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NARRATIVE OF THE LOSS
KENT EAST INDIAMAN,
THE BAY OF BISCAY,
1st MARCH 1825.
IN A LETTER TO A FRIEND.
BY A PASSENGER.
PRINTED FOR WAUGH AND INNES;
M. OGLE, GLASGOW; R. M. TIMS, DUBLIN ;
J. HATCHARD & SON; J. NISBET; AND JAMES DUNCAN,
LOSS OF THE KENT
MY DEAR E
WITH the twofold view of gratifying the lively interest excited in the minds of our friends, by the awful and afflicting calamity that has lately befallen the" Kent" East Indiaman, and of humbly recording the signal interposition of that God, "who, in the midst of judgment, remembereth mercy," I am induced to transmit to you-to be disposed of as you may think fitthe following detailed account of the melancholy event, which has at once deprived the country of many valuable lives, and thereby plunged numerous families into the deepest distress, and involved, I fear, in pecuniary ruin, or reduced to extreme embarrassment, most of the gallant survivors.
You are aware that the Kent, Captain Henry Cobb, a fine new ship of 1350 tons, bound to Bengal and China, left the Downs on the 19th February, with 20 officers, 344 soldiers, 43 women, and 66 children, belonging to the 31st regiment; with 20 private passengers, and a crew (including officers) of 148 men, on board.
The bustle attendant on a departure for India, is undoubtedly calculated to subdue the force of those deeply painful sensations to which few men can refuse to yield, in the immediate prospect of a long and distant separation from the land of their fondest and earliest recollections. With my gallant shipmates, indeed, whose elasticity of spirits is remarkably characteristic of the professions to which they be longed, hope appeared greatly to predominate over sadness. Surrounded as they were by every circumstance that could render their voyage propitious, and in the ample enjoyment of every necessary that could contribute either to their health or comfort,-their hearts seemed to beat high with contentment and gratitude to wards that country which they zealously served, and whose interests they were cheerfully going forth to defend..
With a fine fresh breeze from the north-east, the stately Kent, in bearing down the Channel,
speedily passed many a well-known spot on the coast, dear to our remembrance; and on the evening of the 23d, we took our last view of happy England, and entered the wide Atlantic, without the expectation of again seeing land until we reached the shores of India.
With slight interruptions of bad weather, we continued to make way until the night of Monday the 28th, when we were suddenly arrested in lat. 47° 30', long. 10°, by a violent gale from the south-west, which gradually increased dur ing the whole of the following morning.
To those who have never "gone down to the sea in ships, and seen the wonders of the Lord in the great deep," or even to such as have never been exposed in a westerly gale to the tremendous swell in the Bay of Biscay, I am sensible that the most sober description of the magnificent spectacle of "watery hills in full succession flowing," would appear sufficiently exaggerated. But it is impossible, I think, for the inexperienced mariner, however unreflecting he may try to be, to view the effects of the increasing storm, as he feels his solitary vessel reeling to and fro under his feet, without involuntarily raising his thoughts, with a secret confession of helplessness and veneration that he may never before have experienced, towards that mysteri