Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

had, in common with numerous other officers, been deluded into an enterprise from which we had been compelled to withdraw under circumstances peculiarly harassing and distressing; we solicited his protection as British subjects, observing that unless we could procure some mode of conveyance to England, we must speedily be reduced to the greatest extremity; and, finally, expressed our hope that his Excellency would have the goodness to consider these particulars, and extend to us that protection and assistance which had been already granted to some of our brother of ficers. But his Excellency, receiving us with cold official politeness, declined any interference in our favour; adding, that could he secure the captain of the schooner who brought us to Saint Kitt's, he would immediately imprison him for presuming to put us ashore without previously making a proper report of the persons on board his vessel ; concluding with a very salutary warning against the contraction of debts in that island, as confinement would be the certain consequence, and payment of the money our only means of relief.

Grievously disappointed at the utter failure of our application to General Probyn, we resolved, without further delay, to enter into communications with the captains of the vessels under seizure, and with that view proceeded on our return to the town, but had scarcely advanced half way, when, weakened by lassitude and vexation, we found ourselves so completely overcome, as to be under a temporary inability to make further progress. In this state we sat down by the side of the road, where we continued for some time'musing on our unfortunate fate; and had been in this situation about three quarters of an hour, when a poor negro woman approached us with a basket of oranges on her head, from whom we purchased five for the small sum of one dog *: and, considerably refreshed, we arrived at Bassterre, about one o'clock, mainder of this, and the two following days, were spent in fruitless researches and applications amongst the captains of the vessels in harbour, with none of whom we

The re

* Value somewhat less than one penny.

found it possible to conclude any engagement, in consequence of their enormous demands for passage, fc.

Our hopes, with reference to the ships under seizure, we found altogether frustrated, as out of the total number, one only (the Hornby) was destined to return to Europe in ballast, and the period of her sailing was as yet uncertain ; whilst the absence of her captain from Bassterre precluded us from knowing on what terms a passage could be obtained. Finding the impracticability of effecting arrangements with

any of the captains, we began seriously to contemplate with regret our departure from Saint Bartholomew's; where, distressing and mortifying as our situation was, yet the sympathizing kindness of some of its natives, occasionally diverted our minds from a sense of our affliction. But here we were utterly unknown; the expense of every description of necessaries far more exorbitant; and the inhabitants probably wearied by the daily appearance amongst them of numerous victims of similar misfortune, beheld our sufferings with perfect

apathy, and were solicitous only for our departure from the island.

Day after day elapsed without bringing any prospect of relief, the various captains rejecting every proposal not founded on a pecuniary basis. Our feelings were continually harrowed by witnessing the embarkation of passengers, and the departure of vessels for England, while we, from irremediable inability, were destined to remain behind.

Every prospect having now apparently vanished, we had determined on again returning to St. Bartholomew's, although we could scareely conceive how our circumstances would be ameliorated by this change of situation, or even in what manner our passage thither was to be effected, having already at different periods disposed of every little article of property, not absolutely necessary for personal use.

. Such was our situation when we were informed of the return to Bassterre of Captain Walker of the condemned ship, Hornby, and that the sailing of his vessel was pow principally retarded by the difficulty

of procuring a competent crew for her návigation. This intelligence in some degree checked our despondency, and we immediately determined (as an only remaining chance of success) on offering our services to Captain W., to work our passage to England on board his ship, as common seamen, in the hope that thus circumstanced, inadequate as we were to the duty, our assistance might not be altogether unacceptable.

Having formed our resolution we instantly put it in execution, and, to our great joy, were soon relieved from every anxiety and uneasiness, by our proposal, after some deliberation, being acceded to, and liberty granted us for our immediate embarkation.

Those only who have been similarly situated can conceive the happiness we now experienced, and the delight with which we, on the following day, availed ourselves of Captain W.'s permission to repair on board. We found the Hornby almost destitute of hands, and to our sur. prise, no preparations made for sailing.

« AnteriorContinuar »