A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 783 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels, Volume 11.
to heave up the main and fore-yards, in hopes that, if we could but be enabled to make use of our lower canvass, we might possibly weather the island, and thereby save ourselves from this impending shipwreck.  But after full three hours ineffectual labour, the jeers broke, and the men being quite jaded, we were obliged, by mere debility, to desist, and quietly to expect our fate, which we then conceived to be unavoidable:  For we imagined ourselves by this time to be driven just upon the shore, and the night was so extremely dark, that we expected to discover the island no otherwise than by striking upon it; so that the belief of our destruction, and the uncertainly of the point of time when it would take place, occasioned us to pass several hours under the most serious apprehensions, that each succeeding moment would send us to the bottom.  Nor did these continued terrors of instantly striking and sinking end but with the day-break, when we, with great transport, perceived that the island we had thus dreaded was at a considerable distance, and that a strong northern current had been the cause of our preservation.

The turbulent weather which forced us from Tinian, did not begin to abate till three days after; and then we swayed up the fore-yard, and began to heave up the main-yard, but the jeers broke and killed one of our men, and prevented us at that time from proceeding.  The next day, being the 26th of September, was a day of most severe fatigue to us all; for it must be remembered, that in these exigences no rank or office exempted any person from the manual application and bodily labour of a common sailor.  The business of this day was no less than an attempt to heave up the sheet-anchor, which we had hitherto dragged at our bows with two cables an end.  This was a work of great importance to our future preservation:  For, not to mention the impediment to our navigation, and the hazard it would be to our ship, if we attempted to make sail with the anchor in its present situation, we had this most interesting consideration to animate us, that it was the only anchor we had left; and, without securing it, we should be under the utmost difficulties and hazards, whenever we made the land again; and therefore, being all of us fully apprized of the consequence of this enterprize, we laboured at it with the severest application for full twelve hours, when we had indeed made a considerable progress, having brought the anchor in sight; but, it then growing dark, and we being excessively fatigued, we were obliged to desist, and to leave our work unfinished till the next morning, when, by the benefit of a night’s rest, we completed it, and hung the anchor at our bow.

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