Imágenes de páginas

on her beam-ends, and precipitated the whole crew into the water: about fifteen of them clung to the mast, in the most hopeless situation, it being quite dark and stormy, with a heavy sea running, and no land within several leagues. They were forced, while on the mast, across several reefs, and the passage of each put an end to the misery of some of them. Campbell was once so nearly washed away, that he only felt the spar with the tips of his fingers; and, in this situation, he heard the mate, who was next to him, say, • Damn you, are you going to leave us, toor-but another sea threw him back, and he regained his hold. When day broke, six only of the crew were left; but as the morning advanced, they perceived the bowsprit with eight others upon it. Before they reached the shore, three of their companions on the mast, overcome with cold and fatigue, were forced to quit their hold; but this, he says, gave the survivors little

concern, as they expected every moment to share the same fate; however, the captain, the mate, and himself reached the shore; and shortly after the bowsprit took the ground, with four men upon it, two of whom were so exhausted as to be unable to walk,

The land on which they were thrown had a most dreary appearance; there was not a tree or a bush to be seen, and the ground was covered only with heath and moss; no trace of human habitation appeared. They gathered some large muscles, and carried a few to the two seainen who were not able to walk; but one of them was just expiring, and the other died about half an hour after his companion. Having eaten some raw muscles and passed an uncomfortable night, they collected the next morning a number of chests and other articles that had been driven on shore from the wreck; and procured twelve or thirteen pieces of beef and pork which some large birds, like ravens, had picked up, and dropped, from the casks which were staved among the rocks. In a small bay they disçovered the long boat, and a barrel of fine biscuit, which, though soaked with sea water, was a most acceptable addition to their store. Several bodies were found, and buried in the sand; some of the seamen's chests also, and among them his own, drifted on shore.

It contained,' says Campbell, only one shirt and my bible, which I had put into one of those squares common in sailors' chests for holding case-bottles, and in which it was firmly fixed, in consequence of having swelled with the water. I was at great pains in drying it in the sun, and succeeded so well that I could read any part of it. It was afterwards saved from a second wreck; and in my future hardships and sufferings, the perusal of it formed my greatest consolation. It is still in my possession, being the only article I brought with me when I returned to my native country.' Well do we remember that affecting passage where poor Knox first meets with an English Bible in the midst of his affliction and deep distress, when a prisoner in the deserts of Kandy! He, too, was a British seaman : and were these two the only instances on record in which this first and best of books has afforded consolation to the seaman in distress, we should say that the regulation, which is now acted upon, of distributing a Bible to every mess on board His Majesty's ships, cannot be in vain.


The survivors employed themselves eighteen days in recovering all they could from the wreck; when, for the first time, they were visited by a party of natives, who had traced them from the fragments of wreck along the shore; these people came in three skincanoes, each carrying one person; one of them, who was decorated with a gold medal, spoke the Russian language, and, having learned their situation, dispatched one of his companions for assistance to a village on the north of the island, and the other to the commandant of Oonalaska. He shared among them a bladder of train-oil and a basket of berries preserved in seal-oil; and caught them some fish with his hooks and lines; he then kindled a fire and broiled the fish, which afforded them the first comfortable meal they had enjoyed since their shipwreck: the fire was kindled by laying a piece of soft wood upon the ground and taking another between the teeth ; then putting a third piece of harder quality between these two, and twirling it rapidly round with a thong of a hide, as a drill, the dry grass placed round it burst into a flame.

The next day a number of Indians came to them, bringing berries, oil-blubber, and dried salmon, which they shared among the unfortunate sufferers with the utmost liberality. In the course of a week Mr. Bander, the Russian commandant of Oonalaska, arrived with twenty or thirty Indians, and took possession of the ship's cargo. Campbell, with some others, was dispatched in the long boat to Kodiack, the chief Russian settlement, distant from Sunnack or Halibut island, on which they had been wrecked, about 500 miles. On their arrival at Alexandria, in the Fox islands, the

governor ordered a brig, then lying in the harbour, to be fitted for Sunnack, and sent back the long boat to give Mr. Bander notice of his approach. Immediately after their departure bad weather came on, and they were obliged to make for the land, which they reached in safety, but by some mismanagement let the boat drive on the rocks, where she went to pieces. The nearest settlement, Karlinski, was at a considerable distance to the west; to cross the mountains to it was deemed impracticable on account of the snow, and they determined to creep along shore at low water. In wading over a reef, Campbell's boots filled with water; the cold was intense, and the motion of walking did not prevent it from freezing ; a point of a hill running into the sea was necessary to be crossed;


He says,

[ocr errors]

in attempting this, he fell down, and had nearly been smothered in the snow.

My feet by this time were frozen never to recover; and I was so ill able to ascend, that I was frequently blown over by the wind, and sometimes a considerable way down the hill. Exhausted by these fruitless trials to keep up with the rest, I became totally unable to proceed, and was left to my fate. I laid myself down on the snow in a state of despair. Having recovered a little, 1 resolved to make another attempt to follow the track of my companions, but had not proceeded far when I met them coming down the hill which had proved to be impassable.'

The rising tide prevented their return; and there was no resource but to pass the night where they were; it blew hard and the night was piercingly cold. In re-crossing the reef, where he had got wet, Campbell proved so feeble, and his feet so powerless, that a wave washed him into deep water, and another threw him back on the shore. After this it was necessary to scramble over a rock covered with ice; his feet being useless he was obliged to drag himself up by his hands, in doing which they were also frozen. On gaining the top, as he thought, he tried to lay hold of a projecting part of the rock, but his fingers refused to perform their office, and he fell to the grouud; but, by piling a few stones, he succeeded at length in getting over it. In this enfeebled state it was dusk before he could reach the hut from whence they had set out. "I never again,' he says,' walked on my feet; but, by the blessing of God, recovered the use of my hands, with the loss of only two fingers." The Russians, his companions, treated him with great humanity, cut off his boots, wrapped his hands and feet in Hannel, and laid him on a bed of dried grass, where he remained three days, subsisting on a little rusk and blubber. On the 4th, five canoes arrived and took them to Karlinski, a settlement consisting of a few Russians and about thirty Indian families; here Campbell was treated with great attention, conveyed to the cazerne, and laid upon a bed of skins; "but as the place afforded no medical assistance, my feet and hands (he says) began to mortify, and my health was otherwise so much impaired that I was frequently in a state of delirium.'

From this time, the 28th January, to the 9th of March, poor Campbell was without the least medical aid, when he was landed from a baidarai

, or skin-canoe, at Alexandria, and immediately carried to the hospital. The next day the surgeon took off one of his fingers and the joint of another, and told him that to save his life he must submit to lose both his feet. Accordingly one was amputated on the 15th March, and the other on the 17th April following: they were taken off below the ankle joint, and never healed; but by the

month • In the month of November the king was pleased to grant me about sixty acres of land, situated upon the Wymannoo or Pearl-water, an inlet of the sea about twelve miles to the west of Hanaroora. I immediately removed thither; and it being Macaheité time, during which

month of August, he says, ' I could creep about on my hands and knees.'

Being a little recovered, he was employed to instruct a few Indian children in the English language, to enable them to act as interpreters to the American ships which frequently touch at these islands: just at this time the Neva arrived from Sitcha, on her way to the Sandwich islands, and Campbell being desirous of returning to Europe, which, if once there, he was sure to have frequent opportunities of doing, was allowed a passage in that ship. On anchoring in the harbour of Hanaroora, on the south side of the island of Wahoo, a number of natives crowded round the vessel, and among them Tamaahmaah, the king, in a double canoe: the captain received him at the gangway, and shook hands with him when he came upon deck; he was dressed as an European, in a blue coat and grey pantaloons. In another canoe came Tamina, one of his queens, whose notice was attracted and compassion excited by the appearance of our traveller; she invited him to live in her house, and sent him ashore in her own canoe; at the same time the captain re.commended him to the notice of the king, by informing him that he could not only make and repair the sails of his vessels, but also weave the cloth of which they were made: the king assured hjin that he should be treated with the utmost kindness.

On landing he was conducted to the house occupied by the two queens: he was invited to join them at their meals; but the king's brother-in-law, having informed him that if he did so, he would not be allowed afterwards to eat with men, he declined the honour. At the departure of the Neva the king invited him to take his meals in his own eating-house, and a young American of the name of Mosely was to eat with him, and act as his interpreter.

His first employment was overhauling the sails of the king's vessels, and repairing such as were out of order; he was then desired to weave some canvass.

To enable him to do this he asked one Boyd, a carpenter, to make him a loom, which he declined, from an illiberal notion held by many of the white people there, that the natives should be taught nothing that would render them independent of strangers.' Campbell, however, contrived to patch up a loom; the women spun him thread from the fibres of one of the plants, which they use for fishing lines, and he produced some canyass,

of which the king was so proud that he shewed it to every captain that arrived as a specimen of the manufacture of his country.


canoes are tabbooed, I was carried on men's shoulders. We passed by foot-paths winding through an extensive and fertile plain, the whole of which is in the highest state of cultivation. Every stream was carefully embanked, to supply water for the Taro beds. Where there was no water the land was under crops


yams and sweet potatoes. The roads and numerous houses are shaded by cocoa-nut trees, and the sides of the mountains covered with wood to a great height. We halted two or three times, and were treated by the natives with the utmost hospitality. My farm, called Wymannoo, was upon the east side of the river, four or five miles from its mouth. Fifteen people with their families resided upon it, who cultivated the ground as my servants. There were three houses upon the property, but I found it most agreeable to live with one of my neighbours, and get what I wanted from my own land. This person's name was William Stevenson, a native of Borrowstouness. He had been a convict and escaped from New South Wales; but was, notwithstanding, an industrious man, and conducted himself, in general, with great propriety. He had married a native, and had a family of several children. He was the first who introduced into the island the mode of distilling a spirit from the tee-root, of which, however, he became so fond, that the king was obliged to deprive him of his still.'—

pp. 145, 146.

A South Sea whaler, bound for England, put into the bay shortly after; and the wish to see his native country became so strong with our author, and the state of his feet, which had never healed, gave him such uneasiness, that he could not resist the opportunity now offered. On asking the king's permission, he inquired if he had any cause of complaint; he told him he had none, that he was sensible of his kindness, and that he was much better there than he could hope to be elsewhere, but that he was desirous to see his friends once more. The king said, ' If his belly told him to go he would do it; and that if mine told me so I was at liberty.'

• He then desired me to give his compliments to King George. I told him that, though born in his dominions, I had never seen King George; and that even in the city where he lived, there were thousands who had never seen him. He expressed much surprize at this, and asked if he did not go about amongst his people, to learn their wants, as he did; I answered that he did not do it himself; but that he had men who did it for him. Tamaahmaah shook his head at this, and said that other people would never do it so well as he could himself.'

p. 149.

Campbell left the island, on which he had resided thirteen months, in March, 1810, with the deepest regret. While there, he says, • I had experienced nothing but kindness and friendship from all ranks—from my much honoured master the king, down to the lowest native. They doubled Cape Horn, in May, without the smallest difficulty, as indeed all now do in the frailest barks, with the exception of David Porter, Esq. late commander of the Ameria


« AnteriorContinuar »