Robert Smith.

The Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) online

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remarks, — " A testimony was also read from
Ireland, respecting Sarah Grubb, of which
very interesting document we give a copy."


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Extract from Captain Gray^s " Journals of
two Expeditions of Discovery in Nurth-
tecst and Western Australia."

April 16, 1839.-
above two miles tiii

-We had not travelled
morning in an E.S.E.

direction, when I found that we had reached
the bottom of the valley into which we had
yesterday evening commenced our descent.
In this valley lay the dried-up bed of a con-
siderable stream, which I have named the
" Smith," after my unfortunate friend. Its
direction was from north-east to south. As
we were now suffering a good deal from thirst
we made a search in both directions along the
bed; but although there were many pools,
(some of them being twelve or fourteen feet
deep,) we could not find the slightest indica-
tions of water having stood in them for a con-
siderable time; in the bottom of one of the
deepest of these pot)ls was a native well, dug
to the depth of about seven feet, but even at
this distance below the surface, we could see
no signs whatever of water. There was much
good land in the valley, through which this
watercourse wound, but all was barren and
arid. In the course of the morning we had
seen a flight of cockatoos coming from the
eastward down the valley in which the bed of
the river lay, which, at the time, made us
imagine that water would be found in that
direction, in the interior, — and the natives
subsequently stated that such was the case,
— but our circumstances would not admit
such a deviation from our course, in a
search which, if unsuccessful, would have
proved fatal. The sun had by this time be-
come intensely hot, and the poor fellows grew
faint for want of water, whilst it aggravated
their sufferings, that they stood upon the
brink of a river, or wandered along its banks
with eager piercing eyes, and an air of intense
scrutinizing watchfulness, peculiar to those
who search for that on which their lives de-
pend. One while they explored a shallow
stony part of the bed, which was parched up
and blackened by the fiery sun ; their steps
were slow and listless, and I could plainly see
how faint, weak, and weary they were ; — the

next tnmute another pool would be discerned
ahead, the depth of which the eye could not
at a distance reach ; — now they hurried on
towards it with a dreadful look of eager anx-
iety, — the pool was reached, — the bottom
seen, — but alas ! no water ; — then they paus-
ed, and looked one at the other with an air of
utter despair. As long as they remained on
the banks of this river bed, a glimmering of
hope remained; but I felt convinced, from the
general appearance of the country, that there
was not the slightest probability of our find-
ing water there, and resolved, therefore, still
to continue a direct route. When I gave this
order, the weak-minded quailed befoie it ; they
would rather have perished in wandering up
and down those arid and inhospitable banks,
than have made a great effort, and have torn
themselves away from the vain and delusive
hopes this water-course held out to them.
With great pain I witnessed and bore my part
in this distressing scene; but I, at the mo-
ment, felt that it would be necessary to save
my energies for other occasions; suspecting
that we were in a great tract of desert coun-
try, a large portion of which must still be
passed, ere we could hope for any alleviation
from our sufferings; and I, therefore, at once
commenced carrying into execution the order
I had given, by walking on in a south by east
direction. In about two miles we had gained
the summit of the low range, which bounded
to the southward, the valley where we had so
vainly searched for water, and for the next ten
miles we travelled over elevated sandy barren
plains, thinly wooded with occasional clumps
of Banksia trees. On our left was a lofty
and well wooded range, distant only about four
miles, and on our right lay extensive plains,
the western extremity of which, distant about
sixteen miles from us, was by the sea; these
plains appeared tolerably fertile, being cover-
ed with tea-tree swamps, now apparently dried
up. I still was led on by the hope, raised by
the height of the range on our left, that we
might find water issuing from it towards the
coast, and had therefore not searched the
plains which lay between us and the sea ; in-
deed I felt fully convinced that the swamps we
saw were all perfectly dry, and the native coin-
cided in my opinion ; about an hour before
sunset, however, we descended towards the
plains, and turning due west, we reached them
in about half an hour, but found all the swamps
quite destitute of water. As soon as it became
dark, I lit my fire, and laid down by it, ad-
vising the others to pursue the same course,
and to preserve their energies for the mor-
row ; but such advice was thrown away upon
men almost perishing with thirst, and every
now and then throughout the night, I heard
their weak husky voices, as they wandered

from swamp to swamp, in the neighbourhood,
digging holes with pointed sticks in a vain
search. Poor Kaiber alone lay crouching by
my fire, occasionally feeding it with fresh fuel,
and chaunting to himself these two songs, in
his own language —

Thillier, mother oh, I return again,
Tliither oh, I return again.

The other had been sung by the mother of
Miago, a native who had accompanied Cap-
tain Wickham in the Beagle from the Swan
river, and it had made a great impression oa
the natives.

Whither does that lone .-ship wander,
My young son I shall never see agrain,
Whiihcr does that lone ship wander.

The night wore heavily on; sleepless suf-
ferers were around me, and I myself began to
feel very anxious as to what the next day
might bring. The men had now been already
one night and two days without tasting a single
drop of water or food of any kind whatever,
for as the only provisions they had left was a
spoonful or two of flour each, it was impossi-
ble for them to cook this without water; in-
deed, only two of them had even this small
supply of flour left, and the rest were wholly

I personally suffered far less than any of
the others, with the exception of the native,
and this for several reasons. In the first
place, 1 had been long accustomed to subsist
on a very small quantity of water ; and second-
ly, I had always kept my mind occupied and
amused, instead of giving way to desponding
or gloomy thoughts. When we halted, and
the others laid wearily down, brooding over
their melancholy situation, I employed myself
in writing up my journal, which was most
scrupulously kept ; and this duty being con-
eluded, I had recourse to a small New Testa-
ment, my companion throughout all my wan-
derings, and from this latteV I drank in such
deep draughts of comfort, that my spirits were
always good.

April 17 — About an hour and a half be-
fore dawn, we started in a south by east direc-
lion, the native leading the way, for it was yet
too dark for me to select points to march upon.
As we moved along, we moistened our mouths
by sucking a few drops of dew from the shrubs
and reeds, but even this miserable resource
failed us, almost immediately after sunrise.
The men were so worn out from fatigue and
want of food and water, that I could get them
but a few hundred yards at a time, then some
one of them would sit down, and beg me
so earnestly to stop for a few minutes, that I
could not refuse acceding to the request.
When, however, I thus halted, the native in
every instance expressed his indignation, tell-


jng me that it was sacrificin-; iiis safely, as
well as that of the others, who were able to
move, for that if we did not find water e'er
night, the whole party would die. He was,
indeed, as weak from want of food as any of
us, for we had made such rapid and lengthy
marches, in the hope of speedily forwarding
assistance to those left behind, that when we
came at night to the conclusion of our day's
journey, Kaiber was too much exhausted to
think of looking for food.

About two o'clock in the afternoon, the men
were so completely exhausted, that it was
impossible to induce them to move, and at this
period I found that we had only made about
eight miles in a south by east direction, over
plains, studded with small sandy hills, and the
beds of dried-up tea-tree swamps.

When I halted, the sun was intensely pow- 1
erful ; the groans and exclamations of some i
of the men were painful in the extreme. Un-|
able to bear these distressing scenes any i
longer, I ordered Kaiber to accompany me,
and, notwithstanding the heat and my own
weariness, I left the others lying down in
such sliirht shade as the stunted Banksias
afforded ; and throwing aside all my ammuni-
tion, papers, &.c., started with him in search
of water, carrying nothing but my double-
barrelled gun.
« i ******

The men, who had been much surprised at
the length of my absence, were at first buoyed
up with the hope that I had found water ; but
this hope had at last died away, and they
knew not what to conjecture. 'J'liey were all
reduced to the last degree of weakness and
want; indeed, I myself was at this period suf- 1
fering from the most distressing symptoms of
thirst ; not only was my mouth parched, burn-
ing, and devoid of moisture, but the senses of j
sight and hearing became much affected. 1 1
could scarcely recognize the voices of the rest ;
and when their uncouth unnatural tones struck
upon my ear, it took me some time to collect
my thoughts, in order to understand what was
said, somewhat in the way in which one is
obliged to act when roused suddenly from a
deep sleep. In the same manner my sight
had become feeble and indistinct ; hut by far
the most distressing sensation was that expe-
rienced upon rising up, after having rested for
a few moments. I then felt the blood rush
violently to the head, and the feeling produced
was as if it were driven by a forcing pump
through all my veins.

Previously to starting again, I gave the men
orders, which I believed at the time would be,
to some at least, the last. I did not attempt
to hide from them the dangers which sur-
rounded us ; but staling these, I represented
that matters had now arrived at such a crisis,
that in the event of any of them being unable
to proceed, it would be wrong to expect the
others to halt on their account ; and 1, there-
fore, called upon all to exert their utmost
energies, and boldly to make a last struggle
for their lives. My intention, I told them,
was to proceed slowly, but steadily, to the
southward, and never once to halt until I
dropped, or reached water; even in the event
of any being unable to keep up, I warned


them that I should not wait for them, but still
pursue a steady and undeviating course until
water was found ; but, as soon as I had slaked
my own thirst, I would return and bring assist-
ance to those Avho might have been unable to
come on with me.

Having thus imparted my intentions, I or-
dered them to throw away every superfluous
article; and a very valuable sextant, which had
been hitherto carried about in turns by Cor-
porals Anger and Coles, was here abandoned.
These our preparations having been made, we
moved slowly on in sad procession, and never
shall I forget the wild and haggard looks of
those that followed me : reason had begun to
hold but a very slight influence over some,
and I feel assured, that had it not been for the
force of that discipline which I rigidly main-
tained, some of the party must now have lost
their lives. .\s it was, not a word of com-
plaint was heard as to the plan I pursued, or
the route I took; but they all reeled and stag-
gered after me, the silence being only broken
by groans and exclamations. 1 preserved a
slow, uniform pace, proceeding still in a south
by east direction, that is, in a straight line
fur Perth. The same sandy sterile country
was around, thinly clothed with Banksia trees.

We had inarched for about an hour and a
quarter, and in this time had only made two [ was in vain now that I raised the gun, for my
miles, when wo suddenly arrived upon the edge ' tremulous hand shook so that 1 could not for
of a dried up bed of a sedgy swamp, which lay ; a moment cover the bird I aimed at, and after
in the centre of a small plain, where we saw i one or two ineffectual attempts to kill some-
the foot-mark of a native imprinted on the j thing, I was obliged to desist in despair. I
sand, and again our hearts heat with hope, for i now dreaded that I had only escaped the pains
this sign a|)peared to announce, that we were of death by thirst, in order to perish of hun-
once more entering the regions of animal life, j ger, and for a moment regretted that I had
We soon found that another part of the swamp not died ere I found water, — for I firmly he-
was thickly marked with the footsteps of wo- j lieved, from the state of weakness I was then
men and children; and as no water-baskels j reduced to, that the bitterness of death had
were scattered about, no doubt could exist i passed. But a short period sufficed to smother
but that we were in the vicinity of water. | these unmanly and unchristian feelings in my
We soon discovered several native wells dug j breast, and seeing a flight of black cockalooa
in the bed of the swamp ; but these were all i soaring about in the air, I determined to watch
dry, and I began again to fear that I was dis- 1 them to their roosting-place, and then favour-
appointed, when Kaiber suddenly started up j ed by the darkness of the night to steal upon
from a thick bed of reeds, and made me a sign j them. On my return to the parly, I found the
which was unobserved by the others, as was j men silting by the hole of water, anxiously
evidently his intention. I hurried up, and 1 watching until they again saw a little black
found him with his head buried in a small ! mud in it, which they then eagerly swal-
hole of moist mud, — for I can call it nothing I lowed,
else. I very deliberately raised Kaiber by

was the most delicious water, and hud a pecu-
liar flavour, which rendered it far superior to
any other he had ever tasted.

But it required some time before their facul-
ties were sufficiently recovered to allow them
duly to estimate the magnitude of the danger
they had escaped. The small portion of muddy
water in ihe hole was soon finished, and then
by scraping it out clean, we found that water
began slowly to trickle into it again. The men
now laid themselves down, almost in a state of
stupefaction, and rested by their treasured
pocjl. I felt, however, that great calls upon
my energies might still arise, and therefore,
retiring a little apart with the native, I first of
all returned hearty thanks to my Maker for
the dangers and sufferings he had thus brought
me through, and then tottered on with my
gun, in search of food. As might have been
expected, game was here plentiful ; numerous
pigeons and other birds came down at night-
fall (which was now the hour) for the purpose
of drinking at this lone pool, and the number
of birds, of different kinds, that congregated
here, was a most convincing proof of the
general aridity of this part of the country, —
indeed the natives subsequently reported that
the tract we had just traversed was, at this
season of the year, totally devoid of water. It

the hair, as all expostulations to him were
useless, and then called up the others. Kaiber
had completely swelled himself out with this
thick muddy liquid, and from the mark upon
the sides of the hole, had evidently consumed
more than half of the total supply. I first of
all took some of this moist mud in my mouth,
but finding a difficulty in swallowing it, as it
was so thick, I stiained a portion through a
handkerchief. We had thirsted, with an in-
tense and burning thirst, for three days and
two nights, during the greater portion of which

Couiinunicated for " The Friend."

Report of the Managers of Harerford School
Association. Read at a meeting held Fifth
month, 1843.

The Managers Report, — That the condition
of the school during the past year has not nia-
terially varied from that in which former
reports have represented it. The average
number of students has been nearly forty-six,
ho have pursued the course of instruction

time we had been taking violent exercise under heretofore reported, with such modifications
a fierce sun. To conceive the delight of the as their previous attainments or other circum-
nien when they arrived at this little hole of ' stances seemed to require. The discipline of
mud, would be difficult. Each, as he came up, the school has been in general well niaintain-

and cast his wearied limbs on the ground be-
side the hole, uttered these words — " Thank
God !" and then greedily swallowed a few
mouthfuls of the liquid mud, protesting that it

ed, and especially during the winter term has
been such as to confirm the previous standing
of our Institution. The daily reading of the
Holy Scriptures and stated recitations from



them, hdve taken place as lierelofore ; and the
efforts of the teaclier upon wh

Online LibraryRobert SmithThe Friend : a religious and literary journal (Volume 16) → online text (page 125 of 154)