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IMMINENT PERIL AND GREAT DELIVERANCE.
urged him, as if he had heard a voice, saying, “ Take it in-take it in ;-take in the main-top-sail!” The Lord, however, so ordered it, that amidst all these perils not a mast was sprung or struck; not a sail carried away or ripped; not a timber suffered damage; not a life was lost, nor limb injured, of passenger or crew.
The captain was most powerfully affected with the terrors and the mercies of the past night, and appears very serious this day. He says that, on the preceding evening, when he returned to the cabin from deck, he read a portion of Scripture before lying down in his cot, when these words were deeply impressed upon his heart, “ Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe ?” Oh, that both he and we, and our fellow-voyagers, may have grace to profit, as we ought, by this display of divine goodness towards us; and more fully than ever before to consecrate ourselves, body and soul, for time and eternity, to his service! May he give to each of us that spiritual discernment and understanding
“ Which hears the mighty voice of God,
And ponders what he saith;
Have each a voice to faith.”
Aug. 17. This afternoon the gale had greatly abated from its violence, the sea gradually subsided, and we set more sail. The evening was calm, and the night serene. The two Magellanic clouds were conspicuous objects in the southern sky, to the east of the galaxy, of which they seemed fleecy fragments, rent from the beautiful zone with which the hand of Omnipotence has invested the heavens.
Aug. 22. This day, and not before, the dead-lights (close shutters) have been removed, and we have again the pleasure of viewing the ocean from our cabin windows. The
THE TROPIC OF CAPRICORN.
last week has been employed by the officers and crew in making preparations for their fishery, these being the chief regions for sperm whales in the Pacific. From the winter, which we experienced beyond Cape Horn, we are a second time enjoying the warmth and splendour of summer within less than two months, being now about as far to the west as we were to the east of South America, when we were in the same latitude before. Our captain informs us that he was once becalmed for fourteen days in these seas, during which he made but 1° 40' of progress. In this deplorable situation, which might have been prolonged indefinitely, he was so short of water that not more than a pint and
day was allowed to each man, for every purpose. Providence hath more bountifully dealt with us. We are careering in safety before a fair wind; our bread has been given to us, and our water is sure. What blessings are bread and water, when these are literally the only food of voyagers on the great deep! We all assent to the fact that they are so, but how much so they only can tell who have been ready to perish for want of the one, or the other, or both. In the afternoon, the surface of the sea was almost covered with young Portuguese men-of-war (formerly described), all exceedingly small, and resembling transparent bubbles-yet bubbles instinct with life. Many sheer-waters were flying around us at this time. These birds appear to be equally fitted to fly in both elements; for when they dive after their prey, they move in pursuit of it under water with a velocity and force hardly less than the speed and the power that carry them through the air.
Aug. 25. The wind being north, we put the ship about at 8 o'clock A.M., shaping our course towards the islands which we were appointed to visit. We have hitherto been disappointed of the east trade winds. This evening we
THE PRICKLY HEAT.
crossed the tropic of Capricorn, and rejoice to find ourselves again in the torrid zone. Our captain, who is a man of shrewd observation, states that in passing from a cold into a hot climate (by the swift transitions made in voyaging) he has generally remarked more than usual irritability and quarrelsomeness among sailors. This, if it be so, may arise from the same physical cause which generates the complaint denominated prickly heat—a peculiar itching sensation over the whole skin, or tormenting one particular part only. This disease, if such it may be called, is often experienced by persons, whether accustomed to the sea or not, when they enter the tropical latitudes, and is probably the effect of heated blood, which may very naturally have a provoking influence over the temper. Our informant, the captain, assures us that this fretful and pugnacious disposition subsides in a few days after the crew have been inured to the high temperature of these regions ; while the prickly heat, in like manner, soon passes away, without the use of medicine.
Considering that the islands of the Pacific may have been originally peopled from the continent of South America, we enquired of our captain, who is well acquainted with the persons and manners of
of the tribes of each, whether he could discern any resemblance between them. He says that there is a manifest similarity as to form, stature, and complexion, but none in language that he could ever perceive. Of the latter, however, we may doubt his competency to judge. It is observable that the natives of the islands can learn to speak the languages of the South American Indians much more easily and perfectly than the English, or any other European tongue.
Aug. 26. “ A sperm whale,” was several times announced from the mast-head to-day, but in every instance proved
to be of the physalis kind, of which we were glad, though the crew were disappointed. We had much feared that the sanctity of the sabbath would be broken by this adventurous sort of fishing. Mr. Tyerman aptly chose for the text of his sermon, in the forenoon :
66 Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way.” Gen. xxiv. 56.
Aug. 27. Among other birds that we have lately seen for the first time, this day a solitary gannet (pelicanus bassanus) approached us, but soon disappeared. It is about three feet in length; the body white, excepting the tips of the wings, which are dark brown; the tail wedged; the beak and quill-feathers black. While the female of this species of pelican is engaged with incubation, the male provides food, and brings it to her. This consists principally of herrings and sprats. In the bag, under his bill, he is able to carry four or five herrings at once. In proof of the affection which some of the feathered tribes occasionally manifest towards one another, the following statement was made by one of our respectable officers on board, and he assured us that the circumstance came within his own knowledge. On the island of Natividad, in the South Seas, one of the pelicans frequenting there had received some injury, which maimed a wing, and disabled it from flying or diving. The unfortunate bird must have perished speedily, had not other pelicans, of the same species, regu-larly foraged for it, and day by day brought a supply of various kinds of small fishes from the sea, which they disgorged before it, and left for their invalid companion to
When the sailors discovered this, they often watched the opportunity, and robbed the poor creature of its charitable subsistence—making many a good meal of what was compassionately intended for the cripple, that could not help itself, much less avenge its wrongs.
We were much pleased this morning to be told by the captain that he was resolved to put down the practice of profane swearing on board the ship, and that he had just given notice of his determination to carry the law on this subject into effect in future, and fine every man a shilling for each oath he should be known to utter. (N.B. Every master of a ship who does not enforce and execute this law among his crew, is himself liable to a fine of five pounds. So says our authority.)
Aug. 28. Last night the south-east trade winds, for which we have been daily looking, hoping, and praying, sprang up, and we are now steadily and pleasantly proceeding on our way. The heavens have assumed much the same appearances as they wore between the tropics, on the Atlantic; innumerable small white clouds flock the sky, and temper the sunbeams, which otherwise would be oppressive. We saw a pilot-fish (scomber ductor) to-day, near the stern of our vessel; it is of a silvery blue colour, with four transverse bands of a deeper tinge; four dorsal spines, and the tail marked with black; the length is about eighteen inches, and the general shape like that of a tunny, but the head much shorter. It takes its name from often swimming before or near the shark, which it is supposed to pilot to its prey.
Aug. 29. A sperm whale was discovered within two or three hundred yards of our ship. In a few minutes four boats were equipped, manned, and in pursuit; but she escaped, disappearing in a moment when the first boat approached her, by diving into unfathomable depths, from which they in vain watched for her re-ascent. No whale can remain more than from five-and-thirty minutes to an hour below the surface, when it must come up to discharge the water collected, and to inhale fresh air into