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sank firmly into the sand, and the hope of getting her off was abandoned.

A raft was now begun to be constructed by means of masts, spars, planks, and cordage, which were thrown into the sea for the purpose: the whole being lashed together, formed a kind of platform, of about a foot and a half in thickness, buoyed up by empty barrels placed beneath the corners. Its length was sixtyfive feet; its breadth above twenty. Each end terminated in a point; and these ends were very fragile. The only safe part was in the centre; but even that was sometimes under water.

Night came on while the raft was constructing, and the work ceased till next day. It was a night productive of dire anticipations. The sky became cloudy, the wind blew strong, and from the sea, causing a great swell of the waves. The vessel now began to heel with violence, and it was every moment ex*pected to see her planks start. This catastrophe at length to a certain extent ensued. The lower timbers bulged; the keel broke in two; the rudder was also unshipped, but still holding to the stern by the chains, it was dashed by the waves against the vessel. From this cause the captain's cabin was beat in, and the water entered in an alarming manner. In this emergency the captain could preserve neither order nor discipline; and indeed his incompetency and inhumanity rendered disobedience a duty. The general feeling throughout the ship was, every man for himself-a scramble for life. Towards midnight a large part of the crew and more active passengers were preparing to leave the * vessel secretly in the boats. This selfish and perfidious conduct was, however, checked by the soldiers, who firmly declared they would fire upon whosoever attempted to quit the frigate clandestinely. The threats of these brave men alarmed the governor, who had already formed a scheme for himself. He therefore judged it proper to assemble a council, at which he endeavoured to allay the general distrust. He solemnly swore that, according to the plan which would be adopted, the boats would not abandon the raft, but would tow it to the shore of the desert, where all would travel in a body to Senegal. It was agreed that the embarkation should take place at six o'clock in the morning:

The treacherous promises of the governor, supported by Captain Lachaumareys, served to allay the apprehensions of the more timid passengers, including the unfortunate Picards. A number began to secure their more valuable articles about their persons, while part of the crew and soldiers broke into the cabins and store-rooms, appropriating the articles which struck their fancy, and drinking the wine and spirits, till they fell exhausted aná insensible. Amidst an uproar of singing, shouting, groans, and imprecations, day broke, and all prepared to depart. A list had been made out, assigning each his proper place in the boats and raft; but this arrangement was now disregarded, and every one pursued the plan he deemed best for his own preservation. Few were inclined to go upon the raft, which heaved uneasily on the turbid waves. To compel obedience, an officer, armed with two pistols, stood by the bulwarks, and with furious language threatened to fire on whoever would not go upon it; and thus a miscellaneous crowd of persons were forced to place themselves on this floating tomb. To accommodate so large a number, and keep the raft from sinking, several barrels of provisions which had bee placed on it the day before were thrown into the sea. The only provisions left for the support of the large number on it, consisted of a bag of twenty-five pounds of soaked biscuit, which, having been tossed from the vessel, fell into the sea, and was with difficulty recovered. There were also several casks of wine and of water. On the raft there were no charts, sails, oars, nor compass, everything proper being forgot in the confusion. In all, there were upon the raft one hundred and fifty persons, twenty-nine of whom were sailors; there was one woman, and all the remainder were soldiers. These latter were not allowed to take their muskets; but they retained their swords; besides which the officers saved their fowling-pieces and pistols.

The command of the raft had been assigned to M. Coudin, midshipman. This was not the least of the cruelties perpetrated by Lachaumareys. Coudin had received a severe bruise on his leg before the expedition had sailed from Rochefort, and he was now suffering so severely, that he was incapable of moving. Determined, however, not to flinch from a post which had been assigned to him on the ground of his being the senior midshipman in the vessel, he refused to allow one of his companions to take his place, and accordingly proceeded to the raft. The exertion, however, was almost too much for him: the pain of his wound, aggravated by the heaving of the raft, and the salt water which dashed upon him, rendered him nearly insensible. Information of his condition being communicated to the captain, a promise was made that he should be relieved, and taken into one of the boats; but this, like all other promises, was not fulfilled. The unfortunate Coudin was left on the raft.

The boats were in the meanwhile receiving their lading. The barge, which was commanded by a lieutenant, took the governor, with his wife, daughters, and friends, making in all thirty-five persons; it also received several trunks, and a stock of choice provisions and liquors. The captain's boat received twenty-eight persons, most of whom were sailors, good rowers. The shallop, commanded by M. Espiau, ensign of the frigate, took forty-two passengers; the long-boat eighty-three; the pinnace thirty; and the yawl, the smallest of all the boats, fifteen. Such was the final arrangement; but before it was effected, there was much struggling and fighting, some gaining a place only by threatening the lives of the commanders. The boats were to all appearance filled, and putting to sea, without any one casting

a thought on the poor Picards, who, less able to enforce attention than others, were about to be abandoned on the wreck. A place had been promised them in the pinnace; but that boat had put off, and its commander would not return to take the helpless family. Roused by the horrors of his situation, M. Pícard lifted a musket from the deck, and hailing the yawl, which was near at hand, declared that he would shoot every one on board, if they would not carry himself and family to the pinnace. The sailors, murmuring, assented, and by this means the Picards reached the pinnace, on which they were, with affected politeness, taken on board.

When all had left the vessel who would go, there remained seventeen persons, some of whom were intoxicated, and incapable of providing for their safety.

For some time after quitting the wreck, five of the boats united in a line, towing the raft behind them by a rope; and as the wind was fortunately favourable, there can be no reasonable doubt that, had they continued to pull, the whole fleet would have reached the shore in from thirty to forty hours. To the everlasting disgrace of the Fre navy, the commanders of the boats changed altogether the plan to which they had engaged themselves to adhere, and, one and all dropping the tow-line, left their brethren on the raft to their fate. The immediate cause of this most dishonest and inhuman procedure, was an appeal made to them by M. Espiau in the yawl. This gentleman, the only officer who seemed to pity the unfortunates on the Medusa, was the last to quit the wreck, and, in compassion for those left behind, had taken more on board than his boat could well contain. Hastening after the boats in advance, he earnestly besought their commanders to relieve him of part of his crew; but all refused to assist him. In the desperation to which they were put, some of the crew in the yawl proposed swimming after the boats, and, if possible, working on the compassion of their commanders. One sailor put this proposal in practice. Plunging into the sea,

he swam towards one of the leading and least-burdened boats; but on reaching, and endeavouring to climb into it, the officer in command pushed him back, and drawing his sword, threatened to cut off his hands if he did not let go. The poor wretch being thus compelled to desist from the attempt, next tried the pinnace; but here he met with no better success. Some of the party on board intreated the officer, M. Lapérère, to receive him; but he refused the request, and the man was left to his fate. M. Lapérère, it appears, got rid of the unhappy applicant for admission not only by refusing to take him in, but by hastening away from him. To put the boat beyond his reach, he caused the tug-line to be dropped, and so made off with all speed from the spot. The commanders of the other boats imitated this execrable example. Wishing to get beyond the reach of the unfortunate being who was floundering amidst the waves, and of the yawl from which

he had precipitated himself, all dropped the towing-rope, and each boat made off precipitately from the dismal scene.

The raft was thus abandoned by all who had sworn to assist in towing it to land. A hundred and fifty fellow-creatures were unscrupulously left in the midst of the ocean—to perish. We question if the whole annals of shipwreck present a case of greater iniquity than this; it must for ever stand unparalleled for heartless inhumanity. At first, when the unfortunate individuals on the raft saw the boats break loose from the line they had been pursuing, they imagined that the towing-rope had snapped, and they raised their voices to make their companions aware of the fact. “The rope is broke—the rope is broke,” burst from them with increasing intensity of agony. To their surprise no attention was paid to their cries, and for a moment they imagined that some new tactics advantageous to all were to be practised. Englishmen in such circumstances would most likely have awaited the result in silence. The French, with characteristic vivacity, raised the national flag on the raft, and united in the cry of Vive le Roi ; trusting perhaps to awaken a sympathising feeling in the bosoms of their retreating companions, and so bring them back to a sense of humanity and duty. If such were their meaning, it signally failed. The commanders of the boats bombastically returned the cry; and Captain Lachaumareys, assuming a martial attitude, politely waved his hat in the air, as a parting testimony of regard. The wretched crew of the 'raft now too surely saw what was to be their doom. They perceived that, after being treacherously decoyed upon their floating prison, they were left with indifference to die of hunger, or to be drowned in the sea.

Wild cries forthwith rent the air-cries of heartrending despair-cries for justice and compassion-cries also of yengeance and contempt. All were alike unheeded. The boats hastened on their course.

From the narrative of Mademoiselle Picard, we learn that the cries on this melancholy occasion would have melted any but the most obdurate of hearts. “ Alas! why do you leave us—why do you leave us ?" was wafted to their ears. “ I felt,” says she, “ my heart bursting with emotion. I believed that the waves would speedily overwhelm all these forlorn wretches, and I could not suppress the tears which burst from my eyes. My father, exasperated to excess, and bursting with indignation at seeing so much cowardice and inhumanity among the officers of the boats, began to express his regret for not having allowed himself to be placed on the raft along with the sufferers. "At least,' he observed, we would have died with the brave, or we would have returned to the wreck of the Medusa, and been spared the disgrace of having saved ourselves with cowards.

Such is the account given by an eye-witness of this scene of disaster and disgrace. The history of the shipwreck now divides


itself into three parts—the account of the boats and their crews, of the raft, and of the wreck of the Medusa. In the first place, we shall follow the account of


Among the six boats which left the Medusa, two only had a sufficient stock of provisions, and these made off with all despatch from their companions in misfortune. It had been arranged that they all should make for the nearest land; but these two boats taking the lead, proceeded, by orders of the governor, in the direction of Senegal. This unforeseen change of course surprised and alarmed the crews of the other boats; for none of them had provisions for more than one or two days; and to encounter a voyage of longer duration, was altogether hopeless. Undecided, however, they continued to move on in the wake of the boats which were in advance. The provisions on board the pinnace consisted of a barrel of biscuit and a tierce of water; but the biscuit had been soaked in the sea, and was little better than salted paste. A small portion of this nauseous biscuit, with a glass of water, formed the daily portion of each on board. The other boats were in some degree better provided, for they had a little wine.

During the night of the 5th, the day on which the raft had been abandoned, the boats lay to; and on the morning of the 6th, they were again under weigh. The pinnace, according to the account of Mademoiselle Picard, which we shall principally follow, now began to leak fearfully, and the holes in it were stuffed with oakum, which an old sailor had had the precaution to provide. At noon the heat was intense ; hot winds blew from the desert, and many thought their last moments were come. In the afternoon a distribution of a little water and biscuit was made; and hope revived of reaching Senegal on the morrow. As evening came on, the sky changed, and then a tempest of wind, thunder, and lightning, which threatened to overwhelm thé boat. Again the leaks broke out, and there were stuffed into them old clothes, sleeves of shirts, shawls, anything that came to hand; and for six hours, every one momentarily anticipated death. Towards midnight the atmosphere tranquillised, and once more a gleam of hope passed through the minds of the forlorn crew.

In the morning of the 7th, the shores of the desert were again seen, and a number of the sailors murmuring, and wishing to land, the boat was directed towards the coast. On approaching the land, the hearts of the most courageous failed, on seeing the breakers which it would be necessary to pass through to the shore. Again the pinnace put to sea, and another day was spent under a burning sun, and in a state of intolerable thirst. The freshness of the night-wind revived the spirits of all on board;

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