« AnteriorContinuar »
the editor of the present volume. He had lost both feet; and, from the unskilful manner in which the amputation of them had been performed, the wounds were still unhealed. The answers which this poor man gave to some questions put to him, excited so much curiosity, that Mr. Smith took him home, with the intention of making a few memoranda of his story, for his own information. The modest and intelligent manner in which he told it, and the curious information which it contained, created a strong interest on behalf of the narrator ; ' and the hope that an account of his voyage might be of service to an unfortunate and deserving man, and not muacceptable to those who take pleasure in contemplating the progress of mankind in the arts of civilization, gave rise to the present publication
Archibald Campbell was born at Wyndford near Glasgow, in the year 1787. On the death of his father, who was a soldier, his mother removed to Paisley, when he was about four years of age; here he received the common rudiments of education, and at the age of ten was bound apprentice to a weaver; but, before he had completed his time, a strong desire to see foreign countries induced him to go to sea; and in the year 1800 he entered as an apprentice on board the Isabella of Port Glasgow, in which he made three voyages to the West Indies ; after this he sailed in a coașter, and then again for the West Indies. At Madeira he was pressed into the Diana frigate; ran from her at Portsmouth in 1806, and entered on board the Thames Indiaman, Captain Riches, bound for China. At Canton, the Captain of the American ship Arthur, bound to Rhode Island, endeavoured to seduce him from the Thames, by an offer of high wages and a bounty of twenty dollars; but he resisted his proposal. Being afterwards in company with a comrade of the name of Allen, they were met by another American captain, who also tried to seduce them by offering still higher wages: they, however, held out; till learning that the ship was bound to the South Seas, and the north-west coast of America, the temptation became irresistible; and they were concealed in the American factory til! the ship should be ready to proceed on her voyage. This was the Eclipse, of Boston, commanded by Captain Joseph O'Kean, and chartered by the Russian American Company for their settlement at Kamschatka, and the north-west coast of America, with a cargo of nankeens, tea, silks, sugar, &c.; the crew amounting to twenty-eight, four or five of which were seduced from the Indiaman. Here we cannot help observing, that the base and dishonourable practice of inveigling seamen to break their engagements, and desert the flag under which they may be serving, is exclusively American: and that there is not a nation in Europe, from the White Sea to the Dardanelles, that would not disdain to resort to it;-nor government that would permit its factors to abuse the privileges
of their situation, and secrete the kidnapped seaman till he can be safely smuggled on board ;--but this, though disgraceful enough, is not all--the temptation to a breach of faith being almost universally succeeded by defrauding the deluded seaman of his wages. The civil treatment which he experiences at first is exchanged towards the end of the voyage for the most brutal usage; should he venture to remonstrate, he is either turned adrift on the first land made, or threatened to be sent on board a king's ship; and if this should fail to make him quit the vessel, he is actually 80 sent, under the character of a deserter; and thus got rid of at any rate. In the present instance, as usual, Campbell, by O'Kean's desire, changed his name, and was entered on the ship's books by that of Macbride.
On the 6th June they entered the bay of Nangasaki, under Russian colours, and were towed to the anchorage by an immense number of boats. A Dutchman came on board and advised them to haul down the colours, as the Japanese were much displeased with Russia; and it was thought prudent to keep the Russian supercargo out of sight. The American produced his trading articles, but the Japanese told him they wanted nothing from him; and desired to know what had brought him there? He replied, want of water and fresh provisions; and to prove that this was the case, he ordered several butts to be started, and brought empty on deck! The next day a plentiful supply arrived of fish, hogs, and vegetables, and boats filled with water in large tubs, which the captain emptied on deck, stopping the scuppers, and allowing it to run off at night. For these supplies, thus fraudulently obtained, and wantonly wasted, he knew the Japanese would ask no payment. On the third day, when O'Kean found that nothing was to be gained in the way of trade, he got under way; the ship was towed out of the bay by nearly a hundred boats; and, on parting, the Japanese cheered them, waving their hats and hands--but, as they stood along the coast, the inhabitants made signs as if to invite them to land: the editor thinks, and we agree with him, that Campbell is here mistaken, and that these indications were meant to repel them, as Captain Laris was, with Core core cocori ware,'--Get along, you falsebearted fellows !!
From hence they sail for Kamschatka, and in the beginning of August proceed on their voyage to the north-west coast of America. In the night of the 10th September, the vessel struck on a rock; the sea ran high, the rudder was unshipped, and the sternpost forced through the poop. In this condition she was lifted over the first reef, and soon drifted upon another, on which she beat with greater violence than before; and it was expected that, every moment, she would go in pieces. In a few minutes a tremendous sea laid her
on her beam-ends, and precipitated the whole crew into the water : about fifteen of them clung to the mast, in the most hopeless situation, it being quite dark and stormy, with a heavy sea running, and no land within several leagues. They were forced, while on the mast, across several reefs, and the passage of each put an end to the misery of some of them. Campbell was once so nearly washed away, that he only felt the spar with the tips of his fingers; and, in this situation, he heard the mate, who was next to him, say, ' Damn you, are you going to leave us, too?—but another sea threw him back, and he regained his hold. When day broke, six only of the crew were left; but as the morning advanced, they perceived the bowsprit with eight others upon it. Before they reached the shore, three of their companions on the mast, overcome with cold and fatigue, were forced to quit their bold; but this, he says, gave the survivors little concern, as they expected every moment to share the same fate; however, the captain, the mate, and himself reached the shore; and shortly after the bowsprit took the ground, with four men upon it, two of whom were so exhausted as to be unable to walk.
The land on which they were thrown had a most dreary appearance; there was not a tree or a bush to be seen, and the ground was covered only with heath and moss; no trace of human habitation appeared. They gathered some large muscles, and carried a few to the two seainen who were not able to walk; but one of them was just expiring, and the other died about half an hour after his companion. Having eaten some raw muscles and passed an uncomfortable night, they collected the next morning a number of chests and other articles that had been driven on shore from the wreck
; and procured twelve or thirteen pieces of beef and pork which some large birds, like ravens, had picked up, and dropped, from the casks which were staved among the rocks. In a small bay they discovered the long boat, and a barrel of fine biscuit, which, though soaked with sea water, was a most acceptable addition to their store, Several bodies were found, and buried in the sand; some of the seamen's chests also, and among them his own, drifted on shore.
It contained,' says Campbell, only one shirt and my bible, which I had put into one of those squares common in sailors' chests for holding case-bottles, and in which it was firmly fixed, in consequence of having swelled with the water. I was at great pains in drying it in the sun, and succeeded so well that I could read any part of it. It was afterwards saved from a second wreck ; and in my future hardships and sufferings, the perusal of it formed my greatest consolation. It is still in my possession, being the only article I brought with me when I returned to my native country.' Well do we remember that affecting passage where poor Knox first meets with an English Bible in the midst of his affliction and deep distress, when a prisoner in the deserts of Kandy! He, too, was a British seaman : and were these two the only instances on record in which this first and best of books has afforded consolation to the seaman in distress, we should say that the regulation, which is now acted upon, of distributing a Bible to every mess on board His Majesty's ships, cannot be in vain.
The survivors employed themselves eighteen days in recovering all they could from the wreck; when, for the first time, they were visited by a party of natives, who had traced them from the fragments of wreck along the shore ; these people came in three skincanoes, each carrying one person; one of them, who was decorated with a gold medal, spoke the Russian language, and, having learned their situation, dispatched one of his companions for assistance to a village on the north of the island, and the other to the commandant of Oonalaska. He shared among them a bladder of train-oil and a basket of berries preserved in seal-oil; and caught them some fish with his hooks and lines; he then kindled a fire and broiled the fish, which afforded them the first comfortable meal they had enjoyed since their shipwreck: the fire was kindled by laying a piece of soft wood upon the ground and taking another between the teeth; then putting a third piece of harder quality between these two, and twirling it rapidly round with a thong of a hide, as a drill, the dry grass placed round it burst into a flame.
The next day a number of Indians came to them, bringing berries, oil-blubber, and dried salmon, which they shared among the unfortunate sufferers with the utmost liberality. In the course of a week Mr. Bander, the Russian commandant of Oonalaska, arrived with twenty or thirty Indians, and took, possession of the ship’s cargo. Campbell, with some others, was dispatched in the long boat to Kodiack, the chief Russian settlement, distant from Sunpack or Halibut island, on which they had been wrecked, about 500 miles. On their arrival at Alexandria, in the Fox islands, the governor ordered a brig, then lying in the harbour, to be fitted for Sunnack, and sent back the long boat to give Mr. Bander notice of his approach. Immediately after their departure bad weather came on, and they were obliged to make for the land, which they reached in safety, but by some mismanagement let the boat drive on the rocks, where she went to pieces. The nearest settlement, Karlinski, was at a considerable distance to the west; to cross the mountains to it was deemed impracticable on account of the snow, and they determined to creep along shore at low water. In wading over a reef, Campbell's boots filled with water; the cold was intense, and the motion of walking did not prevent it from freezing ; a point of a hill running into the sea was necessary to be crossed;
in attempting this, he fell down, and had nearly been smothered in the snow.
. My feet by this time were frozen never to recover; and I was so ill able to ascend, that I was frequently blown over by the wind, and sometimes driven a considerable way down the hill. Exhausted by these fruitless trials to keep up with the rest, I became totally unable to proceed, and was left to my fate. I laid myself down on the snow in a state of despair. Having recovered a little, I resolved to make another attempt to follow the track of my companions, but had not proceeded far when I met them coming down the hill which had proved to be impassable.'
The rising tide prevented their return; and there was no resource but to pass the night where they were; it blew hard and the night was piercingly cold. In re-crossing the reef, where he had got wet, Campbell proved so feeble, and his feet so powerless, that a wave washed him into deep water, and another threw him back on the shore. After this it was necessary to scramble over a rock covered with ice; his feet being useless he was obliged to drag himself up by his hands, in doing which they were also frozen. On gaining the top, as he thought, he tried to lay hold of a projecting part of the rock, but his fingers refused to perform their office, and he fell to the grouud; but, by piling a few stones, he succeeded at length in getting over it. In this enfeebled state it was dusk before he could reach the hut from whence they had set out. again,' he says,' walked on my feet; but, by the blessing of God, recovered the use of my hands, with the loss of only two fingers," The Russians, his companions, treated him with great humanity, cut off his boots, wrapped his hands and feet in Hannel, and laid him on a bed of dried grass, where he remained three days, subsisting on a little rusk and blubber. On the 4th, five canoes arrived and took them to Karlinski, a settlement consisting of a few Russians and about thirty Indian families; here Campbell was treated with great attention, conveyed to the cazerne, and laid upon a bed of skins; “but as the place afforded no medical assistance, my feet and hands (he says) began to mortify, and my health was otherwise so much impaired that I was frequently in a state of delirium.'
From this time, the 28th January, to the 9th of March, poor Campbell was without the least medical aid, when he was landed from a baidarai, or skin-canoe, at Alexandria, and immediately carried to the hospital. The next day the surgeon took off one of his fingers and the joint of another, and told him that to save his life he must submit to lose both his feet. Accordingly one was amputated on the 15th March, and the other on the 17th April following: they were taken off below the ankle joint, and never healed; but by the