Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 387 pages of information about Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849.

The next morning, Tuesday, the 12th, at about eleven o’clock, land was descried on their lee, on which they fired several guns, and hauled the colours on the main-rigging, union downwards, as a signal of distress.  An hour afterwards the ship struck on a rock off the island of Baltrum, about a mile and a-half distant from the shore.

Mr. Anthony and his companions then tried to launch the cutter, but they were obliged to give up the attempt, as the sea was not sufficiently clear of ice; they therefore remained on board another night.

The next morning, however, they hoisted out the boat, and pulled towards the shore; but they had not gone more than half way, when they were surrounded by fields of ice, so that they were obliged to get upon the ice, and drag the boat with them.

About noon they had reached to within a cable’s length of the shore, and here they were compelled to leave the boat:  they were all completely exhausted, and found it impossible to drag her any further.  They themselves had to leap from one piece of ice to another, often falling into the water; and it was at the imminent risk of their lives that they at last gained the beach.

They were tolerably well received by the inhabitants, who took them to their houses, and allowed them to seek that repose which they so much needed.

The next day the islanders, unable to resist the temptation of plunder, took to their boats, and made off to the ship, which they ransacked, and carried off all the arms, stores, and provisions of every kind.  In vain Mr. Anthony protested against this base conduct:  it was as much as he could do to persuade them to spare some part of the provisions for himself and his friends.

The party were obliged to remain at Baltrum amongst their rapacious hosts until Saturday, the 16th, when they deemed that the ice was sufficiently cleared away to allow of their sailing for Cuxhaven; they accordingly secured the cutter and took their departure.  As there was not the remotest chance of getting the Proserpine afloat again, they abandoned her to the island plunderers.  They reached Cuxhaven about the 22nd, and there they found Lieutenant Wright and those who had accompanied him from Newark.

On the following day, Captain Wallis arrived, with the rest of the ship’s company, the sick and wounded.  We can imagine the joy and gratitude with which Captain Wallis received the announcement of the safe arrival of Mr. Anthony and his friends, whom he had deplored as lost.

Thus were the crew of the Proserpine, with the exception of thirteen persons, brought once more together after three weeks endurance of innumerable hardships, and having been exposed to many perils.  Never was the Almighty hand of Providence more visibly displayed than in the protection afforded to these gallant fellows; and never did men do more to help themselves than they did, We cannot but admire the calm courage they evinced throughout that long and dismal night when almost certain destruction awaited them; as well as their obedience and cheerful alacrity through their toilsome march from the wreck to Newark, and again from Newark to Cuxhaven.  Nor must we forget the fortitude displayed by Mr. Anthony and his companions, when they were a second time wrecked in the Proserpine.

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Narratives of Shipwrecks of the Royal Navy; between 1793 and 1849 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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