About this time we found our stock of log-lines nearly expended, though we had already converted all our, fishing lines to the same use. I was some time in great perplexity how to supply this defect, but, upon a very diligent enquiry, found that we had, by chance, a few fathom of thick untarred rope. This, which in our situation was an inestimable treasure, I ordered to be untwisted; but as the yarns were found to be too thick for our purpose, it became necessary to pick them into oakham; and when this was done, the most difficult part of the work remained; for this oakham could not be spun into yarn, till, by combing, it was brought into hemp, its original state. This was not seamen’s work, and if it had, we should have been at a loss how to perform it for want of combs; one difficulty therefore arose upon another, and it was necessary to make combs, before we could try our skill in making hemp. Upon this trying occasion we were again sensible of the danger to which we were exposed by the, want of a forge: Necessity, however, the fruitful mother of invention, suggested an expedient. The armourer was set to work to file nails down to a smooth point, with which we produced a tolerable succedaneum for a comb; and one of the quarter-masters was found sufficiently skilled in the use of this instrument to render the oakham so smooth and even, that we contrived to spin it into yarn, as fine as our coarse implements would admit; and thus we made tolerable log-lines, although we found it much more difficult than to make cordage of our old cables, after they had been converted into junk, which was an expedient that we had been obliged to practise long before. We had also long before used all our sewing sail-twine, and if, knowing that the quantity with which I had been supplied was altogether inadequate to the wants of such a voyage, I had not taken the whole quantity that had been put on board to repair the seine into my own custody, this deficiency might have been fatal to us all.
An Account of the Discovery of Queen Charlotte’s Islands, with a Description of them and their Inhabitants, and of what happened at Egmont Island.
The scurvy still continued to make great progress among us, and those hands that were not rendered useless by disease, were worn down by excessive labour; our vessel, which at best was a dull sailer, had been long in so bad a condition that she would not work; and on the 10th, to render our condition still more distressful and alarming, she sprung a leak in the bows, which being under water, it was impossible to get at while we were at sea. Such was our situation, when, on the 12th, at break of day, we discovered land: The sudden transport of hope and joy which this inspired, can perhaps be equalled only by that which a criminal feels who bears the cry of a reprieve at the place of execution. The land proved to be a cluster of islands, of which I counted seven,