crank that she would never be able to encounter a voyage to the South Seas."
The fact that the seventy objectors were unanimously seasick delayed the mutiny; besides which, Captain Shelvocke talked to them, and he was a persuasive man whenever he used a pair of flintlock pistols to make his meaning clear. With calmer weather the seventy recalcitrants plucked up spirit to renew the argument, and went so far as to seize the helm and trim the yards on a course toward England. The captain was now seriously vexed. With a dozen officers behind him, he overruled the majority, tied two of them in the rigging, and ordered them handsomely flogged, and consented to forgive the others on promise of good behavior. "Nevertheless," remarks a commentator, "it occasioned him great uneasiness to find himself with a ship's company likely to occasion such trouble and vexation."
The Speedwell almost foundered before she was a fortnight at sea, the pumps going, crew praying, and some of her provisions and gunpowder spoiled by salt water; but Captain George Shelvocke shoved her along for the South Sea, half a world away, and set it down as all in the day's work. Sea-faring in the early eighteenth century was not a vocation for children or weaklings.