Journey Home 13

Sat.y 7th September – at 4 P.M. the breeze sprung up, and fine weather setting in we got under weigh, and set sail from S.t Thomas for England. When outside we perceived that the island of S.t Thomas, formed a long line of nearly unbroken hills, which we passed rapidly in our course. In three hours, we got clear of all the islands, and stretched out into the open ocean, making a pretty fair course. We do not of course expect a favourable wind, until we get beyond the trades – and therefore we are very well content as we are.

Sunday 8th – squally weather – wind variable but pretty favourable. Several showers of rain.

Monday 9th – fine weather – light and foul wind. Spoke the American Brig Diomede, from Portland, bound to S.t Domingo.

Tuesday 10th – fine weather – nearly a calm during greater part of the day – light and foul wind the remainder of the day.

Wednesday 11th – fine weather – light and variable breezes.

Thursday 12th – light variable winds in the morning – calm part of the day, then a breeze. Fine weather, with occasional showers.

Friday 13th – fine weather – light and variable breeze in the morning – calm all day.

Saturday 14th September – up to 1 P.M. calm fine weather.

Remarks on 8th Week

VII Hebdomade – The commencement of this our 8th week, had been anxiously looked forward to, and when it arrived, was hailed with delight, because we bid adieu to S.t Thomas, and all its penances & pleasures, which latter by the bye, we could not regret, as in consequence of the bad weather, we never had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with them.

The Mail boat, which had followed us from Barbadoes eight days after we left that place (hence called the eight day boat)  in contradistinction to the other Mail boats who sailed at any time) by the same route with the answers to the letters we had dropped, came to anchor at S.t Thomas early in the morning. Another Mail Boat also from La Guayra, was arrived, so that we had nothing to detain us. The weather however would not suffer us to proceed so soon as we wished – since this day – & remember not one of the others of our stay was so – was remarkable for a calm, as the other 8 had been for fresh breezes.

At 4 P.M. when our patience was almost exhausted, and our Captain was beginning to be uneasy at the prospect of laying at anchor all night when we were right in the channel of the entrance (for we had warped out from our former snug birth in the morning, in order to take advantage of the breeze) the wind gradually sprung up, leading us out of the Harbour, and enabling us ere daylight closed in, to get out from among the islands into the open sea.

In doing this, we saw the whole length of S.t Thomas, which seemed to me a line of hill, with scarcely any perceptible undulations. We saw also several other islands, of very inferior magnitude, and very uninteresting – with the exception of one very small rocky islet, which at a distance, or when near to it at the close of day, [bore a] striking resemblance to a large vessel under full sail. This appearance rendered it  remarkable enough but it becomes doubly interesting from a story connected with it. During the war, a French frigate made this Rock, and fancied that it was a British frigate. The Capt.n being a man of mettle determined to come to an engagement. At night fall he was pretty close but being resolved to get as near as possible he reserved his fire, and when sufficiently near kept up a heavy fire during the night, without discovering his mistake – for his proximity to the rock made the balls which  re-bounded from it fall upon his decks, killing many men, and keeping up the delusion. Very early in the morning, when the darkness was beginning to be dispelled by the bright orb of day, the fire of the French ceased as if by magic – his sails were all set for departure & the Captain was almost unable to show his face from Chagrin when he found that he had spent his time – his ammunition and the lives of his brave in a contest with an enemy of stone.

Now freed from all fear from all danger of land, we sped on our way with a pretty fair and favourable breeze, which held on tolerably for three days, when we had light and variable breezes with calms, which continued to the end of our present Hebdomadal period. We have now reached the borders of the variables (which lie in 28 to 30 degrees of Latitude), and are in instant hopes of a fresh and favourable breeze.

The weather during this week has in general been very fine. A few slight showers, & one or two down-pourings have been the only disagreeable interruptions – if such they can be called; seeing they served to cool the air so much. The heat has been great – indeed excessive during the calms, but we live in the agreeable expectation that in a few days, when we shall [be] a few degrees to the Northward, we shall experience a more pleasant temperature. Besides we dont complain as we are bound home.

Saturday 14 Sept.r – 1 P.M. calm all day – fine weather. At eight squally with occasional showers.

Sunday 15th – at 8 A.M. sprung up a fresh and favourable breeze – and continued all day. Cloudy but pleasant weather. Rain at night.

Monday 16th – very fresh and favourable breezes – cloudy weather with occasional showers.

Tuesday 17th – cloudy weather. Fresh and favourable breeze, until evening when it drew forward a little.

Wednesday 18th – fine weather – fresh but foul wind.

Thursday 19th – fine weather – Moderate & foul wind.

Friday 20th – fine weather – Moderate and nearly favourable breeze.

Saturday 21st to 1 P.M. – very fine weather. Moderate & favourable breeze.

Remarks concerning the 9th Week

IX Hebdomadal period – Our hopes for a continued fair wind and a quick passage, seemed likely at the commencement of this week, to be fully realized. We had already passed the part we most dreaded, viz. from 28 to 30 degrees, where you are frequently met with by calms and variable winds. And to which we were yet congratulating each other on our pleasant prospects, as if to vex and disappoint us, the wind shifted and blew strong right in our teeth. As our joy had been causelessly excited, so our fears were as causelessly great and unfounded. For three days we were depressed by a foul wind, which was however far from remaining steady at one point – which led us to think, that it would soon come round again to its former & favourable quarter. The end of the third day also saw an end of our foul breeze. A moderate & favourable one succeeded, and kept us company till the termination of this Hebdomade.

At the beginning of this week the thermometer shot pretty high, indeed as high as during the hottest part of last week, but as we advanced to the Northward it gradually declined – having by Saturday sunk 10 degrees. We now begin to feel the blessed influence of a colder climate which enables us to take our promenade, without soaking us in perspiration a heretofore.

Taking all together – the weather was very fine – sometimes cloudy without rain, and now & then we had passing showers.

Saturday 21st September – very fine weather. Moderate & favourable breeze.

Sunday 22d – beautiful weather. Moderate & favourable breeze.

Monday 23d – very fine weather. Moderate and favourable breeze.

Tuesday 24th – beautiful weather – pleasant & cool. Light variable but favourable breeze.

Wednesday 25th – cloudy but pleasant weather. Very fresh & favourable breeze.

Thursday 26th – cloudy weather, rain at night very fresh & favourable breeze.

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