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REVISED IN 1849.
16TH JULY, 1827. Sailed in the good ship “William Thompson,” 500 tons burthen ; George Maxwell, Captain, from Liverpool to New York, with the following fellow passengers :
One English lady; three English gentlemen.—M. Fournieux, a Frenchman, aged forty-two, formerly a Captain in Bonaparte's Imperial Guards, since then in the Columbian service.—M.M. Duponce and Herrara, two Spanish gentlemen, en route to Cuba, both between twenty and thirty.—Mr. Walker, scenepainter, from Drury-lane Theatre, on his way to pursue his profession, at the Park Theatre, New York; his wife and two little girls, Susan and Maria, aged three and five years.
Five steerage passengers—three women, one man, one child; they commonly pay £4 or £5 for their passage, and find themselves.
Cabin passengers pay thirty-five guineas to New York; thirty guineas back, and are found in every thing. Children under twelve, are charged half-price. Crew-twelve men, two boys; but, including captain, mates, carpenter, stewards, &c., twenty-four in all.
It being the summer season, the captain made the northern passage through the Irish Sea, by the Hebrides, Giant's Causeway, &c., in County Antrim, which Dr. Johnson declared, “is worth seeing, but not worth going to see," in preference to the southern, through Saint George's Channel, by Cape Clear, &c., and after encountering some squally weather, being sea-sick a quarter of an hour, and squeamish for a couple of days, we entered the Atlantic Ocean, and lost sight of land on the 21st of July.
Felt no inclination to moralize on the occasion, as some people do, and others, perhaps, only pretend to do.
“ when I first entered
the world of waters, and lost sight of land, I looked round about me with pleasing terror, and thinking my soul enlarged by the boundless prospect, imagined that I could gaze round for ever, without satiety, but in a short time I grew weary of looking on barren uniformity, when I could only see again what I had already seen. I then descended into the ship, and doubted for a while whether all my future pleasures would not end like this, in disgust and disappointment. Yet, surely said I, the ocean and the land are very different; the only variety on water is rest and motion, but the earth has mountains and vallies, deserts, and cities, it is inhabited by men of different customs and contrary opinions, and I may hope to find variety in life, though I should miss it in nature.
“With this thought I quieted my mind, and amused myself during the voyage, sometimes by learning from the sailors the art of navigation, which I have never practised, and sometimes by forming schemes for my
conduct in different situations, in not one of which I have been ever placed.”
Imlac should have beguiled the time by keeping a journal, but he was then in his noviciate, and had
probably never read or pondered over the precepts of Horace—“Dulce est, desipere in loco."
At eight this morning, hearing a violent uproar upon deck, I hastened there, and found two of the masts broken in pieces, about two-fifths off the top.
They were both in the sea, but were hindered by the rigging from leaving the ship. Captain Maxwell said, “ well! we are in a mess this morning.” certainly a grand and imposing sight, and the confusion of incoherent sounds, caused by the wind and waves, the captain's speaking-trumpet, and the shouts of the crew, was very great. Mr. Walker, the scenepainter, took a sketch of it. Log-book says :
“Fresh breezes, and pleasant; an ugly sea running at one, p.m., tacked to N.W. Midnight, fresh gales from N.W., attended with heavy squalls of wind and rain ; heavy sea running, the sea taking in large quantities of water; at eight, more moderate; tacked ship to the west. Whilst in the act of tacking, was struck by a tremendous squall of wind, which carried away the head of the foremast, and with it the fore-top mast, top-gallant mast, royal mast, flying jib-boon, and fore-top; also the main, top-gallant, and royal masts, and sails, and rigging attached to the abovementioned spars. The ship at this time very laboursome, rolling heavy, and shipping large quantities of water, but making no more water than usual; meridian, fresh gales, and heavy squalls of wind and rain, all hands clearing the wreck. Wind S.S.W.-N., N.N.W.-W., Lat. 52, 30; Long. 25."
Pretty calm all day, considering the rocking motion caused by the violence of yesterday's gale. Mr. Guy, a Yorkshire Quaker, tall and thin, metamorphosed into an American citizen, lost his large white beaver hat over-board this morning. Like Mr. G.very much : his eloquent episodes about M. and M.
“Oh, County Guy! the hour is nigh,
The sun has left the lea,
The breeze is on the sea.
The lark, his lay, who trilled all day,
Sits hushed, his partner by,
But where is County Guy?”