Billeder på siden

not much more than eleven years of age. He afterward held a commission in the Chilian service under Lord Cochrane, and became lieutenant in consequence of his services.

Among other important occurrences which took place during this period, and in which Mr. Nobbs bore a part, was the courageous enterprise of cutting out the Spanish frigate Esmeralda, of forty guns, which was lying in the bay, under the batteries of Callao, in Peru. The capture was accomplished late at night on the 5th of November, 1820. An address from Lord Cochrane had been delivered to the marines and seamen, which concluded with an injunction that the Chilenos should act with valour, "and that the English should do as they had always done, both in their own country and elsewhere."

Lieutenant Nobbs was also engaged in a severe conflict with a Spanish gun-brig near Arauco, a fortress of Chili; when in command of a gun-boat, after sustaining the loss of forty-eight men killed and wounded, out of a party of sixty-four, he

was taken prisoner by the troops of the piratical Spanish general, Benevides.

The prisoners were all shot, with the exception of Lieutenant Nobbs and three English seamen. These four, after remaining for three weeks, under sentence of death, were, quite unexpectedly, exchanged for four officers attached to Benevides's army.

Mr. Nobbs had seen his fellow-prisoners, from time to time, led out to be shot, and had heard the reports of the muskets consigning them to a dreadful death.

Benevides was the son of the inspector of a prison, and had been a foot-soldier in the first army of the Chilenos in the cause of South American independence. Having been made prisoner by the royalists, he entered their army, and, being taken soon after, was sent to be tried as a deserter; but he escaped by setting fire to the hut in which he was confined, and soon distinguished himself among the royalists by his talents and bravery. Again he was taken prisoner, and sentenced to be shot in company with many others. He fell with the rest; but, though thought to have been executed, was not; and he afterward joined the patriots. Being, however, suspected and accused by their general, San Martin, of treachery, he once more turned against them; and hence arose the atrocities with which Benevides is charged. He murdered his prisoners in cold blood; and his great delight was to invite the captured officers to an elegant entertainment, and after they had eaten and drunk, march them into his court-yard, while he stood at the window to see them shot. Some, to whom he had promised safety, he delivered over to the Indians, whose cruel customs with regard to prisoners of war he well knew; and they were cruelly murdered.

His cause having failed, he fitted out a privateer, to provide himself with food and ammunition; and at length, on the 1st of February, 1822, finding that he could hold out no longer, he attempted to escape to one of the Spanish ports in a small boat; but he was recognised, seized, and sent to Santiago, where, on the 21st, he was tried,


and sentenced to death. On the 23d he was dragged from prison, tied to the tail of a mule, and then hanged in the palace square.

Mr. Nobbs, having quitted the Chilian service, after many hardships and dangers, took passage to England in 1822, in the ship Elizabeth, which had shortly before touched at Pitcairn's Island. The commander of that ship, in the course of conversation, expatiated so frequently on the happiness of the people at Pitcairn, that Mr. Nobbs seriously intended to go thither, if his life should be spared; and he set out, with this object in view, in the beginning of 1826. His wish was to lead a life of peace and usefulness to his fellowcreatures. He had at that period been four times round the world: and he left England with the full and avowed intention of going to Pitcairn's Island. He was detained for a long time in Calcutta; from whence, after a very narrow escape from shipwreck in the Straits of Sunda, he crossed the Pacific to Valparaiso. There, and afterward at Callao, he suffered a fur

ther detention; but ultimately he succeeded in leaving Callao in a frail bark of eighteen tons burden, having expended one hundred and fifty pounds sterling on the vessel and her outfit. He was accompanied by only one other person, an American, named Noah Bunker, and arrived at Pitcairn in October, 1828. His companion died soon afterward; and the vessel afforded the materials for a house for Mr. Nobbs. John Adams received him with kindness; and after Adams's death in March, 1829, Mr. Nobbs, who had been engaged in keeping school from the period of his arrival, was appointed the teacher.

When he first entered upon his charge, the number of inhabitants was only sixtyeight. From that time he has been with them, through evil report and good report, as their pastor, surgeon, and school-master, with the exception of a few months, when he was removed from the island, in consequence of the intrusion of a Mr. Joshua Hill, who arrived from Tahiti in 1832. This person, who was then about sixty years


age, informed the inhabitants that

« ForrigeFortsæt »