In the course of an hour, the launch gained the shore, where, instead of receiving the assistance they expected, and the kindness their unfortunate circumstances demanded, the crew were met by a party of French soldiers, and immediately made prisoners. In vain, they implored the Dutch officers, who were also on the beach, to send boats to the aid of their unhappy comrades on the wreck, their earnest entreaties were met by a cold refusal.
During the morning, Captain Barrett, and about a hundred men, attempted to reach the shore in the second yaul, but she was swamped and all were lost. At two o’clock in the afternoon, the after-part of the ship turned bottom up, and the remainder of the crew perished.
The fate of Lieutenant Salsford was distinguished by a singular circumstance. A large tame wolf, caught at Aspro, and brought up from a cub by the ship’s company, and exceedingly docile, continued to the last an object of general solicitude. Sensible of its danger, its howls were peculiarly distressing. It had always been a particular favourite of the lieutenant, who was also greatly attached to the animal, and through the whole of their sufferings kept close to his master. On the breaking up of the ship both got upon the mast. At times they were washed off, but by each other’s assistance regained it. The lieutenant at last, became exhausted by continual exertions, and benumbed, with cold. The wolf was equally fatigued, and both held occasionally by the other to retain his situation. When within a short distance of the land, Lieutenant Salsford, affected by the attachment of the animal, and totally unable any longer to support himself, turned towards him from the mast, the beast clapped his fore paws round his neck, while the lieutenant clasped him in his arms, and they sank together.
Such was the fate of the Minotaur, her captain, and four hundred of her crew. There is not the slightest doubt but that, had the Dutch sent assistance, the greater part of the ship’s company would have been saved; and it would appear by the following extract from a letter, written on the subject by Lieutenant Snell, that the risk attending such a humane attempt, on the part of the Dutch, would not have been great. Lieutenant Snell says:—
’The launch which had brought on shore eighty-five men, was of the smallest description of 74 launches, with one gunwale entirely broken in, and without a rudder. This will better prove than anything I can say how easy it would have been for the Dutch admiral in the Texel to have saved, or to have shown some wish to have saved, the remaining part of the crew.’
On the other hand, we have the report from the chief officer of the marine district of the North coast, addressed to the Minister of Marine, in which he states, that ’Captain Musquetie, commander in the Texel Roads, sent, at daylight on the 23rd, two boats to reconnoitre the Minotaur, but the wind and sea prevented them approaching the vessel.’