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to soothe the depraved minds of its unhappy tenants, and reconcile them, if any thing could, to compulsory expatriation. That such effects may be produced by considerate treatment, is not improbable; but hitherto, or at least till a late period, one sentiment has overruled all others in the minds of the Norfolk Island convicts, and that has been a desire for restoration to liberty. Impatient of control, and regardless of all consequences, they eagerly seize upon every opportunity of making their escape-with what fatal consequences let the following narrative bear witness. Written by a gentleman for some time resident in Norfolk Island, and handed to us for publication, as a warning to “those who go astray,” the whole may be relied upon as a true relation of facts.
« On the northern side of Norfolk Island the cliffs rise high, and are crowned by woods, in which the elegant whitewood and gigantic pine predominate. A slight indentation of the land affords a somewhat sheltered anchorage ground, and an opening in the cliffs has supplied a way to the beach by a winding road at the foot of the dividing hills. A stream of water,
A collected from many ravines, finds its way by a similar opening to a ledge of rock in the neighborhood, and, falling over in feathery spray, has given the name of Cascade to this part of the island.
Off this bay, on the morning of the 21st of June, 1842, the brig Governor Philip was sailing, having brought stores for the use of the penal establishment. It was one of those bright mornings which this hemisphere alone knows, when the air is so elastic that its buoyancy is irresistibly communicated to the spirits. At the foot of the cliff, near a group of huge fragments of rock fallen from the overhanging cliffs, a prisoner was sitting close to the sea preparing food for his companions, who had gone off to the brig the previous evening with ballast, and who were expected to return at daylight with a load of stores. The surface of the sea was smooth, and the brig slowly moved on upon its soft blue waters. Every thing was calm and still, when suddenly a sharp but distant sound as of a gun was heard. The man, who was stooping over the fire, started on his feet, and looked above and around him, unable to distinguish the quarter from whence the report came. Almost immediately he heard the sound repeated, and then distinctly perceived smoke curling from the vessel's side. His fears were at once excited. Again he listened; but all was hushed, and the brig still stood steadily in toward the shore. Nearer and nearer she approached; till, alarmed for her safety, the man ran to summon the nearest officer. By the time
they returned, the vessel had wore, and was standing off from the land; but while they remained in anxious speculation as to the cause of all this, the firing was renewed on board, and it was evident that some deadly fray was going
At length a boat was seen to put off from the brig, and upon its reaching the shore, the worst fears of the party were realized. The misguided prisoners on board had attempted to seize the vessel. They were but twelve in number, unarmed, and guarded by twelve soldiers and a crew of eighteen men; yet they had succeeded in gaining possession of the vessel, had held it for a time, but had been finally overpowered, and immediate help was required for the wounded and dying.
July 21, 1842.—My duty as a clergyman called me to the scene of blood. When I arrived on the deck of the brig, it exhibited a frightful spectacle. One man, whose head was blown to atoms, was lying near the forecastle. Close by his side a body was stretched, the face of which was covered by a cloth, as if a sight too ghastly to be looked upon; for the upper half of the head had been blown off. Not far from these, a man badly wounded was lying on the deck, with others securely handcuffed. Forward, by the companion-hatch, one of the mutineers was placed, bleeding most profusely from a wound which had shattered his thigh; yet his look was more dreadful than all-hate, passion, and disappointed rage rioted in his breast, and were deeply marked in his countenance. I turned away from the wretched man, and my eye shrunk from the sight which again met it. Lying on his back in a pool of blood, the muscular frame of a man whom I well knew was stretched, horribly mutilated. A ball had entered his mouth, and passing through his skull, had scattered his brains around. My heart sickened at the extent of carnage, and I was almost sinking with the faintness it produced, when I was roused by a groan so full of anguish and pain, that for a long time afterward its echo seemed to reach me. I found that it came from a man lying farther forward, on whose face the death-dew was standing, yet I could perceive no wound. Upon questioning him, he moved his hand from his breast, and I then perceived that a ball had pierced his chest, and could distinctly hear the air rushing from his lungs through the orifice it had left. I tore away the shirt, and endeavored to hold together the edges of the wound till it was bandaged. I spoke to him of prayer, but he soon grew insensible, and within a short time died in frightful agony. In every part of the vessel evidences of the attempt which had ended so fatally presented them
selves, and the passions of the combatants were still warm. After attending those who required immediate assistance, I received the following account of the affair:
The prisoners had slept the previous night in a part of the vessel appropriated for this purpose; but it was without fastening, or other means of securing them below. Two sentries were, however, placed over the hatchway. The prisoners occasionally came on deck during the night, for their launch was towing astern, and the brig was standing off and on till the morning. Between six and seven o'clock in the morning the men were called to work. Two of them were up some time before the rest. They were struck by the air of negligence which was evident on deck, and instantly communicated the fact to one or two others. The possibility of capturing the brig had often been discussed by the prisoners, among their many other wild plans for escaping from the island, and recently had been often proposed by them. The thought was told by their looks, and soon spread from man to man. A few moments were enough; one or two were roused from sleep, and the intention was hurriedly communicated to them. It was variously received. One of them distrusted the leader, and entreated his companions to desist from so mad an attempt.
It was use