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PUBLISHED WEEKLY, AT HONOLULU, OAIIU, SANDWICH ISLANDS.
b.J. JAItVUS, Editor.
SATURDAY, JUNE 6, 1840.
Vol. 1. No. 1.
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I A STORM AT SEA.
Jly Rrv. Fircit W. Taylor, Chaplain, U. S. N.
"I pretend not to be weather-wise,
ilr. M." ! remarked to the purser, as I
.1.1 Itim on the quarterdeck, while our
:..p was just ready to trip her anchor on
V. . ... ! m
orning 01 our leaving Tun? K.00
but if all sailor's signs be true, we
e more wind before we have
i v, bm
f; li llUV(
The Jr,!ni Adams, in a different posi
tion, was already under way, being towed
t rou.-ii a dii.vrcnt pass from ourselves, as
$ r position was more favorable with re-
rJ to the tide, which delayed us for an
lour and more before we could double
ie head of Tung Koo island.
It was four bells, or ten o'clock in the
lorning, as our ship unmoored her last
old on the celestial empire. The skv
as deeply blue, and beautiful beyond
fry morning I had before remarked ; and
1 tins field of loveliness, lav the soft and
boated cloud, with its spread train and
wiery edge, more enchanting in its
encillcd fringe than ever before t had
served that species of those airv cours-
N, which the seamen call the marc's-tails!
bey slumbered in their unearthly and
'tei rest as they lay, few and at far dis-
p ccs from each other ; with the macker-
hcks, in their chequered and brokon
vers, filling up more closely the higher-
1? portions 01 tne blue deep blue con-
vc. l ew mornings ever broke more
fir; few skies ever looked more beautiful
inosc clouds in the play of their elcc-
rcc points varied the rich and sunny hea
. One mystic nimbus was alone to be
Nnamid all this rich beauty, as it vvrcath-
3 us dark lolds around the highest peak
Untin, an island in the near distance.
r oav, omcs me iigntest, are not
TO unclouded." The breeze springing
r? c stood down the roads of Macao,
I Wore described, under a gentle press
I ivasg, unablc to take the more north
ern and eastern pass, and soon after dis
missed the pilot, with the hopes and the
prospects of gaining, with the increasing
wind, a long stretch before night-fall,
from this island-bound coast.
All were congratulating themselves and
each other on their happy escape from
Tung Koo. We had seen enough of the
celestials at their homes ; and this point
seemed now to us the starting place of
our return to our own dear land ; while
every benevolent heart looked forward to
our soon gaining a more northern latitude,
which, it Was hoped and believed would
give substance to many of the shadows
which were moving, like so many ghosts,
over our decks, and add nerve to the de
cayed energies of tho ship's company.
Every step now seemed to plant itself
more firmly on the deck, and every chest
breathed already more freely as the fresh
ening breeze bore on our ships, until,
with the sun-set, all apprehensions of a
lee shore escaped the visions of the wary
"Stand by to furl the royals, I say,"
cried the officer of deck, after the com
modore had taken a few rounds on the
quarter deck, and scanned the prospects
of the weather for the night.
"Haul taught in royals," was the next
order; and a moment had not passed
when those far up sails, looking so like
the palm of a man's hand, as they arc
stretched upon the highest spars of the
ship, were gathered to the slim and high
est yards of the masts.
"We divined not wrongly, purser, as
we read that beautiful sky this morning,
'Mackerel backs and mares' tails,
Make high ships carry low sails.' "
The purser and myself, at. this pleas
ant hour, were trespassing with other offi
cers of the wardroom, on the arm chest
of the quarter deck, while these orders
were being given.
"Man the top-gallant clewlines lay
aloft to furl the top-gallant sail," again
cried the officer through his trumpet, as
the breeze continued to freshen and the
ship, under the impulse of the pressure
upon the canvas, now and ever met with
a bound that bid defiance to the wave,
the cleft surge, which the fresh breeze of
the day had begun to conjure up to a
greater magnitude each moment we had
been deepening our water, in its blue and
"Haul taught let go the halliards and
le? sheet clew down; let go the gather
sheet clew up." A moment only pas
sed, and the top-gallant sails of the
fore, main, and mizen, lay as snugly
to their yards as ever lady plaited surplice
over stomacher, or roll on dress.
The ship was deemed snug for the
night; and as the hours advanced with
the continuance of the fresh and favorable
breeze, all, save the watches in their
turn , were lost at the usual time in their
hammocks, cot, or bed.
The hour had reached a little past the
mid-watch of the night, without awak
ening the apprehensions of the officers of
the deck beyond the attentive marking of
the weather; until, a dark squall, as if
magic had gained some new powers in
rapidity of movement, came down upon
the ship, and with its heavy breath shiv
ered to ribbons every remaining sail that
It was a sorry sight, as the day broke,
to see the tattered sails, that had been
with difficulty, gathered to the yards.
The squall had now given place to a
steady gale , increasing every hour in its
force and fury; and the ship was now
laying-to under her fore storm stay-sail
and main and mizen trysails. The royal
and top gallant yards had been sent down
the top gallant masts housed the top
sail yards, clewed down, and the Colum
bia, in her storm dress, now abided the
war of elements, the torrents of rain,
and the hurricane of winds. The rains
for a while ceased, while the winds yet
drove the sheets of spray in their hor
izontal layers from the cleft tops of the
high waves, through the cordage of the
nearly naked ship in volumes as drench
ing as were the torrents themselves. A
new course was bent, while the frigate
lay-to like a life-boat on the billow,
though the sea had now swollen to
the mountain surge. The John Adams,
under the same sail, was near, at the
windward, apparently with all things
snug, like a phantom-craft, and at times
under bare poles, as the two ships rose
together, or again sunk, so that the
trucks of either became for a moment
invisible to each ship, and the next, rose
with their hulls and every chord distinctly
traceable on the wild and dun sky. And
then, those winds those howling winds
of the gale, as they murmured with a
voice more doleful than could be the
chaunt of a thousand spirits of lost ma
riners cngulphed by the raging storm,
came through our rigging, with omens of
dark things to the ship.
Thus the two coursers stood on their
parallel tracks for the day, bounding from
surge to surge, or drifting from ravine of
water to leeward ravine, while the roll of
the sea spread out its giant proportionsj
now trembling from its height to find its
level, as the top broke in its cataract of
foam to the deep and blue declivities of
the billows, or at times threw its broad
sheet in a chrystal river across the bul
warks of our ship.
The wind in its fury fell not as the
coming night shut in again upon the
dark sea, but its fearful impulses in
creased as the night watches advanced.
The ship was thoroughly soaked by the
driving surges which dashed against the
Columbia, now penetrating the partial
opening of the closed port-holes or coming
from the hatch-ways of the upper deck;
and our ward room was afloat from tho
sea that drove with irresistable. force aga
inst the storm-posts and penetrated by the
rudder coat. And the sick were in their
darkness and distress but delaying death.
But wet as was the ship and shivered
as were her sails, the revelation of tho
morning had not been anticipated for its
fearful apprehension and the critical cir
cumstances in which the gallant bark was
to be found. The topgallant masts, not
withstanding they had been housed and
the back-stays sheep-shanked and well
taught, bent like a withe in the roll
of the ship; and the morning discover
ed, as trifles in these circumstances, that
the main top gallant mast had been car
ried away, together with the main trysail
mast; and one of the boats, without hav
ing been noticed as it was disengaged by
some surge in the loud roar of the winds
from the davits, had gone on its wild
buffet of the waves. With sea room,
the gale might, if it please, blow its
worst in typhoon, hurricane and tempest,
and we would trust the good Columbia
to her stumps, evincing as she did, her
staunch qualities, without admitting a drop
of water through her lower planks; and
bounding and rcboundinar like some light
but solid trunk of a forest mammoth,
which the storm for ages might beat unin
jured and unyielding, so staunch was sho
rn the tight work of her admirable me
chanism. But the rock and the coral reef,
and shoal, and sand bar, in unison with
the surge of the open ocean, and the wild
gale that shows no pity in its madness,
would make even a thing so fair and
faithful as the ship that had so justly re.
ceived our confidence and attachment,
but a cradle of bulrushes were she once
to strike upon them, in the tumult of
elements that were now driving above,
and raging around, and rolling beneath
us. But it was hoped that we had gain
ed an offing the first twenty-four hours, of
one hunded and fifty miles, and it must
be a fearful drift of tides and drive of
winds, that could have borne us in dan
gerous nearness to the coast. The dark
clouds had admitted of no observation,,
and the log could not give us the tides
and the drift. The second morning broke,
and the storm had not lowered its voice;
and tln hurricane in its torrent tem
pest, blended its fury with the heaviest
roll of the sea, heaving, in its wildest com
motion. N'ne but the mariner then, can
estimate the dovelopcment of the day
break as it fell on a changed sea in its
color for the deep blue of the fathom
less ocean to the pale green of sound
ings. The lead in its cast gave the shal
low water of twenty five fathoms; and in
the drift of a few more casts, but twenty
two fathoms, still decreasing, while the
elements combined their concentrated and ,
. To-be continued.