Account of the Proceedings on board the Centurion when driven out to Sea.
The Centurion being now once more safely arrived at Tinian, to the mutual respite of the labours of our divided crew, it is high time that the reader, after the relation already given of the projects and employment of those left on shore, should be apprised of the fatigues and distresses to which we, who were driven off to sea, were exposed during the long interval of nineteen, days that we were absent from the island.
It has been already mentioned, that it was the 22d of September, about one o’clock, in an extreme dark night, when, by the united violence of a prodigious storm, and an exceeding rapid tide, we were driven from our anchors and forced to sea. Our condition was truly deplorable; we were in a leaky ship, with three cables in our hawses, to one of which hung our only remaining anchor; we had not a gun on board lashed, nor a port barred in; our shrowds were loose, and our top-masts unrigged, and we had struck our fore and main-yards close down, before the storm came on, so that there were no sails we could set, except our mizen. In this dreadful extremity we could muster no more strength on board to navigate the ship, than an hundred and eight hands, several negroes and Indians included: This was scarcely the fourth part of our complement, and of these the greater number were either boys, or such as, being lately recovered from the scurvy, had not yet arrived at half their vigour. No sooner were we at sea, but by the violence of the storm, and the working of the ship, we made a great quantity of water through our hawse-holes, ports, and scuppers, which, added to the constant effect of our leak, rendered our pumps alone a sufficient employment for us all: But though this leakage, by being a short time neglected, would inevitably end in our destruction, yet we had other dangers then impending, which occasioned this to be regarded as a secondary consideration only. For we all imagined that we were driving directly on the neighbouring island of Aguiguan, which was about two leagues distant; and as we had lowered our main and fore-yards close down, we had no sails we could set but the mizen, which was altogether insufficient to carry us clear of this instant peril; we therefore immediately applied ourselves to work, endeavouring, by the utmost of our efforts,