Page images

prevented taking effect by the interference of Mr. Robson, who warded off the weapon. When we had got into the boat, and were putting off, they threw at least two hundred spears, none of which took effect, excepting one, which gave a severe wound to my cook, entering immediately above the jaw, and passing through the mouth.

"Having thus escaped from this perilous adventure, we pursued our course, and got as far as Dampier's Straits, as favourably as our situation could well admit. Being now within reach of land, the Lascars became impatient to be put on shore. It was in vain that I endeavoured to persuade them to persevere; they would not listen to argument, and expressed their wish, rather to meet with immediate death on shore, than to be starved to death in the boats. Yielding to their importunity, I at length determined to land them on the N. W. extremity of the island of Ceram, from whence they might travel to Amboyna in two or three days. On the 9th of June, being off that part of the island, Mr. Robson volunteered to land a part of the people in the cutter, to return to the long-boat, and the cutter to be then given to such farther part of the crew as chose to join the party first landed. Mr. Robson accordingly went in shore with the cutter; but, to my great mortification, after waiting two days, there was no appearance of his return or the cutter.

"We concluded that the people had been detained either by the Dutch or the natives; yet as the remaining part of the Lascars were desirous to be landed, we stood in with the long-boat, and put them on shore near the point where we sup

posed the cutter to have landed her people.

"Our number in the long-boat ́ was now reduced to seventeen, viz. myself, Mr. Trounce, Mr. Stalkart, fourteen Lascars and others. Our stock of provisions consisted of two bags of rice, and one gang cask of water; with this stock we conceived we might hold out till we reached Bencoolen, for which port we deter mined to make the best of our way. We fixed the allowance of provision to each man, at one tea-cup full of rice, and a pint of water per diem; but we soon found it necessary to make a considerable deduction in this allowance.

"We proceeded on through the Streights of Bantam, meeting, in our course, several Malay prows, none of which took notice of us, excepting one, which gave chace for a day, and would have come up with us, had we not got off under cover of a very dark night. Continuing our course, passed through the Streight of Saypay, where we caught a large shark. Our spirits were much elated by this valuable prize, which we lost no time in getting on board, and, having kindled a fire in the bottom of the boat, he was roasted with all expedition; and such was the keenness and extent of our appetite, that, although the shark must have weighed 150 or 160lbs. not a vestige of it remained at the close of the day. We suffered most severely from our indulgence; on the following day we were all afflicted with the most violent complaint of the stomach and bowels, which reduced us exceedingly, and left us spiritless and languid, insomuch that we now seriously despaired of our safety.

"On the 2d of July, I lost an old


and faithful servant, who died from want of sustenance. On the 4th, we made Java Head; and at the same time caught two large boobies, which afforded all hands a most precious and refreshing meal. On the 9th, at midnight, came-to off Pulo Penang, on the west coast of Sumatra. At day-light we endeavoured to weigh our anchor, and to run close in shore; but we were so much exhausted that our united strength was insufficient to get up the anchor. We made a signal of distress, on which a sandpan, with two Malays, came off. As I was the only person in the long-boat, who had sufficient strength to move, I went on shore with the Malays. On landing, I found myself so weak, that I fell upon the ground, and was obliged to be carried to an adjoining house. Such refreshments as the place afforded were immediately sent off to the long-boat; and we recruited so quickly, that in two days we found ourselves in a condition to proceed on our voyage. On the 12th of July we weighed, and on the 19th anchored off Rat Island, at Bencoolen.

"Here I met with an old friend, captain Chauvet, of the Perseverance, whose kindness and humanity I shall ever remember, and gratefully acknowledge. On the day following my arrival, I waited on the resident, Mr. Parr, from whom I received every kindness and attention.

"I left Bencoolen on the 17th of August, in the Perseverance, for Penang, where I arrived on the 27th, and where I was most agreeably surprised to meet with my late chief mate, Mr. Robson, who, with the lascars landed on Ceram, and had safely reached Amboyna, where they were received by Mr. Cranstoun, the Dutch governor, with a humanity and

benevolence that reflect honour on his character. The governor supplied them with whatever their wants required; he accommodated Mr. Robson at his own table, and, on his leaving Amboyna, furnished him with money for himself and his people, refusing to take any acknowledgment or receipt for the amount. He also gave Mr. Robson letters to the governor-general of Batavia, recommending him to his kind offices. Such honourable conduct from the governor of a foreign country, and with which we are at war, cannot be too widely promulgated.

"From Amboyna, Mr. Robson embarked in the Dutch frigate, Pallas, for Batavia; and on the passage thither, fell in with and was captured by his majesty's ships Greyhound and Harier, and brought to Prince of Wales's Island.

"From Penang, I went to Bengal, with the Varuna, captain Dennison, and arrived safely in Calcutta a few days ago. "A. FORREST."

[blocks in formation]

"On the night of the 2d of JaQuary, 1807, we were suddenly awakened from slumber, by the hideous yells of savages, who before we could put ourselves in a situation to oppose them, succeeded in forcing the doors of the house. They were to the number of forty or fifty, frightfully painted, and armed with tomahawks and scalping knives. My husband met them at the door, and in their own tongue asked them what they wanted?" The scalps of your family!" was their answer. My husband entreated to have compassion on me and his innocent children, but his entreaties availed nothing; we were dragged naked out of the house, and tied severely with cords. By order of one who appeared to be the chief, about twenty of the Indians took charge of us, who were ordered to conduct us with all possible dispatch to their settlement (about 200 miles distant), while the remainder were left to pillage and fire the house. We commenced our journey about midnight, travelling through an uncultivated wilderness, at the rate of near seven miles an hour. If either of us, through fatigue, slackened our pace, we were most inhumanly beaten, and threatened with instant death.

"After a tedious travel of more than forty miles, the savages halted in a swamp-here, for the first time from the time of our departure, we were permitted to lie down; the Indians kindled a fire, on which they broiled some bear's flesh, of which they allowed us but a small portion.

"After they had refreshed themselves and extinguished their fire, we were again compelled to pursue our journey; we travelled until sun-set, when the Indians again halted, and began to prepare a covering for

themselves for the night. My poor. children complained much of their feet being swollen, but I was not permitted to give them any relief, nor was their father allowed to discourse with them. As night approached, we took each other by the hand, expecting never again to witmess the rising of the sun. Contrary to our expectations, however, we had a tolerable night's rest, and on the succeeding day, though naked, and half starved, travelled with much more ease than on the preceding one. The Indians occasionally allowed us a little raw food, sufficient only to keep us alive. We this day travelled, according to the reckoning of the Indians, nearly forty miles, and were, about sun-set, joined by the remaining savages who were left behind; they were loaded with the spoils of my husband's property: among other articles, they found a keg of spirits, of which they had drank plentifully -as they became intoxicated, they exercised the more cruelty towards us; they beat my poor children so unmercifully that they were unable to stand on their feet the next morning; the Indians attributed their inability to wilfulness, and again renewed their acts of barbarity, beating them with clubs, cutting and gashing them with knives, and scorching their naked bodies with brands of fire. Finding that their hellish plans had no other effect than to render the poor unhappy sufferers less able to travel, they came to the resolution to butcher them on the spot.

"Six holes were dug in the earth, of about five feet in depth, around each of which some dried branches of trees were placed. My husband at this moment, filled with horror at what he supposed was about to take


place, broke the rope with which he was bound, and attempted to escape from the hands of the unmerciful cannibals. He was, however, closely pursued, soon overtaken and brought back; as he passed me, he cast his eyes towards me and fainted; in this situation he was placed erect in one of the holes. The woods now resounded with the heart-piercing cries of my poor children-" spare, O spare my father!" was their cryhave mercy on my poor children!" was the cry of their father; it availed nothing; my dear children were all placed in a situation similar to that of their father; the youngest (only nine years oki) broke from them, and ran up to me, crying, "don't mammy, pray, don't let them kill me!"

[blocks in formation]

"The inhuman wretches now began their hideous pow-wows, dancing to and fro around the victims of their torture, which they continued about half an hour, when they communicated fire to the fatal piles! Heaven only knows what my feelings were at this moment! As the flames increased, the shrieks and dying groans of my poor family were heightened! Thank Heaven, their sufferings were of short duration; in less than a quarter of an hour from the time the fire was first communicated, their cries ceased, and they sank into the arms of their kind deliverer.

"The callous-hearted wretches

having sufficiently feasted their eyes with the agonies of the sufferers, retired to regale themselves with what liquor remained; they drank freely, and soon became senseless; with one of their tomahawks I might with ease have dispatched them all, but my only desire was to flee from them as quick as possible. I succeeded with difficulty in liberating myself, by cutting the cord with which I was bound, on which I bent my course for this place. A piece of bear's flesh, which I fortunately found in one of the Indian's packs, served me for food. I travelled only nights, in the day-time concealing myself in the thick swamps, or hollow trees. A party of Indians passed within a few rods of the place of my concealment the second day after my depar ture, but did not discover me; they were undoubtedly of the party from whom I had escaped, in pursuit of me. Two days after, I was met by an Indian of the Shawanese nation; he proved friendly, and conducted me to a white settlement; without his assistance I must have again fallen into the hands of my savage foes."

[blocks in formation]

feated. Acquire discipline enough for retreat and the uniformity of combined attack, and your country will prove the best of engineers." So true was the maxim of the American general, that the English soldiers had to contend with little else. The Americans had incorporated the Indians into their ranks, and had made them useful in a species of war to which their habits of life had peculiarly fitted them. They sallied out of their impenetrable forests and jungles, and, with their arrows and tomahawks, committed daily waste upon the British army,-surprising their centinels, cutting off their stragglers; and even when the alarm was given, and pursuit commenced, they fled with a swiftness that the speed of cavalry could not overtake, into rocks and fastnesses whither it was dangerous to follow them.

In order to limit as far as possible this species of war, in which there was so much loss and so little honour, it was the custom with every regiment to extend its outposts to a great distance beyond the encampments; to station centinels some miles in the woods, and keep a constaut guard round the main body.

A regiment of foot was at this time stationed upon the confines of a boundless savannah. Its particular office was to guard every avenue of approach to the main body; the centinels, whose posts penetrated into the woods, were supplied from the ranks, and the service of this regiment was thus more hazardous than that of any other. Its loss was likewise great. The centinels were perpetually surprised upon their posts by the Indians, and were borne off their stations without commuVOL. XLIX.

nicating any alarm, or being heard of after.

Not a trace was left of the manner in which they had been conveyed away, except that, upon one or two occasions, a few drops of blood had appeared upon the leaves which covered the ground. Many imputed this unaccountable disappearance to treachery, and suggested as an unanswerable argument, that the men thus surprised might at least have fired their muskets, and communicated the alarm to the contiguous posts. Others, who could not be brought to consider it as treachery, were content to receive it as a mystery which time would unravel.

One morning, the centinels having been stationed as usual over night, the guard went at sun-rise to relieve a post which extended a considerable distance into the wood. The centinel was gone! The surprise was great; but the circumstance had occurred before. They left another man, and departed, wishing him better luck, "You need not be afraid," said the man with warmth, "I shall not desert."

The relief company returned to the guard-house.

[blocks in formation]
« EelmineJätka »