« AnteriorContinuar »
mates, by a hardened despising of dangers, and the views of death, which grew j' to me; by my long absence from all manner .# opportunities to converse with any thing but what was like myself, or to hear any thing that was good, or tending towards it. So void was I of every thing that was good, or of the least sense of what I was, or was to be, that in the greatest deliverances I enjoyed (such as my escape from Sallee, my being taken up by the Portuguese master of a ship, my being Fo So well in the Brazils, my receiving the cargo from England, and the like), I never had once the words, Thank God, so much as on my mind, or in my mouth; nor in the greatest distress had I so much as a thought to pray to him, or so much as to say, Lord, have mercy upon me! no, nor to mention the name of God, unless it was to swear by, and blaspheme it. I had terrible reflections upon my mind for many months as I have already observed, on account of my wicked and hardened life past; and when I looked about me, and considered what particular providences had attended me since my coming into this place, and how God had dealt bountifully with Ine,—had not only punished me less than my iniquity had deserved, but had so plentifully provided for me, this gave me great hopes that my repentance was accepted, and that God had yet mercies in store for me. With these reflections, I worked my mind up, not only to a resignation to the will of God in the present disposition of my circumstances, but even to a sincere thankfulness for my condition; and that I, who was yet, a living man, ought not to complain, seeing I had not the due punishment of my sins; that I enjoyed so many mercies which I had no reason to have expected in that place, that I ought never more to repine at my, condition, but to rejoice, and to give daily thanks for that daily bread which nothing but a crowd of wonders could have brought; that I ought to consider I had been fed by a miracle, even as great as that of feeding Elijah by ravens; nay, by a Wong series of miracles; and that I could hardly have named a lace in the uninhabitable part of the world where I could lave been cast more to Iny advantage; a place where, as I had no society, which was my affliction on one hand, so I found 116 ravenous beasts, no furious wolves or tigers, to threaten my life; no venomous or poisonous creatures which I might feed on to my hurt; no savages to murder and devour me. In a word, as my life was a fife of sorrow one way, so it was a life of mercy another; and I wanted nothing, to make it a life of comfort, but to make myself sensible of God’s goodness to ine, and care over me in this condition; and after I did make a just movemen of these things, I went away, and was no II) Or G. SRCI.
! had now been here so long, that many things which I brought on shore for my help were either quite gone, or very much wasted, and near spent.
My ink, as I observed, had been gone for some time, all but a very little, which I eked out with water, a little and a little, till it was so pale, it scarce left any appearance of black upon the paper. As long as it lasted, I made use of it to minute down the days of the month on which any remarkable thing happened to me; and, first, by casting up times past, I remember that there was a strange concurrence of days in the various providences which befell me, and which, if I had been superstitiously inclined to observe days as fatal or fortunate, l might have had reason to have looked upon with a great deal of curiosity.
First, I had observed, that the same day that I broke away from my father and my friends, and ran away to Hull, in order to go to sea, the same day afterwards I was taken by the Sallee Iman-of-war, and made a slave : the same day of the year that I escaped out of the wreck of the ship in Yarmouth Roads, that same day-year afterwards I made my escape from Sallee in the boat; and the same day of the year I was born on, viz. the 30th of September, that same day I had my life so miraculously saved twenty-six years after, when I was cast on shore in this island: So that my wicked life and my soiitary life be. gan both on one day.
The next thing to my ink being wasted, was that of my bread; I mean the biscuit which I brought out of the ship : this I had husbanded to the last degree, allowing myself but one cake of bread a day for above a year; and yet I was quite without bread for near a year before I got any corn of my own; and great reason I had to be thankful that I had any at all, the getting it, being, as has been already observed, next to miraculous. " My clothes, too, began to decay mightily: as to linen, I had none for a great while, except some checkered shirts, which 1 found in the chests of the other seamen, and which I carefully preserved, because many times I could bear no clothes on but a shirt; and it was a very great help to me, that I had, among all the men's clothes of the ship, almost three dozen of shirts. There were also, indeed, several thick watch-coats of the seamen's which were left, but they were too hot to wear; and though it is true that the weather was so violently hot that there was no need of clothes, yet I could not go quite naked; no, though I had been inclined to it, which I was not; nor could I abide the thought of it, though I was all alone. The reason why I could not go quite naked, was, I could not bear the heat of the sun so well when quite naked as with some clothes on ; nay, the very heat frequently blistered my skin ; whereas, with a shirt on, the air itself made some motion, and whistling under the shirt, was twofold cooler than without it. No more could I ever bring myself to go out in the heat of the sun without a cap or hat; the heat of the sun beating with such violence as it does in that place, would give me the headache presently, by darting so directly upon my head, without a cap or hat on, so that I could not bear it; whereas, if I put on my hat, it would presently go away. pon these views, I began to consider about putting the few rags I had, which I called clothes, into some order: i had worn out all the waistcoats I had, and my business was now to try if I could not make jackets out of the great watch-coats that I had by me, and with such other materials as I had ; so I set to work a tailoring, or rather, indeed, a botching, for i made most piteous work of it. However, I made shift to make two or three new waistcoats, which I hoped would serve me a great while ; as for breeches or drawers, I made but a very sorry shift indeed till afterwards. I have mentioned, that I saved the skins of all the creatures that I killed, I mean four-footed ones; and I had hung them up, stretched out with sticks, in the Sun, by which means some of them were so dry and hard that they were fit for little; but others I found very useful. The first thing I made of these was a great cap for my head, with the hair on the outside, to shoot off the rain; and this I performed so well, that after this I made me a suit of clothes wholly of the skins; that is to say, a waistcoat, and breeches open at the knees, and both loose; for they were rather wanting to keep me cool than warm. I must not omit to acknowledge that they were wretchedly made ; for if I was a bad carpenter, I was a worse tailor. However, they were such as I made very good shift with; and when I was abroad, if it happened to rain, the hair of my waistcoat and cap bein o I was kept very dry. After this I spent a great deal of time and pains to make me an umbrella : P was indeed in great want of one, and had a great mind to make one: I had seen them made in the Brazils, where they were very useful in the great heats which are there; and I felt the heats every jot as great here, and greater too, being nearer the equinox: besides, as I was 6bliged to be much abroad, it was a most useful thing to me, as well for the rains as the heats. I took a world of pains at it, and was a great while before I could make any thing likely to hold; nay, after I thought I had hit the way, 1 spoiled two or three before l made one to my mind; but at last I made one that answered indifferently well; the main difficulty, I found, was to make it to let down : I could make it spread, but if it did not let down too, and draw in, it was not portable for me any way but just over my head, which would not do. However, at last, as I said, I made one to answer, and covered it with skins, the hair upwards, so that it cast off the rain like a pent-house, and kept off the sun so effectually, that I could walk out in the hottest of the weather with greater advantage than I could before in the coolest; and wo I had no need of it, could close it, and carry it under my arm. Thus I lived mighty comfortably, my mind being entirely composed by resigning to the will of God, and throwing myself wholly upon the disposal of his providence. This made my life better than sociable; for when I began to regret the want of conversation, I would ask myself, whether thus conversing mutually with my own thoughts, and, as I hope I may say, with even God himself, by ejaculations, was not better than the utmost enjoyment of human society in the world ! I cannot say that after this, for five years, any extraordinary thing happened to me, but I lived on in the same course, in the same posture and place, just as before : the chief things I was employed in, besides my yearly labor of planting my barley and rice, and curing my raisins, of both which I always kept up just enough to have sufficient stock of one year's provision *}. I say, besides this yearly labor, and my daily pursuit of going out with my gun, I had one labor to make me a canoe, which at last I finished; so that by digging a canai to it of six feet wide, and four feet deep, I brought it into the creek, almost half a mile. As for the first, which was so vastly big, as I made it without considering beforehand, as I ought to do, how I should be able to launch it, so, never being .. to bring it into the water, or bring the water to it, I was obliged to let it lie where it was, as a memorandum to teach me to be wiser the next time; indeed, the next time, though I could not get a tree proper for it, and was in a place where l could not get the water to it at any less distance than, as I have said, near half a mile, yet as I saw it was practicable at last, l never gave it over; and though 1 was near two years about it, yet I never grudged my labor, in hopes of having a boat to go off to sea at last. However, though my little periagua, was finished, yet the size of it was not at all answerable to the design which I had in view when I made the first; I mean, of venturing over to the terra firma, where it was above forty miles broad; accord