Towards noon they approached so near the Thrum Cape shoals, that the master became alarmed and sent for Mr. Galvin, one of the master’s mates. The message was scarcely delivered, before the man in the main-chains sung out, ‘By the mark five.’ In a few minutes after the ship struck.
Signals of distress were immediately made, and as speedily answered by the military posts, and the ships in the harbour.
Some boats put out from the harbour to the assistance of the Tribune, and Mr. Rackum, boatswain of the Ordinary, succeeded in reaching her in a boat from the dockyard, but all the other boats were forced to put back,—the wind was blowing so hard directly against them.
The ship continued to beat until eight o’clock, P.M., when all the guns having been thrown overboard (except one, retained for signals), and all means taken to lighten her, she began to heave, and in about an hour after she swung off the shoal,—not, however, without having lost her rudder.
She was then found to have seven feet of water in the hold; the chain pumps were instantly manned, and every exertion made to save the vessel. At first these efforts seemed to be successful, but by ten o’clock the gale had increased to a frightful violence, and the water was gaining on them so fast that little hope remained. The ship was driving rapidly towards the rocky coast, against which she must have been dashed to pieces had she kept afloat a few minutes longer, but she gave a lurch and went down, rose again for an instant, and with another lurch sank, and all was over,—and there were nearly two hundred and fifty human beings struggling with the waves.
Of all the crew twelve only were saved.
Mr. Galvin, the master’s mate, was below, directing the working of the pumps, when the ship went down; he was washed up the hatchway, and thence into the sea; he then struck out for the shrouds, but was seized by three of his drowning comrades. To extricate himself from their grasp, he dived for a few seconds, which caused them to let go their hold. He reached the shrouds, which were crowded with people, and then climbed to the main-top. Ten men had taken refuge in the foretop, and about a hundred persons altogether are supposed by Mr. Galvin to have been clinging to the shrouds, tops, and other parts of the rigging; but the long November night, the intense cold, and the fierce gale, finished the work that the waves had left undone; and one by one the poor creatures let go their hold, frozen or exhausted, and dropped into the foaming sea.
About forty persons were clinging to the mainmast when it fell over, and all were lost, except Mr. Galvin and nine others, who had strength enough left to enable them to gain the top, which rested on the mainyard, being fortunately sustained by a part of the rigging. But of the ten who regained the main-top, four only, including Mr. Galvin, survived the night. Of the ten in the foretop, six perished, three from exhaustion, and three were washed way.