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BC Historical Books

BC Historical Books

The life and adventures of John Nicol, mariner Nicol, John, 1755-1825 1822

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 mm   oFCDIBlM MS(S®IL
Ag'edL STo
MDCCCXXII. /St>fis*\
F ^-s-/7 • *'
Author's Birth—Early Propensities—He goes
to London—Is apprenticed to a Cooper-
Enters   the  Navy—Smugglers—Arrives at
Quebec,       -       - ■     -       -       «       Page 3
Canada—Mode of Fishing—Serpents—Floats
of Wood—Author sails to the West Indies—
Slavery—Arrives at Newfoundland,       -       13*
Action between the Surprise and Jason—Anecdotes-—Miscellaneous O ccurrences—Punishment for Neglect of Orders—Author paid
off,  27
% VI
Author returns to Scotland—Singular Adventure—He returns to London—Enters a
Greenland Ship—Whale Fishery, Page   3$
■':       - /  CHAPTER V. ,      *||
Voyage to Granada—Treatment of the Negroes
•—Dancing and Songs—Long Shorers chiefly
Scots and Irishmen—Anecdote of a Welshman,       - - 50
Voyage of Discovery—Anecdote—Falkland
Islands — Cape Horn — Owhyee — Atooi—
Onehow—Manners of the Natives,        -        6$
Trading Voyages—Conduct of the Natives—
Sandwich Islands Language Nootka
Sound—Ships sail for China,        -        -       84
'' jf    CHAPTER VIII." ; "    '^'^ft'
China—Manners of the Chinese—Food—Religion—Punishments—Evasion   of  Duty— .
St Helena—Author arrives in England,     -    96
'  CHAPTER IX. ^ ■:■%-:■'
Author engaged as Steward of a Convict Ship
—Anecdotes of Female Convicts—Sails ior CONTENTS.
New South Wales—Attaches himself to Sarah Whitelam—Singular Punishment—Crossing the Line—Miscellaneous Occurrences—
Port Jackson—St Helena,        - Page 108
'' %' CHAPTER X.
Author engaged on Board a South Sea Whaler
—-Miscellaneous Occurrences—Grief at the
Conduct of Sarah—Seal-Fishing-—Sea-Lions
—Unexpectedly meets a Countryman at
Payta—Transactions there, -        |       134
Rio Janeiro—Portuguese Seamen—Lisbon-
Author arrives in London—Visits Sarah's
Parents—Enters a Vessel bound for China-
Anecdote,       - - - 149
Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope—Singular
Incident—J ava—Wampoa—Chinese Artifi*
cers—Music—Returns to England, and is
impressed—Leith Roads—Mutiny—Storm at
Sea,       - -        -        -       162
Action off Cape St Vincent—Blockade of Cadiz
—Action at Aboukir Bay—Anecdotes of the
Battle-—Subsequent   Occurrences—Landing
m via
of the British Army in Egypt—Ophthalmia
—Returns to England,     -        -       Page  177
;t CHAPTER XIV. ■•|jN / ■-■%■'■'
Author arrives in Edinburgh—Marries and
Settles as a Cooper—Forced to leave his Business from Danger of Impressment—Retires
to Cousland—Subsequent Occurrences—Returns to Edinburgh from Inability to work
at Cousland—Failure of Prospects—Present
Situation,       -       -       -        -        -        196 SERVICE OF JOHN NICOL.
Ships' Names.
Proteus and Surprise,
Leviathan, Greenlander,
Cotton Planter, -    -
King George,
Lady Julian,
Amelia,    -    -    -    -
Nottingham,   -    -    •
Edgar, Goliah, Rami-
lies, and Ajax,   |
American War,West)
Indies, Seven Years, y
Greenland,   ...
West Indies,    -
South Seas and China,
New South   Wales
and China,
South Sea,   -   -
China,    -    -     -
French War, Egypt, "1
Seven Years,
1794-1801.  JL xxJi*
1 o the Public it must appear strange, that
an unlettered individual, at the advanced
age of sixty-seven years, should sit down
to give them a narrative of his life. Imperious circumstances must plead my excuse.
Necessity, even more than the importunity of
well-wishers, at length compels me. I shall
use my humble endeavour to make it as
interesting as is in my power, consistent
with truth.
My life, for a period of twenty-five years,
was a continued succession of change.—
Twice I circumnavigated the globe ; three
times I was in China ; twice in Egypt; and
more than once sailed along the whole land-
board of America from Nootka Sound to
Cape Horn; twice I doubled it But I
will not anticipate the events I am about to
Old as I am, my heart is still unchanged ; and were I young and stout as I have
been, again would I sail upon discovery:
but, weak and stiff, I can only send my
prayers with the tight ship and her merry
hearts. s
Author's Birth—Early Propensities—He goes to
London—Is apprenticed to a Coopei—Enters the
Navy—Smugglers—Arrives at Quebec.
I was born in the small village of Currie,
about six miles from Edinburgh, in the
year 1755. The first wish I ever formed
was to wander, and many a search I gave
my parents in gratifying my youthful passion.
My mother died in child-bed, when I
was very young, leaving my father in charge
of five children; two died young, and three
came to man's estate. My oldest brother
died of his wounds in the West Indies, a
Lieutenant in the Navy; my younger bro
ther went to America, and I have never
-I I
heard from him. Those trifling circumstances I would not mention, were I not
conscious that the history of the dispersion
of my father's family is the parallel of thousands of the families of my father's rank in
My father, a cooper to trade, was a man
of talent and information, and made it his
study to give his children an education suited to their rank in life; but my unsteady
propensities did not allow me to make the
most of the schooling I got. I had read
Robinson Crusoe many times over, and
longed to be at sea. We had been living
for some time in Borrowstownness. Every
moment I could spare was spent in the
boats or about the shore.
When I was about fourteen years of
age, my father was engaged to go to London, to take a small charge in a chemical
work. Even now I recollect the transports
my young mind felt when my father informed me I was to go to London.    I GOES TO LONDON. 5
•counted the hours and minutes to the moment we sailed on board the Glasgow and
Paisley Packet, Captain Thompson master.
There were a serjeant and a number of recruits, a female passenger, my father, brother, and self, besides the crew. It was
in the month of December we sailed, and
the weather was very bad. All the passengers were sea-sick ; I never was. This was
in the year 1769, when the dreadful loss
was sustained on the coast of Yorkshire—
above thirty sail of merchantmen were wrecked. We were taken in the same gale, but
rode it out. Next morning we could hardly proceed for wreck, and the whole beach
was covered. The country people were
collecting and driving away the dead bodies
in waggons.
My father embraced this opportunity to
prejudice me against being a sailor; he
was a kind but strict parent, and we dared
not disobey him. The storm had made no
impression upon my mind sufficient to alter
my determination ; my youthful mind could
not separate the life of a sailor from dangers and storms, and I looked upon them
as an interesting part of the adventures I
panted after. I had been on deck all the
time, and was fully occupied in planning the
means of escape. I enjoyed the voyage
much, was anxious to learn every thing,
and was a great favourite with the captain
and crew.
One of my father's masters was translating a French work on Chemistry. I went
to the printing-office with the proofs almost every day- Once, in passing near the
Tower, I saw a dead monkey floating in the
river. I had not seen above two or three
in my life. I thought it of great value.
I stripped at once, and swam in for it. An
English boy, who wished it likewise, but who
either would or could not swim, seized it
when I landed, saying, " He would fight
me for it." We were much of a size; had
there been a greater difference, I was not APPRENTICED TO A COOPER.
of a temper to be easily wronged; so I
gave him battle. A crowd gathered, and
formed a ring. Stranger as I was, I got
fair play. After a severe contest, I came
off victor. The English boy shook hands,
and said, " Scotchman, you have won it."
I had fought naked as I came out of the
water, so I put on my clothes, and carried
off the prize in triumph,—came home, and
got a beating from my father, for fighting,
and staying my message ; but the monkey's
skin repaid me for all my vexations.
I remained in London scarcely twelve
months, when my father sent me to Scotland to learn my trade. I chose the profession of a cooper, to please my father. I
was for some time with a friend at the
Queensferry, but not agreeing with him, I
served out my tedious term of apprenticeship at Borrowstownness. My heart was
never with the business; while my hands
were hooping barrels my mind was at sea,
and my imagination in foreign climes.
II; 8
Soon as my period of bondage expired,
I bade my friends farewell, and set out^>
Leith with a merry heart, and after wor%
ing journeyman a few months, to enable me?
to be a proficient in my trade, I entered on
board the Kent's Begard, commanded by
Lieutenant Balph Dundas; she was the
tender at this time (1776) stationed in
Leith Roads.
Now I was happy, for I was at sea. To
me the order to weigh anchor and sail for
the Nore was the sound of joy ; my spirits
were up at the near prospect of obtaining
the pleasures I had sighed for since the
first dawn of reason. To others it was the
sound of woe, the order that cut off the last
faint hope of escape from a fate they had
been impressed into much against their inclination and interest. I was surprised to
see so few, who, like myself, had chosen
it for the love of that line of life. Some
had been forced into it by their own irregular conduct, but the greater number-
were impressed men. SMUGGLERS.
Ogilvie"s revenue cutter and the Hazard
sloop of war had a short time before surprised a smuggling cutter delivering her
cargo in St Andrew's Bay. The smuggler
fought them both until all her ammunition
was spent, and resisted their boarding her
until the very last by every means in their
power. A good many of the King*s men'
were wounded, and not a few of the smugglers. When taken possession of, they declared the captain had been killed in the
action, and thrown overboard. The remainder were marched to Edinburgh Castle,
-and kept there until the evening before we
sailed. When they came on board, we were
all struck with their stout appearance and
desperate looks; a set of more resolute fellows I have never in my life met with.
They were all sent down to the pressroom ; the volunteers were allowed to walk
the decks, and had the freedom of the
One night, on our voyage to the Nore, the
whole ship was alarmed by loud cries" of
murder from the press-room. An armed
force was sent down to know the cause, and
quell the riot. They arrived just in time
to rescue, with barely the life, from the
hands of these desperadoes, a luckless wretch
who had been an informer for a long time
in Leith. A good many in the press-room
were indebted to him for their present situation ; the smugglers had learned from
them what he was, and with one accord had
fallen upon him, and beat him in a dread
ful manner. When he was brought to the
surgeon's birth there were a number of severe cuts upon his person. From his disgraceful occupation of informer, few on
board pitied him. After a few days he
got better, and was able to walk, but was
no more sent down to the press-room.
Upon our arrival at the Nore, a writ of
habeas corpus was sent on board for one of
the smugglers for a debt; we all suspected
Mm to have been the captain, and this a i ll
scheme to get him off from being kept on
board of a man of war.
I was sent on board the Proteus, 20 gun
ship, commanded by Captain Robinson,
bound for New York. The greater number of the smugglers were put on board
the same vessel; they were so stout, active,
and experienced seamen, that Captain Ko-
binson manned his barge with them.
We sailed from Portsmouth with ordnance stores and one hundred men, to man
the floating batteries upon Lake Cham-
I was appointed cooper, which was a
great relief to my mind, as I messed with
the steward in his room. I was thus away
from the crew. I had been much annoyed,
and rendered very uncomfortable, until now,
from the swearing and loose talking of the
men in the Tender. I had all my life been
used to the strictest conversation, prayers
jftight and morning; now I was in a situation where family worship was unknown;
and, to add to the disagreeable situation I
was in, the troops were very unhealthy.
We threw overboard every morning a soldier or a sheep. At first I said my prayers
and read my Bible in private; but truth
makes me confess I gradually became more
and more remiss, and, before long, I was a
sailor like the rest: but my mind felt very
uneasy, and I made many weak attempts
to amend.
We sailed with our convoy direct for
Quebec. Upon our arrival, the men, having been so long on salt provisions, made
too free with the river water, and were almost all seized with the flux. The Proteus
was upon this account laid up for six weeks,
during which time the men were in the hospital. After having done the ship's work,
Captain Bobinson was so kind as allow me
to work on shore, where I found employment from a Frenchman, who gave me excellent encouragement. I worked on shore
all day, and slept on board at flight. 13
Canada — Mode of Fishing-—* Serpents— Floats of
Wood—Author Sails to the West Indies—Slavery
—Arrives at Newfoundland.
Canada is a fine country; provisions
abound in it, and the inhabitants are kind
and humane. Salmon abound in the St
Lawrence; the Indians come alongside,
every day with them, either smoked or
fresh, which they exchange for biscuit or
pork. They take them in wicker baskets,
wrought upon stakes stuck into the sand
within tide mark. The baskets have two
entrances, one pointing up the river, the
other pointing down. The entrances have
no doors, but sharp-pointed wands prevent
the exit of the fish, or their returning; if n
once the head is entered, the whole body
must follow. They resemble in this the
wire mouse-trap used in Britain. Some have
shutting doors, as in Scotland, that swing
with the tide; when it is back, the Indians
examine their baskets, and seldom find them
without more or less fish.
The French eat many kinds of the serpents that abound in the country; whether
they are good eating I do not know, as I
never could bring myself to taste them :
they must be good, as it is not for want of
other varieties they are made choice of. I
often went of an evening with my master to
catch them ; we caught them with forked
sticks; the Frenchman was very dexterous,
and I soon learned. We often caught two
dozen in an evening: when we perceived
one, we ran the forks of the stick upon its
neck, behind the head, and holding it up from
the ground, beat it upon the head with the
other, until we dispatched it. When we
came home, the heads were cut offhand the
JL,./jfc'r ^i^|i(fjg>|f.gisJ||j|r FLOATS OF WOOD.
snakes skinned; their skins were very beautiful, and many of the officers got scabbards
made of them for their swords.
I was much surprised at the immense
floats of wood that came gliding majestically
down the river like floating islands. They
were covered with turf, and wood huts upon
them, smoke curling from the roofs, and
children playing before the doors, and the
stately matron on her seat, sewing, or following her domestic occupations; while the
husband sat upon the front with his long
pole, guiding it along the banks, or from
any danger in the river; and their batteau
astern, to carry them home with the necessaries they procured by the sale of their
wood, the produce of their severe winter's labour, they had floated thus down the
majestic St Lawrence hundreds of miles.
It looked like magic, and reminded me of
the fairies I had often heard of, to see the
children sporting and singing in chorus
upon these floating. masses, the distance
^Tjjfe'- --        .._■•     'a     ■-" * ' V
I r
I   I
diminishing the size of the figures, and
softening the melody of their voices, while
their hardy enterprise astonished the mind
upon reflection, and the idea of their enjoyment was dashed at the recollection of their
hardships. They really are a cheerful race.
I can think of no pleasure more touching
to the feelings, and soothing to the mind,
than to lie upon the green banks, and listen
to the melodious voices of the women, of a
summer evening, as they row along in their
batteaux, keeping time to the stroke of the
oar. For hours I have lain over the breast-
netting, looking and listening to them, unconscious of the lapse of time.
The time I had passed since my entrance
into the St Lawrence was very pleasant. In
our passage up we had run at an amazing
rate—the trees and every object seemed to
glide from us with the rapidity of lightning,
the wind being fresh and direct. We passed
the island of Antecost at a short distance,
and anchored at the island of Beak, where
the pilots live; it had an old Serjeant, at
the time, for governor, Ross his name, who
had been with Wolfe at the taking of Quebec. We then stood up the river, wind
and tide serving, and passed next the island
of Conder; it appeared a perfect garden.
Then the Falls of Morant, the mist rising to
the clouds; they appeared to fall from a
greater height than the vane of our topmast,
and made a dreadful roaring. We last of all
made the island of Orleans, a most beautiful place ; it is quite near the town, and is,
like the island of Conder, a perfect garden
from end to end.
At length our men were all recovered,
and the stores landed. I bade farewell to
my French master and friends on shore,
and sailed for Gaspe Bay. We were joined
here by the Assistance, 50 gun ship, commanded by Captain Worth. All the crew
got a handsome treat from Governor O'Hara,
at the baptism of his family. They were
beautiful children, five in number, the old-
est a stately girl. None of them had yet
foden baptized, and the Governor embraced
the opportunity of the chaplain of the Assistance to have this necessary Christian
i&te performed, as there was not a clergyman at the station, and the children had all
been born in the Bay. The contrast between the situation of these children and
pjeir parents, and the people in Scotland,
at the time, made a deeplimpression upon
my mind; and I can say, at no period of
my life had the privileges I had left behind
appeared so valuable.
From Gaspe Bay we sailed with convoy
for the West Indies; the convoy was loaded
with salt fish. The American privateers
swarmed around like sharks, watching an
opportunity to seize any slow-sailing vepel.
We took a few of them, and brought the
convoy safe to its destination.
While watering at St Kitt's, we got free
of the smugglers. The manner of their
■escape is the best comment upon their cha« S1AVEB.T.
racter. Captain Robinson went ashore in
his barge; the crew, as I said before, was
composed of them, coxswain and all. Soon
after the captain left the water's edge, they
took to their heels. One of them became
faint-hearted after he was away, and re&
turned; the others, that very night, white
search was making for them, seised a boat
belonging to the island, and rowed over to
St Eustatia, a Dutch neutral island, boarded, overpowered, and carried off an American brig, and sold her at one of the French
islands. None of them were ever taken
that I heard of; the one that returned
never again held up his head, as he was
looked down upon by the crew.
While we lay at any of the West India
islands, our decks used to be crowded by
the female slaves, who brought us fruit,
and remained on board all Sunday until
Monday morning—poor things! and all to
obtain a bellyful of victuals. On Monday
morning, the Jolly Jumper, as we called
n II
him, was on board with his whip; and, if
all were not gone, did not spare it upon
their backs. One cruel rascal was flogging
one on our deck, who was not very well in
her health; he had struck her once as if
she had been a post—the poor creature gave
a shriek. Some of our men, I knew not
which, there were a good many near him,
knocked him overboard; he sunk like a
stone—the men gave a hurra ! One of the
female slaves leaped from the boat alongside intcf the water, and saved the tyrant,
who, I have no doubt, often enough beat
her cruelly.
I was one of the boarders. We were all
armed, when required, with a pike, to defend our own vessel, should the enemy attempt to board; a tomahawk, cutlass, and
brace of pistols, to use in boarding them.
I never had occasion to try their use on
board the Proteus, as the privateers used
to strike after a broadside or two.
While we lay at St Kitt's, I took th§ COUNTRY FEVER.
country fever, and was carried to the hospital, where I lay for some days; but my
youth, and the kindness of my black nurse,
triumphed over the terrible malady. When
able to crawl about the hospital, where many
came in sick the one day, and were carried
out the next to be buried, the thoughts of
the neglect of my Maker, and the difference
in the life I had for some time led from the
manner in which I had been trained up in
my youth, made me shudder. With tears I
promised myself to reform. I could now see
the land-crabs running through the graves
of two or three whom I had left stout
and full of health. In the West Indies, the
grave is dug no deeper than just to hold the
body, the earth covering it only a few inches, and all is soon consumed by the land-
crabs. The black fellows eat them. When I
asked them why they eat these loathsome
creatures, their answer was, " Why, they
eat me."
I returned on board free from the fever, CHAPTER II.
but very weak. Soon after, we took convoy
for England, then sailed into Portsmouth
harbour, and were docked and repaired.
While my weakness lasted, my serious impressions remained; but I must again confess, as I became strong in my body, the
impressions upon my mind became weak.
As soon as the Proteus was repaired, we
took convoy for St John's, Newfoundland.
On this voyage we had very severe weather;
our foremast was carried away, and we arrived off St John's in a shattered state,
weary, and spent with fatigue. To add to
our misfortunes, we were three weeks lying
before the harbour, and could not make it,
on account of an island of ice that blocked
up its mouth. During these three tedious
weeks, we never saw the sun or sky, the
fogs were so dense. Had it not been for the
incessant blowing of the fishermen's horns,
to warn each other, and prevent their being
run down, we might as well have been in
%ke middle of the ocean in a winter night. NEWFOUNDLAND.
The bows of the Proteus could hot be seen
from her quarter-deck; we received supplies and intelligence from the harbour by
the fishermen. At length this tedious fog
cleared up, and we entered the harbour.
The Proteus, having been an old East India-
man, was now quite unfit for service; and the
admiral caused her be made a prison-ship.
After this I was wholly employed on
shore, brewing spruce for the fleet. I had
two, and often three, men under me to cut
the spruce and fire-wood for my use. I was
a man of some consequence even with the
inhabitants, as I could make a present of a
bottle of essence to them : they made presents of rfim to me. I th$s lived very happy, aflfd on good terms with them.
Nothing sufptfised me more than the early marrfege of the Newfoundland females.
They have children at twelve years of age.
I had some dealings with a merdiant, and
dined two fcr three times at his house. I
inquired at him for his daughter, a pretty
'¥i M
young woman whom I saw at table the first
time. To my astonishment, he told me she
was his wife, and the mother of three fine
In the winter, the cold on the Barrens,
as the inhabitants call them, is dreadful.
The Barrens are the spaces where there is
no wood; over these we must use our utmost speed to reach the woods. When once
there, we are in comparative comfort; it is
even warm among the trees. The thoughts of
the Barrens again to be crossed is the only
damp to our present enjoyment, as we are
soon in a sweat from the exercise in cutting
the wood.
When the snow first sets in, it is necessary to remain at home until the weather
clears up; then the men put on their snow
shoes, and three or four abreast thus make
a path to the woods. In the middle of the
day the sun hardens the path; and along
these the wood is dragged upon sledges to
the town by dogs. A person, not knowing the FISHERMEN.
cause, would smile to see us urging on our
dogs, ourselves pulling with one hand, and
rubbing our ears with the other. I am certain it would be a cure for tardiness of any
kind to be forced to cross the Barrens in
Numbers of the fishermen, who have gambled away their hard won summer's wages,
are forced thus to earn their winter's maintenance. At this time the greater part of the
fishers were Irishmen, the wildest characters
man can conceive. Gambling and every vice
was familiar to them; their quarrelling and
fighting never ceased, and even murders
were sometimes perpetrated upon each
other. St Patrick's day is a scene of riot
and debauchery, unequalled in any town in
Ireland. I saw them myself march in line
past an unfortunate man who had been
killed in one of their feuds, and each man
that passed him gave the inanimate body a
blow, at the same time calling him by a
term of abuse, significant of the party he 26
had belonged to. It was unsafe to carry any
thing after night-fall. I have been attacked,
and forced to fight my way more than once.
The respectable inhabitants are thus kept
under a sort of bondage to this riotous race.
In the summer I was much annoyed by
the musquitos, and yellow nippers, a worse
fly, for they bite cruelly. They make such a
buzzing and noise, at night I could not
close an eye without my musquito dose,
that is, rum and spruce. 27
Action between the Surprise and Jason—Anecdotes
—• Miscellaneous Occurrences — Punishment for
Neglect of Orders—Author paid off.
I had now been eighteen months on
shore, when I was ordered by Admiral
Montague on board the Surprise, 28 gun
frigate, commanded by Captain Reeves. Her
cooper had been killed a few days before,
in a severe action with an American vessel.
On board the Surprise we had a rougher
crew than in the Proteus; ninety of them
were Irishmen, the rest from Scotland and
England. We kept cruising about, taking
numbers of the American privateers. After
a short but severe action, we took the Jason of Boston, commanded by the famous
Captain Manly, who had been commodore CHAPTER III.
in the American service, had been taken
prisoner, and broke his parole.   When Captain  Reeves  hailed and ordered  him  to
strike, he   returned   for   answer,   "Fire
away ! I have as many guns as you."    He
had heavier metal, but fewer men than the
Surprise.  He fought us for a long time.   I
was serving powder as busy as I could, the
shot and splinters flying in all directions;
when I heard the Irishmen call from one of
the guns, (they fought like devils, and the
captain   was  fond of them upon that account,) '% Halloo, Bungs, where are you?'' I
looked to their gun, and saw the two horns
of my study * across its mouth; the next moment it was through the Jason's side.   The
rogues thus disposed of my study, which I
had been using just before the action commenced, and had placed in a secure place,
as I thought, out of their reach. " Bungs for
ever!" they shouted, when they saw the
dreadful hole it made in the Jason's side.
Bungs was the name they always gave the
cooper. When Captain Manly came on
board the Surprise, to deliver his sword to
Captain Reeves, the half of the rim of his
hat was shot off. Our captain returned his
sword to him again, saying, " You have
had a narrow escape, Manly."—" I wish to
God it had been my head," he replied.
When we boarded the Jason, we found
thirty-one cavalry, who had served under
General Burgoyne, acting now as marines
on board the Jason.
A marine of the name of Kennedy, belonging to the Surprise, an intelligent lad,
and well-behaved, was a great favourite
with the surgeon. They used to be constantly together reading and acquiring information ; they came from the same place,
had been at school together, and were dear
friends ; Kennedy's relations were in a respectable line of life. I never learned the
cause of his filling his present lowly situation.    As it fell out, poor Kennedy was
placed sentinel over the spirit-room of the
Jason. He was, as I have said, an easy
kind of lad, and had not been long from
home. He allowed the men to carry away
the spirits; and they were getting fast drunk,
when the prize-master perceived it. Kennedy was relieved, and sent on board the
Surprise, and next morning put in irons on
board the Europa, the admiral's ship, where
he was tried by a court-martial, and sentenced to be hanged on the fore-yard-arm.
His offence, no doubt, was great, for the
men would all have been so much the worse
of liquor in a short time, that the Americans could have recovered the Jason with
ease. Yet we were all sorry for him, and
would have done any thing in our power
to redeem him from his present melancholy
situation. His friend the surgeon was inconsolable, and did every thing in his
power. He drew up a petition to the admiral for pardon, stating his former good
behaviour, his youth, and good connec- ANECDOTES.
tions, and every thing he could think of in
his favour; but all would not do. He was
taken to the place of execution, the rope
round his neck, the match was lit, the clergyman at his post; we were all aloft and
upon deck to see him run up to the yard-
arm, amidst the smoke of the gun, the signal of death. When every one looked for
the command to fire, the admiral was pleased to pardon him. He was sent on board
the Surprise, more like a corpse than a living man ; he could scarce walk, and seemed indifferent to every thing on board, as if
he knew not whether he was dead or alive.
He continued thus for a long time, scarce
speaking to any one ; he was free, and did
no duty, and was the same on board as a
When the Surprise was in port, Captain
Reeves allowed a degree of licence to his
men, but was a strict disciplinarian at sea,
punishing the smallest fault. As we lay in
the harbour after the capture of Captain
m %%
Manly, we got some prize-money, and the
crew were very merry. I, as cooper, was
down in the steward's birth ; it was my
duty, as cooper, to serve out the water and
provisions at the regular times. All mjg
duty at the time was over, and I was in my
birth along with the steward, enjoying ourselves, when a noise and tumult on boardt
roused us. We were not touched with liquor ; drunkenness was a vice I never was
addicted to. We came upon deck; the
erew were all fighting through amongst
each other in their drink, English against
Irish, the officers mostly on shore, and
those on board looking on. I meant ta
take no share in the quarrel, when an Irish-
man came staggering up, crying, " Erin
go bragh !" and made a blow at me, My
Scottish blood rose in a moment at this
provocation, and I was as throng as the
rest. How it ended I hardly recollect. I
got a blow that stupefied me, and all was
quiet when I came to myself, the liquor MISCELLANEOUS OCCURRENCES.
having evaporated from the others,  and
the passion from me.
Soon after this we hailed an American
privateer, commanded by a Captain Revel,
and she struck. He was a different character from the gallant Manly. The weather
was so foul, and the sea ran so high, we
could not send our boat on board, neither
could theirs come on board of us. Captain Reeves ordered her under our quarter. As he sailed alongside, the weather
still wy stormy, and night coming on, we
were hailed by voices calling to us, scarcely
to be distinguished in the rattling of our rigging and the howling of the blast. At length
we made out with difficulty, that the American captain was going to make some prisoners he had walk overboard. Captain
Reeves, in great anger, ordered the privateer to place a light on her maintop, instead of which he placed one on a float, and
cast it adrift.   The voices again hailed, and
let us know what had been done.    Captain
B 2 34
Reeves called to the American that he would
sink her in a moment, if he did not do as
desired, and come close under our lee. Towards morning the weather moderated, and
we brought Revel and his prisoners on board
the Surprise. He was a coarse, ill-looking
fellow; his treatment of the prisoners made
his own treatment the worse: while Manly
dined every day at the captain's table, Revel messed by himself, or where he chose
with the prisoners.
We took convoy for Lisbon ; thence to
England, where we brought Manly and
Revel, to be detained during the war in
Mill Prison. Revel made his escape from
the Serjeant of marines on his way to the
prison, for which the serjeant was tried by
a court-martial, and sentenced to be hanged,
but was afterwards pardoned. It was nothing uncommon for us to take the same
men prisoners once or twice in the same
We again took convoy for St John's.  In PUNISHMENT FOR STEALING.
the fleet was a vessel called the Ark, commanded by Captain Noah. She was an armed transport. This we called Noah's Ark.
In our voyage out, an American privateer,
equal in weight of metal, but having forty-
five men, the Ark only sixteen, bore down
upon her. The gallant Noah, in his Ark,
gave battle, we looking on; and, after a
sharp contest, took the American, and
brought her alongside, her captain lying
dead upon her deck. Captain Reeves, with
consent of the crew, gave the prize to Noah,
who carried her in triumph to Halifax, and
sold her.
One of our men was whipped through the
fleet for stealing some dollars from a merchant ship he was assisting to bring into
port. It was a dreadful sight; the unfortunate sufferer tied down on the boat, and
rowed from ship to ship, getting an equal
number of lashes at the side of each vessel
from a fresh man. The poor wretch, to
deepen his sufferings, had drunk a whole
:m 36
bottle of rum a little before the time of
punishment. When he had only two portions to get of his punishment, the captain
of the ship perceived he was tipsy, and immediately ordered the rest of the punishment to be delayed until he was sober.
He was rowed back to the Surprise, his
back swelled like a pillow, black and blue;
some sheets of thick blue paper were steeped in vinegar and laid to his back. Before
he seemed insensible, now his shrieks rent
the air. When better he was sent to the
ship, where his tortures were stopped, and
again renewed.
During the remainder of the war our
duty was the same, taking convoy and capturing American privateers. We came to
England with convoy, and were docked;
then had a cruise in the Channel, where we
took the Duke de Chartres, 18 gun ship,
and were ourselves chased into Monts Bay,
on the coast of Cornwall, by a French sixty-four.    We ran close in shore, and were
covered by the old fort, which, I believe,
had not fired a ball before since the time of
Oliver Cromwell; but it did its duty nobly,
all night the Frenchman keeping up his
fire, the fort and Surprise returning it.
When day dawned he sheered off, and we
only suffered a little in our rigging. The
only blood that was shed on our side was
an old fogie of the fort, who was shot by
his own gun.
Quite weary of the monotonous convoy
duty, and having seen all I could see, I often sighed for the verdant banks of the
Forth. At length my wishes were gratified, by the return of peace. The Surprise
was paid off in the month of March 1*783.
When Captain Reeves came ashore, he
completely loaded the long-boat with flags
he had taken from the enemy. When one
of the officers inquired what he would do
with them, he said, laughing, " I will
hang one upon every tree in my father's
garden." 38
13 lit'
Author arrives in Scotland—Singular Adventure-*
He returns to London—Enters a Greenland Ship
i—JThale Fishery.
I no sooner had the money that was due
me in my hat, than I set off for London
direct, and, after a few days of enjoyment,
put my bedding and chest on board a vessel bound for Leith: every halfpenny I
had saved was in it but nine guineas, which
I kept upon my person to provide for
squalls. The trader fell down the river,
but there being no wind, and the tide failing, the captain told us we might sleep in
London, only to be sure to be on board before eight o'clock in the morning. I em-
braced the opportunity, and lost my passage. RETURNS TO SCOTLAND.
;$ks all my savings were in my chest, and a
number of passengers on board whom I did
not like, I immediately took the diligence to
Newcastle. There were no mails running
direct for Edinburgh every day, as now;
it was the month of March, yet there was a
great deal of snow on the ground; the
weather was severe, but not so cold as at
St John's. When the diligence set off
there were four passengers, two ladies, another sailor, and myself. Our lady companions, for the first few stages, were
proud and distant, scarcely taking any notice of us. I was restrained by their manner; my companion was quite at home,
chatting to them, unmindful of their monosyllabic answers. He had a good voice,
and sung snatches of sea songs, and was
unceasing in his endeavours to please. By
degrees their reserve wore off, and the conversation became general. I now learned
they were sisters, who had been on a visit •
to a relation in London, and were now re
al 40
turning to their father, who was a wealthy
farmer. Before it grew dark we were all
as intimate as if we had sailed for years in
the same ship. The oldest, who appeared
to be about twenty, attached herself to me,
and listened to my accounts of the different
places I had been in with great interest.
The youngest was as much interested by
my volatile companion.
I felt a something uncommon arise in my
breast as we sat side by side ; I could think
of nothing but my pretty companion; my
attentions were not disagreeable to her,
and I began to think of settling, and how
happy I might be with such a wife. After
a number of efforts, I summoned resolution
to take her hand in mine; I pressed it
' gently, she drew it faintly back. I sighed ; she laid her hand upon my arm, and,
in a whisper, inquired if I was unwell. I
was upon the point of telling her what I
felt, and my wishes, when the diligence
stopped at the inn.    I wished we had been SINGULAR ADVENTURE.
sailing in the middle of the Atlantic, for a
covered cart drove up, and a stout hearty
old man welcomed them by their names,
bestowing a hearty kiss upon each. I felt
quite disappointed. He was their father.
My pretty Mary did not seem to be so rejoiced at her father's kind salutation as
might have been expected.
My companion, who was an Englishman,
told me he would proceed no farther, but
endeavour to win the hand of his pretty
partner. I told him my present situation,
that my chest and all I had was on board
the Leith trader, and no direction upon it;
on this account I was forced to proceed as
fast as possible, or I would have remained
and shared his fortunes with all my heart.
I took leave of them with a heavy heart, resolving to return. I could perceive Mary
turn pale as I bade her farewell, while her
aster looked joy itself when Williams told
them he was to proceed no farther. Before the coach set off, I made him promise
H 'I r»»T™»t1.L»,L^Mj
.     ;!  I:!,; I
to write me an account of his success, and
that I would return as soon as I had secured my chest and seen my father. He promised to do this faithfully. I whispered
Mary a promise to see her soon, and pressed her hand as we parted; she returned
the pressure. I did not feel without hope.
When the farmer drove off, Williams accompanying them, I only wished myself in
his place.
When the coach reached Newcastle, I
soon procured another conveyance to Edinburgh, and was at Leith before the vessel.
When she arrived, I went on board, and
found all safe. I then went to Borrowstown-
ness, but found my father had been dead
for some time. This was a great disappointment and grief to me. I wished I had been
at home to have received his last blessing
and advice, but there was no help. He
died full of years; and that I may be as
well prepared when I shall be called hence,
is my earnest wish. After visiting his grave,
and spending a few days with my friends, I
became uneasy at not hearing from Williams.. I waited for three weeks; then,
losing all patience, I set off myself to see
how the land lay. I took leave of home
once more, with a good deal of money in
my pocket, as I had been almost a miser at
home, keeping all for the marriage, should
I succeed.
The spring was now advancing apace,
when I took my passage in a Newcastle
trader, and arrived safe at the inn where I
had last parted from Mary. It was night
when I arrived, and being weary, soon went
to bed. I was up betimes in the morning;
when I met Williams, he was looking very
dull. I shook hands, and asked % what
cheer?" He shook his head, and said,
"Why, Jack, we are on the wrong tack,
and I fear will never make port. I had
no good news to send, so it was of no use
to write. I was at the farmer's last night;
he swears, if ever I come near his house
ii 44
again, he will have me before the Justice
as an idle vagrant. My fair jilt is not much
concerned, and I can scarce get a sight of
her; she seems to shun me." I felt a chill-
ness come over me at this information, and
asked him what he meant to do. §| Why,
set sail this day; go to my mother, give
her what I can spare, and then to sea again.
My store is getting low here. But what
do you intend to do, Jack ?"—" Truth,
Williams, I scarce know. I will make one
trip to the farm; and if Mary is not as
kind as I hope to find her, I will be off
too."::.'.-. - .  ■$'
Soon after breakfast I set off for the fairness, with an anxious heart. On my arrival I met Mary in the yard. She seemed
fluttered at sight of me; but, summoning up
courage* as I approached, she made a distant bow, and coldfy asked me how I did.
I now saw there was no hope, and had not-
reccwered myself, when her father came
out, and in a rdugh manner demanded what DISAPPOINTMENT IN LOVE,
I wanted, and who I was. This in a moment brought me to myself; and, raising
my head, which had been bent towards the
ground, I looked at hirii. Mary shrunk
from my gaze; but the old man came close
up to me, and again demanded what I
wanted. " It is of no consequence," I answered ; then looking at Mary, " I believe
I am an unwelcome visitor—it is whslt I
did not expect—so I will not obtrude myself upon you any longer." I then walked
off as indifferent, to appearance, as I could
make myself; but was tempted t® look over
my shoulder more than once. I saw Mary
in tears, and her father i& earnest conversation with her.
I made up my mind to remain at the*trm
the rest of that day and:- all night, in hopes
of receiving an appointment to meet Mary.
I was loath to think I was indifferent to
her; and the feeling of being slighted is so
bitter, I could have quarrelled with myself
and ali the world.    I sat wi4h Williams at
'■v •:-
> i ii  i ii iinii ii ii
ll l
the window all day ; no message came ; in
the morning we bade adieu to the fair jilts
with heavy hearts—Williams for his mother's, and I for London.
After working a few weeks in London at
my own business, my wandering propensities came as strong upon me as ever, and I
resolved to embrace the first opportunity to
gratify it, no matter whither, only let me
wander. I had been manv times on the
different wharfs looking for a vessel; but
the seamen were so plenty, there was great
difficulty in getting a birth.
I met by accident Captain Bond, who
hailed me, and inquired if I wished a birth.
He had been captain of a transport in the
American war. I had favoured him at St
John's. I answered him, "It was what I
was looking after."—" Then, if you will
come and be cooper of the Leviathan Greenland ship, I am captain, you may go to
Squire Mellish, and say I recommend you
for cooper."    I thanked him for his good
will, went and was engaged, and on board
at work next day. ifl
We sailed in a short time for the coast
of Greenland, and touched at Lerwick,
where we took on board what men we wanted. In the first of the season we were very
unsuccessful, having very stormy weather.
I at one time thought our doom was fixed;
it blew a dreadful gale, and we were for
ten days completely fast in the ice. As far
as we could see all was ice, and the ship
was so pressed by it, every one thought we
must either be crushed to pieces, or forced
out upon the top of the ice, there ever to
remain. At length the wind changed, and
the weather moderated; and where nothing
could be seen but ice, in a short time after, all, as far as the eye could reach, was
open sea. What were our feelings at this
change it were vain to attempt a description
of; it was a reprieve from death. The
horrors of our situation were far worse than
any storm I ever was in.    In a storm upon
■ r
i- if
ill 48
!!    I i   !
Sill I I
1(4. I
a lea-shore, there, e*Npn in all its horrors,
there is exertion to keep, the mind up, and
a hope to weather it. Locked up in ice,
all exertion p useless; the power you have
to contend with is far too tremendous and
unyielding; it, like a powerful magician,
binds you in its icy circle, and there you
must behold, in all ids* horrors, your approaching fate, without the power of exertion, while the crashing of th#ice, and the
less loiid but more alarming cracking of
the vessel, serve all to increase the horrors
of this dreadful sea-mare.
When the weather moderated, we were
very successful, and filled our ship ^ith
four fish. I did not like the whale-fishing;
there is no sight for the eye of the inquisitive after the first glance; and no variety to
charm theimind. Cessation reigns around;
nothing but snow, or bare rocks and ice.
The cold is so intense, and the weather often
so thick, I felt so cheerless, that I resolved to
bid adieu to the coast of Greenland for ever.
and seek to gratify my cariosity in more
genial climes.
We arrived safe in the river, and proceeded up to our situation; but, how strange are
the freaks of fate ! In the very port of
London, as we were hurrying to our station, the tide was ebbing fast, when the ship
missed stays, and yawed round, came right
upon the Isle of Dogs, broke her back, and
filled with water. There was none of us hurt,
and we lost nothing, as she was insured.
I was one of those placed upon her, to estimate the loss sustained amongst the casks,
and was kept constantly on board for a
long time.
c I
_/.-,-       CHAPTER v.       v
ffoyage to Granada—'Treatment of4^Negroes—-
Dancing and Songs—•^ong-^horers cteefly, Scots
and Irishmen—Anecdote of a Welshman.
i ii
My next voyage was on boarckihe €otton
Planter^ commanded by Captain Young,
bound fofc- the i&Iand of Granada. I was
very happy under Captain Young; he had
been long in the Mediterranean trade, where
he had lost his health, and evejjy year made
a voyage to the West Indies, to avoid the
English winters. We sailed in the month
of October, and arrived safe at St George's,
I wrought a great deal on shore, and had
a number of blacks under me. They are a
thoughtless, merry race; in vain their cruel NEGROES.
situation and sufferings act upon their buoyant minds. They have snatches of joy, that
their pale and sickly oppressors never know.
It may appear strange, yet it is only in the
West India islands that the pictures of Arcadia are in a faint manner realized once in
the week. When their cruel situatiori allows their natural propensities to unfold
themselves on the evenings of Saturday and
Sabbath, no sound of woe is to be heard in
this land of oppression—the sound of the
Benji * and rattle, intermixed with song,
alone is hearcfev I have seen them dancing
and singing~®f an evening, and their backs
sore from the lash of their cruel task-masters. I have lain upon deck of an evening,
faint and. exhausted from the heat of the
■* The Benji is made of an ol$ firkin, with one
end out, covered with shark skin, and beat upon
with two pieces of wood. The rattles are made
of a calabash shell, and a few small pebbles in
it, fixed on a wooden handle; these they shake to
the time of the Benji. m
day, to enjoy the cool breeze of evening;
and their wild music and song, the shout of
mirth and dancing, resounded along the
beach and from the valleys. There the
negroes bounded in all the spirit of health
and happiness; while their oppressors could
hardly drag their effeminate bodies along,
from dissipation, or the enervating effects of
the climate.
These meetings are made up and agreed
upon often long before they arrive. The
poor and despfised slaves will club their
scanty earning for the refreshments, and to
pay Benji men. Many of them will come
miles to be present. The females dress in
all their finery for the occasion, and the
males are decked with any fragments of
dress they can obtain. Many of them are
powdered. They all ape the manners of
their masters as much as is in their power.
It is amusing to see them meet each
other, they have so many congees, set
phrases, and kind inquiries, in which Mama
is the person most kindly inquired after'.
They are as formal as dancing-masters, and
make up to each other in civilities for the
contempt heaped upon them by the whites.
The food allowed by their masters is very
poor. Half a salt herring, split down the
middle, to each, (they call it the one-eyed
fish upon this account,) horse beans, and
Indian corn, constitute their fare. The
Indian corn they must grind for themselves
on Saturday, after their day's task is done,
which in general is to bring one burden of
wood to$he estate.
From Saturday until Monday morning
they have to rest themselves, and cultivate
their patch of garden ground. Those who
live near sea-ports prefer going to the mountains, and gathering cocoa-nuts, plantains,
and other fruit, which they sell. The slaves
all bring any little fruit or vegetables they
have to spare to market.
The sales by the whites, as well as blacks,
Bre all made on the Sabbath day.    The
m ES9
I! |[[''
jailor of St George's is vendue-master by
right of office, and none dare lift a hammer
to sell without his permission.
^Captain Young did not keep his crew
upon allowance; we had <%cut and come
again" always. I often took a piece of lean
beef and a few biscuits with me when I
went to the plantation,$as a present to the
blacks. This the poor creatures would divide among themselves to a single fibre.
As I had always been kind to them, they
invited me and a few other seamen to one
of their entertainments. I went with pleasure, to observe their ways more minutfly.
Upon my arrival I could hardly keep my
gravity at their appearance, yet I esteemed
them in my heart. There was one black
who acted as master of the ceremonies, but
the Benji man appeared greater than any
other individual. They all, before thej?>
commenced to dance, made their obeisance
to him; the same at the conclusion. The
master of ceremonies had an old cocked hat*
and no courtier could have used it with
more zeal. Many of the females had cast
silk gowns, which had belonged to their
mistresses, and their heads powdered, but
they were tawdry figures; though no lady
or gentleman could have been more vain
of their appearance, or put on more airs.
The kind creatures had, upon our account,
subscribed for three bit Maubi. * When
they dance they accompany the Benji with
the voice: their songs were many of them
extempore, and made on our ship or ourselves. My small gifts were not forgot.
Their choruses are in common ; their songs
are of the simplest kind, as,
I lost my shoe in an old canoe,
Johnio ! come Winura so ;
I lost my boot in a pilot boat,
Johnio! come Winum so.
* Maubi is a drink like g&tger-beer they drink
among themselves, but as they knew sailors liked
stouter drink, they bought rum. The price was
one shilling and sixpence the gallon. A bit is equal
to sixpence.    Rum they call three bit maubi.
Others are satirical, as,
My Massa a bad man,
My Missis cry honey,
Is this the d—n niger,
You buy wi my money.
Ting a ring ting, ting a ring ting, tarro.
Missis cry niger man
Do no work, but eattee ;
She boil three eggs in pan,
And gi the broth to me.
Ting a ring ting, ting a ring ting, tarrov
With such songs as these they accompany the Benji. I do not recollect to have
ever heard them sing a plaintive song, bewailing their cruel fate. This made me
wonder much, as I expected they would
have had many bewailing their destiny.
But joy seems on these occasions their only aim. The dance went on with spirit. I
would have joined with pleasure, but it was
beyond my strength, after my day's work
and the heat of the climate. We parted in
good time, without the least appearance of
intoxication. I never in my life was happier, had more attention paid to me, or was
more satisfied with an entertainment.
They have one rhyme they use at work,
and adjust their motions to it. They never
vary it that I heard.
Work away, body, bo,
Work aa, jollaa.
In this manner they beguile the irksomc-
ness of labour, but the capricious driver often interrupts their innocent harmony with
the crack of his cart whip. No stranger
can witness the cruelty unmoved, George
lanes and I were proceeding through the
plantation to inform the master; the double
Moses * was on the beach for sugar; a
black driver was flogging; a woman biff
with child; her cries rent the air, the other
* The Double Moses is a large boat for taking
on board the sugar casks; there are two, the single
and  double moses.   The single holds only one
hogshead, the double more.
C2 mr
Mum it
i»l Pi'
Warn i;
I i'l 1
lilji I
is te'
slaves declaring by their looks that sympathy they dared not utter. George ran to
him, and gave him a good beating, and
swore he would double the gift if he laid
another lash upon her. He had not dared
when we returned.
There were two or three slaves upon the
estate, who, having once run away, had
iron collars round their necks, with long
hooks that projected from them to catch the
bushes, should they run away agaiff; these
they wore night and day. There was a
black slave, a cooper, with a wooden leg,
who had run away more than once; he was
now chained to the block at which he
They are much given to talking and
story-telling; the Scripture characters of
the Old Testament ari^ quite familiar to
them: they talk with astonishment of Sampson, Goliah, David, &c. I have seen them
hold up their hands in astonishment at the
strength of the white Bucfaras.    I have
Jaughed&t their personifications. Hurricane,
they cannot conceive what it is. There are
planters of the name of Kane on the island*
Hurricane, they will say, ft He a strong
white Buccara, he come Jrom London.''
There was a black upon the estate, who
had been on die island of St&Kitt's, when
Rodney defeated the French fleet. He
had seen the action, and was never tired
speaMug of it, nor his auditors of listening. He always concluded with this remark,
" H-he French 'tand 'tiff, but'the English
'tand far 'tiffer. De all de same as game
cock, de die on de 'pot."
They are apt to steal, but are so
very credulous, they are easily detected.
Captain Young gave a black>butcher, of the
name of Coffee, a hog tof kill. When the
captain went to see it, Coffee said,—
" This very fine hog, Massa, but I never
see a hog like him in all my life, he have
no liver, no light*'' Capt&M Young. " That
is strange, Coffee; let me see in the book."
iim 60
He took a memorandum-book out of his
pocket, turned over a few leaves, and look*.
ed very earnest.
" I see Coffee go to hell bottom,—hog
have liver and lights." Coffee shook like
an aspen leaf, and said,—
| O Massa, Coffee no go to hell bottom,
—hog have liver and lights." He restored
"them, and, trembling, awaited his punishment. Captain Young only laughed, and
made him a present of them.
I one time went with Captain Young
to a planter's, where he was to dine, that I
might accompany him back to the ship in the
evening, as he was weakly. Upon our arrival I was handed over to a black, who
was butler and house steward. He had
been in England, and, as he said, seen
London and King George. He was by
this become a greater man than by his situation among the other slaves, and was as
vain in showing the little he knew as if he
had been bred at college ; and was perpe^
tually astonishing the other slaves, whom
he looked down upon, with the depth of his
knowledge, and his accounts of London and
King George. No professor could have deferred his opinions and observations with
more pomp and dogmatism. One of the
blacks inquired at me what kind of people
the Welsh were. To enjoy the sport, as
one of the crew, William Jones, a Welshman, was in company with me at the time,
I referred him to the black oracle, who, after considering a moment or two, replied,
with a smile of satisfaction upoiif his sooty
features, " The English have ships, the
Irish have ships, and the Scotch have ships,
but Welshman have no ships—they are like
the negro man, they live in the bush." The
Welshman started to his feet, and would
have knocked him down, had I not prevented. He poured out a volley of oaths
upon him; he heard him with indifference,
and his assertion was not the least shaken
in the opinion of his hearers by the Welsh- m
■ i  11 !
fi    I
111 fi
man's violence—It, like many others of equal
|Mth, was quoted and received as gospel
It was long a byword in the ship, §1 Welshman live in the bush^like negro man."
Our cook haviiig left the vessel, we were
forced to * take atfong-shorer in his place.
They are a set of idle dissipated seamen,
who will not work or take a births They
loiter along the harbours, and get drunk by
any means, no matter however base; home
Hrey have none. The weather is so warm,
they Me oik all night,nand are content with
little victuals. They are in general covered
with rags and filth, the victims of idleness
md disease. It is nothing uncommon to
see their feet arM ankles a mass of gores;
their feet eaten by the jiggers, untibthey resemble fowls' feet, having no flesh oir^hem.
Their minds chilled and totally sunt, death
soon closes Mbeir career.
The ne$t morning after the new cook came
on board, he lay so long, the captain's kettle
was not boiled, nor the fire kindled.   Paddy LONG-SHORERS.
was quite indifferent when the cabin-boy told
him Captain Young must have the kettle
immediately. He replied, ^Let him send
his blasters and blowers here then.'* Blas^
ters ancfcblowers was sent about his business
immediately, and he cared not a fig. I
must confess the long-shorers are mostly
composed of Irish and Scots; the very
blacks despise them. They could make a
good living by carrying water, as they could
get a bit a burden. Many blacks get leave
from the overseers to do this, giving them
a bit a day, and earn as much as buy their
freedom. An overseer may often have a
dozen blacks thus employed, and his master not a bit the wiser, and the money Ms
own gain.
We brought to England, as passenger
from the island, a planter, who was very
rich, and had a number of slaves. He had
been a common seaman on board of a man-
of-war, had deserted, and lived on shore
concealed until his ship sailed.    He after-
:3 B If
I :b i!
wards married a free black woman, wha
kept a punch-house, who died, and left him
above three thousand pounds. With this
he had bought a plantation and slaves, and
was making money fast. He brought as
much fresh provisions and preserves on
board as would have served ten men out
and out, and was very kind to the men, in
giving them liquor and fresh provisions. 6S
jj>     CHAPTER VI.
Voyage of Discovery—Anecdote—Falkland Islands
—Cape Horn—Owhyee—Atooi— Onehow—Manners of the Natives.
Upon our arrival in London, I learned
that my old officer, Lieutenant Portlock,
now captain, was going out in the King
George, as commander, in company with
the Queen Charlotte, Captain Dixon, upon
a voyage of discovery and trade round the
world. This was the very cruise I had
long wished for; at once I made myself
clean, and waited upon Captain Portlock.
He was happy to see me, as I was an excellent brewer of spruce-beer, and the very
man he wished, but knew not where to have
sent for me.    I was at once engaged, on
i 66
the most liberal terms, as cooper, and went
away rejoicing in my good fortune. We
had a charter from the South Sea Company, and one from the India House, as it
was to be a trading voyage for furs, as well
as discovery.    This was in the year 1785.
With a joyful heart I entered on this
voyage; but, through an unforeseen accident, I had more to do than I engaged for.
Our steward went on shore for a few necessary articles just before we sailed. He was
a foolish lad, got tipsy, and the money sold
him; having spent it, he was ashamed to
come on board again. The wind was fair,
and I engaged to fill his place rather than
delay the voyage one day, so eager was I
upon it.
The first land we made was Santa Crux,
in the island of Teneriffe, where we staid
ten days, getting fruit and provisions; tfhen
made the island of St Jago, it belongs to
the Portuguese, where werwatered and took
in fresh provisions.  While here we caught
a number of fish called bass, very like salmon, which we eat fresh. The island is
badly cultivated, but abounds in cattle.
We exchanged old clothes for sheep, or,
any thing the men wanted. The Portuguese here are great rogues. I bought two
fat sheej^from one of them. The bargain
was made, and I was going to lead away
my purchase, when he gave a whistle, and
my sheep scampered off to the fields. sSShe
fellow laughed at my surprise. I had a
great mind to give him a beating for his
trick, and take my clothes from him; but
we had strict orders not to quarrel with the
people upon any account. At length he
made a sign that I might have themciagain
by giving a few more articles. I had no
alternative but lose what I had given, or
submit to his roguery. I gave a sign I
would; he gave another whistle, and the
sheep returned to his side. I secured them
before I gave the second price. With all
their roguery, they are very careless of 68
their money, more so than any people I
ever saw. In walking through the town I
have seen kegs full of dollars, without heads,
standing in the houses, and the door open,
without a person in the house to look after
Having watered, we run for the Falkland Islands. When we arrived, we found
two American vessels busy whaling; we
hoisted our colours, the Anchor and Hope.
The Americans took us for Spaniards, and
set off in all haste. When we landed we
found a great number of geese ready plucked, and a large fire burning; so we set to
work, and roasted as many as served us all,
and enjoyed them much.
Next morning the Americans came near
in their boats, and found out their mistake.
Captain Portlock thanked them for their
treat. We then had a busy time killing
geese. There are two kinds, the water and
upland. The water ones are very prefjty,
gpreckled like a partridge.    The penguins FALKLAND ISLANDS.
were so plenty, we were forced to knock
them out of our way as we walked along
the beach.    The pelicans are plenty, and
build their nests of clay;   they are near
each other, like a honey-comb.    I was astonished how each bird knew its own nest.
They appear to hatch in the same nest, until they are forced to change by the accumulation of dung.    They are so tame, I
have stood close by when they arrived with
their pouch distended with fish, and fed
their young, without being in the least disturbed.     We killed a number  of hogs.
Our doctor broke his double-barrelled gun
in dispatching one, and sold it afterwards
in China for L. 42.    What was of more
value to us was a great many iron hoops
and bees-wax, the remains of some wreck.
We picked up some of the wax, but took
every inch of the hoops; they were more
valuable than gold to us, for trading with
the natives.
When off Cape Horn, we perceived an 70
■ii Is:
ill I' !
i   y
object floating at a small distance from the
ship. Not one of us could make out what
it was. All our boats being fast, two men
went down into the water and swam to it,
and made it fast in the slings. When it
came on board it was a cask, but so overgrown witfeweeds and barnacles, the bung-
hole coMd not be discovered. I was set to
work to cut into it. To our agreeable
surprise, it was full of excellent Port wine.
All the crew got a little of it, and Captain
Portlock gave us brandy in place of the
We next made Staten's Land; the weather was fine, but very cold. We stood
away for latitude 23°, where we cruised
about for some time in quest of islands laid
down in our charts. We could find none,
but turtle in great abundance. They were
a welcome supply, but we soon toed of
them, cook them, as we could, in every variety.    Not finding the islands,  we bore
away for the Sandwich Islands.    The first
land we made was Owhyee, the island
where Captain Cook was killed. The
King George and Queen Charlotte were
the first ships which had touched there
since that melancholy event. The natives
came on board in crowds, and were happy
to see us; they recognized PoEtlock and
others, who had been on the island before, along with Cook. Our decks were
soon crowded with hogs, bread-fruit, yams,
and potatoes* Our deck soon resembled
shambles; our butcher had fourteen assistants. I was as busy and fatigued as I
could be cutting iron hoops into lengths of
eight and nine inches, which the carpenter
ground sharps These were our most valuable commodity in the eyes of the natives.
I was stationed down in the hold of the ves-
sel, and the ladders were removed to prevent the natives from coming down to the
treasury. The King of Owhyee looked
to my occupation with a wistful eye; he
thought me the happiest man on board, to
' it
Iff iJ
Ufa I <• -
\M 1 J
IF ■
be among such vast heaps of treasure.
Captain Portlock called to me to place the
ladder, and allow the king to come down,
and give him a good long piece. When
the king descended he held up his hands,
and looked astonishment personified. When
I gave him the piece of hoop of twenty
inches long, he retired a little from below
the hatch into the shade, undid his girdle,
bent the iron to his body, and, adjusting
his belt in the greatest haste, concealed j§*
I suppose he thought I had stole it. I
could not but laugh to see the king concealing what he took to be stolen goods.
We were much in want of oil for our
lamps. The sharks abounding, we baited
a hook with a piece of salt pork, and
caught the largest I ever saw in any sea;
it was a female, nineteen feet long; it took
all hands to hoist her on board; her weight
made the vessel heel. When she was cut
up we took forty-eight young ones out of
her belly, eighteen inches long;   we saw
them go into her mouth after she was
hooked. The hook was fixed to a chain
attached to our main-brace, or we never
would have kept her. It was evening when
she snapped the bait; we hauled the head
just above the surface, the swell washing
over it. We let her remain thus all night,
and she was quite dead in the morning.
There were in her stomach four hogs, four
full grown turtle, besides the young ones.
Her liver, the only part we wanted, filled a
Almost every man on board took a native woman for a wife while the vessel remained, the men thinking it an honour, or
for their gain, as they got many presents of
iron, beads, or buttons. The women came
on board at night, and went on shore in the
morning. In the evening they would call
for their husbands by name. They often
brought their friends to see their husbands,
who were well pleased, as they were never
allowed to go away empty.    The fattest
■ ii II
ip'v ■.
woman I ever saw in my life our gunner
chose for a wife. We were forced to hoist
her on board ; her thighs were as tldck as
my waist; no hammock in the ship would
hold her; many jokes were cracked upon
the pair.
They are the worst people to pronounce
the English of any I ever was among.
Captain Portlock they called Potipoti. The
nearest approach they could make to my
name was Nittie; yet they would make
the greatest efforts, and look so angry at
themselves, and vexed at their vain efforts.
We had a* merry facetious fellow on
board, called Dickson. He sung pretty
well. He squinted, and the natives mimicked hkn. Abenoue, King of Atooi,
eouM cock his eye like Dickson better than
aiiy of his subjects. Abenoue called him
Billicany, from (his often singing Rule Britannia. Abenoue learned the air, and the
words as near as he could pronounce them.
It was an amusing thing to hear the king
; '.;.' ATOOI.
and Dickson sing. Abenoue loved him
better than any man in the ship, &nd always embraced him every time they met
on shore, or in the ship, and began to sing
" Tule Billicany, Billicany tule," &c.
We had the chief on board who killed
Captain Cook for more than three weeks.
He was in bad health, and had a smelling-
bottle, with a few drops in it, which he used
to smell at; we filled it for him. There
were a good many bayonets in possession
of the natives, which they had obtained at
the murder of Cook. ^
We left Owhyee, and stood down to
Atooi, where we watered, and had a feast
from Abenoue the King. We took our allowance of brandy on shore, and spent a
most delightful afternoon, the natives doing
all in their power to amuse us; the girls
danced, the men made a sham fight, throwing their spears; the women standing behind, handed the spears to the men, the
same as in battle, thus keeping up a conti-
' in
w. I ml
Ft'% W
ill f ii'
nued shower of spears. No words can convey an adequate idea of their dexterity
and agility. They thought we were bad
with the rheumatism, our movements were
so slow, compared with their own. The women would sometimes lay us down, and chafe
and rub us, making moan, and saying, " O
Hume ! O Hume!" They wrestled, but the
stoutest man in our ship could not stand a
single throw with the least chance of success.
We next stood for Onehow, of which
Abenoue was king as well as Atooi, to get
yams. This island grows them in abundance, and scarce any thing else. They
have no wood upon the island, but exchange
their yams for it to build their canoes.
While lying here, it came to blow a dreadful gale; we were forced to cut our cables,
and stand out to sea, and leave sixteen men
and boys. It was three weeks before we
could return. When we arrived, we found
them well and hearty; these kind people had
lodged them two and two in their houses,
gave them plenty of victuals, and liberty to
ramble over the whole island. The only
man who was in the least alarmed for his safety was an old boatswain; he was in continual
fear. The innocent natives could not meet to
divert themselves, or even a few talk together, but the old sinner would shake with
terror, and called to his shipmates, M Now,
they are going to murder us; this is our last
night." He was a perfect annoyance to the
others; he scarce ever left the beach, but to
go to some height to look out for the ships,
and after looking till he was almost blind,
he would seek out the other men to make
his lamentations, and annoy them with his
fears of the loss of the ships, or their being
deserted by them. At length we returned,
and took them on board, making presents
to the king, and his kind people for their
unlimited hospitality. We now took an affectionate leave of these kind islanders.
As the summer now advanced apace, we
stood over to Cook's River, where we ar«. 78
iii i%
rived in 1786, eleven months after we left
England. Upon our arrival, a number of
Russians came on board of us, and made
the captain a present of salmon; who,*in return, gave them salt, an article they stood
much in need of. One of our men, who
spoke the Russian tongue, told them we
were upon a voyage of discovery; we did
not wish them to Enow we were trading in
furs. We parted from them wiih mutual
At the entrance of Cook's River is an
immense volcanic mountain, which was in
action at the time, and continued burning
all the time we lay there, pouring down its
side a torrent of lava, as broad as the
Thames. At night the sight was grand,
but fearful. The natives here had their
spears headed with copper; but having no
one on board who could speak their language, we had no means of learning where
they obtained the copper. While we lay
here, it was the heat of summer, yet the ice PRINCE WILLIAM S SOUND.
never melted, and the snow was lying very
deep on the heights; what a contrast from
the delightful islands we had so lately left.
Our long-boat, decked and schooner^rig-
ged, proceeded up the river in hopes of finding an outlet, or inland sea. After proceeding with great difficulty and perseverance,
until all hopes of success vanished, they returned. We then bore to the southward, to
Prince William's Sound, to pursue our
trade with the Indians. They are quite different from the Sandwich islanders in ap*
pearance and habits; they are not cruel, but
great thieves.
I was employed on shore brewing spruce
all day, and slept on board at night. One
night the Indians, after starting the beer,
carried off all the casks; they were iron-
hooped. All our search was vain, no traces
of them were to be discovered. To quarrel with the Indians would have defeated
the object of our voyage. At length they
were discovered by accident in the most
(: il, 80
Slid i
unlikely place, in the following manner:
One of our boats had been on a trading
excursion detained so long, we became
alarmed for its safety. Captain Portlock
sent some of our men armed to the top of
a high hill, to look out for the boat. To
the surprise of the men, they found the
staves and ends of the barrels, and some
large stones they had used in breaking them
to pieces. How great must their labour
have been in rolling up the barrels, and
then in dashing them to pieces; yet I have
no doubt they thought themselves richly
rewarded in obtaining the iron hoops. The
men brought back a stave or two with the
ship's name branded on them, to evidence
the truth of their discovery. We then
moved the brewing place to the other side
of the island, within sight of the ship. I
was much annoyed by the natives for some
time while working; they would handle
the hoops, and every now and then a piece
would vanish.    There was only a quarter*- MANNERS OF THE NATIVES.
master and boy with me. While the natives swarmed around, I felt rather uncomfortable. They became more and more
bold. The captain seeing from the deck
my disagreeable situation, hailed me to set
Neptune, our great Newfoundland dog, upon them, saying he would fear them more
than fifty men. I obeyed with alacrity,
and hounded Neptune, who enjoyed the
sport as much as I, to see the great fellows
£un, screaming like girls, in all directions.
I was soon left to pursue my labour unmolested; and whenever they grew troublesome, Neptune, without orders, put them
to the running and screaming. When one
approached, if Neptune was near, he would
stretch out his arms, and cry, f§ Lally, Nep-
tuije;" that is friend in their language.
The Indians here could pronounce every
word we spoke almost as well as ourselves.
This appeared the more strange, after hearing the vain efforts of our friends the Sandwich islanders.
D 2
'' Si' 82
m I
it ■-   .
One Sabbath-day, all the ship's company,
except the captain, two boys, and the cook,
were on shore amusing themselves. During our absence an immense number of the
natives came alongside, and took complete
possession of the vessel, and helped themselves to whatever took their fancy. The
captain, boys, and cook, barricadoed themselves in the cabin, and loaded all the
muskets and pistols within their reach.
Their situation was one of great danger.
The surgeon and myself were the first that
arrived upon the beach; the captain hailed
us from the cabin window, and let us know
his disagreeable situation, telling us to force
the Indians to put us on board. We having our muskets, they complied at once.
Thus, by adding strength to the captain,
we gained new assurance; and the others
doing as we did, were put all on board as
they came to the beach. The Indians offered no violence to the ship; and when
the crew were nearly all on board, they be-
gan to leave the vessel, shipping off their
booty. Captain Portlock ordered us to
take no notice of the transaction in way of
hurting the Indians, but to purchase back
the articles they had taken away that were
of use to us; but they had only taken
what pieces of iron they found loose about
the ship. After having hid the things they
had stolen, they began to trade as if nothing
had happened, and we bought back what
few bolts they had taken. They had plundered the smith's tent in the same manner,
although they looked upon him as a greater
man than the captain. He was a smart
young fellow, and kept the Indians in great
awe and wonder. They thought the coals
were made into powder. I have seen them
steal small pieces, and bruise them, then
come back. When he saw this, he would
spit upon the anvil while working the hot
iron*, and give a blow upon it; they would
run away in fear and astonishment when
they heard the crack. mt
t «
M       A   CHAPTER VII.        A"
Trading Voyages—Conduct of ihe Natives—Sandwich Islands—Language—Nootka Sound—Ships
sail for China. j|||
MI jlf Hi
One or other of our boats, often both,
were absent for some time upon trading
voyages. In one of these trips our boat
^ was nearly cut off, and would, in all probability, had it not been for the presence of
mind of an American, one of the crew^
Joseph Laurence. I never was more alarmed for my safety in the whole voyage. We
were rowing through a lagoon, to get a
near cut to the ship; the tide was ebbing
fast, the boat took the ground, and before
we could do any thing to get her off, the
whole bay was dry.   The natives surround- TRADING VOYAGES.
ed the boat in great numbers, and looked
very mischievous. We knew not what to
do. In this dilemma, Laurence, who knew
their ways, took a small keg of molasses,
and went to the beach; at the same time
he sat down by it, and began to sing and
lick, inviting them to follow his example.
Mhey licked, and listened to him for a good
while, and even joined him in singing; but
the molasses wore done, and they were weary
of his songs. We looked about in great anxiety, and discovered a small height that
commanded the boat. To this we ran, but
dared not to fire, even while they were plundering the boat; they could have killed us
all with spears and stones, had we even shot
one hundred of them, and wasted all our
ammunition. We stood like bears at the
stake, expecting them every moment to
commence the attack, resolved to sell our
lives as dear as we could. At length the
wished return of tide came, and we got to
the boat, and she floated soon after.   Then
1 86
we cared not one penny for them. We
began to trade, and bought back the articles they had stolen. Even our compass we
were forced to buy back. We set sail for
the King George, resolved to be more circumspect in future, and happy we had escaped so well.
The party who had taken possession of
the vessel on the Sabbath-day, the next
time they came back, had their faces blacked, and their heads powdered with the down
of birds. They had done this as a disguise, which showed they had a consciousness of right and wrong. Thinking we
knew them not, as we took no notice of
them, they were as merry and funny as any
of the rest.
While the boats were absent on a trading
voyage the canoe was sent to haul the seine
for salmon.    There were fourteen men and
boys in it.    About half-way between the
vessel and the shore she filled with water;
those who could swim made for the beach,
the boys, and those who could not, clung
to the canoe. Captain Portlock saw from
the deck the danger they were in, and requested the boatswain, who was an excellent swimmer, to go to their assistance; he
refused. The sailmaker and myself leapt
into the water. I had a line fixed round my
waist, as I swam first, which he supported
at a short distance behind, to ease its weight.
When I came up to the canoe, they were
nearly spent. I fixed the line to the canoe,
and we made a signal to the ship, when
those on board drew her to the vessel, John
Butler and I attending to assist and encourage them. There was a son of Sir
John Dick's, and a son of Captain Gore's,
among the boys. Captain Portlock never
could bear the boatswain afterwards. Before this he was a great favourite.
While in Prince William's Sound, the
boat went on an excursion to Sniig Corner
Cove, at the top of the Sound. She discovered the Nootka, Captain Mairs, in a most 88
ill   i
i j
Si i
111 Isi
distressing situation from the scurvy. There
were only the captain and two men free from
disease. Two and twenty Lascars had died
through the course of the winter; they had
caused their own distress, by their inordinate use of spirits on Christmas eve. They
could not bury their own dead; they were
only dragged a short distance from the
ship, and left upon the ice. They had
muskets fixed upon the capstan, and man-
ropes that went down to the cabin, that
when any of the natives attempted to come
on board, they might fire them off to scare
them. They had a large Newfoundland
dog, whose name was Towser, who alone
kept the ship clear 6f the Indians. He
lay day and night upon the ice before the
cabin window, and would not allow the Indians to go into the ship. When the natives came to barter, they would cry f| Lal-
ly Towser," and make him a present of a
skin, before they began to trade with Captain Mairs, who lowered from the window
his barter, and in'the same way received
their furs. The Beaver, the Nootka's consort, had been cut off in the beginning of
the winter, and none of her people were
ever heard of. We gave him every assistance in our power in spruce and molasses,
and two of our crew to assist in working
the vessel, Dickson and George Willis,
who stopped at Canton until we arrived;
then wishing him well, took our leave of
him. Captain Portlock could have made
a fair prize of him, as he had no charter, *r
and was trading in our limits; but he was
satisfied with his bond not to trade on our
coast; but the bond was forfeit as soon as
we sailed, and he was in China before us.
We now stood for Nootka Sound, but
encountered a dreadful gale, and were
blown off the coast, and suffered much in
our sails and rigging, which caused us to
stand for the Sandwich Islands to refit,
which gave us great joy. The American
coast is a hostile region, compared with the
* ii
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V1 90
Sandwich Islands. The American Indians
are v^ry jealous; and if any of our men
were found with their women, using the
least freedom, they would take his life if it
was in their power; but their women are far
from being objects of desire, they are so
much disfigured by slkting their lips, and
placing large pieces of wood in them,
shaped like a saucer. I have seen them place
berries upon it, and shake them into their
mouth, as a horse would corn out of a
mouth-bag, or lick them in with their tongue.
The men have a bone eight inches long,
polished, and stuck through the gristle of
their nose; we called it their sprit-sail-yard.
We had suffered a good deal of hardship
on this coast, and bade it adieu with joy.
Soon as we arrived at Owhyee, our old
acquaintance flocked on board to welcome
usj each with a present. Then such a touching of noses, and shaking of hands took
place—€< Honi, hoiii," that is, touch nose,
and " How are you ?" were the only wrords
to be heard. Our deck was one continued
scene of joy. I was now picking up the
language pretty fast, and could buy and
sell in it, and knew a great number of
words that were very useful to me. Tftere
is a great likeness in many of their words to
the Latin:—
Sandwich Islands.
Noue is their word for large, Maccou for
a fish-hook. When they saw our anchors,
they held up their hands _and said, U Noue
Maccou." During our wintering this second time, almost the same scenes were reacted.
Having refitted, and taken in provisions, we again set sail for Cook^s Kiver,
Prince William's, and Nootka Sound, to
obtain more fur skins.    We were pretty 92
3 tlfil
successful. While on shore in Prince Wil-
|am's Sound, brewing spruce beer, I and the
quartermaster made an excursion up the
river, and discovered a large space covered
with snake-root, which is of great value in
China. My comrade, who had been in
China, informed me of its value. It is the
sweetest smelling plant I ever was near when
it is growing. We set to work, and dug up
as much as we chose, and dried it, letting no
one know, for lessening the value of what
we got. It was got safe on board the day
before we sailed, and we sold it well at
We parted company from the Queen
Charlotte. She had been absent for a long
time. When a party of Indians came to
the King George, having in their possession
a pair of buckles that belonged to one of
the people on board our consort, we became alarmed for her, thinking she had
been cut off. We immediately set sail for
Nootka Sound, leaving a large quantity of
salmon half dried. After waiting in Nootka Sound, our place of rendezvous, for
some time, and she not appearing, we immediately set sail for Owhyee, but got no
word of our consort until we came to Atooi,
when we perceived Abenoue in his single
canoe, making her scud through the water,
crying, % Tattoo for Potipoti," as he jumped upon deck with a letter from Captain
Dixon, which removed our fears, and informed us he had discovered an island, and
got a very'great number of skins, and had
sailed for China. We watered and laid in
our provisions as quick as we could, to follow her.
Abenoue, soon after he came on board,
told the captain he had seen Billicany, and
squinted so like Dickson, we knew at once
Mairs had been there in the Nootka. Dickson afterwards told us Mairs would not
have got any thing from Abenoue had he
and Willis not been with him. Abenoue
had a son called Poinoue, in English, Large
■-  n 94
Pudding. I thought him well named. He
had the largest head of a&y boy I ever
saw. His father wished Captain Portlock
to take him to England, but Poinoue did
not wish to go. He leapt overboard just
as we sailed, and swam back to his father.
It was with a sensation of regret I bade
a final adieu to the Sandwich Islands. Even
now I would prefer them to any country I
ever was in. The people so kind and obliging, the climate so fine, and provisions
so abundant, all render it a most endearing
place. Owhyee is the only place I was not
ashore in. Captain Portlock never went
himself, and would not allow his crew to
go. The murder of Cook made him timor-
ous of trusting too much to the islanders.
At Atooi and Onehow we went on shore,
one watch one day, the other the next.
After taking on board as much provisions
as we could stow, we sailed for China. At
the Ladrones, or Mariana Islands, a number
of pilots came on board. The captain agreed SfAILS FOR CHINA.
with one. The bargain was made in the following manner: He showed the captain the
number of dollars he wished by the number of cass, a small brass coin, the captain
taking from the number what he thought
too much, the pilot adding when he thought
it too little. He was to pilot the King
George to the Island of Macao. From
thence we sailed up the Bocca Tigris to
Wampoa, where we sold our cargo of skins.
We were engaged to take home a cargo of
tea for the East India Company.
B 96
China—Manners of the Chinese—Food—Religion—
Punishments—Evasion of Duty—St Helena—Author arrives in England.
I was as happy as any person ever was
to see any thing. I scarcely believed I was
so fortunate as really to be in China. As
we sailed up the river, I would cast my
eyes from side to side; the thoughts and
ideas I had pictured to my mind of it were
not lessened in brilliancy, rather increased;
the immense number of buildings that extended as far as the eye could reach; their
fantastic shapes, and gaudy colours; their
trees and flowers so like their paintings, and
the myriads of floating vessels; and, above
all, the fanciful dresses, and gaudy colours of their clothes, all serve to fix the mind of
a stranger upon his first arrival. But, upon a nearer acquaintance, he is shocked at
the quantity of individual misery that forces
iffcelf upon his notice, and gradually undoes
the grand ideas he had formed of this
strange people.
Soon as we cast anchor, the vessel was
surrounded with sampans; every one had
some request to make. Tartar girls requested our clothes to wash, barbers to
shave the crews, others with fowls to sell;
indeed, every necessary we could want.
The first we made bargain with was a barber, Tommy Linn. He agreed to shave
the crew, for the six months we were to be
there, for half a dollar from each man, and
he would shave every morning, if we chose,
on board the ship, coming off in his sampan. The Tartar girls washed our clothes
for the broken meat, or what rice we left at
mess. They came every day in their sampans, and took away the mens shirts, bring-
E ii; A
j$tg them back the next, and never mixed
the clothes. They all spoke less or more
English, and would jaw with the crew as
fast as any women of their rank in England.
They had a cage-like box fixed to the stern
ojgjt^ieir sampan, in which was a pig, who
fed and fattened there at his ease. Our
ears were dinned with the cry of the beggars in their sampans, u Kamscha me Lillo
rice.'' I have seen the mandarins plunder
these object&of compassion^ when they had
bee*tf^i^e^^il in their appeals to the feelings of the seamen. I was surprised at the
minute subdivision of their money. Their
cass is a small piece of base coin, with a
square hole in it, three of which are a kan-
darin; sixty cass one mace; one mace
equal to sevenpence English money. The
cass is of no use out of the country; and
when a seaman changes a dollar, he receives no other coin from the wily Chinese.
I was on shore for a good while at Wam-
poa, making candle for our voyage home. I had a number of Chinese under me. My
greatest difficulty was to prevent them from
stealing the wax. They are greati
more dexterous thieves than the Indians*; a
bambooing for theft, I really believe, conifers no disgrace upon them. They will allow no stranger to enter the city of Canton. I was different timeff^the gate, but
all my ingenuity could not enable me ^fir-
cross the bar, although I was eight days in
the suburbs. The Tartars are not even allowed to sleep on shore ; they live in junks
and other craft upon the river. If employed on shore, they must be away by
sunset, but may land again atjstfnrise in
the morning.        ' ""$Stf?
The Chinese, I really believe, eat any
thing there is life in. Neptune was constantly on shore with me at the tent; every
night he caught less or more rats. He never eat them, but laid them down, when
dead, at the tent door. In the morning
the Chinese gave vegetables for them, and yiii
w^ere as wel| pleased as I was at the ex-
After the candles were made, I removed
to Ban]$s Hall to repair the cooper work,
and screen sand and dry it, to pack the
tea-boxes for our voyage home. One day,
a boy was meddling rather freely with the
articles belonging to me. Neptune bit
him. I was extremely sorry for it, and, after beating him, dressed the boy's hurt,
which was not severe. I gave the boy a
few cass, who went away quite pleased. In
a short tirne after I saw him coming back,
and his father leading hini. L looked for
squalls, but the father only asked a few
hairs out from under Neptune's fore leg,
close to the body; he would take them
from no other part, and stack them all over
the woun.dj He went away contend I
had often heard, when a person had been
tipsy the evening before, people tell him to
tafee, a hair of the dog that bit him, but
never sawi it ih the literal sense before. GRATITbDE.
A short time before we sailed, all the
crew got two months' pay advance for private trade, and purchased what articles
they chose. The dollars are all stamped
by the captain, as the Chinese are such
cheats, they will dexterously return you a
bad dollar, and assert, if not marked, it was
the one you gave.
With all their roguery, they are not ungrateful. One day two Chinese boys were
playing in our boat; one of them fell overboard. The current was strong, and the
boy was carried down with rapidity. I
leapt into the river, and saved him with
great difficulty, as the current bore us both
along until my strength was almost spent.
By an effort I got into the smooth water,
and soon had the pleasure of delivering him
to his father, who stood upon the beach
wringing his hands. I wished to go on
board, but the Chinese wbuld have me to
his house, where I was moSt kindly receiv-
<e<l, and got my dinner in great style.   ^1 IKG
like their manner of setting out the table
at dinner. All that is to be eaten is placed
upon the table at once, and all the liquors
at the same time. You have all before
you, and you may make your choice. I
dined in different houses, and the same fashion was used in them all. The Chinese
never thought he could show me kindness enough. We buried our chief-mate,
Mr Macleod, whose funeral I attended,
upon French Island,       Wf'ii
Almost every junk has a mandarin on
board, who keeps order, and collects the
revenue, and tyrannises over the poor Chinese; they pay money for the liberty of
doing any thing to obtain a living. Tommy
Linn paid seventy dollars for leave to practise as barber and surgeon upon the river;
they cure every disease by herbs. When
any sailor or officer was so imprudent as
visit Loblob Creek, and received the reward of their folly, our surgeons could not
cure them, yet the Chinese barber did so
with ease. Every new moon, all the men
in China must have their heads shaved; if
they do not, the mandarin makes them suffer for it. They have the longest nails to
their fingers I ever saw; many of their nails
are half as long as the rest of the finger,
they take so much care of them, and keep
them so white and clean: they, I really believe, would almost as soon have their
throats cut as their nails. A Chinese will
hold, by their means, more dollars in one
hand than an Englishman will hold in both
of his. Shaking hands will never be the
fashion in China.
When the day is wet or thick, which
rarely happens, the Chinese will say, " Joss
too much angry;" then the paper sacrifices
begin; the whole river is in a smoke;
every junk, down to the small sampan, must
burn, under the direction of the mandarin,
a certain quantity of paper to please " Joss"
their god; the rich must burn fine gilt paper, the poor coarser paper.    The manda->
4 104
rjn is the sole judge of the quantity and
quality; from him there is no appeal. He
himself burns no paper; a small piece of
touch-wood serves his turn. There he will
stand in a conspicuous place, and look as
stedfast upon it as a statue, until it is all
burnt out.
They are the most oppressed people I
e$er was amongst. They must want even a
wife, if they are not rich enough to pay the
tax imposed by the mandarin. They are
summary in their justice. Wherever the theft
is committed, there the mandarin causes
the culprit to be laid upon his back, and
beat upon the belly with a bamboo the
number of times he thinks adequate to the
offence. If the offence is great, they are
sent to the Ladrone Islands, their place of
banishment for thieves. There they live by
piloting vessels and fishing, but are not allowed to come up farther than Macao.
They are cowardly and cruel. Six half-
drunk sailors would clear a whole village;
but when they catch one of them drunk,
and by himself, then they bamboo him in
the cruellest manner.
Tommy Linn the barber was the agent we
employed. He brought us any article we
wanted front the city; and, like his brethren
in Europe, was a walking newspaper. His
first word every morning was, " Hey, yaw,
what fashion?" and we used the same phrase
to him. One morning he came, and the first
thing he said was, % Hey, yaw, whatiashion ?
Soldier man's ship come to Lingeome bar."
We, after a few hours, heard that a man-of-
war frigate had arrived at the mouth of the
river; they are allowed to come no higher
up. Tommy had seen the red coats of the
marines. They are much alarmed at the.
appearance of a man-of-war ship, and they
often say, " Englishman too much cruel,--*
too much fight." There were some English seamen flogged for mutiny while we
lay in the river.    The Chinese wept like
children for the men, saying
E 2
w ■■-, i
u Hey, yaw, 106
Englishman too much   cruel,—too much
flog,—too much flog."
Having ^completed our cargo, we fell
down the river. As we came near to the chop-
house, where the chop-marks are examined,
the men having many articles on board in
their private trade that had not paid duty,
which the Chinese would have seized, we
fell upon the old stratagem. When their
boat put off two of us fell a fighting, and
we made the whole deck a scene of riot.
These timorous Chinese custom-house-officers did not offer to come on board, but
called out, " Hey, yaw, what fashion ? Too
much baubry, too much baubry," and put
back to the chop-house. By this manoeuvre,
we paid not one farthing of duty for our
skins, which we sold in China; the officers
dared not come on board. We landed them
as soon as possible, and when once in the
factory, all was safe.
We set sail for St  Helena, where we
made a present to the governor of a num~ -ARRIVES AT ST HELENA^
ber of empty bottles; he, in return, gave
us a present of potatoes, a valuable gift
to us. While here, I and a number of the
crew were nearly poisoned by eating albi-
cores andbonettos. We split and hung them
in the rigging to dry; the moon's rays have
the effect of making them poisonous. My
face turned red, and swelled; but the others
were far worse; their heads were swelled
twice their ordinary size, but we all recovered. In a few days we set sail for England,
where I arrived without any remarkable occurrence, after an absence of three years,
having in that time circumnavigated the
globe. We came into the river in the
month of September 1788.
I ■ 108
Author engaged as Steward of a Convict Ship—Anecdotes of Female Convicts—-Sails for New South
Wales —■■ Attaches himself to Sarah Whitelam—
Singular Punishment—Crossing the Line—Miscellaneous Occurrences*—Port <Iackson-~St Helena.
I now returned to Scotland with a sensation of joy only to be felt by those who
have been absent for some time.    Every
remembrance was rendered more dear, every
scene was increased in beauty.    A piece of
oaten cake tasted far sweeter in my mouth
than the luxuries of eastern climes.    I was
for a time reconciled to remain,—the love
of country overcame my wandering habits.
I had some thought of settling for life, as I
had saved a good deal of my pay.    In the CONVICT SHIP.
^middle of these musings, and before I had
made up my mind, a letter I received from
Captain Portlock upset all my future plans,
and rekindled my wandering propensities
with as great vigour as ever.
The letter requested me to come to London without delay, as there were two ships
lying in the river bound for New South
Wales, the Guardian, and Lady Julian, in
either of which I might have a birth. The
Guardian was loaded with stores and necessaries for the settlement. There was a vinedresser, and a person to superintend the cultivation of hemp on board. She sailed long
before us. The Lady Julian was to take out
female convicts.
I would have chosen the Guardian, only
she was a man-of-war; and, as I meant to
settle in Scotland upon our return, I could
not have left her when I chose. My only
object was to see the country, not to remain at sea; I, therefore, chose the Lady
Julian, as she was a transport, although I
'-• I 110
did not, by any means, like her cargo, yet
to see the country I was resolved to submit
to a great deal.
I was appointed steward of the Lady Julian, commanded by Captain Aitken, who
was an excellent humane man, and did all
in his power to make the convicts as comfortable as their circumstances would allow. The government agent, an old lieutenant, had been discharged a little before
I arrived, for cruelty to the convicts. He
had even begun to flog them in the river.
Government, the moment they learned the
fact, appointed another in his place.
We lay six months in the river before we
sailed; during which time, all the jails in
England were emptied to complete the cargo of the Lady Julian. When we sailed,
there were on board 245 female convicts.
There were not a great many very bad
characters; the greater number were for
petty crimes, and a great proportion for only being disorderly, that is, street-walkers; ANECDOTES.
the colony at the time being in great want
of women.
One, a Scottish girl, broke her heart, and
died in the river; she was buried at Dart-
ford. Four were pardoned on account of
his Majesty's recovery. The poor young
Scottish girl I have never yet got out of my
mind; she was young and beautiful, even
in the convict dress, but pale as death, and
her eyes red with weeping. She never
spoke to any of the other women, or came
on deck. She was constantly seen sitting
in the same corner from morning to night;
even the time of meals roused her not. My
heart bled for her,—she was a countrywoman in misfortune. I offered her consolation, but her hopes and heart had sunk.
When I spoke she heeded me not, or only
answered with sighs and tears; if I spoke
of Scotland she would wring her hands and
sob, until I thought her heart would burst.
I endeavoured to get her sad story from
her lips, but she was silent as the grave to
11) 112
m 1,1 m
which she hastened. I lent her my Bible
to comfort her, but she read it not; she
laid it on her lap after kissing it, and only
bedewed it with her tears. At length she
sunk into the grave of no disease but a
broken heart. After her death we had only two Scottish women on board, one of
them a Shetlander.
I went every day to the town to buy
fresh provisions and other necessaries for
them. As their friends were allowed to
come on board to see them, they brought
money, and numbers had it of their own,
particularly a MrsBarnsley, a noted sharper
and shop-lifter. She herself told me her
family, for one hundred years back, had
been swindlers and highwaymen. She had
a brother a highwayman, who often came to
see her, as well dressed and genteel in his
appearance as any gentleman. She petitioned the government agent and captain
to be allowed to wear her own clothes in
the river, and not the convict dress. This
could on no account be allowed; but they
told her she might wear what she chose
when once they were at sea. The agent, mt
Lieutenant Edgar, had been with Captain
Cook, was a kind humane man, and very
good to them. He had it in his power to
throw all their clothes overboard when he
gave them the convict dress; but he gave
them to me to stow in the after hold, saying, " They would be of use to the poor
creatures when they arrived at Port Jack
Those from the country came all on board
in irons; and I was paid half-a-crown a head
by the country jailors, in many cases, for
striking them off upon my anvil, as they
were not locked but rivetted. There was a
Mrs Davis, a noted swindler, who had obtained great quantities of goods under false
names, and other equally base means. We
had one Mary Williams, transported for
receiving stolen goods. She and other
eight had been a long time in Newgate, I
jU i
SI Is!
where Lord George Gordon had supported them. I went once a week to him, and
got their allowance from his own hand
all the time we lay in the river. One day
I had the painful task to inform the father
and mother of one of the convicts, that
their daughter, Sarah Dorset, " was on
board; they were decent-looking people,
and had come to London to inquire after
her. When I met them they were at Newgate ; the jailor referred them to me. With
tears in her eyes, the mother implored me
to tell her, if such a one was on board. I
told them there was one of that name ; the
father's heart seemed too full to allow him
to speak, but the mother, with streaming
eyes, blessed God that they had found their
poor lost child, undone as she was. I called a coach, drove to the river, and had
them put on board. The father, with a
trembling step, mounted the ship's side;
but we were forced to lift the mother on
board.    I took them down to my birth, ANECDOTES.
and   went   for   Sarah   Dorset;   when   I
brought her, the father said, in a choking
voice, | My lost child!" and turned his
back, covering his face with  his hands;
the mother sobbing, threw her hands around
her.    Poor Sarah fainted and fell at their
feet.    I knew not what to do; at length
she recovered, and in the most heart-rending accents  implored  their pardon.    She
was young and pretty, and had not been
two years from her father's house at this
present time; so short had been her course
of folly and sin.   She had not been protected by the villain that ruined her above six
weeks ; then she was forced by want upon
the streets, and taken up as a disorderly
girl; then sent on board to be transported.
.This was her short but eventful history.
One of our men, William Power, went out
to the colony, when her time was expired,
brought her home, and married her.
I witnessed many very moving scenes,
and many of the most hardened indiffer* 116
rail if
-,-;',.(.(.;/ '
ence. Numbers of them would not take
their liberty as a boon ; they were thankful
for their present situation, so low had vice
reduced them. Many of these, from the
country jails, had been allowed to leave
it to assist in getting in the harvest,
and voluntarily returned. When I inquired their reason, they answered, " How much
more preferable is our present situation to
what it has been since we commenced our
vicious habits ? We have good victuals and
a warm bed. We are not ill treated, or at
the mercy of every drunken ruffian, as we
were before. When we rose in the morning,
we knew not where we would lay our heads
in the evening, or if we would break our
fast in the course of the day. Banishment
is a blessing to us. Have we not been banished for a long time, and yet in our native land, the most dreadful of all situations ? We dared not go to our relations,
whom we had disgraced. Other people
would shut their doors in our faces.    We ANECDOTES,
were as if a plague were upon us, hated
and shunned." Others did all in their power1
to make their escape. These were such as
had left their associates in rapine on shore*
and were hardened to every feeling but
the abandoned enjoyments of their companions. Four of these made their escape on
the evening before we left England, through
the assistance of their confederates on shore.
They gave the man on watch gin to drink*
as he sat on the quarter-deck, the others
singing and making fun. These four slipped over her bows into a boat provided for
their escape. I never heard if they were
retaken.    We sailed without them.
Mrs Nelly Kerwin* a female of daring
habits, banished for life for forging seamen's powers of attorney, and personating
their relations, when on our passage down
the river, wrote to London for cash to some
of her friends. She got a letter, informing
her it was waiting for her at Dartmouth.
We were in Colson Bay when she got this 118
letter. With great address she persuaded
the agent that there^was an express for him
and money belonging to her lying at Dartmouth. A man was sent, who brought on
board NelPs money, but no express for the
agent. When she got it she laughed in his
face, and told him he was in her debt for a
lesson. He was very angry, as the captain
often told him Kerwin was too many for
We had on board a girl pretty well behaved, who was called, by her acquaintance, a daughter of Pitt's. She herself
never contradicted it. She bore a most
striking likeness to him in every feature,
and could scarce be known from him as to
looks.    We left her at Port Jackson.
Some of our convicts I have heard even
to boast of the crimes and murders committed by them and their accomplices; but
the far greater number were harmless unfortunate creatures, the victims of the basest seduction.     With  their histories, as ANEC^   7% 119
told by  themselves,   I  s1 all  not trouble
the reader. |
When we were fairly out at sea, every
man on board took a wife if om among the
convicts, they nothing loatp. The girl
with whom I lived, for I was as bad in this
point as the others, was n^tnied Sarah White-
lam. She was a native of Lincoln, a girl
of a modest reserv^ turn, as kind and true
a creature as ever jjfved. I courted her for
a week and upwards, and would have married her upon the spot, had there been a
clergyman on bo^rrd. She had been banished for a mantle she had borrowed from an
acquaintance. Her friend prosecuted her
for stealing it, anpl-she was transported for
seven years. I had fixed my fancy upon
her from the moment- I knocked the rivet
out of her irons up<|n my anvil, and as
firmly resolved to bring her back to England, when her time was out, my lawful
wife, as ever I did intend any thing in my
life.    She bore me a son in our voyage
as 120
... ■ &■
A,,     ll J
ami- ■
&>\        :'.'i
111! .
II  :
Pflil    [
if Hi
IB      III
■IipI j
1   ill
out. What is become of her, whether she
is dead or alive, I know not. That I do
not is no fault of mine, as my narrative will
show. Bust to proceed. We soon found
that we had a troublesome cargo, yet not
dangerous or very mischievous, as I may say
more noise than danger.
When any of them, such as Nance Ferrel,
who was ever making disturbance, became
very troublesome, we confined them down in
the hold, and put on the hatch. This, we
were soon convinced, had no effect, a|jthey
became in turns outrageous, on purpose to
be confined. Our agent and the captain
wondered at the change in their behaviour.
I, as steward, found it out by accident. As
I was overhauling the stores in the hold, I
came upon a hogshead of bottled porter,
with a hole in the side of it, and, in place
of full, there were nothing but empty bottles
in it. Another* was begun, and m&re than
a box of candles had been carried off. I
immediately told the captata,   who notr SINGULAR PUNISHMENT.
found out the cause of the late insubordination, and desire of confinement. We
were forced to change the manner of punishing them. I was desired by the agent,
lieutenant Edgar, who was an old lieutenant of Cook's, to take a flour barrel, and
cut a hole in the top for their head, and
one on eachH&ide for their arms. This we
called a wooden jacket. Next morning
Nance Ferrel, as usual, came to the door of
the cabin, and began to abuse the agent
and captain. They desired her to go away
between decks, and be quiet. She became
worse in her abuse, wishing to be confined,
and gent to the hold; but, to her mortification, the jacket was produced, and two
men brought her upon deck, and put it on.
She laughed and capered about for a while,
and made light of it. One of her comrades lighted a pipe, and gave it her. She
walked about strutting and smoking the tobacco, and making the others laugh at the
droll figure she made; she walked a miff
L"'fcfolg 122
nuet, her head moving from side to side
like a turtle. The agent was resolved she
should be heartilv tired, and feel in all its
force the disagreeableness of her present situation. She could only walk or stand, to
sit or lie down was out of her power. She
began to get weary, and begged to be released. The agent would not, until she asked his pardon, and promised amendment in
future. This she did in humble terms before evening, but, in a few days, was as bad
as ever; there was no taming her by gentle
means. We were forced to tie her up like
a man, and give her one dozen with the
cat-o'-nine-tails, and assure her of a clawing
every offence ; this alone reduced her to any
kind of order.
How great was the contrast between her
and Mary Rose. Mary was a timid modest
girl, who never joined in the ribaldry of
the rest, neither did she take up with any
man upon the voyage. She was a wealthy
farmer's daughter, who had been seduced II
under promise of marriage by an officer,
and had eloped with him from her father's
house. They were living together in Lincoln, when the officer was forced to go
abroad and leave her. He, before he went,
boarded her with their landlady, an infamous character, who, to obtain the board
she had received in advance, without maintaining the unfortunate girl, swore she had
robbed her of several articles. Poor Mary
was condemned by her perjury, and sentenced to be transported. She had disgraced
her friends, and dared not apply to them in
her distress; she had set the opinions of the
world at defiance by her elopement, and there
was no one in it who appeared to befriend
her, while, in all its bitterness, she drank the
cup of her own mixing. After the departure
of the Lady Julian, her relations had discovered the fate of their lost and ruined
Mary. By their exertions the whole scene
of the landlady's villany was exposed, and
she stood in the pillory at Lincoln for her
Ite IU
perjury. Upon our arrival, we found a
pardon lying at Port Jackson, and a chest
of excellent clothes sent by the magistrates
for her use in the voyage home. She lodged all the time I was there in the governor's
house, and every day I took her allowance
to her. She was to sail in the first ship for
London direct, the Lady Julian being
bound for China. During the tedious voyage out, I took her under my protection.
Sarah and she were acquaint before they
saw each other in misfortune. Mary washed the clothes, and did any little thing for
Sarah when she was confined, which she
was long before we reached Peart Jackson.
The first place we stopped at was Santa
Cruz, in the island of Teneriffe, for water.
As we used a great quantity, the agent, at
the captain's request, had laid in tea and
sugar in place of beef or pork allowed by
Government. We boiled a large kettle of
water, that served the whole convicts and
crew, every night and morning.   We allow-
ed them water for washing their clothes, any
quantity they chose while in port. Many
times they would use four and five boatloads in one day.
We did not restrain the people on shore
from coming on board through the day.
The captains and seamen, who were in port
at the time, paid us many visits. Mrs
Barnsley bought a cask of wine, and got it
on board with the agent's leave. She was
very kind to her fellow convicts, who were
poor. They were all anxious to serve her.
She was as a queen among them.
We had a number of Jewesses on board;
one, Sarah Sabolah, had a crucifix, and the
others soon got them, and passed themselves
for Roman Catholics; by which means they
got many presents from the people on shore,
and laid up a large stock for sea.
We next stood for St Jago, accompanied
by two slave ships from Santa Cruz to St
Jago, who sailed thus far out of their course
for the sake of the ladies.    They came on
I 126
board every day when the weather would
permit. At length they stood for the coast
to pick up their cargo of human misery.
We watered again, and made all clear for a
new start. Our Jewesses played off the same
farce with their crucifixes, and with equal
success. We then stood for Rio Janeiro,
where we lay eight weeks taking in coffee and
sugar, our old stock being now reduced very
low. I was employed on shore repairing flour
casks to receive it. The Jewesses made
here a good harvest, and the ladies had a
constant run of visitors. I had received
fifty suits of child-bed linen for their use;
they were a present from the ladies of England. I here served out twenty suits. Mrs
Barnsley acted as midwife, and was to practise at Port Jackson ; but there was no
clergyman on board. When in port, the
ladies fitted up a kind of tent for them*
In crossing the line, we had the best sport
I ever witnessed upon the same occasion*
We had caught a porpoise the day before
the ceremony, which we skinned to make a
dress for Neptune with the tail stuffed.
When he came on deck, he looked the
best representation of a merman I ever
saw, painted, with a large swab upon his
head for a wig. Not a man in the ship
could have known him. One of the convicts fainted, she was so much alarmed at
his appearance, and had a miscarriage after. Neptune made the boys confess their
amours to him, and I was really astonished
at the number. I will not describe the ceremony to fatigue the reader, as it has been
often described by others. From Rio Janeiro we sailed for the Cape of Good
Hope, where we took on board seventy-
three ewes and a ram for the settlement.
We were detained a long time here, as we
found that the Guardian had struck upon an
island of ice, and was so severely inj ured, that
she was deserted by most of her crew, who
weve never heard of afterwards.    The cap-
■. ill!
tain and those who remained with him in
the ship were only saved by being towed
into the Cape by an American vessel.
What detained us was the packing of flour
and other necessaries for the colony, as we
knew it must be in great want; the Guardian being loaded with supplies for it.
At length we sailed for Port Jackson. We
made one of the convicts shepherdess, who
was so fortunate in her charge of the flock
as not to lose one. While we lay at the Cape
we had a narrow escape from destruction by
fire. The carpenter allowed the pitch-pot
to boil over upon the deck, and the flames
rose in an alarming manner. The shrieks
of the women were dreadful, and the confusion they made running about drove
every one stupid. I ran to my birth,
seized a pair of blankets to keep it down
until the others drowned it with water.
Captain Aitken made me a handsome present for my exertions.
The captain had a quantity of linen on
board, and during the voyage had kept
above twenty of the convicts making shirts
to sell at Port Jackson. He got them made
cheap, and sold them to great advantage
upon our arrival, as the people of the colony were in want of every necessary.
At length, almost to our sorrow, we made
the land upon the 3d of June 1790, just
one year all but one day from our leaving
the river. We landed all our convicts safe.
My charge, as steward, did not expire for
six weeks after our arrival, as the captain,
by agreement, was bound to victual them
during that time. It is a fine country, and
evefy thing thrives well in it. A Serjeant
of marines supplied the Lady Julian with
potatoes and garden stuffs for half-a-crown
a day. There were thirty-six people on
board, and we had as much as we could
use. There were only two natives in the
town at the time, a boy and a girl. These
had been brought in by a party of the
settlers, having been left by their parents.
F 2 130
II s.::
'.Mi if1 Rii
I saw but little of the colony, as my time
was fully occupied in my duties as steward^
and any moments I could spare I gave
them to Sarah.
The days flew on eagles' wings, for we
dreaded the hour of separation, which at
length arrived.    It was not without the aid
of the military we were brought on board.
I offered to lose my wages, but we wrere
short of hands, one man having been left sick
at Rio Janeiro, and we had lost our carpenter, who fell overboard.   The captain could
not spare a man, and requested the aid of
the governor.    I thus was forced to leave
Sarah, but we exchanged faith; she promised to remain true, and I promised to return when her time expired, and bring her
back to England.    I wished to have stolen
her away, but this was impossible, the convicts were so strictly guarded by the marines.    There were no soldiers in the colony at this time.    With a heavy heart I
bade adieu to Port Jackson, resolved to re- SWEET TEA.
turn as soon as I reached England. We
would have remained some time longer,
but Captain Aitkenwas very unwell, and the
mate was anxious to complete the voyage.
They have, an herb in the colony they
eall Sweet Tea. It is infused and drank
like the China tea. I liked it much \ it
requires no sugar, and is both a bitter and
a sweet. There was an old female convict,
her hair quite grey with age, her face shrivelled, who was suckling a child she had born
in the colony. Every one went to see her,
and I among the rest. It was a strange
sight, her hair was quite white; Her fecundity was ascribed to the sweet tea. I brought
away with me two bags of it, as presents to
my friends; but two of our men became
very ill of the scurvy, and I allowed them
the use of it, which soon cured them, but
reduced my store. When we came to
China I showed it to my Chinese friends,
and they bought it with avidity, and importuned me for it, and a quantity of the 132
II jilt
seed I had likewise preserved. I let them
have the seed, and only brought a small
quantity of the herjb to England.
Upon our arrival at Wampoa I renewed
my acquaintance with my Chinese friends,
and was as happy as I could be, with the
thoughts of Sarah's situation upon my
mind; but this was the dullest voyage I
ever made. I changed my birth hi the
ship, but all would not do; every thing
brought her endearing manners to my recollection. To leave her a convict was a
great aggravation to my grief. Had I left
her by choice for a voyage, I could have
thought of her with pleasing regret, and
anxious hope of seeing her soon. But to
leave her exposed to temptation, in the very
worst company the world could produce,
was too much to think of with composure.
I left with her my Bible, the companion of
all my voyages, with our names written in
it. She used to read it often, when I never
thought of it.    So much did these thoughts
I.I.   !■ prey upon my mind, I almost resolved to
lose my wages, by leaving the Lady Julian
at Rio or the Cape.    But to be so far from
home, without one penny in my pocket to
pay her passage to England, would have
been madness, as I could not bear the idea
of bidding for ever farewell to Scotland, the
place where my wanderings were always
intended to cease.    I made up my mind to
come to England in the Lady Julian, and
get a birth out the first opportunity, and
by that time her term of transportation
would be expired.    We touched at St Helena on our way to England.    When we
arrived I was paid off, and immediately
made every inquiry for a ship for New
Holland; but there was none, nor any likely to be soon. 134
Author engaged on Board a South Sea Whaler
Miscellaneous Occurrences—Grief at the Conduct
of Sarah—Seal-Fishing'—'Sea, Lions—Unexpectedly meets a Countryman at Payta—Transactions
There was a vessel called the Amelia,
Captain Shiels, fitting out as a South Sea
Whaler. She belonged to Squire Ender-
borough, Paul's Wharf, London. I got
myself engaged as cooper of her. The
whole crew were on shares. I, as cooper,
had a larger share than a seaman; but
this was not my present aim, neither did I
think of gain. I had all my money secured about my person, sewed into my clothes,
ready for a start, and with it to pay the passage of Sarah and my son to England.
My intention was, when we arrived at Rio
Janeiro, on our return home, to fall sick,
and endeavour to obtain my share from the
captain, and allow the vessel to sail without
me, or to claim it when I reached England.(
From Rio I could easily get a ship to the
Cape; from the Cape to New South Wales
I had the only chance of a vessel. I would
have remained until the Amelia' reached
the Cape; but she might not even anchor
there. These were my views in entering
on board the Amelia.
In two months after my leaving the Lady Julian I was again at sea in hopes
of reaching Port Jackson by some means
or other. In our first offset, we were
stranded upon the Red Sand, near the
Nore. While we lay in distress, the Deal
men came out, and wished to make a
wreck of us by cutting away our masts. I,
with alacrity, aided the captain, and stood
guard with a brace of pistols, and threaten- ■■
ed to blow out the brains of the first man
of them that offered to set his foot upon our
deck. The weather fortunately was moderate.
We, having no long-boat, Carried out our
anchor between two boats into deep water;
and, as the tide flowed, we got her off. To
my great disappointment we were forced to
put back into dock to have her examined,
by removing the copper sheathing. All
the crew left her except myself, as the engagement was broken by our return to
dock, and the men would not continue in
her, as they thought no good would come
of the voyage; her stranding was an omen
of her bad luck.
There was no ship in the river for New
South Wales; and the Indiamen would not
sail until about the month of March ; the
Amelia would still be the first vessel. I
had no inducement, therefore, to leave her.
We were soon again ready for sea, and set
saH- with an entire new crew.    The first
land we made was the Island of Bona Vista,
which belongs to the Portuguese, where we
took in live stock, and salt to salt down our
seal skins; then stood for St Jago, and took
in more live stock; from thence to the Falkland Islands for geese and swine. We next
made Staten-land, and passed the Straits of
Magellan, and Straits le Mair, but did not
go through either of them. We doubled
the Cape, then stood down to our fishing
ground, which was between latitude 18p
and the Line. We had nothing to do but
commence, as we had been busy all the voyage, preparing and fitting our tackle. Our
bailers were fitted up before we left England, as in the South Seas the spermaceti
is all boiled upon the deck. The boiler is
built up with fire brick, and a space left between the lower tfer and the deck about
nine inches high, quite water tight. When
once the fire is kindled, which is never after allowed to go out until the ship is fully
fished, the space between the bricks and the
deck is kept full of water.    There are two
1 ■aaaas
■ :
plug-holes; one on each side; so that, when
the water heats, and would melt the pitch,
upon whatever tack the ship may be, the,
plug is drawn from the under side, and the
space immediately filled with cold water from
the higher side. Great attention is required to watch the boilers. We do not require
to carry out fuel to boil our oil, as the
refuse of the oil is used ever after the first
fire is kindled. The ashes of the fire is better than any soap. Let our clothes be ever
so black and greasy, as they must be from
our employment, one shovel-full of ashes,
in a tub of water, will make them as clean
as when we bought them.
During the fishing we lived wholly upon
turtle, and were heartily tired of them.
We were very fortunate in our fishing.
We caught one whale, from which we obtained one hundred and twenty-five pounds
weight of ambergrease, the largest quantity
ever brought to England by one ship. Upon the fishing ground we found the Venus.* a
Captain Coffin ; she had taken outlftonvicts
to Port Jackson, and there was a convict
on board at the time. He had concealed
himself in her until she was at sea, and, by
this means, made his escape from the colony. He used to hide himself from me;
but the other men assuring him I would
not inform, he had the courage to speak to
me at length, and inquired if ever I had
•been at Port Jackson. I told him I had in
the Lady Julian. He answered, he had
seen me there. My heart beat high with
anxiety. I feared, yet wished, to hear of Sarah Whitelam. At length I inquired. How
shall I express my grief when informed she
had left the colony for Bombay. Thus
were my worst fears realised. Unconstant
woman ! Why doubt my faith ? Yet dear,
and never to be forgotten, I resolved to
follow her to India. I could not speak to
him; so broke off the conversation for the
present, and left him in greater despondency thalrf left Port Jackson.    My grief was
[Hi' 140
mm ■
not then mixed with doubts of her constancy ; she had only three years to serve when I
left her, and these were not yet expired.
How she got away he could not inform me.
Every time we met I renewed my inquiries.
He was so uniform in his replies, and assured
me of its truth so solemnly, I was forced to
believe the unpleasant truth. I inquired for
my son John; but he could give me no information to be relied on. He believed she
had taken him with her ; but, as the children are taken from the convicts, and maintained at school by the government, he
knew not her son from the others, and did
not see her go away. I now had no inducement to go to Port Jackson ; and for a few
days scarce cared what became of me. My
love for her revived stronger at this time
than any other since I left her. I even
gave her praise for leaving it. She did so
to be out of bad company, my mind would
whisper; and I resolved to get to Bombay
as soon as possible, and endeavour to find
her out. SEAL-FISHING.
As my usual buoyancy of spirits returned,
I pursued my labours with all the ardour
of a seaman. After taking a sufficient quantity of spermaceti, we stood as far down as
latitude 3° to the Island of Lopes, where
we killed thirty thousand seals. We had
a busy time chasing and killing them.
When we had a sufficient number, we began to kill sea-lions, to get their skins for
the ship's use. One of their skins was a sufficient load for two men. We used to stand
in a gap of the rocks in the morning, and
knock them down with our clubs as they
approached the sea; then stab them with
our long knives.
George Parker our mate made a blow at
one, and missed him; he made a snap at
Goprge^ and sent his tusk right through his
arm, a little above the wrist; and walked
away at his leisure with him into the sea,
Parker roaring Eke a bull from the pain
and terror. Robert Wyld, perceiving his
danger, rushed into the water to rescue 142
him, and was up to the arm-pits before
he succeeded in dispatching the unwieldy
monster. He then dragged them both on
shore; where, with difficulty, the tusk was
drawn from between the bones, it was so
firmly jammed.
We soon after sailed three degrees to the
north of the line, to the river Tambo,
where we anchored, and the captain ascended the river nine miles in his boat, ;tb which
I belonged, to the town of Tambo. We
had an American Indian for a pilot. He
appeared to worship the alligators, as he
kept constantly bowing and muttering to
them, and a busy time he had of it, as they
were very numerous. The governor of the
town and people were very kind and civil
to us. We remained all night at the governor's house, feasting like kings. Captain Shiels made him a present of some porter and a cheese,, and a few other things,
for which he would have given us as many
bullocks as we chose.    We only took one, MEETS A COUNTRYMAN.
which was as much as we could use fresh,
there being only sixteen hands in the ship.
We watered in the river, then crossed the
line to the city of Payta, where we anchored
in a beautiful bay, quite land-locked, and
as smooth as a mill-pond.
We scarcely had made all tight, when a
boat came alongside, and inquired if there
was a Scotchman on board. The captain
allowed me to go, as I was the only one in
the ship. I was conducted to a baker's shop
in the town, and into an elegant room,
where a sickly-looking person, but elegantly dressed, rose and met me, shaked hands,
and said, " How's a* wi' you || My ears
tingled, and my heart leapt for joy, to
hear the accents of my native tongue so unexpectedly. I looked hard at him, but had
never seen him before. I thanked him,
and we sat down together, and began a long
conversation. We talked of Old Scotland,
and the talk was all on my side for a long
while, he had so many questions to put?
1 •IP If 11
and he seemed to devour every word I
spoke, while joy beamed in his sickly features. At length I got his own history.
He was a native of Inverness, and had been
bred to the sea, asd, coming to the West
Indies, had engaged in the contraband
trade carried on along the Spanish Main,
had been taken prisoner, and carried to
Monte Video; from thence to Lima, where
he had been long in prison, and suffered
many hardships; but being a Roman Catholic, he was not sent to the mines. He
had found means to obtain his liberty, and
afterwards win the love of a rich Spanish
lady, who procured him his pardon, and
afterwards married him. He was now very
rich, and had a ship of his own, besides immense property; but having fallen sick at
Payta, he had ordered his vessel to proceed
on her voyage, and send his servants to
carry him overland to Lima. He was expecting them every day. He treated me
nobly, and made me a handsome present when he we*nt away, which he did while
we lay at Payta. I was astonished at the
number of Servants and horses that came
for him. His saddle would have bought
fifty horses; the stirrups were solid gold,
and every part was loaded with it; the
maker seemed to have studied more to lay
on gold than taste in the ornaments. He
made the most enticing offers to induce me
to go with him, but Sarah was dearer to
me than all the riches in the world.
The governor and people of Payta were
so kind to us, we passed our time very
agreeably; all their houses were open to
us. They forced presents of fruit upon
us, and gave us as much accadent as we
chose to drink. The governor treated us
with a Spanish play. These entertainments
are through the day. During the performance we were served with wine, sweat-
meats, and fruits; but not understanding
the language, we paid more attention to the
refreshments than the play.    The governor
" Ik
was one of the kindest gentlemen I ever
saw. He told us he loved the English^for
their humanity; he had been in the town
when Lord Anson plundered it. Ever since
they do not keep their saints and plate in
the church, but in the town-house, which is
no stronger than the church. You may see
them carrying it back and forward every
The governor was very anxious to learn
English. I could buy and sell in Spanish;
upon this account he took great notice of me.
I had a Spanish and English Dictionary on
board; I gave it him, and he made me a
handsome present, he was so much pleased
with it, and he made rapid progress in
his study. He was the first that told me
of the King of France's death. He said,
drawing his hand across his neck, " The
people have cut the neck of de Roi de
Francaise." I understood what he meant,
but did not believe the information.
I wore in general, when ashore, a black jacket, with black horn buttons. A priest I
used often to meet at the governor's, took a
fancy to the buttons, and offered me any
price for them. I soon cut off my buttons,
and gave them to him. I had breeches
and vest with the same buttons; off went
they, every one. A Jew would have counted it a good bargain. Amidst all their
kindness they are very superstitious. I
must have lain in the streets, all night, one
evening I missed the boat, had not a
Portuguese, who was with me, told them I
was an Irishman. u O bon Irelandois I
O bon Christian!" they cried, and made
me welcome, gave me the best in the house,
happy to entertain so good a Christian as
an Irishman.
While every thing was going on to our
wish, and our ambergrease selling well, we
were forced to leave Payta in great haste.
One of our men, getting himself tipsy, told
the people openly we were selling amber-
grease, and had still a great quantity to
*m ncaS
11 i
sell. The governor immediately sent fog
the captain, and informed him of his danger ; he himself was not against the sale;
but should word reach Lima*, they would
order a frigate to Payta and make a prize of
us. We were too much afcid of this to
tarry longer than get in what supgfes we
stood in need of; for which the governor
would accept of no payment. I went with
other two to take leave of the governor.
As we proceeded along, we saw two ladies
swinging in a net, and a female servant
keeping it in motion. We stood looking
at them a few minutes before they perceived us. As soon as they did* they desired
the servant to cease, came down, and bade
us come into the house, where they treated
us with fruit and wine, and would scarce
allow us to go away so soon as we wanted.
The ladies here have a pale and sickly look.
All their movements are languid; even the
men are far from being active. Everyone
moves sm£ he wished some one to carry hpn.
"■■—^ CTSI
Mio Janeiro—PorfagueseSeamen—Lisbon—^Author
arrives in London^—Visits Sarah*s Parents—Enters a Vessel bound for China—Anecdote.
When we sailed we had two booms over
our stern, and a net made fast to them filled with pumpkins,.melons, and other vegetables, file gift of these kind Spaniards.
We stood direct for Rio Janeiro, where
Captain Shiels intended to remain for some
fce, as he had completed his cargo so
soon. He would have lo& the bounty, had he
arrived before the time specified in the act
of Parliament. There were a great number of Portuguese vessels lying at Rio Janeiro at this time. No accounts had been
received from Lisbon for six months, and it 150
* 'I i:!i
was believed the French had taken Portugal. I counted every day we remained
as so much of my time lost, and wearied
very much. At length a ship arrived from
Lisbon, and all the Portuguese prepared to
sail. The governor's linguist came on
board the Amelia, and requested, as a personal favour, that Captain Shiels would allow four of his men to go on board the
Commodore, to assist in the voyage home, as
it would be a winter's passage. I immediately volunteered. I hoped by this means
to reach England sooner, and obtain more
money for Sarah, as I would receive a full
share of the Amelia in England the same
as if I had continued in her. Had I known
the delays, the fatigue, and vexations I was
to endure from these execrable superstitious
Portuguese sailors, I never would have
left the Amelia for any reward the Commodore could have given me; and he was very
kind to us. He knew our value, and his
whole reliance was upon us.    We were to PORTUGUESE SEAMEN.
work the ship, and fight the ship, should
an enemy lay us alongside. He had been
forty years trading between Lisbon and
Rio Janeiro, and in all that time, never had
made a winter's voyage. The Portuguese are
the worst sailors in the world in rough or cold
weather, and we had plenty of both; but,
worse than all, we had a black fellow of a
priest on board, to whom the crew paid
more attention than to the captain. He was
for ever ringing his bell for mass, and
sprinkling holy water upon the men. Whenever it blew harder than ordinary, they
were sure to run to the quarter-deck to the
black priest. We were almost foundered
at one time by this unseaman-like conduct.
The whole crew ran to the quarter-deck,
kneeling down, resigned to their fate, the
priest sprinkling holy water most profusely
upon them, while we four Englishmen
were left to steer the vessel, and hand
the sails. It required two of the four to
steer, so that there were only two to hand
■ iff'
the sails. The consequence was, she broached to. f| William Mereer and I ran and
cut the fore-geers, and allowed the yard to
swing; at the same time, the captain, mate,
and boatswain, hauled in the foreferace, and
due righted m a moment. Had her commons not been very high, she must have
filled while she lay upon her beain«ends.
The sea was all over her deejc round the
hatch, but so soon as she righted, and we
were going to make sail, the Portuguese
left their priest, and lent us a hand.
We were wrought almost to death ; and
nevfer cpildhave made out the voyage, had
we not beemaariH fed, and the captain given
us plenty of liquor. The black priest rung
his bell at his stated time, whatever we were
doing; and the Portuguese would run to
their births for their crosses. Often the
main tack was left half hauled aboard at
the sound of his bell, and the vessel left to
drift to leeward until prayers were over.
As two men could do nothing to the sail PORTUGUESE SEAMEN.
when the wind was fresh, after prayers they
would return, and begin bawling and hauling, calling upon their saints, as if they would
come to assist.    We were thus almost driven
to distraction by them;  and cduld scarce
keep off our hands from boxing their ears.
Many a hearty curse they and their saints
got.    Then they would run to the captain
or priest, and make complaint that the Englishmen had cursed Saint Antonio, or sbme
other of their saints.    I  often wondered
the captain did not confine the priest to his
. cabin in foul weather, as he was sure to be
busiest then.    When they complained, the
captain took our part, and overawed the
Portuguese, or I really believe they would
have thrown us overboard.    They often
looked at us as if they could have eat us
without salt, and told told us to our face,
we were " Star pork ;" that is all the same
as swine,—that we knew nothing of God
or the Saints.    I showed them my Bible,
and the names of the Saints.    They were
G 2 154
-   M\l
quite surprised. Had I made another voyage, I would have made converts of many
of them. I was bald-headed, and they
called me an English Padre. Often the
bell rang while we were at dinner. They
inquired why I would not go to mass, i I
mess with the Coussinero," I replied. They
began to think I had the best religion.
They seemed to think the foul weather was
all upon our account, and the virgin and
saints sent it because they employed heretics on board.
We had a supercargo on board as passenger, who had made his fortune in the slave
trade, and was returning home to Portugal.
He took unwell, and died. At his funeral
there were the following manoeuvres gone
through: Every one had a candle in his
hand ; and all stood in a double line upon
the deck; there were even lanthorns hung
over the ship's side to light him to the bottom.     The body was  carried along the
double line, the priest chaunting, and every
one touched him before he was thrown overboard. The captain requested us to do as
the others did. Says Will Mercer, jjj Captain, I will throw him overboard for you,
if you please.'*
At length, after a tedious voyage of three
months, I got out of this vile crew. When
we reached the Tagus, the Portuguese began to quarrel and knock us about. We
stood our ground the best way we could, until the captain got five of them sent on shore
under a guard of soldiers. We remained
at the captain's house until we got our wages. The owners gave us a doubloon a
piece, over and above our agreement, for
saving the ship, as the captain did us every
justice to the owners at the time, saying,
"If the English were as careful of their
souls as they are of their bodies, they would
be the best people in the world." I had
many conversations with the captain concerning the ignorance of the Portuguese
people in general, and asked whjgthe priest
p 156
!| i
did not inform them better. He said?
| Were we to inform them, they would soon
t$rn the priest about his business, and rise
against the government. They must only
get knowledge by little and little."
We assisted at a religious ceremony before we came away, at the special request of
our kind friend, the captain. The fore-sail
that was set when she broached to was given
as an offering to the church, as the black
priest told them it was through it they were
saved. Although the worst sailor in the
ship knew it was the sail that would have
sunk us, they dared not contradict the
priest. The whole ship's crew carried it
through the streets of Lisbon upon handkerchiefs to the church, where it was placed
upon the altar with much mummery. We
came away and left them ; but the owners
of the vessel bought back the sail again,
after the priests had blessed it to their
minds, as the church had more use for
money than fore-sails. LISBON.
William Mercer and I entered on board
a brig bound for London, which was to sail
in a few days; during which time we
rambled about through the filthy streets of
Lisbon. The higher orders of the Portuguese are very kind and civil. I was too
late one evening to get on board the brig;
a Portuguese merchant noticed my perplexity, for it is no pleasing thing to have a lodging to seek in Lisbon at a latish hour.
Without my requesting him, he took me
to his own house; gave me an excellent
supper and bed. Had I been a gentleman
of his acquaintance, he could not h&ve been
kinder, or paid me more attention. He
ordered his servant to call me at any hour
in the morning I chose.
As war was now looked for, we were afraid
for the press. The Portuguese captain,
at our request, got each of us a protection
from the British Consul at Lisbon. With
a joyful heart I set sail for London to look
out for an Indiaman, that I might get to
« ii'ii 158
Bombay, and inquire for Sarah ; for she was
still the idol of all my affections. At this
time I was all anxiety to reach England.
I often hoped she had reached her father's
house, and there was pining at my absence. I used for days to flatter myself
with these dreams.
When we arrived at Gravesend a man-
of-war's boat came on board to press any
Englishmen there might be on board. William and I did not choose to trust to our
protections, now that we were in the river.
So we stowed ourselves away among some
bags of cotton, where we were almost smothered, but could hear every word that was
said. The captain told the lieutenant he
had no more hands than he saw, and they
were all Portuguese. The lieutenant was
not very particular, and left the brig without making much search. When the boat
left the vessel we crept from our hiding
hole, and not long after a custom-house-officer came on board.    When we cast an-
chor, as I had a suit of long clothes in my
chest, that I had provided should I have
been so fortunate as have found Sarah at
Port Jackson, to dash away with her a bit
on shore, I put them on immediately,
and gave the custom-house-officer half-a-
guinea for the loan of his cocked hat and
powdered wig; the long gilt-headed cane
was included in the bargain. I got a wa^
terman to put me on shore. I am confident my own father, had he been alive,
could not have known me with my cane in
my hand, cocked hat, and bushy wig. I
inquired at the waterman the way to the
inn, where %he coach set out from for London ; I at the same time knew as well as
him. I passed for a passenger. At the
inn I called for a pint of wine, pens and
ink, and was busy writing any nonsense
that came in my head until the coach set
off. All these precautions were necessary.
Had the waterman suspected me to be a
sailor, he would have informed the press-
&.V 160
gang in one minute.    The waiters af^the
inn would have done the same.
By these precautions I arrived safe in
London, but did not go down to Wapping
until next day, where I took up my old lodgings, still in my disguise. My landlord
went on board, and brought on shore my
bedding and chest. I left them under his
charge while I went to Lincoln to Sarah's
parents, where I made every inquiry, but
they knew not so much of her as I did myself. The last information they had obtained was from the letter I had put in the
post-office for them before I sailed in the
Amelia. I immediately returned to London, where, to my disappointment, I found
there was not a birth to be got in any of
the Indiamen who were for Bombay direct.
They were all full. I then, as my next
best, went to be engaged as cooper on board
the Nottingham for China direct, depending
on Providence if we were ever to meet again.
To find some way to effect my purpose, my ANECDOTE.
landlord took me to be impressed. He got
the six guineas allowed the bringer, which
he returned to me. He was from Inverness, as honest a man as ever lived. I had
always boarded in his house when in London. A curious scene happened at my entry. There were a few more impressed on
the same day, one an old tar. When asked
by Captain Rogers, in his examination,
how they hauled the main tack aboard ? he
replied, " I can't tell, your honour, but I can
show." He clapped his foot into Captain
Rogers' pocket, at the same instant leaped
on his shoulders, tore his coat to the skirts,
saying, " Thus we hand it aboard." Captain Barefoot of the Nottingham, and the
-other captains, laughed heartily, as well as
Rogers, who said rather peevishly, f You
might have shown, without tearing my
coat."—Sf How could I, your honour ?" was
the reply.
w 162
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1111  !
,.-.,.   £, CHAPTER XII.
Arrival at the Cape of Good Hope—Singular Inci-
dent—Java—Wampoa—Chinese Artificers—Music—Returns to Englandf and is impressed—Leith
Roads—Mutiny—Storm at Sea.
I thus again set off as cooper of the
Nottingham in 1793. Nothing worthy of
notice happened. As I have gone over the
same voyage before, I will not detain the
reader; but one circumstance that I witnessed off the Cape of Good Hope I cannot
avoid mentioning, as a dreadful example of
what man will dare, and the perils he will
encounter, to free himself from a situation
he dislikes. A man-of-war had been washing her gratings, when the India fleet hove
in sight.    They are washed by being lower- SINGULAR INCIDENT.
ed overboard, and allowed to float astern.
Four or five men had slipped down upon
them, cut them adrift, and were thus voluntarily committed to the vast Atlantic, without a bit of biscuit, or a drop of water, or
any means of guiding the gratings they
were floating upon, in the hope of being
picked up by some vessel. They held out
their arms to us, and supplicated, in the
wildest manner, to be taken on board. The
captain would not. The Nottingham was
a fast sailing ship, and the first in the fleet.
He said, " I will not; some of the stern
ships will pick them up." While he spoke,
these unfortunate and desponding fellow-
creatures lessened to our view, while their
cries rung in our ears. I hope some of the
stern ships picked them up. Few things I
have seen are more strongly impressed upon my memory, than the despairing looks
and frantic gestures of these victims in quest
of liberty. Next morning the frigate they
had left came alongside of us, and inquired
ii I!
n r
if we had seen them. The captain gave an
indirect answer to their inquiries, as well he
might. When we arrived at Java, and anchored at Batavia, I made every inquiry
for a couiiltry ship, and would have left the
Nottingham in a moment had there been
one. All my m®ney Was concealed upon
my pirson for a start. I thought of falling
sick, and remaining xmtil a country shijp
came; but I might really have become what I
feigned in this European's grave, as I must
have reiftiainedln the hospital. Had I walked about the city in health, the Dutch would
soon have kidnapped me. I w&s thus once
more baffled* Indeed, I m&st confers, I
did not feel the ssaaie anguish now I had
endured before. It was now four years
since I had left her in the colony, and her
leaving it so soon, without waiting for me,
showed she cared less about me than I cared
for her. Not to write to her parents, I had
often thought very neglectful of her. I
made up my mind not to leave the Not* WAMPOA.
tingham at such risl£§, but to return in her
to England ajid settle, as I had now some
cash, and had seen all I could see, and just
make one more call at her friends in Lin-
coln, in my way to Scotland, and be ruled
by the information I there obtained.
We sailed for Wa^apoa, where I was kindly received by my Chinese friejnds. I now
paid more attention, and saw* things without the glare of novelty, and have no cause
to alter any thing I said before. I had al-
wap, while at home, thought them the
best tradesmen, and most ingenious of
people. I am inclined to think they have
been overrated in regard to their abilities.
Some things they do very neat; but, considering the things they have to do them
with, it is no wonders; I mean their varnishes and colours, native productions.
Let the following facts, that Ii can vouch
for, speak for themselves: In my own line,
they are unable to make any article with
two ends, such as barrels.    They have on?
f 'it 166
ly reached the length of a tub; these they
dool, that is pin with bamboos, the joints
of the staves as well as the bottom. When
a cask that comes from Europe is to be
broached, they cannot even bore and place
the crane in it. A foreign cooper must go
on shore and do it. Many a half dollar
I have got for this service myself from^the
Chinese merchants. I do not believe they
can make a nail with a head. Many thousand of their nails I have had through my
hands, and never saw one with a head
upon it, such as we have in England.
Their nails are either sprigs, or simply
bent like a crow's toe. Thev are the
worst smiths of any people; and can do
nothing with a bar of iron if thick. I and
the other coopers always kept the cuttings of our hoops, which they bought with
avidity; but larger pieces they would scarce
take from us. A vessel, the Argyll, while we
were there in the King George, had lost her
rudder, in the voyage out, and could not sail without a new one. There was not a
smith in Canton who could forge the ironwork. The captain of the ship applied to
the armourer of the King George, who took
hVin hand, and in three weeks gained one
hundred dollars by the job. They appear to
me to be excellent copiers, but not inventors.
One of our officers sat for a painter to draw
his picture, and told the Chinese not to make
him ugly. " How can make other than is ?"
was the reply. He had no idea of altering a
single feature to add to the looks of the ob-
ject he was painting. All was a slavish
copy of what was before his eyes. If you
want any thing made out of the common,
they must have one of the same as a pattern, or they will not take it in hand. And
what is a further proof of their want of invention is, when you see one house, you
have seen every house of the same rank, or
any other articles of their manufacture, you
have seen all. There is scarcely any variety,
and you need give yourself no trouble look- 168
ing for others if the price pleased There
is no change of fashion ; the oldest articles
you can fall in with are the same make and
fashion as the newest; and a traveller who
visited the country two hundred years ago
could know no difference but in the men.
They would be new,—the old having died,
the present race, I may say, wearing their
dress, and inhabiting their houses, without
the least change in the general appearance.
The only instrument of music I saw was a
bagpipe, like fche small Lowland pipe, on
which they play well. Their gong^cannot be
called a musical instrument. When John
Tuck, the deputy-emperor, appears, (he is
called so^by the seamen on account of his having a gallows on board the grand boat, which
is as large as a 74 gun ship, and crowded with
attendants^) his band consists only of bagpipes. Their gongs are only used that I heard
to make Tchin, Tchin, to Joss, in bad weather, and at their paper sacrifices; and every
vessel, down to the smallest sampan, has a DUTCH FOLLY.
Joss onboard. The deputy-emperor comes
once every year to view the fleet, and pay
his respects to the commodore. It is the
grandest sight upon the river. Not so
much as a sampan is allowed to move. He
makes a present to every ship in the fleet
of bullocks, wine, schamsee, and flour.
The officers start the schamsee overboard.
It is a pernicious liquor distilled from rice.
The flour is so coarse, it is given to the
hogs. They measure every ship, and can
tell to a quarter chest how much she will
hold. The first American sloop that came,
she having only one mast, the Chinamen
said, fi Hey, yaw, what fashion ? How can
measure ship with one mast ?" they having
been accustomed to measure ships with
more masts than one. They measure between the masts the breadth and depth of
the ship.
I went up the river to the Dutch Folly;
a fort lying waste, opposite Canton, in the
middle of the river.    The Dutch pretend-
1 •
ed they wished to build an hospital for their
sick, and got leave to do so; but their design
was discovered by the bursting of a large
barrel full of shot; and the Chinese put a
stop to their undertaking, which now lies
The Chinese sell all their fish, frogs, rats,
and hogs, alive, and all by weight. Their
frogs are bred and fed by them, and are
the largest I ever saw. When we bought
our sea-stock, the hogs came ogfr board in
the baskets in which they were weighed.
The Chinese women are seldom seen in
the streets; they walk very ill, and their
gowns sweep the ground. Their hair is
very prettily done up in the form of a crown
on the top of their heads, and fastened with
a large gold or silver pin. The Tartar
women are to be met at every step*
The cargo being complete, we fell down
the river, using our old precaution to keep
off the Chinese chop-officers, and they retired with the same exclamation, u Hey, PRESS-GANG.
yaw, what fashion?—too much baubry—too
much baubry."
Nothing uncommon happened until we
reached the Downs. I had allowed my beard
to grow long, and myself to be very dirty, to
be as unlikely as possible, when the man-of-
war boats came on board to press the crew.
As we expected, they came. I was in thehold,
sorting among the water casks, and escaped.
They took every hand that would answer.
I rejoiced in my escape, but my joy was of
short duration. One of the men they had
taken had a sore leg, the boat brought him
back, and I had the bad luck to be taken,
and he was left. Thus were all my schemes
blown into the air. I found myself in a situation I could not leave, a bondage that
had been imposed upon me against my wh%
and no hopes of relief until the end of the
war—not that I disliked it, but I had now
become weary of wandering for a time, and
longed to see Scotland again. My heart
always pointed to my native land.     Re- .78
■ ii
monstrance and complaint were equally
I therefore made up my mind to it, and
was as happy as a man in blasted prospects
can be. I was taken on board the Venerable, Admiral Duncan. She was the flagship, and commanded by Captain Hope,
now Admiral Hope. The Venerable's boats
had made a clean ship of the Nottingham.
She was forced to be brought up the river
by ticket-porters and old Greenwich men.
Next morning sixty of us, who had belonged to the Nottingham, were turned over to
the Edgar, 74, Captain Sir Charles Hemgr
Knowles. This was on the 11th June 1794*.
I was stationed in the gunner's crew.
We went upon a cruise to the coast of
Norway; then touched at Shetland for
fresh provisions. Afterwards we sailed for
Leith Roads. I now felt all the inconve-
niencies of my confinement. I was at home
in sight of the place where I wished all my
wanderings to cease.    Captain Barefoot, of the Nottingham, had wrote to Sir C. H.
Knowles in my behalf, and he was very
kind to me. I asked leave to go on shore
to see my friends, which he consented to;
but Lieutenant Collis would not allow me,
saying, u It was not safe to allow a pressed
man to go on shore at his native place."
tlad I been allowed, I did not intend to
leave the Edgar. I would not have run
away for any money, upon my kind captain's account. My uncle came on board,
and saw me before we sailed; and I was
visited by my other friends, which made
me quite happy. While we lay in Leith
Roads, a mutiny broke out in the Defiance, 74; the cause was, their captain gave
them five-water grog; now the common
thing: is three-waters. The weather was
cold; the spirit thus reduced was, as the
mutineers called it, as thin as muslin, and
quite unfit to keep out the cold. No seaman could endure this in cold climates.
Had they been in hot latitudes, they would
»i WfSt
l Mnltl
have been happy to get it thus, for the sake
of the water; but then they would not have
got it.A The Edgar was ordered alongside
the Defiance, to engage her, if necessar^
to bring her to order. We were saved this
dreadful alternative by their returning to
duty. She was manned principally by fishermen, stout resolute dogs. When bearing
down upon her, my heart felt so sad and
heavj4 not that I feared death or wounds,
but to fight my brother, as it were. I do
not believe the Edgar's crew would have
manned the guns. They thought the Defiance men were in the right; and had they
engaged us heartily, as we would have done
a French 74, we could have done no good^
only blown each other out of the water, for
the ships were of equal force; and if there
was any odds, the Defiance'had it in point
of crew. Had I received my discharge,
and one hundred guineas, I could not have
felt my heart lighter than I did, when we
returned to our anchorage; and the gloom
immediately vanished from every fece in
the ship.
We shortly after sailed on a cruise in the
North Seas, and encountered a dreadful
gale on the 17th October. I sever was in
such danger in all my Me. The Edgar
was only newly put in commission, and her
rigging wras new, and not properly season^
ed.; We in a few hours carried away our
bowsprit and fore-mast in this dreadful
night; then our mizen and main-top-mast.
With great difficulty we cmt them clear.
Soon after our main-mast loosened in the
step, and we every moment expected i$ to
go through her bottom. Then no exertion
could have saved us from destruction. The
ciarpenter, by good fortune, got it secured.
We lost all our anchors and cables in our
attempts to bring her to, save one. At
length it moderated a little, when we rigged
jury masts, and made for the Humber,
where we brought to with our only remaining anchor, when the Inflexible, Cap*
r 176
tain Savage, hove in sight, and took us in
tow. When in this situation, the coasters,
as they passed, called to the Inflexible,
p What prize have you got in tow ?" A
fresh gale sprung up, and the Inflexible
was forced to cast us off. The weather
moderated again, and we proceeded up the
Swain the best way we could into Black-
stakes, Chatham. My birth, during the
storm, as one of the gunner's crew, was in
charge of the powder on deck we used in
firing our guns of distress. The ship rolled so much, we were often upon our beam-
ends, and rolled a number of our guns overboard. We were forced to start all our
beer and water to lighten the ship, but we
rode it out, contrary to our expectation, and
were shortly after turned over, captain and
all, to the Goliah, 74 guns, and sailed to
join Sir John Jervis in the blockade of
Toulon. We boarded a Spanish ship, and
found on board thirty Austrian prisoner^
They every man entered with us as marines* CHAPTER XIII.
Action off' Cape St'Vincent—Blockade of Cadiz-
Action at Aboukir Bay—Anecdotes of the Battle
—Subsequent Occurrences—Landing of the British Army in Egypt—Ophthalmia—Return to
We next sailed for St Forensa Bay, in
the island of Corsica, to water, but found
the French in possession of the watering-
place, and could get none. I belonged to
the launch, and had charge of the powder
and match. I was constantly on shore,
when any service was to be done in destroying stores, spiking guns, blowing up batteries, and enjoyed it much. We carried
off all the brass   guns, and those metal
ones that were near the edge of the rocks
H 2 mnt
we threw into the sea* This was excellent
sport to us, but we were forced to leave it,
and sail to Gibraltar for water and provisions, but could obtain no supplies, and
sailed for Lisbon, where we got plenty,
having been on short allowance for some
time before.
While we lay at Lisbon we got private in-.
telligence overland that the Spanish fleet
was at sea. We with all dispatch set sail
in pursuit of them. We were so fortunate
as come in sight of them by break of day,
on the 14th of February, off Cape St ViAp-
cent. They consisted of twenty-five sail,
mostly three-deckers. We were only
eighteen; but we were English, and we
gave them their Valentines in style. Soon
as we came in sight, a bustle commenced,
not to be conceived or described. To do it
justice, while every man was as busy as he
could be, the greatest order prevailed. A
serious cast was to be perceived on every
face; but not a shade of doubt or fear.
We rejoiced in a general action; not that
we loved fighting; but we all wished to be
free to return to our homes, and follow our
own pursuits. We knew there was no other
way of obtaining this than by defeating the
enemy. 4fc The hotter war the sooner peace,"
was a saying with us. When every thing
was cleared, the ports open, the matches
lighted, and guns run out, then we gave them
three such cheers as are only to be heard
in a British man-of-war. This intimidates
the enemy more than a broadside, as they
have often declared to me. It shows them
all is right; and the men in the true spirit
baying to be at them. During the action,
my situation was not one of danger, but
most wounding to my feelings, and trying
to my patience. I was stationed in die
after magazine, serving powder from the
screen, and could see nothing; but I could
feel every shot that struck the Goliah;
and the cries and groans of the wounded
were most distressing, as there was only the 180
i   !
thickness of the blankets of the screen between me and them. Busy as I was, the
time hung upon me with a dreary weight.
Not a soul spoke to me but the master-at-
arms, as he went his rounds to inquire if
all was safe. No sick person ever longed
more for his physician than I for the voice
of the master-at-arms. The surgeon's-mate,
at the commencement of the action, spoke a
little; but his hands were soon too full of
his own affairs. Those who were carrying
run like wild creatures, and scarce opened
their lips. I would far rather have been on
the decks, amid the bustle, for there the
time flew on eagle's wings. The Goliah
was sore beset; for some time she had two
three-deckers upon her. The men stood to
their guns as cool as if they had been exercising. The Admiral ordered the Britannia to our assistance. Iron-sides, with her
forty-twos, soon made them sheer off. * To-
The Britannia is a first-rate, carrying 110 guns. ACTION OF CAPE ST VINCENT.
wards the close of the action, the men were
very weary. One lad put his head out of
the port-hole, saying, U D—n them, are
they not going to strike yet ?" For us to
strike was out of the question.
At length the roar of the guns ceased,
and I came on deck to see the effects of a
great sea engagement; but such a scene of
blood and desolation I want words to express. I had been in a great number of
actions with single ships in the Proteus and
Surprise, during the seven years I was in
them. This was my first action in a fleet,
and I had only a small share in it. We had
destroyed a great number, and secured four
three*deckers. One, they had the impiety
to call the Holy Ghost, we wished much
to get; but they towed her off. The fleet
was in such a shattered situation, we lay
She was the only ship that carried 42 pounders on
her lower deck, and 32 on her middle deck. She
was the strongest built ship in the navy; the sailors
upon this account called her " Iron-Sides."
HI    "■;- v.:
twenty-four hours in sight of them, repairing
our rigging. It is after the action the disagreeable part commences; the crews are
wrought to the utmost of their strength ; for
days they have no remission of their toil;
repairing the rigging, and other parts injured
in the action ; their spirits are broke by fatigue : they have no leisure to talk of the battle ; and, when the usual round of duty returns, we do not choose to revert to a disagref-
able subject. Who can speak of what he did,
where all did their utmost? One of my messmates had the heel of his shoe shot off; the
skin was not broke, yet his leg swelled and
became black. He was lame for a long time.
On our return to Lisbon we lost one of the
fleet, the Bombay ©astle. She was stranded, and completely lost. All her crew were
saved. We were in great danger in the
Goliah; Captain Sir C. H. Knowles was
tried for not lending assistance, when he
needed it himself. The court-martial honourably acquitted him.    Collis, our firjst
lieutenant, told us not to cheer when he
came on board; but we loved our captain
too well to be restrained. We had agreed
upon a signal wkh the coxswain, if he was,
as he ought to be, honourably acquitted.
The signal was given, and in vain Collin
forbade. We manned the yards, and gave
three hearty cheers. Not a man on board
but would have bled for Sir C. H. Knowles.
To our regret we lost him to our ship at
this very time. He was as good a captain
as I ever sailed witb.t He was made admiral, and went home in the Britannia.
Captain Foley took command of the Go-
liah, and we joined the blockade of Cadiz,
where we remained, sending our boat to
assist at the bombardments, and covering
them until Admiral Nelson came out again,
and picked out thirteen seventy-fours from
the fleet; the Goliah was one. She was
the fastest sailing ship in the fleet. We
did not stay to water ; but got a supply
from the ships that were to remain, .and
H5SI m
away we set under a press of sail, not knowing where. We came to an anchor in the
Straits of Messina. There was an American
man-of-war at anchor; Captain Foley ordered him to unmoor, that the Goliah might
get her station, as it was a good one, near
the shore ; but Jonathan would not budge,
but made answer, U I will let you to know I
belong to the United States of America,
and will not give way to any nation under
the sun, but in a good cause." So we came
to an anchor where we could. We remained here but a short time, when * we got intelligence that the French fleet were up the
Straits. We then made sail for Egypt, but
missed them, and came back to Syracuse,
and watered in twenty-four hours. I was
up all night filling water. The day after
we left Syracuse we fell in with a French
brig, who had just left the fleet. Admiral
Nelson took her in tow, and she conducted
us to where they lay at anchor in Aboukir
We had our anchors out at our stern
port with a spring upon them, and the cable carried along the ship's aide, so that the
anchors were at our bows, as if there was
no change in the arrangement. This was
to prevent the ships from swinging round,
as every ship was to be brought to by her
stern. We ran in between the French fleet
and the shore, to prevent any communication between the enemy and the shore.
Soon as they were in sight, a signal was
made from the Admiral's ship for every
vessel, as she came up, to make the best of
her way, firing upon the French ships as
she passed, and U every man to take his
bird," as we joking called it. The Goliah led'
the van. There was a French frigate right
in our way. Captain Foley cried, " Sink that
brute, what does he there ?" In a moment
she went to the bottom, and her crew were
seen running into her rigging. The sun
was just setting as we went into the bay,
and a red and fiery sun it was.    I would, if
i mi
had I had my choice, been on the deck;
there I would have seen what was passing,
and the time would not have hung so heavy;
but every man does bis duty with spirit*
whether his station be in the slaughter*,
house or the magazine. *
I saw as little of this action as I did of
the one on the 14th February off Cape St
Vincent. My station was in the powder magazine with the gunner. As we entered the
bay, we stripped to our trowsers, opened
our ports, cleared, and every ship we
passed gave them a broad-side and three
cheers. Any information we got was from
the bovs and women who carried the
powder. The women behaved as well as
the men, and got a present for their bravery from the Grand Signior. Wljen the
French Admiral's ship blew up, the Goliah
* The seamen call the lower deck, near the mainmast, the slaughteahouse, as it is a mid-ships., and
the enemy aim their fire principally at the body of
got such a shake, we thought the after-part
of her had blown up until the boys told
us what it was. They brought us every
now and then the cheering news of another
French ship having struck, and we answered
the cheers on deck w&h heart-felt joy. In
the heat of the action, a shot came right in*
to the magazine, but did no harm, as the
carpenters plugged it up, and stopped the
water that was rushing in. I was much indebted to the gunner's wife, who gave her
husband and me a drink of wine every now
and then, which lessened our fatigue much.
There were some of the women wounded,
and one woman belonging to Leith died of
her wounds, and was buried on a small
island in the bay. One woman bore a son
in the heat of the action; she belonged to
Edinburgh. When we ceased firing, I
went on deck to view the state of the fleets,
and an awful sight it was. The whole bay
was covered with dead bodies, mangled,
wounded, and scorched, not a bit of clothes 188
on them except their trowsers. There were
a number of French, belonging to the
French Admiral's ship, the L'Orient, who
had swam to the Goliah, and were cowering under her forecastle. Poor fellows,
they were brought on board, and Captain
Foley ordered them down to the steward's
room, to get provisions and clothing. One
thing I observed in these Frenchmen quite
different from any thing I had ever before
observed. In the American war, when we
took a Frenchflship, the Duke de Chartres,
the prisoners were as merry as if they had
taken us, only saying, § Fortune de guerre,"
-—you take me to-day, I take you to-morrow. Those we now had on board were
thankful for our kindness, but were sullen,
and as downcast as if each had lost a ship
of his own. The only incidents I heard of
are two. One lad who was stationed by a
salt-box, on which he sat to give out cartridges, and keep the lid close,*^it is a trying birth,—when  asked for a cartridge^ he gave none, yet he sat upright; his eyes
were open. One of the men gave him a
push; he fell all his length on the deck.
There was not a blemish on his body, yet
he was quite dead, and was thrown overboard. The other, a lad who had the
match in his hand to fire his gun. In the
act of applying it a shot took off his arm;
it hung by a small piece of skin. The
match fell to the deck. He looked to his
arm, and seeing what had happened, seized
the match in his left hand, and fired off the
gun before he went to the cock-pit to have
it dressed. They were in our mess, or I
might never have heard of it. Two of the
mess were killed, and I knew not of it until the day after. Thus terminated the glorious first of August, the busiest night in
my life.
Soon after the action the whole fleet set
sail with the prizes, and left the Goliah as
guard-ship*&yWe remained here until we
were relieve*! by the Tigre, 74, when we
HP-a 190
Hlf.k'. A ti
sailed for Naples to refit. After refitting
we sailed for Malta to join in the blockade,
where we remained eight months without
any occurrence worthy of notice. At length
the Goliah became so leaky, we were forced
to leave our station and sail far Gibraltar,
where, after watering, we sailed for England. We got some marines from the
Rock, to reinforce the Goliah's complement,
—one of them a tall stout Englishman, who
had been cock of the Rock. He was very
overbearing. There are often quarrels at
the ship's fires, when the men are boiling
their kettles. We had a stout lilMe fellow
of an Irishman, who had been long in the
Goliah; the marine pushed his kettle aside.
Paddy demanded why he did so ? " Because I choose to do it."—" I won't allow
you while the life is in me/' was the reply.
u Do you wiih to fight ?" said the Englishman. |J Yes, and I do," said Paddy; jf I
will take the Gibraltar rust out of you, or
you shall beat the life out of my body be-
""""1 fore we are done." A fight was made up
in a minute; and they went well forward
on the deck, to be out of sight of the officers. To it they went, and fought it out;
we forming a ring, and screening them from
observation. Paddy was as good as his
word; for he took the rust off the marine so
well, he was forced to give in, and we were
all happy to see the lobster-back's pride
taken out of him. On our arrival she was
put out of commission, and the crew turn-
ed over to the Royal William, the guard-
ship, and had two or three days' liberty on
shore, by the admiral's order.
I was next drafted on board the Rami-
hes, and sailed for Belleisle; but remained
only a short time in her, when I was turned
over to the Ajax, Captain Alexander F.
Cochrane, upon preferment. We sailed for
Ferrol, and attempted to cut out some vessels, but did not succeed; then stood for
Algiers to water, having a fleet of transports with troops on board under convoy^
»«3 maati
is i-
The troops were commanded by Sir Ralph
Abercromby. Having watered, we sailed
with the army to Mamarice Bay, and the,
troops were encamped upon a fine piece of
ground, with a rivulet running through the
centre. The French had j ust left the place,
having first done all the mischief in their
power. While we lay here, an engineer,
named William Balcarras, went in a frigate
to reconnoitre the French works. He landed, and, having attained his object, was
coming off in his boat, when he was followed
by another from the shore, and shot dead
before he reached the frigate. We left Mamarice Bay* and sailed to Rhodes, where
we took in forage for the cavalry. We
then sailed for Alexandria, and landed the
I belonged to one of the boats; Captain
A. F. Cochrane was beach-master, and
had the ordering of the troops in the landing.    We began to leave the ships about
twelve o'clock, and reached the shore about
i EGtfPT.
sunrJise in the morning. We rowed very
slow with our oars muffled. It was a pleasant night; the water was very still; and
all was silent as death. No one spoke;
but each cast an anxious look to the shore;
then at each other, impatient to land. Each
boat carried about one hundred men, and«
did not draw nine inches of water. The
French cavalry were ready to receive us;
but we soon forced them back, and landed
eight thousand men the first morning. We
had good sport at landing the troops, as
the Frenchmen made a stout resistance.
We brought back the wounded men to the
For some time we supplied the troops
on shore with provisions and water. After
the advance of the troops into the country,
I was with the seamen on shore, assisting at
the siege of Alexandria, and working like a
labourer in cutting off the branch of the
Nile that supplied the city with water.
One of the  Ajax's boats, at Sir  Ralph
mm mam
I ii
Abercrombie's request, carried him after
receiving his wound on board the hospital
Of all the countries I was ever in, in all
my wanderings,   I  could  not remain in
Egypt, the air is so dry, and I felt so
disagreeable.    It is, on the whole, sandy
and barren; yet what I saw of it that was
cultivated  is very agreeable.     For some
days before the town surrendered, I had
been so bad. with the flux, I was forced to
go on board.    After the town surrendered,
and the operations of the army ceased, we
sailed  for  Malta.    As this time,   I was
blind with the ophthalmia, and continued
thus for six weeks.    My sufferings were
most acute.    I could not lie down for a mo-
ment^for the scalding water, that continually flowed from my eyes, filled them, and
put me to exquisite torture.    I sat constantly on my chest with a vessel of cold
water bathing them.    If I slept I awoke in
an agony of pain.    All the time the flux> RETURNS TO LONDON.
was most severe upon me, and the surgeon
would not dry it up, as it, he said, relieved
my eyes. When we came to Malta, a
French surgeon cured me by touching the
balls of my eyes with tincture of opium;
but the pain of the application was very severe. Thank God, however, I soon after
recovered my health and spirits. From
Malta we sailed to Gibraltar, where we watered, then sailed for England, where, to
my joy, I found that peace was concluded.
We were all paid off shortly after our arrival. I was ship's corporal when I was discharged. J,
■i.-.'... ;•
Author arrives in Edinburgh—Marries and Settles
as a Cooper—Forced to leave his Business from
Danger of Impressment—Retires to Cousland—
Subsequent Occurrences—Returns to Edinburgh
from Inability to work at Cousland—Failure of
Prospects—Present Situation.
I was once more my own master, and
felt so happy, I was like one bewildered.
Did those on shore only experience half the
sensations of a sailor at perfect liberty, after
being seven years on board ship without a
will of his own, they would not blame his
eccentricities, but wonder he was not more
foolish. After a few days my cooler reason
began to resume its power, and I began to
think what should be my after pursuits. ARRIVES IN EDINBURGH!,
It was now seven years since I had been
pressed from the Nottingham. In that time
the thoughts of Sarah had faded into a distant pleasing dream. The violent desire I
at one time felt to repossess her was now softened into a curiosity to know what had become of her.
As I was now possessed of a good deal
of pay, and prize-money due, when I received it, I went down by Lincoln to make
inquiry, but no one had heard of her since
I was there myself, nine years before; so
all my inquiries after her terminated; and
I proceeded to Scotland, determined to settle, as I was now too old to undertake any
more love pilgrimages after an individual,
as I knew not in what quarter of the globe
she was, or whether she were dead or alive.
I arrived in Edinburgh just twenty-five
years after I had left it to wander over the
globe. I had been only twice there, once
at the end of the American war, when I
found my father dead, and my brothers
H\ 198
wanderers. After my return from the
voyage with Captain Portlock, I remained
only a few days, and just passed through
the city. When in the Edgar, I never
had been on shore. I scarce knew a face in
Edinburgh. It had doubled' itself in my
absence. I now wandered in elegant streets
where I had left corn growing;—everything
was new to me. I confess, I felt more sincere pleasure and enjoyment in beholding
the beauties of Edinburgh, than ever I felt
in any: foreign clime, for I now could identi-
myself with them. I was a Scotchman,
and I felt as if they were my own property.
In China, in Naples, in Rio Janeiro, or
even in London, I felt as a stranger, and I
beheld with only the eye of curiosity. Here
I now looked on with the eye of a son, who
is witnessing the improvements of his father's house. Little did I at this time
think I should wander in these very streets
to pick up a few coals to warm my aged
limbs!—but every thing is wisely ordered by AUTHOR MARRIES.
that Power who has protected me in dangers when I thought not of Him.
I felt myself, for a few weeks after my
arrival, not so very happy. As I had anticipated, there was scarcely a friend I had left
that I knew again; the old were dead, the
young had grown up to manhood, and many
were in foreign climes. The Frith of
Forth, which, in my youth, appeared a sea
to my inexperienced mind,—Arthur Seat,
and the neighbouring hills,—now seemed
dwindled to insignificance, in comparison
to what I had witnessed in foreign parts.
Because they were my native scenery, I felt
hurt that any other country should possess
more imposing objects of their kind. But
they were Scotch, and I loved them stijk
I could not settle to work, but wandered
up and down. At length I fell in with a
cousin of my own. We had been play-fellows, and a friendly intimacy had continued until I went to sea. I fixed my affections on her, and we were married.    I gave ■HfSS
•   ; |!!
Snags   1'
11 life;
lillil :<
her my solemn promise never again to go to
sea during her life. I then thought sincerely
of settling, and following my trade. I
bought a house in the Castle-Hill, and furnished it well; then laid in a stock of
wood and tools. I had as much work as
I could do for a soap-work at the Queens-
ferry. For one year my prospects were as
good as I could have wished, and I was as
happy as ever I had been in my life. But
in a few months after, the war broke out
again, and the press-gang came in quest of
me. I could no longer remain in Edinburgh and avoid them. My wife was like
a distracted woman, and gave me no rest
until I sold off my stock in trade and the
greater part of my fupiiture, and retired to
the country. Even until I got this accomplished I dared not to sleep in my own
house, as I had more than one call from
the gang.
I went to Cousland, nine imije^ from Edinburgh, in the parish of Cranstoun, and put
up at one Robert MooinVs, a small public-
house, nofknowhig what was to be my next
pursuit. I could obtain no employment as
a cooper, unless I lived in a large or sea-port
town, and there I could not remain. I at
length applied to Mr Dickson, and got
work from him at the fime-quarries. My
birth was to bore and charge the stones
with gunpowder, to facilitate the work. I
continued to live at Robert Moodie^, my
wife Margaret paying me an occasional visit, until I got a house of my own from Mr
Dickson, when she came out to reside constantly with me. I hoped that every month
would put a period to the war, and I would
be allowed to return to Edinburgh. But
peace still seemed to recede from Britain^
Year after year I looked for it in vain.
When the weather was good, night after
night have I sat, after my day's labour, by
the old windmill in Bartholomew's field,
first gazing upon Edinburgh, that I dared
not reside in, then upon the vessels that
12 ■*h£
glided along the Forth. A sigh would
escape me at my present lot. My promise
to Margaret kept me from them, (my word
has ever been my bond,) or I should assuredly have gone to sea again. I was like
a bird in a cage, with objects that I desired on every side, but could not obtain.
The cultivation of the small garden attached to my cottage occupied my mind for
some time. I was becoming a little more reconciled to my lot, when the press-gang came
out even to Cousland, and took away a
neighbour of the name of Murray. He
had a large family, and, through the interest of the minister and neighbouring gen-
© .. .00
tlemen, he got off.    His impressment was a
great blow to my tranquillity for many
months.    For a long time I  slept every
night either in Dalkeith or Musselburgh,
and, during the day, a stranger could not
appear near the quarry without causing the
most  disagreeable  sensations to me.    At
length this cause of uneasiness wore off
likewise, and I settled down to my usual
calm expectations of peace; but year followed year, and my prospects were unaltered.
I now began to see the great alterations
that had taken place in the country from
the time I had been in it, when a boy, about
the year 1766. At that time I had resid-
ed for some time with my uncle at Edmdn-
stone. The country was very little inclosed ;
the farmers lived with their servants. Now
the country was inclosed, and the farmers
were gentlemen. At Dalkeith fair, when
the crops were off the ground, it was called " long halter time." The cattle, during the fair, got leave to stray at large,
while the farmers, their wives, daughters,
and servants, were all at the fair, only one
woman being left at home. Now the faji-
mers, if they went to the fair, it was to sell
or buy, not to make merry. Their wives
and daughters would have thought themselves disgraced if they were seen at the
fair.    They no longer messed with their mamwH
servants, but lived like noblemen by themselves. If a servant had occasion to speak
to his master, he must address h§ni as if he
had been an admiral;—this tome appeared
strange at first.
As Mr Dickson knew I was anxious for
the news, he was so kind as giye me a reading
of the newspapers when he was done. The
other workmen assembled in my cottage on
the evenings I got them, and I read aloud;
then we would discuss the important parts
together. The others were not friendly to
the government, save one, an old soldier,
who had been in the East Indies; he and I
always sided together. I had broke his Majesty's bread for fourteen years, and would
not, upon that account, hear his goverifc.
ment spoken against. I had but poor help
from the old soldier, and I had them all to
contend with ; but when I was like to be run
down, I bothered them with latitudes and
longitudes* and the old soldier swore to all
I  said,  and  we  contrived to keep our SUBSEQUENT OCCURRENCES.
ground, for we had both been great tra-
, wllers. When they spoke of heavy taxes, I
talked of China; when they complained of
hard times, I told them of the West India
slaves; but neither could make any impression on the other.
When Murray was pressed, and I was
forced to skulk like a thief, they thought
they had a great triumph over me, and did
not spare their taunts. One would ask what
I thought of British freedom; another, if I
could defend a government which did such
things? I was at no loss for my answer.   I
told them, If Necessity had no law."   Could
the government make perfect seamen as
easily as they could soldiers, there would be
no such thing as pressing of seamen, and
that I was happy to be of more value than
them all put together, for they would not
impress any of them, they were of so little
value compared with me. |j|f
When the news of the victory of Trafalgar arrived, I had my triumph over them
so 206
in return. None but an old tar can feel the
joy I felt. I wrought none the next day,
but walked about enjoying the feeling of
triumph. Every now and then I felt the
greatest desire to hurra aloud, and many
an hurra my heart gave that my mouth
uttered not.
For eleven years I lived at Cousland.
Year followed year, but still no views of
peace. I grew old apace, and the work became too heavy for me. I was now fifty-
eight years of age, and they would not have
taken me, had I wished to enter the service. I therefore removed to Edinburgh,
and again began to work for myself. My
first employers had failed in business long
before. The times were completely changed; I could not get constant employment
for myself. I therefore wrought for any
of the other masters who were throng; but
the cooper business is so very poor, I have
been oftener out of employment than at
work.     Few of them keep journeymen. FAILURE OF PROSPECTS.
They, like myself, do all their work with
their own hands.
I never had any children by my cousin
during the seventeen years we lived together. Margaret, during all that time, never gave me a bad word, or made any strife
by her temper; but all have their faults.
I will not complain; but more money going
out than I by my industry could bring in,
has now reduced me to want in my old age.
At her death, which happened four years
ago, I was forced to sell all my property,
except a small room, in which I live, and
a cellar where I do any little work I am
so fortunate as obtain. This I did to pay
the expences of her funeral, and a number
of debts that had been contracted unknown
to me. As my poverty will not allow me
to pay for a seat in a church, I go in the
evenings to the Little Church; but my
house is in the Tolbooth parish.
Doctor Davidson visits me in his ministerial capacity. These, I may say, are the only 208
glimpses of sunshine that ever visit my
humble dwelling. Mr Mackenzie, my elde^
is very attentive in giving me tickets of admission to the sermons that are preached
in the school-house in the Castle-Hill. Igi
one of Doctor Davidson's visits^ he made
me a present offa few shillings; it was a
great gift from God. I had not one penny
at the time aaa the house.
In the month of August, last year, a
cousin of my own made me a present of as
muchTemoney as carried me to London. I
sailed in the Hawk, London smack. I was
only a steerage passenger; but fared as
well as the cabin passengers. I was held
constantly in tow by the passengers. My
spirits wete up. I was at sea again. I had
not trode a deck for twenty years before.
I had always a crowd round me, listening to
my accounts of the former voyages that I
had made. Every one was more kind to
me than another.    I was very happy.
Upon my arrival in London I waited PRESENT SITUATION.
upon my old captain, Portlock; but For>-
tune was now completely against me. He
had been dead six weeks before my arrival.
I left the house; my spirits sunk with
grief lor his death, and my own disappointment, as my chief dependance was upon hp
aid. I then went to Somerset House for
the certificate of my service; seven years
in the Proteus, and Surprise, in the American War, and seven in the Edgar, Goliah,
Ramihes, and Afax, in the French War.
I was ordered to go to the Admiralty Office first, and then come back to Somerset
House. When I applied at the Admiralty
Office, a clerk told me I had been too long
of applying. I then went down to the Governor of Greenwich Hospital. I was not
acquainted witfc him; but I knew the Governor of Greenwich would be a distressed
seaman's friend. His servant told me he
was in Scotland. I then waited upon Captain Gore, whose son's life I had saved,
but he was not at home.    It was of no use 210
to remain in London, as my money wore
done apace. I took my passage back to
Edinburgh in the Favourite, London smack,
and arrived just four weeks from my first
setting out on this voyage of disappointment. What can I do ? I must just take
what Fortune has still in store for me.
At one time, after I came home, I little
thought I should ever require to apply for a
pension; and, therefore, made no application until I really stood in need of it.
I eke out my subsistence in the best
manner I can. Coffee made from the raspings of bread, (which I obtain from the bakers,) twice a day, is my chief diet. A few
potatoes, or any thing I can obtain with a
few pence, constitute my dinner. My only
luxury is tobacco, which I have used these
forty-five years. To beg I never will submit. Could I have obtained a small pension for my past services, I should then have
reached my utmost earthly wish, and the
approach of utter helplessness would not PRESENT SITUATION.
haunt me as it at present does in my solitary home. Should I be forced to sell it,
all I would obtain could not keep me, and
pay for lodgings for one year; then I must
go to the poor's-house, which God in his
mercy forbid. I can look to my death-bed
with resignation; but to the poor's-house
I cannot look with composure.
I have been a wanderer, and the child
of chance, all my days; and now only look
for the time when I shall enter my last
ship, and be anchored with a green turf upon my breast; and I care not how soon the
command is given.  POSTSCRIPT
Eaiily in the spring of the year
1822, John Nicol, the Narrator of
the preceding Adventures, was pointed out to me as a most interesting
character, and one who had seen more
of the world than most persons in
Edinburgh, perhaps in Britain. He
was walking feebly along, with an old
apron tied round his waist, in which
he carried a few very small pieces of
coal he had picked up in his wanderings through the streets. From the
history I had got of his adventures, I
felt grieved to see the poor old man. 214
I requested him to call at my shop; he
came in the evening. After a little
conversation with him, I was astonished at the information he possessed, and
the spirit that awoke in the old Tar.
I had no interest by which to serve him
myself. Money I had not to give. As
the only means of being of permanent
use to him, and, perhaps, of obtaining
the pension he is by service entitled to,
I thought of taking down a Narrative
of his Life, from his own mouth. This
I have done, as nearly as I could, in his
own words. Even in the midst of all
his present wants, he is a contented
cheerful old man, of sober habits,
and bears an excellent character from
those people who have employed him in
his trade as a Cooper. I have conversed with" one of his shipmates, who
was with him in the Edgar, Goliah, POSTSCRIPT.
and Ramilies, who informs me, he was
as sober and steady a man as ever
sailed. I have never met with one
possessed of a more tenacious memory,
or who gave a more distinct account of
any occurrence he had witnessed, of
which any gentleman may satisfy himself, as John will wait upon him with
pleasure, upon application to the Publisher.
J. H.
12th November 1822.
Printed by George Ramsay and Co.
Edinburgh, 1822. Ill
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