This boat was picked up and taken in tow, when about six o’clock P.M. it was discovered that the ship was near the Hannois rocks, about two miles to the south-west of Guernsey. Orders were immediately given by the pilot to put the helm down, but whilst in stays, the ship struck on the larboard bow; and although every exertion was made to get her off, it was found impossible to do so. The point of a rock was reported to be through the well, rendering the pumps useless. The ship then heeled on her larboard broadside, and the captain gave orders to cut away the masts.
The moment the ship struck, the pilots basely deserted her, and made off in their own boat, without even offering assistance to those who had encountered this danger and disaster in their service. Had the pilots returned to Rocquaine, only two miles distant, they might have procured aid for the Boreas, and preserved the lives of her crew. When Captain Scott was convinced that there was no chance of saving his ship, he ordered an allowance of spirits to be served round, and the gig, the launch, and cutter to be prepared for lowering.
The gig, with Lieutenant Bewick, a lieutenant of marines, and six men, was sent to give information, and obtain assistance. The launch, with the gunner, and some others, was ordered to take on board the sick, and land them at Hannois Point, and then to return to the ship; and the cutter, with the boatswain, and a few men, was despatched on the same service. Captain Scott, with noble intrepidity, remained to share the fate of his vessel.
The launch, under the orders of the gunner, succeeded in reaching the Hannois Rocks, as did also the cutter; but the greater part of the crew of the launch abandoned her as soon as they touched the land. In vain did the gunner use every persuasion to induce the men to return with him to the assistance of their comrades who were left on board the Boreas; they were deaf to his entreaties, and he was obliged to put off again with only four men. The wind and tide were so strong, and so much against them, that the utmost exertion was necessary to enable them to make their way towards the ship, and when they got within two hundred yards of the back of the rocks, the launch was half filled with water. They then tried to make the land again; but before they could reach it the boat was swamped, and the men were saved with difficulty by Mr. Simpson, the boatswain, in the cutter. There is little doubt that if the launch had not been deserted by the greater part of her crew, she might have reached the Boreas, and have saved many valuable lives. And here, in justice to the majority of the ship’s company, we must observe, that those who manned the launch were chiefly smugglers and privateer’s men lately impressed, and were not to be considered as part of the regular crew of the ship.