Billeder på siden
PDF
ePub

apatam, with a supply of sailors' blue jackets and trowsers, flannels, stockings, and shoes, women's dresses, spades, mattocks, shovels, pickaxes, trowels, rakes, etc. He found their community increased to about seventy-nine, all exhibiting the same unsophisticated and amiable characteristics as we have before described. Other two Englishmen had settled among them; one of them, called Nobbs, a low-bred, illiterate man, a self-constituted missionary, who was endeavoring to supersede Buffet in his office of religious instructor. The patriarch Adams, it was found, had died in March, 1829, aged sixty-five. While on his death-bed, he had called the families together, and urged upon them to elect a chief; which, however, they had not yet done; but the greatest harmony still prevailed among them, notwithstanding Nobbs’s exertions to form a party of his own. Captain Waldegrave thought that the island, which is about four miles square, might be able to support a thousand persons, upon reaching which number they would naturally emigrate to other islands.

Such is the account of this most singular colony, originating in crime and bloodshed. Of all the repentant criminals on record, the most interesting, perhaps, is John Adams; nor do we know where to find a more beautiful example of the value of early instruction than in the

history of this man, who, having run the full career of nearly all kinds of vice, was checked by an interval of leisurely reflection, and the sense of new duties awakened by the power of natural affections.

VII.

Destruction of tge Ship Ann Alexander by a

Whale. THE THE ship Ann Alexander, Captain John S.

Deblois, sailed from New Bedford, Massachusetts, June 1, 1850, for a cruise in the South Pacific in search of sperm-whales. After cruising some months in the Atlantic, and capturing several whales, the vessel proceeded to the South Pacific; and finally, on the 20th of August, 1851, she reached a favorable spot, in latitude 5 degrees 50 minutes south, longitude 102 de

In the morning of that day, at about nine o'clock, whales were discovered in the neighborhood, and about noon the same day they succeeded in making fast to one. Two boats had gone after the whales—the larboard and the starboard; the former commanded by the first mate, and the latter by Captain Deblois. The whale which they had struck was harpooned by the larboard boat. After running some time, the whale turned upon the boat, and, rushing at it with tremendous violence, lifted

grees west.

open its enormous jaws, and taking the boat in, actually crushed it into fragments as small as a common-sized chair! Captain Deblois immediately struck for the scene of the disaster with the starboard-boat, and succeeded, against all expectation, in rescuing the whole of the crew of the demolished boat, nine in number! How they escaped from instant death, when the whale rushed upon them with such violence and seized the boat in its ponderous jaws, it is impossible

to say:

There were now eighteen men in the starboard-boat, consisting of the captain, the firstmate, and the crews of both boats. The frightful disaster had been witnessed from the ship, and the waist-boat was called into readiness and sent to their relief. The distance from the ship was about six miles. As soon as the waist-boat arrived the crews were divided, and it was determined to pursue the same whale, and make another attack upon him. Accordingly they separated, and proceeded at some distance from each other, as is usual on such occasions, after the whale. In a short time they came up to him, and prepared to give him battle. The waist-boat, commanded by the first mate, was in advance. As soon as the whale perceived the demonstration being made upon him, he turned his course suddenly, and made a tremendous

dash at this boat, seized with his wide-spread jaws, and crushed it into atoms, allowing the men barely time to escape his vengeance by throwing themselves into the ocean.

Captain Deblois again seeing the perilous condition of his men, at the risk of meeting the same fate, directed his boat to hasten to their rescue, and in a short time succeeded in saving them all from a death little less horrible than that from which they had twice so miraculously escaped. He then ordered the boat to put for the ship as speedily as possible; and no sooner had the order been given, than they discovered the monster of the deep making toward them with his jaws widely extended. Escape from death now seemed totally out of the question. They were six or seven miles from the ship; no aid even there to afford them necessary relief, and the whale, maddened by the wounds of the harpoons and lances which had been thrown into him, and seemingly animated with the prospect of speedy revenge, within a few cable's length. Fortunately, the monster came up and passed them at a short distance. The boat then made her way to the ship, and they all got on board in safety.

After reaching the ship, a boat was dispatched for the oars of the demolished boats, and it was determined to pursue the whale with the ship.

« ForrigeFortsæt »