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he therefore made many attempts to forbid the bringing of water, but the clamour was so loud, that he was not regarded. The water appeared, but there was no other way of getting it into the prison but by pouring it into hats, and then forcing them through the bars of the window. By this method all the people in the place might easily have been supplied, but the impatience of the crowd, few of whom were now under the government of their reason, was so great, that though Mr. Holwell and the two wounded
gentlemen who were in the window with him, brought hats full of water through the grate with incessant labour, as fast as they could be filled, yet much the greater part was spilt in the contest that immediately ensued, and before it reached the lips of any of the competitors, there was not a spoonful remaining. As those at the window were by this means still unsatisfied, those behind, to whom not a drop of water had yet reached, became frantic and furious beyond all conception. Several quitted the other window and forcing themselves forward with others from the inner part of the room, threw down and trampled to death many who were before them. They now pressed so hard upon Mr. Holwell and bis friends, who received the water from the guard, that the two gentlemen who were wounded, and who, notwithstanding their condition, had hitherto worked with him, were crushed to death, and he himself with his utmost effort, could scarcely sustain ihe weight that pressed against him on every side.
This aggravation of their distress would have been soon over, if the water that had been first ordered in mercy, had not been continued in sport. The wretches who had been ordered to bring it by the Jemmautdaar, perceiving the struggle and commotion that it produced, took care to supply it in great plenty as fast as it was wasted, that they might be entertained by seeing it fought for; and they heid up lights to the bars, that they might lose no part of their inhuman diversion. As long as it was brought to the window it was necessary for Mr. Holwell to hand it into the prison, and this labour he continued without respite, from 9 o'clock till past 11. The place around him was then strewed with his friends who had been either suffocated or pressed to death in the conflict, and were trampled upon by every corporal and foot soldier who had strength enough to force his way to the window, and to whom he was obliged to hand water as they stood on the dead bodies of his friends, who had fallen a sacrifice to their impetuosity and delirium.
Till this time they had preserved some deference for Mr,
Holwell, as their chief and benefactor; but all distinction was now at an end, and not content with pressing round him, they laid hold on the bars of the window over his head, and climbing up on his shoulders, he was so pressed and wedged up, that he was utterly unable to move, and found it impracticable to keep his station at the window any longer. He therefore called out to them, and begged, as the last instance of regard he should ever request, that they would remove the pressure that was upon him, and permit him to retire out of the window, that he might die in quiet. There needed no argument to induce them to make way for him to quit a place which every one wished to fill in his stead; the people, therefore, that were next him gave way as far as they thought they could do it, without affording any advantage to those that were behind, and with much difficulty he forced his way into the centre of the prison. The number of dead, which was now near one third, and the crowding of those 'that survived to the windows, at both which there was still a supply of water, left this part of the prison comparatively empty; but the air was so putrid, and so filled with a strong, urinous, volatile effluvia, that his respiration became immediately difficult and painful.
Under the east wall, opposite the windows, there was a platform, being a continuation of that in the barracks, from which it was divided only by the north wall of the dungeon; it extended the whole length of the east side; it was raised about three feet and a half from the ground, and was about six feet wide. To the farther end of this platform, over against the innermost window, Mr. Holwell walked over the dead, with which the floor was now almost intirely covered; here he laid himself down, or rather leaned back against some dead bodies that were behind him, and determined in this posture to wait for his dissolution : but in about ten minutes he was seized with so violent a pain in the breast, and palpitation of the heart, that he could no longer suffer them without attempting a relief, which he knew fresh air alone could give him. There was now five ranks between him and the opposite window, but his strength being doubled by his despair, he forced his way through three of them, and then seizing a bar of the window with one hand, he forced himself also through the fourth, so that there was then but one rank between him and the window. In a few moments his pain and palpitation ceased, but being now scorched with the same thirst which those had suffered who first called for water, he forgot that he would then have prevented the bringing of it, and called out himself for water with the same
clamorous impatience that the rest had done. The people who were next him, and nearly in the same situation as he was first in at the other window, had preserved their presence of mind, and in some degree their regard for him; as soon therefore as they heard him cry out Water for God's sake, they joined in the cry, and called out Give him water, Give hini water! and when it was brought they would not touch it till he had drank. But though by this act of generous kindness he had water in plenty, yet he found that his thirst was rather increased than allayed, and therefore he would drink no more: however, to moisten his mouth, he sucked his shirt sleeves, which were kept continually wet by excessive perspiration, and found the expedient succeed beyond his hopes. He seems to think that the moisture which he thus drained out of the linen allayed that thirst which a constant supply of water rather increased; but it is much more probable, that the action of sucking contributed much more than the moisture that was sucked, to remove the sensation of burning thirst, by continually and gently pressing the salival glands, and thus furnishing the mouth and throat with a considerable degree of their natural moisture; for it can scarcely be doubted, but that if the moisture contained in the shirt had been pressed out, and then swallowed, it would have been found as ineffectual as the more pure and plentiful supply from the spring. However, as he was observed to suck his shirt sleeve with great satisfaction by a young gentleman who stood next him without a shirt, he began to suck the sleeve that was next bim, without considering it as invasion of property. But Mr. Holwell, who in these circumstances thought the man that robbed his shirt of its moisture, did him little less injury than if he had robbed his body of its blood, as soon as he discovered the theft, took care to work upon the same sleeve till it was sufficiently drained, and then had recourse to the other.
It was not yet 12 o'clock, and all that survived, except the few at the windows, were in the highest degree ungovernable and outrageous; as they found no relief from water, they now called out for air, but air could not be procured. Every insult that could be devised was incessantly repeated to provoke the guards to fire into the prison, but without effect. Soon after the general tumult and uproar subsided at once, and the greater part of those who were then living, the last remains of vital strength being exhausted, lay own and expired quietly on the dead. Some, however, there were, who made the same desperate and vigorous attempt to supplant Mr. Holwell, as he had just made to
supplant others, and with the same success. A heavy man, who had found means to seize on the bars over his head, pressed him almost with his whole weight; a Dutch serjeant having climbed over several others, supported himself on one of his shoulders, and a black soldier bore very hard on the other. Self-defence is always lawful, and Mr. Holwell finding it impossible to sustain this load and live, often disengaged himself from the poor serjeant and soldier by shifting his hold on the bars, and thrusting his knuckles into their ribs; but the man that hung over him by the bar, he found it utterly impossible to dislodge. Having suffered this pressure from half an hour after 11 till near 2 in the morning, his spirits sunk, and his reason began to forsake him; he found it impossible to keep his station, and he could not bear the thought of retiring again to the inner part of the prison. In this dilemma he drew a clasp knife from his pocket, intending to put an end to his misery at once; but his resolution failing, or his reason once more gaining the ascendant over his passion, he put it up, and being determined to quit the window, at all events, his burthen being absolutely insupportable, he told Mr. Carey, who with his wife was in the rank behind him, his intention, and advised him to make an attempt to get into his place. Poor Carey expressed great thankfulness for the offer of what Mr. Holwell could not keep, but though he made the attempt to succeed him, he was supplanted by the Dutch serjeant, who has been just mentioned. Mr. Holwell, whom Mr. Carey assisted in getting through
that was about the window, went forward among the inner ranks towards the south wall of the prison, where he laid himself down with Carey, and once more resigned himself to death. Carey died in a very few minutes, and he felt a stupor come on very fast, though he was sensible of no pain, and but little uneasiness of any kind. Before he quite lost his recollection he reflected, that if he died where he lay, he should be trampled upon as he had trampled upon others. This thought, however whimsical or superstitious, gave him some pain; he therefore got up once more, and, with some difficulty reached the platform a second time, where he soon after lost all sensibility; the last thing to which he was conscious was an uneasy sensation about his waist, supposed to be caused by his sash, which therefore he untied and threw from him.
There is no particular account of what happened from this time till day break; but it may reasonably be supposed that it was only a continuation of the same scene of strite and
distress. When the morning dawned, which was about five o'clock, no entreaty having yet prevailed to get the door open, one of the company thought of seeking for Mr. Hol-, well, hoping that now the night was past his influence might procure their enlargement. Two of the company undertook the search, and after some time found him by his shirt, under the bodies of several that had died and fallen upon him after he became insensible. As he appeared to have some signs of life, they carried him to the window next the door, where there was now no longer so formidable a press, only 23 of 146 being alive, and many of them unable to stand. The window itself, however, was still full, and the stench of the dead bodies being grown intolerable, nobody would resign his station in favour of another; he was therefore carried back again, and once more deposited upon the platform. But soon after, a gentleman, whose name is Mills, and who is now captain of the company's yacht, having a seat in the window, generously offered to give it up for the common good, and Mr. Holwell was again brought forward, and placed in the seat which Mr. Mills had resigned.
About this time the viceroy had received an account of the havoc that death had made among the prisoners; but instead of sending instantly to preserve the few that remained, he coldly ordered an inquiry to be made whether the chief was among the living or the dead. This inquiry was made at the window where Mr. Holwell had been seated, for the messenger had yet no orders to open the door, and the person he inquired after being shewn him, and it being probable that if the door was soon opened he would recover, the messenger hastened back, and soon returned with an order to release them all.
As the door opened inwards, and as the dead were piled up against it, and covered all the rest of the floor, it was impossible to open it by any efforts from without; it was therefore necessary that the dead should be removed by the few that were within, who were become so feeble, that the task, though it was the condition of life, was not performed without the utmost difficulty, and it was twenty minutes after the order came, before the door could be opened.
About a quarter after six in the morning, the poor remains of 146 souls, being no more than three and twenty, caine out of the Black Hole alive, but in a condition which made it very doubtful whether they would see the morning of the next day. Among the living was Mrs. Carey, but poor Leech