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had made the English mate, one Mr. Thompson, captain, not being willing to take the charge of the ship upon myself: This river lies on the north fide of the great bay or gulph, which goes up to Siam.
While we were here, and going often on shore for refreshment, there comes to me one day an Englishman, and he was, it seems, a gunner's mate on board an English East India ship, which rode in the same river, up at, or near the city of Cambodia : what brought him hither we knew not; but he comes up to me, and, speaking English, Sir, says he, you are a stranger to me, and I to you ; but I have fomething to tell you, that very nearly concerns you.
I looked stedfastly at him a good while, and he thought at first I had known him, but I did not: If it very nearly concerns me, said I, and not yourfelf, what moves you to tell it me? I am moved, says he, by the imminent danger you are in, and for aught I fee, you have no knowledge of it. I know no danger I am in, said I, but that my ship is leaky, and I cannot find it out; but I propose to lay her aground to-morrow, to see if I can find it. But, Sir, says he, leaky or not leaky, find it or not find it, you will be wiser than to lay your ship on shore to
morrow, when you hear what I have to say to you: Do you know, Sir, said he, the town of Cambodia lies about fifteen leagues up this river? And there are two large English ships about five leagues on this fide, and three Dutch. Well said I, and what is that to me? Why, Sir, says he, is it for a man that is upon such adventures as you are, to come into a port, and not examine first what ships there are there,
and whether he is able to deal with them? I suppose you do not think you are a match for them? I was amused
very much at his discourse, but not amazed at it; for I could not conceive what he meant; and I turned short upon him, and said, Sir, I wish you would explain yourself; I cannot imagine what reason I have to be afraid of any of the Company's ships, or Dutch ships ; I am no interloper ; what can they have to say to me?
He looked like a man half angry, half pleased ; and, -pausing awhile, but smiling, Well, Sir, says
you think yourself secure, you must take your chance ; I am sorry your fate should blind you against good advice; but assure yourself, if you do not put to sea immediately, you will the very next tide be attacked by five long-boats full of men ; and, perhaps if you are taken, you will be hanged for a pirate, and the particulars be examined into afterwards : I thought, Sir, added he, I should have met with a better reception than this, for' doing you a piece of service of such importance. I can never be ungrateful, faid I, for any service, or to any man that offers me any kindness; but it is part my comprehension, said I, what they should have such a design upon me for : However, since you say there is no time to be lost, and that there is some villainous design in hand against me, I will go on board this minute, and put to sea immediately, if my men can stop the leak, or if we can swim without stopping it: But, Sir, said I, shall I go away ignorant of the reason of all this ? Can you give me no farther light into it?
I can tell you but part of the story, Sir, says he; but I have a Dutch seaman here with me, and, I believe, I could persuade him to tell you the rest; but there is scarce time for it : But the short of the story is this, the first part of which, I suppose, you know well enough, viz. That you were with this ship at Sumatra ; that there your captain was murdered by the Malaccans, with three of his men; and that you, or some of those that were on board with you, ran away with the ship, and are since turned PIRATES. This is the sum of the story, and you will all be seized as pirates, I can assure you, and executed with very little ceremony; for you know merchant ships shew but little law to pirates, if they get them in their power.
Now you speak plain English, said I, and I thank you ; and though I know nothing that we have done, like what
you talk of, but I am sure we came honestly and fairly by the ship ; yet feeing such work is a doing, as you say, and that you seem to mean honestly, I will be upon my guard. Nay, Sir, fays he, do not talk of being upon your guard ; the best defence is to be out of the danger : if you
any regard to your life, and the lives of all your men, put out to fea without fail at high-water ; and as you have a whole tide before you, you will be gone too far out before they can come down; for they will come away at high water ; and as they have twenty miles to come, you'll get near two hours of them by the difference of the tide, not reckoning the length of the way: Besides, as they are only boats, and not fhips, they will not venture to follow you
far out to sea, especially if it blows.
Well, said I, you have been very kind in this : What shall I do for you to make you amends ? Sir, says he, you may not be so willing to make me amends, because you may not be convinced of the truth of it: I will make an offer to you; I have nineteen months pay due to me on board the ship
which I came out of England in; and the Dutchman, that is with me, has seven months pay due to him; if you will make good our pay to us, we will go along with you : If you find nothing more in it, we will defire no more ; but if we do convince you, that we have saved your life, and the ship, and the lives of all the men in her, we will leave the rest to you.
I consented to this readily; and went immediately on board, and the two men with me. As soon as I came to the ship’s fide, my partner, who was on board, came on the quarter-deck, and called to me with a great deal of joy, 0 ho! O ho! we have stopped the leak! Say you so, said I, thank God ; but weigh the anchor then immediately : Weigh! says he, what do you mean by that? What is the matter? says he. Ask no questions, said I, but all hands to work, and weigh without losing a minute. He was surprised : But, however, he called the captain, and he immediately ordered the anchor to be got up; and though the tide was not quite done, yet a little land-breeze blowing, we stood out to fea; then I called him into the cabin, and told him the story at large; and we called in the men, and they told us the rest of it: but as it took us up a great deal of time, fo before we had done, a seaman comes to the cabin-door, and calls out to us, that
the captain bade him tell us, we were chased : Chased, said I, by whom, and by what? By five floops, or boats, said the fellow, full of men. Very well, said I; then it is apparent there is something in it. In the next place, I ordered all our men to be called up : and told them, that there was a defign to seize the ship, and to take us for pirates ; and aiked them, if they would stand by us, and by one another ? The men answered, chearfully, one and all, that they would live and die with us. Then I asked the captain, what way he thought best for us to manage a fight with them : For resist them I resolved we would, and that to the last drop. He said, readily, that the way was to keep them off with our great shot, as long as we could, and then to fire at them with our small arms, to keep them from boarding us; but when neither of these would do any longer, we should retire to our close quarters; perhaps they had not materials to break open our bulk-heads, or get in upon us.
The gunner had, in the mean time, orders to bring two guns to bear fore and aft, out of the steerage, to clear the deck, and load them with musquet-bullets, and small pieces of old iron, and what next came to hand; and thus we made ready for fight; but all this while kept out to sea, with wind enough, and could see the boats at a distance, being five large long-boats following us, with all the fail they could make.
Two of these boats, which, by our glasses, we could see were English, had out-failed the rest, were near two leagues a-head of them, and gained upon us considerably; to that we found they would come