wear

by manning the fore shrouds." "No, I don't think she will." "I'll

answer for it, Sir; I have seen it tried several times on the coast of

America with success." "Well, try it; if she does not wear, we can

only loose the fore-sail afterwards." This was a great condescension

from such a man as Sir Hyde. However, by sending about two hundred

people into the fore-rigging, after a hard struggle, she wore; found

she did not make so good weather on this tack as on the other; for as

the sea began to run across, she had not time to rise from one sea

before another lashed against her. Began to think we should lose our

masts, as the ship lay very much along, by the pressure of the wind

constantly upon the yards and masts alone: for the poor

mizen-stay-sail had gone in shreds long before, and the sails began to

fly from the yards through the gaskets into coach whips. My God! to

think that the wind could have such force!

Sir Hyde now sent me to see what was the matter between decks, as

there was a good deal of noise. As soon as I was below, one of the

Marine officers calls out: "Good God Mr. Archer, we are sinking, the

water is up to the bottom of my cot." "Pooh, pooh! as long as it is

not over your mouth, you are well off; what the devil do you make this

noise for?" I found there was some water between decks, but nothing to

be alarmed at; scuttled the deck, and let it run into the well--found

she made a good deal of water through the sides and decks; turned the

watch below to the pumps, though only two feet of water in the well;

but expected to be kept constantly at work now, as the ship labored

much, with scarcely a part of her above water but the quarter-deck,

and that but seldom "Come, pump away, my boys. Carpenters, get the

weather chain-pump rigged." "All ready, Sir." "Then man it and keep

both pumps going."

At two o'clock the chain-pump was choked; set the carpenters at work

to clear it; the two head pumps at work upon deck; the ship gained on

us while our chain-pumps were idle; in a quarter of an hour they were

at work again, and we began to gain upon her. While I was standing at

the pumps, cheering the people, the carpenter's mate came running to

me with a face as long as my arm: "O, Sir! the ship has sprang a leak

in the gunner's room." "Go, then, and tell the carpenter to come to

me, but don't speak a word to any one else." "Mr. Goodinoh, I am told

there is a leak in the gunner's room; go and see what is the matter,

but don't alarm any body, and come and make your report privately to

me." In a short time he returned: "Sir, there 's nothing there, 'tis

only the water washing up between the timbers that this booby has

taken for a leak." "O, very well; go upon deck and see if you can keep

any of the water from washing down below." "Sir, I have had four

people constantly keeping the hatchways secure, but there is such a

weight of water upon the deck that nobody can stand it when the ship

rolls." The gunner soon afterwards came to me: "Mr. Archer, I should

be glad if you would step this way into the magazine for a moment:" I

thought some damned thing was the matter, and ran directly: "Well,

what is the matter here?" "The ground-tier of powder is spoiled, and I

want to show you that it is not out of carelessness in stowing it, for

no powder in the world could be better stowed. Now, Sir, what am I to

do? if you don't speak to Sir Hyde, he will be angry with me." I could

not forbear smiling to see how easy he took the danger of the ship,

and said to him: "Let us shake off this gale of wind first, and talk

of the damaged powder afterwards."

At four we had gained upon the ship a little, and I went upon deck, it

being my watch. The second lieutenant relieved me at the pumps. Who

can attempt to describe the appearance of things upon deck? If I was

to write for ever I could not give you an idea of it--a total darkness

all above, the sea on fire, running as it were in Alps, or Peaks of

Teneriffe; (mountains are too common an idea); the wind roaring louder

than thunder, (absolutely no flight of imagination), the whole made

more terrible, if possible, by a very uncommon kind of blue lightning;

the poor ship very much pressed, yet doing what she could, shaking her

sides, and groaning at every stroke. Sir Hyde upon deck lashed to

windward! I soon lashed myself alongside of him, and told him the

situation of things below, saying the ship did not make more water

than might be expected in such weather, and that I was only afraid of

a gun breaking loose. "I am not in the least afraid of that; I have

commanded her six years, and have had many a gale of wind in her; so

that her iron work, which always gives way first, is pretty well

tried. Hold fast! that was an ugly sea; we must lower the yards, I

believe, Archer; the ship is much pressed." "If we attempt it, Sir, we

shall lose them, for a man aloft can do nothing; besides their being

down would ease the ship very little; the mainmast is a sprung mast; I

wish it was overboard without carrying any thing else along with it;

but that can soon be done, the gale cannot last for ever; 'twill soon

be daylight now." Found by the master's watch that it was five

o'clock, though but a little after four by ours; glad it was so near

daylight, and looked for it with much anxiety. Cuba, thou art much in

our way! Another ugly sea: sent a midshipman to bring news from the

pumps: the ship was gaining on them very much, for they had broken one

of their chains, but it was almost mended again. News from the pump

again. "She still gains! a heavy lee!" Back-water from leeward,

half-way up the quarter-deck; filled one of the cutters upon the

booms, and tore her all to pieces; the ship lying almost on her beam

ends, and not attempting to right again. Word from below that the ship

still gained on them, as they could not stand to the pumps, she lay so

much along. I said to Sir Hyde: "This is no time, Sir, to think of

saving the masts, shall we cut the mainmast away?" "Ay! as fast as you

can." I accordingly went into the weather chains with a pole-axe, to

cut away the lanyards; the boatswain went to leeward, and the

carpenters stood by the mast. We were all ready, when a very violent

sea broke right on board of us, carried every thing upon deck away,

filled the ship with water, the main and mizen masts went, the ship

righted, but was in the last struggle of sinking under us.

As soon as we could shake our heads above water, Sir Hyde exclaimed:

"We are gone, at last, Archer! foundered at sea!" "Yes, Sir,

farewell, and the Lord have mercy upon us!" I then turned about to

look forward at the ship; and thought she was struggling to get rid of

some of the water; but all in vain, she was almost full below

"Almighty God! I thank thee, that now I am leaving this world, which I

have always considered as only a passage to a better, I die with a

full hope of the mercies, through the merits of Jesus Christ, thy son,

our Saviour!"

I then felt sorry that I could swim, as by that means I might be a

quarter of an hour longer dying than a man who could not, and it is

impossible to divest ourselves of a wish to preserve life. At the end

of these reflections I thought I heard the ship thump and grinding

under our feet; it was so. "Sir, the ship is ashore!" "What do you

say?" "The ship is ashore, and we may save ourselves yet!" By this

time the quarter-deck was full of men who had come up from below; and

'the Lord have mercy upon us,' flying about from all quarters. The

ship now made every body sensible that she was ashore, for every

stroke threatened a total dissolution of her whole frame; found she

was stern ashore, and the bow broke the sea a good deal, though it was

washing clean over at every stroke. Sir Hyde cried out: "Keep to the

quarter-deck, my lads, when she goes to pieces, 't is your best

chance!" Providentially got the foremast cut away, that she might not

pay round broad-side. Lost five men cutting away the foremast, by the

breaking of a sea on board just as the mast went. That was nothing;

every one expected it would be his own fate next; looked for daybreak

with the greatest impatience. At last it came; but what a scene did it

show us! The ship upon a bed of rocks, mountains of them on one side,

and Cordilleras of water on the other; our poor ship grinding and

crying out at every stroke between them; going away by piecemeal.

However, to show the unaccountable workings of Providence, that which

often appears to be the greatest evil, proved to be the greatest good!

That unmerciful sea lifted and beat us up so high among the rocks,

that at last the ship scarcely moved. She was very strong, and did not

go to pieces at the first thumping, though her decks tumbled in. We

found afterwards that she had beat over a ledge of rocks, almost a

quarter of a mile in extent beyond us, where, if she had struck, every

soul of us must have perished.

I now began to think of getting on shore, so stripped off my coat and

shoes for a swim, and looked for a line to carry the end with me.

Luckily could not find one, which gave me time for recollection.

"This won't do for me, to be the first man out of the ship, and first

lieutenant; we may get to England again, and people may think I paid a

great deal of attention to myself and did not care for any body else.

No, that won't do; instead of being the first, I'll see every man,

sick and well, out of her before me."

I now thought there was no probability of the ship's soon going to

pieces, therefore had not a thought of instant death: took a look

round with a kind of philosophic eye, to see how the same situation

affected my companions, and was surprised to find the most swaggering,

swearing bullies in fine weather, now the most pitiful wretches on

earth, when death appeared before them. However, two got safe; by

which means, with a line, we got a hawser on shore, and made fast to

the rocks, upon which many ventured and arrived safe. There were some

sick and wounded on board, who could not avail themselves of this

method; we, therefore, got a spare top-sail-yard from the chains and

placed one end ashore and the other on the cabin-window, so that most

of the sick got ashore this way.

As I had determined, so I was the last man out of the ship; this was

about ten o'clock. The gale now began to break. Sir Hyde came to me,

and taking me by the hand was so affected that he was scarcely able to

speak "Archer, I am happy beyond expression, to see you on shore, but

look at our poor Phoenix!" I turned about, but could not say a single

word, being too full: my mind had been too intensely occupied before;

but every thing now rushed upon me at once, so that I could not

contain myself, and I indulged for a full quarter of an hour in tears.

By twelve it was pretty moderate; got some nails on shore and made

tents; found great quantities of fish driven up by the sea into the

holes of the rocks; knocked up a fire, and had a most comfortable

dinner. In the afternoon made a stage from the cabin-windows to the

rocks, and got out some provisions and water, lest the ship should go

to pieces, in which case we must all have perished of hunger and

thirst; for we were upon a desolate part of the coast, and under a

rocky mountain, that could not supply us with a single drop of water.

Slept comfortably this night and the next day, the idea of death

vanishing by degrees, the prospect of being prisoners, during the war,

at the Havana, and walking three hundred miles to it through the

woods, was rather unpleasant. However, to save life for the present,

we employed this day in getting more provisions and water on shore,

which was not an easy matter, on account of decks, guns and rubbish,

and ten feet water that lay over them. In the evening I proposed to

Sir Hyde to repair the remains of the only boat left, and to venture

in her to Jamaica myself; and in case I arrived safe, to bring vessels

to take them all off; a proposal worthy of consideration. It was, next

day, agreed to; therefore got the cutter on shore, and set the

carpenters to work on her; in two days she was ready, and at four

o'clock in the afternoon I embarked with four volunteers and a

fortnight's provision, hoisted English colors as we put off from the

shore, and received three cheers from the lads left behind, which we

returned, and set sail with a light heart; having not the least doubt,

that, with God's assistance, we should come and bring them all off.

Had a very squally night, and a very leaky boat, so as to keep two

buckets constantly bailing. Steered her myself the whole night by the

stars, and in the morning saw the coast of Jamaica distant twelve

leagues. At eight in the evening arrived at Montego Bay.

I must now begin to leave off, particularly as I have but half an hour

to conclude; else my pretty little short letter will lose its passage,

which I should not like, after being ten days, at different times,

writing it, beating up with the convoy to the northward, which is a

reason that this epistle will never read well; as I never set down

with a proper disposition to go on with it; but as I knew something of

the kind would please you, I was resolved to finish it; yet it will

not bear an overhaul; so don't expose your son's nonsense.

But to proceed--I instantly sent off an express to the admiral,

another to the Porcupine man of war, and went myself to Martha Bray to

get vessels; for all their vessels here, as well as many of their

houses, were gone to Moco. Got three small vessels, and set out back

again to Cuba, where I arrived the fourth day after leaving my

companions. I thought the ship's crew would have devoured me on my

landing; they presently whisked me up on their shoulders and carried

me to the tent where Sir Hyde was.

I must omit many little occurrences that happened on shore, for want

of time; but I shall have a number of stories to tell when I get

alongside of you; and the next time I visit you I shall not be in such

a hurry to quit you as I was the last, for then I hoped my nest would

have been pretty well feathered:--But my tale is forgotten.

I found the Porcupine had arrived that day, and the lads had built a

boat almost ready for launching, that would hold fifty of them, which

was intended for another trial, in case I had foundered. Next day

embarked all our people that were left, amounting to two hundred and

fifty; for some had died of their wounds they received in getting on

shore; others of drinking rum, and others had straggled into the

country.--All our vessels were so full of people, that we could not

take away the few clothes that were saved from the wreck; but that was

a trifle since we had preserved our lives and liberty. To make short

of my story, we all arrived safe at Montego Bay, and shortly after at

Port Royal, in the Janus, which was sent on purpose for us, and were

all honorably acquitted for the loss of the ship. I was made admiral's

aid-de-camp, and a little time afterwards sent down to St. Juan's as

captain of the Resource, to bring what were left of the poor devils to

Blue Fields, on the Musquito shore, and then to Jamaica, where they

arrived after three month's absence, and without a prize, though I

looked out hard off Porto Bello and Carthagena. Found in my absence

that I had been appointed captain of the Tobago, where I remain his

majesty's most true and faithful servant, and my dear mother's most

dutiful son,


A Winter In The Frozen Ocean Adventures Of Captain Woodward And Five Seamen In The Island Of Celebes facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail