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heads and settle on the sail of the raft. This trifling incident once more raised a bright gleam of hope; the butterfly was accepted as a harbinger of deliverance, and was taken under the protection of the forlorn group. On the succeeding days more butterflies visited them, and gave rise to the belief that the land could not be far distant. While cheering with new hopes, these insects also roused the party to fresh exertions. “ We had recourse," says M. Corréard, “ to every expedient which might lessen the miseries of our situation. We detached some planks from the raft, and made a sort of platform, on which we might lie down; this raised us above the water, which had always been from one to two feet above the surface of the raft; the waves, however, still washed over us at intervals, and frequently covered us completely. Here we endeavoured to beguile the time, by recounting our different adventures. Lavillette related the various scenes he had passed through, which were indeed extraordinary; but none, he said, had brought with them such sufferings from fatigue and privation as those we now endured.

“Our situation was now most distressing: the waves, which almost constantly washed over us, caused intolerable pain; and our excessive thirst, which we felt was increased by the intense heat of a tropical sun. To relieve this thirst we tried several expedients; we bathed our hands, faces, and even hair in salt water, and some even drank considerable quantities of it. One means of slaking our thirst was never thought of by us, though it has often been adopted by persons in our situation with great

When Captain Bligh made his perilous voyage in an open boat over three thousand miles of the ocean, he and his companions used to dip their clothes in the sea, and wear them damp; the pores of the body, it is supposed, imbibing part of the moisture, and thus allaying their desire for drink. Unfortunately, we had never heard of this expedient. An officer found a small lemon, which he resolved to keep for himself: for a long time he refused it to the intreaties of those around him, till their threats and rage obliged him to share it. We had also a serious dispute about thirty cloves of garlic, which had escaped notice in the bottom of a sack; at another time we contended for two small phials of a liquor for cleaning the teeth; we never came, however, to extremities. This liquor was husbanded with the greatest care, two drops of it producing a delightful sensation; indeed it is difficult to conceive the agreeable effect which the most trifling relief of this kind produced. One of us had found an empty bottle, which still retained some scent of the perfume it had formerly contained ; to smell at this for an instant appeared the highest enjoyment. Some kept their wine, and sucked it slowly from the goblet through a quill; the intoxication, however, it produced upon their debilitated frames was remarkable, and often produced angry disputes, and sometimes was near causing more serious consequences.

On the tenth day, for ex



ample, after the wine had been distributed, MM. Clairet, Coudin, Charlot, and two others, resolved, in a fit of intoxication, to destroy themselves, and were with considerable difficulty prevented by the intreaties of their companions. Perhaps all our arguments would have been unavailing, if a number of sharks had not surrounded the raft, and turned their attention to this new danger. They came so near, that we were enabled to strike at them with the sabre ; but notwithstanding all the exertions of M. Lavillette, who gave them several blows, we could not kill one: the size of several appeared enormous, some of them being above thirty feet long.

“ 'İ'hree days now passed away in intolerable torments. We had become so careless of life, that we bathed even in the sight of the sharks, which were swimming round the raft; others were not afraid to place themselves naked on the fore-part of the machine, which was then entirely under water; and though it was exceedingly dangerous, it had the effect of taking away their thirst

. On the 16th July, eight of us resolved on trying to reach the coast, to which we imagined ourselves to be now very near; for this purpose we nailed some boards across a few spars, which we separated from the raft, fitted it with a mast and a sail, and made oars of barrel staves ; a certain portion of the wine remaining, which consisted but of fifteen bottles in all, was to be given to us, and our departure was fixed for the next day. Our machine being finished, however, it was necessary to try if she was able to bear us. A sailor went upon it, when it immediately upset, and showed us the rashness of our design; we therefore gave it up, resolving to wait upon the raft for the approach of death; which, unless we were immediately relieved, could not be very distant, our stock of wine being so low, and our disgust at the loathsome food we ate hourly increasing.

“On the morning of the 17th July the sun shone brightly, the sky appearing without a cloud; we addressed our prayers to God, and distributed the rations of wine. Whilst each person was taking his portion, a captain of infantry discovered a ship in the horizon, and with a shout of joy informed us of it

. We saw that it was a brig, but at such a distance, that we could discern no more than the tops of her masts. It is impossible to describe the joy which we felt at the sight; each looked upon his delivery as certain, and returned repeated thanks to God. Still

, in the midst of these hopes we were apprehensive that we should not be seen. We straightened some hoops, and fastened some handkerchiefs of different colours to the end. We then united our efforts, and raised a man to the top of the mast, who waved these flags. For half an hour we were suspended between hope and fear: some of us thought that the vessel was coming nearer, whilst others, with more accuracy, asserted that she was making sail away from us. In fact, in a short time the brig disappeared. We now resigned ourselves to despair; we even envied those whom

death had taken away from the suffering we were now to undergo. We determined to seek consolation in sleep. The day before, we had suffered exceedingly from the rays of a burning sun; we now made an awning to screen us from the heat, and lay down beneath it. We agreed to carve our names on a plank, along with a short recital of our adventures, and to hang it to the mast, in the hope that it might reach our government and our families. We had passed two hours in these desponding reflections, when the master gunner went from under the awning, in order to go to the fore-part of the raft: he had scarcely, however, put his head out, when he turned towards us and uttered a loud cry. Joy was in his countenance, his hands were stretched out towards the sea, and he scarcely breathed : he could only utter, 'We are saved ; the brig is near to us!! We rushed out, and found that she was in fact only a mile and a half distant, and was steering directly towards us under a press of sail. Joy now succeeded to despair ; we embraced each other, and bursť into tears. Even those whose wounds rendered them incapable of more exertion, dragged themselves along to the side of the raft, in order to enjoy the sight of the vessel which was to deliver them. Each laid hold on a handkerchief, or a piece of linen, to make signals to the brig, which neared us fast: a few returned thanks to Providence for their miraculous preservation. We now recognised the vessel to be the Argus, and soon after had the pleasure of seeing her shorten sail when she was within half pistol shot. The crew, dispersed through the shrouds and on the deck, waved their hats, to express their pleasure at having come to our relief. A boat was now lowered, commanded by M. Lemaigre, who ardently wished to be the person who should take us from the fatal raft. He removed the sick first, placed them beside him in his boat, and showed them all the care and attention which humanity could prompt. In a short time we were all in safety on board the brig, where we met some of our shipwrecked companions who had been saved in the boats.

"All were affected to see our miserable condition : ten out of the fifteen were scarcely able to move: the skin was stripped off our limbs, our eyes were sunk, our beards long, and we were in the most emaciated condition. As soon as we had been discovered, they prepared some excellent broth for us, and mixed in it some wine, to recruit our exhausted strength.

Our wounds were dressed ; and, in short, we received every attention which our miserable state required. Some became delirious; but the care of the surgeon, and the kind attention of every one on board, soon wrought in us the most favourable change."

The Argus, as has been already mentioned, had been, after some delay, sent from Senegal, with instructions to afford'assistance to the crews of the boats, and afterwards to look for the raft. In her course she had become aware that the crews in the boats had been saved, and had rendered them some succour


coasting the desert. Her search for the raft was at first fruitless, and after cruising about for a number of days, she had turned helm to proceed to Senegal. It was while returning that the party on the raft had seen and lost sight of her. Having reached to within forty leagues of the river, the wind veered to the south-west, and the captain said that he would steer for a short time in that direction; he tacked accordingly, and was standing towards the raft for about two hours, when those on board descried the vessel on the horizon. This change of course, as we have seen, saved the fifteen unfortunate beings, who at the time did not expect they could hold out four-and-twenty hours longer; for the last two days had been spent without food, and only a small quantity of wine was left.

As soon as the party were removed to the Argus, that vessel steered for Senegal, which it reached next day. In the evening it moored close to the shore, and on the following morning, the 19th July, anchored in the roads of St Louis.

Thus were fifteen, all who remained alive out of a hundred and fifty individuals left on the wreck, rescued from the death which seemed to await them. Of the fifteen, five died in a short time of the injuries they had sustained; and the remainder carried on their wounded and emaciated bodies the lasting effects of their protracted sufferings on the raft.


It will be recollected that, at the disgraceful scramble in leaving the Medusa, seventeen persons, some of them in a state of intoxication, did not depart with their companions in the boats. Lachaumareys, on quitting the vessel at one of the port-holes, promised to send out succour to them as soon as he should reach the land. To fill up the measure of his depravity, the captain falsified this as well as all his other promises ; and it is not less distressing to know that neither the party generally who escaped in the boats, nor those who afterwards were taken from the raft, gave themselves any concern about their less fortunate brethren in the wreck. It does not appear, from the narrative of M. Corréard, that they would have been thought of, but for the governor Schmaltz wishing to save the specie and provisions which were on board. To secure these articles, a schooner was fitted out, commanded by a lieutenant, and manned by some negro traders and a few passengers. She set sail from Senegal on the 26th of July, that is, seven days after the party saved from the raft had been landed, and seventeen from the time the governor and captain had reached Senegal; but having provisions for only eight days on board, she was obliged, when that stock was exhausted, to return without having got sight of the frigate : she was afterwards furnished with a sufficiency for twenty-five days, but, being ill-found, she returned into port a second time, after having been fifteen days at sea. A delay of ten days now occurred, when she made a third attempt, with a new set of sails, and reached the Medusa fifty-two days after it had been abandoned. From the time which had elapsed, it was confidently, believed that all who had been left on board the frigate would be dead; what, therefore, was the astonishment of those in the schooner, to find that three of the miserable beings had outlived all their sufferings, and now appeared like spectres to welcome the approach of their countrymen,

The following is the account which these unfortunate men gave of what had occurred on the wreck. When the boats and the raft had left the frigate, the seventeen had collected a sufficient quantity of wine, biscuit, brandy, and bacon, for their subsistence during a certain number of days. Whilst this stock lasted they were quiet; but forty-two days having passed without the arrival of the expected succour, twelve of the most resolute constructed a raft, and, endeavouring to make the land without oars or sails, and but a small quantity of provisions, were drowned. That this was their fate there is no reason for doubting, as the shattered fragments of their raft were some time afterwards thrown on shore by the waves, and picked up by the Moors. Another seaman, who refused to trust for safety to the raft, adopted the strange resolution, a few days after, of placing himself on a hencoop, and in this way tried to reach the shore ; at the distance of half a cable's length, however, the coop upset, and he was drowned.

Four now remained on the wreck, resolved to await death or succour, rather than brave dangers which appeared to them insurmountable. One of them had lately expired when the schooner arrived, and the others were so weak and emaciated, that in a very short time death would have put an end to all their sufferings. They lived in separate corners of the vessel, which they never quitted but to look for food, and this latterly consisted only of tallow and a little bacon. If on these occasions they accidentally met, they used to run at each other with drawn Knives ; so completely had selfishness and ferocity stifled that sympathy which fellow-sufferers are generally disposed to feel for one another. It is mentioned as a remarkable fact, worthy of being made known, that as long as these men abstained from strong liquor, they were able to support the hardships of their situation in a surprising manner; but when they began to drink brandy, their strength daily and rapidly diminished. How these unfortunate beings should have been driven to extremities for food, is not easily accounted for. The Medusa .contained a large cargo of provisions, and why this store was not reached, is not explained in the original

narrative. Perhaps the men did not know of there being barrels of provisions on board; or they might not have possessed sufficient strength to reach them below other articles in the hold.

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