Page:Paine--Lost ships and lonely seas.djvu/427

This page needs to be proofread.

hope of a humane reception in Tangier. More than a hundred of the privateersmen were drowned when the Inspector drove against the rocky coast, and the rest of them, wounded, half-naked, and exhausted, were discovered by the Moors, who threw them into a loathsome jail of Tangier.

The British consul, Mr, Pettigrew, arrived from Gibraltar in H. M. S. Phoenix a few days later, and opened negotiations which resulted in the release of the captain, his three lieutenants, and the officer of marines. As for the others, the consul was tartly informed that they could rot in slavery until the British Government discharged an old debt claimed by the Emperor of Morocco for captives redeemed seventeen years before.

While in prison the wretched seamen were left without food for three days on end, and to their piteous plea the governor of Tangier sent word:

"If the unbelieving dogs are hungry, let them eat the stones."

When they desperately attempted to escape, iron chains were locked about their necks, and twenty of them were thrown into a black hole of a dungeon where hunger almost drove them to casting lots and eating one of their number. Two sheep were thrown to them, however, which they instantly devoured raw. After five months of this existence, in