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 narrator of this sad tale, has touchingly described in no exaggerated terms the sufferings of the wretched crowd who were exposed for nearly three days and nights to the worst of physical and mental evils—­hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness—­in their most aggravated form, rendered still more painful by the almost utter hopelessness of their condition, while they watched the repeated failures of Lieutenant Harvey and Mr. Callam in their attempts to send a boat to their relief.  We need not therefore dwell on this subject further than to observe that, under Providence, it was by the undaunted courage and perseverance of those two officers that the remainder of the crew of the Apollo were saved from destruction—­for no one else had been found bold enough to attempt their rescue, although the Consul of Figuera had offered 100 guineas to any man that would take a boat to the wreck.

No less than forty merchantmen were wrecked at the same time.  Several sunk with all their crew, and the remainder lost from two to twelve men each.  Yet Mr. Lewis describes the situation of these ships as not so dangerous as that of the frigate, because the merchantmen, drawing less water, were driven closer in to shore, and the men were enabled to land after the first morning.

The Apollo’s company received every mark of kindness and attention when they got on shore, from the masters of the merchant vessels, who had erected tents on the beach, and who shared with the sufferers whatever provisions they had saved from the wrecks.

Dead bodies floated on shore for many days after, and pieces of wreck covered the beach, marking the scene of this sad calamity.  Fortunately, the Carysfort, with part of the convoy, escaped the fate of her consort by wearing, and arrived safely at Barbadoes.  The surviving officers and crew of the Apollo marched to Figuera, a distance of eighteen miles, from whence they were conveyed in a schooner to Lisbon, and brought by the Orpheus frigate to Portsmouth.

On their arrival in England, they were tried by a court martial; and it is satisfactory to know that they were all fully acquitted.

It is a principal object in this work to draw attention to the advantages of firm and steady discipline in all cases of emergency.  We cannot, therefore, omit to show than when a spirit of insubordination breaks out under circumstances of danger, how surely it is attended with fatal results.

In the course of the evidence adduced before the court of inquiry upon the loss of the Apollo, it was proved that about twenty of her men had broken into the spirit room; disorder, of course, ensued; and Lieutenant Harvey gave it as his opinion, that, if these men had remained sober, many lives might have been spared.  There is so much cause for regret in the whole catastrophe, that we will not harshly impute blame to one party or another.  We may see some palliation for the misconduct of the men in the awful situation in which

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