Page images
PDF
EPUB

it,

cold at the different times which I awaked, and when asleep, dreamed most horribly. Oh! that God would grant me, in my sleep, forgetfulness !

*I am still very weak to-day. My stomach is very acid, and when the little charcoal I have is gone, I shall have no ‘means' to look to, and cannot expect God to work a miracle. How happy a lump of unslacked lime, as big as my fist, would make me! But there is none on board, and no shells to make any of.*

• The breakfast table this morning, having all the breakfast upon being imperfectly lashed, capsized with a tremendous crash, breaking almost every thing, and making fine lobscouse of all sorts of eatables; but I'm not in the vein.

Have distributed some tracts today, and read in my Bible much to my comfort. What should I do without it! I am also reading every day the visitation of the sick, and try to feel that my present affliction is direct from God. And may God sanctify all his dealings to me, that I may

become more humble and meek. I know that I deserve far more than this.

• MONDAY, JULY 9TH. A change has come o'er the spirit of my dream, for which thanks be to God! An old-fashioned medicine from the ship's chest, yesterday P. m., did what the doctor's preparations have failed in. I slept soundly and sweetly, and without a dream, all night, and to-day, save weakness and some cough, I feel well. Praise the Lord, oh, my soul !

Pre-haps I have not been lying for the last three hours (now five P. M.,) on an old sail, on the lee quarter-deck, with a beautiful draught out of the mainsail right in my face and open bosom; and there, half asleep and half awake, dreaming away about my dear, dear mother, and sister, and all friends in the United States ! Oh, it was delicious! It was something like going to sea passenger, idler, loafer, what you please.

• The day is fine, the breeze fresh and fair, and though the sun is somewhat hot, that does not trouble a passenger, while the breeze tempers down the whole. In short, now that I feel well, I enjoy every thing, and feel comfortable; though the breeze is so fresh, and the sea so high, that the barky rolls and pitches beautiful, and so mars my penmanship.

• By the by, speaking of fresh breezes, some years since, Captain -, of the ship —, of and for Boston, came out of Liverpool, with a nor'east gale, drunk; and drunk he remained all the way to Boston; carried whole topsails, scudding, when the main with four reefs would have been sail enough. Mates and passengers besought him to shorten sail, but 't was no use. One day, on the Grand Banks, he came on deck after dinner:

“ Fresh, Mr. So-and-so,' quoth he to the mate ; ‘rig out fore and main topmast stu’nsails.'

“Can't set set them in this gale, Sir,' said the mate.

“Very good, Sir; d-n the odds!' quoth the captain, I give her the booms, Sir; rig out the booms, Sir.'

* Mr. Gould had some years before taken a voyage for his health, and came home perfectly well: he, therefore, naturally regarded his present voyage as a specific for his disease; otherwise he would have been more provident as to a full supply of suitable medicine.

• The booms were rigged out, and the ship reached Boston in fourteen days.

• Then there was the Jacob Jones, Benson, master, out of Boston, in the last war, privateering. Ship of seven hundred tons, eighteen guns, and ninety-five men. Went into the Indian Ocean, took two rich prizes, and fought with an East India Company's ship for four hours, off Cape of Good Hope. Orders were sent out to Canton in advance, and pilots with the J. J.'s signal had been cruising off Macao for two months before her arrival. From them Captain B. learned there were two English frigates in Macao Roads; one of which came down every night, and, having cruised about, returned in the morning

* The pilots having informed him that the frigates usually came out the east side of the Island, he went up at night on the west, and in the narrow channel met the frigate, courses hauled up, and decks lighted; whereupon he put about, quicker ; and the frigate gave chase, but at nine o'clock, being very dark, he (Benson) tacked and stood in, unperceived by the chaser, passed the other frigate in the Roads, and came to anchor below Whampoa, where, with the English watching him, he lay six months, Having accoutred himself in Chinese dress, cue, etc., Benson sounded all the waters of Macao, and found one place where he could get out, with a foot water to spare,

where no channel was known. So, one dark night, he slipped out, and reached Boston in safety.'

And then to hear our second dickey (an old man) talk about the nor'west coast, and the first ditto (not old) about the custom-house regulations in Russia!

* Lots of Portuguese men-of-war I've seen for some days past, and the bright moonlight at night sets me to singing and thinking about the dear girls in the United States. Shall be glad to get back again in due time, and kiss the dear little snakes.

· WEDNESDAY, JULY 25TH. — Weather pleasant, though something warmer; yet far from hot. Wind this P. M. has hauled ahead again, and we head s. by w. Did six hours of delightful sleeping last night, and to-day feel much better; the pain in the heart, and the cough, having nearly ceased for the day, though at night they will reign lord of the ascendant. Weather is very mild for the latitude, though the clear sun is pretty hot; but we have clouds and a breeze from Africa to make it easy. The wind blowing so constantly from the eastward, has covered our rigging and sails with the yellow sand of the Great Desert! Think of that -- Sahara !

• FRIDAY, JULY 27TH. — Calm all the morning, and warm ; so I mounted a pair of nankins; found great comfort therefrom. At noon a breeze sprang up from the westward, and we head our course at

Clouds keep us much in the shade, or the heat would be oppressive. Have had several fine showers, this P. m., and the air feels fresh.

• This A. m., at ten o'clock, two of the crew caught a shark eight feet long, in a bow-line. I saw the feat; and certainly John Shark looks beautifully in the water. However, he was caught and hauled aboard, his liver taken out, the 'tail-steaks' and the end of his nose cut off, and the rest was thrown overboard.

S. E.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 4TH. - Fine, shady, though rather hot. The nights are cool, however, and that's a blessin.' Our variable s. s. w. trade continues, and we head as yesterday, at about five knots. Laudanum last night at nine, fifteen drops, and none to-day, has kept me so-so. I am trying to dispense with it in the day-time, but we shall see. I am very weak, and can scarcely crawl upon deck and down again, and have very little appetite. My only hope, now, is in the mercy of God, or I shall never see Rio.

•SUNDAY, AUGUST 5TH. - The holy Sabbath again; but these Sabbaths here make me think of those at home, and then I feel very sad. Will God ever restore me to those privileges again? I feel so sick and weak to-day, that I have no mental energy, and my mind wanders every where, and I cannot control it. Home - home - is always in my thoughts ; but alas! I am far away, and sickness has laid its hand upon me heavily. I try to put my trust in God, and to lay my cares and troubles at His feet.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 12TH. - I have had rest and quietness to-day, and some pleasant moments in, as I humbly hope, communion with God. But the great interruption to religious thought and prayer, is the thought of Home, which rushes into the mind of the poor, weak, sick man, far away at sea, like a thunderbolt, driving all thought of religion and prayer from the lips, unless it be to pray that God would restore me to the green pastures and still waters of my native land, soon and well. Is it wrong to think of home

abroad sick — weak ? I pray God we may soon get to Rio, for the clock of my life seems worn out, and just ticks along, through His sustaining mercy. Oh! those who live at home at ease, don't know how desolate and forsaken I feel !'

We have quoted sparingly from those portions of the journal which record the writer's sufferings; the trials of a protracted voyage, in a scantily-furnished vessel; the gradually-increasing cough, which day by day exhausted the issues of life, and the awful spasms of the heart, which he says often 'doubled him up' in agony. Amid all his afflictions, his reliance upon a Supreme Power was unwavering; his affection for his friends, and his love of home, constant and unabated. He arrived at Rio on the 29th of August, reduced to a skeleton, and so weak as to be 'obliged to go upon all fours, up and down the companion-way. He was received there with great kindness, and placed under the care of an eminent physician. Save a letter mentioning his arrival out, and the state of his health during the voyage, a brief business communication was all that was received from him, by his friends in this country, previous to the intelligence of his death. He gradually grew worse; and when, on the fourteenth of September, he embarked on board the brig Tweed for the United States, his physician had little hope of his reaching his native land. He died on the first day of October, sixteen days out, in the twenty-fourth year of his

age.

A mere statement of the fact was all that was at first received by his relations and friends in the United States. The vivid picture which he has himself drawn, and which we cannot resist the inclination to quote in this place, of a death and burial at sea, was present to their imaginations, and added poig. VOL. XIII.

6

nancy to the sorrow which the news of his death had awakened. The extract to which we allude, and which we subjoin, is from a sketch entitled Off Cape Horn, one of the writer's earliest productions.

DEATH AND BURIAL AT SEA.

BY JACK GARNET.'

About four bells in the forenoon watch, the wind began to blow again from the north-west, and we made sail for the Horn; and at seven bells, the surgeon reported to the captain, that in consequence of some internal bruise, Wilson was much worse, and could not live the day out. This intelligence took very little hold of us, for it was a common thing, and no trick at all, for men to die on board ; and accordingly it was little minded, and the conversation which followed this announcement in the mess-room of the forward officers, may be taken as a fair sample of sailors' feeling on the subject.

* There, Sails,' said the boatswain to the sail-maker, pointing to the sick-bay, there will be a job for you; something to take the turns out of your fingers. Get your palm and needle, and stand by to sew that man up in his hammock, and tell the gunner you want a couple of round shot for the use of the dispensary, to ballast one of the doctor's chickens, and send him to Davy's locker feet-foremost.'

• What's to pay, Pipes ?' answered the sail-maker, coolly; ‘has the doctor hulled one of the poor fellows at last ? or have his life-halliards parted at the tie? Send him some ratlin-stuff

, so that he can set up brace-backstays abaft, and cross his royal yards, and call all hands up anchor.'

· We sha' n't have to man the capstan for him,' interposed the gunner, as he mixed a pannikin of grog, stiff enough to float grape-shot ;

shall man the lee-gangway, and Old Pipes will call • all hands to bury the dead.'

say, Mac,' said the master's-mate to the purser’s-steward,“ how does Wilson's name stand on the books ? You'll have to foot up his account, shortly, and give him his discharge from the state's service; he's going to ship under Commodore David Jones, aboard the ship Pacific, ten thousand guns, besides stern and bow chasers. His time is about out; he's done with rations and grog.'

· Well, I'll be d -d!' says Dandy-Jack the carpenter, ‘if you do n't take it easy! Here's a man dying, and you make no more of it than I would of plugging a shot-hole in the ship's upper works.'

• After action's over, Chips means,' said the boatswain; he'd take the best of d d good care not to sling himself in a bowline over the ship's side, to plug a shot hole in time of action, for fear his own upperworks would get knocked in with a round shot; for that would spoil the looks of his figure-head, and perhaps carry away his cutwater.'

• There, Chips,' says the purser's steward, you'd better haul off, and repair damages. Old Pipes carries too many guns for you.'

• You be d d!' said the carpenter,'as he kicked over his campstool, and made a straight wake for the deck,

6

we

And while these thoughtless men laughed, and made a mock of death and all its horrors, the poor object of their mirth lay in his cot, surrounded by the noise and confusion of a man-of-war ; silent and sad; knowing that he was beyond mortal aid ; reflecting that now the last scene of life was to be acted ; that nothing remained but to die. Come when it may, the hour of death is one of awful trial, of deep, overwhelming solemnity; and no where is it more awful, more agonizing, than on board ship, at sea, far away from home and friends, destitute of the arm of support, the word of consolation, and the voice of prayer; where the only mention of the name of God, is in oaths and blasphemies.

Would any one, accustomed to the quiet of the apartment of the sick on shore, have thought, from the scenes presented to his view on the berth-deck of our ship, that a fellow creature lay there at the point of death, and that every one was aware of it?

Although there was, in the immediate vicinity of the sick-bay, some little attention paid by the sailors to the feelings of their sick shipmate, by lowering the voice, and avoiding to touch his cot; yet, in the crowded limits of the ship, none were so far distant that the sensitive ear of sickness could avoid hearing their loud, thoughtless discourse. In one place, two men were fighting, and their fearful curses and violent blows grated harshly on his ear, who was so soon to stand in the presence of that God whose name they profaned, and whose wrath they invoked; while he, with his fast-failing breath, besought his mercy. Others were laughing, and telling stories, and enlarging upon the delights of home. That word had, but yesterday, been the theme of his joyful meditations. In health his joy, in sickness his consolation ; but both were now about to fail him; and here, ten thousand miles from home, his life was to end. Three years before, in the ardor of youth, he left his happy home and dear friends, to enter the service of the United States; and having now nearly circumnavigated the world, he was returning on the wings of hope, to taste the sweets of a mother's and sister's love. But that bliss was not in store for him; he was fast falling into the cold embrace of death, and he was soon to be committed to the deep, and find his place of repose in the vast Pacific.

Although amidst a multitude, he felt that he was alone, and recalling his thoughts from home, and all external objects, and commending himself, and all who were dear, to the care of Him who made the sea and prepared the dry land, he waited patiently for death. Its coming was not long delayed. At noon, in the heartless formalities of a man-of-war, the surgeon made his report to the captain, that ‘at twelve o'clock, meridian, died, in consequence of an internal contusion, caused by falling from the hammock-nettings upon the deck, James Wilson, seaman.' The captain's reply was, as it always is, to all messages : “Very good, Sir;' and then the sail-maker, in

presence of the assistant-surgeon, and the master-at-arms, proceeded to sew him

up in his hammock, and putting in two round shot at the feet, to sink him, report was made that the dead was ready for burial.'

It is not customary, however, to bury the dead at noon, and therefore the body was brought on deck, laid on the lee-gangway-board, and covered with a jack, (a blue flag, with white stars,) there to lie,

« PreviousContinue »