Journey Home

We had now been nearly a week at Port Royal, and I was not sorry when our time expired and we were ready to set out on our return home. At last on Monday 12th Sept.r at 6 P.M. we received our Mail, and very early on the morning of Tuesday 13th we slipped from the buoy and stood for Crooked Island.

Wednesday 14th – fine weather. Tacking about occasionally to get up the windward passage.

Thursday 15th – fine weather. Wind foul.

Friday 16th – fine weather – foul wind.

Saturday 17th – fine weather – wind pretty fair.

Sunday 18th – fine weather – foul wind.

Monday 19th – very fine weather – fair wind.

Tuesday 20th – altho’ we had a fair wind and fine weather, the Commander, not wishing to run on during the night as the navigation was dangerous, and we had on a former occasion got on shore at Fortune Island, came to anchor off the N W end of the island called Great Ineagua. This was about 2 in the afternoon. One of our passengers myself, and the Mate went ashore, but saw there nothing to reward us for travelling, under a broiling sun, over sands & stones, and forcing our way thro’ trees & shrubs, which cover this part of the island. The is very low lying & I should imagine very unproductive, and it was with no small pleasure, that we arrived, hungty & almost exhausted ‘lingua fancibus _haesit’ that I returned on board. At 10 P.M. we again weighed and set sail for Crooked Island.

Wednesday 21st September – fresh and favourable breezes – squally w.r in the forenoon, very fine in the afternoon. At 1 accompanied the Mate with the Mail on shore, and saw our old acquaintance M.r Moss, whom we found quite well. After some hours stay we returned on board, when immediately after we started for England ho!

From Wednesday 21st to this day (Saturday 24th) we have been highly favoured with fine weather, & fresh & favourable breezes.

Sunday 25th – fine weather. Strong & favourable breeze.

Monday 26th – fine W.r Strong & favourable breeze.

Tuesday 27th – strong but favourable breezes, fine weather. This morning, at 7.30 died William Poulsom (aged about 28) of fever. He had been ill only eight [days?] after he had first complained to me – but from – the accounts of his Shipmates, he had been unwell ever since we left Port Royal. When I saw him first, his symptoms were those certainly of fever, but none indicating any danger, or any determination to any important organ. For some days he seemed to be rather better, but never to be free from fever – he had rather a remission than intermission. Yesterday he for the first time began to complain of his chest, which he said felt as if it were very hot, resembling heartburn – but he said he had no pain. His pulse was rather good, about 84. I entertained as yet no serious apprehensions of danger, altho’ I thought that this pectoral symptom should if possible be removed – and therefore applied a large blister. During the first part of the night he was restless and uneasy, sometimes wandering in his mind. At 4 his respiration became hurried & quick – which became worse & worse so – his feet were cold and he was delirious. All these symptoms increased, till death took place at the time I have mentioned. M.r Crelin [8] our passenger, and Surgeon of the Magnificent [9] was of opinion (and a period of four years passed in the West Indies, entitled him to pronounce upon it) that this was a case of true yellow fever. – You can readily imagine that where we are so few, the death of one of our number, would be an event of great interest to us all. Indeed it cast a general gloom around & the downcast looks of most, proclaimed how deeply they were affected by the sudden departure of one whom but a few days before they had seen in the enjoyment of robust health. At half past ten every thing having been previously prepared, that is, the body having been sewed up in a hammock, with a great weight attached to it, and placed on a board covered with our ensign, the captain assisted by myself proceeded to read the burial service, which is one of the most solemn & affecting I have ever heard. It was felt in its full force by us, and when the Capt.n came to those words “we commit the body to the deep, in the hope of a perfect resurrection,” the body was propelled from the board and launched into the sea, while at the same time there was hardly a dry eye among us.

Our deceased shipmate was one of the finest men, in respect of bodily qualification, we had. His frame was robust – his legs & arms in particular were exceedingly muscular – and he possessed a Herculean strength. His history is a most unfortunate one. He was a most dutiful son, and formed the only support of his aged mother, who loved him with more than ordinary affection, and would hurry to Falm.o when we came in, wherever she might happen to be at the time. How she will bear the shock of her sons death, it is impossible to say, but in all probability the news of it will bring her grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. To add to this melancholy history, poor Poulsom was to have married the girl of his choice on our return this voyage. Her mother had died when we were in Falm.o last, and but for that the marriage would have taken place then.
As a matter of precaution, although I was inclined to consider this case as an individual case of fever, induced by the impudence or intemperance of the object, and not as an epidemic, I ordered fumigations to be made with black devil i.e. powder and vinegar.

Wednesday 28th Sept.r – fine weather – wind right aft, rainy at midnight.

Thursday 29th – this morning little wind, much tumbling about all day – fine weather.

Friday 30th – light and favourable breeze – rainy in the forenoon – cloudy but fair during the day.

Saturday 1st Oct.r – very fresh and nearly favourable breeze. Cloudy weather.

Sunday 2d – light but favourable winds – fine weather.

Monday 3d – fresh and favourable breeze – fine weather.

Tuesday 4th – rainy morning – cloudy but fair all day. Fresh and favourable breeze.

Wednesday 5th – very strong and favourable breeze, with a heavy sea, dull gloomy weather.

Thursday 6th – d.o wind and weather.

Friday 7th Oct.r – fine weather – wind right aft.

Saturday 8th – rainy with a strong SSW wind in the morning and forenoon – fair with a fresh NNW breeze in the afternoon.

Sunday 9th – fine weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Monday 10th – fine weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Tuesday 11th – rainy weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Wednesday 12th – blowing a gale but favourable – disagreeable weather.

Thursday 13th – very strong breezes – weather rather better than yesterday.

Friday 14th – squally weather – fresh and favourable breeze.

Read on … Falmouth