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Newton Forster eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 397 pages of information about Newton Forster.

“Why, three fine frigates as can’t go to sea without hands.  You never heard of a ship sailing without hands; the poor dumb craturs can’t do nothing by themselves.”

“Do you know where the frigates are going?”

“Going to say, I lay my life on’t,” replied Judy, who then walked forward, and broke up the conversation.

The next morning the cutter ran into Hamoaze, and boats were sent on board to remove the impressed men to the guard-ship.  There, much to his annoyance and mortification, Newton found that, with the others, he was treated as a close prisoner.  The afternoon of the same day another vessel arrived from the eastward with a collection of offenders, who for a variety of crimes and misdemeanours had been sentenced to serve on board of a man-of-war.  No distinction was made; all were huddled together, and treated alike, until summoned on the quarter-deck, when their names were called out for distribution to the several men-of-war.  Each ship having a quota of seamen and pickpockets allotted to her in due proportion, the men were ordered down into the boats; and in less than an hour Newton found himself on board of a fine frigate lying in the Sound, with her fore-topsail loose, as a signal of her immediate departure.

Chapter XI

          “Tis roan’s bold task the gen’rous strife to try,
  But in the hands of God is victory.” 
       ILIAD.

Newton, and the other men who had been selected for the frigate, on board of which they had been despatched (victualled the day discharged), were mustered on the quarter-deck by the first lieutenant, who asked them the questions, whether they were bred to the sea, and could take the helm and lead.  Having noted down their answers, he stationed them accordingly, and they were dismissed.  Newton would again have appealed, but on reflection thought it advisable to await the arrival of the captain.  Beds and blankets were not supplied that evening:  the boats were hoisted up, sentries on the gangways supplied with ball-cartridges to prevent desertion, and permission granted to the impressed men to “prick for the softest plank,” which they could find for their night’s repose.

At daylight the hands were turned up, the capstern manned, the frigate unmoored, and hove “short stay a-peak” on her anchor remaining down.  The gig was sent on shore with two midshipmen, one to watch the men and prevent their desertion, while the other went up to the captain’s lodgings to report her arrival, the topsails were loosed, sheeted home, and hoisted, the yards braced by, and Newton to his sorrow perceived that the captain’s arrival would be the signal for immediate departure.  The signal-man, on the look-out with his glass, reported the gig coming off with the captain; and in obedience to the orders he had received, the first lieutenant immediately hove up, and the anchor having been “catted

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