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equal pertinacity, would not allow to be thrown overboard, on the ground that the colony was in want of provisions. What was now to be done? All was clamor and confusion; in the midst of which the poor Picards shrunk into their little cabin, consumed with grief and apprehensions of a miserable death on the wreck. The superior officers felt the necessity for providing means of escape, in case all attempts to get off the ship should prove unavailing. A council was called. The lives of four hundred persons were to be saved; and there were only six boats, into which it would have been impossible to stow so many. In this dilemma M. Schmaltz, the governor, proposed to save a large portion of the passengers on a raft, of which he exhibited a plan. The raft was to be capable of carrying two hundred men, with provisions for all. The boats were to tow the raft, to which their crews were to come at meal times for their rations. The whole crew were to land in a body on the sandy shore of the desert, and provided with arms and ammunition, which were to be taken from the vessel, were to form a caravan, and proceed to the town of Saint Louis in Senegal. All this, as events afterward proved, was practicable; for the land, though not visible from the frigate, was only about forty-five miles distant; yet the plan, in the manner proposed, was not carried into execution. Next day, the 4th, there was a glimpse of hope. At the hour of high water, the frigate, being considerably lightened, was found nearly afloat; and it is believed that if the guns had now been thrown overboard, the Medusa would have been saved. Even a tow-line would have brought her round; but it was not thought of. When the tide ebbed, the unfortunate vessel again sank firmly into the sand, and the hope of getting her off was abandoned. A raft was now begun to be constructed by means of masts, spars, planks, and cordage, which were thrown into the sea for the purpose: the whole being lashed together, formed a kind of platform, of about a foot and a half in thickmess, buoyed up by empty barrels placed beneath the corners. Its length was sixty-five feet; its breadth about twenty. Each end terminated in a point; and these ends were very fragile. The only safe part was in the center; but even that was sometimes under water. Night came on while the raft was constructing, and the work ceased till next day. It was a night productive of dire anticipations. The sky became cloudy, the wind blew strong, and came from the sea, causing a great swell of the waves. The vessel now began to heel with violence, and it was every moment expected to see her planks start. This catastrophe at length, to a certain extent, ensued. The lower timbers bulged; the keel broke in two; the rudder was also unshipped, but still holding to the stern by the chains, and it was dashed by the waves against the vessel. From this cause the captain's cabin was beat in, and the water entered in an alarming manner. In this emergency the captain could preserve neither order nor discipline; and indeed his incompetency and inhumanity rendered disobedience a duty. The general feeling throughout the ship was, every man for himself—a scramble for life. Toward midnight a large part of the crew and more active passengers were preparing to leave the vessel secretly in the boats. This selfish and perfidious conduct was, however, checked by the soldiers, who firmly declared they would fire upon whosoever attempted to quit the frigate clandestinely. The threats of these brave men alarmed the governor, who had already formed a scheme for himself. He therefore judged it proper to assemble a council, at which he endeavored to allay the general distrust. He solemnly swore that, according to the plan which would be adopted, the boats would not abandon the raft, but would tow it to the shore of the desert, where all would travel in a body to Senegal.
It was agreed that the embarkation should take place at six o'clock in the morning. The treacherous promises of the governor, supported by Captain Lachaumareys, served to allay the apprehensions of the more timid passengers, including the unfortunate Picards. A number began to secure their more valuable articles about their persons, while part of the crew and soldiers broke into the cabins and store-rooms, appropriating the articles which struck their fancy, and drinking the wine and spirits, till they fell exhausted and insensible. Amidst an uproar of singing, shouting, groans, and imprecations, day broke, and all prepared to depart. A list had been made out, assigning each his proper place in the boats and raft; but this arrangement was now disregarded, and every one pursued the plan he deemed best for his own preservation. Few were inclined to go upon the raft, which heaved uneasily on the turbid waves. To compel obedience, an officer, armed with two pistols, stood by the bulwarks, and, with furious language, threatened to fire on whoever would not go upon it; and thus a miscellaneous crowd of persons were forced to place themselves on this floating tomb. To accommodate so large a number, and keep the raft from sinking, several barrels of provisions which had been placed on it the day before, were thrown into the sea. The only provisions left for the support of the large number on it, consisted of a bag of twenty-five pounds of soaked biscuit, which, having been tossed from the vessel, fell into the sea, and was with difficulty recovered. There were also several casks of wine and water. On the raft there were no charts, sails, oars, nor compass, every thing proper being forgot in the confusion. In all, there were upon the raft one hundred and fifty persons, twenty-nine of whom were sailors; there was one woman, and all the remainder were soldiers. These latter were not allowed to take their muskets; but they retained their swords; besides which the officers saved their fowlingpieces and pistols. The command of the raft had been assigned to M. Coudin, midshipman. This was not the least of the cruelties perpetrated by Lachaumareys. Coudin had received a severe bruise on his leg before the expedition had sailed from Rochefort, and he was now suffering so severely, that he was incapable of moving. Determined, however, not to flinch from a post which had been assigned to him on the ground of his being the senior midshipman in the vessel, he refused to allow one of his companions to take his place, and accordingly proceeded to the raft. The exertion, however, was almost too much for him :