Thursday, 5 May 2011

Philip Ashton Marooned.


Philip Ashton was a fisherman. On one of his fishing trips he was captured by pirates captained by Edward Low. Low asked Ashton to join his crew, but Ashton refused so was kept prisoner & made to work.

"That through the goodness of God -- I escaped being consumed by the violence of the Flame who was not only drunk at the time -- but acting like a madman and demanding that we all be shot right then and there."

"I went into the boat, With only an Ozenbrig frock and trousers on, And a milled cap upon my head, having neither shirt, shoes, nor stockings, nor anything else about me. Whereas, had I been aware of such an opportunity by one quarter of an hour before, I could have provided myself with something better. However, thought I, if I can but once get foot on terra-firma, I shall count it a happy Deliverance. For I was resolved, come what would, never to come aboard again."

"I was very active in helping get the casks out of the boat and rolling them up to the watering place. Then I lay down at the fountain and took a heavy draught of cool water. And then I gradually strolled along the beach, picking up stones and shells and looking about me. When I got about a musket shot off, I began to make for the edge of the woods. When the cooper spied me, he called after me and asked me where I was going. I told him I was going to get some coconuts, for there were some coconut trees just before me. But as soon as I reached the woods, I betook myself to my heels and ran as fast as my naked feet would let me."

"What is not good for him that has nothing to live on, except what falls from the trees!"

"As my weakness increased upon me, I should often fall down as though struck with a dead sleep. And sometimes when I lay down I never expected to wake or rise again. And here I lingered, one day after another, I know not how, without business or diversion, rambling from hill to hill, gazing upon the water and staring upon the face of the sky. And often I laid myself down certain that I should die alone, and nobody would know what has become of me, not even my Parents ..."

"One of my greatest difficulties lay in my being barefoot, my travels backward and forward in the woods to hunt for my daily food among the thick underbrush, where the ground was covered with sharp broken shells, had made so many gashes in my feet, and some of them very large, that I was hardly able to go at all."

I have not found any more quotes of Philip Ashton, but I do know that at some time during his stay on the island he had a visit from a stranger, another Englishman in a canoe. This man gave Ashton a gun, lead, gunpowder & a knife. Shortly afterwards the stranger left to go hunting further round the island in his canoe. That night a storm blew up and Ashton never saw the stranger again.

"In saving me from the rage of pirates, And the malice of Spaniards, from the beasts of the field, and the monsters of the sea, in keeping me alive amidst so many deaths in such a lonely and helpless condition, and in bringing about my deliverance, the last being whereof I must be just gone to Bonacca, where a storm must drive a fleet of ships so far southward, And their need for water must oblige them to put in at the island where I was, And a vessel bound to my own home must come and take me in, I cannot but take notice of the strange concurrence of Divine Providence throughout it all."

Narrative of Philip Ashton Jr., 1725.

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