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friends had resided when he left England in the ill-fated Wager ; but the house was deserted, and he scarcely knew for whom to inquire, though something must speedily be done, as he had no money to pay the coachman, who began to look with suspicion on a young man who seemed to know nobody. Byron at last recollected a draper's shop from which his family had been accustomed to procure goods; and driving thither, not only obtained the coachman's fare, but received the direction to his sister's residence, who had been married to Lord Carlisle, and lived in Soho Square. To that place the young man walked, and knocked at the door with that trembling sensation felt by those who return as from the grave to those who have long numbered them with the dead. Either the tremulous knock or his strange figure, Spanish, half French," as he describes it, displeased his sister's porter, who, glancing at the young visitor's muddy boots, seemed disposed to shut the door in his face, as against some daring impostor. Byron was not, however, to be defeated at the termination of his adventures by a crusty porter, and persevered till admission was secured ; when he was quickly introduced to that sister who had never expected to see him again. The joy produced throughout the house by such an event, from Lady Carlisle down to the surly porter, who made ample amends for his tardiness in admitting by the vehemence of his rejoicing, must be left to the imaginations of those who have experienced the delight of similar meetings.
Thus, of one hundred and sixty men, composing the Wager's crew at her departure, only three returned to England after an absence of more than five years. The squadron in which they had sailed had suffered much, all Anson's ships, except the Centurion, being destroyed ; but with this vessel he had watched for the Spanish Galleon ; and, in 1749, the admiral made his fortune by the capture of this treasure-ship, worth nearly 400,0001., and returned to England in June, 1744, having sailed round the globe in three years aud nine months.
The captured wealth was paraded through the streets of London, amidst the shouts of a multitude, who little thought of the sorrows which had passed over one ship of Anson's fleet, and the loss of life attending this celebrated expedition. But when did an unthinking multitude set life above gold? The latter had been secured, and the bold Anson could truly declare that he had taken from the Spaniards property to the amount of a million sterling. But in these triumphs, the crew of the Wager had no share: death in the sea or on faminestricken shores had become their portion ; and the few who returned home met no reward except the honour ever bestowed on brave endurance of calamity.
Young Byron's subsequent career was distinguished by stirring events. In 1759, the midshipman of the Wager commanded as a captain in the fleet of the bold Boscawen, in the action against the French off Cape Lagos. The governmėnt also appointed him commander of the expedition for discovery in the South Sea, which sailed round the globe between June 1764, and May 1766. He subsequently rose to the rank of an admiral, was a great favorite amongst the sailors, and at last died full of honours in 1798, unconscious of the literary splendour which, in a few years, would be connected with the name of Byron, by one who, at the admiral's death, was but a boy ten years old.
HE thunder-storms which expend their fury in the ocean,
strike a solitary ship, and leave her a wreck upon the waters.
Such accidents are not so numerous as we might expect, after reading those descriptions of sea-tempests which appear in our naval publications ; for whilst thunder-storms at sea are amongst the grandest, and perhaps the most fearful of natural phenomena, a ship may move through the waters, lashed by the electric shocks, without drawing the fiery bolts upon herself; or the lightning may even run along her decks, circle the masts, and flash amidst her rigging, without producing any serious injury, as the fluid passes off by numerous conductors into the sea. The total destruction of a ship by lightning is therefore an event so singular, and its consequences of so fearful a character, that one such occurrence seems necessary in a series of adventures by sea. The vessel to which the reader's attention is now directed was a British frigate of forty-four guns, named the Resistance, commanded by Captain Edward Pakenham, and cruising during the summer of 1798 in the Indian ocean.
No other ship was in sight when the calamity about to be described happened ; and England might have long remained ignorant of her frigate's fate, wondering, year after year, and at last forgetting her name, as we do in the case of the unfortunate President, had not some rumours of the event spread from isle to isle, until they reached Malacca. A trading ship heard the story, and carried it to Major Taylor, the commander of some troops in that island. The story was to the effect, that a British frigate of war had been blown up in the straits of Banca, and that a small part of her crew had fallen into the hands of the ferocious Malay pirates, by whom they were kept as slaves in the island of Lingan. Major Taylor did not listen with a lazy official ear to these reports, but immediately despatched a vessel to Lingan to make inquiries into the rumoured event, and to procure the restoration of the survivors, whilst, to prevent all mistakes, a Sepoy, well acquainted with the Malayan tongue, accompanied the party. A letter was also despatched to the chief of the island, requesting his influence in the promotion of the object. When the major's messengers arrived at Lingan, they soon ascertained the truth of the sad reports, but to their amazement found only one man of the whole crew of the Resistance. Him they brought to Malacca, in December, 1798. This was a young sailor named Thomas Scott, aged twenty-two, whose account soon confirmed, in every particular, the startling rumours which had excited the attention of the British officer.
The following was the substance of Scott's narrative. It appears that the Resistance was employed in watching the Malay pirates, who then swarmed in the seas around Malacca, Sumatra, and Java, and afflicted, by their horrid cruelties, the peaceful merchants both of Europe and Asia. Whilst engaged in exercising this police-duty, the Resistance entered the straits of Banca, on her route to Malacca, in the month of July.
The sun set on the 26th of that month over a sea upon which nothing like danger seemed to impend; and as the ship anchored, no one would have supposed that anchor which stayed the brave frigate against the quiet rippling of the sea, should never be moved from its deep rest by human hands. So warm was the night, relieved by summer thunder, that some of the crew slept on deck when their watch was over, instead of going below. Amongst them was Thomas Scott, who lay down between two guns, and was almost hushed to sleep by the deep sound of the sea. Sometimes he slept, and then woke for an instant, dozing on and off for some time, while he enjoyed the grandeur of the scene around him.
He at length awoke in a fright; a sudden blaze flashed round him ; his hair was burned, his clothes scorched, and before his confused thoughts could recover, a deafening explosion, accompanied by a horrible feeling, as if lifted towards the sky, deprived him of all sensation. Consciousness soon returned, and the astonished sailor found himself in the sea. The ship was gone ; he saw nought save the sky, and felt himself sinking, upon which the strong instinct of self-preservation led him to struggle for life ; and, grasping some large substance which floated near, he kept himself above water.
What had happened ?—was he in some strange dream ?or had he fallen overboard ? were questions which the startled sailor ran through without giving them anything like a distinct shape. A few minutes revealed the dreadful truththe Resistance had been blown up by a sudden flash of lightning, whilst resting at anchor, and her sleeping crew had passed, without even waking, from this life to the mysteries of the next.
The lightning had been observed by Scott to dart from the heavens upon the ship, and go down the fore-hatchway like a bolt shot direct from the sky. Scarcely could the astonished man exclaim “ Lord have mercy on us !” when all was over ; and the ship, splitting into fragments, went down in a moment. No shriek mingled with the deep reverberation of the explosion, for death came in the stillness of slumber ; and if the roar were heard by the startled sleepers, few could have understood its meaning.
When Scott recovered, he was not alone ; a few stupified men were clinging to pieces of the ship, and he soon discovered that thirteen only had escaped of all the crew.
After clearing his eyes from the powder, by which he was almost blinded, Scott saw part of the ship floating near, and swimming towards it, clung to the timber until dawn enabled him to survey more clearly his melancholy position.
Of the thirteen who had escaped immediate death, some were terribly scorched, so that it was with the utmost difficulty they held on to the floating timbers of their lost ship. Some time elapsed before the survivors could understand their