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Title: A brief and remarkable narrative of the life and extreme sufferings of Barnabas Downs, Jun
Author: Downs, Barnabas
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A brief and remarkable narrative of the life and extreme sufferings of Barnabas Downs, Jun" ***

[Illustration: Woodcut of a shipwreck]

                        A brief and remarkable
                                OF THE
                      And extreme =Sufferings= of
                        _BARNABAS DOWNS, Jun._

  Who was among the Number of thoſe who eſcaped Death on board the
    Privateer Brig =Arnold=, =James Magee=, Commander, which was caſt
    away near =Plymouth-Harbour=, in a moſt terrible Snow-Storm,
    December 26, 1778, when more than Sixty Perſons were frozen to
    Death.——Containing alſo

  A particular =Account= of ſaid Shipwreck.

            Printed by =E. Russell=, for the =Author=, 1786

=Printing-Office Liberty-square=, Sept. 22, 1786.

In the Preſs, and in a few Days will be publiſhed and ready for Sale,
by =E. Russell=, at his Office, near Liberty Pole, by the Thouſand,
Hundred, Groce or leſſer Quantity, at the moſt reaſonable Rate:—Alſo
may be had of Mr. =Benjamin Guild=, at the Boſton Book-Store, near
the State-Houſe in Cornhill; Col. =Ebenezer Battelle=, Bookſeller,
at the London Book-Store, in Marlboro’-Street; Mr. =William Green=,
Bookſeller, at Shakeſpear’s-Head, in Newbury-Street; Capt. =William
Green=, at his Grocery and Weſt-India Store near the Bridge, in
_Boſton_; Mr. =Lemuel Cox=, and Mr. =Trumbull=, Innholder, near the
Bridge, and Mr. =Edward Hayes=, in _Charleſton_; Mr. =Edward Killins=,
at his Store, near the Market, in _Salem_; Mr. =Bulkly Emerson=, at the
Poſt-Office, in _Newbury-Port_; Mr. =Alford Butler=, Bookſeller, in
_Portſmouth, New-Hampſhire_, and by many other Printers, Bookſellers,
Shopkeepers and Travelling-Traders in Town and Country.

                          GENUINE AND CORRECT
                           BOSTON ALMANACK,
                For the Year of our =Redemption=, 1787.

Which will contain a great Variety of uſeful and entertaining =Matter=,
in =Prose= and =Verse=.

This =Work= will be likewiſe ornamented with a large Number of engraved
Plates, ſome of which repreſent the twelve Signs of the Zodiack in
Miniature, and the ſeveral Employments and Diverſions of the =Gentlemen
Farmers=, throughout the different Seaſons of the Year:—Alſo a curious
Repreſentation of a =County Convention=, debating on State-Affairs; at
the Head of the Table is a Figure of _HONESTUS_, that renowned Champion
and bold Atteſtor of the =Liberty= of the Subject, and ſworn Enemy
to =Lawyers=, who is converſing with one of the Order; over his Head
is a Label with theſe Words “_No_ =Courts=, _no_ LAWYERS:” Another
Plate repreſents a very curious and droll Scene of a large Group of
the =Black Order=, or the =Sons= of =Littleton= and =Coke=, mounted
on Jack-Aſſes, Peacocks, &c. returning from a rich Feaſt at =Concord
Court=, &c.


  _To the READER, into whoſe Hands this_ =Narrative= _may fall;
    eſpecially my Seafaring_ =Brethren=.


When any remarkable circumſtances take place in a man’s life, he feels
commonly a diſpoſition to communicate them to the world: If they have
been deliverances from great and ſignal dangers, he will make this
communication from a principle of gratitude to the =Being= who hath
protected and preſerved him: He will wiſh to engage others to be
thankful on his behalf; and a knowledge of the kindneſs of Heaven to
him may lead others to truſt in GOD, when they are brought into like
diſtreſs and danger. By theſe motives the Subject of the following
pages hopes he is influenced in publiſhing them to the world; which is
all the apology that may be expected from the =Publick=’s diſtreſſed

  _BARN. DOWNES_, Jun.
  =Barnstable=, September 10, 1786.

  ==> _The Author gratefully acknowledges himſelf indebted to a_
    Reverend =Gentleman= _in_ Boſton _for his kindneſs in correcting
    the following ſheets_.


I was born in _Barnſtable_, in _New-England_, October 2, 1757, of
credible Parents, whom I ſerved as an obedient Son, I hope, until the
commencement of the late war called me from my home, and led me to
exchange the occupation of a Huſbandman, to which I was bred for the
more dangerous employment of a Soldier. In this capacity I served my
Country 3 campaigns, and know not that my behaviour was censured by my

After having returned for a time to the Farming-Buſineſs, I concluded
to try my fortune at ſea: I entered accordingly on board the ſchooner
_Bunker-Hill_, Captain _Iſaac Cobb_, Commander, on a privateering
voyage: But we had not been out more than 6 days before we were taken
by the brig _Hope_, one _Brown_, Commander, and carried into _Halifax_.
We were committed to jail and kept very ſhort: Then I was taken with
the ſmall-pox, thro’ which GOD ſafely carried me when deſtitute of
the neceſſaries of life, and under great preſſure of mind. But after
my being recovered ſo far as to be returned to the jail from the
hoſpital, in conſequence of my having nothing but a ſmall allowance of
ſalt proviſions, which were next to poiſon for a ſick perſon, I was
taken with a violent fever, which returned me again to the hoſpital,
and brought me to the gates of the grave. No perſon who hath not
experienced it can imagine how gloomy and diſtreſſing it is to be under
ſuch circumſtances: To be far diſtant from our deareſt Friends; to be
among perſons who are not only without any concern for us, or intereſt
in our fate, but who are our profeſſed enemies, and not governed even
by the common principles of humanity, is a caſe truly melancholy. In
this ſituation I was attacked with a bleeding of the noſe, (to which
I had before been ſubject) which brought me to the very borders of

After this I was, by the ſmiles of heaven recovered and reſtored, by
a cartel, with 400 of my Countrymen to our own homes. How welcome
they were to us, and how pleaſant it was to me to ſee the faces of my
Friends again, any one may imagine more eaſily than I can deſcribe!

But tho’ I had been ſo unſucceſſful in my firſt attempt at ſea, I could
not reſiſt the inclination I had to try once more what Providence would
do for me: I left my native place, went to _Boſton_, and entered on
board the brig _Arnold_, _James Magee_, Commander. I well remember I
felt an unusual dejection when I entered on this undertaking; and tho’
I pretend not to ſay that this foreboded the miſfortunes I was to meet
with in this fatal veſſel, yet I have often reflected upon it ſince
with a degree of admiration.

While the brig lay in the harbour, I attempted with ſome other
hands to go on board another veſſel in a ſmall boat, but the wind
ſuddenly riſing we were in danger of being drowned; the boat run on
_Governor’s-Iſland_, and we were obliged to ſtay there 24 hours before
we could get off. Providence preſerved my life in this danger, in order
that I might live thro’ greater, and teſtify to his loving kindneſs and

On December 24, 1778, Capt. _Magee_ ſailed from _Boſton_: We had been
at ſea but a few hours, when a moſt terrible gale of wind aroſe,
ſo that the water was almoſt knee deep on the leeward ſide of the
quarter-deck. We continued in the Bay that day and the night following,
but on the next day we got into _Plymouth_. The wind was abated, but
the cold was ſevere and intenſe beyond deſcription. We came to anchor a
little below _Beach-Point_, in the Harbour of _Plymouth_.

On Saturday, December 26, about 6 o’clock in the morning, from the
violent motion of the ſea, the brig ſtruck the bottom as tho’ it would
drive her keel in. As there was not depth of water enough to work the
veſſel in the place where we lay, and we ſaw a heavy ſtorm coming on,
our Commander thought it beſt to cut our cables and let her drive,
which was immediately done. The ſtorm increaſed very faſt, ſo that we
were obliged to cut away the main-maſt, and we drifted upon an hard
flat a little to the weſtward of _Beach-Point_.

This was early on Saturday morning, and we now laboured hard in
throwing over our wood and getting our guns off the decks into the
hold, but the veſſel began to leak very faſt, and with every motion of
the ſea ſhe ſtruck the bottom as tho’ ſhe would ſplit in pieces. We
kept 2 pumps going, but could not gain upon the water. The ſtorm now
increaſed to a moſt prodigious degree: It ſnowed ſo thick that we could
ſee but a very little way from the brig, and the cold was extreme;
we continued hard at work all day without eating or drinking any
thing ſcarcely, having but little appetite with the proſpect of death
continually before our eyes.

Until now we had hopes of eſcape, but juſt before night we looked into
the hold and ſaw the caſks floating about; this drove us to deſpair,
and we forſook the pumps without a ray of hope but from the immediate
interpoſition of divine Providence. Many of the people now began to
pray, and I went into the cabbin and ſat upon one of the gun-carriages.
I had not been there long before I ſaw cheſts floating about, and
perceived that the tide was flowing on us very faſt; by direction of
the Capt. all left the cabbin and came upon the quarter-deck.

It is not poſſible to deſcribe my ſenſations at this period; death
appeared inevitable, and we waited every moment for its approach! Even
now, when I recollect my feelings it is difficult to ſteady my pen! And
indeed I had ground enough for my apprehenſions, for we had not been
long upon the quarter-deck before the water upon the main-deck was even
with it. Our fore-maſt was ſtill ſtanding, which cauſed the veſſel to
roll very much, but when we had cut that away ſhe lay ſtiller. The brig
now lay ſunk; the tide was flowing faſt and the ſea broke very heavily
over us. We were all upon the quarter-deck, and the water came in upon
us ancle deep.

There was a ſail in the netting upon the windward-quarter, which we
contrived to laſh over us, but there were ſo many under it that we
ſhould have been ſtifled for want of breath, if we had not cut places
to let in the air. The tide was then about at its height but the ſtorm
did not abate. There was nothing to be heard around but ſcreeches,
groans and deep lamentations for themſelves and their families, and
earneſt cries to GOD for mercy and relief!

There was ſuch a croud upon the quarter deck we could not ſtand up
without treading upon one another. Being in a ſtruggle I was thrown
down and trampled upon as if the breath would be crouded out of my
body: However I ſoon recovered my feet and trampled upon others in my
turn; for the immediate regard which every man had to his own life
prevented him from attending to the diſtreſſes of his neighbours!

Struggling in this manner and trying to clear ourſelves from thoſe who
fell down had pulled off moſt of our ſhoes, and the wet and cold ſoon
froze our feet. Nature could ſuſtain it no longer and the people began
to die all around me. Capt. _John Ruſſell_ of _Barnſtable_ was the
firſt of thoſe with whom I was acquainted that died, but many others
ſoon followed him. Fatigue and diſtreſs, added to the extreme cold and
deſpair of relief, put a period to the lives of great numbers. Thoſe
who were able to ſtand were obliged to huddle up cloſe together, and
breathe in each other’s faces to preſerve them from freezing to death,
while their comrades were dying around them all night. In the morning
a moſt awful ſight preſented itſelf to us; 60 of our Comrades lay dead
acroſs each other, and but 2 of my Townſmen were among the living!

On Lord’s-Day, Dec. 27, the ſtorm abated and the ſun appeared clear,
but the ſevere cold ſtill continued. We ſaw _Plymouth_ and a number
of people coming along the ſhore for our relief: We could diſcern
them puſh off two boats and make an hard trial to come to us, but
the harbour was ſo full of ice they could not reach us: We ſaw them
return and it gave us an inexpreſſible ſhock. The elevation which their
appearance gave us tended to ſink us the lower. Our ſituation was very
gloomy; we had little to ſupport nature except rum; no ſhoes on our
feet, and very much frozen; the Heavens was our only covering!

I retained my ſenſes until about 2 o’clock on Lord’s-Day, but was then
deprived of them and lay on the quarter-deck until the next day, when a
boat got to us in order to carry the living aſhore, which amounted only
to 32. When they were looking around to collect the ſurvivors, they at
firſt ſuppoſed me to be dead, but ſeeing one of my eye-lids move they
took me up and laying me in the boat carried me aſhore.

I was carried to Mr. _Bartlet_’s tavern, whoſe kindneſs to me I would
thus publickly acknowledge, and hope I ſhall always remember with
gratitude. My cloaths were firſt cut from off me and I was put into
cold water in order to take out the froſt: I was then placed in bed and
having my teeth forced open had ſome cordials poured down my throat,
but I have no remembrance of any of theſe tranſactions, for I lay
perfectly ſenſeleſs until 2 o’clock on Monday, when my ſenſes came to
me at once. My eyes were not open, but I heard the voices of perſons
talking around me, and the firſt idea which ſtruck me was, that I was
ſtill on board the brig, but that a boat come to our relief. I ſoon
however opened my eyes and was informed of what had happened and where
I then was.

I recovered gradually, but was obliged to paſs thro’ the painful
operation of having ſome of my limbs ſeperated from my body: But after
all theſe diſtreſſes I am ſtill among the living to praiſe GOD! Let my
ſpared life be devoted to his ſervice, and may I ever be mindful of his

_Names of the Deceas’d belonging to_ Barnſtable.

Capt. _John Ruſſell_, _Barn. Lothrop_, _Daniel Hall_, _Tho. Caſley_,
_Eben. Bacon_, _Jaſey Garritt_, _John Berry_, _Barnabas Howes_,
_Stephen Bacon_, _Jon. Lothrop, Boſton_, a Negro Man.

_The SHIPWRECK: A_ =Hymn= _of Praiſe_.

  _Deep calleth unto deep at the noiſe of thy water-ſpouts: All
    thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.—Yet the LORD hath
    ſhewn his loving kindneſs in the day-time: In the night my song
    shall be with him, and my prayer unto the GOD of my life.—When I
    remember theſe things I pour out my ſoul in me, with the voice of
    joy and praiſe._ David.

  When mountain billows o’er me roll
  I poured out my troubled ſoul
  When waves of adverſe fortune meet,
  Thou prov’d a guide unto my feet.

    2. My ſong ſhall always be on GOD,
  I’m ſav’d by his uplifted rod;
  My utmoſt ſearch ſhall be to know
  The LORD who ſav’d from froſt and ſnow.

    3. LORD may I fear thee all my days,
  Thy mercies claim my higheſt praiſe;
  For in the time of deep deſpair,
  Preſerv’d I was by heav’nly care.

    4. The LORD is good to thoſe who call
  On Him, and do depend for all;
  In adverſe fate if we depend
  On GOD, he will deliv’rence ſend.

    5. In deep diſtreſs and trouble ſore,
  When ſurging billows round me roar,
  Altho’ he ſlay me, yet I’ll truſt
  On =God=, my Saviour, who is juſt.

    6. Not only truſt but I will call
  On =Him=, who is the LORD of all;
  My day-ſong ſhall in thee accord,
  And in the night I’ll praiſe the LORD.

    7. Thy goodneſs and thy tender care
  Reliev’d me when in deep deſpair;
  Thy gracious and thy friendly Crook
  I will record in this my Book.

    8. Had it not been for thy controul,
  The deep would ſwallow up my ſoul;
  Tho’ froſt me of my feet deprive,
  Yet I will praiſe thee I’m alive.

    9. Alive to praiſe thee, O my GOD,
  Tho’ chaſt’ned with afflicting rod;
  But ſhould my ſins been marked well,
  My ſoul would have been ſent to Hell.

    10. But bleſſed be his holy Hand,
  I am return’d to native land;
  Tho’ ſickneſs did my ſpirits waſte,
  Thy flowing mercy I do taſte.

    11. My Kindred and my Friends ſo dear;
  Truſt in the LORD and always fear
  =Him= who can ſave, if you rely
  On =One= who rules above the ſky.

    12. Lo, =Seamen=, one and all attend,
  Look well to what I here have pen’d;
  Let me intreat you not to ſwear,
  But live in GOD’s moſt holy fear.

    13. He will vouchſafe when danger’s nigh,
  To help, if on =Him= you rely;
  Tho’ ſtorms ariſe on raging main,
  He’ll bring thee ſafe to Friends again.

    14. I ſay to all truſt in the LORD,
  He will your grottos always guard,
  From tempeſts dire and ſickneſs ſore;
  Your baſket fill, and bleſs your ſtore.

_A HYMN. By another_ =Author=.

  My ſoul, my powers bleſs ye the =Lord=,
    With Hymns of praiſe his wonders ſound,
  When threat’ning danger round me ſtood
    I ſought his help and ſuccour found.

  2. Hopeleſs I saw my gloomy caſe,
    When burſting waves broke o’er my head,
  Then did my ſoul addreſs his throne,
    And all its wants before him ſpread.

  3. Then in the mount did GOD appear,
    And made his light in darkneſs ſhine,
  At his rebuke the Tempeſt fled,
    To magnify his arm divine.

  4. He ſaid I have a ranſom found,
    Therefore ye ſons of men return,
  I will no more with you contend,
    Nor let my wrath forever burn.

  5. I am the LORD who rules the ſeas,
    My voice can huſh the roaring waves,
  The keys of death are in my Hand
    To ſhut or open oozy graves.

  6. Come truſt the LORD in all your ſtraits,
    His great ſalvation call to mind,
  My own experience can atteſt,
    The LORD is good, his dealings kind.

  7. Within the book of his accounts,
    Each of my members written are,
  Without commiſſion from his Hand,
    There ſhall not fall a limb or hair.

  8. With joyful heart I’ll tread his Courts,
    And pay my vows among his Saints,
  To Him my life, my all devote,
    Who bow’d his Ear to my complaints.

Transcriber’s Note

=This= denotes the semantic use of small caps in the original text.

Archaic and inconsistent spelling retained, along with inconsistent
hyphenation (quarter-deck/quarter deck).

To revert to modern letterforms, globally replace "ſ" with "s".

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A brief and remarkable narrative of the life and extreme sufferings of Barnabas Downs, Jun" ***