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oy sea to London, in his father's ship, and prompting me to go with them, with the common allurement of sea-faring men, riz. that it should cost me nothing for my passage, I consulted neither father or mother any more, not so much as sent them word of it; but leaving them to hear of it as they might, without asking God's blessing, or my father's, without any consideration of circumstances or consequences, and in an ill hour. God knows, on the first of September, 1651, I went on boarcl a ship bound for London. Never any young adventurer's misfortunes, I believe, began sooner, or continued longer than mine. The ship was no sooner gotten out of the Humoer, but the wind began to blow, and the waves to rise in a most frightful manner; and, as I had never been at sea before, I was most inexpressibly sick in bod}', and terrified in mind. I began now seriously to reflect upon what I had done, and how justly I was overtaken by the judgment of Heaven for wickedly leaving my father's house, and abandoning my duty. All the good counsel of my parents, my father's tears and my mother's entreaties, came now fresh into my mind; and my conscience, which was not yet come to the pitch of hardness to which it has been since, reproached me with the contempt of advice, and the breach of my duty to God and my father.
All this while the storm increased, and the sea, which I had never been upon before, went very high, though nothing like what I have seen many times since; no, nor like what I saw a few days after: but it was enough to affect me then, who was but a young sailor, and had never known any thing of the matter. I expected every wave would have swallowea us up, and that every time the ship fell down, as I thought, in the trough or hollow of the sea, we should never rise more; and in this agony of mind I made many vows and resolutions, that if it would please God here to spare my life this one voyage, if ever I got once my foot upon dry land a«;ain, I would go directly home to my father, and never set it into a ship again while I lived; that I would take his advice, and never run myself into such miseries as these any more. Now I saw plainly the goodness of J observations about the middle station of life, how easy, h. v comfortably he had lived all his days, and never bad been exposed to tempests at sea, or troubles on shore; and I resolved that I would, like a true repenting prodigal, go home to my father.
T'-.ese wise and sober thoughts continued during the storm, and, indeed, some time after; but the next day, as the wind was abated, and the sea calmer, I began to be a little inured to it: however, I was very grave for all that day, being also a little sea-sick still; but towards night the weather cleared up, the wind was quite over, and a charming fine evening followed; the sun went down perfectly clear, and rose so the next morning; and having little or no wind, and a smooth sea, the sun shining upon it, the sight was, as I thought, the most delightful that I ever saw.
I had slept well in the night, and was now no more sea-sick, but very cheerful, looking with wonder upon the sea, that was so rough and terrible the day before, and could be so calm and so pleasant in a little time after. And now, lest my good resolutions should continue, my companion, who had, indeed, enticed me away, came to me and said, "'Well, Bob," clapping me on the shoulder, " how do you do after it I I warrant you were frightened, waVt you, last night, when it blew but
us but a good ship and sea-room, and we think nothing of such a squall of wind as that; but you're but a fresh-water sailor, Bob, Come, let us make a bowl of punch, and we'll forget all that; do you see what charming weather it is now?" To make short this sad part of my story, we went the old way of all sailors; the punch was made, and I w^as made drunk with it; and in that one night's wickedness I drowned all my repentance, all my reflections upon my past conduct, and all my resolutioi s for my future. In a Word, as the sea was returned to its smoothness of surface and settled calmness by the abatement of that storm, so, the hurry of my thoughts being over, my fears and apprehensions of being swallowed up by the sea being forgotten, and the current of my foirner desires returned, I entirely forgot the vows and promises that I made in my distress. I found, indeed, some intervals of reflection; and serious thoughts did, as it were, endeavor to return again sometimes; but I shook them off, and roused myself from them as it were from a distemper, and applying myself to drinking and company, soon mastered the return of those fits, for so 1 called them; and I had in five or six days got. as complete a victory over conscience, as any young fellow, that resolved not to be troubled with it, could desire: but I was to have another trial for it still; and Providence, as in such cases generally it does, resolved to leave me entirely without excuse; for if I would not take this for a deliverance, the next was to be such a one as the worst and most hardened wretch among us would confess both the danger and the mercy of.
The sixth day of our being at sea, we came into Yarmouth Roads; the wind having been contrar}7, and the weather calm, we had made but little way since the storm. Here we were obliged to come to anchor, and here we lay, the wind continuing contrary, viz. at south-west, for seven or eight days, during which time a great many ships from Newcastle came into the same roads, as the common harbor where the ships might wait for a wind for the River.
We had not, however, rid here so long, but should have tided it up the river, but that the wind blew too fresh; and, after we had lain four or five da}rs, blew very hard. However, the roads being reckoned as good as a haroor, the anchorage good, and our ground tackle ver}T strong, our men were unconcerned, and not in the least apprehensive of danger, bu spent the time in rest and mirth, after the manner of the sea; but the eighth day in the morning the wind increased, and we had all hands at work to strike our top-masts, and make every thing snug and close, that the ship might ride as easy as pos Bible. By noon the sea went very high indeed, and our ship rode forecastle in, shipped several seas, and we thought once or twice our anchor had come home; upon which our master ordered out the sheet anchor; so that we rode with two anchors ahead, and the cables veered out to the better end.
By this time it blew a terrible storm indeed; and now I began to see terror and amazement in the faces even of the seamen themselves. The master, though vigilant in the business of preserving the ship, yet as he went in and out of his cabin by me, I could hear him softly say to himself several times, "Lord, be merciful to us I we shall be all lost; we shall be all undone!,; and the like. During these first hurries I was stupid, lying still in my cabin, which was in the steerage, and cannot describe my temper: I could ill reassume the first penitence which I had so apparently trampled upon, and hardened myself against: I thought the bitterness of death had been past, and that this would be nothing like the first; but when the master himself came by me, as I said just now, and said we should be all lost, I was dreadfully frighted: I got up out of my cabin, and looked out; but such a dismal sight 1 never saw; the sea went mountains high, and broke upon us every three or four minutes: when I could look about, i could see nothing but distress around us: two ships that rid near us, we found, had cut their masts by the board, being deep laden; and our men cried out, that a ship which rid about a mile ahead of us was foundered. Two more ships, being driven from their anchors, were run out of the roads to sea, at all adventures, an«* that with not a mast standing. The light ships fared the best, as not so much laboring in the sea; but two or three of them drove, and came close by us, running away with only their spritsail out before'the wind.
Towards evening, the mate and boatswain begged the master of our ship to let them cut away the fore-mast, which he was very unwilling to do; but the boatswain protesting to him. that if he did not, the ship would founder, he consented; ana when they had cut away the foremast, the main-mast stood so