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the captain, ordering all hands together, stated to them in few words, that every man, by the regulations of the navy, was as liable to answer for his conduct on the present as on any other occasion; that, as long as he lived, the same discipline should be exerted, and, if necessary, with greater rigour than aboard; a discipline for the general welfare, which he trusted every sensible man of the party must see the necessity of maintaining;-assuring them, at the same time, he would have much pleasure in recommending those who distinguished themselves by the regularity and propriety of their conduct;-that the provisions we had been able to save should be served out, although necessarily with a very sparing hand, yet with the most rigid equality to all ranks, until we obtained that relief which he trusted would soon follow the arrival of Lord Amherst at Java.
might be enabled by scuttling at low water, or by burning her upper-works, to acquire many useful articles.
On Friday, 21st, the party stationed at the ship found themselves, soon after day-light, surrounded by a number of Malay proas, apparently well armed, and full of men. Without a single sword or musquet for defence, they had just time to throw themselves into the boat alongside, and push for the shore, chased by the pirates, who, finding two of our other boats push out to their assistance, returned to the ship, and took possession of her. Soon afterwards it was reported, from the look-out rock, that the savages, rmed with spears, were landing at a point about two miles off. Under all the depressing circumstances attending shipwreck-of hunger, thirst, and fatigue; and menaced by a ruthless foe; it was glorious to see the British spirit staunch and unsubdued. The order was given for every man to arm himself in the best way he could, and it was obeyed with the utmost promptitude and alacrity. Rude pike-staves were formed, by cutting down young trees; small swords, dirks, knives, chisels, and even large spike-nails sharpened, were firmly affixed to the ends of these poles; and those who could find nothing better hardened the end of the wood in the fire, and, bringing it to a sharp point, formed a tolerable weapon. There were, perhaps, a dozen cutlasses; the marines had about thirty muskets and bayonets, but could mus ter no more than seventy-five balicartridges amo. the whole party.
During this day the well & forded a pint of water for each man; it had a sweetish milk-and-water taste, something like the juice of the cocoa-nut, but nobody found fault with it; on the contrary, it diffused that sort of happiness which only they can feel who have felt the horrible sensation of thirst under a vertical sun, subject at the same time to a harassing and fatiguing duty. This day was employed in getting up every thing from the foot of the hill; boats passing to the ship, but unfortunately almost every thing of real value to us in our present case was under water. We were in hope, however, that, as no bad weather was sly to happen, we
We had fortunately preserved some loose powder drawn from the upper-deck guns after the ship had struck, (for the magazine was under water in five minutes) and the marines, by hammering their buttons round, and by rolling up pieces of broken bottles in cartridges, did their best to supply themselves with a sort of langrage which would have some effect at close quarters, and strict orders were given not to throw away a single shot until sure of their aim. Mr. Cheffy, the carpenter, and his crew, under the direction of the captain, were busied in forming a sort of abattis, by felling trees, and enclosing in a circular shape the ground we occupied; and, by interweaving loose branches with the stakes driven in among these, a breast-work was constructed, which afforded us some cover, and must naturally impede the progress of any enemy unsupplied with artillery. That part of the island we had landed on was a narrow ridge, not above musket-shot across, bounded on one side by the sea, and on the other by a creek, extending upwards of a mile inland, and nearly communicating with the sea at its head. Our hill was the outer point of this tongue, and its shape might be very well represented by an inverted punchbowl: the circle on which the bowl stands would then shew the fortification; and the space within it our citadel.
It appeared by the report of scouts, a short time after the first account, that the Malays had not actually landed, but had taken possession of some rocks near this point, on which they deposited a quantity of plunder brought from
the ship; and during the day they continued making these predatory trips.
In the evening all hands were mustered under arms, and a motley group they presented; it was gratifying, however, to observe, that, rude as were their implements of defence, there seemed to be no want of spirit to use them if occasion offered. The officers and men were now marshalled regularly into the different divisions and companies, their various posts assigned, and other arrangements made. An officer and party were ordered to take charge of the boats for the night, and they were hauled closer into the landing-place. An alarm which occurred during the night shewed the benefit of these regulations, for, on a sentry challenging a noise among the bushes, every one was at his post in an instant, and without the least confusion.
On Saturday morning 22d, some of the Malay boats approached the place where ours were moored ; and, with the view of ascertaining whether they had any inclination to communicate on friendly terms, the gig with an officer and four hands, pulled gently towards them, waving the bough of a tree (a general symbol of peace every where), shewing the usual demonstrations of friendship, and of a desire to speak to them; but all was vain, for they were merely reconnoitring our position, and immediately pulled back to their rock.
The second lieutenant (Mr. Hay) was now ordered with the barge, cutter, and gig, armed in the best way we could, to proceed to the ship, and regain possession of her,
either by fair means or by force; the pirates not appearing, at this time, to have more than eighty men. Those on the rocks, seeing our boats approach, threw all their plunder into their vessels, and made off.
Two of their largest proas were now at work on the ship; but, on observing their comrades abandon the rock, and the advance of the boats, they also made sail away, having previously set fire to the ship, which they did so effectually; that in a few minutes the flames burst from every port, and she was soon enveloped in a cloud of smoke. The boats were unable to board her, and therefore returned.
Here was a period to every hope of accommodation with these people, if, indeed, any reasonable hope could ever have been entertained on that head. The Malays, more especially those wandering and piratical tribes, who roam about the coasts of Borneo, Billiton, and the wilder parts of Sumatra, are a race of savages, perhaps the most merciless and inhuman to be found in any part of the world. The Battas are literally cannibals. In setting fire to the ship, they gave a decided proof of their disposition to us; but, although certainly with no good intention, they did merely what we intended to do; for, by burning her upper works and decks, every thing buoyant could float up from below, and be more easily laid hold of.
The ship continued burning during the whole of the night; and the flames, which could be seen through the openings of the trees, shed a melancholy glare
around, and excited the most mournful ideas. This night also all hands were suddenly under arms again, from a marine firing his musket at what he very properly considered a suspicious character near his post, who appeared advancing upon him, and refused to answer after being repeatedly hailed. It turned out afterwards that the branch of a tree, half-cut through the day before, had given way, under one of a race of large baboons, which we found about this time disputed the possession of the island with us. At the well, where there generally was kept a good fire at night, on account of the mosquitoes, the sentries had more than once been alarmed by these gentlemen shewing their black faces from behind the trees. They became so extremely trou blesome to some ducks we had saved from the wreck, (seizing and carrying them up the trees, and letting them fall down again when alarmed,) that on several occasions they left their little yard, and came up among the people, when the monkeys got among them, thus instinctively preferring the society of man for protection.
On Sunday morning, (23d,) the boats were sent to the still-smoking wreck, and some flour, a few cases of wine, and a cask of beer, had floated up. This last Godsend was announced just at the conclusion of divine service, which was this morning held in the mess-tent, and a pint was ordered to be immediately served out to each man, which called forth three cheers. This seems to be the only style in which a British seaman can give vent to the warmer feelings of his heart. It is his mode
of thanksgiving for benefits received; and it equally serves him to honour his friend, to defy his enemy, or to proclaim victory. This day we continued improving our fence, and clearing away a glacis immediately around it, that we might see and have fair play with these barbarians, should they approach. They had retired behind a little islet, (called Pulo Chalacca, or Misfortune's Isle,) about two miles from us, and seemed waiting there for reinforcements; for some of their party had made sail towards Billiton.
Monday morning, (24th,) the boats, as yesterday, went to the wreck, and returned with some casks of flour, only partially damaged; a few cases of wine, and about forty boarding-pikes, with eighteen muskets, were also laid hold of. With the loose powder secured out of the great guns in the first instance, Mr. Holman, the gunner, had been actively employed, forming musket-cartridges; and by melting down some pewter basins and jugs, with a small quantity of lead, lately obtained from the wreck, balls were cast in clay moulds, increasing not a little our confidence and security. A quart of water each had been our daily allowance from the well hitherto, and on this day a second was completed near the foot of the hill, in another direction, which not only supplied clearer water, but in greater plenty; and we could now, without restriction, indulge in the luxury of a long drink, not caring even to excite thirst, in order to enjoy that luxury in higher perfection.
On Tuesday, (25th,) the boats made their usual trip; some more
cases of wine, and a few boardingpikes were obtained, both excellent articles in their way, in the hands of men who are inclined to entertain either "their friends or their foes." On shore we were employed completing the paths to the wells, and felling trees which intercepted our view of the sea.
Wednesday, (26th,) at day-light, two of the pirate proas, with each a canoe astern, were discovered close in with the cove where our boats were moored. Lieutenant Hay, (a straight-forward sort of. fellow,) who had the guard that night at the boats, and of course slept in them, immediately dashed at them with the barge, cutter, and gig. On perceiving this they cut adrift their canoes, and made all sail chased by our boats; they rather distanced the cutter and gig, but the barge gained upon them. On closing, the Malays evinced every sign of defiance, placing themselves in the most threatening attitudes, and firing their swivels at the barge. This was returned by Mr. Hay with the only musket he had in the boat, and, as they closed nearer, the Malays commenced throwing their javelins and darts, several falling into the barge, but without wounding any of the men. Soon after they were grappled by our fellows, when three of them having been shot, and a fourth knocked down with the butt end of the musket, five more jumped overboard and drowned themselves, (evidently disdaining quarter,) and two were taken prisoners, one of whom was severely wounded. This close style of fighting is termed by seamen man-handling an enemy.
The Malays had taken some
measure to sink their proa, for she went down almost immediately. Nothing could exceed the desperate ferocity of these people. One who had been shot through the body, but who was not quite dead, on being removed into the barge, with a view of saving him, (as his own vessel was sinking,) furiously grasped a cutlass which came within his reach, and it was not without a struggle wrenched from his hand he died in a few minutes. The consort of this proa, firing a parting shot, bore up round the north end of the island, and escaped. Their canoes (which we found very useful to us) were also brought on shore, containing several articles of plunder from the ship. They appeared to be the two identical proas which set fire to her. The prisoners (the one rather elderly, the other young) when brought on shore, seemed to have no hope of being permitted to live, and sullenly awaited their fate; but, on the wounds of the younger being dressed, the hands of the other untied, and food offered to them, with other marks of kindness, they became more cheerful, and appeared especially gratified at seeing one of their dead companions, who had been brought on shore, decently buried.
The Malays are a people of very unprepossessing aspect; their bodies of a deep bronze colour; their black teeth and reddened lips, (from chewing the betel-nut and siri,) their gaping nostrils, and lank clotted hair hanging about their shoulders and over their scowling countenances, give them altogether a fiend-like and murderous look. They are like
wise an unjoyous race, and seldom smile.
The state of one of the wounds received by the Malay (his kneejoint being penetrated, and the bones much injured) would have justified, more particularly in this kind of field practice, amputation; but, on consideration that it would be impossible to convince him of this being done with the intention of benefitting him, and might have the appearance of torture, which it was not improbable might suggest the idea of amputation and other operations to them, in the event of any, or all of us, falling into their hands, it was determined, therefore, to try the effect of a good constitution, and careful attention. wam was built, and a blanket and other comforts given to him, his comrade being appointed his cook and attendant. They refused at first the provisions we offered them; but, on giving them some rice to prepare in their own way, they seemed satisfied. Never expecting quarter, when over-powered in their piratical attempts, and having been generally tortured when taken alive, may account for the others drowning themselves.
A little wig
In the forenoon, immediately after this rencontre, fourteen proas and smaller boats appeared standing across from the Banca side, and soon after they anchored behind Pulo Chalacca. Several of their people landed, and carrying up some bundles on their shoulders, left them in the wood, and returned for more. We had some hope, from the direction in which they first appeared, as well as their anchoring at that spot (the rendezvous agreed upon at the departure