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Hurricane Hurry

William Henry Giles Kingston

  Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

  Hurricane Hurry, by W.H.G. Kingston.


  This rather long book is definitely an historical novel. In the editionused there are 470 pages, not above size for one of Kingston's books,but the text on the pages is tall and wide, while the font is small.All this builds up to 1.1 megabytes of text. In addition the inking wasnot always good, though the type in the corners of the page was notparticularly damaged, as is common in Victorian printings. As a resultproducing this e-text was rather difficult, and there may still remainsome errors, though not, we hope, many.

  The main action takes place in the years around 1780.

  There are some rather strange aspects to the narration. For example, thehero's name is Hurry, except that on two occasions in Chapter 8 and onein Chapter 9, his name is mysteriously change to Poynder. Also inChapter 9, the young Miss Carlyon is referred to as having gone to livewith her aunt, Mrs Tarleton, on the death of her father. Yet thelatter figures strongly in the later stages of the book, so we concludethat Kingston wrote the book with parts being pulled in from previousnotes, but that he did not go back and re-read the book with a criticaleye.

  However, those are but passing observations which it is necessary tomake. The book is about the war between the British and the AmericanRoyalists on the one hand, and the American rebels on the other. Theauthor is probably sympathetic to the rebels, but certainly to the causeof Freedom, and he makes his hero, Hurry, sympathetic to their cause,yet always observant of his duty as an officer of the King's Navy.While there are the usual fights between ship and ship, or between shipand weather, as always so beautifully expressed by Kingston's pen, wefind that by chapter 9 Hurry has fallen in love with an American younglady, and the rest of the book contains episodes in which he is incontact with her, though she is the daughter of a Colonel active on theRebel side. It won't spoil the story if we say that they marry in thelast paragraph, five lines from the end.

  Slightly annoying is the fact that we are made interested in the fate ofHarry Sumner, a very young midshipman, alone in the world, who iswounded in a minor skirmish, and by Chapter 8 is met with in asick-berth, fully expecting to die. But does he die, or was that but achildish fancy? We never find out.

  This book is probably one of the very best historical novels about theAmerican Rebellion, seen from the naval point of view, and as such iswell worth reading by both British and American subjects.





  On the north-east side of the street, about midway between the fish andflesh markets in the seaport town of Falmouth, and at about the silentand solemn hour of thirty-six minutes past one by my father's watch, onthe morning of the 28th day of December, of the year of grace 1752, HisGracious Majesty George the Second being King of Great Britain andIreland, (it is necessary in important matters to be particular). I wasintroduced with the usual forms and ceremonies into the ancient familyof the Hurrys, as the undoubted child of my father Richard and my motherJoan, the ninth, and as it subsequently proved, the last of theirpromising offspring. On the 29th day of the January following, theReverend Edward Walmsley, rector of the parish, baptised me by the namesof Hurricane, with the addition of Tempest, which were selected by myparents, after numberless consultations, in compliment to my maternalgrand-uncle, Sir Hurricane Tempest, Alderman of Bristol, though it didnot appear from his remark when informed of the occurrence that it waslikely to benefit in the remotest manner from the delicate attentionwhich had been paid him.

  My early days were not remarkable, I got through the complaints incidentto childhood in a manner satisfactory to my mother and the doctor, whilemy elder brothers and sisters took very good care that I should not bespoilt by over-indulgence. My brothers, as they advanced towardsmanhood, were sent into various professions, and as none of them hadchosen the sea, it was decided, without my opinion being asked, that Ishould be made an offering to Neptune.

  That I might be prepared for my future calling, I was sent to residewith my brother-in-law Jack Hayfield, in the neighbourhood of Bideford,North Devon, to allow me the vast benefit of attending the school ofworthy Jeremiah Sinclair, kept over the marketplace in that far-famedmaritime town. I still love the recollection of the old place, with itssteep streets, its broad quays, and its bridge of many arches; to mymind a more picturesque bridge does not exist in all the world, nor,when the tide is in, a prettier river. On the bosom of that river Igained my first practical experience of affairs nautical, and many atrip I made down to Appledore with my schoolfellow Ned Treggellis, in aboat which, had not a special providence watched over us, would speedilyhave consigned us to the muddy bottom of the stream. An oar served usas a rudder, another as a mast, with a piece of sacking as a sail spreadon a condemned boat-hook, while one of us was constantly employed inbaling out the water which came in through leaks unnumbered--a state ofaffairs we had learned to consider normal to our craft.

  From Sinclair's school, in order to receive the finishing-touches to myeducation, I was removed to old Allen's well-known Mathematical Academyin Cold Harbour.

  It is just possible that I might have reaped some amount of benefit fromthe mental provender served out in those nurseries of genius, butunfortunately for me Jack's appreciation of the advantages of knowledgewas such that he considered the time squandered devoted to itsacquisition. Frequently, therefore, when I was supposed by my goodsister Mary, his wife, to be on my way to school, I had been waylaid byhim, and was employed with another boy in setting springles, markingwoodcocks, or in some other equally intellectual pastime. Whatever Imay now think about the matter, I was then convinced that Brother Jackwas one of the kindest and best fellows in the world; and when I fellasleep in my chair during the evening, my somnolency was attributed tothe assiduity with which I had applied to my studies during the day. Ihave since then had not a little reason to regret honest Jack'signorance and my own folly in listening to his persuasions.

  My frequent companion on the occasions I have spoken of was TommyRockets, the son of a poor widow who lived near Jack's house. He wassomewhat younger than myself and small for his age, but a sharp,intelligent little fellow, though amusingly ignorant of affairs ingeneral. His chief employment was acting the part of a scarecrow byfrightening birds from the cornfields, and running on errands intoBideford for any of the neighbours, by which means he enabled his motherto eke out her scanty pittance. I used to share with him my schoolpasty, and now and then I saved a piece of bread and cheese, or I wouldbring him a cake or a roll from Bideford. He never failed to carry aportion to his mother, sharp-set as he always was himself. The poorfellow soon conceived a strong affection for me; and when I was goingoff to sea he cried bitterly at the thoughts of parting from me. I alsohad a regard for him, and, forgetting how small and young he was, I tookit into my head that I would carry him with me. We were sitting on agrassy bank under a tree, with a series of undulating hills and the blueocean beyond, when I broached the subject.

  "Would'st like to come to sea with me, Tom?" said I broadly.

  "What, to them furrin parts across the water?" he asked, pointingseaward with his chin. "No; I'd bee afeared, Master Hurricane, I would.What makes you go now?"

  "To fight the F
renchmen, of course," I replied. "It's peace just now,they say, though I thought we were always at war with the French; but itwon't last long, that's one comfort."

  "Well, now, I'd rather stay at home with mother than go and fight thefurriners--that I would," said Tommy, with much simplicity.

  "Oh, you've no spirit, boy!" I replied, with a look of contempt."Wouldn't you like, now, to be sailing round the world with CommodoreByron, who'll fill his ships with rubies, and pearls, and gold, andprecious stones, and all sorts of things. Why, Tommy, you would comeback with more riches in your waistcoat-pocket than you ever thought topossess in your life."

  Tommy's eyes sparkled as I spoke. "What, enough to make my mother alady!" he exclaimed. "Well, then, Master Hurricane, if so be you cantake me to them parts, when I'm big enough I'll go with ye."

  "Well, we'll see about it," said I, with a patronising air; "but it isnot all gold-picking, remember. There's plenty of fighting andprize-taking besides. You've heard speak of Admiral Hawke?"

  "No," said Tommy, "I ne'er did."

  "I'd have given my right hand to have been with him when he beat theFrench in Quiberon Bay. That was a glorious day for old England, let metell you." I was able to expatiate on the subject, as the last time Iwas at home my father read me a full account of the battle which tookplace in 1759, the year preceding the death of his Majesty George theSecond, and about five years before the time of which I am now speaking.It was the most memorable action of my early days. The French fleetwas commanded by Monsieur de Conflans, whom a short time before aviolent gale had compelled to take shelter in Brest harbour, while theEnglish had anchored in Torbay. The two fleets were about equal. Aftercruising for some time the enemy again took shelter in Quiberon Bay, onthe coast of Bretagne, in France, where they were pursued by theEnglish. A strong gale had sprung up and a heavy sea was running, but,undaunted, the brave Hawke stood on. The Frenchmen hoped to lead hisfleet to destruction among the rocks and shoals of that dangerous coast.Unwilling to fight, yet too late to escape, the French admiral, when hesaw the English approach, was compelled to make sail. Hawke pursuedthem and ordered his pilots to lay him alongside the Soleil Royal, whichbore the flag of the French admiral. The Thesee, a seventy-four-gunship, ran between them, and a heavy sea entering her ports, shefoundered. The Superbe, another Frenchman, shared the same fate.Several other French ships struck their colours; many were driven onshore, among which was the flag-ship, which was set on fire anddestroyed. A great number of the French were killed, but the Englishlost only one lieutenant and thirty-nine men killed, and about twohundred wounded. But I must not stop to describe the gallant actionswhich occurred during my boyhood. Lord Anson, one of the mostexperienced of navigators, died two years only before I went to sea.Captain Byron sailed that same memorable year, when my country first hadthe benefit of my services, on his voyage of discovery into the pacific,and returned in 1766. Captains Wallis and Carteret sailed on exploringvoyages at the same time. I happened to have heard of Mr Cook, but itwas not till many years after this that he became known to fame as oneof the most talented and scientific of English navigators; indeed, hedid not return from his great voyage till eleven years after this. Helost his life in his last voyage in 1779.

  A number of gallant actions were fought at the end of the war,sufficient to fire the ardour of any youth of spirit to whom they wererecounted. Captain Hood's capture of the Warwick, a sixty-gun ship,which had been taken from the English, was one of the most celebrated.At this time, however, she carried but thirty-six guns, with 300 men,including a company of soldiers. Captain Hood attacked her in theMinerva frigate of thirty-two guns and 220 men, and after an hour'sfight, with a heavy sea running, both ships having lost their masts, hecaptured her and took her to Spithead. A still more remarkable actionwas that of the Bellona and Brilliant, Captains Faulkner and Loggie, anda French ship of the line and two heavy frigates, which resulted in thecapture of the first and the flight of the latter. There were alsonumerous actions fought between packets and privateers, and other smallcraft, with the enemy, which seldom failed to add to the honour andglory of our country. Though ignorant of other lore, I greedilydevoured all the accounts I could find of these events, and having oncemade up my mind that the sea was to be my profession, I resolved, whenopportunities should occur, to imitate them to the best of my power.

  But to return to my friend Tommy. Just before I sailed I went to payhis mother a visit. I found the widow sitting, as was her wont,knitting at her window, waiting for her son's return. I went notempty-handed, for besides my pasty, which I had saved, I had bought aloaf and a lump of cheese and a bundle of lollipops at Bideford. Firstpresenting her with these treasures and emptying my pockets of the verysmall amount of cash they contained, I opened the business I had atheart. Poor Mrs Rockets burst into tears when I asked her to let herTommy go to sea with me.

  "Oh, Master Hurricane!" said she, "I feel all your kindness to a poorcreature like me and my boy, and I would not deny you anything, but, oh,sir, he is my only child, my only comfort in life, and I cannot partwith him!"

  All the arguments I could use and the brilliant hopes I held out were ofno avail for a long time, till at last, with a sad voice, she consented,when he grew bigger, should he then show a strong wish to go to sea, toallow him to accompany me.

  I met Tommy on my way home and told him that he must make haste and growbig that he might go to sea and fill his pockets with pearls anddiamonds for his widowed mother. In many a dream which I had thusconjured up, both by day and night, did the poor lad indulge as he wasscaring off the crows in the fields or lying on his humble pallet in histhatched-roof hut near Bideford.

  It was at Whitsuntide of the year 1764, I then numbering eleven summers,that I was placed on the books of the Folkstone cutter, commanded by aparticular friend of my father's, Lieutenant Clover; the amount oflearning I possessed on quitting school just enabling me to read achapter in the Bible to my old blind grandmother (on my mother's side),who lived with us, and to tell my father how many times a coachwheel ofany diameter would turn round in going to Penryn. Having received myfather's and mother's blessing and a sea-chest, which contained asomewhat scanty supply of clothes, a concise epitome of navigation, anEnglish dictionary, and my grandmother's Bible--the only gift of valuethe kind old lady had it in her power to bestow--I was launched forthinto the wide world to take my chance with the bustling, hard-heartedcrowd which fills it. I was speedily removed from the cutter into hisMajesty's packet the Duncannon, Captain Charles Edwards, in which vesselI crossed the Atlantic for the first time; and after visiting Madeiraand several of the West India Islands I returned to Falmouth on the eveof Christmas, 1767. I next joined the Duke of York, Captain Dickenson,in which vessel I made no less than sixteen voyages to Lisbon. As,however, I had grown very weary of the packet service, I was not sorryto be paid off and to return once more home, if not with a fuller purse,at all events, a better sailor than when I left it. I was not longallowed to enjoy the luxury of idleness before my father got meappointed to the Torbay, seventy-four, commanded by Captain Walls, whowas considered one of the smartest officers in the service, and I wastaught to expect a very different sort of life to that which I had beenaccustomed to in the slow-going packet service. There were severalyoungsters from the neighbourhood of Falmouth, who had never before beento sea, who were appointed to the same ship. One of them, my oldmessmate poor Dick Martingall, used to speak of the unsophisticated joywith which his old mother, in her happy simplicity, announced to him thefact of his appointment. She came to his bedside long before the usualhour of rising and awoke him.

  "Richard, my dear son, Richard!" she said; "get up, thou art made forever!"

  "What am I made, mother?" he asked with astonishment, rubbing his eyes,which were still full of sleep.

  "Oh, my boy, my dear boy!" replied the good lady, her countenancebeaming with satisfaction, "thou art made a midshipman!"

  Alas! little did his poor old mother dre
am of the sea of troubles intowhich her darling boy was about to be launched, what hardships anddifficulties he was doomed to encounter, "the snubs that patient raidsfrom their superiors take," or she would not have congratulated herselfon the event, or supposed that by his being made a midshipman he wasmade for ever. Yet in his case it was so far true, poor fellow, that hewas never made anything else, as he was carried out of the world byfever before he had gained a higher step in rank.

  The tailors in Falmouth and its neighbourhood who were employed infitting us out were delightfully innocent of all notion of what amidshipman's uniform should really be, and each one seemed to fancy thathe was at liberty to give full scope to the exuberance of his taste.Their models might have been taken from the days of Benbow, or rather,perhaps, from the costumes of those groups who go about disguised atChristmas-time enacting plays in the halls of the gentry and nobility,and are called by us west-country folks "geese-dancers." As we met onboard the cutter which was to carry us to Plymouth we were not, I willallow, altogether satisfied with our personal appearance, and still lessso when we stepped on the quarter-deck of the seventy-four, commanded byone of the proudest, most punctilious men in the service, surrounded bya body of well-dressed, dashing-looking officers.

  Tom Peard first advanced, as chief and oldest of our gang, with abob-wig on his head surmounted by a high hat bound by narrow gold lace,white lapels to his coat, a white waistcoat, and light-blueinexpressibles with midshipman's buttons. By his side hung a largebrass-mounted hanger, while his legs were encased in a huge pair ofwaterproof boots. I followed next, habited in a coat all sides radius,as old Allen would have said, the skirt actually sweeping the deck, andso wide that it would button down to the very bottom. My white cuffsreached half way up the arm to the elbow; my waistcoat, which was of thesame snowy hue, reached to my knees, but was fortunately concealed fromsight by the ample folds of my coat, as were also my smallclothes. Ihad on white thread stockings, high shoes and buckles, and a plaincocked hat--a prodigiously long silver-handled sword completing mycostume.

  Dick Martingall's and Tom Paynter's dresses wore not much less out oforder, giving them more the appearance of gentlemen of the highway thanof naval officers of respectability. One had a large brass-mountedsword once belonging to his great-grandfather, a trooper in the army ofthe Prince of Orange; the other, a green-handled hanger, which had doneservice with Sir Cloudesley Shovel.

  Often have I seen a set of geese-dancers compelled to make a hurriedflight before the hot poker of some irate housekeeper disturbed in herculinary operations, and much in the same way did we four aspirants fornaval honours beat a precipitate retreat from the deck of the Torbay as,with a stamp of his foot, our future captain ordered us to be gone andinstantly to get cut down and reduced into ordinary proportions by thePlymouth tailors.

  As may be supposed, the operation was almost beyond the skill of eventhe most experienced master of the shears, and we were all of uscompelled, much to our dismay, to furnish ourselves for the most partwith new suits. On our return on board, however, we were complimentedon our appearance; and as our tailor agreed to receive payment from ourfirst instalment of prize-money, we were perfectly content with thearrangement.

  After spending a few months in channel cruising--the Torbay beingordered to lay as guard-ship at Plymouth--such a life not suiting myfancy, I quitted her and joined his Majesty's sloop of war Falcon,captain Cuthbert Baines, fitting out for the West India station.

  As in those days I kept no regular journal, I have only a few scatterednotes written in an old log-book to guide me in my account of the eventsof that period of my career. A few are still vivid in my memory as whenthey first occurred, but many have escaped me altogether, or appear likethe fleeting phantoms of a dream of which it is impossible to describethe details. I must therefore be allowed to pass rapidly over thatearly portion of my naval life and go on to the time when I had passedmy examination for a lieutenant's commission and trod the quarter-deckas a master's mate.

  On the Falcon's leaving Portsmouth we touched at Falmouth or our waydown channel, when I had the opportunity of taking leave of my family--with some of them, alas! it was an eternal farewell. This is one of theseaman's severest trials; he knows from sad experience that of the manysmiling faces he sees collected round the domestic hearth some will toosurely be missing on his return, wanderers, like himself, far, far away,or gone to their final resting-place.

  We made a stay of a few days at Madeira, and without any occurrenceworthy of note reached English Harbour, Antigua, October 21st, 1771,where we found lying several ships of war under the flag of Rear-AdmiralMann.

  I have not hitherto mentioned the names of my messmates. Among others,there were William Wilkins, John Motto, Israel Pellew [see note], andAlexander Dick. We were a jovial set and generally pulled welltogether; but on one occasion the apple of discord was thrown in amongus, and Alexander Dick, the surgeon's mate, and I fell to loggerheads inconsequence of some reflections I thoughtlessly cast on the land of hisnativity--to the effect, as far as my recollection serves me, thatnothing better was to be found there as food for the people than sheeps'heads and boiled bagpipes; to which he retorted by asserting that wewest-country folks were little better than heathens and had no moremanners than blackamoors. As neither of us would retract what we hadsaid, it was decided that our dispute could alone be settled by mortalcombat. Pistols, we were aware, were the most gentlemanly weapons to beemployed on such occasions; but we found that it would be impossible toobtain them in a hurry without to a certainty betraying our intentions.It was therefore settled by our seconds and ourselves that we shoulddecide the knotty question with our hangers as soon as we could manageto get on shore after reaching port. All four of us therefore, havinggot leave the morning after our arrival, left the ship soon afterdaybreak in a shore-boat and pulled off to a retired part of theharbour. Here we landed, and telling our black boatmen to wait ourreturn, we walked away arm-in-arm to a spot where we thought no onewould observe us. Having thrown off our coats and tucked up ourshirt-sleeves, the word was given, and, drawing our hangers, we advancedtowards each other with furious passes, as if nothing but the death ofone of us could satisfy the rancour of our enmity, and yet at that verymoment I believe neither of us recollected the origin of our quarrel.Dick first gave me a cut on the shoulder, which so excited my fury thatI was not long in returning the compliment by bestowing a slash acrosshis arm, which made him wince not a little, but before I could follow itup he had recovered his guard. In a moment I was at him again, and aswe were neither of us great masters of the noble art of self-defence, wekept hewing and slashing away at each other in a most unscientificmanner for several minutes, till we were both of us covered with gashesfrom head to foot, and the blood was flowing copiously down into ourvery shoes. At last, from very weariness and loss of blood, we droppedthe points of our swords as if by mutual consent. Our seconds nowstepped forward.

  "Hurry, my good fellow," said my second, "one thing I see clearly. Thismatter cannot be settled satisfactorily with cold steel--it's too muchlike the custom of piccarooners. We must wait till we can get hold ofpistols, and arrange the affair in a gentlemanly way. That's myopinion, and I daresay you and Mr Dick will agree with me." In honesttruth, both my antagonist and I were in such a condition that we wereperfectly ready to agree to any arrangement which would prevent thenecessity of continuing the painful operation we had both beeninflicting on each other. All four of us therefore sat down on thesands, and Dick, pulling out some lint and bandages from his pockets,our seconds, under his directions, bound up our wounds. When this atlength was done we found it, however, impossible to get on our coatsagain. We were therefore obliged to carry them over our shoulders as wewalked to the boats. When the Negro boatmen saw our pale faces andhalting gait, as with difficulty we stepped into the boat, they grinnedfrom ear to ear, full well guessing what had occurred, and doubtlesslythinking, as will, I suspect, my readers, that we were very great foolsfor our
pains. Ay, truly we were far worse than fools, for in obedienceto the customs of sinful men we had been disobeying the laws of God, andcommitting a very great crime as well as a very great folly, but we didnot think so then, nor did I till very many years afterwards.

  Our intentions had not been kept so secret but that they had becomeknown on board, and, our appearance on our return fully corroboratingthe truth of the reports which had been going about, we were put underarrest by Captain Baines, who then sent for us, to know the cause of ourquarrel. We explained it as well as we could; but, as may be supposed,we neither of us had a very good case to make out. "Well, gentlemen,"said our commander, "this is a point I do not wish to decide myself, butI shall leave it to the arbitration of the gun-room officers, and totheir decision you must bow." The next day, therefore, the gun-roomofficers held a court, and, feeling very stiff and very sore, andlooking, I doubt not, very foolish--though we did our best to appearlike heroes--we stood before them. Having both of us pleaded our cause,it was decided that we had no business to use the language we hademployed, and that we were both in the wrong. We were in consequenceordered to shake hands, and be friends, or else to look out for squalls.Had we possessed more sense, this we might have done before we had cuteach other half to pieces, not to speak of spoiling a shirt and a pairof breeches apiece. Thus ended the first and only duel in which I wasever engaged, and Dick and I from that time forward became very goodfriends.

  About this time, some serious disputes having arisen with the Caribs ofSaint Vincent, who had become very troublesome to the settlers, theBritish Government formed the design of removing them altogether fromthe island and of placing them on some part of the mainland, where theymight enjoy their own manner of life without interfering with civilisedpeople. To effect this object an expedition was sent to the islandunder the command of Major-General Dalrymple, consisting of tworegiments from America and various bodies of troops collected from theother islands and from on board all his Majesty's ships of war on thestation. At this distance of time of course I cannot pretend to be ableto give any minute description of the details of the affair. I knowthat there were some gentlemen who acted as commissioners who went onshore to try and arrange matters with the Caribs; but the savages, afteragreeing to terms, not showing any intention to abide by them, thetroops were ordered to land. It was very easy to give the order, butnot so easy to execute it, for at the time there happened to be anunusually heavy surf breaking on the shore. It would have been wiser inmy humble opinion to have waited till the surf had gone down, or to haveselected some other spot for disembarkation to that fixed on; but,strange to say, the authorities did not happen to ask my opinion,simply, I suppose, because I was a midshipman, and the landingcommenced. The boats, pulled by the seamen and crowded with soldiers,made for the shore. Some reached it in safety by taking the propermoment to dash through the surf, but others were not so fortunate. Oneboat from our ship had put off; the men in high spirits at the thoughtof a brush with the Niggers, as they called the unfortunate Caribs. Iwas watching them from the deck as they approached the shore, when aheavy roller went tumbling in after them. The men saw it coming andpulled for their lives, but it was too quick for them, and catching theboat turned her over as if she had been a mere cockleshell. In aninstant some thirty poor fellows were struggling in the surf. Many sunkat once, others made way for the shore, but they had a remorseless enemyon the watch for them, and several, with a shriek of agony which reachedalmost to the ears of those on board the Falcon, were drawn under bythose monsters of the deep, the voracious sharks. Others, when nearlytouching the sand, were washed out again by the reflux of another rollerfollowing up the first. It was doubly sad, because before it waspossible to send any help to them their fate was sealed. Several otherboats met with a like accident, and before the troops were all landed alarge number both of seamen and soldiers were lost. The survivorsformed on the beach and then advanced rapidly into the country, wherethe Caribs were drawn up in strong force to receive them.

  The enemy, having the advantage of a knowledge of the country, chosetheir own ground for encountering our troops, and, truth to say,generally had the best of it. I do not wish to enlarge on the subject.I know that we gained very little honour and glory, but, after losing aconsiderable number of men, some from the bullets of the enemy andothers from sunstrokes, the troops were ordered to embark again.Afterwards we heard that the Caribs were allowed to remain in possessionof their rights. I suspect, however, that they did not retain them forany long period after this time.

  I remember nothing of any particular importance happening to me tillAugust, 1772, when we were lying in English Harbour, Antigua, in companywith his Majesty's ships Chatham, Sea-horse, and Active. I have goodreason to remember the harbour well. It is small, but very pretty. Theinner part is encircled by hills of various shapes and sizes, the outeris formed by a rocky ridge, with a fort on it guarding the narrowentrance. The capital, Saint Johns, is at the other side of the island,so that we were not able to get there as often as we wished. Withlittle or no warning one of the most terrific hurricanes I everencountered came down upon us, and before we could get our topmastshoused our masts went by the board, and at the same instant breakingfrom our anchors we were all driven on shore together. It was a case inwhich seamanship was of no avail, for before we could make anypreparations to avert the evil the catastrophe had occurred. The sameblast levelled with the ground all the stores and houses in thedockyard, as also the Naval Hospital and all the dwelling-houses andother buildings which it encountered in its course. Before we couldattempt to heave the ships off we were obliged to clear them ofeverything, down to the very kelson, and even then we could not movethem till we applied the most powerful purchases which could beinvented. The Falcon had received so much injury that we were compelledto heave her down to repair her before she was fit for sea. While thisoperation was going forward I had the misfortune to break my rightknee-pan, and for very long it was doubtful whether I should ever againhave the free use of my leg. For sixteen weeks I remained in hospital,but at length, to my great satisfaction, was pronounced fit for duty.

  I was now no longer a mere youngster, and had seen already aconsiderable amount of service. Early in 1773 I was appointedacting-lieutenant of the Falcon by Vice-Admiral Parry, who hadsuperseded Admiral Mann. I now assumed the lieutenant's uniform andwalked the deck with no little amount of pride, hoping to be confirmedin my rank when at the expiration of her time on the station my shipshould return to England. The change from a midshipman's berth to thegun-room was very considerable, and as I shone away in what theOrlopians term white boot-tops, I was looked upon by them, with nolittle amount of envy. I was doomed, however, in this respect to sufferdisappointment. In August, 1774, the Falcon returned home, the captain,the lieutenant of marines, another midshipman, and myself, being theonly officers on board who had left England in her--the rest having diedor changed into other ships. I must mention the kindness I everreceived from Captain Baines while I remained with him. After I leftthe Falcon I served in the Folkstone cutter stationed at Bideford, andthen joined the Wolf sloop of war, Captain Hayward. In the space of afew months I attended the funerals of his wife, his child, and lastly ofhimself. On quitting the Wolf I began what I may look upon as a new erain my life, and it is therefore a fitting period to commence a freshchapter.


  Note. Afterwards Sir Israel Pellew, the brother of the famous LordExmouth.