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being nothing standing but the walls. The island is about sixty miles in circumference, and produces plenty of corn and other provisions, and wool as fine as Cotswold; its militia having the credit of equalling the soldiery, and being the best disciplined in England. was once, in King William's time, intrusted with the government of this island. At his death it appeared he was a great villain, and a great politician; there was no crime so damnable which he would stick at in the execution of his designs, and yet he had the art of covering all so thick, that with almost all men in general, while he lived, he passed for a saint. What surprised me was, that the silly old fellow, the keeper of the castle, who remembered him governor, should have so true a notion of his character as I perceived he had. In short, I believe it is impossible for a man, though he has all the cunning of a devil, to live and die a villain, and yet conceal it so well as to carry the name of an honest fellow to the grave with him, but some one, by some accident or other, shall discover him. Truth and sincerity have a certain distinguishing native lustre about them, which cannot be perfectly counterfeited; they are like fire and flame, that cannot be painted.
The whole castle was repaired and beautified by Queen Elizabeth, and strengthened by a breast work all round without the walls, as appears by this inscription in one or two places upon it.
1598 E. R. 40
Saturday, July 30th. This morning about eight o'clock we weighed anchor, and turned to windward till we came to Yarmouth, another little town upon this island, and there cast anchor again, the wind blowing hard, and still westerly. Yarmouth is a smaller town than Cowes; yet, the buildings being better, it makes a handsomer prospect at a distance, and the streets are clean and neat. There is one monument in the church, which the inhabitants are very proud of, and which we went to see. It was erected to the memory of Sir Robert Holmes, who had formerly been governor of the island. It is his statue in armour, somewhat bigger than the life, standing on his tomb, with a truncheon in his hand, between two pillars of porphyry. Indeed, all the marble about it is very fine and good; and they say it was designed by the French King for his palace at Versailles, but was cast away upon this island, and by Sir Robert himself in his lifetime applied to this use, and that the whole monument was finished long before he died, though
not fixed up in that place; the inscription likewise, which is very much to his honor, being written by himself. One would think either that he had no defect at all, or had a very ill opinion of the world, seeing he was so careful to make sure of a monument to record his good actions and transmit them to posterity.
Having taken a view of the church, town, and fort, on which there are seven large guns mounted, three of us took a walk up further into the island; and, having gone about two miles, we headed a creek that runs up one end of the town, and then went to Freshwater Church, about a mile nearer the town, but on the other side of the creek. Having stayed here some time it grew dark, and my companions were desirous to be gone, lest those whom we had left drinking where we dined in the town should go on board and leave us. We were told, that it was our best way to go straight down to the mouth of the creek, and that there was a ferry boy that would carry us over to the town. But when we came to the house the lazy whelp was in bed, and refused to rise and put us over; upon which we went down to the water-side, with a design to take his boat, and go over by ourselves. We found it very difficult to get the boat, it being fastened to a stake, and the tide risen near fifty yards beyond it; I stripped all to my shirt to wade up to it; but missing the causeway, which was under water, I got up to my middle in mud. At last I came to the stake; but, to my great disappointment, found she was locked and chained. I endeavoured to draw the staple with one of the thole-pins, but in vain; I tried to pull up the stake, but to no purpose; so that, after an hour's fatigue and trouble in the wet and mud, I was forced to return without the boat.
We had no money in our pockets, and therefore began to conclude to pass the night in some haystack, though the wind blew very cold and very hard. In the midst of these troubles one of us recollected that he had a horse-shoe in his pocket, which he found in his walk, and asked me if I could not wrench the staple out with that. I took it, went, tried, and succeeded, and brought the boat ashore to them. Now we rejoiced and all got in, and, when I had dressed myself, we put off. But the worst of all our troubles was to come yet; for, it being high water and the tide over all the banks, though it was moonlight we could not discern the channel of the creek; but, rowing heedlessly straight forward, when we were got about half way over, we found ourselves aground on a mud bank; and, striving to row her off by putting our oars in the mud, we broke one and there stuck fast, not having four in70
ches water. We were now in the utmost perplexity, not knowing what in the world to do; we could not tell whether the tide was rising or falling; but at length we plainly perceived it was ebb, and we could feel no deeper water within the reach of our oar.
It was hard to lie in an open boat all night exposed to the wind and weather; but it was worse to think how foolish we should look in the morning, when the owner of the boat should catch us in that condition, where we must be exposed to the view of all the town. After we had strove and struggled for half an hour and more, we gave all over, and sat down with our hands before us, despairing to get off; for, if the tide had left us, we had been never the nearer; we must have sat in the boat, as the mud was too deep for us to walk ashore through it, being up to our necks. At last we bethought ourselves of some means of escaping, and two of us stripped and got out, and thereby lightening the boat, we drew her upon our knees near fifty yards into deeper water; and then with much ado, having but one oar, we got safe ashore under the fort; and, having dressed ourselves and tied the man's boat, we went with great joy to the Queen's Head, where we left our companions, whom we found waiting for us, though it was very late. Our boat being gone on board, we were obliged to lie ashore all night; and thus ended our walk.
Sunday, July 31st.-This morning the wind being moderated, our pilot designed to weigh, and, taking advantage of the tide, get a little further to windward. Upon which the boat came ashore, to hasten us on board. We had no sooner returned and hoisted in our boat, but the wind began again to blow very hard at west, insomuch that, instead of going any further, we were obliged to weigh and run down again to Cowes for the sake of more secure riding, where we came to an anchor again in a very little time; and the pudding, which our mess made and put into the pot at Yarmouth, we dined upon at Cowes.
Monday, August 1st. This morning all the vessels in the harbour put out their colors in honor of the day, and it made a very pretty appearance. The wind continuing to blow hard westerly, our mess resolved to go on shore, though all our loose corks were gone already. We took with us some goods to dispose of, and walked to Newport to make our market, where we sold for three shillings in the pound less than the prime cost in London; and, having dined at Newport, we returned in the evening to Cowes, and concluded to lodge on shore.
Tuesday, August 2d. This day we passed on shore, diverting
ourselves as well as we could; and, the wind continuing still westerly, we stayed on shore this night also.
Wednesday, August 3d. This morning we were hurried on board, having scarce time to dine, weighed anchor, and stood away for Yarmouth again, though the wind is still westerly; but, meeting with a hoy when we were near half-way there, that had some goods on board for us to take in, we tacked about for Cowes, and came to anchor there a third time, about four in the afternoon. Thursday, August 4th. Stayed on board till about five in the afternoon, and then went on shore and stopped all night.
Friday, August 5th. Called up this morning and hurried aboard, the wind being northwest. About noon we weighed and left Cowes a third time, and, sailing by Yarmouth, we came into the channel through the Needles; which passage is guarded by Hurst Castle, standing on a spit of land which runs out from the main land of England within a mile of the Isle of Wight. Towards night the wind veered to the westward, which put us under apprehensions of being forced into port again; but presently after it fell a flat calm, and then we had a small breeze that was fair for half an hour, when it was succeeded by a calm again.
Saturday, August 6th. This morning we had a fair breeze for some hours, and then a calm that lasted all day. In the afternoon I leaped overboard and swam round the ship to wash myself. Saw several porpoises this day. About eight o'clock we came to an anchor in forty fathom water against the tide of flood, somewhere below Portland, and weighed again about eleven, having a small breeze.
Sunday, August 7th. - Gentle breezes all this day. Spoke with a ship, the Ruby, bound for London from Nevis, off the Start of Plymouth. This afternoon spoke with Captain Homans in a ship bound for Boston, who came out of the river when we did, and had been beating about in the channel all the time we lay at Cowes in the Wight.
Monday, August 8th.
Fine weather, but no wind worth men
tioning, all this day; in the afternoon saw the Lizard.
Tuesday, August 9th. Took our leave of the land this morning. Calms the fore part of the day. In the afternoon a small
gale; fair. Saw a grampus.
Wednesday, August 10th.-Wind N. W. four knots. By observation in latitude 48° 50'. able happened.
Course S. W. about
Thursday, August 11th. Nothing remarkable. day.
Nothing remarkable. Fresh gale all
Friday, August 12th; Saturday, 13th; Sunday, 14th. Calms and fair breezes alternately.
Monday, 15th; Tuesday, 16th; Wednesday, 17th. -No contrary winds, but calm and fair breezes alternately.
Thursday, August 18th. Four dolphins followed the ship for some hours; we struck at them with the fizgig, but took none.
Friday, August 19th.-This day we have had a pleasant breeze at east. In the morning we spied a sail upon our larboard bow, about two leagues' distance. About noon she put out English colors, and we answered with our ensign, and in the afternoon we spoke with her. She was a ship, of New York, Walter Kippen, master, bound from Rochelle, in France, to Boston, with salt. Our captain and Mr. D― went on board, and stayed till evening, it being fine weather. Yesterday, complaints being made that a Mr. G- -n, one of the passengers, had, with a fraudulent design, marked the cards, a court of justice was called immediately, and he was brought to his trial in form. A Dutchman, who could speak no English, deposed, by his interpreter, that, when our mess was on shore at Cowes, the prisoner at the bar marked all the court cards on the back with a pen.
I have sometimes observed, that we are apt to fancy the person that cannot speak intelligibly to us, proportionably stupid in understanding, and, when we speak two or three words of English to a foreigner, it is louder than ordinary, as if we thought him deaf, and that he had lost the use of his ears as well as his tongue. Something like this I imagine might be the case of Mr. G―n; he fancied the Dutchman could not see what he was about, because he could not understand English, and therefore boldly did it be fore his face.
The evidence was plain and positive; the prisoner could not deny the fact, but replied in his defence, that the cards he marked were not those we commonly played with, but an imperfect pack, which he afterwards gave to the cabin-boy. The attorney-general observed to the court, that it was not likely he should take the pains to mark the cards without some ill design, or some further intention than just to give them to the boy when he had done, who understood nothing at all of cards. But another evidence, being called, deposed, that he saw the prisoner in the main-top one day, when he thought himself unobserved, marking a pack of cards on the backs, some with the print of a dirty thumb, others with the top of his finger, &c. Now, there being but two packs on board, and the prisoner having just confessed the marking of