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LOST SHIPS AND LONELY SEAS

to master the situation like true British seamen, they split into hostile factions, and insubordination was rampant. There were rough and desperate men among them, it is true, but a leader of courage and resource whom they respected would have stamped out much of this disorder.

They wandered off in sullen groups, ten of them straying away into the woods until starvation drove them back, another party building a punt and sailing away in it, never to be heard of again. These latter fellows were not regretted, according to the narrative of one of the survivors, who declares that

 

there was great reason to believe that James Mitchell, one of them, had perpetrated no less than two murders, the first on a sailor found strangled on board and the second on the body of a man who was discovered among some bushes, stabbed in a shocking manner. On the day of their desertion, they plotted blowing up the captain in his hut, along with the surgeon and Lieutenant Hamilton of the marines; they were with difficulty dissuaded from it by one less wicked than the rest; and half a barrel of powder, together with the train, were found actually laid.

 

Among the officers was a boyish midshipman named Cozens who was of a flighty, impulsive disposition and who had no head for strong liquors. Too much grog made him boisterous, and by way of a lesson he was shut up in a hut under guard. He cherished a hearty dislike for Captain Cheap and