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Pages from a seaman's log : being the first eighteen months of the cruise of H.M.S. Warspite, in the… Palmer, W. (William) Harry 1891

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Being the- First Eighteen Months of the Cruise.
We commissioned at Chatham on the 14th day of
February, 1890.
After taking in stores, on Saturday, the 24th, we
cleared the basin and brought up in the south lock.
Here we took in a buoy which we were to drop at Sandv
Point, (a Chilian settlement in the Straits of Magellan,)
to mark the spot where H. M. S. " Doterel" blew up, in
It may be as well here to give a short description of
our ship and the people that manned her.
She was a first-class cruiser of 8,650 tons, and 10,000
horse power. She was armed with four 9.2 22-ton guns,
one on each beam, one forward and one aft, and had
ports for ten six-inch five-ton Armstrong guns, four
quick firing Nordenfeldt, two on each beam ; four quick
firing Hotchkiss, two on the poop, one in the military
top, and one right forward under the forecastle, the
crested figure head opening in two flaps being its port.
Besides these, we carried about twelve machine guns.
She was rigged with one military mast; had two funnels
and could steam about 18 knots under forced draught.
Her decks were flush, being protected all around by
chain rails.   So much for the ship.
Our admiral was Charles F. Hotham, a Junior Lord of
the Admiralty. He was of very recent make, this being
the first ship on which he had hoisted his flag. He first
saw service in 1856, and was captain of the flag ship
under Sir Beau champ Seymour during the bombardment of Alexandria in the Egyptian war. Our captain,
a tall dark man, with sharp aristocratic features, was
also of recent make. Bsfore his appointment to this
ship as captain, he was commander of the Royal Yacht
Osborne. He was the Hon. Hedwoith Lambton, brother
to the Earl of Durham. The secretary was Mr. J. H. G.
Chappie, paymaster, who was specially promoted for his
services in the Zulu and Egyptian war. Our commander, Edward Pitcairn Joups, was an old and
experienced  sailor.     The  first  lieutenant,  the   Hon.
« M
t\ A
H.   Stanhope,  was  a  fair  man,
The   torpedo   lieutenant  was Sir
a  young  man   of   about  23,   he
cate   for  the  Naval  Gymnastic
tended all gvmnastic .instructions.
of   medium   height-
Robert  Arbuthnot,
was   a  great  advo-
Drills  and  superin-
Our gunnery lieu-
tenant was Mr. Ethelston, and the lieutenant of the first
and second divisions was Mr. Hewett and Mr. Couper.
We also had on board Mr. John Barber, boatswain,
who distinguished himself in connection with the
grounding of H. M. S. "Lily," in 1889, by
ashore, through the surf, at the risk of his life,
line by which the whole ship's company were saved.
, The remainder of our officers included the Rev. J.
E. S. Mason, Chaplain; Fleet Surgeon Hay; Staff Paymaster Lawless, and their respective assistants; Staff
Engineer Spaldiog, a boatswain, two gunnels, torpedo
gunner, a carpenter, and about fourteen midshipmen.
Our crew was from the Royal Naval Barracks at
Sheerness, (from which place the writer came,) the
"Excellent" at Portsmouth, and a few from the Royal
Naval Barracks at Plymouth.    To resume :
We left the south lock on Monday, amid the hearty
good wishes of the people assembled on the pier and
quay, to witness our departure, and steaming down the
Medway, moored to the buoy off Sheerness the same
evening. The following Thursday we coaled ship, a job
we were glad to have finished, it being bitterly cold,
with falls of snow at intervals. The next day we cleaned
the vessel and got in readiness to receive the Prince of
Wales and Prince George, who were to honor us with a
visit on Saturday. The day turned out very unfavorable to a royal visit; it seemed to be doing its
level best to keep the royal visitors within doors, for
it snowed and blew and snowed again—it was snowing
when he came aboard, and it was snowing when he left.
Mr. Barber was presented to H. R. H. after he had iu-
spected the ship and the men at divis ons. be and
Prince George, together with the officers, were photographed in a group on the quarterdeck. The royal party
left at about five o'clock, amid three hearty cheers
from our whole ship's company; the Prince, with
his   well-known   graceful   politeness,   standing   bare-
&j headed through the snow, until the cheers and one
salute was finished. The same evening I got leave,
together with about 50 more, to pay a flying visit home.
As soon as I ot ashore I proceeded to the railway
station and took ticket for Victoria, where T arrived at
about one p. m. 1 spent the few hours left me in
taking leave of my friends. My mother, with a friend,
accompanied me the next evening to see me off. I
caught the 7:15 train, and arrived at Sheerness at ten
o'clock. It whs hard parting, but I consoled myself
with the thought that three years would soon pass. We
found it snowing hard on getting out of the train. We
had been waiting on the pier head for nearly an hour,
and as no boat came for us, left the pier and went
our several ways into the town to find a shelter for the
night. I turned out at six the next morning and went
aboard ; it had knocked off snowing, but I was bitterly
cold, so had a sharp run from the inn to the old
" Comwallis " jetty in the dock yard.
We left Sheerness for Plymouth on the following
Tuesday, where we arrived two days later, and moored
to a buoy just inside the breakwater. Moored to the
buoy next Us was the " Undaunted ; she had just commissioned under Lord Charles Beresford, for the Mediterranean, and they had every prospect under such a
skipper of spending a happy commission. We went up
harbour a few days after our arrival, to have something
done to our engines. I went ashore two or three times,,
as I had some friends residing at Stoke. Next week we
went outside the breakwater for an hour's steam trial,
and this proving satisfactory, we returned and moored
to our buoy. We took aboard some parcels and
boxes during the next few days, for ships on the
Pacific Station ; and on a clear, cold Wednesday morning, the 20th of March, 1890, at six o'clock, we slipped
our moorings and steamed out of Plymouth Sound, for
Las Palmas, our first port of call on the voyage to the
Pacific. We encountered some rather heavy weather in
the Bay of Biscay, which sent me meandering about the
l,jH the ship, a victim to that enemy to human happiness at
sea, mal de mer. It greatly moderated, however, after
we had passed Cape Finisterre, and we arrived at Las
Palmas on the 26th, and coaled ship. This island is one
of the Canaries, lying to the east of Teneriffe. The Peak
of Teneriffe is rarely seen during the day, but at sunset
you can see it standing out in bold relief against the
western sky. Las Palmas is a mountainous island, and
from a distance looks almost barren, but on a closer
inspection you will find that the hills are well clothed
with vegetation for half the distance up. It is a Spanish
possession, and every day we were surrounded with
boats, whose swartky Spanish owners exposed bananas,
oranges, cigars, tobaoco and canaries for sale ; the latter,
(as everyone kno,ws), being natives of these islands.
Leaving here on the 31st of March, we arrived at St
Vincent, an island in the Cape De Verde's, on the 4th of
April. There is not much to be said about this place,
except that it is very rocky and dreary looking, and is a
Portuguese possession. There is one very noticeable
feature, however ; looking at an island on your right, as
you go into St. Vincent, an exact likeness of Napoleon is
plainly discernible on the face of a rock. It is not the
work of man, but simply a natural accident. The
people bei'g for the most part Roman Catholics, had the
Portuguese flag half-mast all Good Friday, as a sign of
mourning for the death of Christ.
We left St. Vincent on the 7th of April, and on the
11th sighted St. Paul's Rock, a small rock many hundreds of miles from land. On the highest point there is,
or was, a mail box ; and any outward-bound ship passing
that way could drop a few letters there, which any
homeward-bound ship would take off, and post on her
arrival home. It is hard to imagine a place m re lonely
than this little rock, it is a mere speck in the world of
waters, and looks as if a good-sized wave wonl 1 swallow
it up. After steaming round it, we left it to its loneliness,
and that same night, on crossing the line, old King Neptune took it Into his royal head to hail Us, which, considering his tardiness of late years was greatly to be wondered at. The voice, deep and mysterious, made some
who heard it quake, (myself with them,) while others IB
hailed it with joy, as that of a beloved though briny paternal relative. Our captain of the forecastle, a stout old
salt, made a capital Neptune, while a remarkably plain
looking able seaman took the part of Amphitrite, Neptune's spouse. Well, as I before observed, he hailed us
that night, "Ship a'hoy, ship a'hoy!" answer (from Capt.
Lambton on the fore bridge,) "Aye, aye."
Ques. What ship is that ? Ans. Her Britannic
Majesty's ship " Warspite." Ques. Where are you from
and whither bound? Ans. We are from England, and
are bound for the Pacific. Nep.—You are in my dominions, and have on board some of my children who
have not yet been baptized. I will be on board tomorrow at nine a. m., to perform the ceremony. Ans.
Your Majesty's commands shall be obeyed. Nep.—
Good night, captain, good night. Ans. Good night,
your majesty. As soon as Neptune said g^od night, the
boatswain dropped a barrel of lighted tar from the bows
which was seen until it had gone miles astern. Just then
the band struck up "Rule Britannia," and the hoses
were turned on. Soon the forecastle was cleared, and
only a few, who had got right forward, remained. I
made one of these unfortunates. There was no escape
for us, as there was nothing behind which we could
hide, so we had the full play of the hoses upon us. T
had got behind another fellow and felt tolerably comfortable, but presently getting a stream down my back,
I thought I might as well get wet altogether, so jumping
up, I danced across the forecastle to the tune of "Rule
Britannia," the men holding them keeping both hoses
full upon me, thereby affording keen amusement to the
officers assembled on the fore bridge. It is needless to
say that I had to put on a complete change of clothing.
But, the best of the fun came off the next dav at 9 a. m.
sharp. Old Neptune, in all his regal state, and with a
numerous retinue, came on board. First, there came
twenty guardsmen with broom handles, shouldered f<»r
rifles ; then came four bears, followed by four barbers,
with the head barber who was dressed in a frock coat
and trousers, and high box hat, and carrying in his hand
a bottle of lotion, (warranted to grow bristles on a plate;)
after the barber came his clerk, who was followed again 10
by the Musicians, while Neptune and his wife, seated in
chairs, and drawn on two machine gun trollies, brought
up the rear. The procession marched round the upper
deck, after which the band, which consisted of two concertinas, two melodeons, and three old tiu dishes, played
a selection under the poop. Presently Neptune took
his seat by the side of a bath which had been rigged up
in the port gangway, amid a flourish of his trumpet—I
mean his Tindisheters, and the ceremony commenced.
It was a repetition of the old custom. A victim whs
hauled up before old Neptune, lathered, (a whitewash
brush being used for this purpose,) asked a question,
receiving the brush in his mouth on opening it to
answer ; the lather, which in this case, consisted of soap
suds and oatmeal, being scraped off with a serrated
wooden razor, the victim was capsized backward into
the bath, man-handled by the bears, presently emerging from the other end, breathless, and like a half
drowned rat, T, together with all the ship's company,
who bad not crossed the line, were baptized ; and those
who had been throu h, went away to find any who
might be in hiding. The hoses were on all the time, the
men finding keen amusement in playing them over each
other.   It was rare fun, and lasted all the forenoon.
After an exceptionally fine passage, we arrived at
Montevideo on the 25th of April. The water here is
very shallow, and we anchored in seven fathoms at nine
miles from shore. This town is the capital of Uruguay,
a Spanish republic on the south-east coast of America,
and is situated at the mouth of the .Rio de la Plata. The
following Monday we coaled, taking in six hundred tons.
After coaling, seventy-two hours leave was granted to
the ship's company ; one watch going at a time. I had
a little money that wanted spending, so determined to
avail myself of the opportunity and take a run ashore ;
so on May the 1st, when the provision boat came off, I,
together with about sixty or seventy more, went ashore
in her. On first landing, I was rather doubtful wl at
course to steer, but our party breaking up into batches 11
jof two or three, I joined another fellow, who, like myself,
seemed to be out of his reckoning, and we set sail for a
cruise round the town. Passing through the market
place, we took a road on the right, chancing
where it might lead us, but arriving at no
place more interesting than a piece of -waste
ground, we altered course and struck up the Calle de
Mayo. Passing some remarkably fine buildings, we
came upon a large square called the Plaza Constitu-
tionale. It was bounded on one side by the House of
; Representatives, and on the other by a beautiful cathedral called the Maestron, of which more anon. On the
two remaining sides were some st lendid hotels. Leaving
this place, we proceeded along the Calle de Mayo until
we emerged into an immense square called the Plaza
Independeneia. On three sides of this square stood
large business houses and banks, while on the other
stood the President's house ; passing through the square
we came to the Botanical Gardens.
By this time we began to feel hungry; accordingly we
found an eating house, after a long search, and called for
something substantial, which they did not forget to
charge for. Money in these South American Republics
is not of the same a alue as it is in England ; and provisions you could buy in England for half-a-crown, they
would charge you a dollar, (4s. 2d.) for hare, and although
our silver coinage is far superior to theirs, they will only
give twenty cents, (lOd.) in change for a shilling, and ten
cents for sixpence. We were passing up the " Calle
Cerrito" some little time later, when we heard the
tootle tootle of a tram driver's horn, followed presently
by the tram itself round a corner ; it was filled inside
and out with bluejackets from our ship, and from ships
in harbor belonging to this station. It had nearly got
up to us, when jumping a stone, which had by some
means lodged be ween the rails, it ran off the said rails,
nearly capsizing in doing so ; then didn't that driver
rave, heaping (in Spanish) maledictions on stones in
general, and on that stone in particular. But a little accident like the present one, was a mere nothing to a
British tar on the contrary it was a diversion, so telling
the driver to " shove a stopper on his jawing tackle," i. e.
m 12
cease swearing, they jumped off the car and musteringI
around her, lifted her bodily on to the rails again, to thej
infinite satisfaction of the driver, who no doubt entertained a higher opinion of the British bluejacket than he]
had hitherto done.   My chum, at the earnest request of a
couple- of his cronies, here left me, so I had perforce to
continue  my  explorations  alone.    Left  to myself  I
shaped a course to the Cathedral, arriving at which, I
went in at the grand entrance, and being unprepared for j
the sight within, was struck  almost speechless with
amazement at the extravagance displayed in the decoration of the place.   With feelings of something between
awe and admiration, 1 proceeded to examine the altars,
of which there were twelve.   The  decorations of the
main   altar  were  of   the most  beautiful description.
All  the   candlesticks   were   of
and    gildings    indescribable
feet high, and was surmounted
Elisha  and  Moses: representing  the
scene.   On the right of the main altar,
gold, the carvings
it stood over 50
by figures of Christ,
at the head of
the right wing, stood one that was gorgeous in the extreme. It stood about 30 feet hiorh, on the communion
table stood two pillars of tube gold, which supported a
marble slab, on which stood a figure of the Virgin
Mary, having the child Christ in her arms, each
wearing a beautiful crown. The table itself was
of gold, and was box-shaped, one side of which was
glass. Inside, lyinp- on its side, was the wax figure of
the martyred St. Firmanus. It was clothed in a dress
of blue silk, in the breast of which was set two
diamonds, two rubies, two emeralds and two sapphires;
its feet were encased in sandalj of cloth of gold,
and round its shoulders was thrown a crimson
velvet robe trimmed with ermine; in her- rigid
hand was a branch of palms, and on her head a wreath of
laurels: there was an ugly gash in her throat from
whioh blood was running, a^d which looked as though
it were done with a speir. The bndy was lying on a
couch of cloth of gold. On the left of the main altar was
another which was one large carving in itself repr> sent-
inc the crucifixion on Calvary. The next one on the
right was dedicated to Our Lord, a life-size figure of -ne
whom stood in a glass-case in the centre of the table.
All behind it for thirty feet up the wall was covered with
(designs in white and red roses, of carved wax.   Just
inside the main entrance on the right was a large recess,
in which stood another beautiful altar; it was about
(twenty feet in height and was literally covered with
silver, in carvings, candlesticks and plates; on the top
j stood a figure of the Virgin Mary; she was clothed in
I black velvet; the body of her dress was open, disclosing
a silver heart pierced by six silver daggers.   The heart
[was supposed to be burning with fire, the flames of
Iwhich were of gold.   It would take too long to describe
all the altars in detail, so I will content myself with the
I foregoing five.   The cathedral is about half the size of
J St. Paul's in London, and is built almost entirely of
J marble.   The middle aisle was covered by an immense,
I but costly carpet, there must have been some hundreds
of feet in it.   I contemplated the cost of all this magnificence, and the probable amount must have reached
some millions of dollars.    In all directions you would
see people kneeling in prayer before the images of their
[favorite saints, while here and there were others kneeling
before confessional boxes, confessing to the priests within.
I attended two of the services, but understood nothing
that was said.   Looking at the building from a religious point of view, it is a specimen of the pomp and
vanity of the Roman Church.    It was now time to
secure a lodging for the night.   Knowing a smattering
of French, I went to the " Hotel Cafe de Bordeaux."
J[ could not make them understand, so I asked for " une
plume," it was given me, and I wrote "Je desirer un lit,
a ton mvrehe, si vous plait."   Anglice :   I want a bed
cheap, if you please sir.   They gave me a room for the
night, for which they charged me a dollar; asking for
■ un lumiere," (a light,) I got the porter to show me to
[the    room,    which    I   found    was   tolerably    well
[furnished,   I had a wash, aad afterwards some dinner.
During my ramblings in the afternoon, I came across a
regiment of infantry.   At their head was a bugle band,
about 30 strong, who were followed by a brass band.
They were a very  mixed body of men, some being
negroes, some lame, and not a few minus the left eye.
-*am 14
It was very amusing to see the lame hopping along to
the music. In the evening I went to the Theatre of the
Sun, (Teatro Soiis). The play was " King Luigi XII,"
though who he was I don't know ; at all events, it was
a good piece, for, although I did not know a word of
Spanish, I understood a goad deal from their actions!
The " Teatro Solis " is a well-built edifice, very like our
" Haymarket" in exterior appearance ; the interior is
upholstered throughout, in red plush, and there |
are a great many artistic carvings. But what principally drew my attention was the beauty of the
majority of the women of fashion in the dre^-s
circle. After the play, I returned to the hotel
and turned in. The next morning I turned out and
went down to the pier; what was my dismay on arriving
there to find a furious gale blowing, the sea lashed
into fury, and no chance of getting off to the ship*
that day. I had no money left, so I went to the British
Consul and laid my case before him. I made inquiries
at a French shop for the Consulate, and found that it
was Calle Cerrito 52. The consul was away, so I saw the
vice-consul. I told him how I was situated, and he gave
me a letter addressed to a Madame Vila in the Calle
Washington. On arriving at the door I was surprised
at being addressed in a rich brogue. (I found that
Senor Vila had made his wife's acquaintance while on a ■
visit to England.) I gave her the letter and she made
me very welcome. After a hearty breakfast I went out
into the courtyard for a smoke ; I found an Englishman
who had been over all the South American Republics,
and he spun me a long yarn on the customs of the
various countries. I mentioned the word courtyard just
now. In these modern times the word may seem out of
place ; not at all. Each private house is built in a
square, with a courtyard between the fonr.sides. The
houses are rarely more than two stories high, which are
connected by a flight of stone steps, from which a balcony runs right along each side of the square ; the flags
of the courtyard are generally of marble, and a fountain,
or a large marble basin of flowers, invariably stands in
the middle. I spent the day in walking round the town
and returned at night, quite ready for bed.   I should wst
have spent a most comfortable night but for the fact
that the wind blew a chimney pot down through the
sky-light during the night and came with a smash on
the floor, frightening me not a little. The next morning
the gale was still blowing in all its fury. I went down
to the pier and found that it was playing sad havoc
among the shipping, and the huge waves dashing with
great force against the pier shook it perceptibly. These
gales are frequent along the south-eastern coast of
America, and are called the " Pamperos," from the fact
that they blow at certain seasons of the year directly
from the Prairies or Pampas.
The "Cleopatra," one of our own corvettes, had weighed
anchor and steamed out to sea, as had also a Brazilian
man-o'-war. A barque had driven ashore, broadside, on
to the jetty, her yard-arms on a level with and almost
passing through the windows of a large Hotel, which had
been lately built alongside the jetty. Another barque
had gone down with half her crew, while a poor little
schooner, battling bravely with the elements, was riding
at two anchors and with both masts gone by the board.
There is no life boat here, and the rocket and line is
an institution unknown on this coast, so you were
obliged to watch a vessel going to destruction, from the
inability to aid her. Seeing that I could do no good by
staying here, I took a stroll into the town. During my
rambles I came across another regiment of Urugayan
infantry, which I followed to their barracks, in the
hope of gaining admittance, but the sentry brought
his fixed bayonet invitingly down to the charge,
but not feeling inclined to test its sharpness, I declined with thanks and sauntered back to the town
and entered the Maestron, which I was never tired of
admiring. ■ The music, too, was very good, and I stayed
until late in the evening listening to it. I returned to
Madame Vila's in time for supper, after which I had
a smoke and turned in. I was getting rather cold and
I should have been glad of a fire, but such a commodity
is, except in English homes, almost unknown out here.
In its place is used a spirit stove. I turned out at six
in the morning and went for a long walk, enjoying the
bracing air.   Even at this early time the streets are
t   -
mam <A
'<■' H
quite busy, and the main streets are crowded with
market gardeners' carts. Now and again you will come
across a " gay cavalero " out for his morning's ride ; or
a drove of cattle driven by tall cowboys on small horses.
Many of these cowboys are fine well built fellows ; they
were mostly dressed in that well known costume, (which
so "fetched" the ladies at home, during the visit of
" Buffalo Bill " to London, two years ago,) the only difference being, that besides the side split trowsers, and
broad brimmed sombreros of Col. Cody's men, these
men wore the gaudy colored "serape" or shawl. Presently the brewer or his equivalent would pass with a
large wine vat on wheels, drawn by eight yoked oxen ;
and once I was quite startled by the sight of a milk
woman with slung pails, just as you would see them in
the London suburban streets. I repeated this walk the
next few mornings I was ashore. On Monday morning
the gale had greatly moderated, and I got aboard in the
beef boat. It was a rough passage, and being broadside
on to the seas, we were in momentary danger of capsizing. I was glad to get aboard, to send off to the
British Consul the money charged by Madame Vila for
my four days keep, which charge was very moderate. I
was ashore altogether five days and a night, and the only
drawback to my thorough enjoyment was the great ex-
pensiveness of everything. We left Montevideo on the
12th May. As we got south it began to get cold, and as
we neared the neighborhood of Cape Horn it began to
get rough. On the 17th it blew half a gale, and the sea
rose very rapidly. The look-outs on a man of war are
divided into two classes, viz: the mast-head by day,
which requires only one man at the topmast cross-trees ;
and the look-outs by night, when two men are required,
one each side of the forecastle. This ship having no
cross-trees the mastheads were kept on top of the .chart-
house, and having a flush forecastle the look-outs were
kept each side of the forebridge. During the day, any
sail boat, floating spars or mass of sea weed that is
sighted, or, during the night, any light th-1 is seen has
to be at once reported to the officer of the watch. The
duration of a lookout is one hour, the men being relieved on the strike of a bell.   That night I had a look- 17
out, and it was one I shall remember. It was bitterly
cold and the ship was rolling heavily to the great
; Atlantic swells ; every now and then she would dip h(
nose into a sea, and ship tons of it over the fore barbette*
Ifclien it would dash against the superstructure, and
: wash clean over the fore bridge, drenching we unfortunate lookout men through and through. Down below,
it was very uncomfortable, the lower deck was wet and
slippery. The mess utensils kept up a continual
clatter in the shelves ; and once, one of the mess's salt-
pots, with a view of ascertaining its jumping powers,
took a clean leap out of the shelf and ran or rather
slipped half across the deck; the pepper and mustard
tins, i ot to be outdone, followed the example of the salt-
pot, and presently there was enough ready-mixed mustard
on the deck to last all the messes a week, and enough
pepper flying about to blind all the rats in creation.
About three minutes after I came off watch, the ship
gave such an awful lurch that someone waking out of a
sleep shouted " there she goes!" whereupon all the men
sleeping on the tables and stools started up in all positions ; some were standing upright, their " caulking"
blankets clinging round them ; others leaning on their
elbows ; while others, who had slipped off their sleeping
berths, were kneeling all fours on the wet deck, all with
a scared expression on their countenances ; they were
waiting for the sequel to the lurch, which when it came
proved to be an almost imperceptible roll, showing that
that terrific lurch was merely the result of the passage
of an unusually large wave ; so they all laid down again
and thought no more about it, and I turned in and x
was soon snoring, or I presume I was, for suddenly
a suffocating sensation awoke me, when I found that
someone's hand was covered over my mouth and nostrils,
which hand, as soon as I made a movement, was removed, and the owner thereof disappeared.
On the 20th we entered the Straits of Magellan.
It was about seven o'clock in the morning, and the
sea, at the entrance to the straits, was very calm, so
sa 18
olam, that had the ship been still, you could have seen
every outline faithfully mirrored in the water below.
At twelve o'clock we anchored in Possession Bay. In
the afternoon the middies and some of the officers went
ashore on a shooting expedition, though what there was
to shoot I could not see, the place being bitterly cold a- d
desolate in the extreme. In addition to this there was
not a living thing visible, animal or vegetable' nevertheless, one of them shot a large vulture, which they
brought off to the ship. The next morning we weighed,
and proceeded to Sandy Point.
Our way lay between bleak, low lying desolate shores,
which, however, got higher as we neared the above
place. It was blowing hard, and the spray from the
short, choppy waves continually wetted the decks. In
our passage we passed several islands, but they were
very uninteresting. We dropped anchor at Sandy
Point, at about half past two. The scenery here is a
little better; the hills being clothed to near the top in
immense pine forests, and the tops themselves in snow.
Sandy Point is a Chilian settlement, of about 600 inhabitants. It is situated in the middle of the Straits, on the
sonthermost point of Patagonia, a country extending
from the Rio de la Plata in the north, to the St aits of
Magellan in the south. The country is inhabited by
the tallest race of people on earth, who are also one of
the most fierce and warlike. I noticed that from every
house the Chilian flag was flying, and I afterwards
heard it had something to do with the treaty between
Chili and Peru, signed ten years before, and which expired on that day. That night, at about twelve o'clock,
we were turned out to send our cutters ashore to a fire,
which upon the boats' arrival with the fire party,
proved to be a large bonfire, around which a number
of people were having a jollification. The next
few days we spent in creeping for the remains of
H. M. S. " Doterel," (the fate of which ship I have
recorded io the first page of this book,) without success,
however ; so we dropped the buoy we took in at Chatham
and sent it ashore, and left it in charge of the British
Consul. On the next Saturday we dressed ship for the
Queen's Birthday.   I believe it is customary throughout 19
the service to give the men a half day to themselves.
On that day, however, we did not get that indulgence,
so the usual toast was given only amongst the officers
aft that night. On Sunday morning, at seven o'clock,
we weighed and proceeded. At one o'clock we passed a
steamer which had run high and dry on to a rocky
point. Her history, as far as I know, was unknown to
any of our ship's company ; her name could not be distinguished, owing to the distance we were from her. We
anchored again that night in a small indentation called
San Nicholas Bay. The scenery here is a great improvement on Sandy Point. On either side of the Bay there
is a group of hills covered in some cases to the summit
in green forest, and in others the hills were snow-capped ;
between the two groups lay a beautiful valley, where
undoubtedly, had there been time, some good shooting
could have been had. The next morning at seven
o'clock we weighed anchor again and steamed out
of the bay. A little later we passed a German
steamer. 'The straits just here are very wide, but as
you leave San Nicholas Bay astern, they begin to
narrow. • By dinner time we were in the " narrows"
(properly so .called.) The scenery now began to get
magnificent; the hills rising one above the other,
covered with fine green forest. Every now and then,
through an opening between the hills, you would catch
sight of a glacier ; and the great light blue ice blocks,
glistening and sparkling in the burst of sunlight, which,
once during our passage broKe over one of these
glaciers, made an indescribably pretty picture. Presently we passed a boat load of natives, they were Pata-
gonians, and of a light copper color.
We were filled with astonishment to see that in spite
of the icy cold, they were for the most part quite nude,
one or two had a skin thrown loosely over their
shoulders; their hair which was quite black, was
hanging in thick matted pads, haif down their backs,
and over each side of their head, forming a suitable
frame for their repulsive faces.   They were standing up ^
in the boat, (which was a very rude, crazy affair,) holding up bear and seal skins, and making signs for us to
barter with them. We took no no notice of them, however, and kept on our course. An hour later
we passed another boat load, who seemed to
make their boat their home, for in it, on a square
stone slab, they had a fire, at which they were cooking
various articles of food; we passed several fires on the
northern shore, but could distinguish no natives. At
three o'clock the way seemed to be blocked by a high
bluff which extended right across the passage, and we
began to think our navigator was going tcf take us overland ; soon, however, we began to alter course, and on
rounding a point on the southern shore, a perfectly
straight passage was revealed, whose shores ran
parallel for a distance of about fifteen miles. At the end
of this passage the sea could plainly be seen. Along the
whole length of the passage seals were very numerous,
and we passed numbers of them besporting themselves
in the water. That night we again anchored in a very
narrow, but of necessity deep inlet, called Glacier Bay.
I think the word "bay" is very inappropriate, for it
would be better described by the word " creek;" it was
so narrow that you could almost jump ashore, running
as it did a good distance up between high hills, whose
sides were, as the name implies, veritable glaciers from
their summits to half the distance down. On our starboard hand was an islet, from the trees on which were
suspended numerous boards, on them was painted the
names of ships and the dates on which they had visited
the place. Among the names were "Amphion," "Icarus,"
and "Kingfisher;" and our painter was sent to the Island
in the evening, when he added our ship's name to "their
number. We were getting sick of salt provisions, so
"Gunnery Jack," i. e., the gunnery lieutenant, determined
to give us a change. He sank a charge of gun-cotton, by
the shock of the explosion of which all the fish in its
vicinity would be stunned, when they would float on the
surface of the water. Half the ship's company assembled
on the upper deck, along the rails, and were on the tiptoe
of expectancy, for the success of the venture meant an
agreeable change of diet for a couple of days. The charge 21
was dropped at about a hundred yards from the ship ; it
was connected with the battery on board by an insulated
copper wire ; the officer pressed the button, and bang
went the charge ; the shock fairly shook the ship. All
eyes were strained to catch the first glimpse of a
fish, but not one was forthcoming. Everyone was
disappointed, but some few, clinging to the hope of
seeing any that might have escaped the scrutiny
of the others, remained watching for a time,
but their vigil went unrewarded, and they went
their ways with sad hearts. We weighed anchor the
next morning, and proceeded on our passage of the
Straits. I forgot to mention that Glacier Bay is on the
south shore, and consequently in that almost unknown
island of Terra del Fuego, (land of fire). At a distance
of about eight miles from shore, the passage widens considerably, and the scenery becomes rocky and barren.
Here a river opens up the northern shore, and we got a
glimpse of a country, so wild, that it put me in mind of
Scott's lines :
I Crags, knolls and mounds,
Confusedly hurled ;
The fragments of an earlier world."
By four o'clock in the afternoon we were in the broad
Pacific. That night we had it rather rough, but nothing
to be compared with the time we had before entering
the Straits. For hundreds of miles we were followed
by flocks of Mother Carey's chickens, sea swallows,
petrels, Cape pigeons and albatrosses. To say anything
of the characteristics of these birds, would be useless ;
abler pens than mine have described them times
out of number, On the third of June, we arrived at
Valparaiso, where we expected to find the " Swiftsure,"
(the ship we were to relieve.) We were in a thick fog,
and it was not until the fog lifted, that we knew how
close we were to the land. At about two o'clock, we
went in and saluted the Chilian flag with 21 guns, which
they returned from the battery at the mouth of the
harbor. We found that the "Swiftsure" was waiting for
us at Coquimbo, a town about a day's run further
north. Accordingly, we left Valparaiso that night, arriving at Coquimbo the next day, at two o'clock.     The
M'i V-
" Swiftsure" was lying at anchor off the town, we saluted
her, and she returned it There was great excitement
aboard the " Swiftsure " upon our arrival, for all hands
had been betting upon the time we should round the
point, and men had stationed themselves aloft, as one of
the officers had offered a substantial money prize to the
man who first reported the ship in sight.
The next day we were employed aboard H. M. S.
"Liffey," drawing stores. The "Liffev" is an old wooden
frigate, which was sent out here to act as store-ship to the
station. The same night, at supper-time, the boatswain's
mate piped the following: "The 'Swiftsure's' ship's
company invite the ' Warspite's' ship's companv to a
supper to-morrow night; men accepting the invitation
to give their names to the master-at-arms." Yours truly
accepted, as did nearly all our ship's company. The
next evening, after the work for the day was finished,
we cleaned, after which we were fallen in and taken
over to the "Swiftsure" in our ship's boats. Nothing
could be warmer than the welcome we received, for there
were mutual recognitions between many of the men. and
you would see one man clap another on the shoulder,
with the exclamation, "what, ho! Bill, Tom, or Harry,
when did yer leave the old ," and the like.
Down below there was more substantial evidence of
goodwill, in the form of well-loaded tables; the mess-
deck was nicely decorated with bunting, and the tables
oovered with snow-white duck canvas, and tastefully
laid with a fair variety of edibles. I was hauled into a
mess by an old training-ship chum. Supper was piped
and all hands fell to, doing ample justice to their hosts'
There is no ceremony about these nautical feasts, no
conventional after-dinner speeches. Jokes were cracked,
witticisms passed, and the supper went off as well as
many of the mock turtle affairs do at the Mansion-house.
After supper, a sing-song, i. e., a vocal and instrumental
entertainment, was provided for our amusement.
We "clewed up"—i. e., finished—at midnight, after"
having spent a very pleasant evening. Nearly all our men
shipped a "tin hat"
were jolly, and some few
"half-seas over"-
were sir full chorus " Auld Lang Syne " and
"He's a jolly good fellow," which the "Swiftsure's" fellows returned with gusto; but, as we neared our own
ship, silence had to be kept.
The next day the "Swiftsure" sailed for England, the
bands of each ship playing appropriate tunes, until she
rounded the point and disappeared from view.
The remainder of the fleet had gone north on account
of some trouble connected with the seal fisheries in the
Behring Sea.
After a fortnight's stay here, we weighed anchor, and
sailed for the north. Our programme included two
ports of call: Callao, in Peru, and Acapulco, in Mexico.
We arrived at the former place on the 18th of June.
This country was taken from its original owners, (the
brave and warlike Incas,) by the Spaniards, in the sixteenth century. These people were a great and warlike
nation, and had arrived at a high state of civilization, as
the ruins of many grand palaces and fine buildings on
the slopes of the Andes will show.
On approaching from the south, no signs of a harbor
are seen, but on rounding what seems to be a point of
land, you have the town of Callao on your port bow, and
the point just rounded resolves itself into an island on
your starboard hand. The island runs as nearly as
possible north and south, facing the town, from which
runs a narrow neck of land nearly over to the island,
forming a natural breakwater ; together they form a
protection from the heavy seas which roll in from the
south and west.
The island is quite barren and sandy, so it is abandoned to the pelicans, which live in thousands upon its
shores ; it is said to have risen out of the sea in a single
night, and "thereby hangs a tale."
Far back, when the Spaniards first began to colonize
Peru, there lived in the primitive town of Callao a certain
Spanish grandee, Don Lorenzo by name, who with his 24
servant Carlos was accustomed to put out to sea in a
small boat, for the purpose of fishing, for he was a devoted follower of old Izaak. One day, while engaged in
his favorite pastime, an unusual fit of drowsiness came
over him, to which it seems he yielded unconditionally.
This drowsiness soon extended to the servant Carlos,
who, following his master's example, was soon in the arms
of Morpheus. They did not awake until next morning,
when, to their very great surprise and consternation, they
found that instead of floating quietly on the calm sea,
they were on dry land, and high land at that. They
rubbed their eyes and pinched themselves, but everything was the same ; then they examined the boat and
found everything as they had left before they fell into
that long sleep; they were dazed and sorely perplexed.
To what magic did they owe their strange position'?
they repeatedly asked of each other. Perhaps they had
been conveyed to this uninhabited and unknown land
by one of the gigantic Roc's of Sinbad fame ; or some
of those mysterious semi-human inhabitants of the sea.
Mermaids might, in a playful mood, have hauled them
to this place and handed them over to their fairy friends
on the land, the mischievous sprites. They gave up
both ideas, not as impossible but as improbable.
They ran here and there, shouting, and getting no
answer but the echo of their own voices. Presently, the
Don, calling to his servant, ascended to the highest point,
for the purpose of scanning the horizon. Arrived at the
top, imagine their delight at seeing over a couple of miles
of water their own town. A couple of boats were coining
off from the mainland, and they ran down to meet them ;
they proved to be the Don's friends, who had given
them up for lost.
It appeared the island had been thrown up during the
night by volcanic action ; the boat happened to be just
over the spot, and of course got oarried up with it.
Such is the tale; I cannot vouch for its truth, and
have only written as much as I can remember.
Its only what I've heard say;
I cannot say if it is true;
But nearly as it was told to me,
Why, so 1 tell it to you. 7«1
There were two warships in the harbour ; one, the
" Blanco Encalada," was a Chilian man-o'-war, and the
other an Italian, whose name I could not see. After a
stay of four days, during which we took in two hundred
tons of coal, we left for Acapulco, where we arrived on
the 1st July.
This place is almost land-locked; indeed, when you
get well into the harbour you cannot see,the outlet. It
is protected on all sides but one by high hills ; it is a
pretty port, and the town, with the old fort on the right
and the signal station on the left, with the green hills
for a background, would make a fetching picture. Here
and there along the shore are groups of graceful cocoa-
nut palms, and in some places are orange groves and
lime trees, the scent from which is refreshing. The only
thing which detracts from the beauty of the place is the
color of the water, which, instead of being of'the beautiful deep blue, which is always associated with tropical
waters, it ds of a muddy green.
We saluted the Mexican flag with twenty-one guns, to
which they responded with the same number of " popguns," for although we were within three or four hundred
yards we could hardly hear them, and they were about
three minutes getting off every round.
We dropped anchor at about a hundred and fifty yards
from the shore, and moored our stern to a small rock,
fitted with a ringbolt for that purpose by the " Swiftsure ;" but after coaling we had to weigh anchor and
drop it in mid-stream, on account of having grazed the
ship's keel on the bottom.
I did not land at this place, but some of my messmates
did,, and they came off full of a visit to the prison, in
which they had seen an English seaman who had been
confined there for two years under (according to his
version,) a false charge of manslaughter. It appeared
that the mate of his ship was a hard, slave-driving man,
who one day attacked this .seaman in a most savage
manner, whereupon the man struck him (the mate) a
heavy blow, killing him on the spot. The man denied
having killed the mate ; he has, I believe, sent a petition
to the admiral to send him home.
We left this place on the 4th for Esquimalt.
■•HmOm 26
Nothing particular occurred during this trip, except
the death and burial of a supernumerary steward we
were carrying for the " Daphne." He had been suffering
since we first left England from.consumption, and the
general opinion on board was that he would never live
to pay off. He died on the 10th, and we buied him the
same evening.
There is nothing so sad and depressing as a burial at
sea. All hands were assembled on the quarter-deck at
5 p. m. Presently we heard the "Dead March in Saul"
being played by the band, which was coming from forward, followed by the corpse, which was borne on the
shoulders of a party of blue-jackets ; when it arrived on
the quarter-deck all heads were bared, the burial service
was read tfy the chaplain, and his body was committed
to the deep ; to the vast, mysterious deep. The depth
at this particular spot is 2,000 fathoms (something over
two miles). Imagine his poor bodv lying at that awful
depth, on the vast unknown bed of the Pacific, the shot
at his feet keeping him at anchor in an upright position,
alone and conspicuous, an object of curiosity to some
strange, unknown fish, and of fear to others.
Some few days after, bis effects were sold (according
to the custom of the service) to the highest bidders,
proceeds being sent home to his widow. There is keen
competition among the men at a sale of dead men's effects,
as " soft-hearted " Jack knows that by bidding high he
is benefitting the widow or mother of the deceased ; an
old cloth suit fetched as much as two pounds.
We arrived at Esquimalt on the 17th, and found there
all the fleet except the " Acorn." who had gone to Honolulu, the capital of Hawaii. Including our own and the
above ship, there were seven in the fleet; their names
were the " Amphion," a fa*t cruiser; "Champion," a
corvette ; " Espiegle," a sloop ; " D phne," sloop ; and
"Nymphe," sloop. Tie first named ship was ordered
home before our arrival.
This place is a small village on Vancouver Island.
Vancouver Island is part < f British Columbia, find is
oval in form, and runs north and south, parallel with 27
that colony ; the chief town is Victoria, the "Queen City
of the West."
Victoria and Esquimalt are about four miles apart,
and during our stay they were put into connection by
the opening of an Electric Tramway. These tram cars
develop quite a high rate of speed ; they would be useless in large English towns, as they would interfere with
the traffic, and would doubtless be the cause of many
The Island is quite large, being about three hundred
miles long and seventy broad. It is in a very wild state,
and except where the railway cuts its path, and a rising
town is causing a clearing, it is one vast forest, and the
predominating representative of vegetable life being the
fir-tree. The fauna of the country is represented by the
brown, black, and cinnamon bear, the cougar and American lion, the wolf, deer, elk, reindeer and cariboo, the
mountain sheep, and many others. Of the feathered
tribe, there is the pheasant, grouse, prairie fowl, lark and
robin, eagle, fish-hawk and night-hawk.
It was quite a treat to be among an English-speaking
people again. The feminine portion of the community
are very like their English sisters in form and fashion,
the only dissimilarity in the latter is the flatness of that
part of their dress known as the "bustle," or "birdcage,"
thereby indicating an entire absence of the same.
As soon as we dropped anchor the mail was sent aboard,
together with some fresh bread from the Daphne. A
couple of weeks after this they paid money and gave
leave; forty-eight hours to each watch. My watch went
on the second leave, and I with it. I took myself off to
Victoria on landing; it is a nice walk, just enough to
take the stiffness out of your legs after a long spell
aboard ship.
On arrival at the town I took a room at the Grand
Pacific Hotel, and had a good feed, after which I sallied
forth to see what was to be seen.
Victoria is a city of about 20,000 inhabitants; it is
built for the most part of wood, and the whole of the
Chinese quarter is of that material ; there are, however,
a great many brick and stone buildings, especially in the
main streets.
m ni
"Lin Sam," grocer; "Li Chung," mer-
This town, in common with nearly all others on the
Pacific Coast, is infest 'd with these soft Celestials, (who|
cut out British working men, by laboring for half the
wages), and I have heard that nearly every steamer that
comes in brings a number of Chinese immigrants whol
(now that the Canadian Government find they are becoming a nuisance) are invariably refused a landing.
Some of them assume a semi-European costume, and
nearly all wear theL* pigtails coiled up on the top of their
heads, and under their caps.    They have some large!
shops in their own quarter; some are grocers, others are
tailors, and you cannot walk half a dozen steps without
passing a shop in which Chinamen are busy starching
and ironing.   What pretty names you see over their |
shop, too!   Here are a few specimens:   "Sam Kee,"
chant tailor.
I went for a run in the Park, where I saw the Canadian]
Militia on parade, and where some bears, wolves, and]
deer are kept, in captivity; the bears in a a deep pit,-
with holes at intervals aiound the bottom, and other
animals in cages.
Next, I went to the Museum, where is kept stuffed
specimens of every species of animal to be found on the)
In the restaurants you can get a good meal for 25c. or
50c. with everything provided, and no waiter to tip, as]
in most cheap houses the daughter acts as waitress, sol
there is no need ; unless, indeed, you tipped her with a
kiss.   But what am I thinking about ?   The maidens in
this part of the "World are far too modest io allow of such |
wiokedness; and you would most probably be rewarded]
with a pill from her big brother's " barking irons." for
your audacity.   I went to the theatre (of which there]
are only two in the town) in the evening, afler which £
turned in.
The next evening, leave being up, I went down to the
boat, where T. found the remainder of the watc , most of
whom were embarked.   A little licence must be allowed I 29
the sailor, who, after having been kept aboard for a long
j spell, naturally runs a little wild upon landing on leave;
most of the men on this occasion were ' half-seas over ;'
the tar is then, what at home in "masherdom" is termed
' beastly jolly ;' some were declaring in the extreme fulness of their vocal powers, that they " wouldn't go home
till morning ;" 01 hers that " they were all right, (which
I very much doubted) they'd got the L. S. D.;"' and
others that " he was a jolly good fellow; " and in almost
the same breath won Id declare that they would try pugilistic conclusions with any man in the boat. Just as we
shoved off, one man was seized with a sudden desire for
one more glass, so he took a clean dive overboard, with the
intention, I presume of getting it. His chum, who was
almost as drunk as he was, jumped over after him. At
this all the men in the boat started up, and if the two
men had not, at that moment, been hauled upon the
landing stage, puffing and blowing like grampuses, we
should have had half of them floundering in the water.
When we got alongside the ship, the men were as quiet
as mice, for they knew that any noise there would be
severely punished.
The next month passed very quietly, nothing happening to disturb the ordinary routine of the ship, except an
entertainment given by our minstrel troupe, which
proved a great success.
Having our quarterly firing to do, we left Esquimalt
for Plumper Sound, in the Straits of Juan de Fuca, for
that purpose.
We weighed anchor on the 1st October, and arrived in
Plumper Sound at - - p. m. on the same day, and after
firing at a rock, four rounds from every gun in the ship,
we dropped anchor close in shore.
The next morning, the second cutter was sent with
her crew, of which I was one, to whitewash the face of
the cliff we intended to utilize as a target. It was a
difficult job, as we had to climb about 40 feet to get at
it properly. I was about the last to climb, and took a
path slightly to the left of where the others had climbed.
I had got half way up, when I found that I could get
no further ; I was fairly fixed, for I could not get down
as I had got up.   I was standing on a small ledge, upon 30
my big toe, and presently, on making an attempt to get
higher, I had to shift from the above toe of my left foot
to the one of my right; I got about a foot higher, but as
I clung to the soft rock it broke away from under me
and I had to regain my former position, in which I had
to remain about a quarter of an hour, my toe giving me
fits the while.
Presently a plan occurred to me by which I might ex-
ticate myself from this unpleasant predicament.
Just above my shoulders, lying loosely on a somewhat
slanting rock, was a mixture of sand, gravel, and dead
leaves ; turning cautiously on my big toe I sera: ed some
of this into a heap, and being damp I managed by dint
of pressure to make a tolerable firm ledge of it, and soon,
after a little e.ire, got my knee upon it. I was afraid it
would crumble away beneath my weight, and shudder*, d
to think of the onsequence; it held, however, aud I
made another ledge for my other knee. I repeated this
two or three times, and soon had the satisfaction of
grasping the roots of an overhanging tree, by which I
was enabled to reach the top. It was a ticklish scrape,
and I was thankful to be well out of it.
We finished the job and returned to the ship, which
came out at about 9 o'clock, and at half-past opened fire.
We had three buoys laid at about a thousand yards distance apart, aud as we steamed between the first and last
buoys the captains of guns had to get off as many rounds
as they could. We could see the projectiles from the
heavy gir s strike the target, scattering the rook in all
directions; those that did not strike fairly would slide
up the face of the rock, rush inland, knocking over trees
in its flight, and when no longer in sight we could still
trace its passage by the sounds of crashing timber.
When the firing was finished the cutter was sent with
an officer to inspect the target, or rather the place where
it bad been, for not a vestige of it remained ; huge boulders some twenty tons in weight were torn away and
scattered around as though they were bricks; the sight
was grand, and impressed one with a sense of the might
of modern naval artillery.
We anchored in the same spot that night, and the
next morning weighed, and after a tortuous passage 31
through narrow straits, many twistings and turnings,
and passing much splendid scenery on the way, we arrived at Comox in the afternoon.
We left this place on the following Monday morning,
and dropped it again in the evening, in a harbour called
I said we "dropped" it, and indeed we did in the full
sense of the word, for as the ship went astern after the
anchor had left the bilboard the cable snapped, and then
was'nt there a scramble to drop the other anchor !
As soon as the ship was anchored the cutter was called
away, the diving apparatus got in, and a quarter of an
hour later the divers were down.
The next morning, after some trouble, we recovered the
lost anchor and left; we anchored again that night, and
about 10 a. m. the following day arrived in Esquimalt.
It was now getting very cold, and we were wishing
ourselves- away, when one day a notice appeared outside
the master-at-^rms' cabin, informing us that we should
leave Esquimalt on the 8th November for San Francisco,
and the South American Republics, returning to Esquimalt on or about the 20th May. Accordingly, on t he
next Saturday we weighed anchor, and by sunset* were
off Cape Flattery.
A fresh breeze was blowing from the N. W., and the
sea was rather loppy. We were busily employed painting and improving the appearance of the ship, for we
intended to impress Brother Jonathan with a sense of
our efficiency as a British Man-o'-War ; and when, on
the morning of the 12th we steamed up the Sacramento
River, we flattered ourselves we had made an impression.
As we got abreast of Island we hoisted the
"Stars and Bars," played "Hail Columbia" on the
band, and salutea the above colors with twenty guns,
which compliment they returned with the same number
of guns from the forts. We anchored off Washington
street wharf and get out boats.
The following is an extract from the next morning's
"San Francisco Examiner," (whose steam cutter had 32
been steaming round and round us all the way in, and!
which by the way was a very smart, swift, and well-
appointed boat):—
" England's Big Cruiser Herb.
Arrival of H. B. M. Flagship the ' Warspite,'
Bristling with Weapons of Battle.
Admiral Hotham, K. C. B., visits the Port in the Panoply]
of War.—Description of the largest cruiser ever seen
in this Port.—Pictures of life between decks.—
Some of the Heaviest Guns.
"At 10:40yesterday morning Her Britannic Majesty's
cruiser, "Warspite," steamed into this harbor with the
tide.   She was a splendid sight in the clear blue light of ^
the forenoon, the effect at some distance being that of a
huge yellow pyramid gliding over the waves.
"She dropped anchor in the stream a considerable distance off the seawall. At once she was surrounded by
small boats of every description, the occupants of which,
^xcept where it was on official business, were kept rigidly
off. The Examiner's launch came alongside presently,
and its reporter and artists were received very civilly by
the officer of the deck, trom whom a short description
of the huge vessel was obtained. One of the officers
showed the reporter over the huge vessel, starting from
the bridge and going to the very depths.
"On the upper deck all was hurry and bustle ; a huge
crane was swinging the steam launch (picquet boat) from
its davits (crutches); elegantly dressed officers in yold
lace and cocked hats, carrying the traditional glass in
the crook of the elbow, paraded the deck giving orders ;
a bugler was summoning the men to clean the vast suns,
and rosy-cheeked little middies strutted by in all the
health and manliness of the celebrated Mr. Easy.
" The vessel is the flagship of the Pacific squadron, and
carries a complement of 600 men ar d officers, and four
22-guns, and ten 6-ton breech-loading guns, and twenty-
three quick firing and machine guns.
(then followed a list of our officers.) 33
"In the course of the tour about the vessel, the reporter
called upon Admiral Hotham, whose cabin is a large and
roomy apartment, with dining room attached, occupying
the poop of the vessel. There is an excellent library ;
and what with velvet rugs and delicate hangings, rare
etchings and water colors, the place might be taken for
some London drawing-room. Above the mantel-piece
hangs a fine photograph, presented to A dmiral Hotnam
by the Prince of Wales. Opposite to it is a costly line
engraving of Admiral Lord Nelson. Some of the water-
color marines are from the hands of great English artists,
and a noble etching of the famous " Victory " hangs in
the dining room.
" Admiral Hotham is (here follows what is told on the
first page of this book). His family have ail been in the
army or navy, and several portraits of illustrious ancestry
adorn the walls. He explained to the reporter that the
"Warspite" left England on the 20th March, passing
through the Straits of Magellan, arrived at Esquimalt on
the 8th inst. She left Victoria for this port, and will
leave on Sunday for Magdalena Bay, Central America,
Panama, and Coquimbo.
" The vessel will remain on the Pacific Station until
1893, and will undoubtedly revisit this port a number of
times before that date
" During the afternoon the commanders of U. S. S's.
"Rush" and "Patterson," visited the Admiral, and their
calls were returned shortly afterwards. H. B. M.
Consul, Donohue, called later on, and Harbour Commissioners Alexander, English, and Paulsall called at four
"Admiral Hotham will pay his respects to Mayor Pond
this morning, and later on to General Gibbon and Governor Waterman. To-morrow he will steam up to Mare
Island, in a launch, for a chat with Commodore Benham,
whom he knew in China several years ago. The Admiral
also desires to visit the Union Iron Works during bis
brief stay.
" There are a number of aristocrats among the officers.
The Hon. Hedworth Lambton, the captain, is a brother
of the Earl of Durham ; one of the lieutenants is Sir
Robert Arbuthnot; among tb^ midshipmen is Arthur A. u
De Montmorency, brother of the present Lord Mount-
morris, and son of the late peer, who was murdered
during the Irish land troubles.
"Excursions, on Friday and Satuday, will be given to
the British warship " Warspite," unner the auspices of
the British Benevolent Society.
"The tugs "Sea King," "Sea Queen," "Monarch," and
the " Ethel and Marion," will make trips every fifteen
minutes, between the hours of 1 and 4 p. m., from V\ ash-
ington street wharf. Tickets for the round trip will be
50 cents."
I had long wished to see San Francisco, for I had heard
so much about it from various sources, but particularly
from school books.
I had always been under the impression that its harbor
was one of the most beautiful in the world, and that the
city was magnificent, being called the " Golden Oity of
the West." The latter is very true; but the former,
how different from the ideal was the real. Instead of
the forest-covered hills and boasted beauty, nothing
niore was to be seen than uniform, dull, sandy-colored
hills on the one hand, and a large and smoky city on the
other hand.
On the right are lines of shipping and docks ; and on
the left the small township of Oaklands, from which
place runs an immensely long pier, which terminates in
Oaklands railway station, and between which and the
San Francisco shore ply huge sternwheel steamboats,,
which transport bodily the railway trains from the
former place to the latter, and vice versa.
There are two or three islands in the harbour, on one
of which, Goat's Island, is built the fort that saluted us;
another, near which we had anchored, was called Mare's
Island, and was particularly distinguishable from the
fact that from some cause or other it is perfectly black.
On Friday we opened ship for inspection by visitors;
and visited we were with a vengeance, for on that day
no less than three thousand persons came over the gangway ; but on Saturday it was worse, for it was estimated
that over seven thousand persons visited the ship. 35
One would have taken us for another of Barnum's
wonders, to have seen the people pressing and struggling
over the gangway.
An immense landing stage was lashed alongside, from
which to our entry port was rigged a gang-plank, at the
foot of which stood collectors taking the excursion
tickets, as each person passed them to embark for the
return journey. As no work could possibly be done, we
•' piped down " aboard, that is to say, the ship's company
were allowed two days' release from work. It was a
measure the commander was forced to take, for the ship
was so crowded that there was hardly room to move
Nearly all the men employed themselves showing visitors around the ship, and many were the invitations
received by them to visit admiring " yanks " at their
homes.   Yes. we certainly m de an impression.
I And at what distance may that pea-shooter be calker-
bited to kick up a dust ? "
This to- me from a rough looking character at my
elbow, in reference to a 22-ton gun.
"Well, roughly speaking, a matter of about seven
" Jee-osophat!   You don't say so ! "
"Say, how much curry powder does she take for a
charge ? "
" Oh, about 160 pounds."
" Hell and scissors ! I guess it
our hen roost."
" Undoubtedly."
" Give me a six-shooter of the same power, and I kinder
think I'd be a match for all the bully cowboys in Texas."
He continued in the same strain for some time.
At a little after five the last steamer, laden to its
utmost capacity, left the ship, the people cheering
On the morning of the 16th (Sunday) weighed anchor
and dropped down the river with the tide. The weather
had been rather hazy, and the fog-horns at the mouth of
the river were blowing at intervals ; when we got outside,
however, a nice breeze was blowing from the N. W., and
soon we were gliding along at some seven or eight knots,
raise a dust in
i U^
L    i
under all plain sail I was going to say, but having to
depend upon steam alone as a means of propulsion, it
would only be correct to say " all plain funnels."
On the 20th (Thursday) we arrived in Magdalena Bay.
The first glimpse we had of this place said nothing in
its favor. It was a large piece of water, bounded on two
sides by high, and on the third by very low land; the
whole being desolate and barren in the extreme.
As soon as we got in, before anchoring, we exercised
torpedoes while under weigh; the cutter and whaler was
lowered to pick them up when they became stationary.
We finished by two o'clock and proceeded to an anchorage.
There are only about eighteen houses here, in which
dwell about 150 people. It would puzzle one greatly to
know how they lived, until he saw every morning certain
little sailing boats creeping along the shore, and which
he would find were laden with cattle and provisions.
The following week was devoted to an inspection by
the Admiral, of the ship and the ship's company, which
passed off very satisfactorily.
On the following Saturday the " Espiegle," (whom we
had left in Esquimalt) arrived, bringing us a mail.
Some little time before we left the above place, the
" Amphion " had been ordered to change from our station to that of the Mediterranean, aocordingly she left
on the for that place.
The "Melpomene," the ship told off to relieve her,
arrived here on the day following that on which the
"Espiegle" came in. The former is a second-class cruiser,
of about 2,400 tons ; she is armed with six six-inch and
a number of quick-firing guns, and will steam about
twenty-one knots, under forced draught.
On the we weighed anchor and steamed round the
bay for target praotice. The outter was again lowered,
and our duty was to mark the target after every running
fire. The sun was rather hot, so we spread the awning;
it was tiring work pulling to and fro, and the wind was
beginning to blow fresh, when we esoried the welcome
recall to dinner. We were at it again in the afternoon,
only this time we were under sail; and as it was rough,
two or three of us felt rather blue ; it could not last
long, however, and soon up it came ; no sooner had wo PPM
finished vomiting than two immense sharks came up
astern, and continued following us for the remainder of
the day.
That night we dropped the stream-anchor and rigged
the derrick for stowing it again ; the next day we weighed
the stream anchor and steamed out into the bay, for the
same practice as on the previous day.
We were unrigging the derrick when an exclamation
from a man at its head caused us to look in the direction
he was pointing, where we saw a large tiger-shark; we
watched him for some time, when he dipped, and we saw
him no more until after dinner ; he came alongside again,
but not alone, for three others were with him.
We threw pieces of biscuit to them, and noticed that
instead of turning on their backs to seize food, they
raised their heads above water and brought their mouths
down on top of it.
Presently, some of the officers came up on the fore-
bridge With pistols and rifles, and soon they were in full
swing popping away at them, without hitting one
however. We anchored again that night, and the
next morning w ighed ; and the same evening, after we
had finished running torpedoes, we put to sea again for
Mazatlan, where we arrived three days later.
This place is in Mexico ; it has no harbour to speak of,
for it will only allow vessels drawing eight or nine feet
to anchor anywhere near the town ; so we had to bring
up at the entrance, right in the swell, which rolls in here
very heavily. Two gigantic rocks stand like sentinels
at the mouth of the harbour; on the left hand one,
perched at a great height, is a small white lighthouse.
From here, far away over the town, you have a fine
view of the Cordilleras, looking blue and hazy in the?
As soon as we were anchored my boat was lowered,
and we took the officer of the guard ashore, when we
had an opportunity of viewing the town. It is situated
cosily at the foot of a hill; here and there clumps of
palm trees, standing between pretty white cottages with
red tiled roofs, add to the beauty of the place ; right out
I  :ffl
sj? 0
% \
*- *>
of the centre of the town rises the dome of a Cathedral,
which was gaily decorated with flags.   We stayed here •
four days during which time we (the cutter's crew) werel
exercised in laying mines and blowing them up.
We left on the 12th December and arrived at Acapulco
on the 15th.
There was only one ship in the harbour, a Mexican
man-o'-war, the " Democrata ;" she was a small barque-
rigged packet, and would have been a pretty boat if she
hadn't been so dirty.
We got six hundred tons of coal in here in considerably
less than nine hours, making the rate of passage inboard
about 70 tons an hour.
On Friday leave was given, and men went ashore to
purchase gear for Christmas ; and it was a sight to see
them coming aboard, every man with live turkeys, geese
or fowls over his shoulders ; altogether we had over a
hundred turkeys cooped up under the fore-bridge. As
usual there was a superabundance of fruit, for ships
calling here are always overrun with vendors of the
above. Among these people there is one character well
known to every one who has visited thi-> port, one Mis.
or " Mammy Johns- >n," as she is generally called. She
is an enormously stout negress, slightly pockmarked,
and is more largely patronized by officers and men than
any of the others.
We left on the 19th. When it became known that we
were to spend our Christmas at sea, a great many men
were disappointed, for they had made pretty sure of
spending it in harbour, where there would be more life.
However, we mnde the best of it when the day arrived.
The afternoon on 'Xmas eve was given to prepare f »r
the next day's dinner; and what a sight it was to see
the tars at work, making jam tarts, mince pies, cakes,
plum puddings, etc. To have seen us bustling about,
one would have thought we made our living by pastry-
On 'Xmas morning we were in Lat. 11° 27" 0" N., and
Long. 88° 58" 0" W., and rather a heavy swell.   The hands turned out in the morning, scrubbed decks, had
breakfast and cleared up decks, after which we cleaned
ourselves. In the forenoon we were inspected at divisions, and afterwards attended divine service. We got
down below after church and laid the tables ; very great
taste is shown by bluejackets in the laying of 'Xmas
tables ; all the edibles are placed on them, and are garnished with photographs and such decorations as it is
possible to procure.
At seven bells, the admiral, captain and officers, at the
invitation of the men, went round the mess-deck to inspect the decorations. A procession was formed : first
came our minstrel party in all their nigger finery, cracking jokes and making merry ; these were followed by
our brass band, playing with much gusto " The Roast
Beef of Old England ;" then came the admiral and captain, who were followed by the commander, officers and
At the head of each table stood the youngest member
of the mess (wearing petty officer's jumpers) and holding
in their hands plates of cake and duff. As the officers
passed they were invi+ed to taste, which they always did
for the sake of goodwill, they in return exchanging the
compliments of the season.
After dinner, most of the men sat in their messes
spinning yarns over the fruit and grog, for it was too hot
to skylark.
After quarters in the evening, however, the men got
lively, and g\ mnastics and boxing were indulged in on
the forecastle, and at six o'clock the mess-deck was
cleared, the tables and stools put up overhead, and all
made ready for dancing. The string band came up, and
soon we were footing it merrily, in hornpipes, square
dances and waltzes. When we got tired, of dancing, the
minstrel party gave an entertainment, after which we
adjourned for supper.
On this day it is customary throughout the service
for the petty officers to do the necessary odd jobs, the
boys taking charge of them, and auy P O. who protests
is forcibly carried up by the topmates. Altogether we
spent as happy a day as was possible under the circumstances, the only drawback in " Jack's" estimation being P   u
► <
the lack of grog, for his spirit ration is only half a pint
of 'three-water* rum per man per diem.
On the following Sunday, the 28th, we arrived at
Bahia Honda, an almost unknown place, in Costa Rica,
Central America. It is a place isolated from civilization
and given up to birds and beasts. Just as you come in,
on the right of the bay,, there are half a dozen huts situated prettily at the foot of a gradually sloping hill, and
surrounded by cocoanut and banana palms. Here live
about thirteen people, who live by hunting. Some of
them came aboard, and, from what I saw of them, I came
to the conclusion that their communication with the
outer world was very limited indeed, for their clothes
were in a very dilapidated condition, their shirts being
full of holes and slits, as were also their trowsers
Having run short of water, we got out our boom-boats
and sent them ashore for some, which ran down the hills
in streams. As each boat brought its load a party of men
were told off in spells to pump her out, the water being
stored in our double bottom for use in the boilers.
A notice was hung outside the master-at-arms' cabin,
cautioning all men landing on the beach against venomous snakes and reptiles.
The country is thickly wooded; indeed, it is nothing
but vegetation whichever way you look—not a spot of
bare land is discernible. The woods are impenetrable
on account of the thick undergrowth. When the wind
blows off shore it brings a fragrant smell with it, in
which can be distinguished the scent of pineapples and
orange groves.
The place is alive with birds of all kinds, and prominent among them is the parrot. Out in the bay stands
a small island, and every evening flocks of parrots fly
to this island from the mainland to roost. Be on deck
early next morning, before sunrise, and you will see the
parrots returning to the mainland, chattering and
screaming as they fly.
The bay is infested with sharks, and two or three
shots were fired at them as they swam round the shutes,
but with no success ; so the commander ordered a shark
hook to be baited with a four pound piece of pork. It
was done and a grass line bent on to the hook, chains 41
rove through a block at the derrick head, and brought
inboard.   Nothing, however, was caught that day.
The next day, Thursday, was a "make and mend
clothes " day, when the men have the afternoon to themselves. I was going up one of the ladders, when all at
once I heard a scramble, and the next moment the boatswain's mate piped " hands up, shark!" I rushed on
deck, into the gangway, and there sure enough dangled
"Mr. John Shark." We hauled him up clear of the
water, and took a round turn round a stanchion, and I
hung on to it. I felt a certain satisfaction in hanging on to
that shark, when I remembered the many atrocities of
his species. A man scrambled up the deirick (a novel
fishing rod) and made a bowline round the line with
another rope, and slipped it over his dorsal and pectoral
fins, but in closing his enormous mouth he bit this
nearly through, so the same man slipped another bowline over him.
A middling jerk would have been sufficient to drop
the man from the derrick head fairly into the shark's
When they had thus secured him a rifle was bronght,
and he was shot in the head and tail to quiet him, after
which he was hauled alongside the gangway, where one
of the men disemboweled him ; as soon as that was done
we hauled him inbc ard.
He measured over twelve feet in length and had eight
rows of teeth, four in the upper jaw and four in the
lower. In his stomach was found the head, wings and
feathers of some large bird.
We made short work of him, and set to work cutting
him up and taking out his jaws and backbone ; the skin
on the back was over an inch thick.
When the man was ripping him open alongside, and
his inside was thrown overboard, several other sharks
came up and devoured it; the captain shot one of these
in the belly, whereupon his comrades set upon him and
devoured him. It was fine sport, and we baited the hook
again, but caught no more.
It was here I first tasted parrot pie, and I must confess they are beautiful eating.
On New Year's Day our minstrel party gave an enter- A
tainment.   I stayed up and saw the old year out and the
new one in, when sixteen bells were struck, eight for the!
old year and eiyht for the new.
We left for Costa Quinta, an uninhabited island, on
Saturday, the 5th, where we arrived three hours later.
Leave was given in the afternoon, so I took advantage!
of it and went ashore for a run. We landed on a rocky]
shore, on crossing which we found ourselves on a broadl
stretch of chocolate colored sand.
We landed with the intention of gathering some fruit,]
but though we walked some miles along the shore thereI
was no sign of a fruit tree. This island is covered with!
thick forest. We had to content ourselves with viewing!
the forest from the beach, and it was worth viewing too,-
for the trees, rising in some cases to a great height, were
covered in a few cases with large blossoms. I cannot
place them, not being a botanist.
The forest was impenetrable except in one place ; it
was after we had gone some distance along the beach, j
and had crossed several fresh-water rivers; that we came
to one of larger dimensions than the preceding ones ;
turning to the left we proceeded some distance along its
banks, when we came to some thick twisted undergrowth;
we managed to force our way through this, and found
ourselves in an arm of the forest; perfect silence reigned
here, a peaceful silence, which was suddenly and rudely
broken into by a loud ha ! ha ! ha ! We turned to see
the cause when we heard it again in an entirely different
quarter. Looking in that direction we saw, at the top
of a tall tree, a curious bird, which from its enoimous
bill (out of all proportion to-its body) I took to be a
laughing jackass. Bluejackets on shore are much the
same as boys, full of mischief, and our party was not
exempt from this trait.
We a med ourselves with stones and clods of earth,
and were soon pelting at it right and left. As every
well aimed missile m ared him the bird would rise, and
waiting until it passed under it, would settle again ; but
the fire getting too hot he flew away, laughing as he
Our curiosity being aroused by some large lumps on
the trunks of some of the trees, one of our number stiuck
fv^.Mii 43
one with a ftick, knocking away some of what appeared
to be a skin; in a moment his stick was covered with
large brown ants ; a few got on his hand biting him
badly; the inside had the appearance and color of a
Pushing on, we came to an open space, crossing which
we entered a jungle, which was an exact counterpart of
pictures I have seen of the Indian jungle.
Here we began to get cautious, and our thoughts were
constantly on snakes; it was laughable to see the gingerly steps we took, raising our feet like well trained
horses, presently we came to a bend in the river; on first
seeing it, we observed a disturbance on the surface of
the water. Pausing, we watched anxiously, and presently
the head and fore part of the body of a small alligator
raised itself out of the water; we had all heard of the
voracity of this reptile, ard were hesitating whether to
run or stay, when he settled the question, by disappearing. I thought we had gone far enough, and said as
much to my chums, whereupon we decided to return before it got dark, for we all agreed to spend a night in that
place, would be the reverse of pleasant.
We returned.a different way to that which we came,
and found it more difficult, for the under wood was more
thick and twisted. Sometimes one of us would stumble
over the roots of a tree, and as he Was falling, would be
caught and held up by the bight of some creeping plant
that was hanging in a festoon from one tree to another.
These vines are a very noticeable feature in the forest,
for the trees are matted together by the interlacing of
When we got out of the forest, we went down to the
mouth of a stream, and enjoyed a good swim; a curious
fact about these streams is, that the water in some places
is very hot, and in others is icy cold, and in some parts
you will get a boiling hot upper current and a very cold
under one.
We returned to the ship's boats, and were soon aboard.
One middy had shot a monkey, and the skipper shot a
large guano lizard, which they brought aboard.
We left on the 3rd for Panama, where we arrived 01
the 6th. M
Our anchor was dropped in seven fathoms of water, j
and we were lying about ten miles from Panama, and
five from We had a large mail which brought
me the news of my father's death. He was in a precarious
state of health when we left England, so that I was not
surprised, although, naturally I was very grieved, which
grief was greatly augmented by the thoughts of the
thousands of miles which lay between myself and his
We were to receive supernumeraries here, who were to
come over the Isthmus from Colon, and we expected
them the following Monday.
On the Sunday afternoon I was sitting on a harness
cask, talking to a private in the Royal Marine Artillery,
he was speaking of the times he used to have at home;
poor fellow ! he little knew that before another day had
passed, he would be in the spirit only. The next day, in
the afternoon, he laid down, remarking, •" I will have
forty winks before supper."
At eight bells a chum gave him a shake telling him
the time ; " come, Sam, its eight bells," but there was
no answer, again he shook him, still no answer, the man
began to feel alarmed, and felt his pulse, there was no
beat, not the slightest fluttering, the poor fellow was
dr ad. There was something awfully sad in this death,
men were working all round him, yet not one suspecled,
or, noticed anything wrong about him. It was a verification of that scriptural passage " In the midst of Life we
are in Death."
They carried him forward to the sick bay; the doctor
was sent for, who after examination pronounced life extinct. A post-mortem examination was held on him, but
what conclusion the doctors arrived at I cannot tell.
The carpenter received orders to make a coffin with all
dispatch, for he was to be buried next day. This may
be put down as unseemly haste by those unacquainted
with the Tropics, but it is simply a sanitary precaution,
for if a corpse was kept forty-eight hours, decomposition
sets in; the next morning before sunrise the gun carriage
and limber was sent ashore so as to be ready for the
funeral. Men, both bluejackets and marines, were asked to
attend the funeral, I made one of those who volunteered
to pay him this last mark of respect.   The coffin was
made before dinner, it was a substantially built one, and
was covered with No. 1 cloth, and lined with flannel, the
last named items are allowed by the service to officers
and men alike.   After dinner the funeral party was piped
to clean in white trousers, white frocks, and straw hats,
we had also to tie a black silk handkerchief round our
left arms, which is a sign of mourning throughout the
service.   The marines were dressed in a white uniform,
and white helmets, they also carried their arms.   At half
past one we were fallen in in the gangway and we bluejackets told off in two crews for the field gun.   It was
very rough and the boats were tossing furiously on the
waves, so that we had great difficulty in embarking.   The
officers went down into the steam pinnace, the marines,
band, and one gun's crew went into the launch, which
made fast astern of the pinnace.   The remaining crew, of
which I was one, went into the first cutter and we made
fast astern of the launch.   Then the second cutter went
along'side, all hands aboard were piped to fall in in the
starboard gangway, the admiral, and captain, coming up
also, the bell was tolled and presently came the coffin
covered with the Union Jack, and borne on the shoulders
of deceased messmates.   All heads were bared as it was
hoisted carefully out into the cutter, which after the
remaining men had embarked made fast astern of us, in
this order, with the white ensign half masted on each
boat, the steam pinnace towed us ashore.   We shipped a
lot of water during the passage, people in boats, or on
board trading vessels, uncovered their heads as we passed,
and as we neared the railway jetty the flags on the fort
and other stations were half masted.    We all landed on
the jetty, where the gun carriage and limber was in
readiness.   The coffin was hoisted out of the cutter and
placed on the gun carriage, it was still covered with the
Union Jack, and deceased's helmet and sword was placed
on top and his belt put round them, the procession was
formed in the following order ; first was the band, men
with arms reversed, two lines of Marine Artillery, and
light infantrymen, these were followed by the first crew 46
of bluejackets drawing the gun oarriage and coffin, and
after these came the relief crew marching in the order
we would be on the drag-ropes, and the aforementioned
messmates marching in file astern of us.
When we were ready, the order slow march was given,
and the band played " The Dead March." The roads
were very badly kept, and frightfully rough, the heat
was intense, and before we had covered half the distance
we were blinded with dust, and half suffocated with the
effluvia which rose from decaying matter in the streets.
The people crowded and hemmed us in on eve<y side.
There was of West Indian negroes a large majority, a
great many Creoles and natives, and of Chinamen a fair
sprinkling. It looked as though all Panama had turned
out, for without any exaggeration, the people mustered
in thousands. Passing slowly up the main street, past
the hotel De Panama, we arrived at the grand-square;
from here we broke into the quick march, which was
kept up until we arrived at the approach to the cemetery;
here we slowed agaiii to that old, old tune " The Dead
March in Saul." As we neared the gates the marines
broke off and formed into two lines, one on each side of
the road, standing at ease, with arms reversed. The gun
carriage with its sad burden passed between the two
lines, and halted just outside the gates, the coffin was
lifted, off and carried to the grave. Our own chaplain
read the burial servioe, and the-dead was lowered into its
last resting place. The chaplain had got to that part of
the service which commences, " ashes to ashes, oust to
dust," and as the men threw in the handful of mould, the
grave digger thinking, I suppose, that he was signalled
to complete his work, started to fill the grave, and it was
only after a lot of signing that he would desist. Th/ ee
volleys were fired over his grave and we left him alone
among strangers to rest. He was buried next a Frenchman's grave, over which stood a marble pillar, with an
inscription commencing " ici repose."
The scene at the grave was an interesting one, immediately around it stood the bluejackets and marines, their
fair skins and white uniforms forming a great contrast
with the swarthy skins and black woolly heads-of the
negroes, and the bright colored garments they wore. 47
Outside the rails half nude children were crowding and
"pushing to get a sight of the proceedings.
In different parts of the cemetery flourished cocoanut
and banana palms, and sometimes a slight catspaw would
bear with it a delicious perfume, telling of its passage
through flower gardens and orange groves. I was surprised to hear the Lord's Prayer and responses repeated
in good English by a great many of the negroes. I concluded that they had immigrated from the British West
As the marines came to the " present," preparatory to
firing the three volleys, the people pressed against a knot
of men who in their turn pressed back, knocking down a
beautiful marble cross; but what astonished me was,
the men, after seeing the damage they had done, with the
greatest "sang froid" imaginable, climbed up on the
block that remained, the better to see what was going
We left Panama on the 15th for Callao, where we
arrived on the 20th. On our trip down it was rumored
that the admiral had received orders to proceed to Valparaiso with all possible dispatch (in consequence of a
revolt in Chili) where our presence was required to protect British interests.
It appeared that there was a row over the result of
the election for a new president, the main body of the
army taking the President's side, and the navy and the
remainder of the army, taking the congressional or
people's side.
We dropped anchor, and exchanged salutes with the
Peruvian forts.
In the evening, after quarters, the commander had us
all aft and told us we should coal next day, that we had
nine hundred tons to get in, and that we should have to
put our best foot forward, as we had to get to Valparaiso
where there was a " row in the house." This confirmed
the rumors we had heard, and the prospect, distant though
it was, of us having a finger in the pie, incited the wild
spirits among us to work like niggers, and the niue-hun-
dred tons were got in by twelve o'clock the next night.
S3s 48
i £
On Friday the 23rd, at noon, we left for Valparaiso,
calling at Iquiqui on the way. Arriving at the la'ter
place on the 26th, we found one of our own gunboats,
" Pheasant," which had been sent from the West Coast
of Africa to this station, to finish her commission.
There was also one of the Chilian men-of-war that had
taken the congressional or rebel side; she was cleared
for action, and lying moored bow and stern, broadside
to the town. She was named the "Almirante Cochrane,"
and was a battle ship of some 4000 tons, and heavily
armed; she carries three masts, square rigged forward,
and one funnel.
Her officer of the guard came aboard, upon whose
return she hoisted the white ensign and saluted it, which
salute we returned.
Iquiqui is situated on the coast of the Tarapaca Province, one of the most desert and arid countries in the
world. It is said that rain has never been kriown to fall
at Iquiqui. all food and other supplies have to be imported from the southern provinces, or Peru; not a sign of
vegetation, all one monotonous, yellow coloured sand,
which wearies the eye and causes a depression of spirits
in the beholder.
It is the seat of the nitrate and silver mining districts,
and the inhabitants are chiefly miners. There had, I
believe, been some disturbance before our arrival, and
our advent was hailed by the English residents as a
guarantee of safety; our departure, therefore, the same
evening for Taltal, caused keen disapointment. We
arrived off the above place the next afternoon at seven
bells, but did not anchor. Here we found the "Huascar"
a rebel cruiser of the old pattern.
It will be remembered t at about fourteen years ago
she committed an act of piracy on the high seas, by taking coal out of an English vessel. The "Shah" and
" Amethyst" were sent in chase of her ; they met and
engaged shortly after dinner on the 17th day of May,
1877. After a long fight she managed to evade them by
getting into shallow water where the English ships
could not go. During the Peruvo-Chilian war, however,
she was captured by the Chiliaus. Before this, while
still the property of the Peruvians, shi made herself 49
'famous by her great fight with and subsequent victory
over the Chilian warship " Esmeralda," whom she sank
in Iquiqui Bay.
After her officer of the guard had boarded us, we again
put to sea, and arrived in Coquimbo Friday morning 30th.
The " Acorn " was lying here, having come down rrom
Honolulu. After getting aboard some engine oil, of
which we had run short, we proceeded to Valparaiso,
where we arrived the next forenoon at six bells (eleven
o'clock.) The " Champion " was lying here and she gave
us all the latest particulars concerning the revolution.
One day, one of her cutters went ashore as usual for
officers; all boats were required to fly their national colours, or a flag of truce, there being no wind hers was
drooping down the staff, which was in consequence taken
for a bare one. Some soldiers on the esplanade, thirsting I suppose for blood, seized upon this as a good
excuse to quench it slightly, for half a dozen revolvers
were fired by them at the boat, one shot wounding the
cox wain breaking his ankle. When the boat returned
the ship cleared for action, and Captain St. Clair sent
ashore for an explanation; before she got half way however, she was met by a Chilian boat which had been
sent off with an apology.
This town was in the possession of the army or Government side, and had just been blockaded by the rebel
•flt-et, which had left just previous to our arrival, after an
exchange of shot with the forts. One shot from the
forts had entered atone of the "Blanco Encalada's" after
ports,,killing six men in its passage; another had struck
her just above the water line, leaving its point in the
hole it had made, while the base broke off, and another
had struck her in the starboard sponson.
Many rumors were going about the lower deck, some
had heard that British interests were being interfered
with on various parts of the coast; some said that the
" Cochrane " had been robbing our merchant shipping,
while others said that our mails were being tampered
with, but all expected that the audacity of the rebels
would bring us into the quarrel; in the event of which
t>-e men were discussing the comparative merits of this
ship, and her ancient sister " Warspite," the flag-ship of r
■r ^-l
of Sir Francis Drake, during his celebrated defeat of the
Spanish Armada.
All the next week the soldiery ashore were employed
in mounting new guns in the forts and on the esplanada,
and in placing lines of sand bags on the latter.
Valparaiso is a fine town, crescent shaped, built on the
sides of the hills, and extending three parts round the
bay.   A great deal of trade is done here, and the harbor]
is always crowded with shipping, a railway skirts tihei
bay, and ships can discharge their cargoes on the jetties
and send them by rail to any part of Chili.
On the following Tuesday the " Acorn " came in, and
on the receipt by the Admiral of news to the effect that
a fleet of British colliers had been seized by the " Coch-1
rane," at Iquiqui, the "Champion" was dispatched to
that port to ascertain the truth of the reports. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we coalejl ship, taking in;
some four hundred tons, and on Saturday left for Iquiqui.
On Sunday we called into Coquimbo and took in a fur-j
ther supply of oil. Leaving here at twelve o'clock, we
proceeded at eleven knots, and the next day at noon
called into Taltal, here we found the rebel cruiser
"Esmeralda," a comparatively new ship. She hoisted
the British flag and saluted it, we answered the salute,
but hoisted no oolours. Our Captain boarded her in
full dress, and upon his return we put to sea. The next
morning we sighted the " Champion," she was under sail
and had the "pot under control" signalup, upon our
closing nearer, she informed us that her engines were
disabled. We closed to within a cable's length of her,
and the admiral gave orders to take her in tow. She;
made a semaphore signal, to say that the coaling vessels
which had been seized, had been released again with an
assurance that no recurrence of the" same should take
place. Captain St. Clair came aboard, and when he left,
the order to tow was negatived, and we parted company,
she proceeding to Valparaiso, and we to Iquiqui.
That night we went to night quarters, firing with all the
small guns at a target, the position of which was shewn
by the search light.   The following morning, 11th Feb.,; MM
we arrived at Iquiqui, the " Blanco Encalada " was in
harbor, and I had a good look at the shot holes in her
sides. A bombardment of the town was expected, and
all the inhabitants had deserted it, some camping out on
an island on the right of the bay, and close to the town,
and others going aboard the ships in harbour; there were
about thirty ships here, and every one of them gave
shelter to one or two families, rigging up awnings and
screens on their upper decks, for the people's accommodation. The people on the island were living under hastily
thrown up tents; most of them had driven poles in the
ground, over which in some few cases, was thrown a canvas covering, but the majority, being poor people, had
sewn blankets, sheets and old pieces of canvas together
which they used for the lack of better material.
One side of the bay was crowded with boats, in which
lived some people who feared to stay on the land, intending doubtless, to put to sea when the bombardment
In the afternoon the " O'Higgins " and " Magellana,"
two rebel corvettes, came in, but they left again that
evening. On Thursday evening, the " Esmeralda" and
| Abtao " came in, but left again next day. Every night
the " Blauco " and all Congressional warships in harbor
would put to sea, returning to their anchorage next
morning, taking care, however, to leave a guard boat
behind them. On the above day, the " Pheasant," (who
had remained here since the " Warspite" first left,)
weighed and proceeded north, her destination being unknown on the lower deck, but it was surmised she had
been sent for our mails. In the evening, our " Amateur
Dramatic Company" gave an entertainment, which
passed off very well. The British Consul was present,
having dined with the admiral and captain. On Saturday, the " Abtao " came in -this was the 14th of February, and completed the first year of our commission.
All this time the men were impatient for something
enlivening to happen; either a fight between the rebels
and the government troops, or else between ourselves
and a rebel ship —it was immaterial to them. They had
had no leave since we left Acapulco, and were getting
weary of being on board so long—so were in want of
something exciting.
V '"■ '•%
m tw
the battle had resulted]
who had one hundred
The next day, Sunday, a great many of the English
refugees and English merchant ships' companies camel
aboard to attend divine service.    This night, during the
middle watch,  sounds of firing  were heard, but no
one could locate the sounds.    On Monday morning,
however, we had news that a great battle had been
fought a little way up the coast
in a victory for the rebel forces,
killed, while the government side had over two hundred.,|
Among the officers killed, was one naval officer on the!
rebel side and two gemerals on the government side.
At six o'clock on this morning, the British and German
consuls came aboard and asked to see the admiral on
business of importance; they were taken to the admiral,
and about half an hour afterwards went ashore in our
cutter, in company with Captain Lambton.
One reason for the consuls' visit soon became known,
for the officer of the guard went aboard the " Blanco " to
inform the captain that a train bringing the wounded
from the scene of the battle, would pass along the lines
around the hillside to the hospital, and to ask him not to
fire upon it. At half past nine, the train made its appearance around a bend in the mountain side, and soon
arrived just above the town, when the engine unshackled and allowed the carriages to run down an incline into a siding, the engine afterwards reshackling
and running them down into the station. Hundreds of
people and a great many soldiers were there to meet
At eleven o'clock the " Blanco " and " Abtao " sent a
body of men ashore, fully armed and equipped.
Later on, our cutter and whaler was sent ashore, to
pick up any English people who wished to leave the
shore. At twelve o'clock, hearing a rush to the ship's
side, I ran up on deck, and the first thing I saw was a
great fire in the middle of the town, columns of smoke
arose, completely obscuring everything in its vicinity.
Presently, the rattle of musketry was heard, telling of
a sharp fight. On a small elevation at the north of the
town, a small body of government cavalry was collected,
the " Blanco " saw them and opened fire upon them. At
the first shot there was an awful scattering, the horse- SKa.
■men galloping off in all directions, and stragglers on foot
■ rushing back into the streets, leaving  two  or  three
I wounded on the ground, the other shots did no more
1 damage than  throw up  the  earth.     Meanwhile  the
I sailors were plundering the houses  of all who were
[against  them,   and  shooting  down   all who resisted.
I On the main street stands a large draper's shop,_ owned
I by an old Italian gentleman, who stood at his door
I watching the progress of the fire.   A marauding party
I catching sight of him'went' for him, knocking him
| down, kicking and using him brutally.   After looting
his shop they bound him, and taking him down to the
pier threw him into a boat to await the " Blanco's" steamboat ; presently it came, and the crew, upon being told
I about the old man went alongside the boat, and five men
jumped into her, picked the poor old fellow up and flung
him with great violence into their own boat.   All this
time our cutter was laying off the pier watching this
affair, and o* e of^ the crew, his British heart welling
with indignation, jumped up, and shaking his fist at the
Chilians, shouted, "you would'nt serve one of us like
that, you lubbers, you wouldn't!"   Whereupon, one of
the people standing upon the pier cried, in broken English, "Would'nt we ? If we had you here we'd serve you
the same !"   At this, Jack, waxing more wroth, yelled,
" You , if I could reach you with this oar I would
ram it down your cowardly throat! " The old man was
taken aboard the " Blanco" as prisoner, but in the evening, I believe, our officer of the guard went aboard with
a demand that he should be turned over to us. The demand was complied with, and the unfortunate man was
brought aboard. At half-past three a body of government troops were observed marching down the high
road which ran round the hills just below and par«llel
with the railroad, and opened fire upon them ; the distance, however, was too great for accurate firing, so only
one shot went near them, and that struck the bank
at their feet, throwing the dust over them. Again, at
about half past four, three companies of government
men were advancing from behind some reservoirs, over
the open plain at the back of the town, when the ships
commenced firing upon them.    They opened into files
!'•   :Vj
X. ii". vr ,
of two, and advancing in this way at the double, got into
the town without harm.    The only shell that went near
them, was the second one fired, and that burst a little,
way in their rear.
At six o'clock, the " Huascar " came in, and anchored
near the " Blanco." That evening, two companies of our
men were told off, to guard the British Consulate, in
case of a night attack; ammunition was got up, and|
everything was got ready for landing, if required. At
midnight, another small fire broke out, and a few rifle
shots were heard. In the morning, a congressional
transport came in with the rebel survivors of the battle
of Sunday night, and later on the "Esmeralda " came in
and anchored.
On Wednesday, thinking the fighting was over, a great]
many of the people re-entered the town, but. their movement proved premature, for the next morning, at. daylight, the "Huascar" and " Abtao " again went around
the point, to the other side of the town, and the
" Blanco " fired a gun which the " Huascar " answered, i
At about 6:30 a. m., a great battle commenced; there
was very heavy volley firing on the south side of the
town, but owing to a thick haze, (that indispensable accompaniment of early morning in these parts,) which lay
upon the town, nothing could be seen. At seven o'clock
the ships opened fire. At nine o'clock the haze lifted.
Some men, (whether troops or civilians, I could not
make out,) were retreating along the shore, in the north
of the town; the " Tolton," a gunboat, and an armed tug,
catching sight of them, commenced firing on them following thorn up as near the shore as they could get,
and now and again we would see a man throw
up his arms and fall to the ground. Meanwhile, the
"Huascar" and "Abtao" were firing upon the south
side. At ten o'clock the "Esmeralda," who had gone
out the night before, was sighted, and the "Tolton"
shifted to a berth ahead of the " Blanco." The firing in
the town had grown fast and furious, and the din was
awful; rattle, rattle, rattle, went the machine guns, and 55
the reports of rifles could be distinguished by their
greater solidity of sound. Men, both civilians and soldiers, were crowding the tops of houses and firing down
upon the enemy in the streets. A body of men had collected near the Hospital, and formed into a company ;
as soon as opportunity offered, they dashed from there
to the back of a red brick house near the railway station,
their object being to get into the town without being
seen by the ships; but, alas ! for their hopes ; the
•"Blanco" saw them, and directed the fire of her six
and nine-pounders upon them. Two or three shots
struck the house and one passed through the roof of the
railway station, but though I watched some time I did
not see a sign of the refugees, so I concluded they had
dodged around an iron shed in their rear.
At 10:15 the " Blanco" sent some men ashore in boats,
to reinforce her military allies ; numbers of government
soldiers were waiting for them on the pier and wharves,
and the boats had to fight their way in. Machine guns
were shipped in the bows of the boats, so the landing
party were able to give as much as they took. Many of
the poor fellows were wounded before they could land.
At 10:30 the firing was getting desultory, and at 11 had
altogether ceased. A few more volleys were fired at 11:30,
but the reports from these came more from the back of
the town. At 11:55 the " Blanco " again opened fire, and
soon after the "Esmeralda" came in and took station
astern of her. The " Abtao " now left the south side of
the town and dropped anchor at the mouth of the harbour. At twelve o'clock a shell from the " Blanco " burst
in a house in the market place, setting fire to it; by
half-past the fire was burning fiercely, and two or three
explosions occurred in its midst; by a little after one it
was got under and soon was only smouldering, and the
ships again ceased fire. At two o'clock the fighting in the
town seemed to gather mostly round the custom-house,
which was situated at the head of the pier. Presently,
a party of sailors took it and held it from the enemy
until the end of the fight. It is a large building, all the
doors and window shutters were of iron ; a balcony runs
round the upper story, and from this and from the roof
and bell-tower the sailors kept up a continual fire upon
IM ft/l
r3» I
the enemy below. The ships again opened fire with their
heavy guns, and one shot from the "Esmeralda" tore
its way through some iron sheds near the beach ; another
from her deprived a house of its chimneys ; another from
the "Blanco" struck the front of a house which stood a
little distance back from the scene of the fire.
All this time the "Huascar" kept up a continual fire
on the south side of the town. From where she lay she
could see through a pass in the hills, which was invisible
to us ; all her fire was directed there, her shot striking
the hillside, and sometimes the S"mmit, tearing up the
earth and creating a terrible, thundering noise. I believe,
from what I have heard, that a body of government troops
were trying to advance from there, and that she was
keeping them back. A shot from the "Esmeralda"
struck one of the four small guns they had ashore, cutting it clean in two. At a little after three, a couple of
shells burst in a house a little to the right of the custom
house. In about fifteen minutes after the bursting of
the shells the house was on fire. At 3:45 the fire had
increased, and the flames' reached a large hotel on the
left, licking its sides lovingly with all the deceit of
" little Red Ridinghood's" wolfish bugbear, until presently they seized upon it and enveloped it in a fiery embrace ; from here it spread to behind the custom-house.
Signalmen were directing the fire of the ship's guns, by
means of semaphore signals from the roof of the customhouse, and with black smoke and leaping flames for a
background, they resembled so many demons (swinging
their arms about in making the signal), who appeared to
gloat on the scene around them. At four o'clock the
whole of the right of the town seemed to be in a blaze;
the sight was appalling ; the flames leaped to a height of
150 feet, and the wind having dropped, the smoke went
straight up, and must have been seen miles at sea. Just
about this time there was a terrific explosion in the fire,
and for hours afterwards pieces of scorched paper floated
gently down aboard of us. At a quarter past four the
walls of the hotel and the house next to it fell in with a
dull thud ; but the view was still obstructed, for the fire
was eating its way into the town, but the ships, under
the direction of the signalmen on the custom-house, fired
r mm
57 '
through the fire into the grand square, where a lot of
fighting was going on. At six o'clock the ships had
ceased firing and our captain went ashore, with a large
flag of truce flying in the bows of his boat, and arranged
a meeting between the general of the government forces
and the commodore of the rebel forces, who agreed upon
an armistice until twelve o'clock the next day. Captain
Lambton stood on the pier talking to Colonel Sotto, his
coxswain standing behind him holding the flag of truce
over his head. When the boat neared the shore, says
the boat's crew, the heat from the fire was almost unbearable, and, ignoring the flag of truce, the soldiers fired
upon us, some of the bullets passing through our awning,
and one through the boat, but fortunately without doing
any further harm than making us feel uncomfortable.
Sitting on the pier, with his back to the rails, was an
English lad of eighteen, who was dressed in the Chilian
naval uniform; he was shot through both legs and the
blood was pouring from the wounds ; on either side of
him lay dead men. Captain Lambton tore up his flag of
truce and bound up the poor fellow's legs. In answer to
questions, he said he was an Englishman who had, some
three weeks before, been pressed into the Chilian navy ;
he had tried several times to send aboard an English
man-o'-war, and had demanded to see the British Admiral, but they would not allow him. He had been sent
ashore in one of the reinforcing boats, and was wounded
before the men had fought their way off the pier. Our
skipper put him in his boat, and getting in himself, went
aboard the "Blanco," and sent the wounded lad aboard
us. When the gig neared the ship, the men seeing a
stranger sitting between the thwarts, at once began to
speculate as to who and what he was. As the gig came
alongside, an eager crowd pressed forward to get a sight
of him ; but when they saw him carried up the side, on
the back of one of the crew, the blood dripping from his
legs, they at once opened out and made a clear gangway
for him. One cf our newly-joined boys recognized in
him an old chum, and came forward, calling him by
name; that boy had a warm five minutes answering
jC I 58
questions put by an inquiring crowd, as to where he had
known the wounded lad, and who and what he was.
The gig's crew had a lot to tell when they came inboard.
How, when they found the soldiers were badly disposed
toward them, they, the crew, tried to propitiate them
by making all the most friendly signs they could think of.
At five the next morning a Congressional transport
came in with about fifteen hundred troops aboard, who
were not to disembark until the armistice was up. At
eleven o'clock Col. Sotto, the Government commander,
and Commodore , the Congressional leader, came
aboard us to make their arrangements over dinner with
the Admiral. Punctually at noon the troops began to
disembark into seven lighters, which, when full, were
towed out clear of the ships, where they remained awaiting further orders. The troops were repeatedly cheering,
their loud "vivas" being heard all over the harbour.
Once, as they passed us, they gave three English cheers
for the "Warspite." At three o'clock the two leaders
left our ship, and it soon became known that they had
decided to suspend hostilities ; Colonel Sotto surrendering to the Congressionalists. Upon this, part of the
troops re-embarked, and the remainder landing and
taking formal possession of the town and the arms of the
Government troops.
The fires burned fiercely for two days, and for another
fortnight it was smouldering. Some people say that this
fire was due to incendiarism ; but I myself, as I before
stated, saw two shells, one from the "Esmeralda," and
one from the " Blanco," strike the white house before-
mentioned and explode, causing the fire.
On the 24th we sent ashore for English and Germans
desirous of taking passage in us to Callao ; about ninety
responded to the invitation; they were mostly of the
working class, and screens were rigged up on the forecastle for their accommodation. Among them was an
old man named Brown, who was wounded in his right
arm; during the bombardment his house had been
wrecked; in fact, he had lost everything he possessed.
His wounds were cansed by the bursting of a shell in his
vicinity; the bone of his fore arm was shattered, and he
suffered greatly while he was aboard. He was treated
by our doctors until his arrival in Callao, when he went m
up to the hospital at Lima. I am happy to say that before we left Callao we made a subscription for his benefit,
the proceeds of which amounted to about thirty-seven
dollars. It was not much, in so dear a country it is
true, but it was sufficient for his immediate wants.
Early on the morning of the 25th the "Huascar"
weighed anchor and steamed north, we following a few
hours later. At eleven o'clock we arrived at Caleta-
Buena, where we found the warships " Magellana " and
"Huascar." Finding no refugees here, we left, and
arrived at Pisagua late in the afternoon. The "Almirante
Cochrane" was lying here ; there had been a battle here
a few days previous, resulting in a victory for the Con-
This place, like all others on the Chilian coast, from
Coquimbo north to the Peruvian frontier, is perfectly
The town is built on the sides of the hills, the only
distinguishing feature being a white clock tower which
stands in its midst. As in Iquiqui, numerous railway
tracks run from the town over the hills to the nitrate
mines. About the same number of refugees came aboard
here as in Iququi, and they seemed to be of about the
same social status.
The " Cochrane's " officer of the guard boarded us, as
did also some of the captains of the merchant ships in
harbour. We left at five o'clock and proceeded, arriving
at Callao on Sunday at noon. In the afternoon the
refugees went ashore. General leave was given on Monday, and nearly all the watch went ashore for a couple
of day's spree. A circus was being held at Callao,
and one of our men took an unrehearsed part in the
programme. It appears that, being unable to get a good ,
seat, he being slightly ' elevated,' thought he would elevate himself still further, so he climbed on to the roof
of the tent, so as to get a good view of the proceedings
through a slit in the canvas. Not being very careful in
his movements, he brought a great strain upon that part
of the canvas immediately round the slit, so that it very
soon became a rent, through which he fell headlong into
the midst of the audience, without however sustaining
VM 60
more damage than a good shaking.    The other watch
went ashore when the first watch came off.
Nothing worthy of special note occurred between this
and the 23rd of April.
During the interval we went south to Valparaiso, back
to Iquiqui, and down to Valparaiso again, calling at the
usual ports on the way. Our dates were : 14th March,
Iquiqui; 18th, Caldera; 19th, Coquimbo; 23rd, Valparaiso. Arriving at Valparaiso, we found the two new
cruisers ordered from England had arrived, and on 29th
the U. S. S. "Pensacola" came in ; and on 7th April the
U. S. S. "Baltimore ;" 10th April left Valparaiso ; 13th
arrived in Coquimbo ; 16th, Caldera ; 17th Taltal; 18th,
Autofagasta ; 21st, left Iququi; 23rd, arrived in Caldera;
23rd Huascar ; 24th, Coquimbo ; 25th, Valparaiso.
I forgot to mention that on the 21st of February, at
Iququi, while the " Esmeralda " was coaling, the " Imperial " (a very smart armed government transport) was
sighted. The " Esmeralda " at once suspended coaling
operations and gave chase; she chased her for about four
hours, when just as she was gaining on the " Imperial "
her engines broke down and she had perforce to stop to
make good repairs, afterwards returning to harbour and
completing her coaling.
Leaving Valparaiso on the 12th April, the " Acorn"
leaving with us. and parting company just outside the
harbour, for England, we arrived in Autofagasta on
Saturday, 18th, where we found the "Blanco ;" we left
the same night, she playing us out. Poor " Blanco I"
we never saw her again above water.
Arriving at Iquiqui on Sunday afternoon, we found
the " Daphne," who had a mail for us, and the congressional warship, "Almirante Cochrane."
We left again on Tuesday, and on Thursday morning
arrived off Caldera. Long before we could distinguish
the port our attention was attracted by columns of
smoke which rose up under the land. On approaching
nearer we found that the smoke emanated from gunpowder, and presently saw the large congressional transport " Aconcagua " being hotly chased by the two new
government cruisers "Almirante Lynch " and "Almirante 61
Condel." The cruisers, were keeping up a furious fire
upon her, but she returned it bravely with what guns
she had. Nearly all our ship's company had assembled
on the forecastle, nearly bursting with excitement; they
were watching with intense interest every movement of
the ships.
Presently a shot from the "Lynch" cut the transports'
fore derrick in two, one half hanging from her foremast
head, and the other crashing through the roofs of the
deck cabins ; another tore through her after awning,
while another from the "Condel" made a hole in her
hull, just abaft the mainmast. But the "Lynch" did not
get off scot free, for her thin hull was riddled with shot,
and one passed completely through her bows.
We were now close to the scene of action ; the "Lynch"
had slewed bow on to the "Aconcagua," as though about
to ram, or discharge a torpedo ; all hands were watching
with bated breath, not a movement escaping them. Just
when they expected to see the transport blown out of
the water, both cruisers slewed round and made off at
full speed, firing as they went, the shots both from the
transport and her enemies falling fast and thick all round
each other, throwing the water up in clouds every time
they struck it. The "Aconcagua" now got into port in
quick time, where we arrived about forty minutes later.
The excuse commander Moraga, the man in command
of the cruisers gave on his arrival in Valparaiso, was
that he mistook us for the "Esmeralda," but it is the
general opinion on board that the transport made it too
warm for him.
An officer from the transport came aboard, and told us
that it was the opinion of all o i board that if we had not
hove in sight as we did, they would all have been at the
bottom of the sea; that would have been a great loss for
the Congressionalists, for she had a thousand rebel troops
On arriving in Caldera, we had a very great surprise; on
the south side of the harbour, the yard-arms of a large
ship rose above the surface of the water, and great curiosity was evinced, as to what ship it could be, for, the
harbour being so secluded, it could not have been
wrecked in the ordinary way.
It appeared that* the "Blanco" was lying in the har-
i *!$!■
M 62
bour that night, and feeling quite secure in such a snug
retreat, they had relaxed their ordinary vigilance, and
had no guard boat out; the captain also, and a few of
his officers and crew were ashore. At about four-thirty
in the morning the two cruisers came creeping into the
bay, not a light showing; nor were they aware of the
presence of another ship, until they had got well into the
bay, and they certainly were not seen by the " Blanco's "
lookouts, until they were close upon her ; directly they
were seen, the cry " Los Torpedoes, Los Torpedoes " was
raised, and (according to some versions) she opened fire
upon them with her small guns, at this the cruisers
opened fire upon her; after manceuvering a little, the
"Condel" approached to within a cable's length, and disr
v charged, as she steamed up and down past the " Blanco,"
three torpedoes at her, followed closely by one from the
"Lynch;" one of those fired by the " Condel" struck her
and immediately exploded, tearing a large rent just below the water line. Seeing that they had " done " for
her, they made off, meeting the " Aconcagua " a few miles
down the coast; and it was only a few minutes after this
meeting, that the " Warspite " hove in sight.
The unfortunate " Blanco " sank a few minutes after
she was struck.
Out of a crew of 285, only forty were saved ; the killed
included nearly all the engineers' department. We anchored just three hours after she went down. Leaving
here, we arrived at Port Huascar the same evening,
where we found the " Huascar" and " Magellana"
After calling at Coquimbo, we arrived in Valparaiso
on the 25th. This harbour was now well fortified, and the Government troops were continually
at target practice, and there was not the slightest
doubt that the fleet would have a hard struggle to take
the place. Leave being given, I went ashore and had a
stroll round. I took the tram for the other side of the
town ; I found plenty to amuse me on the way. Soldiers
and sailors, some of them mere children, so pressed was
President Balmaceda for men; but what took most of
my time was studying the buildings in the upper town.
The tramway runs along streets running at the foot of
the hills, upon the sides of which the upper town is built,
and you will pass dozens of houses built on what you -MM
would think were inaccessible rocks, and some of which
you would think the rumbling of passing trams would
shake down. The conductors of the trams are women,
and they are quite an ornament to the streets, as they
pass along in their white bib aprons, and (in a good few
cases) pretty faces. Red and black bone cent pieces were
in use, to augment the circulation of the currency, which
at that time was very low. In the course of conversation
with an E- glish gentleman, he told me that three prisoners were to be shot the next day, traitors, so-called, to
the President; and he told me further, that the most
atrocious cruelties were being practised by' the President's orders in Santiago, where Congressional prisoners
were being daily flogged, flayed, and otherwise tortured.
It was found that the "Warspite" had developed
serious structural defects, and we were ordered up to
Esquimalt, to be docked ; accordingly, we left Valparaiso
on the 7th May, for Coquimbo, where we stayed until
3rd of June.
We coaled ship and had several different drills during
that period, and one day the "Espiegle" came bringing
a Llama as a present from the captain of the " Blanco "
to our ship's company ; it had swam ashore when the
ship went down.
We very often witnessed a review of the Government
cavalry on the meadow land near the beach.
On the 1st June the "Melpomene" came in, and after
turning over the command to ber, we left for the north
on Wednesday, 3rd June. We touched at Iquiqui on
the 6th, where we found the U. S. SS. "Pensacola,"
"Baltimore," "San Francisco," and "Charleston," composing the American Pacific fleet. Of the rebel fleet
there was the "Huascar," "O'Higgins," "Abtao," and
" Tolton."
«% We left the same evening, the "Baltimore " and "San
Francisco " playing us out. After a day's stay at Callao,
we arrived off the Galapagos Islands on the 11th. At
one o'clock we anchored in Tagos Cove, Albemarle
Island, the largest island in the group. The officers
went ashore shooting, and caught two hair seals, three
penguins, a pelican, and a couple of guano lizards. One
of our men caught a young shark on a small fishing line,
and managed to get a hitch around its tail with a piece
of spun yarn ; after it had been cut open, it slipped overboard, and then there was a struggle between it and the
angler ; the shark was very strong in spite of being disemboweled, but eventually the man got him inboard with
a little help. We left the same night, and after a somewhat rough passage, arrived at Acapulco on the 22nd.
Here we completed with coal, and left for Esquimalt.
The passage was rough until we arrived off the mouth
of the Columbia river, when the sun made his appearance, and it became quite warm. We saw a great number of whales on our way up, and at one time the sea
was covered with Portuguese men-o'-war, (paper nautilus.) Arrived in Esquimalt on Sunday, the 5th July,
and went out again on Monday, for Plumper Sound, to
do our prize firing. There was a great deal of croaking
and many doubts were e     Chilian Gun Vessel


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