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1-153 (Text)

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SYDNEY, 7th October, 1816
The brig Endeavour, Mr Hammond master, brought from Otaheite two of the crew of the ship Betsey, of this port, Mr Phillip Goodenough master, and whose loss at New Zealand was reported some time since. These persons are, Thomas Rodgers, 2nd. officer, and Thomas Hunt, seamen, who are the only survivors out of 13 that composed the crew when she last left Macquarie Island, at which time there were also on board six lascars and Chinamen, of whom four survived, and were left at the Bay of Islands under the humane care of the Missionaries. The miseries endured by the ill-fated crew of this vessel are almost incredible, as will appear from the following narrative, taken from the journal kept by one of the survivors.
"The Betsey sailed from Port Jackson on a sealing and oiling voyage to Macquarie Island, the 28th of December, 1814, her crew consisting of 27 Europeans and six Asiatics, under command of Mr Philip Goodenough. She arrived at her destination the 13th of February following, where she landed 13 Europeans for the purposes of her voyage, and then proceeded to Bristow's Island, from whence she returned to Macquarie Island in August, with the loss of one European (Thomas Wilman) and a lascar, both of whom died of the scurvy, which had considerably spread throughout the ship's company.
Shortly after arriving they were blown from the island by a westerly gale. They endeavoured in vain to recover the island, and after three weeks of fruitless toil, determined to bear up for Port Jackson, in which they were also opposed by the setting in of heavy gales from the N.W. and they were reduced to the necessity of shaping for New Zealand.
The allowance of water was now limited to 3 half pints a man per diem, the greater part of which they were obliged, from the want of bread, to mix with flour. They had a stock of salt pork on board, but could not use it owing to the scarcity of water.
On the 18th of September, the rudder was carried away and an attempt was made to steer with a cable, which being too laborious for the few hands that were able to work, a rudder was constructed, which was carried away upon the 26th day of the same month, when to steer with the cable became their only resource. The master and eight Europeans were now lain down with the prevailing malady, which swelled the limbs, contracted the sinews, and gave excruciating pains. The lascars were of little service in the work of steering, which was dreadfully fatiguing.
The allowance of water was reduced to a pint per day, with 6 lbs of flour per week, the sick only 4 lbs; and as the flour and water constituted their only ailment, the few that were capable of exertion became too weakly and therefore lay the vessel to at sunset, leaving her to the caprice of the currents, which sometimes drifted her further out of the course she had adopted than she had gained the proceeding day.
On the night of September 28 died Laurenzo, a Portuguese, and John Wilson on the 30th. On the 5th of October, James Moffat, first mate, was committed to the deep; and upon the 8th of October was followed by Cordoza, a Portuguese, when becalmed within sight of Cook's Strait.
The allowance of water being now reduced to half a pint a day, the hope of being able to get on shore for a moment elated the minds of the unhappy sufferers; but the vessel was again blown off.
On the 23rd having a good offing from the land, and well to the Northward of the Bay of Islands, she endeavoured to run in, but a sudden squall coming on, the main-brace and topsail sheet gave way, by which the topsail was blown to shreds, and the jib and foretopsail were rent to pieces at the same time. She in consequence drifted again off the land, as there was not sufficient strength left to repair the damage; and she thus drifted to and fro for several days, experiencing repeated dangers of striking upon rocks, or being overwhelmed in an unfathomable abyss.  
On the 28th the last cask was dry, and all that still survived gave themselves over to despair. The boats became their last hope; and having with much exertion got a whale and a jolly boat water tight, they left the ship 20 miles at sea on the morning of the 29th having previously committed the body of William Grab, 3rd officer to the deep.
Four helpless men were put in the jolly boat, to be towed ashore by the whale boat, in which were 8, namely the master, who was himself in the last stage of disorder, Thomas Rodgers, Thomas Hunt and 5 lascars a 6th having been shortly before drowned. But dreadful to imagine, after rowing for upwards of an hour and a half without sensibly making way, the melancholy determination was voted to cut the jolly boat adrift.
The sick boat was drawn alongside, and a bag of flour taken out, and that with the only exception of one of the unhappy men requesting to have his jacket given him as he complained of cold, no conversation passed when they were abandoned to a dreary, certain destiny. It was their opinion that the jolly boat could not have remained above water more than two hours, owing to her leaky condition. The persons who were thus unhappily abandonned to be intombed alive within the watery waste, were, John Tire, John Gable, John Davis, and Fred. Holstein.
The whale boat, now unincumbered, made way perceptibly, and after 12 hours severe exertion, reached one of the most inhospitable parts of the coast of New Zealand. Out of the 19 persons who were in the vessel, 8 got on shore alive, viz., the master (Mr. Goodenough), Thomas Rodgers, Thomas Hunt, and five lascars, one of whom died shortly after landing, as did also Mr. Goodenough on the 1st of November. A few days after reaching shore, the survivors learnt that the Betsey had gone ashore at a distant part of the same coast, and went to pieces.
They were all stripped by the natives, their remnant of flour, about 50 lbs., was taken from them, and a few small potatoes given them. The survivors in constant apprehension of being massacred by the natives, who, disregarding their bodily sufferings, drove them from place to place, and frequently turned their spears upon them, with furious menacing gestures.
The two Europeans were separated from the lascars, and taken away at dusk in a canoe for the purpose, as they were made to understand, of being devoured; and after proceeding about a mile and a half they perceived a large fire on shore, which confirmed them in the belief. They were here landed, and received by a concourse of natives, who obliged them to carry a basket of potatoes towards another group of men and women, among whom were the four lascars; who, on being questioned by Rodgers and Hunt, as to the treatment they were likely to receive, told them it had been resolved upon to eat them both, to which dreadful expectation every circumstance concurred to give probability.
They were the same night (November 2nd), placed in a hut, and next morning advanced further along the coast, though sinking with fatigue and long fasting, in addition to their other ailments. Being harassed for several days, they at length received the gratifying information that their lives were to be spared, upon the principle of their becoming the property of their first captors. The root of the fern, and dried fish, were the only articles of sustenance the place afforded, and both these in very sparing quantity.
On the 9th a ship hove in sight, but did not approach the land and on the 11th saw a brig coasting near in shore, which the native chiefs consented they should go on board of, if they could. Flattered with the hope of accomplishing this desired object, they obtained and repaired an old canoe, but could not afterwards reach the vessel.
On the 29th of January they left this place, the native name of which is Mooramoota, situate on the N.E. part of North Cape, and went to Ringatan, 35 miles N.W. of the former; but being worse off here then before, they returned to Mooramoota. On the 23rd of February they were taken off by the brig Active, the master of which had learnt their condition at Ringatan. The four lascars were left under the charge of the Missionaries at the Bay of Islands. The two Europeans proceeded in the Active to Otaheite, where they joined the Endeavour, and returned in her to this Port."

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