Главная » Книги

Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world..., Страница 11

Лисянский Юрий Фёдорович - Voyage round the world...

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

m the 6th to the 9th, the ship had scarcely moved from her station; and the heat was so powerful, that the boats, as well as our mizen-mast and bowsprit, were terribly cracked by it. I was obliged to caulk the first, and secure the last with wooldings.


   On the 8th, we saw a curious sort of fish. It was thick, and about six inches in length; the singularity consisted in the fins, which were nearly as long as the body. In the course of this day we also saw some tropic birds, and a great number of flyings fish; which we considered as proofs of our having quitted the dismal climate where westerly winds and foggy weather are so annoying.


   The light airs continued till the 15th, when they were succeeded by a moderate breeze, but still from the westward. At ten I took some lunar distances, and found the longitude at noon to be 173° 23' west, and the latitude 26° 43' north.


   Though, we had been for some time past visited by various birds and fish, we had never witnessed so great a number as on this day. The ship was surrounded by porpoises, benitas, pilot-fish, tropic birds, frigates, and ganets. One of the ganets alighted on our jib-boom, and was so tame that a sailor by climbing up had nearly caught it. From seeing so immense a quantity of birds and fish, my attention was roused, especially as Mr. de la Perouse had also observed near this place many signs which he thought would lead to a discovery of land. I accordingly desired my people to be on the watch, and remained on deck myself the whole of the day. We however perceived nothing; but at ten o'clock in the evening our courage was put to a most severe trial. I had given to the lieutenant of the watch my orders for the night, and was retiring to my cabin, when the vessel received a violent shock. I instantly put the helm a-lee and tacked, but it was to no purpose; before the ship came round to the wind, she grounded. All hands were summoned upon deck and set to work; and upon sounding, we found that we had touched on a coral bank. I now ordered the guns and the heaviest articles that had been stowed on the booms, to be thrown overboard; but with such precaution, that they might be recovered, should circumstances admit. The ship being thus lightened, we succeeded by day-light in getting her into deep water; when we perceived, at the distance of about a mile, a small low island to the west-north-west, and to south by west some high rocks that were beaten upon by a most tremendous surf, though the sea around was as smooth as glass. Notwithstanding our perilous situation, this sight greatly pleased us, and the crew all exerted themselves with alacrity. We were hardly however afloat, waiting for the ship's master, who had gone in a boat to sound, when a sudden squall came on, and drove us again on a more dangerous bank than the former one. The sea heaved greatly, and the ship struck continually against the ground with violence. This obliged me to throw overboard cables, anchors, and every heavy article however necessary. I had even determined to cut away the masts, should we be so unfortunate as not to get into deep water before night. This, however, with excessive labour, was effected. Though the ship was still in a critical situation, it was absolutely necessary to give rest to my people; and providentially a perfect calm reigned during the time, or we must all have perished.


   At daylight, the weather being fine, we again warped forwards; and shortly after I dispatched half of my crew in search of the different articles we had thrown into the sea; and to my great satisfaction, by five in the afternoon, every thing was recovered. While engaged in the search, they found a piece of the false keel of the vessel, which had been broken off by her striking; and as she struck repeatedly, but little of this keel could be left: yet, for the last twenty-four hours, the water-in her hold had not exceeded twelve inches.
   At seven in the evening, having reached a depth of eight fathoms, we cast anchor. When, the depth of water, which, during the period of our difficulty, had been from three to six fathoms, is considered, it might be supposed,, that we could have warped off much sooner; but it must be remembered, that the coral bottom, by continually cutting our cables, stopped the progress of our work: and that we had another obstruction, in the excessive heat of the weather. As I felt myself indisposed from fatigue, I did not, as had been my intention, go on shore this evening, but sent some of my officers*. who, after an absence of two hours, returned, bringing with them four large seals, which they had killed on the beach with handspikes.


   On the 18th, the wind continuing perfectly calm and the weather fine, we again warped with all possible expedition further northward. Desirous of examining the place, which, by its situation, appeared to be of great importance to navigation, I went on shore in the morning with several of my officers, leaving orders on board for the ship to go out to sea, should a fair, wind spring up; and, after clearing every danger, to wait for us. The surf was so great, that we could with difficulty, land at a small bay, where we found numerous birds of different kinds, and seals of an enormous size. On landing, we were much annoyed by the birds, many of which made their attack flying, while others ran after us, pecking at our legs: it was with difficulty we could keep them off, even with our canes. The seals lay on their backs along the beach, motionless. Some measured in length more than seven feet: they scarcely stirred at our approach, or even deigned to open their eyes. Though, at another times the sight of these animals would have been extremely gratifying; yet, as we had objects in view of more importance, we passed on without molesting them. The heat of the day was excessive, and, almost at every step, we sunk up to our knees in holes, that were concealed by overgrown creeping plants, and contained the nests, as we supposed, of various birds; for we often heard their cries under our feet from being trampled upon. Toward evening, having examined every thing worthy of notice, we fixed a high pole in the ground, and buried near it a bottle, containing a description of our discovery of this island. We then returned on board, with no very pleasurable feelings, as we had the conviction from our search, that, should we be so unfortunate as to be unable to get clear of this island, we had nothing to do but resign ourselves quietly to the death that awaited us, since not a drop of fresh water was to be found. It is true, there was plenty of fish, birds, turtles, and seals, which would amply have satisfied our hunger; but with what were we to have quenched our thirst?- If our excursion to the new island was not pleasant, it was at least lucrative as to shells, coral, petrified sponges, and other curiosities, of which we brought away a great quantity.
   This island promises nothing to the adventurous voyager but certain danger in the first instance, and almost unavoidable destruction in the event It stands in the middle of a very perilous coral bank, and, exclusive of a small eminence on the eastern part, lies almost on a level with the sea. Its soil consists of coral sand, that is overgrown with creeping plants and grass, in the manner I have described. Amongst the birds we saw, the most worthy of notice was a species of wild pigeon; at least it resembled that bird, both in size and in colour: when flying in the night, it made a loud and disagreeable noise.
   As there is no water, so neither are any trees to be seen on this island. We found, however, several large trunks of trees on the beach, which, no doubt, had been thrown up by the sea. The largest of these trunks, at the root end, measured twenty-one feet in circumference. They were like the red-wood tree, that grows on the banks of the river Columbia in America. I am at a loss what conclusion to draw from the appearance of these trunks of trees in so remote a place. If they could not have been drifted by the sea from America, on account of the great distance, it follows that they must have come from some nearer place. On the Sandwich Islands trees of this kind do not grow; and Japan, like America, is very remote. It is not therefore improbable, that, on the same line on which lie the Sandwich Islands, Necker Island, and the island now found, there are lands more to the north-west, which will owe their discovery to some future navigator: perhaps likewise on the same line lies the island, said by some writers to have been formerly discovered by the Spaniards in the latitude of 35° 30' north, and the longitude of 170° east.
   I also found on the beach a small callabash, which had a round hole cut on one side of it. This could not have been drifted from a great distance, as it was fresh and in good preservation. I cannot help regarding it as a great misfortune that the ship grounded, as I should otherwise certainly not have quitted the environs of this island till I had explored them thoroughly; but in her present damaged state, though the hope, of discovery was dear to my heart, I dared not at tempt it.
   I shall insert here a plan of the island, that by comparing it with the description I have given of our situation, the reader may judge how great was our peril, and how miraculous our escape. When I reflect, that the ship might have grounded in many a worse place on this bank, and that the smallest breeze, especially from the north-east, would have been sufficient to dash her to pieces, I cannot help feeling grateful to Providence, persuaded that, without his aid, like Mr. de la Perouse and his companions, not one of us would ever again have beheld his native land: for even if we had escaped from a watery grave, it would only have been, as the island affords neither water nor wood, to have suffered a worse death by famine. To my ship's company I owe, on this trying occasion, a tribute of thanks, as well as a tribute of commendation: both officers and men were so incessantly employed, that they had hardly more than six hours' rest during the whole time we remained at the island; and so far were they from murmuring at this, that a cheerfulness, an alacrity, and a courage, were displayed by them, that have seldom been surpassed. To the south-east point of the bank where the vessel grounded, I gave the name of Neva; while the island itself, in compliance with the unanimous wishes of my ship's company, received the appellation of Lisiansky.


   On the 19th a light breeze from the north-west happily for us sprung up, and allowed us to set sail about nine o'clock in the morning. At noon we observed in 26° 10': north latitude. We were now at the distance only of about ten miles, yet could see the island but indistinctly, even from the mast-head. I here brought to, to hoist in our boats, and, sounding with a hundred fathom line, could find no ground, though but half an hour before, the depth was only twenty-five fathoms. From our last place of anchorage to the distance of a mile, we had nine and ten fathoms; when it increased to fifteen, twenty, and so on, gradually, till we were out of soundings. The bottom every where was full of corals, which in shallow water were seen nearly as large as common-sized trees.


   The northerly wind, which had favoured us during the whole of yesterday, shifted the next morning to the north-east. During the night we had steered eastward, and we now shaped our course to the south-west. At noon, our latitude was 25° 23' north, and the longitude 172° 55' west. Having brought the ship to some order, and, as to myself, regained in some degree my strength, I applied to the calculation of the various observations I had taken since the 17th. By three meridian altitudes, the middle point of the island of Lisiansky appeared to be in the latitude of 26° 2' 48" north, and by fourteen lunar distances, 1805. including the observations of the 15th, in the longitude of 173° 35' 45" west. {By the assistance of thirty-four other lunar distances, which I had afterwards opportunities of taking, I was enabled to calculate the situation of the middle of the island more accurately, and I found its true longitude to be 173° 42' 30". I have accordingly so placed it in my chart.}
   In the afternoon we saw at a distance two large flights of black birds; I therefore gave directions to carry only top-sails on the cap during the night. This precaution was also necessary on account of my people, who were greatly in want of rest From this day, I resolved so to steer, as to reach the longitude of 180° west, when in the latitude of 17° north, in order to pass in the middle track of the two points given to captain Wake's Bank by Mr. Arrowsmith in his two Charts.


   In the morning of the 23d we had a westerly wind, with rain. On the weather clearing up at noon, we found ourselves in the latitude of 22° 15' north, and the longitude of 175° 32' west. At the close of our observations, from the wind shifting to the southward, we steered westward; but had scarcely pursued that course one hour, when breakers were observed from the fore-top, right a-head. I could myself see from the forecastle a great rippling before the ship, and I tacked instantly. Lieutenant Powalishin and the ship's master went aloft, and confirmed the report, that a little beyond the rippling were high breakers. At this time the clouds began to move with rapidity, and the wind; was in a very unsettled state; expecting, therefore, bad weather, I thought it adviseable to retire to a distance from this station, and wait for a favourable opportunity, to take a survey of its environs. At three the weather became squally, and the fog was so thick, that we were obliged to sail sixteen miles to the southward, where we brought-to for the night.
   From the account of the officers who were aloft, and from what I perceived myself from the deck, the new-discovered bank stretched north and south, about two miles. The surf, that was observed in one place only, was occasioned, it is natural to suppose, by a large rock, situated, by our reckoning, in the latitude of 22° 15' north, and the longitude of 175° 37' west. To this rock I gave the name of Krusenstern.


   On the 24th we were still unable to approach the bank, from the weather continuing thick and unsettled; and seeing no prospect of a change, I proceeded on my voyage. At eight in the morning a land bird was seen fluttering in the air, blown off, no doubt, by the squalls of yesterday, from some unknown land in the neighbourhood. At noon, by observation, we were in latitude 21° 56' north, and longitude 175° 21' west. Towards evening T again brought-to for the night; and I was determined regularly to pursue this plan till we should arrive in a track of the sea better known to us. By this precaution, nothing worthy of observation would escape us; and we should be as much on our guard as was practicable against unforeseen accidents, with which we were by no means in a condition to cope.


   Though the light and variable breezes continued nearly a whole week, we reached, on the 31st, the latitude of 18° 34', and the longitude of 178° 56'. I now deemed it prudent to diminish the daily allowance of biscuits by a quarter of a pound per man, fearing, as we had only a sufficient stock left for thirty days, that this indispensable article might fail us before we arrived at Canton; and I am happy to state, that the ship's company not only received this regulation without the least sign of dissatisfaction, but declared themselves willing to submit to any deprivations that should be found necessary.

Nov. 2d.

   On the 2d of November, having a pretty fresh breeze from the northward, I ordered all sails to be set, and at noon arrived into the latitude of 16° 31' north, and the longitude of 180° 32' west We had this day to congratulate ourselves upon having finished half of our circumnavigation, reckoning from the meridian of Greenwich, without the loss of a single man by illness. My people bore the hot climate as well as if they had been inured to it from their infancy; it seemed indeed to agree with them better than the cold climates. The practice, to which they had been habituated from early life, of using hot baths in their own country, was probably of advantage to them in this respect.
   In the afternoon the wind shifted to the north-east. It appears that the trade-winds, here, do not extend so far beyond the line, as in the Atlantic Ocean, or Indian Seas. Since the 25th ult. the weather had been calm, except now and then a light breeze, which sprang up always from the north, and shifted first to east, then to the south, and at last to the west, where it generally died away. We found the north-west swell very prevalent, which must have been occasioned by the winds from that quarter, which are very common in the high latitudes of this immense sea. We often had to encounter them in our way to America, while, on our return from thence, they prevailed still more constantly, for we had an easterly wind only twice during the whole time. It is to be lamented, that the sea between the Sandwich Islands and Japan is so little known, as it would be adviseable for ships bound to Camchatka to make the whole of their longitude when in 14° or 15° north latitude, and then steer directly north; as, by so doing, they would in a great measure avoid the inconvenience of the westerly winds, which might detain them in their course. It was for this reason, that, on my run to Cadiack, I resolved so to steer from the Sandwich Islands, as to reach the longitude of 165° west, in a low latitude, when I took a direct course for the place of our destination, where we arrived in about three weeks, notwithstanding the prevalence of winds from the west.


   Having reached on the 4th the latitude of 13° 30' north, we considered the most dangerous part of our voyage from Sitca Sound to be surmounted. We had sailed through a sea as yet unexplored, and had probably passed near many a sunken rock, which, had we deviated ever so little from the course in which we fortunately steered, might have been our destruction, and especially higher towards the north. It struck me as singular, that from the time of our quitting the new-found island, no fish, except a grampus which once showed itself, had appeared till yesterday, when we saw some flying-fish. Birds, however, were seen every day.


   From the latitude of 15°, we had so brisk a trade-wind from the north-east, that on the 14th we were in 14° 29' north, and 209° 14' west. We could depend on the correctness of our longitude, as the result of our lunar observations had for the last four days scarcely differed from the chronometers. The flying-fish were less numerous here, than we had found them further to the north; but they were of a larger size. One which leaped upon deck measured fifteen inches and a half in length, and seven inches round; the length of the fore wings was eight inches, and that of the lower ones three inches.


   On the 15th we had fresh breezes and fine weather. At noon we found ourselves in the latitude of 14° 48' north, and in the longitude of 213° 4' west. And at five o'clock in the evening we saw the islands of Saypan and Tinian; the former to the north-west by west, and the latter to the westward. As the sun was near the horizon, and I expected, from every appearance of the sky, that we should have a bad night, I steered northwest till half after six o'clock, and then plied to windward under an easy sail till day-light.


   The weather, which had been squally and troublesome in the night, improved towards morning. At seven o'clock, observing the south-east point of Tinian Island, I made towards it, and entered between the islands of Aguian and Tinian about ten. At eleven we had passed both of these islands, and we then steered west by north. Nothing could be more safe and pleasant than this passage. I think there must be sufficient depth of water to the very shores of Tinian, for we saw no signs to the contrary, and the sea broke only on the north side of it, where it is craggy. The south-east point of this island is very steep; but the shore there on both sides rises gently, and is covered with trees. It is to be regretted that this island has not a good harbour, as it would in that case be of great service to ships navigating these seas. On the west side of the island we saw the anchorage of lord Anson, which appeared to be only safe from the easterly winds. By fifty-two lunar distances taken from the 11th instant, the longitude of the south-east end of the island of Tinian was estimated to be 213° 40' 20" west, and its latitude, by observation to-day, 14° 56' 52" north. The latitude of the island of Aguian was 14° 50' 32". I this day altered the rate of my chronometers. No. 136 was now losing 48" 5; No. 50, 6" 7; and Pennington's, 1' l" 7, in twenty-four hours. At two o'clock we were out of sight of the Ladrones. The island of Say pan appeared to me to be the highest of the group. It may be seen in clear weather at the distance of thirty-five miles, which is ten farther than the island of Tinian can be seen. The first has the appearance of a sugar-loaf; the other is flat at the top. On taking a direct course for Canton, I could not restrain my joy at the idea that we were about to visit once more a civilised people, and should probably, in a short time, join the companions of the early part of our voyage, from whom we had been so long separated. From Si tea to the Ladrone Islands we had currents from the north-east and south-west. The last, which was the strongest, carried us a hundred and forty miles to the southward, and two hundred to the westward. Its force was very great near the tropic, but on our approaching the Marianne Islands it shifted to the west.


   On our losing sight of land, the wind freshened; and at last, on the 20th, blew so hard that I was obliged to bear storm stay-sails only. This, however, was but the prelude of what was to come.


   In the morning of the 22d the mercury in the barometer fell below all the divisions, and disappeared from the scale; and the storm, that had continued already for upwards of twenty-four hours, increased to a perfect hurricane, or typhoon, as it is called in these seas, which tore to pieces our mizen, the only sail we had set, and laid the ship so much on her side, that her hatchways were partly under water. About noon we saw our jolly-boat, which was hung over the ship's stern, washed away, and soon after our gangways and many other things shared the same fate. Meanwhile the water rushed into the hold through the seams of the lee-side, from which all the oakum was forced by the pressure of the sea, so rapidly, that it gained on all our pumps; and we should unavoidably have gone to the bottom, if this terrible storm had not abated, which it fortunately did towards evening; for the crew, who were all the time standing up to their knees in water, were so exhausted that they could pump no longer. Thus did Providence, seemingly for a second time, when we were in a perilous situation, interpose to rescue us from destruction. As the tempest diminished, the leak in the vessel diminished also, because, no longer kept down on her side by violence, she naturally righted herself.


   During the night we had still a heavy gale to contend with; but with the dawn of the morning, the weather improved so much, that we were able to overhaul our rigging, some of which was greatly strained and chafed, and the whole rendered as white as if it had never been tarred. Having finished this task, our attention was next called to cleaning the ship, and drying such things as had become wet during the storm. Though every article was removed from below, and every place in the vessel fumigated with vitriol, so obnoxious a smell came from between decks, that 1 had no doubt of the furs in the hold being in a state of putrefaction.


   Accordingly, as soon as my people arose from sleep on the 24th, I ordered the hold to be examined, and to my great mortification, my conjecture was verified. On taking off the main hatchway, a thick blue vapour, of so offensive a smell, issued out, that for some time nobody could stand near it.
   A most unpleasant business now lay before us; for it was necessary that every fur should be examined, and that without delay. As soon therefore as the first noisome evaporation was over, we began to unload the larboard side; and in the mean time, to render the air as pure as possible, chafing-dishes with burning coals were hung in different parts of the ship, and a fumigator with vitriol was suspended over the place where the men were to work. The uppermost furs were in good condition; but the farther we w.ent down the worse they were found; and when we came to the lower packages, they were so completely pu-trified, that we were obliged, from their rottenness, to hoist them up in bags and nets made of old ropes for the purpose. To render these putrescent labours less injurious, I divided the crew into three parties, who relieved each other alternately; for it was impossible for the same persons to continue long in the hold without feeling the most acute pain both in the head and eyes; and, as a further precaution, I prepared for them a beverage of water acidulated with vitriol, which I have no doubt had a good effect, for none of them suffered eventually in their health. About noon the wind shifted to the northward; but as our larboard side was. nearly unloaded, I was obliged to lie-to on the same tack till sun-set, when I steered west-iiorth-west. The smell from the hold was so strong in the fore part of the ship, that at night I was obliged to remove the crew from their births into the ward-room, while the officers took their rest in the cabin.


   The next day at sun-rise my people resumed their task. From the burning coals and the fumigation having been kept up in the hold during the whole night, the air, however, was now so much purified, that they could work below for an hour at a time; whereas the day before, especially when the lowermost packages were hoisted up, they were unable to stay there longer than a few minutes. Towards evening the wind blew so strong from the north-east, that we were obliged to desist from our labours.


   It was extremely fortunate that the wind moderated in the morning, as we should otherwise have been obliged to bear either for the island of Luconia, or the Philippines; because, being unloaded, the ship was wholly unable to withstand a gale. At noon, on taking an observation, I found myself in the latitude of 18° 48' north, and in the longitude of 231° 39' west. Towards night we finished unstowing the larboard side of the hold; when we found that, out of the cargo which it contained, we were obliged to throw overboard thirty thousand sea-bear skins, besides a great quantity of other valuable furs; a loss which I estimated altogether at forty, thousand Spanish dollars.


   On the 27th we were annoyed again by the weather, which not only interrupted our work, but obliged us to close all the hatchways. In this unpleasant situation, however, I kept up my spirits with the hope, that the cargo of the starboard side would be found ia better condition, and require less overhauling.


   The next day we had still fresh breeaes from the north-east, and squally weather. At seven in the mornings the four small isles which lie to the northward of Bashee Island being in sight, we stood to the north-west. At noon, being in the latitude of 21° 25' north, and the nearest isles bearing north 12° west, about thirty miles, we steered west. At two in the afternoon we lost tight of the four isles altogether. Towards night, as the weather continued unsettled and squally, I resolved to run only sixty miles to the westward from our observation at noon, and then to take a course to the west-north-west. This day, notwithstanding the unfavourable state of the weather, may be reckoned amongst the most fortunate of our voyage; since, exclusive of our entering into the Chipese seas, we completed our stowage, and brought the ship into a condition again to withstand any casual accident to which vessels are liable in these seas. From the Ladrone or Marianne Islands the current hitherto had tended to west-south-West, and carried the ship sixty-seven miles to the southward, and about five degrees to the westward.


   The day following we cleaned the ship thoroughly, which we could not have done before, though she was uncommonly dirty every where. At noon we had an observation in 21° 42' north, and in 240° 21' west At four in the afternoon we had passed about two miles from the place where a large rock is laid down in the East India Atlas, but we saw nothing of it. At midnight we came into soundings, as was expected, in fifty fathoms, fine white sand. Concluding from this, that we were not far from the island of Migrice, I kept off half a point: finding, however, at four in the morning the same depth, I steered as before to west-south-west. At day-light a Chinese boat was seen. It appeared about sixty feet long, with a high narrow stern, and a sail made of mats. At that time the weather was fine, and the ship was going west by north. In this course we kept till one in the afternoon, when, seeing the island of Pedro Branco about twelve miles to the northward, we shaped towards the Great Lema.
   The isle of Pedro Branco is situated, by our chronometers, in 244° of west longitude, and in latitude, by observation, 22° 24' north. It is high, and, having a large rock to the westward, resembles at a distance a ship with all her sails set
   Though we had passed at least thirty Chinese coasters, since the morning, I hailed none of them; as I had resolved not to take a pilot on board till we came near the Great Lema, expecting to obtain one there of superior skill Being sufficiently near about four o'clock, I ordered a signal to be made; and, as the ship was surrounded by boats, I had no doubt that one or other of them would soon board us: I was, however, mistaken; for, though we fired many signals, they took not the slightest notice of us. As I could not procure a pilot, I determined to ply to windward till morning, and then to run close in shore.

Dec. 1th.

   During the night, we were driven by the currents to the southward of the Great Lema, and I was obliged still to ply to windward, to endeavour to enter the passage on the north side; but finding the swell too great for the ship to tack well, I changed my resolution, and made for the main channel. I had this day (the 1st of December) fourteen men on the sick list As they all complained alike of extreme weakness, I attributed it to the same cause, the fatigue they had lately undergone; and had therefore little anxiety upon the subject, persuaded that rest was all that was necessary to their recovery.
   Towards noon we passed the rocks lying to the westward of the Lema group, and took our course to the Ladrones. Though I had been so near as within two miles of the Lema islands, no soundings could be found with a line of twenty-five fathoms: I have no doubt, therefore, that a. ship may sail close to them with safety. At two in the afternoon, when We approached the north-west point of the small Ladrone, a pilot came on board, by whom we were informed that the Nadejda had arrived at Macao about a week ago, and now was in the Typa. We still worked to windward till ten in the evening; when, finding the ebb was making, we came to an anchor at the island of Shamshoo, in eight fathoms of water, oozy ground, where we were kept the whole of the following day by a calm.


   On the 3d we had a northerly breeze, but it was so light that we did not arrive at Macao till the evening. After securing the ship, and giving orders to my first lieutenant to have all the guns loaded with grape-shot, and to be on his guard against the pirates that infest these seas, I went on shore to see captain Krusenstern, whom I found in good health, as were also all my other friends. I remained on shore the whole of the next day, in the enjoyment of their society, after a separation of nearly eighteen months.
   The pirates I have mentioned are so daring, that, they will sometimes attack a vessel under the very batteries. They are called here Ladrones, and are so numerous, that they are said to amount to two hundred thousand men. They plunder every thing in their power, as well on shore as at sea. It is probable that the boats we saw when we made signals for a pilot belonged to these robbers, who, finding our ship too strong, did not dare to molest us. Not long ago they contended with a Portuguese: brig of war, and considerably damaged her,
   The town of Macao is built upon a rising ground. It is tolerably clean, and has some handsome houses. It is defended by several batteries, and presents from the sea a very pleasant view. The environs appeared to be the very reverse of fruitful, Though I had resided but a day in the town, I could perceive plainly enough, that while the Portuguese were the professed masters, the Chinese in reality bore the sway; for nothing of any consequence could be done without their permission. Though the governor may attempt occasionally to defend his rights against the encroachments of the insolent mandarins, his garrison is too small for him to be able to enforce respect I was told that there were as many monks and priests as soldiers, the number of which was about two hundred. It appears to me, that the Portuguese are themselves principally in fault in this subjection. Being badly provided with necessaries, they are continually dependent on the Chinese, who, on the smallest dissatisfaction, threaten to stop the supplies, and thus govern the town.


   On the 5th I left this place, and proceeded for Whampoa. Captain Krusenstern, who, for reasons which I shall assign hereafter, could not accompany me with his ship, went with me as a passenger. This I deemed a happy circumstance; as, besides the pleasure of going with him to Canton, I should have an opportunity of learning from him the various events he had met with since we parted. {Captain Krusenstern had had a very good passage from the Sandwich Islands to Camchatka, from whence, after refreshing his crew, he sailed for Nangasaky with the embassy. I was sorry to learn, that the object of the embassy, which was to establish a commercial intercourse with Japan, had entirely railed; which, I suspect, was to be attributed to the interference of die gentlemen of the Dutch factory, who were always jealous of strangers coming amongst them. The ambassador, on his return to Camchatka, left the Nadejda and proceeded to visit the Russian settlements in America. Captain Krusenstern had afterwards an opportunity of surveying the island of Sagaleen, whence he sailed for Camchatka, and then proceeded for China. During this multifarious voyage, his people had been in good health, though, except while in Japan, they bad chiefly lived on salt provisions.}


   In the night of the 6th we reached the Bocca Tigris, and there cast anchor. In the course of the day, we passed a large fleet of war boats of the Chinese, who were preparing to go in search of pirates.


   On the 7th two custom-house officers came on board in the morning. The wind was now so slight, that our sails were nearly useless. I therefore hired fifty boats to tow us. With this assistance we passed the first bar at ten o'clock in the evening, and the second about midnight; and at two in the morning were moored at Whampoa, with thirty fathoms of cable fore and aft.
   The river Tigris is defended by two batteries, badly built, and badly famished with artillery. Here ships must stop to wait for the custom-house officers and a pilot. The fiver is every where safe, except at its entrance, and at the two bars, the passage through which is a little difficult, especially for large ships, which should therefore, in case of a light breeze, always have recourse to the assistance of boats. The pay for such boats is two dollars each from Bocca Tigris, and one from the second bar to Whampoa.
   Having placed the vessel in a snug birth, I gave orders for her to be unrigged, and in the mean time proceeded with captain Krusenstern to Canton, to find a purchaser for the cargo. On our arrival, we applied to Mr. Beal, an Englishman, an old acquaintance of captain Krusenstern's, who undertook the management of out business, and introduced us to Mr. Looqua, one of the hongs, or merchants privileged to trade with foreigners, who, as the custom of the country requires, became responsible for our good conduct, and the payment of the duties, and offered us the use of his warehouses. Without the intervention of a person of this kind, no goods are allowed to enter Canton. He is accountable to the government, for whatever is done by those whom he thus takes under his charge; and, in case of misbehaviour on their part, is sometimes heavily fined.
   I might have landed with ease all my furs by the 16th of December, if the government had not interfered: but as we were the first Russians that had visited Canton for commerce, the viceroy of the province demanded a variety of explanations, before he would permit us to act. In consequence of this we were visited by all the inferior hongs, and at last by Mr. Panquequa, the chief, who put to us the following interrogatories:- Of what nation are you? Do you trade with China by land? What motives induce you to undertake so long a voyage from your own country? Are your ships, ships of war? To these questions he requested an answer in writing, which, he said, would be sent to Pekin, for the inspection of the emperor. Our reply was a tedious affair, as the hong was scrupulously attentive to every word of it. At first we were desired to write it in English; then it was to be changed to Russ: an indecision which occasioned many interviews, to the loss of much time.
   As soon as this business was over, Mr. Beal waited upon us to say, that Mr. Looqua wished to have the refusal of our cargo, at the price which might be fixed by those who were to estimate its value.
   The question of our ships being ships of war, originated in captain Krusenstern. On his arrival at Macao, as he had but few furs, he did not wish to proceed with them to Whampoa, but preferred waiting for me in the Typa. The Chinese, however, insisting on his going up the river, as all merchant vessels were obliged to do, he said that his was not a merchant vessel, which was immediately reported at Canton, For this reason, when he afterwards wished to take his ship to Whampoa in company with mine, the mandarin of the custom-house would not permit him. On our arrival at Canton, we endeavoured to set this matter right, by stating, that though the Nadejda belonged to the crown, she had been lent by the government to the American company, and by the laws of Russia was allowed to trade; that she had accordingly taken in a cargo, which consisted of furs. This circumstance had great weight with the Chinese. Being, however, suspicious by nature, they sent a custom-house officer to ascertain the truth of what we said, as to the vessel containing a cargo; and having received a report in the affirmative, a pilot was ordered to bring the ship to Whampoa, where she arrived on the 23d instant.


   By this time the hold of the Neva was cleared of her goods, and we were preparing to examine the damage she had received when she grounded. She had previously been measured by the hopoo, or director of the customs of Canton, who came on board on the 18th, about ten o'clock in the morning, for the purpose, in a large handsome boat, decorated with different flags, and attended by three boats of the same size, and a great number of smaller ones. As was the custom on such occasions, I sent one of my officers and a Chinese interpreter to meet him. The measurement was soon effected; for it consisted merely in drawing a line from the fore- to the mizen-mast, and athwart- ship by the main-mast, which line was afterwards re-measured by a Chinese standard. After taking some refreshment in the cabin, consisting of wine and various sweetmeats, the hopoo expressed a wish to see the two Tartars he had been told we had on board. On their appearing, he addressed them in the language of the Chinese Tartars; but they did not understand a word of what he said. He was, however, very much gratified by seeing them; and, shortly after his departure, sent, as a present to the ship's company, two bags of flour, eight earthen pots of a spirituous liquor called shamshoo, and two small bullocks. As the measurement of vessels brings a great revenue to the government, it is always done by the director of the customs himself. Though our ship was only three hundred and fifty tons, she was obliged to pay three thousand nine hundred and seventy-seven Spanish dollars.


   On the 27th we laid the Neva down to repair her bottom. As she was broad on the beam, it requited a very considerable force; and, there being no convenience for the purpose at Whampoa, I was obliged to make use of the Nadejda instead of a sheer-hulk, which occasioned much trouble. Her larboard side was soon repaired, but the starboard was a work of more time; because, to examine her properly, we had to heave the keel out of the water. Every thing, however, was finished in two days, and on the 29th we began to rig her out. Meanwhile I went once more to Canton, to finish my commercial affairs.

1806. 11th.-22d.

   The greater part of the cargo of the two ships had been disposed of to Mr. Lucqua, and a new cargo purchased with the proceeds, consisting of tea, china-ware, and nankeens. By the 11th of January, nearly, the whole of the first article was stowed in the hold, and we were proceeding with alacrity, hoping to enter on our destined course homewards before the end of the month. On the 22d, however, when the last packages of goods were about to be sent off from Canton, Mr. Lucqua informed us, that an embargo was laid on the vessels, and that they would not be permitted to. depart till an answer to the report, which had been sent respecting us to Pekin, should arrive; and he added, that, to prevent our sailing clandestinely, a guard was ordered to be placed over each vessel.
   This intelligence was equally unexpected and mortifying, and we were at a loss how to act in it; but, whatever might be the result, we resolved to act with spirit. As a first step, therefore, we determined that no Chinese soldiers should enter either of the ships: and we carried this point; for when they attempted to come on board the Nadejda, they were treated so roughly, that they quickly retired, and never ventured on a second intrusion, but contented themselves with keeping watch in their boats at a distance, to prevent any of the Chinese in our employ from coming to us.
   The next stop we took was the drawing up a remonstrance to the viceroy, against the injustice and arbitrariness of the proceeding: but this remonstrance we were not permitted to present, as, by the custom of the country, no European could have any direct communication with the great officers of state. In this dilemma, we applied to Mr. Drummond, president of the factory of the English East-India Company, who is held in high respect, and who kindly and readily undertook our cause. He sent for the hongs to his factory, and insisted on their presenting the remonstrance to the person, whoever he might be, by whose order the embargo had been laid on. This, however, they refused to do; alleging, that they did not dare to present a document of any kind, that arraigned the proceedings of government as unjust and arbitrary. We then threatened to deliver it ourselves, in person, to the viceroy; upon which they altered their tone, and expressed their willingness to comply with Mr. Drum mood's request.
   The next day we met these personages again at the factory, when they told us, that they had given our paper to the hopoo, who had informed them, that the vessels had been detained by express order of the viceroy, to whom he advised us to write in more polite terms, if we wished our application to be successful. We were at first unwilling to do this; but reflecting on the injury we might sustain by our voyage being protracted, and doubtful of obtaining justice in any other way, we complied; and the result was, the release of the vessels, the removal of the guard-boats, and permission to proceed with our stowage, and to sail when we pleased.
   This unpleasant business had occupied an entire week; and would probably have extended to a much longer period, but for the interference of Mr. Drummond, to whose friendly conduct, in this and many other instances, we were largely indebted. From the European merchants in general, we also received much kindness. In this class of the inhabitants of Canton, there is a cordiality with one another that was extremely gratifying to me, and which I had never seen equalled. Though belonging to different nations, nations too that were at war with each other, one mig

Другие авторы
  • Дрожжин Спиридон Дмитриевич
  • Ватсон Мария Валентиновна
  • Башкин Василий Васильевич
  • Сальгари Эмилио
  • Адикаевский Василий Васильевич
  • Терпигорев Сергей Николаевич
  • Введенский Иринарх Иванович
  • Жихарев Степан Петрович
  • Ушинский Константин Дмитриевич
  • Эрастов Г.
  • Другие произведения
  • Иванов Вячеслав Иванович - Сергей Маковский. Вячеслав Иванов в России
  • Ростопчина Евдокия Петровна - (Биография Е. П. Ростопчиной)
  • Плеханов Георгий Валентинович - Д. Рязанов. Предисловие к собранию сочинений Г. В. Плеханова
  • Тан-Богораз Владимир Германович - Стихотворения
  • Измайлов Владимир Васильевич - Измайлов В. В.: Биографическая справка
  • Гюнтер Иоганнес Фон - Маг
  • Бульвер-Литтон Эдуард Джордж - Призрак
  • Мей Лев Александрович - Отроковица
  • Случевский Константин Константинович - Стихотворения
  • Цертелев Дмитрий Николаевич - Цертелев Д. Н.: Биографическая справка
  • Категория: Книги | Добавил: Armush (26.11.2012)
    Просмотров: 391 | Рейтинг: 0.0/0
    Всего комментариев: 0
    Имя *:
    Email *:
    Код *:
    Форма входа