Preface: The following story is the history of the life of an old Sailor, still living at Gosport, in Hampshire --- told in his own words, as written in his Autobiography, and published for his benefit, by his friends and employers. Published in 1852.
The following story is the history of the life of an old Sailor, still living at Gosport, in Hampshire --- told in his own words, as written in his Autobiography, and published for his benefit, by his friends and employers. Published in 1852.
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.....I am writing this to show the wonderful mercies the Lord has shown me in fifty years' lifetime at sea, and I hope that whoever may have a chance to look at it, that it will teach them not to despair, or give themselves up for lost; for by perseverance, and a firm trust in the Almighty, we can do anything that the Giver of all good will allow us to do...
.....Now the captain of the brig being well pleased with our work, and seeing we were very short of clothing, and especially when he heard how we got on board of the Bremen ship, was kind enough to give us the men's clothes that had been drowned, for our use; and the mate of the brig being drowned, he made me mate in his stead, fir I was the only man out of the whole that could read and write. Now the brig had been out a long time at sea, and though she was bound to England, we could not attempt a passage to England in that time of year, in the state the vessel was in. The Island of Bermuda was the nearest land to us, so we steered for Bermuda, where we arrived safe on the 3rd day of March, 1803.
.....On the 5th of September, it being Sunday morning, the breeze having nearly died away to a calm, the captain ordered me to call the mate; for he said that he smelled fire. We all smelled it too. I advised the captain that the best thing we could do was to get the boats out before we opened any of our hatches......now all chance of saving the ship was over, for the fire spread rapidly. The middle part of the ship being on fire, those that were aft could not get forward, and those that were forward could not get aft; so we found it a great blessing that we got our boats out. So all hands got into the boats, and we had a chance to save some of our clothes, and some provision and water, which we put into the long boat. Now there were fifteen of us, men and boys altogether, and we divided ourselves in three boats---that is, the long boat, pinnace, and jolly boat; and we lay by the ship till she was burnt to the waters edge.
.....I had the first watch and at twelve o'clock the mate came up, and took charge from me, and I went below to my cabin, and I soon went to sleep; but I had not laid long, when I was awoke by the ship striking upon the rocks. I jumped up and put on my trousers and my old jacket, and on deck I went; but when I got there, the sea was making a clean breech right over the ship. And as soon as I got clear of the companion hatch, a cross sea took me and hove me against the larboard bulwarks, and carried me, bulwarks and all, away overboard; and I tried to swim a bit, but I still kept hold of the piece of bulwark till another tremendous sea took me and hove me on shore. The blow that I received knocked me senseless, and there I lay till about seven or eight o'clock next morning, when I came to myself, and I found our dog Nero standing alongside of me, licking my wounds; for my head was cut, and my left side, where I had been hove against the rocks.