Captain Cheap has been suspected of a design
of going on the Spanish
coast without the commodore; but no part of his conduct seems to
authorize, in the least, such a suspicion. The author who brings this
heavy charge against him, is equally mistaken in imagining that
Captain Cheap had not instructions to sail to this island, and that
the commodore did neither go nor send thither to inform himself if any
of the squadron were there. This appears from the orders delivered to
the captains of the squadron the day before they sailed from St
Catherine’s (L. Anson’s Voyage, vol. xi, p. 267,); from the orders of
the council on board the Centurion in the bay of St Julian, (p. 276,)
and from the conduct of the commodore, (p. 305,) who cruized (with the
utmost hazard) more than a fortnight off the island of Socoro, and
along the coast in its neighbourhood. It was the second rendezvous at
Baldivia, and not that at Socoro, that the commodore was forced by
necessity to neglect.
We land on a wild Shore.—No Appearance of Inhabitants.—One of our Lieutenants dies.—Conduct of a Part of the Crew who remained on the Wreck.—We name the Place of our Residence Mount Misery.—Narrative of Transactions there.—Indians appear in Canoes off the Coast.—Description of them.—Discontents amongst our People.
It is natural to think, that to men thus upon the point of perishing by shipwreck, the getting to land was the highest attainment of their wishes; undoubtedly it was a desirable event; yet, all things considered, our condition was but little mended by the change. Which ever way we looked, a scene of horror presented itself; on one side the wreck, (in which was all that we had in the world, to support and subsist us) together with a boisterous sea, presented us with the most dreary prospect; on the other, the land did not wear a much more favourable appearance: desolate and barren, without sign of culture, we could hope to receive little other benefit from it than the preservation it afforded us from the sea. It must be confessed this was a great and merciful deliverance from immediate destruction; but then we had wet, cold, and hunger to struggle with, and no visible remedy against any of those evils. Exerting ourselves, however, though faint, benumbed, and almost helpless, to find some wretched covert against the extreme inclemency of the weather, we discovered an Indian hut at a small distance from the beach, within a wood, in which as many as possible, without distinction, crowded themselves, the night coming on exceedingly tempestuous and rainy. But here our situation was such as to exclude all rest and refreshment by sleep from most of us, for, besides that we pressed upon one another extremely, we were not without our alarms and apprehensions of being attacked by the Indians, from a discovery we made of some of their lances and other arms in our hut; and our uncertainty of their strength and disposition gave alarm to our imagination, and kept us in continual anxiety.