Sudden Death

Friday 27th – moderate & favourable breeze with fine weather in the forenoon, then heavy rain with a diminution of the wind, which draw forwards for two or three hours, after which it came aft again, & blew more strongly – variable weather.

This evening at 8 William Watts departed this mortal life. He had been about two years in our Packet, and had conducted him[self] well in his duty & his conduct. On Monday the 16th Sept.r he first applied to me complaining of headache, weakness, and pain of the limbs. He was put to bed immediately, and proper remedies administered. The fever continued very strong until Wednesday 25th when the bowels having been copiously opened & a more natural appearance, with an outbreaking of  severe perspiration, he experienced considerable relied. That night he passed remarkably well, and next day also. The fever having left him, the tongue clean & bowels almost natural – skin cool – no thirsts – and the patient himself expressing him quite comfortable, but weak. The next night he passed tolerable well, – slept during the morning watches, and all the morning of Friday. He appeared however very weak – partook heavily of arrow root mixed with brine & again composed himself to sleep. At 2 P.M. oppression of breathing came on – then low amuttering delirium and afterwards picking of the clothes – these unfavourable symptoms continued with increased severity, till shortly before 8 the breathing became more laborious and convulsive. At 8 P.M. he expired.

Buried W.m Watts

Saturday 28th Sept.r – at 10.30 the body of William Watts was committed to the deep. The captain and myself performed the funeral service. All seemed deeply affected, and tears were seen trembling in the eyes of his rougher messmates – a tribute of feeling, which delighted and surprised me. I am afraid however that the event will have an unfavourable effect, for all seemed depressed and apprehensive. God grant that all the rest of us may be carried in health and safely may arrive in Falmouth.

Cloudy weather fresh and favourable breeze.

Remarks at the end of Xth Week

X Hebdomadal period – This week has been one of great anxiety [for] me from my mind having a load upon it, in the form of indisposition among our men. Many a thought have I had to sadden my spirits – many a prayer did I breathe to the Lord of All, that he would be pleased to bring us out of trouble, and send help an[d] assistance to the afflicted – bestowing his efficacious blessing on the remedies administered.

The wind during this period of trouble has been constantly favourable. One half of the week of moderate strength – and strong the remainder fresh and favourable. If nothing had intervened to cloud our souls, we should have rejoiced at the speedy prospect afforded us of seeing England – but alas this favourable circumstance has been passed almost unheeded.

The weather for three or four days was very fine – then it changed to cloudy with occasional showers of rain. The temperature also has decreased to our great comfort at least – bodily – if not mental.

I cannot forebear mentioning here, how attentive and willing those in health were to render their utmost services to the sick. By night & by day, they were equally kind. No one unacquainted with seamen can form any idea, how excellent they are as nurses. None are more careful or feeling, under a rough exterior they conceal the possession of the finest feelings of humanity – feelings which would a-grace and an honour to the most sensitive and refined.

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

Sunday 29th – cloudy weather with occasional showers – strong gales and favourable, which moderated with a change of wind in the afternoon – still favourable.

Monday 30th – fresh and favourable breeze – fine bracing weather.

Tuesday 1st Sept.r [sic – but October] – moderate and variable breezes, more or less favourable during the day. At evening the wind drew well aft – fine weather.

Wednesday 2d – moderate and variable breeze, generally favourable – cloudy weather with occasional showers of slight rain.

Thursday 3d – gale of foul wind all day from N & Eastward – heavy sea running, which now & then struck against the side, and communicated an impulsive motion to the little loose articles which chanced to be lying about – very cloudy weather.

Friday 4th – strong gales & foul – passed a very fine French Ship steering to the S & E. Towards evening the wind moderated but its direction became still more foul . Cloudy w.r

Saturday 5th Sept.r [sic – but October] up to 1 P.M. – fresh and foul wind – cloudy w.r

XIth Hebdomadal Period

XIth Hebdomadal period – the week now elapsed has been a very dull one to us all. The impression produced by the recent fatal event, altho’ by this time somewhat weakened, still remains – and I had one instance where fear operated so strongly upon one man, that he was seriously ill. In him the mind was diseased & with it the body sympathised. All I could say, in reason or out of reason, failed to convince him but that he had the fever & would die as poor Watts had done. Under this persuasion he was most miserable. Conscience pricked him to the heart, and he was alarmed at the thought of dying, for which he felt himself quite unprepared. The slightest symptoms were magnified – his mental perception was prevented – & the consequence naturally was, that the mere fear of the dreadful event seemed likely to produce the realization of it.

At the end of this week he is seeming much better, as also are my two other patients Dyer Williams & Alex Webb, who were attacked about the same time with Watts. By these my mind has been kept in a state of great anxiety – for indeed the period of convalescence often demands all our care and attention, lest by errors in diet – exposure to cold or irregularity of bowels should render all past exertions fruitless. I hope then with the blessing of God, that they will soon be restored to confirmed health, and that their future conduct will show how much they have profited by their afflictions.

Of all the evils of a foul wind, there are none felt so much, as when you encounter

on your return home, especially should you be near to your wished for port. I don’t much mind a foul wind on the outward bound passage. I soon become reconciled to it, and patiently wait for a change. But not so, when we are within a few hundred miles of England – & if my mind were not occupied with other & more pressing thoughts, I should feel quite ennuye & impatient, as are the rest of my fellow voyagers. All things went well, till the 1st October when the breeze became very moderate & variable, and on the 3.d we had a gale of foul wind which still continues, and looks likely to continue for some time longer.

The weather has been throughout with two exception[s], cloudy. We have also had some showers of rain – but slight. The cold also has increased much – blankets are once more in request – our faces & chins look blue – a little hot toddy (whiskey) is found to be a sine qua non, after dinner, and before turning in. So we remain at present.

Saturday 5 Oct.r 1 P.M. – pleasant weather. Moderate and foul breeze – dead on end.

Sunday 6th – light and foul winds – fine pleasant weather.

Monday 7th – light and foul breeze all the morning. At 2 calm. At 8 P.M. very light and favourable breeze – fine weather.

Tuesday 8th – in the morning light & favourable wind. At 11 A.M. the breeze freshened & drew forward, becoming foul. Fine weather – clear during the first part of the day – cloudy during the remainder.

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

Thursday 10th – fresh and favourable breeze. Cloudy weather.

Friday 11th – beautiful weather. Moderate and favourable breeze all day. Anxiously looking out for land – wondered [why] we did not see it, supposing ourselves to be very near to it. Spoke a brig, who put us in [the] right way from which we found that both of our Chronometers were terribly out – 9 minutes since leaving S.t Thomas. At 9 P.M. saw the lighthouse of S.t Agnes and saw Island of Scilly. Spoke during the day two Scilly pilot boats from whom we procured fresh fish & veggs.

Read on …