Billeder på siden

less; the frenzied thirst for liberty had seized them, and they were maddened by it. Within a few minutes they were all on deck; and one of the leaders rushing at the sentry nearest to him, endeavored to wrest from him his pistols, one of which had flashed in the pan as he rapidly presented it, and threw him overboard; but he was subsequently saved. The arms of the other sentry were demanded, and obtained from him without resistance. A scuffle now took place with two other soldiers who were also on the deck, but not on duty, during which one of them jumped over the vessel's side, and remained for some time in the main chains; but upon the launch being brought along side, he went down into it. The other endeavored to swim ashore—for by this time the vessel was within a gun-shot of the rocks--but, incumbered by his great-coat, he was seen, when within a few strokes of the rock, to raise his hands, and uttering a faint cry to Heaven for mercy, he instantly sunk. In the mean while, the sergeant in charge of the guard hearing the scuffling overhead, ran upon deck, and seeing some of the mutineers struggling with the sentry, shot the nearest of them dead on the spot. He had no sooner done so than he received a blow on the head, which rendered him for some time insensible. Little or no resistance was

upon them.

offered by the sailors; they ran into the fore. castle, and the vessel was in the hands of the mutineers. All the hatches were instantly fastened down, and every available thing at hand piled

But now, having secured their opponents, the mutineers were unable to work the brig; they therefore summoned two of the sailors from below, and placed one of them at the wheel, while the other was directed to assist in getting the vessel off. The cockswain, a free man in charge of the prisoners, had at the first onset taken to the rigging, and remained in the maintop with one of the men who refused to join in the attack. At this moment a soldier who had gone overboard, and endeavored to reach the shore, had turned back, and was seen swimming near the vessel. Woolfe, one of the convicts, immediately jumped into the boat along side, and saved him. While this was the state of things above, the soldiers had forced their way into the captain's cabin, and continued to fire through the gratings overhead as often as any of the mutineers passed. In this manner several of them received, wounds. To prevent a continuance of this, a kettle of hot water was poured from above, and shortly afterward a proposal was made to the captain from the prisoners to leave the vessel in the launch, provided he handed up to them the necessary

supplies. This he refused, and then all the sailors were ordered from below into the launch, with the intention of sending them ashore. Continuing to watch for the ringleaders, the captain caught a glimpse of one of them standing aft, and, as he supposed, out of reach. He mounted the cabin table, and almost at a venture fired through the woodwork in the direction he supposed the man to be standing. The shot was fatal; the ball struck him in the mouth, and passed through his brain. Terrified at the death of their comrades, the remainder were panic-struck, and instantly ran below. One of the leaders sprung over the tafferel, and eventually reached the launch. The sailor at the wheel, now seeing the deck almost cleared, beckoned up the captain, and, without an effort, the vessel was again in their possession. In the confusion, a soldier who had been in the boat, and was at this moment with the sailors returning on deck, was mistaken for one of the mutineers, and shot by the sergeant. oners were now summoned from their place of concealment. "They begged hard for mercy; and, upon condition of their quietly surrendering, it was promised to them. As the first of them, in reliance upon this assurance, was gaining the deck, by some unhappy error he received a ball in his thigh, and fell back again. The

The pris

rest refused to stir; but after a few moments' hesitation, another of them ventured up, was taken aft by the captain, and secured. A third followed, and as he came up, he extended his arms, and cried, “I surrender; spare me." Either this motion was mistaken by the soldiers, or some of them were unable to restrain their passion, for at this instant the man's head was literally blown off. The captain hastened to the spot and received the others, who were secured without further injury.

When we reached the vessel, the dying, dead, and wounded were lying in every direction. In the launch astern, we saw the body of one wretched man who had leaped over the tafferel, and reached the boat badly wounded; he was seen lying in it when the deck was regained, and was then pierced through with many balls. Nothing could be more horrible than his appearance; the distortion of every feature, his clinched hands, and the 'limbs which had stiffened in the forms of agony into which pain had twisted them, were appalling. The countenance of every man on board bore evidence of the nature of the deadly conflict in which he had been engaged. In some, sullenness had succeeded to reckless daring, and exultation to alarm in others.

Nothing could have been more desperate than

such an attempt to seize the vessel. The most culpable neglect could alone have encouraged it; and it is difficult to conceive how it could have succeeded, if any thing like a proper stand had been made by those in charge of her when it commenced.

The wounded were immediately landed, and conveyed to the hospital, and the dead bodies were afterward brought on shore.

The burial-ground is close to the beach. A heavy surf rolls mournfully over the reef. The moon had just risen, when, in deep and solemn silence, the bodies of these misguided men were lowered into the graves prepared for them. Away from home and country, they had found a fearful termination of a miserable existence. Perhaps ties had still bound them to the world; friends whom they loved were looking for their return, and prodigals though they. had been, would have blessed them, and forgiven their offenses. Perhaps even at that sad moment mothers were praying for their lost ones, whom in all their infamy they had still fondly loved. Such thoughts filled my mind; and when a few drops of rain at that moment descended, I could not help thinking that they fell as tears from heaven over the guilt and misery of its children.

On the morning following the fatal occurrence, I visited the jail in which the mutineers

« ForrigeFortsæt »