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The Adventures of Roderick Random by Tobias Smollett

Part 4 out of 10

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was immersed several feet under water, being immediately above the
hold. I had no sooner approached this dismal gulph, than my nose was
saluted with an intolerable stench of putrified cheese and rancid
butter, that issued from an apartment at the foot of the ladder,
resembling a chandler's shop, where, by the faint glimmering of
a candle, I could perceive a man with a pale, meagre countenance,
sitting behind a kind of desk, having spectacles on his nose, and
a pen in his hand. This (I learned of Mr. Thompson) was the ship's
steward, who sat there to distribute provision to the several messes,
and to mark what each received. He therefore presented my name to
him, and desired I might be entered in his mess; then, taking a
light in his hand, conducted me to the place of his residence, which
was a square of about six feet, surrounded with the medicine-chest,
that of the first mate, his own, and a board by way of table fastened
to the after powder room; it was also inclosed with canvas nailed
round to the beams of the ship, to screen us from the cold, as well
as from the view of the midshipmen and quartermaster, who lodged
within the cable-tiers on each side of us. In this gloomy mansion
he entertained me with some cold suit pork, which he brought from
a sort of locker, fixed above the table: and calling for the boy of
the mess, sent for a can of beer, of which he made excellent flip
to crown the banquet.

By this time I began to recover my spirits, which had been
exceedingly depressed with the appearance of everything about me,
and could no longer refrain from asking the particulars of Mr.
Thompson's fortune since I had seen him in London. He told me,
that being disappointed in his expectations of borrowing money to
gratify the rapacious s--t--ry at the Navy Office, he found himself
utterly unable to subsist any longer in town, and had actually
offered his service, in quality of mate, to the surgeon of a merchant
ship, bound to Guinea on the slaving trade; when, one morning, a
young fellow, of whom he had some acquaintance, came to his lodgings,
and informed him that he had seen a warrant made out in his name at
the Navy Office, for surgeon's second mate of a third-rate. This
unexpected piece of good news he could scarcely believe to be true,
more especially as he had been found qualified at Surgeons' Hall
for third mate only; but that he might not be wanting to himself,
he went thither to be assured, and actually found it so: whereupon,
demanding his warrant, it was delivered to him, and the oaths
administered immediately. That very afternoon he went to Gravesend
in the tilt-boat, from whence he took place in the tide-coach for
Rochester; next morning got on board the "Thunder," for which he
was appointed, then lying in the harbour at Chatham; and the same
day was mustered by the clerk of the checque. And well it was for
him that such expedition was used; for, in less than twelve hours
after his arrival, another William Thompson came on board, affirming
that he was the person for whom the warrant was expedited, and that
the other was an impostor.

My friend was grievously alarmed at this accident, the more so, as
his namesake had very much the advantage over him both in assurance
and dress. However, to acquit himself of the suspicion of imposture, he
produced several letters written from Scotland to him in that name,
and, recollecting that his indentures were in a box on board, he
brought them up, and convinced all present that he had not assumed
a name which did not belong to him. His competitor, enraged that
they should hesitate in doing him justice (for to be sure the
warrant had been designed for him), behaved with so much indecent
heat, that the commanding officer (who was the same gentleman I had
seen) and the surgeon were offended at his presumption, and making
a point of it with their friends in town, in less than a week got
the first confirmed in his station. "I have been on board," said
he, "ever since; and, as this way of life is becoming familiar to
me, have no cause to complain of my situation. The surgeon is a
good-natured, indolent man; the first mate (who is now on shore on
duty) is indeed a little proud and choleric, as all Welshmen are,
but in the main a friendly honest fellow. The lieutenants I have
no concern with; and, as for the captain, he is too much of a
gentleman to know a surgeon's mate, even by sight."


The behaviour of Mr. Morgan--his pride, displeasure, and generosity--the
economy of our mess described--Thomson's further friendship--the
nature of my duty explained--the situation of the sick

While he was thus discoursing to me, we heard a voice on the cockpit
ladder pronounce with great vehemence, in a strange dialect, "The
devil and his dam blow me from the top of Monchdenny, if I go to him
before there is something in my pelly. Let his nose be as yellow
as saffron, or as plue as a pell (look you), or as green as a leek,
'tis all one." To this declaration somebody answered, "So it seems
my poor messmate must part his cable for want of a little assistance.
His foretopsail is loose already; and besides the doctor ordered you
to overhaul him; but I see you don't mind what your master says."
Here he was interrupted with, "Splutter and cons! you lousy tog,
who do you call my master? Get you gone to the doctor, and tell
him my birth, and education, and my abilities; and moreover, my
behaviour is as good as his, or any shentleman's (no disparagement
to him,) in the whole world. Cot pless my soul I does he think,
or conceive, or imagine, that I am a horse, or an ass, or a goat,
to trudge backwards and forwards, and upwards and downwards, and
by sea and by land; at his will and pleasure? Go your ways, you
rapscallion, and tell Doctor Atkins that I desire and request that
he will give a look upon the tying man, and order something for him,
if he be dead or alive, and I will see him take it by and by, when
my craving stomach is satisfied, look you." At this, the other went
away, saying, "that if they should serve him so when he was dying,
by God he would be foul of them in the other world." Here Mr.
Thompson let me know, that the person we heard was Mr. Morgan, the
first mate, who was just come on board from the hospital, whither
he had attended some of the sick in the morning; at the same time
I saw him come into the berth. He was a short thick man, with a
face garnished with pimples, a snub nose turned up at the end, an
excessive wide mouth, and little fiery eyes, surrounded with skin
puckered up in innumerable wrinkles. My friend immediately made
him acquainted with my case; when he regarded me with a very lofty
look, but without speaking, set down a bundle he had in his hand,
and approached the cupboard, which, when he had opened, he exclaimed
in a great passion, "Cot is my life, all the pork is gone, as I
am a Christian!" Thompson then gave him to understand, that, as I
had been brought on board half famished, he could do no less than
to entertain me with what was in the locker, and the rather as he
had bid the steward enter me in the mess. Whether this disappointment
made Mr. Morgan more peevish than usual, or he really thought himself
too little regarded by his fellow mate, I know not, but after some
pause, he went on in this manner: "Mr. Thompson, perhaps you do
not use me with all the good manners, and complaisance, and respect
(look you,) that becomes you, because you have not vouchsafed to
advise with me in this affair. I have in my time (look you,) been
a man of some weight, and substance, and consideration, and have
kept house and home, and paid scot and lot, and the king's taxes;
ay, and maintained a family to boot. And moreover, also, I am your
senior, and your older, and your petter, Mr. Thompson." "My elder,
I'll allow you to be, but not my better!" cried Thompson, with
some heat. "Cot is my Saviour, and witness too," said Morgan, with
great vehemence, "that I am more elder, and therefore more petter
by many years than you." Fearing this dispute might be attended
with some bad consequence, I interposed, and told Mr. Morgan I was
very sorry for having been the occasion of any difference between
him and the second mate; and that, rather than cause the least
breach in their good understanding, I would eat my allowance to
myself, or seek admission into some other company. But Thompson,
with more spirit than discretion (as I thought), insisted upon
my remaining where he had appointed me; and observed that no man,
possessed of generosity and compassion, would have any objection
to it, considering my birth and talents, and the misfortunes I had
of late so unjustly undergone.

This was touching Mr. Morgan on the right key, who protested with
great earnestness, that he had no objection to my being received
in the mess; but only complained that the ceremony of asking his
consent was not observed. "As for a sheltenman in distress," said
he, shaking me by the hand, "I lofe him as I lofe my own powels:
for, Cot help me! I have had vexations enough upon my own pack." And
as I afterwards learned, in so saying, he spoke no more than what
was true; for he had been once settled in a very good situation in
Glamorganshire, and was ruined by being security for an acquaintance.
All differences being composed, he untied his bundle, which consisted
of three bunches of onions, and a great lump of Cheshire cheese,
wrapped up in a handkerchief: and, taking some biscuit from the
cupboard, fell to with a keen appetite, inviting us to share of
the repast. When he had fed heartily on his homely fare, he filled
a large cup, made of a cocoa-nut shell, with brandy, and, drinking
it off, told us, "Prandy was the best menstruum for onions and
sheese." His hunger being appeased, he began to be in better humour;
and, being inquisitive about my birth, no sooner understood that
I was descended of a good family, than he discovered a particular
good-will to me on that account, deducing his own pedigree in a
direct line from the famous Caractacus, king of the Britons, who was
first the prisoner, and afterwards the friend of Claudius Caesar.
Perceiving how much I was reduced in point of linen, he made me a
present of two good ruffled shirts, which, with two more of check
which I received from Mr. Thompson, enabled me to appear with

Meanwhile the sailor, whom Mr. Morgan had sent to the doctor,
brought a prescription for his messmate, which when the Welshman
had read, he got up to prepare it, and asked, "if the man was dead
or alive." "Dead!" replied Jack; "if he was dead, he would have
no occasion for doctor's stuff. No, thank God, death han't as yet
boarded him. But they have been yard-arm and yard-arm these three
glasses." "Are his eyes open," continued the mate. "His starboard
eye," said the sailor, "is open, but fast jammed in his head: and
the haulyards of his under jaw have given way." "Passion of my
heart!" cried Morgan, "the man is as pad as one would desire to be!
Did you feel his pulses!" To this the other replied with "Anan!"
Upon which this Cambro Briton, with great earnestness and humanity,
ordered the tar to run to his messmate, and keep him alive till
he should come with the medicine, "and then," said he, "you shall
peradventure pehold what you shall see."

The poor fellow, with great simplicity, ran to the place where
the sick man lay, but in less than a minute returned with a woful
countenance, and told us his comrade had struck. Morgan, hearing
this, exclaimed, "Mercy upon my salvation! why did you not stop
him till I came?" "Stop him!" said the other; "I hailed him several
times, but he was too far on his way, and the enemy had got possession
of his close quarters; so that he did not mind me." "Well, well,"
said he, "we all owe heaven a teath. Go your ways, you ragamuffin,
and take an example and a warning, look you, and repent of your
misteets." So saying, he pushed the seaman out of the berth.

While we entertained us with reflections suitable to this event,
we heard the boatswain pipe to dinner; and immediately the boy
belonging to our mess ran to the locker, from whence he carried
off a large wooden platter, and, in a few minutes, returned with
it full of boiled peas, crying "Scaldings" all the way as he came.
The cloth, consisting of a piece of an old sail, was instantly
laid, covered with three plates, which by the colour I could with
difficulty discern to be metal, and as many spoons of the same
composition, two of which were curtailed in the handles, and the
other abridged in the lip. Mr. Morgan himself enriched this mess
with a lump of salt butter scooped from an old gallipot, and a
handful of onions shorn, with some pounded pepper. I was not very
much tempted with the appearance of this dish, of which, nevertheless,
my messmates ate heartily, advising me to follow their example,
as it was banyan day and we could have no meat till next noon, But
I had already laid in sufficient for the occasion, and therefore
desired to be excused: expressing a curiosity to know the meaning
of banyan day. They told me, that, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and
Fridays, the ship's company had no allowance of meat, and that these
meagre days were called banyan days, the reason of which they did
not know; but I have since learned they take their denomination
from a sect of devotees in some parts of the East Indies, who never
taste flesh.

After dinner Thompson led me round the ship, showed me the
different parts, described their uses, and, as far as he could, made
me acquainted with the particulars of the discipline and economy
practised on board. He then demanded of the boatswain a hammock
for me, which was slung in a very neat manner by my friend Jack
Rattlin; and, as I had no bed-clothes, procured credit for me with
the purser, for a mattress and two blankets. At seven o'clock in
the evening Morgan visited the sick, and, having ordered what was
proper for each, I assisted Thompson in making up his prescriptions:
but when I followed him with the medicines into the sick berth, or
hospital, and observed the situation of the patients, I was much
less surprised that people should die on board, than that a sick
person should recover. Here I saw about fifty miserable distempered
wretches, suspended in rows, so huddled one upon another, that not
more than fourteen inches space was allotted for each with his bed
and bedding; and deprived of the light of the day, as well as of
fresh air; breathing nothing but a noisome atmosphere of the morbid
steams exhaling from their own excrements and diseased bodies,
devoured with vermin hatched in the filth that surrounded them,
and destitute of every convenience necessary for people in that
helpless condition.


A disagreeable accident happens to me in the discharge of my
office--Morgan's nose is offended--a dialogue between him and the
Ship's steward-upon examination, I find more causes of complaint than
one--my hair is cut off--Morgan's cookery--the manner of sleeping
on board-I am waked in the night by a dreadful noise

Could not comprehend how it was possible for the attendants to come
near those who hung on the inside towards the sides of the ship,
in order to assist them, as they seemed barricadoed by those who
lay on the outside, and entirely out of the reach of all visitation;
much less could I conceive how my friend Thompson would be able to
administer clysters, that were ordered for some, in that situation;
when I saw him thrust his wig in his pocket, and strip himself to
his waistcoat in a moment, then creep on all fours under the hammocks
of the sick, and, forcing up his bare pate between two, keep them
asunder with one shoulder, until he had done his duty. Eager to
learn the service, I desired he would give me leave to perform the
next operation of that kind; and he consenting, I undressed myself
after his example, and crawling along, the ship happened to roll:
this motion alarming me, I laid hold of the first thing that came
within my grasp with such violence, that I overturned it, and soon
found, by the smell that issued upon me, that I had unlocked a box
of the most delicious perfume. It was well for me that my nose was
none of the most delicate, else I know not how I might have been
affected by this vapour, which diffused itself all over the ship,
to the utter discomposure of everybody who tarried on the same
dock! neither was the consequence of this disgrace confined to my
sense of smelling only; for I felt my misfortune more ways than one.
That I might not, however, appear altogether disconcerted in this
my first essay, I got up, and, pushing my head with great force
between two hammocks, towards the middle, where the greatest resistance
was, I made an opening indeed, but, not understanding the knack of
dexterously turning my shoulder to maintain my advantage, had the
mortification to find myself stuck up, as it were, in a pillory,
and the weight of three or four people bearing on each side of my
neck, so that I was in danger of strangulation. While I remained
in this defenceless posture, one of the sick men, rendered peevish
by his distemper, was so enraged at the smell I had occasioned and
the rude shock he had received from me in my elevation, that, with
many bitter reproaches, he seized me by the nose, which he tweaked
so unmercifully, that I roared with anguish. Thompson, perceiving
my condition, ordered one of the waiters to my assistance, who, with
much difficulty, disengaged me from this situation, and hindered
me from taking vengeance on the sick man, whose indisposition would
not have screened him from the effects of my indignation.

After having made an end of our ministry for that time, we descended
to the cockpit, my friend comforting me for what had happened
with a homely proverb, which I do not choose to repeat. When we
had descended half-way down the ladder, Mr. Morgan, before he saw
us, having intelligence by his nose of the approach of something
extraordinary, cried, "Cot have mercy upon my senses! I pelieve the
enemy has poarded us in a stinkpot!" Then, directing his discourse
to the steward, from whence he imagined the odour proceeded, he
reprimanded him severely for the freedoms he took among gentlemen
of birth, and threatened to smoke him like a padger with sulphur,
if ever be should presume to offend his neighbours with such
smells for the future. The steward, conscious of his own innocence,
replied with some warmth, "I know of no smells but those of your
own making." This repartee introduced a smart dialogue, in which the
Welshman undertook to prove, that, though the stench he complained
of did not flow from the steward's own body, he was nevertheless
the author of it, by serving out damaged provisions to the ship's
company; and, in particular, putrified cheese, from the use of
which only, he affirmed, such unsavoury steams could arise. Then
he launched out into the praise of good cheese, of which he gave
the analysis; explained the different kinds of that commodity,
with the methods practised to make and preserve it, concluded in
observing, that, in yielding good cheese, the county of Glamorgan
might vie with Cheshire itself, and was much superior to it in the
produce of goats and putter.

I gathered from this conversation, that, if I entered in my present
pickle, I should be no welcome guest, and therefore desired Mr.
Thompson to go before, and represent my calamity; at which the first
mate, expressing some concern, went upon deck immediately, taking
his way through the cable-tier and the main hatchway, to avoid
encountering me; desiring me to clean myself as soon as possible:
for he intended to regale himself with a dish of salmagundy and a
pipe. Accordingly, I set about this disagreeable business, and soon
found I had more causes of complaint than I at first imagined; for
I perceived some guests had honoured me with their company, whose
visit I did not think seasonable: neither did they seem inclined
to leave me in a hurry, for they were in possession of my chief
quarters, where they fed without reserve at the expense of my blood.
But, considering it would be easier to extirpate the ferocious
colony in the infancy of their settlement, than after they should
be multiplied and naturalised to the soil, I took the advice of my
friend, who, to prevent such misfortunes, went always close shaved,
and made the boy of our mess cut off my hair, which had been growing
since I left the service of Lavement; and the second mate lent me
an old bobwig to supply the loss of that covering. This affair being
ended, and everything adjusted in the best manner my circumstances
would permit, the descendant of Caractacus returned, and, ordering
the boy to bring a piece of salt beef from the brine, cut off a
slice, and mixed it with an equal quantity of onions, which seasoning
with a moderate proportion of pepper and salt, he brought it to a
consistence with oil and vinegar; then, tasting the dish, assured
us it was the best salmagundy that ever he made, and recommended
it to our palate with such heartiness that I could not help doing
honour to his preparation. But I had no sooner swallowed a mouthful,
than I thought my entrails were scorched, and endeavoured with a
deluge of small-beer to allay the heat it occasioned. Supper being
over, Mr. Morgan having smoked a couple of pipes, and supplied
the moisture he had expended with as many cans of flip, of which
we all partook, a certain yawning began to admonish me that it was
high time to repair by sleep the injury I had suffered from want of
rest the preceding night; which being perceived by my companions,
whose time of repose was now arrived, they proposed we should turn
in, or in other words, go to bed. Our hammocks, which hung parallel
to one another, on the outside of the berth, were immediately
unlashed, and I beheld my messmates spring with great agility into
their respective nests, where they seemed to lie concealed, very
much at their ease. But it was some time before I could prevail upon
myself to trust my carcase at such a distance from the ground, in
a narrow bag, out of which, I imagined, I should be apt, on the
least motion in my sleep, to tumble down at the hazard of breaking
my bones. I suffered myself, however, to be persuaded, and taking
a leap to get in, threw myself quite over, with such violence, that
had I not luckily got hold of Thompson's hammock, I should have
pitched upon my head on the other side, and in all likelihood
fractured my skull.

After some fruitless efforts, I succeeded at last; but the
apprehension of the jeopardy in which I believed myself withstood
all the attacks of sleep till towards the morning watch, when, in
spite of my fears, I was overpowered with slumber, though I did not
long enjoy this comfortable situation, being aroused with a noise
so loud and shrill, that I thought the drums of my ears were burst
by it; this was followed by a dreadful summons pronounced by a
hoarse voice, which I could not understand. While I was debating
with myself, whether or not I should wake my companion and inquire
into the occasion of this disturbance, I was informed by one of the
quartermasters who passed by me with a lantern in his hand, that
the noise which alarmed me was occasioned by the boatswain's mates
who called up the larboard watch, and that I must lay my account
with such an interruption every morning at the same hour. Being
now more assured of my safety, I undressed myself again to rest,
and slept till eight o'clock, when rising, and breakfasting with my
comrades on biscuit and brandy, the sick were visited and assisted
as before; after which visitation my good friend Thompson explained
and performed another piece of duty, to which I was a stranger. At
a certain hour in the morning, the boy of the mess went round all
the decks, ringing a small hand-bell, and, in rhymes composed for
the occasion, invited all those who had sores to repair before the
mast, where one of the doctor's mates attended, with applications
to dress them.


I acquire the friendship of the Surgeon, who procures a warrant for
me, and makes me a present of clothes--a battle between a Midshipman
and me--the Surgeon leaves the ship--the Captain comes on board
with another Surgeon--a dialogue between the Captain and Morgan--the
sick are ordered to be brought upon the Quarter-deck and examined--the
consequences of that order--a Madman accuses Morgan, and is set at
liberty by command of the Captain, whom he instantly attacks, and
pummels without mercy

While I was busied with my friend in the practice. The doctor
chanced to pass by the place where we were, and stopping to observe
me appeared very well satisfied with my application; and afterwards
sent for me to his cabin, where, having examined me touching my
skill in surgery, and the particulars of my fortune, he interested
himself so far in my behalf, as to promise his assistance in procuring
a warrant for me, seeing I had already been found qualified at
Surgeons' Hall for the station I filled on board; and in this good
office he the more cordially engaged when he understood I was nephew
to lieutenant Bowling, for whom he expressed a particular regard.
In the meantime, I could learn from his discourse that he did not
intend to go to sea again with Captain Oakum, having, as he thought,
been indifferently used by him during the last voyage.

While I lived tolerably easy, in expectation of preferment, I was
not altogether without mortifications, which I not only suffered
from the rude insults of the sailors and petty officers, among
whom I was known by the name of Loblolly Boy, but also from the
disposition of Morgan, who, though friendly in the main, was often
very troublesome with his pride, which expected a good deal of
submission from me, and delighted in recapitulating the favours I
had received at his hands.

About six weeks after my arrival on board, the surgeon, bidding me
to follow him into his cabin, presented a warrant to me, by which
I was appointed surgeon's third mate on board the Thunder. This he
had procured by his interest at the Navy Office; as also another
for himself, by virtue of which he was removed into a second-rate.
I acknowledged his kindness in the strongest terms my gratitude
could suggest, and professed my sorrow at the prospect of losing
so valuable a friend, to whom I hoped to have recommended myself
still further, by my respectful and diligent behaviour. But his
generosity rested not here; for before he left the ship he made me
a present of a chest and some clothes that enabled me to support
the rank to which he had raised me.

I found my spirit revive with my good fortune; and, now I was an
officer, resolved to maintain the dignity of my station, against
all opposition or affronts; nor was it long before I had occasion
to exert my resolution. My old enemy, the midshipman (whose name
was Crampley), entertaining an implacable animosity against me for
the disgrace he had suffered on my account, had since that time
taken all opportunities of reviling and ridiculing me, when I was
not entitled to retort this bad usage; and, even after I had been
rated on the books, and mustered as surgeon's mate, did not think
fit to restrain his insolence. In particular, being one day present
while I dressed a wound in a sailor's leg, he began to sing a song,
which I thought highly injurious to the honour of my country, and
therefore signified my resentment, by observing that the Scots
always laid their account with finding enemies among the ignorant,
insignificant, and malicious. This unexpected piece of assurance
enraged him to such a degree, that he lent me a blow on the face,
which I verily thought had demolished my cheek-bone. I was not
slow in returning the obligation, and the affair began to be very
serious, when by accident Mr. Morgan, and one of the master's
mates, coming that way, interposed, and, inquiring into the cause,
endeavoured to promote a reconciliation; but, finding us both
exasperated to the uttermost, and bent against accommodation, they
advised us either to leave our difference undecided, till we should
have an opportunity of terminating it on shore, like gentlemen, or
else choose a proper place on board, and bring it to an issue by
boxing. The last expedient was greedily embraced by us both; and,
being forthwith conducted to the ground proposed, we stripped in a
moment, and began a furious contest, in which I soon found myself
inferior to my antagonist, not so much in strength and agility, as
in skill, which he had acquired in the school of Hockley-in-the-Hole
at Tottenham-court. Many cross buttocks did I sustain, and pegs
on the stomach without number, till at last my breath being quite
gone, as well as my vigour wasted, I grew desperate, and collecting
all my strength in one effort, threw in at once, head, hands, and
feet, with such violence, that I drove my antagonist three paces
backward into the main hatchway, down which he fell, and pitching
upon his head and right shoulder, remained without sense and motion.
Morgan, looking down, and seeing him lie in that condition, cried,
"Upon my conscience, as I am a Christian sinner, (look you,)
I believe his pattles are all ofer; but I take you all to witness
that there was no treachery in the case, and that he has suffered
by the chance of war." So saying he descended to the deck below,
to examine into the situation of my adversary, and left me very
little pleased with my victory, as I found myself not only terribly
bruised, but likewise in danger of being called to account for
the death of Crampley; but this fear vanished when my fellow-mate
having, by bleeding him in the jugular, brought him to himself, and
inquired into the state of his body, called up to me to be under
no concern, for the midshipman had received no other damage than
as pretty a luxation of the os humeri as one would desire to see
on a summer's day. Upon this information I crawled down to the
cock-pit, and acquainted Thompson with the affair, who, providing
himself with bandages, etc, necessary for the occasion, went up to
assist Mr. Morgan in the reduction of the dislocation. When this
was successfully performed, they wished me joy of the event of the
combat; and the Welshman, after observing, that, in ail likelihood,
the ancient Scots and Britons were the same people, bade me "praise
Cot for putting mettle in my pelly, and strength in my limbs to
support it." I acquired such reputation by this rencontre, which
lasted twenty minutes, that everybody became more cautious in
behaviour towards me; though Crampley, with his arm in a sling,
talked very high, and threatened to seize the first opportunity
of retrieving on shore the honour he had lost by an accident, from
which I could justly claim no merit.

About this time, Captain Oakum, having received sailing orders, came
on board, and brought along with him a surgeon of his own country,
who soon made us sensible of the loss we suffered in the departure
of Doctor Atkins; for he was grossly ignorant, and intolerably
assuming, false, vindictive, and unforgiving; a merciless tyrant
to his inferiors, an abject sycophant to those above him. In the
morning after the captain came on board, our first mate, according
to custom, went to wait on him with a sick list, which, when this
grim commander had perused, he cried with a stern countenance,
"Blood and cons! sixty-one sick people on board of my ship! Harkee,
you sir, I'll have no sick in my ship, by G--d." The Welshman
replied, "he should be very glad to find no sick people on board:
but, while it was otherwise, he did no more than his duty in
presenting him with a list." "You and your list may be d--n'd,"
said the captain, throwing it at him; "I say, there shall be no
sick in this ship while I have the command of her." Mr. Morgan,
being nettled at this treatment, told him his indignation ought to
be directed to Cot Almighty, who visited his people with distempers,
and not to him, who contributed all in his power towards their
cure. The bashaw, not being used to such behaviour in any of his
officers, was enraged to fury at this satirical insinuation, and,
stamping with his foot, called him insolent scoundrel, threatening
to have him pinioned to the deck, if he should presume to utter
another syllable. But the blood of Caractacus being thoroughly
heated, disdained to be restricted by such a command, and began
to manifest itself in, "Captain Oakum, I am a shentleman of birth
and parentage (look you), and peradventure I am moreover." Here
his harangue was broken off by the captain's steward, who, being
Morgan's countryman, hurried him out of the cabin before he had
time to exasperate his master to a greater degree, and this would
certainly have been the case; for the indignant Welshman could
hardly be hindered by his friend's arguments and entreaties from
re-entering the presence-chamber, and defying Captain Oakum to his
teeth. He was, however appeased at length, and came down to the
berth, where, finding Thompson and me at work preparing medicines,
he bade us leave off our lapour to go to play, for the captain, by
his sole word, and power, and command, had driven sickness a pegging
to the tevil, and there was no more malady on board. So saying, he
drank off a gill of brandy sighed grievously three times, poured
fort an ejaculation of "Cot pless my heart, liver, and lungs!" and
then began to sing a Welsh song with great earnestness of visage,
voice, and gesture. I could not conceive the meaning of this
singular phenomenon, and saw by the looks of Thompson, who at the
same time shook his head, that he suspected poor Cadwallader's
brains were unsettled. He, perceiving our amazement, told us he
would explain the mystery; but at the same time bade us take notice,
that he had lived poy, patchelor, married man, and widower, almost
forty years, and in all that time there was no man, nor mother's
son in the whole world who durst use him so ill as Captain Oakum had
done. Then he acquainted us with the dialogue that passed between
them, as I have already related it: and had no sooner finished this
narration than he received a message from the surgeon, to bring
the sick-list to the quarter-deck, for the captain had ordered all
the patients thither to be reviewed.

This inhuman order shocked us extremely, as we knew it would
be impossible to carry some of them on the deck, without imminent
danger of their lives: but, as we likewise knew it would be to
no purpose for us to remonstrate against it, we repaired to the
quarter-deck in a body, to see this extraordinary muster; Morgan
observing by the way, that the captain was going to send to the
other world a great many evidences to testify against himself.
When we appeared upon deck, the captain bade the doctor, who stood
bowing at his right hand, look at these lazy lubberly sons of
bitches, who were good for nothing on board but to eat the king's
provision, and encourage idleness in the skulkers. The surgeon
grinned approbation, and, taking the list, began to examine the
complaints of each as they could crawl to the place appointed. The
first who came under his cognizance was a poor fellow just freed
of a fever, which bad weakened him so much that he could hardly
stand. Mr. Mackshane (for that was the doctor's name), having
felt his pulse, protested he was as well as any man in the world;
and the captain delivered him over to the boatswain's mate, with
orders that be should receive a round dozen at the gangway immediately,
for counterfeiting himself sick; but, before the discipline could
be executed, the man dropped down on the deck, and had well nigh
perished under the hands of the executioner. The next patient to
be considered, laboured under a quartan ague, and, being then in
his interval of health, discovered no other symptoms of distemper
than a pale meagre countenance and emaciated body; upon which he
was declared fit for duty, and turned over to the boatswain; but,
being resolved to disgrace the doctor, died upon the forecastle
next day, during his cold fit. The third complained of a pleuritic
stitch, and spitting of blood, for which Doctor Mackshane prescribed
exercise at the pump to promote expectoration! but whether this was
improper for one in his situation, or that it was used to excess,
I know not, but in less than half-an-hour he was suffocated
with a deluge of blood that issued from his lungs. A fourth, with
much difficulty, climbed to the quarter-deck, being loaded with a
monstrous ascites, or dropsy, that invaded his chest so much, he
could scarce fetch his breath; but his disease being interpreted into
fat, occasioned by idleness and excess of eating, he was ordered,
with a view to promote perspiration and enlarge his chest, to
go aloft immediately. It was in vain for this unwieldy wretch to
allege his utter incapacity; the boatswain's driver was commanded
to whip him up with the cat-and-nine-tails; the smart of this
application made him exert himself so much, that he actually arrived
at the puttock shrouds; but when the enormous weight of his body
had nothing else to support than his weakened arms, either out of
spite or necessity, he quitted his hold, and plunged into the sea,
where he must have been drowned, had not a sailor, who was in a
boat alongside, saved his life, by keeping him afloat till he was
hoisted on board by a tackle.

It would be tedious and disagreeable to describe the fate of every
miserable object that suffered by the inhumanity and ignorance
of the captain and surgeon, who so wantonly sacrificed the lives
of their fellow-creatures. Many were brought up in the height of
fevers, and rendered delirious by the injuries they received in the
way. Some gave up the ghost in the presence of their inspectors;
and others, who were ordered to their duties, languished a few
days at work among their fellows, and then departed without any
ceremony. On the whole, the number of the sick was reduced to less
than a dozen; and the authors of this reduction were applauding
themselves for the services they had done to their king and country,
when the boatswain's mate informed his honour, that there was a
man below lashed to his hammock, by direction of the doctor's mate,
and that he begged hard to be released; affirming, he had been so
maltreated only for a grudge Mr. Morgan bore him, and that he was
as much in his senses as any man aboard. The captain hearing this,
darted a severe look at the Welshman, and ordered the man to be
brought up immediately; upon which, Morgan protested with great
fervency, that the person in question was as mad as a March hare;
and begged for the love of Cot, they would at least keep his arms
pinioned during his examination, to prevent him from doing mischief.
This request the commander granted for his own sake, and the patient
was produced, who insisted upon his being in his right wits with
such calmness and strength of argument, that everybody present was
inclined to believe him, except Morgan, who affirmed there was no
trusting to appearances; for he himself had been so much imposed
upon by his behaviour two days before, that he had actually unbound
him with his own hands, and had well nigh been murdered for his
pains: this was confirmed by the evidence of one of the waiters,
who declared he had pulled this patient from the doctor's mate,
whom he had gotten down, and almost strangled. To this the man
answered, that the witness was a creature of Morgan's, and suborned
to give his testimony against him by the malice of the mate, whom
the defendant had affronted, by discovering to the people on board,
that Mr. Morgan's wife kept a gin-shop in Ragfair. This anecdote
produced a laugh at the expense of the Welshman, who, shaking his
head with some emotion, said, "Ay, ay, 'tis no matter. Cot knows,
it is an arrant falsehood." Captain Oakum, without any farther
hesitation, ordered the fellow to be unfettered; at the same time,
threatening to make Morgan exchange situations with him for his
spite; but the Briton no sooner heard the decision in favour of
the madman, than he got up to the mizen-shrouds, crying to Thompson
and me to get out of his reach, for we should see him play the devil
with a vengeance. We did not think fit to disregard his caution,
and accordingly got up on the poop, whence we beheld the maniac (as
soon as he was released) fly at the captain like a fury, crying,
"I'll let you know, you scoundrel, that I am commander of this
vessel," and pummel him without mercy. The surgeon, who went to
the assistance of his patron, shared the same fate; and it was with
the utmost difficulty that he was mastered at last, after having
done great execution among those who opposed him.


The Captain enraged, threatens to put the Madman to death with his
own hand--is diverted from that resolution by the arguments and
persuasion of the first Lieutenant and Surgeon-we set sail for St.
Helen's, join the fleet under the command of Sir C-- O--gle, and
proceed for the West Indies--are overtaken by a terrible tempest--my
friend Jack Rattlin has his leg broke by a fall from the mainyard--the
behaviour of Mr. Mackshane-Jack opposes the amputation of his limb,
in which he is seconded by Morgan and me, we undertake the cure
and perform it successfully

The captain was carried into his cabin, so enraged with the treatment
he had received, that he ordered the fellow to be brought before
him, that he might have the pleasure of pistoling him with his
own hand; and would certainly have satisfied his revenge in this
manner, had not the first lieutenant remonstrated against it, by
observing that, in all appearances, the fellow was not mad, but
desperate; that he had been hired by some enemy of the captain's
to him, and therefore ought to be kept in irons till he could be
brought to a court-martial, which, no doubt, would sift the affair to
the bottom (by which means important discoveries might be made),
and then sentence the criminal to a death according to his demerits.
This suggestion, improbable as it was, had the desired effect
upon the captain, being exactly calculated for the meridan of his
intellects; more especially as Dr. Mackshane espoused this opinion,
in consequence of his previous declaration that the man was not
mad. Morgan finding there was no more damage done, could not help
discovering by his countenance the pleasure he enjoyed on this
occasion; and, while he bathed the doctor's face with an embrocation,
ventured to ask him, whether he thought there were more fools or
madmen on board? But he would have been wiser in containing this
sally, which his patient carefully laid up in his memory, to be
taken notice of at a more fit season. Meanwhile we weighed anchor,
and, on our way to the Downs, the madman, who was treated as
a prisoner, took an opportunity, while the sentinel attending him
was at the head, to leap and frustrate the revenge of the captain.
We stayed not long at the Downs, but took the benefit of the first
easterly wind to go round to Spithead: where, having received
provisions on board for six months, we sailed from St. Helen's in
the grand fleet bound for the West Indies, on the ever-memorable
expedition of Carthagena.

It was not without great mortification I saw myself on the point of
being transported to such a distant and unhealthy climate, destitute
of every convenience that could render such a voyage supportable,
and under the dominion of an arbitrary tyrant, whose command was
almost intolerable; however, as these complaints were common to
a great many on board, I resolved to submit patiently to my fate,
and contrive to make myself as easy as the nature of the case would
allow. We got out of the channel with a prosperous breeze, which
died away, leaving us becalmed about fifty leagues to the westward
of the Lizard: but this state of inaction did not last long; for
next night our maintop-sail was split by the wind, which, in the
morning, increased to a hurricane. I was awakened by a most horrible
din, occasioned by the play of the gun carriages upon the decks
above, the cracking of cabins, the howling of the wind through
the shrouds, the confused noise of the ship's crew, the pipes of
the boatswain and his mates, the trumpets of the lieutenants, and
the clanking of the chain pumps. Morgan who had never been at sea
before, turned out in a great hurry, crying, "Cot have mercy and
compassion upon us! I believe, we have cot upon the confines of
Lucifer and the d--n'd!" while poor Thompson lay quaking in his
hammock, putting up petitions to heaven for our safety. I rose and
joined the Welshman, with whom (after having fortified ourselves
with brandy) I went above; but if my sense of hearing was startled
before, how must my sight have been apalled in beholding the effects
of the storm! The sea was swelled into billows mountain-high, on
the top of which our ship sometimes hung as if it were about to be
precipitated to the abyss below! Sometimes we sank between two
waves that rose on each side higher than our topmast-head, and
threatened by dashing together to overwhelm us in a moment! Of all
our fleet, consisting of a hundred and fifty sail, scarce twelve
appeared, and these driving under their bare poles, at the mercy
of the tempest. At length the mast of one of them gave way, and
tumbled overboard with a hideous crash! Nor was the prospect in
our own ship much more agreeable; a number of officers and sailors
ran backward and forward with distraction in their looks, halloaing
to one another, and undetermined what they should attend to first.
Some clung to the yards, endeavouring to unbend the sails that were
split into a thousand pieces flapping in the wind; others tried to
furl those which were yet whole, while the masts, at every pitch,
bent and quivered like twigs, as if they would have shivered into
innumerable splinters! While I considered this scene with equal
terror and astonishment, one of the main braces broke, by the shock
whereof two sailors were flung from the yard's arm into the sea,
where they perished, and poor Jack Rattlin thrown down upon the
deck, at the expense of a broken leg. Morgan and I ran immediately
to his assistance, and found a splinter of the shin-bone thrust by
the violence of the fall through the skin; as this was a case of
too great consequence to be treated without the authority of the
doctor I went down to his cabin to inform him of the accident, as
well as to bring up dressings which we always kept ready prepared.
I entered his apartment without any ceremony, and, by the glimmering
of a lamp, perceived him on his knees before something that very
much resembled a crucifix; but this I will not insist upon, that I
may not seem too much a slave to common report, which indeed assisted
my conjecture on this occasion, by representing Dr. Mackshane as
a member of the church of Rome. Be this as it will, he got up in
a sort of confusion, occasioned (I suppose) by his being disturbed
in his devotion, and in a trice snatched the subject of my suspicion
from my sight.

After making an apology for my intrusion, I acquainted him with
the situation of Rattlin, but could by no means prevail upon him
to visit him on deck, where he lay; he bade me desire the boatswain
to order some of the men to carry him down to the cockpit, "and in
the meantime," said he, "I will direct Thompson to get ready the
dressings." When I signified to the boatswain the doctor's desire,
he swore a terrible oath, that he could not spare one man from deck,
because he expected the mast would go by the board every minute.
This piece of information did not at all contribute to my peace
of mind; however, as my friend Rattlin complained very much, with
the assistance of Morgan I supported him to the lower deck, whither
Mr. Mackshane, after much entreaty, ventured to come, attended by
Thompson, with a box full of dressings, and his own servant, who
carried a whole set of capital instruments. He examined the fracture
and the wound, and concluding, from a livid colour extending itself
upon the limb, that mortification would ensue, resolved to amputate
the leg immediately. This was a dreadful sentence to the patient,
who, recruiting himself with a quid of tobacco, pronounced with
a woful countenance, "What! is there no remedy, doctor! must I be
dock'd? can't you splice it?" "Assuredly, Doctor Mackshane," said
the first mate, "with submission, and deference, and veneration,
to your superior apilities, and opportunities, and stations, look
you, I do apprehend, and conjure, and aver, that there is no occasion
nor necessity to smite off this poor man's leg." "God Almighty
bless you, dear Welshman!" cried Rattlin, "may you have fair wind
and weather wheresoever you're bound, and come to an anchor in
the road of heaven at last!" Mackshane, very much incensed at his
mate's differing in opinion from him, so openly, answered, that he
was not bound to give an account of his practice to him; and in a
peremptory tone, ordered him to apply the tourniquet. At the sight
of which, Jack, starting up, cried, "Avast, avast! D--n my heart,
if you clap your nippers on me, till I know wherefore! Mr. Random,
won't you lend a hand towards saving my precious limb! Odd's heart,
if Lieutenant Bowling was here, he would not suffer Jack Rattlin's
leg to be chopped off like a piece of old junk."

This pathetic address to me, joined to my inclination to serve my
honest friend, and the reasons I had to believe there was no danger
in delaying the amputation, induced me to declare myself of the
first mate's opinion, and affirm that the preternatural colour of
the skin was owing to an inflammation, occasioned by a contusion,
and common in all such cases, without any indication of an approaching
gangrene. Morgan, who had a great opinion of my skill, manifestly
exulted in my fellowship, and asked Thompson's sentiments in the
matter, in hopes of strengthening our association with him too;
but he, being of a meek disposition, and either dreading the enmity
of the surgeon, or speaking the dictates of his own judgment, in a
modest manner espoused the opinion of Mackshane, who by this time
having consulted with himself, determined to act in such a manner
as to screen himself from censure, and at the same time revenge
himself on us, for our arrogance in contradicting him. With this
view, he asked if we would undertake to cure the leg at our peril:
that is, be answerable for the consequence. To this question, Morgan
replied, that the lives of his creatures are at the hands of Cot
alone; and it would be great presumption in him to undertake for an
event that was in the power of his Maker, no more than the doctor
could promise to cure all the sick to whom he administered his
assistance; but if the patient would put himself under our direction,
we would do our endeavour to bring his distemper to a favourable
issue, to which at present we saw no obstruction.

I signified my concurrence; and Rattlin was so overjoyed that,
shaking us both by the hands, he swore nobody else should touch
him, and, if he died, his blood should be upon his own head. Mr.
Mackshane, flattering himself with the prospect of our miscarriage,
went away, and left us to manage it as we should think proper;
accordingly, having sawed off part of the splinter that stuck
through the skin, we reduced the fracture, dressed the wound, applied
the eighteen-tailed bandage, and put the leg in a box, secundam
artem. Everything succeeded according to our wish, and we had the
satisfaction of not only preserving the poor fellow's leg, but
likewise of rendering the doctor contemptible among the ship's
company, who had all their eyes on us during the course of this
cure, which was completed in six weeks.


Mackshane's malice--I am taken up and imprisoned for a spy--Morgan
meets with the same fate--Thompson is tampered with to turn
evidence against us--disdains the proposal, and is maltreated for
his integrity--Morgan is released to assist the Surgeon during an
engagement with some French ships-of-war--I remain fettered on the
poop, exposed to the enemy's shot, and grow delirious with fear--am
comforted after the battle by Morgan, who speaks freely of the
captain, is overheard by the sentinel, who informs against him, and
again imprisoned--Thompson grows desperate, and, notwithstanding
the remonstrances of Morgan and me, goes overboard in the night

In the meantime the storm subsided into a brisk gale, that carried
us into the warm latitudes, where the weather became intolerable,
and the crew very sickly. The doctor left nothing unattempted
towards the completion of his vengeance against the Welshman and
me. He went among the sick under pretence of inquiring into their
grievances, with a view of picking up complaints to our prejudice;
but, finding himself frustrated in that expectation by the goodwill
we bad procured from the patients by our diligence and humanity,
he took the resolution of listening to our conversation, by hiding
himself behind the canvas that surrounded our berth; here too he
was detected by the boy of our mess, who acquainted us with this
piece of behaviour, and one night, while we were picking a large
bone of salt beef, Morgan discerned something stir on the outside
of our hangings, which immediately interpreting to be the doctor,
he tipped me the wink, and pointed to the place, where I could
perceive somebody standing; upon which, I snatched up the bone,
and levelled it with all my force at him, saying, "Whoever you are,
take that for your curiosity." It had the desired effect, for we
heard the listener tumble down, and afterwards crawl to his own
cabin. I applauded myself much for this feat, which turned out
one of the most unlucky exploits of my life, Mackshane, from that
time, marking me out for destruction.

About a week after this exploit, as I was going my rounds among
the sick, I was taken prisoner, and carried to the poop by the
master-at-arms, where I was loaded with irons, and stapled to the
deck, on pretence that I was a spy on board, and had conspired
against the captain's life. How ridiculous soever this imputation
was, I did not fail to suffer by it all the rigour that could be
shown to the worst of criminals, being exposed in this miserable
condition to the scorching heat of the sun by day, and the unwholesome
damps by night, during the space of twelve days, in which I was
neither brought to trial, nor examined touching the probability
of the charge. I had no sooner recovered the use of my reflection,
which had been quite overthrown by this accident, than I sent for
Thompson, who, after condoling me on the occasion, hinted, that
I owed this misfortune to the hatred of the doctor, who had given
an information against me to the captain, in consequence of which
I was arrested, and all my papers seized. While I was cursing
my capricious fate, I saw Morgan ascend the poop, guarded by two
corporals, who made him sit down by me, that he might be pinioned
in the same machine. Notwithstanding my situation, I could scarce
refrain from laughing at the countenance of my fellow prisoner, who,
without speaking one word, allowed his feet to be inclosed in the
rings provided for that purpose; but, when they pretended to fasten
him on his back he grew outrageous, and drawing a large couteau
from his side-pocket, threatened to rip up the belly of the first
man that should approach him, in order to treat him in such an
unworthy manner. They were prepared to use him very roughly, when
the lieutenant on the quarter-deck called up to them to let him
remain as he was. He then crept towards me, and, taking me by the
hand, bade me "put my trust in Cot." And looking at Thompson, who
sat by us trembling, with a pale visage; told him there were two
more rings for his feet, and he should be glad to find him in such
good company. But it was not the intention of our adversary to
include the second mate in our fate: him he expected to be his drudge
in attending the sick and, if possible, his evidence against us:
with this view he sounded him afar off, but, finding his integrity
incorruptible, harrassed him so much out of spite, that in a short
time this mild creature grew weary of his life.

While I and my fellow prisoner comforted each other in our
tribulation, the admiral discovered four sail to leeward and made
signal for our ship and four more to chase: hereupon everything
was cleared for an engagement, and Mackshane, foreseeing he should
have occasion for more assistants than one obtained Morgan's
liberty, while I was let in this deplorable posture to the chance
of battle. It was almost dark when we came up with the sternmost
chase, which we hailed, and inquired who they were. They gave us to
understand they were French men-of-war, upon which Captain Oakum
commanded them to send their boat on board of him! but they refused,
telling him, if he had any business with them, to come on board of
their ship: he then threatened to pour in a broadside upon them,
which they promised to retain. Both sides were as good as their
word, and the engagement began with great fury. The reader may guess
how I passed my time, lying in this helpless situation, amidst the
terrors of a sea-fight; expecting every moment to be cut asunder,
or dashed in pieces by the enemy's shot! I endeavoured to compose
myself as much as possible, by reflecting that I was not a whit
more exposed than those who were stationed about me; but, when I
beheld them employed without intermission in annoying the foe, and
encouraged by the society and behaviour of one another, I could
easily perceive a wide difference between their condition and
mine: however, I concealed my agitation as well as I could till the
head of the officer of marines who stood near me, being shot off,
bounced from the deck athwart my face, leaving me well nigh blinded
with brains. I could contain myself no longer, but began to bellow
with all the strength of my lungs; when a drummer, coming towards
me asked if I was wounded, and, before I could answer, received
a great shot in his belly, which tore out his entrails, and he
fell flat on my breast. This accident entirely bereft me of all
discretion; I redoubled my cries, which were drowned in the noise
of the battle; and, finding myself disregarded, lost all patience,
and. became frantic. I vented my rage in oaths and execrations, till
my spirits, being quite exhausted, I remained quiet, as insensible
of the load that oppressed me.

The engagement lasted till broad day, when Captain Oakum, finding
he was like to gain neither honour nor advantage by the affair,
pretended to be undeceived by seeing their colours; and, hailing
the ship whom he had fought all night, protested he believed them
Spaniards; and the guns being silenced on each side, ordered the
barge to be hoisted out, and went on board the French commodore.
Our loss amounted to ten killed, and eighteen wounded, most part
of whom afterwards died. My fellow-mates bad no sooner despatched
their business in the cock-pit, than, full of friendly concern,
they came to visit me. Morgan, ascending first, and seeing my face
almost covered with brains and blood, concluded I was no longer a
man for this world; and, calling to Thompson with great emotion,
bade him come up, and take his last farewell of his comrade and
countryman, who was posted to a better place, where there were no
Mackshanes nor Oakums to asperse and torment him. "No," said he,
taking me by the hand, "you are going to a country where there is
more respect sown to unfortunate shentlemen, and where you will
have the satisfaction of peholding your adversaries tossing upon
pillows of purning primstone." Thompson, alarmed at this apostrophe,
made haste to the place where I lay, and sitting down by me, with
tears in his eyes inquired into the nature of my calamity. By this
time I had recollected myself so far as to be able to converse
rationally with my friends, whom, to their great satisfaction,
I immediately undeceived with regard to their apprehension of my
being mortally wounded.

After I had got myself disengaged from the carnage in which I
wallowed, and partaken of a refreshment which my friends brought
along with them, we entered into discourse upon the hardships we
sustained, and spoke very freely of the author of our misery; but
our discourse being overheard by the sentinel who guarded me, he was
no sooner relieved than he reported to the captain every syllable
of our conversation, according to the orders he had received. The
effect of this information soon appeared in the arrival of the
master-at-arms, who replaced Morgan in his former station, and gave
the second mate a caution to keep a strict guard over his tongue,
if he did not choose to accompany us in our confinement. Thompson,
foreseeing that the whole slavery of attending the sick and
wounded, as well as the cruelty of Mackshane, must now fall upon
his shoulders, grew desperate at the prospect, and, though I never
heard him swear before, imprecated dreadful curses on the heads of
his oppressors, declaring that he would rather quit life altogether
than be much longer under the power of such barbarians. I was not
a little startled at his vivacity, and endeavoured to alleviate
his complaints, by representing the subject of my own, with as much
aggravation as it would bear, by which comparison he might see the
balance of misfortune lay on my side, and take an example from me
of fortitude and submission, till such time as we could procure
redress, which I hoped was not far off, considering that we should
probably be in a harbour in less than three days, where we should
have an opportunity of preferring our complaints to the admiral.
The Welshman joined in my remonstrance, and was at great pains
to demonstrate that it was every man's duty as well as interest
to resign himself to the divine will, and look upon himself as n
sentinel upon duty, who is by no means at liberty to leave his post
before he is relieved. Thompson listened attentively to what he
said, and at last, shedding a flood of tears, shook his hand, and
left us without making any reply. About eleven at night he came to
see us again with a settled gloom on his countenance, and gave us
to understand that he had undergone excessive toil since he saw
us, and in recompense had been grossly abused by the doctor, who
taxed him with being confederate with us, in a design of taking away
his life and that of the captain. After some time spent in mutual
exhortation, he got up, and squeezing me by the hand with uncommon
fervour, cried, "God bless you both!" and left us to wonder at his
singular manner of parting with us, which did not fail to make a
deep impression on us both.

Next morning, when the hour of visitation came round, the unhappy
young man was missing, and, after strict search, supposed to have
gone overboard in the night; and this was certainly the case.


We lament the fate of our companion--the Captain offers Morgan
his liberty, which he refuses to accept--we are brought before him
and examined--Morgan is sent back into custody, whither also I am
remanded after a curious trial

The news of this event affected my fellow prisoner and me extremely,
as our unfortunate companion had justly acquired by his amiable
disposition the love and esteem of us both; and the more we regretted
his untimely fate, the greater horror we conceived for the villain
who was undoubtedly the occasion of it. This abandoned miscreant
did not discover the least symptom of concern for Thompson's death,
although he must have been conscious to himself of having driven
him by ill usage to the fatal resolution, but desired the captain
to set Morgan at liberty again to look after the patients. Accordingly
one of the corporals was sent up to unfetter him, but he protested
he would not be released until he should know for what he was
confined; nor would he be a tennisball, nor a shuttlecock, nor a
trudge, nor a scullion, to any captain under the sun. Oakum, finding
him obstinate, and fearing it would not be in his power to exercise
his tyranny much longer with impunity, was willing to show some
appearance of justice and therefore ordered us both to be brought
before him on the quarter-deck, where he sat in state, with his
cleric on one side, and his counsellor Mackshane on the other. When
we approached, he honoured us with this salutation: "So, gentlemen,
d--n my blood! many a captain in the navy would have ordered you
both to be tucked up to the yard's arm, without either judge or
jury, for the crimes you have been guilty of; but, d--n my blood,
I have too much good nature in allowing such dogs as you to make
defence." "Captain Oakum," said my fellow-sufferer, "certainly it
is in your power (Cot help the while) to tack us all up at your
will, desire, and pleasures. And perhaps it would be petter for
some of us to be tucked up than to undergo the miseries to which
we have been exposed. So may the farmer hang his kids for his
diversion, and amusement, and mirth; but there is such a thing as
justice, if not upon earth, surely in heaven, that will punish with
fire and primstone all those who take away the lives of innocent
people out of wantonness, and parparity (look you). In the mean
time. I shall be glad to know the crimes laid to my charge, and
see the person who accuses me." "That you shall," said the captain;
"here, doctor, what have you to say?" Mackshane, stepping forward,
hemmed a good while, in order to clear his throat, and, before
he began, Morgan accosted him thus: "Doctor Mackshane, look in my
face--look in the face of an honest man, who abhors a false witness
as he abhors the tevil, and Cot be judge between you and me." The
doctor, not minding this conjuration, made the following speech.
as near as I can remember: "I'll tell you what, Mr. Morgan; to be
sure what you say is just, in regard to an honest man, and if so
be it appears as how you are an honest man, then it is my opinion
that you deserve to be acquitted, in relation to that there affair,
for I tell you what, Captain Oakum is resolved for to do everybody
justice. As for my own part, all that I have to allege is, that
I have been informed you have spoken disrespectful words against
your captain, who, to be sure, is the most honourable and generous
commander in the king's service, without asparagement or acception
of man, woman, or child."

Having uttered this elegant harangue, on which he seemed to plume
himself, Morgan replied, "I do partly guess, and conceive, and
understand your meaning, which I wish could be more explicit; but,
however, I do suppose, I am not to be condemned upon bare hearsay;
or, if I am convicted of speaking disrespectfully of Captain Oakum,
I hope there is no treason in my words." "But there's mutiny, by
G--d, and that's death by the articles of war!" cried Oakum: "In
the meantime, let the witnesses be called." Hereupon Mackshane's
servant appeared, and the boy of our mess, whom they had seduced
and tutored for the purpose. The first declared, that Morgan as
he descended the cockpit-ladder one day, cursed the captain, and
called him a savage beast, saying, he ought to be hunted down as an
enemy to mankind. "This," said the clerk, "is a strong presumption
of a design, formed against the captain's life. For why? It presupposes
malice aforethought, and a criminal intention a priori." "Right,"
said the captain to this miserable grub, who had been an attorney's
boy, "you shall have law enough: here's Cook and Littlejohn to it."
This evidence was confirmed by the boy, who affirmed, he heard the
first mate say, that the captain had no more bowels than a bear,
and the surgeon had no more brain than an ass. Then the sentinel,
who heard our discourse on the poop was examined, and informed
the court that the Welshman assured me, Captain Oakum and Doctor
Mackshane would toss upon billows of burning brimstone in bell
for their barbarity. The clerk observed, that there was an evident
prejudication, which confirmed the former suspicion of a conspiracy
against the life of Captain Oakum; for, because, how could Morgan
so positively pronounce that the captain and surgeon would d--n'd,
unless he had intention to make away with them before they could
have time to repent? This sage explanation had great weight with
our noble commander, who exclaimed, "What have you to say to this,
Taffy? yon seem to be taken all a-back, brother, ha!" Morgan was
too much of a gentleman to disown the text, although he absolutely
denied the truth of the comment. Upon which the captain, strutting
up to him with a ferocious countenance, said, "So Mr. son of a bitch,
you confess you honoured me with the names of bear and beast, and
pronounced my damnation? D--n my heart! I have a good mind to have
you brought to a court-martial and hang'd, you dog." Here Mackshane,
having occasion for an assistant, interposed, and begged the captain
to pardon Mr. Morgan with his wonted goodness, upon condition
that he the delinquent should make such submission as the nature
of his misdemeanour demanded. Upon which the Cambro-Briton, who
on this occasion would have made no submission to the Great Mogul,
surrounded with his guards, thanked the doctor for his mediation,
and acknowledged himself in the wrong for calling the image of Cot
a peast. "but," said he, "I spoke by metaphor, and parable, and
comparison, and types; as we signify meekness by a lamb, lechery by
a goat, and craftiness by a fox; so we liken ignorance to an ass,
and brutality to a bear, and fury to a tiger; therefore I made use
of these similes to express my sentiments (look you), and what I
said before Cot, I will not unsay before man nor peast neither."

Oakum was so provoked at this insolence (as he termed it,) that he
ordered him forthwith to be carried to the place of his confinement,
and his clerk to proceed on the examination of me. The first question
put to me was touching the place of my nativity, which I declared
to be the north of Scotland. "The north of Ireland more like!"
cried the captain; "but we shall bring you up presently." He then
asked what religion I professed; and when I answered "the Protestant,"
swore I was an arrant Roman as ever went to mass. "Come, come,
clerk," continued he, "catechise him a little on this subject." But
before I relate the particulars of the clerk's inquiries, it will
not be amiss to inform the reader that our commander himself was
an Hibernian, and, if not shrewdly belied, a Roman Catholic to
boot. "You say, you are a Protestant," said the clerk; "make the
sign of the cross with your finger, so, and swear upon it to that
affirmation." When I was about to perform the ceremony, the captain
cried with some emotion, "No, no, d--me! I'll have no profanation
neither. But go on with your interrogations." "Well then," proceeded
my examiner, "how many sacraments are there?" To which I replied,
"Two." "What are they?" said he. I answered, "Baptism and the
Lord's Supper." "And so you would explode confirmation and marriage
altogether?" said Oakum. "I thought this fellow was a rank Roman."
The clerk, though he was bred under an attorney, could not refrain
from blushing at this blunder, which he endeavoured to conceal,
by observing, that these decoys would not do with me, who seemed
to be an old offender. He went on with asking, if I believed in
transubstantiation; but I treated the notion of real presence with
such disrespect, that his patron was scandalised at my impiety,
and commanded him to proceed to the plot. Whereupon this miserable
pettifogger told me, there was great reason to suspect me of being
a spy on board, and that I had entered into a conspiracy with
Thompson, and others not yet detected, against the life of Captain
Oakum, which accusation they pretended to support by the evidence
of our boy, who declared he had often heard the deceased Thompson
and me whispering together, and could distinguish the words, "Oakum,
rascal, poison, pistol;" by which expressions it appeared, we did
intend to use sinister means to accomplish his destruction. That
the death of Thompson seemed to confirm this conjecture, who, either
feeling the stings of remorse for being engaged in such a horrid
confederacy, or fearing a discovery, by which he must have infallibly
suffered an ignominious death, had put a fatal period to his own
existence. But what established the truth of the whole was, a book
in cyphers found among my papers, which exactly tallied with one
found in his chest, after his disappearance. This, he observed,
was a presumption very near positive proof, and would determine
any jury in Christendom to find me guilty. In my own defence, I
alleged, that I had been dragged on board at first very much against
my inclination, as I could prove by the evidence of some people now
in the ship, consequently could have no design of becoming spy at
that time; and ever since had been entirely out of the reach of any
correspondence that could justly entail that suspicion upon me. As
for conspiring against my captain's life, it could not be supposed
that any man in his right wits would harbour the least thought of
such an undertaking, which he could not possibly perform without
certain infamy and ruin to himself, even if he had all the inclination
in the world. That, allowing the boy's evidence to be true (which
I affirmed was false and malicious), nothing conclusive could be
gathered from a few incoherent words; neither was the fate of Mr.
Thompson a circumstance more favourable for the charge; for I had
in my pocket a letter which too well explained that mystery, in
a very different manner from that which was supposed. With these
words, I produced the following letter, which Jack Rattlin brought
to me the very day after Thompson disappeared; and told me it was
committed to his care by the deceased, who made him promise not to
deliver it sooner. The clerk, taking it out of my hand, read aloud
the contents, which were these;

'Dear Friend,--I am so much oppressed with the fatigue
I daily and nightly undergo, and the barbarous usage
of Doctor Mackshane, who is bent on your destruction
as well as mine, that I am resolved to free myself from
this miserable life, and, before you receive this, shall
be no more. I could have wished to die in your good
opinion, which I am afraid I shall forfeit by the last
act of my life; but, if you cannot acquit me, I know you
will at least preserve some regard for the memory of an
unfortunate young man who loved you. I recommend it to
you, to beware of Mackshane, whose revenge is implacable.
I wish all prosperity to you and Mr. Morgan, to whom
pray offer my last respects, and beg to be remembered
as your unhappy friend and countryman,
'William Thompson.'

This letter was no sooner read, than Mackshane, in a transport
of rage, snatched it out of the clerk's hands, and tore it into
a thousand pieces, saying, it was a villainous forgery, contrived
and executed by myself. The captain and clerk declared themselves
of the same opinion, although I insisted of having the remains
of it compared with other writings of Thompson, which they had in
their possession; and I was ordered to answer the last article of
my accusation, namely, the book of ciphers found among my papers.
"That is easily done," said I. "What you are pleased to all ciphers,
are no other than the Greek characters, in which, for my amusement,
I keep a diary of everything remarkable that has occurred to
my observation since the beginning of the voyage, till the day in
which I was put in irons; and the same method was practised by Mr.
Thompson, who copied mine." "A very likely story," cried Mackshane;
"what occasion was there for using Greek characters, if you were
not afraid of discovering what you had wrote? But what d'ye talk
of Greek characters? D'ye think I am so ignorant of the Greek
language, as not to distinguish its letters from these, which are
no more Greek than Chinese? No, no, I will not give up my knowledge
of the Greek for you, nor none that ever came from your country."
So saying, with an unparalleled effrontery, he repeated some
gibberish, which by the sound seemed to be Irish, and made it pass
for Greek with the captain, who, looking at me with a contemptuous
sneer, exclaimed, "Ah, ah! have you caught a tartar?" I could not
help smiling at the consummate assurance of this Hibernian, and
offered to refer the dispute to anybody on board who understood
the Greek alphabet. Upon which Morgan was brought back, and, being
made acquainted with the affair, took the book, and read a whole
page in English, without hesitation, deciding the controversy
in my favour. The doctor was so far from being out of countenance
at this detection, that he affirmed Morgan was in the secret, and
repeated from his own invention. Oakum said, "Ay, ay, I see they
are both in a story;" and dismissed my fellow-mate to his cockloft,
although I proposed that he and I should read and translate, separately,
any chapter or verse in the Greek Testament in his possession, by
which it would appear whether we or the surgeon spoke truth. Not
being endued with eloquence enough to convince the captain that there
could be no juggle nor confederacy in this expedient, I begged to
be examined by some unconcerned person on board, who understood
Greek. Accordingly, the whole ship's company, officers and all,
were called upon deck, among whom it was proclaimed that, if anyone
of them could speak Greek, he or they so qualified should ascend
the quarter-deck immediately. After some pause, two foremast men
came up, and professed their skill in that language, which, they
said, they acquired during several voyages to the Levant, among the
Greeks of the Morea. The captain exulted much in this declaration,
and put my journal book into the hands of one of them, who candidly
owned he could neither read nor write; the other acknowledged the
same degree of ignorance, but pretended to speak the Greek lingo
with any man on board; and, addressing himself to me, pronounced
some sentences of a barbarous corrupted language, which I did not
understand. I asserted that the modern Greek was as different from
that spoken and written by the ancients, as the English used now
from the old Saxon spoke in the time of Hengist: and, as I had
only learned the true original tongue, in which Homer, Pindar, the
Evangelists, and other great men of antiquity wrote, it could not
be supposed that I should know anything of an imperfect Gothic
dialect that rose on the ruins of the former, and scarce retained
any traces of the old expression: but, if Doctor Mackshane, who
pretended to be master of the Greek language, could maintain a
conversation with these seamen, I would retract what I had said,
and be content to suffer any punishment be should think proper
to inflict. I had no sooner uttered these words than the surgeon,
knowing one of the fellows to be his countryman, accosted him in
Irish, and was answered in the same brogue; then a dialogue ensued
between them, which they affirmed to be in Greek, after having secured
the secrecy of the other tar, who had his cue in the language of
the Morea, from his companion, before they would venture to assert
such an intrepid falsehood. "I thought," said Oakum, "we should
discover the imposture at last. Let the rascal be carried back to
his confinement. I find he must dangle." Having nothing further
to urge in my own behalf, before a court so prejudiced with spite,
and fortified with ignorance against truth, I suffered myself to
be reconducted peaceably to my fellow-prisoner, who, hearing the
particulars of my trial, lifted up his hands and eyes to Heaven,
and uttered a dreadful groan: and, not daring to disburden his
thoughts to me by speech, lest he might be overheard by the sentinel,
burst forth into a Welsh song, which he accompanied with a thousand
contortions of face and violent gestures of body.


I discover a subornation against me, by means of a quarrel between two
of the evidences; in consequence of which I am set at liberty, and
prevail upon Morgan to accept of his freedom on the same terms--Mackshane's
malice--we arrive at Jamaica, from whence in a short time we beat
up to Hispaniola, in conjunction with the West India squadron--we
take in water, sail again, and arrive at Carthagena--Reflections
on our conduct there

Meanwhile, a quarrel happening between the two modern Greeks, the
one, to be revenged of the other, came and discovered to us the
mystery of Mackshane's dialogue, as I have explained it above. This
detection coming to the ears of the doctor, who was sensible that
(now we were in sight of Jamaica) we should have an opportunity of
clearing ourselves before a court-martial, and, at the same time,
of making his malice and ignorance conspicuous, he interceded for
us with the captain so effectually, that in a few hours we were set
at liberty, and ordered to return to our duty. This was a happy
event for me, my whole body being blistered by the sun, and my
limbs benumbed by want of motion: but I could scarce persuade the
Welshman to accept of this indulgence, he persisted in his obstinacy
to remain in irons, until he should be discharged by a court-martial,
which, he believed. would also do him justice on his enemies. At
length I represented to him the precarious issue of a trial, the
power and interest of his adversaries, and flattered his revenge
with the hope of wreaking his resentment with his own hands upon
Mackshane after our return to England. This last argument had more
weight with him than all the rest, and prevailed upon him to repair
with me to the cockpit, which I no sooner entered, than the idea of
my departed friend presented itself to my remembrance, and filled
my eyes with tears. We discharged from our mess the boy who had
acted so perfidiously, notwithstanding his tears, intreaties, and
of penitence for what he had done; but not before he had confessed
that the surgeon had bribed him to give evidence against us, with
a pair of stockings and a couple of old check shirts, of which his
servant had since plundered him.

The keys of our chests and lockers being sent to us by the doctor,
we detained the messenger until we had examined the contents; and my
fellow-mate, finding all his Cheshire cheese consumed to a crust,
his brandy exhausted, and his onions gone, was seized with a fit
of choler, which he discharged on Mackshane's man in oaths and
execrations, threatening to prosecute him as a thief. The fellow
swore in his turn, that he never had the keys in his possession
till that time, when he received them from his master with orders
to deliver them to us. "As Cot is my judge," cried Morgan, "and my
salfation, and my witness; whosoever has pilfered my provisions is
a lousy, peggarly, rascally knave! and by the soul of my grandsire,
I will impeach, and accuse, and indict him, of a roppery, if I did
but know who he is." Had this misfortune happened at see, where we
could not repair the loss, in all probability this descendant of
Caractacus would have lost his wits entirely; but, when I observed
how easy it would be to remedy this paltry mischance, he became
more calm, and reconciled himself to the occasion.

A little while after this transport the surgeon came into the birth,
under pretence of taking something out of the medicine chest, and,
with a smiling aspect, wished us joy of our deliverance, which,
he said, he had been at great pains to obtain of the captain, who
was very justly incensed at our behaviour; but he, the doctor,
had passed his word for our future conduct, and he hoped we should
give him no cause to repent of his kindness. He expected, no doubt,
an acknowledgment from us for this pretended piece of service, as
well as a general amnesty of what was past; but he had to do with
people who were not quite so apt to forgive injuries as he imagined,
or to forget that, if our deliverance was owing to his mediation,
our calamity was occasioned by his malice; I therefore sat silent,
while my companion answered, "Ay, ay, 'tis no matter, Cot knows
the heart; there is a time for all things, as the wise man saith;
there is a time for throwing away stones, and to gather them up."
He seemed to be disconcerted at this reply, and went away in a pet,
muttering something about "Ingratitude," and "Fellows," of which
we did not think fit to take any notice.

Our fleet, having joined another that waited for us, lay at anchor
about a month in the harbour of Port Royal in Jamaica, during
which time something of consequence was certainly transacted;
notwithstanding the insinuations of some, who affirmed we had no
business at all in that place; that, in order to take the advantage
of the season proper for our enterprise, the West India squadron,
which had previous notice of our coming, ought to have joined us at
the west end of Hispaniola, with necessary stores and refreshments,
from whence we could have sailed directly for Carthagena, before
the enemy could put themselves in a good posture of defence, or,
indeed, have an inkling of our design. Be this as it will, we sailed
from Jamaica, and, in ten days or a fortnight, beat up against the
wind as far as the Isle of Vache, with an intention, as was said,
to attack the French fleet, then supposed to be lying near that
place; but before we arrived, they had sailed for Europe, having
first dispatched an advice-boat to Carthagena, with an account of
our being in those seas, as also of our strength and destination.
We loitered here some days longer, taking in wood and brackish
water, in the use whereof, however, our admiral seemed to consult
the health of the men, by restricting each to a quart a day.

At length we set sail, and arrived in a bay to the windward of
Carthagena, where we came to an anchor, and lay at our ease ten
days longer. Here, again, certain malicious people took occasion to
blame the conduct of their superiors, by saying, that in so doing
they not only unprofitably wasted time, which was very precious,
considering the approach of the rainy season, but also allowed the
Spaniards to recollect themselves from a terror occasioned by the
approach of an English fleet, at least three times as numerous
as ever appeared in that part of the world before. But if I might
be allowed to give my opinion of the matter, I would ascribe this
delay to the generosity of our chiefs, who scorned to take any
advantage that fortune might give them even over an enemy. At last,
however, we weighed, and anchored again somewhat nearer the harbour's
mouth, where we made shift to land our marines, who encamped on
the beach, in despite of the enemy's shot, which knocked a good
many of them on the head. This piece of conduct, in choosing a
camp under the walls of an enemy's fortification, which I believe
never happened before, was practised, I presume, with a view of
accustoming the soldiers to stand fire, who were not as yet much used
to discipline, most of them having been taken from the plough-tail
a few months before. This expedient, again, has furnished matter
for censure against the ministry, for sending a few raw recruits
on such an important enterprise, while so many veteran regiments
lay inactive at home. But surely our governors had their reasons
for so doing, which possibly may be disclosed with other secrets
of the deep. Perhaps they were loth to risk their best troops on
such desperate service, or the colonel and the field officers of
the old corps, who, generally speaking, enjoyed their commissions
as sinecures or pensions, for some domestic services rendered to
the court, refused to embark in such a dangerous and precarious
undertaking; for which refusal, no doubt, they are to be much


Our Land Forces being disembarked, erect a fascine battery-our
ship is ordered, with four more, to batter the port of Bocca
Chica--Mackshane's cowardice-the Chaplain's frenzy--honest Rattlin
loses one hand--his heroism and reflections on the battle--Crampley's
behaviour to me during the heat of the Fight

Our forces being landed and stationed as I have already mentioned,
set about erecting a fascine battery to cannonade the principal
fort of the enemy; and in something more than three weeks, it was
ready to open. That we might do the Spaniards as much honour as
possible, it was determined, in a council of war, that five of our
largest ships should attack the fort on one side, while the battery,
strengthened by two mortars and twenty-four cohorns, should ply it
on the other.

Accordingly, the signal for our ship to engage, among others, was
hoisted, we being advertised, the night before, to make everything
clear for that purpose; and, in so doing, a difference happened
between Captain Oakum and his well-beloved cousin and counsellor
Mackshane, which had well nigh terminated in an open rupture. The
doctor, who had imagined there was no more danger of being hurt by
the enemy's shot in the cockpit than in the centre of the earth,
was lately informed that a surgeon's mate had been killed in that
part of the ship by a cannon-ball from two small redoubts that were
destroyed before the disembarkation of our soldiers; and therefore
insisted upon having a platform raised for the convenience of
the sick and wounded in the after-hold, where he deemed himself
more secure than on the deck above. The captain, offended at this
extraordinary proposal, accused him of pusillanimity, and told him,
there was no room in the hold for such an occasion: or, if there
was, he could not expect to be indulged more than the rest of the
surgeons of the navy, who used the cockpit for that purpose. Fear
rendering Mackshane obstinate, he persisted in his demand, and
showed his instructions, by which it was authorised; the captain
swore these instructions were dictated by a parcel of lazy poltroons
who were never at sea; nevertheless he was obliged to comply, and
sent for the carpenter to give him orders about it. But, before
any such measure could be taken, our signal was thrown out, and the
doctor compelled to trust his carcass in the cockpit, where Morgan
and I were busy in putting our instruments and dressings in order.

Our ship, with others destined for this service, immediately weighed,
and in less than half-an-hour came to an anchor before the castle
of Bocca Chica, with a spring upon our cable, and the cannonading
(which indeed was dreadful) began. The surgeon, after having crossed
himself, fell flat on the deck; and the chaplain and purser, who were
stationed with us in quality of assistants, followed his example,
while the Welshman and I sat upon a chest looking at one another
with great discomposure, scarce able to refrain from the like
prostration. And that the reader may know it was not a common
occasion that alarmed us thus, I must inform him of the particulars
of this dreadful din that astonished us. The fire of the Spaniards
proceeded from eighty-four great guns, besides a mortar and small
arms, in Bocca Chica; thirty-six in Fort St. Joseph; twenty in two
fascine batteries, and four men-of-war, mounting sixty-four guns
each. This was answered by our land-battery mounted with twenty-ono
cannon, two mortars, and twenty-four cohorns, and five great ships
of seventy or eighty guns, that fired without intermission.

We had not been many minutes engaged, when one of the sailors brought
another on his back to the cockpit, where he tossed him down like
a bag of oats, and pulling out his pouch, put a large chew of tobacco
in his mouth without speaking a word. Morgan immediately examined
the condition of the wounded man, and cried out, "As I shall answer
now, the man is as tead as my great grandfather." "Dead," said his
comrade; "he may be dead now, for aught I know, but I'll be d--d
if he was not alive when I took him up." So saying, he was about to
return to his quarters, when I bade him carry the body along with
him, and throw it overboard. "D--n the body!" said he, "I think 'tis
fair enough if I take care of my own." My fellow mate, snatching up
the amputation knife, pursued him half-way up the cock-pit ladder,
crying, "You lousy rascal, is this the churchyard, or the charnel-house,
or the sepulchre, or the golgotha, of the ship?--but was stopped
in his career by one calling, "Yo he, avast there--scaldings!"
"Scaldings!" answered Morgan; "Cot knows 'tis hot enough indeed:
who are you? "Here's one!" replied the voice; and I immediately
knew it to be that of my honest friend Jack Rattlin, who coming
towards me, told me, with great deliberation, he was come to be
docked at last, and discovered the remains of one hand, which had
been shattered to pieces with a grape shot. I lamented with unfeigned
sorrow his misfortune, which he bore with heroic courage, observing,
that every shot had its commission: "It was well it did not take him
in the head! or if it had, what then? he should have died bravely,
fighting for his king and country. Death was a debt which every
man owed, and must pay; and that now was as well as another time."
I was much pleased and edified with the maxims of this sea-philosopher,
who endured the amputation of his left hand without shrinking, the
operation being performed (at his request) by me, after Mackshane,
who was with difficulty prevailed to lift his head from the deck,
had declared there was a necessity for his losing the limb.

While I was employed in dressing the stump, I asked Jack's opinion
of the battle, who, shaking his head, frankly told me, he believed
we should do no good: "For why? because, instead of dropping anchor
close under shore, where we should have to deal with one corner of
Bocca Chica only, we had opened the harbour, and exposed ourselves
to the whole fire of the enemy from their shipping and Fort St.
Joseph, as well as from the castle we intended to cannonade; that,
besides, we lay at too great a distance to damage the walls, and
three parts in four of our shot did not take place; for there was
scarce anybody on board who understood the pointing of a gun. Ah!
God help us!" continued he, "If your kinsman, Lieutenant Bowling,
had been here, we should have had other guess work." By this time,
our patients had increased to such a number, that we did not know
which to begin with; and the first mate plainly told the surgeon,
that if he did not get up immediately and perform his duty, he would
complain of his behaviour to the admiral, and make application for
his warrant. This remonstrance effectually roused Mackshane, who
was never deaf to an argument in which he thought his interest was
concerned; he therefore rose up, and in order to strengthen his
resolution, had recourse more than once to a case-bottle of rum,
which he freely communicated to the chaplain, and purser, who had
as much need of such extraordinary inspiration as himself. Being
thus supported, he went to work, and arms and legs were hewed down
without mercy. The fumes of the liquor mounting into the parson's
brain, conspired, with his former agitation of spirits, to make him
quite delirious; he stripped himself to the skin; and, besmearing
his body with blood, could scarce be withheld from running upon deck
in that condition. Jack Rattlin, scandalised at this deportment,
endeavoured to allay his transports with reason; but finding all
he said ineffectual, and great confusion occasioned by his frolics,
he knocked him down with his right hand, and by threats kept him
quiet in that state of humiliation. But it was not in the power of
rum to elevate the purser, who sat on the floor wringing his hands,
and cursing the hour in which he left his peaceable profession of a
brewer in Rochester, to engage in such a life of terror and disquiet.

While we diverted ourselves at the expense of this poor devil, a
shot happened to take us between wind and water, and (its course
being through the purser's store room) made a terrible havoc
and noise among the jars and bottles in its way, and disconcerted
Mackshane so much, that he dropped his scalpel, and falling down
on his knees, pronounced his Pater-noster aloud: the purser fell
backward, and lay without sense or motion; and the chaplain grew
so outrageous, that Rattlin with one hand could not keep him under;
so that we were obliged to confine him in the surgeon's cabin,
where he was no doubt guilty of a thousand extravagancies. Much
about this time, my old antagonist, Crampley, came down, with
express orders, as he said, to bring me up to the quarter-deck, to
dress a slight wound the captain had received by a splinter: his
reason for honouring me in particular with this piece of service,
being, that in case I should be killed or disabled by the way,
my death or mutilation would be of less consequence to the ship's
company than that of the doctor or his first mate. At another time,
perhaps, I might have disputed this order, to which I was not bound
to pay the least regard; but as I thought my reputation depended
upon my compliance, I was resolved to convince my rival that I was
no more afraid than he of exposing myself to danger. With this view
I provided myself with dressings, and followed him immediately to
the quarter-deck, through a most infernal scene of slaughter, fire,
smoke, and uproar. Captain Oakum, who leaned against the mizen-mast,
no sooner saw me approach in my shirt, with the sleeves tucked up
to my armpits, and my hands dyed with blood, than he signified his
displeasure by a frown, and asked why the doctor himself did not
come? I told him that Crampley had singled me out, as if by express
command; at which reply he seemed surprised, and threatened to
punish the midshipman for his presumption, after the engagement.
In the meantime, I was sent back to my station, and ordered to tell
Mackshane, that the captain expected him immediately. I got safe
back, and delivered my commission to the doctor, who flatly refused
to quit the post assigned to him by his instructions; whereupon
Morgan, who I believe, was jealous of my reputation for courage,
undertook the affair, and ascended with great intrepidity. The
captain, finding the surgeon obstinate, suffered himself to be
dressed, and swore he would confine Mackshane as soon as the service
should be over.


A breach being made in the walls, our soldiers give the assault,
and take the place without opposition--our sailors at the same
time, become masters of all the other strengths near Bocca Chica,
and take possession of the harbour--the good consequence of this
success--we move nearer the town--find two forts deserted, and
the Channel blocked up with sunk vessels; which however we find
means to clear--land our soldiers at La Quinta--repulse a body of
militia--attack the castle of St. Lazar, and are forced to retreat
with great loss-the remains of our army are re-embarked--an effort
of the Admiral to take the town--the economy of our expedition

Having cannonaded the fort during the space of four hours, we were
all ordered to slip our cables, and sheer off; but next day the
engagement was renewed, and continued from the morning till the
afternoon, when the enemy's fire from Bocca Chica slackened, and
towards evening was quite silenced. A breach being made on the other
side, by our land battery, large enough to admit a middle-sized
baboon, provided he could find means to climb up to it, our general
proposed to give the assault that very night, and actually ordered
a detachment on that duty. Providence stood our friend upon this
occasion, and put it into the hearts of the Spaniards to abandon
the fort, which might have been maintained by resolute men till the
day of judgment against all the force we could exert in the attack.
And while our soldiers took possession of the enemy's ramparts
without resistance, the same good luck attended a body of sailors,
who made themselves masters of Fort St. Joseph, the fascine batteries,
and one Spanish man-of-war; the other three being burnt or sunk by
the foe, that they might not fall into our hands. The taking of
these forts, in the strength of which the Spaniards chiefly confided,
made us masters of the outward harbour, and occasioned great joy
among us, as we laid our accounts at finding little or no opposition
from the town: and indeed, if a few great ships had sailed
up immediately, before they had recovered from the confusion and
despair that our unexpected success had produced among them, it
is not impossible that we might have finished the affair to our
satisfaction, without any more bloodshed; but this step our heroes
disdained as a barbarous insult over the enemy's distress, and
gave them all the respite they could desire, in order to recollect
themselves. In the meantime, Mackshane, taking the advantage of
this general exultation, waited on our captain, and pleaded his
own cause so effectually that he was re-established in his good
graces; and as for Crampley, there was no more notice taken of his
behaviour towards me during the action. But of all the consequences
of the victory, none was more grateful than plenty of fresh water,
after we had languished five weeks on the allowance of a purser's
quart per day for each man in the Torrid Zone, where the sun was
vertical, and the expense of bodily fluid so great, that a gallon
of liquor could scarce supply the waste of twenty-four hours;
especially as our provision consisted of putrid salt beef, to
which the sailors gave the name of Irish horse; salt pork, of New
England, which, though neither fish nor flesh, savoured of both;
bread from the same country, every biscuit whereof, like a piece
of clockwork, moved by its own internal impulse, occasioned by the
myriads of insects that dwelt within it; and butter served out by
the gill, that tasted like train oil thickened with salt. Instead
of small beer, each man was allowed three half-quarterns of brandy
or rum, which were distributed every morning, diluted with a certain
quantity of his water, without either sugar or fruit to render it
palatable, for which reason, this composition was by the sailors
not ineptly styled Necessity. Nor was this limitation of simple
element owing to a scarcity of it on board, for there was at this
time water enough in the ship for a voyage of six months, at the
rate of half-a-gallon per day to each man: but this fast must,
I suppose, have been enjoined by way of penance on the ship's
company for their sins; or rather with a view to mortify them into
a contempt of life, that they might thereby become more resolute
and regardless of danger. How simply then do those people argue,
who ascribe the great mortality among us, to our bad provision and
want of water; and affirm, that a great many valuable lives might
have been saved, if the useless transports had been employed in
fetching fresh stock, turtle, fruit, and other refreshments from
Jamaica and other adjacent islands, for the use of the army and
fleet! seeing it is to be hoped, that those who died went to a
better place, and those who survived were the more easily maintained.
After all, a sufficient number remained to fall before the walls
of St. Lazar, where they behaved like their own country mastiffs,
which shut their eyes, run into the jaws of a bear, and have their
heads crushed for their valour.

But to return to my narration. After having put garrisons into the
forts we had taken, and re-embarked our soldiers and artillery (a
piece of service that detained us more than a week), we ventured up
to the mouth of the inner harbour, guarded by a large fortification
on one side, and a small redoubt on the other, both of which were
deserted before our approach, and the entrance of the harbour blocked
up by several old galleons, and two men-of-war that the enemy had
sunk in the channel. We made shift, however, to open a passage
for some ships, that favoured a second landing of our troops at a
place called La Quinta, not far from the town, where, after a faint
resistance from a body of Spaniards, who opposed their disembarkation,
they encamped with a design of besieging the castle of St. Lazar,
which overlooked and commanded the city. Whether our renowned
general had nobody in his army who knew how to approach it in form,
or that he trusted entirely to the fame of his arms, I shall not
determine; but, certain it is, a resolution was taken in a council
of war, to attack the place with musketry only. This was put in
execution, and succeeded accordingly; the enemy giving them such a
hearty reception, that the greatest part of their detachment took
up their everlasting residence on the spot.

Our chief, not relishing this kind of complaisance in the Spaniard's,
was wise enough to retreat on board with the remains of his army,
which, from eight thousand able men landed on the beach near Bocca
Chica, was now reduced to fifteen hundred fit for service. The
sick and wounded were squeezed into certain vessels, which thence
obtained the name of hospital ships, though methinks they scarce
deserved such a creditable title, seeing few of them could boast
of their surgeon, nurse, or cook; and the space between decks was
so confined that the miserable patients had not room to sit upright
in their beds. Their wounds and stumps, being neglected, contracted
filth and putrefaction, and millions of maggots were hatched amidst
the corruption of their sores. This inhuman disregard was imputed
to the scarcity of surgeons; though it is well known that every
great ship in the fleet could have spared one at least for this
duty, an expedient which would have been more than sufficient to
remove this shocking inconvenience. But perhaps our general was too
much of a gentleman to ask a favour of this kind from his fellow
chief, who, on the other hand, would not derogate so much from
his own dignity, as to offer such assistance unasked; for, I may
venture to affirm, that by this time the Demon of Discord, with
her sooty wings, had breathed her influence upon our councils;
and it might be said of these great men (I hope they will pardon
the comparison) as of Cesar and Pompey, the one could not brook
a superior, and the other was impatient of an equal; so that,
between the pride of one and insolence of another, the enterprise
miscarried, according to the proverb, "Between two stools the
backside falls to the ground." Not that I would be thought to liken
any public concern to that opprobrious part of the human body,
though I might with truth assert, if I durst use such a vulgar
idiom, that the nation did hang on arse at its disappointment on
this occasion; neither would I presume to compare the capacity of
our heroic leaders to any such wooden convenience as a joint-stool
or a close-stool; but only to signify by this simile, the mistake
the people committed in trusting to the union of two instruments
that were never joined.

A day or two after the attempt on St. Lazar, the admiral ordered one
of the Spanish men-of-war we had taken to be mounted with sixteen
guns, and manned with detachments from our great ships, in order to
batter the town; accordingly, she was towed into the inner harbour
in the night, and moored within half a mile of the walls, against
which she began to fire at daybreak; and continued about six hours
exposed to the opposition of at least thirty pieces of cannon, which
at length obliged our men to set her on fire, and get off as well
as they could in their boats. This piece of conduct afforded matter
of speculation to all the wits, either in the army or navy, who
were at last fain to acknowledge it a stroke of policy above their
comprehension. Some entertained such an irreverent opinion of the
admiral's understanding, as to think he expected the town would
surrender to his floating battery of sixteen guns: others imagined
his sole intention was to try the enemy's strength, by which
he should be able to compute the number of great ships that would
be necessary to force the town to a capitulation. But this last
conjecture soon appeared groundless, inasmuch as no ships of any
kind whatever were afterwards employed on that service. A third sort
swore, that no other cause could be assigned for this undertaking
than that which induced Don Quixote to attack the windmill. A fourth
class (and that the most numerous, though, without doubt, composed
of the sanguine and malicious), plainly taxed this commander with
want of honesty as well as sense; and alleged that he ought to
have sacrificed private pique to the interest of his country; that,
where the lives of so many brave fellow-citizens were concerned,
he ought to have concurred with the general without being solicited
or even desired, towards their preservation and advantage, that, if
his arguments could not dissuade him from a desperate enterprise,
it was his duty to have rendered it as practicable as possible,
without running extreme hazard; that this could have been done, with
a good prospect of success, by ordering five or six large ships to
batter the town, while the land forces stormed the castle; by these
means a considerable diversion would have been made in favour of
those troops, who, in their march to the assault and in the retreat,
suffered much more from the town than from the castle! that the
inhabitants, seeing themselves vigorously attacked on all hands, would
have been divided, distracted, and confused, and in all probability,
unable to resist the assailants. But all these suggestions surely
proceeded from ignorance or malevolence, or else the admiral would
not have found it such an easy matter, at his return to England, to
justify his conduct to a ministry at once so upright and discerning.
True it is, that those who undertook to vindicate him on the spot,
asserted, that there was not water enough for our great ships near
the town: though this was a little unfortunately urged, because
there happened to be pilots in the fleet perfectly well acquainted
with the soundings of the harbour, who affirmed there was water
enough for five eighty-gun ships to lie abreast almost up to the
very walls. The disappointments we suffered occasioned a universal
dejection, which was not at all alleviated by the objects that daily
and hourly entertained our eyes, nor by the prospect of what must
have inevitably happened, had we remained much longer in this
place. Such was the economy in some ships that, rather than be at
the trouble of interring the dead, their commanders ordered their
men to throw their bodies overboard, many without either ballast
or winding-sheet; so that numbers of human carcases floated in
the harbour, until they were devoured by sharks and carrion crows,
which afforded no agreeable spectacle to those who survived, At
the same time the wet season began, during which a deluge of rain
falls, from the rising to the setting sun, without intermission,
and that no sooner ceases than it begins to thunder, and lighten
with such continued flashing, that one can see to read a very small
print by the illumination.


An epidemic Fever rages among us--we abandon our Conquests--I am
seized with Distemper--write a Petition to the Captain, which is
rejected--I am in danger of Suffocation through the Malice of Crampley,
and relieved by a Serjeant--my Fever increases--the Chaplain wants
to confess me--I obtain a favourable Crisis-Morgan's Affection
for me proved--the Behaviour of Mackshane and Crampley towards
me--Captain Oakum is removed into another Ship with his beloved
Doctor--our new Captain described--An Adventure of Morgan

The change of the atmosphere, occasioned by this phenomenon, conspired,
with the stench that surrounded us, the heat of the climate, our
own constitutions, impoverished by bad provisions, and our despair,
to introduce the bilious fever among us, which raged with such
violence, that three-fourths of those whom it invaded died in a
deplorable manner; the colour of their skin being, by the extreme
putrefaction of the juices, changed into that of soot.

Our conductors, finding things in this situation, perceived
it was high to relinquish our conquests, and this we did, after
having rendered their artillery useless, and blown up their walls
with gunpowder. Just as we sailed from Bocca Chica, on our return
to Jamaica, I found myself threatened with the symptoms of this
terrible distemper; and knowing very well that I stood no chance
for my life, if I should be obliged to be in the cockpit, which
by this time was grown intolerable, even to people in health, by
reason of the heat and unwholesome smell of decayed provision, I
wrote a petition to the captain, representing my case, and humbly
imploring his permission to be among the soldiers in the middle
deck, for the benefit of the air: but I might have spared myself
the trouble; for this humane commander refused my request, and
ordered me to continue in the place allotted for the surgeon's
mates, or else be contented to be in the hospital, which, by the
by, was three degrees more offensive and more suffocating than
our own berth below. Another, in my condition, perhaps, would have
submitted to his fate, and died in a pet; but I could not brook
the thought of perishing so pitifully, after I had weathered so
many gales of hard fortune: I therefore, without minding Oakum's
injunction, prevailed upon the soldiers (whose good-will I had
acquired) to admit my hammock among them; and actually congratulated
myself upon my comfortable situation; which Crampley no sooner
understood, than he signified to the captain my contempt of his
orders, and was invested with power to turn me down again into my
proper habitation.

This barbarous piece of revenge incensed me so much against the
author, that I vowed, with bitter imprecations, to call him to a
severe account, if ever it should be in my power; and the agitation
of my spirits increased my fever to a violent degree. While I
lay gasping for breath in this infernal abode, I was visited by a
sergeant, the bones of whose nose I had reduced and set to rights,
after they had been demolished by a splinter during our last
engagement; he, being informed of my condition, offered me the use
of his berth in the middle deck, which was enclosed with canvas, and
well aired by a port-hole that remained open within it. I embraced
this proposal with joy, and was immediately conducted to the place,
where I was treated, while my illness lasted, with the utmost
tenderness and care by this grateful halberdier, who had no other
bed for himself than a hencoop during the whole passage. Here I
lay and enjoyed the breeze, notwithstanding which my malady gained
ground, and at length my life was despaired of, though I never lost
hopes of recovery, even when I had the mortification to see, from
my cabin-window, six or seven thrown overboard every day, who died
of the same distemper. This confidence, I am persuaded, conduced a
great deal to the preservation of my life, especially when joined
to another resolution I took at the beginning, namely, to refuse
all medicine, which I could not help thinking co-operated with the
disease, and, instead of resisting putrefaction, promoted a total
degeneracy of the vital fluid. When my friend Morgan, therefore,
brought his diaphoretic bolases, I put them into my month, 'tis
true, but without any intention of swallowing them: and, when he
went away, spit them out, and washed my mouth with water-gruel.
I seemingly complied in this matter, that I might not affront the
blood of Caractacus, by a refusal which might have intimated a
diffidence of his physical capacity, for he acted as my physician;
Doctor Mackshane never once inquiring about me, or even knowing
where I was. When my distemper was at the height, Morgan thought
my case desperate, and, after having applied a blister to the nape
of my neck, squeezed my hand, bidding me, with a woful countenance,
recommend myself to Cot and my Reteemer; then, taking his
leave, desired the chaplain to come and administer some spiritual
consolation to me; but, before he arrived, I made shift to rid
myself of the troublesome application the Welshman had bestowed on
my back. The person, having felt my pulse, inquired into the nature
of my complaints, hemmed a little, and began thus: "Mr. Random,
God out of his infinite mercy has been pleased to visit you with
a dreadful distemper, the issue of which no man knows. You may be
permitted to recover and live many days on the face of the earth;
and, which is more probable, you may be taken away, and cut off
in the flower of your youth. It is incumbent on you, therefore, to
prepare for the great change, by repenting sincerely of your sins;
of this there cannot be a greater sign, than an ingenuous confession,
which I conjure you to make without hesitation or mental reservation;
and, when I am convinced of your sincerity, I will then give you
such comfort as the situation of your soul will admit of. Without
doubt, you have been guilty of numberless transgressions to which
youth is subject, as swearing, drunkenness, whoredom, and adultery:
tell me therefore, without reserve, the particulars of each, especially
of the last, that I may be acquainted with the true state of your
conscience; for no physician will prescribe for his patient until
he knows the circumstances of his disease."

As I was not under any apprehensions of death, I could not help
smiling at the chaplain's inquisitive remonstrance, which I told
him savoured more of the Roman than of the Protestant church, in
recommending auricular confession; a thing, in my opinion, not at
all necessary to salvation, and which, for that reason, I declined.
This reply disconcerted him a little; however, he explained away his
meaning, in making learned distinctions between what was absolutely
necessary and what was only convenient; then proceeded to ask what
religion I professed. I answered, that I had not as yet considered
the difference of religions, consequently had not fixed on any one
in particular, but that I was bred a Presbyterian. At this word
the chaplain expressed great astonishment, and said, he could not
comprehend how a presbyterian was entitled to any post under the
English government. Then he asked if I had ever received the sacrament,
or taken the oaths; to which questions, I replying in the negative,
he held up his hands, assured me he could do me no service, wished
I might not be in a state of reprobation, and returned to his
messmates, who were making merry in the ward-room, round a table
well stored with bumbo[2] and wine.

[2]bumbo is a liquor composed of rum, sugar, water, and nutmeg

This insinuation, terrible as it was, had not such an effect upon
me as the fever, which, soon after he had left me, grew outrageous. I
began to see strange chimeras and concluded myself upon the point
of being delirious; in the meantime, being in great danger of
suffocation, I started up in a kind of frantic fit, with an intention
to plunge myself into the sea; and, as my friend the sergeant was

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