Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 192 pages of information about Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific.
pull away from the ship, they sent some pirogues in chase:  but whether those men were overtaken and murdered, or gained the open sea and perished there, I never could learn.  Nothing more was seen stirring on board the Tonquin; the natives pulled cautiously around her, and some of the more daring went on board; at last, the savages, finding themselves absolute masters of the ship, rushed on board in a crowd to pillage her.  But very soon, when there were about four or five hundred either huddled together on deck, or clinging to the sides, all eager for plunder, the ship blew up with a horrible noise.  “I was on the shore,” said the Indian, “when the explosion took place, saw the great volume of smoke burst forth in the spot where the ship had been, and high in the air above, arms, legs, heads and bodies, flying in every direction.  The tribe acknowledged a loss of over two hundred of their people on that occasion.  As for me I remained their prisoner, and have been their slave for two years.  It is but now that I have been ransomed by my friends.  I have told you the truth, and hope you will acquit me of having in any way participated in that bloody affair.”

[Footnote P:  It being understood, of course, that I render into civilized expressions the language of this barbarian, and represent by words and phrases what he could only convey by gestures or by signs. [The naivete of those notes, and of the narrative in these passages, is amusing.—­ED.]]

[Footnote Q:  A great village or encampment of Indians, among whom the Spaniards had sent missionaries under the conduct of Signor Quadra; but whence the latter were chased by Captain Vancouver, in 1792, as mentioned in the Introduction.]

Our Indian having finished his discourse, we made him presents proportioned to the melancholy satisfaction he had given us in communicating the true history of the sad fate of our former companions, and to the trouble he had taken in coming to us; so that he returned apparently well satisfied with our liberality.

According to the narrative of this Indian, Captain Thorn, by his abrupt manner and passionate temper, was the primary cause of his own death and that of all on board his vessel.  What appears certain at least, is, that he was guilty of unpardonable negligence and imprudence, in not causing the boarding netting to be rigged, as is the custom of all the navigators who frequent this coast, and in suffering (contrary to his instructions) too great a number of Indians to come on board at once.[R]

[Footnote R:  It is equally evident that even at the time when Captain Thorn was first notified of the dangerous crowd and threatening appearance of the natives, a display of firearms would have sufficed to prevent an outbreak.  Had he come on deck with Mr. M’Kay and Mr. Lewis, each armed with a musket, and a couple of pistols at the belt, it is plain from the timidity the savages afterward displayed, that he might have cleared the ship, probably without shedding a drop of blood.—­ED.]

Copyrights
Project Gutenberg
Narrative of a Voyage to the Northwest Coast of America in the years 1811, 1812, 1813, and 1814 or the First American Settlement on the Pacific from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook