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more." In his manuscript journal he adds, "This, perhaps, does not permit me to be a proper judge on a story of miserable people like us being at last driven to the necessity of destroying one another for food; but if I may be allowed, I deny the fact in its greatest extent. I say, I do not believe that, among us, such a thing could happen, but death through famine would be received in the same way as any mortal disease."
On the 5th a booby was caught by the hand, the blood of which was divided among three of the men who were weakest, and the bird kept for next day's dinner; and on the evening of the 6th the allowance for supper was recommenced, according to a promise made when it had been discontinued. On the 7th, after a miserably wet and cold night, nothing more could be afforded than the usual allowance for breakfast; but at dinner each person had the luxury of an ounce of dried clams, which consumed all that remained. The sea was running high and breaking over the boat the whole of this day. Mr. Ledward, the surgeon, and Lawrence Lebogue, an old hardy seaman, appeared to be giving way very fast. No other assistance could be given to them than a teaspoonful or two of wine, that had been carefully saved for such a melancholy occasion, which was not at all unexpected.
On the 8th the weather was more moderate, and a small dolphin was caught, which gave about two ounces to each man in the night it again blew strong, the boat shipped much water, and they all suffered greatly from wet and cold. The surgeon and Lebogue still continued very ill, and the only relief that could be afforded them was a small quantity of wine, and encouraging them with the hope that a very few days more, at the rate they were then sailing, would bring them to Timor.
"In the morning of the 10th, after a very comfortless night, there was a visible alteration for the worse," says Mr. Bligh, "in many of the people, which gave me great apprehensions. An extreme weakness, swelled legs, hollow and ghastly countenances, a more than common inclination to sleep, with an apparent debility of understanding, seemed to me the melancholy presages of an approaching dissolution. The surgeon and Lebogue, in particular, were most miserable objects; I occasionally gave them a few teaspoonfuls of wine, out of the little that remained, which greatly assisted them. The hope of being
able to accomplish the voyage was our principal support. The boatswain very innocently told me that he really thought I looked worse than any in the boat. The simplicity with which he uttered such an opinion amused me, and I returned him a better compliment."
On the 11th Lieutenant Bligh announced to his wretched companions that he had no doubt they had now passed the meridian of the eastern part of Timor, a piece of intelligence that diffused universal joy and satisfaction. Accordingly, at three in the morning of the following day, Timor was discovered at the distance only of two leagues from the shore.
"It is not possible for me," says this experienced navigator, "to describe the pleasure which the blessing of the sight of this land diffused among us. It appeared scarcely credible to ourselves that, in an open boat, and so poorly provided, we should have been able to reach the coast of Timor in forty-one days after leaving Tofoa, having in that time run, by our log, a distance of three thousand six hundred and eighteen nautical miles; and that, notwithstanding our extreme distress, no one should have perished in the voyage."
On Sunday, the 14th, they came safely to anchor in Coupang Bay, where they were received with every mark of kindness, hospitality, and humanity. The houses of the principal people were thrown open for their reception. The poor sufferers when landed were scarcely able to walk; their condition is described as most deplorable. "The abilities of a painter could rarely, perhaps, have been displayed to more advantage than in the delineation of the two groups of figures which at this time presented themselves to each other. An indifferent spectator (if such could be found) would have been at a loss which most to admire, the eyes of famine sparkling at immediate relief, or the horror of their preservers at the sight of so many specters, whose ghastly countenances, if the cause had been unknown, would rather have excited terror than pity. Our bodies were nothing but skin and bones, our limbs were full of sores, and we were clothed in rags: in this condition, with the tears of joy and gratitude flowing down our cheeks, the people of Timor beheld us with a mixture of horror, surprise, and pity.
"When," continues the commander, "I reflect how providentially our lives were saved at Tofoa, by the Indians delaying their attack; and that, with scarcely anything to support life, we crossed a sea of more than twelve hundred leagues, without
shelter from the inclemency of the weather when I reflect that, in an open boat, with so much stormy weather, we escaped foundering, that not any of us were taken off by disease, that we had the great good fortune to pass the unfriendly natives of other countries without accident, and at last to meet with the most friendly and best of people to relieve our distresses,—I say, when I reflect on all these wonderful escapes, the remembrance of such great mercies enables me to bear with resignation and cheerfulness the failure of an expedition the success of which I had so much at heart. . . ."
Having recruited their strength by a residence of two months among the friendly inhabitants of Coupang, they . . . arrived on the 1st October in Batavia Road, where Mr. Bligh embarked in a Dutch packet, and was landed on the Isle of Wight on the 14th March, 1790. The rest of the people had passages provided for them in ships of the Dutch East India Company, then about to sail for Europe. All of them, however, did not survive to reach England. Nelson, the botanist, died at Coupang; Mr. Elphinstone, master's mate, Peter Linkletter and Thomas Hall, seamen, died at Batavia; Robert Lamb, seaman (the booby eater), died on the passage; and Mr. Ledward, the surgeon, was left behind, and not afterwards heard of. These six, with John Norton, who was stoned to death, left twelve of the nineteen, forced by the mutineers into the launch, to survive the difficulties and dangers of this unparalleled voyage, and to revisit their native country.
GIBBON AND HIS HISTORY.
(From the "Autobiography.")
[EDWARD GIBBON, the English historian, was born at Putney, Surrey, April 27, 1737. During his boyhood he lived with his aunt, and at fifteen entered Magdalen College, Oxford, from which he was expelled for his conversion to Catholicism. In consequence of this he was sent to Lausanne, Switzerland, and placed by his father with M. Pavillard, a Calvinistic divine, who reconverted him to Protestantism. Here also he fell in love with Mademoiselle Susanne Curchod (afterwards wife of Necker, the French financier, and mother of Madame de Staël), and would have married her but for his father's opposition. On his return to England he served as captain in the Hampshire militia for several years; revisited Europe (1763-1765); was a member of Parliament for eight sessions, after which he retired for quiet and economy to Lausanne. He died in London, January 15, 1794. It was at Rome in 1764 that the idea of writing the
"History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" first occurred to him as he "sat musing amidst the ruins of the Capitol, while barefooted friars were singing vespers in the temple of Jupiter." The first volume appeared in 1776, and the last in 1788. This monumental work is virtually a history of the civilized world for thirteen centuries, and, in spite of its defects, is one of the greatest of historical compositions. Gibbon also wrote an entertaining autobiography.]
I HAD now attained the first of earthly blessings, independence; I was the absolute master of my hours and actions; nor was I deceived in the hope that the establishment of my library in town would allow me to divide the day between study and society. Each year the circle of my acquaintance, the number of my dead and living companions, was enlarged. To a lover of books the shops and sales of London present irresistible temptations; and the manufacture of my history required a various and growing stock of materials. The militia, my travels, the House of Commons, the fame of an author, contributed to multiply my connections: I was chosen a member of the fashionable clubs; and, before I left England in 1783, there were few persons of any eminence in the literary or political world to whom I was a stranger. It would most assuredly be in my power to amuse the reader with a gallery of portraits and a collection of anecdotes. But I have always condemned the practice of transforming a private memorial into a vehicle of satire or praise. By my own choice I passed in town the greatest part of the year but whenever I was desirous of breathing the air of the country, I possessed an hospitable retreat at Sheffield Place in Sussex, in the family of my valuable friend Mr. Holroyd, whose character, under the name of Lord Sheffield, has since been more conspicuous to the public.
No sooner was I settled in my house and library than I undertook the composition of the first volume of my History. At the outset all was dark and doubtful, even the title of the work, the true era of the Decline and Fall of the Empire, the limits of the introduction, the division of the chapters, and the order of the narrative; and I was often tempted to cast away the labor of seven years. The style of an author should be the image of his mind, but the choice and command of language is the fruit of exercise. Many experiments were made before I could hit the middle tone between a dull chronicle and a rhetorical declamation: three times did I compose the first chapter, and twice the second and third, before I was
tolerably satisfied with their effect. In the remainder of the way I advanced with a more equal and easy pace; but the fifteenth and sixteenth chapters have been reduced, by three successive revisals, from a large volume to their present size; and they might still be compressed without any loss of facts or sentiments. An opposite fault may be imputed to the concise and superficial narrative of the first reigns, from Commodus to Alexander; a fault of which I have never heard, except from Mr. Hume in his last journey to London. Such an oracle might have been consulted and obeyed with rational devotion; but I was soon disgusted with the modest practice of reading the manuscript to my friends. Of such friends, some will praise from politeness, and some will criticise from vanity. The author himself is the best judge of his own performance; no one has so deeply meditated on the subject; no one is so sincerely interested in the event.
By the friendship of Mr. (now Lord) Elliot, who had married my first cousin, I was returned at the general election for the borough of Liskeard. I took my seat at the beginning of the memorable contest between Great Britain and America, and supported, with many a sincere and silent vote, the rights, though not perhaps the interest, of the mother country. After a fleeting illusive hope, prudence condemned me to acquiesce in the humble station of a mute. I was not armed by nature and education with the intrepid energy of mind and voice,
Vincentum strepitus, et natum rebus agendis.
Timidity was fortified by pride, and even the success of my pen discouraged the trial of my voice. But I assisted at the debates of a free assembly; I listened to the attack and defense of eloquence and reason; I had a near prospect of the character, views, and passions of the first men of the age. The cause of government was ably vindicated by Lord North, a statesman of spotless integrity, a consummate master of debate, who could wield with equal dexterity the arms of reason and of ridicule. He was seated on the treasury bench between his attorney and solicitor general, the two pillars of the law and state, magis pares quam similes; and the minister might indulge in a short slumber whilst he was upholden on either hand by the majestic sense of Thurlow and the skillful eloquence of Wedderburne. From the adverse side of the house an ardent and powerful opposition was supported by the lively declamation of Barré, the legal