Sail home

Tuesday 10th Aug.t – at 4.30 A.M. we weighed anchor and set sail for England. Fine weather – wind moderate.

Wednesday 11 – fine weather – variable winds – strong current in our favour. Today a curious appearance was presented to our sight. When first seen it was supposed to be a reef of rocks with the water breaking over them – and it lay directly in our path. As we came closer, it was known to be an effect of the Gulf Stream, where the water rushed more violently than in other parts, produced a turmoil & noise like waves breaking on the sea shore. This phenomenon did not extend more than a few yards in breadth, but was of a considerable length; Immediately beyond it the water lay calm; as in a pond – then came a similar current – then a calm & so on – but whatever was the state of the sea, we were always carried on, on our way at a rate now accelerated, now moderated. This current is produced by an immense volume of water from the Mexican Gulf, rushing out by the narrow outlet of the Florida Channel – and is continued they say, as far as the Western Islands in a NE direction. What is curious you can know the water of the stream from the surrounding water, by its increased temperature.

Thursday 12th August – nearly a calm all day, with fine W.r In the evening cloudy W.r with moderate breezes.

Friday 13th – very fine weather – wind variable & light. At night breeze rather favourable.

Saturday 14th – pleasant weather – Fresh and nearly favourable breezes.

Sunday 15th – weather generally fine, sometimes squally. In the forenoon wind fresh & nearly favourable – in the afternoon favourable – very heavy sea all day which impeded us much.

Monday 16th – cloudy but pleasant weather. Strong & favourable breezes. Current in our favour a 4 miles an hour.

Tuesday 17th – very cloudy weather. Strong & favourable wind. In the afternoon the breeze continued to increase in force, until it blew a perfect hurricane. In my first Journal to Brazil, I attempted to give you some idea of a storm – but on this occasion the appearance was very different. Then it was from the NW now it was from the SW and we supposed that it was not an ordinary tempest but as it were the tail of a hurricane of the West Indies. The clouds lowered, till they almost reached the water – a heavy sleet drizzle of rain Came drifting on and the wind began to roar amidst the rigging. All preparations were immediately made for the gale. The small rain now rendered the atmosphere so dense, that you could not see the sixth part of a mile around you – the wind came by fits and starts, now furious, now lulled into a perfect & treacherous tranquillity. I find it impossible by any language to describe to you the tremendous violence if the gale – it seemed when you thought that it was impossible that it could be increased to be striving to out do all that it had yet done – first lulling as if to gather fresh strength and then returning with redoubled fury. Meanwhile the sea dashed over decks & the Old Duke rolled to and fro like a man in the last stage of intoxication and communicated a momentary alarm, to our minds by the occasional vibrations of all her timbers. In one of the heavy cross seas, which took us on the larboard quarter, our second gig which was slung up there and which had been 10 or 12 years in the Packet, after being repeatedly filled with water, was at last struck with so tremendous a sea, that she went to pieces. Fortunately for us the hurricane ceased at 3 oClock in the morning and we had no further damage done than the loss of our boat and the splitting of one of our sails.

Wednesday 18th August – cloudy W.r in the morning, very fine during the rest of the day. Wind fair but with a heavy swell from the Northward.

Thursday 19th – beautiful bracing weather. Light & unfavourable breezes from the Eastward.

Friday 20th – this morning passed a Yankee ship steering to the Westward which seemed to have suffered from the late gale, for she had lost her main top mast & mizen topgallant mast. Beautiful weather but unfavourable wind from the East. In the afternoon spoke the Commerce of Philadelphia from Rotterdam, bound to New York, out 56 days. Gave us the first tidings of the King’s death. In the evening fell to a calm and we had a good view of a brilliant Aurora borealis or Northern lights, which last some time.

Saturday 21st – beautiful weather all day with light but favourable winds. Afternoon thick and foggy.

Sunday 22d – fine weather – Wind variable.

Monday 23d – very fine weather – Wind rather unfavourable with strong current which impedes our progress to the Eastward.

Tuesday 24th – foggy weather in the morning, fine all day- cloudy at night – Wind nearly favourable but strong westerly current. We are now so far to the northward, as to be only 80 miles from Halifax. Spoke the Ellen Gray out 6 weeks from Liverpool – Gave us the news of King William being proclaimed.

Wednesday 25th Aug.t – very cloudy damp weather – strong unfavourable current still. The wind would be favourable if we had no current, and id Sable island had not been right in our way.

Thursday 26th – damp disagreeable weather. Wind same as yesterday – Still in current.

Friday 27th – variable weather – fresh unfavourable breeze.

Saturday 28th – very cloudy, damp W.r – fresh and favourable breeze.

Sunday 29th – beautiful weather. Light and favourable breeze. On the Banks of Newfoundland.

Monday 30th – very fine W.r – nearly calm all the morning – in the afternoon light & favourable wind. Several vessels seen at anchor: fishermen on the Banks.

Tuesday 31st – fine weather – moderate & favourable breezes.

Wednesday 1st Sept.r – thick foggy weather – fresh & favourable wind.

Thursday 2d – very cloudy W.r – Strong and favourable wind. Saw the eclipse of the Moon at times very distinctly, at other very imperfectly, being distant 3 hours or 45 degrees from Greenwich.

Friday 3d – cloudy and damp w.r – Strong & favourable breezes.

Saturday 4th – the wind shifted this morning against us. Weather cloudy. In the evening thick foggy w.r with a fair wind.

Sunday 5th – thick damp w.r – moderate & favourable breezes.

Monday 6th – cloudy morning – fine day – fresh and favourable brezes from the Westward.

Tuesday 7th – thick foggy w.r – very little breeze all day but freshened at night.

Wednesday 8th Sept.r – very cloudy Weather – strong and [?] breezes.

Thursday 9th – cloudy weather – fresh & favourable wind.

Friday 10th – cloudy, squally w.r – favourable breeze.

Saturday 11th – variable weather – Saw Scilly at 3 P.M. strong and favourable breezes.

Sunday 12th – at 4 A.M. came to anchor in Carrick roads, the wind not permitting us to go to our former anchorage.


Read on … Ship’s Company