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the remonstrances of the master, boatswain, and carpenter prevailed on him to let those unfortunate men have the launch, into which nineteen persons were thrust, whose weight, together with that of the few articles they were permitted to take, brought down the boat so near to the water as to endanger her sinking with but a moderate swell of the sea-and to all human appearance, in no state to survive the length of voyage they were destined to perform over the wide ocean, but which they did most miraculously survive.
The first consideration of Lieutenant Bligh and his eighteen unfortunate companions, on being cast adrift in their open boat, was to examine the state of their resources. The quantity of provisions which they found to have been thrown into the boat by some few kind-hearted messmates amounted to one hundred and fifty pounds of bread, sixteen pieces of pork, each weighing two pounds, six quarts of rum, , six bottles of wine, with twenty-eight gallons of water, and four empty barricoes. Being so near to the island of Tofoa, it was resolved to seek there a supply of breadfruit and water, to preserve if possible the above-mentioned stock entire; but after rowing along the coast, they discovered only some cocoa-nut trees on the top of high precipices, from which, with much danger, owing to the surf, and great difficulty in climbing the cliffs, they succeeded in obtaining about twenty nuts. The second day they made excursions into the island, but without success. They met, however, with a few natives, who came down with them to the cove where the boat was lying; and others presently followed. They made inquiries after the ship, and Bligh advised they should say that the ship had overset and sunk, and that they only were saved. This story was as unwise as it was untrue. The people of the island, however, brought in small quantities of bread-fruit, plantains, and cocoanuts, but little or no water could be procured. These supplies, scanty as they were, served to keep up the spirits of the men. “They no longer," says Bligh, "regarded me with those anxious looks which
had constantly been directed toward me
The numbers of the natives having so
With some difficulty, on account of the surf, the seamen succeeded in getting the things that were on shore into the boat, together with all the men, except John Norton, quarter-master, who was casting off the stern-fast. The natives immediately rushed upon this poor man, and actually stoned him to death. A volley of stones was also discharged at the boat, and every one in it was more or less hurt. This induced the people to push out to sea with all the speed they were able to give to the launch; but to their surprise and alarm, several canoes filled with stones followed close after them and renewed the attack; against which, the only return the unfortunate men who, it must be remem
bered, had no fire-arms, could make, was with the stones of the assailants that lodged in her, a species of warfare in which they were very inferior to the Indians. The only expedient left was to tempt the enemy to desist from the pursuit, by throwing overboard some clothes, which fortunately induced the canoes to stop and pick them up; and night coming on, they returned to the shore, leaving the party in the boat to reflect on their unhappy situation.
The men now entreated their commander to take them toward home; and on being told that no hope of relief could be entertained till they reached Timor, a distance of full twelve hundred leagues, or 3600 miles, they all readily agreed to be content with an allowance, which, on calculation of their resources, the commander informed them would not exceed one ounce of bread and a quarter of a pint of water per day. Recommending them, therefore, in the most solemn manner, not to depart from their promise in this respect, “we bore away,” says Bligh, “across a sea where
the navigation is but little known, in a small boat, twenty-three feet long from stem to stern, deeply laden with eighteen
I was happy, however, to see that every one seemed better satisfied with our situation than myself. It was about eight o'clock at night on the 2d May when we bore away under a reefed lug-foresail; and having divided the people into watches, and got the boat into a little order, we returned thanks to God for our miraculous preservation, and in full confidence of his gracious support, I found my mind more at ease than it had been for some time
At daybreak on the 3d, the forlorn and almost hopeless navigators saw with alarm the sun to rise fiery and red—a sure indication of a severe gale of wind; and accordingly, at eight o'clock it blew a violent storm, and the sea ran so very high, that the sail was becalmed when between the seas, and too much to have set when on the top of the sea; yet it is stated that they could not venture to take it in, as they were in very imminent danger and