No doubt a most harrowing tale, marred only by the seeming innocence and trusting self-presentation of Barnard and his providential beliefs. The work includes excerpts from the log of Barzillai Pease (originals in Syracuse University Library), a co-partner in Barnard’s endeavor. Barnard’s ship, Nanina, was taken over by mutineers, he himself was abandoned by other shipmates, rescued by the Isabella which in turn was shipwrecked, abandoned again, and among other perils, his ship eventually was declared war bounty by the British during the War of 1812.
p. 104: When the four men who had abandoned Barnard returned in his boat, one of them said: we wish to land, but are fearful that we have so offended you, that you do not want us to rejoin you. We have put hog ashore for you on the point, with some old newspapers that I picked up at the wreck, as I had often heard you wish that you had some books or papers to read.
p. 118: From among some pieces of old newspapers that had been found at the wreck, the following prayer was taken.… This beautiful prayer, so applicable to our situation, had such an effect on my companions in misfortune, that their conduct…was entirely changed for the better.
p. 141: I likewise, at intervals, taught Sam, who was perfectly illiterate, so far that he was able to read our scraps of newspapers. This was a source of great gratification to him, and some amusement to me. I have heard him, when he did not suspect that I was within hearing, hold dialogues with himself on the subject of his acquirements. Fancying himself at home, he would begin with ‘Mother, have you got a newspaper?’ ‘No; what do you want with a newspaper?’ ‘I want to read it’ ‘Poh! You can’t read.’ ‘Can’t I? send to the Bell and borrow one; I would read it.’ I would then come in, and ask him, ‘well, Sam, what did the old woman say? He would laugh, and reply she would be frightened, and say ‘Sam, who learned you to read? I would say, ‘that American captain I was so long with.’ I had also taught Louder the principles of navigation.
p. 144: November 25th, the wind blowing strong against us, we obtained some elephant pup skins, which we intended to manufacture into parchment, and make a log book. We had previously tried this, and found that it answered perfectly well.