Sunday 9th February – no Mail to day – wind from NW – Weather alternately thick foggy & cloudy – Air very damp.
Monday 10th – fine weather all day. Early in the morning, money & mail came off. Sent on shore the remaining 125 bottles of quicksilver. At 3.30 up anchor & set sail with a moderate & foul wind. At 7 tacked off the land, when we had very light breezes.
Tuesday 11th – nearly a calm all night, light & unfavourable breeze in the morning which, died away nearly to a calm. At 1.40 p.m. came up a moderate wind from East _ – fresh & favourable breeze at night – More lovely weather.
Wednesday 12th – moderate & favourable breeze all day – very light at night. Most delightful weather – cool & clear.
Thursday 13th – little wind all night – land breeze in the morning & foul, – At 11.40, the Ariadne frigate – laying to sent a boat with her letters for England. She left Vera Cruz yesterday morning & was bound for Tampico – land in clear view avanti Punta Delgarda. Fresh but foul breeze from S.d all day which obliged us to tack occasionally. At 5 P.M. tacked off the Southward to E & N. Weather very cool
Friday 14th Febr.ry – strong land breeze all night and amorning, which was against us. At 11 A.M. it died away and was succeeded by a favourable sea breeze. We were now only a few miles from our Port, and expected to have got in very soon, but the wind was light & it was past 4 P.M. ere we anchored off the Castle de San Juan de Ulloa. As soon as the anchor was dropped, the Master & self went on shore with the Mail, but returned in an hour, in order that M.r Geach might secure the vessel to night in the event of a Norther. This operation occupied much time & proved very fatiguing to our men. Our ship was warped ahead a little, having first tripped the anchor we had dropped, then it was let go again & after that a chain cable was carried to the Castle Walls and secured to an immensely large iron ring, there inserted – and lastly another anchor was let go, so that we were held fast on every side, and could have some confidence in our security. However in case of extremities, we had another anchor & cable all ready should it be deemed necessary. Fine weather.
Saturday 15th Febr.ry – beautiful clear weather – little wind in the morning – At 11 A.M. went on shore. In the afternoon had a Norther, which rendered it necessary to remain on shore – Dined at M.r Eberts, who promised a bed to Master, A Snell & self. At night went to a masquerade & afterwards slept at M.r Eberts.
The XII Hebdomad
On Sunday 9th none of us entertained a doubt but that we should receive our Mail and money on board to day, and accordingly every thing was prepared to take them in as quickly as possible. The weather at first was very thick and hazy, and to this circumstance, we attributed the non-arrival of the anxiously expected – but when the weather cleared up and no sight or sign was seen we were much puzzled what to make of it. We fancied that the merchants on shore were afraid of a Norther, and would not permit their money to be sent off – or else that no launches could be got to go off, as it was Sunday. Many an anxious eye was turned all day towards the Bar – and twice our hopes were raised – by seeing launches coming over the Bar – & twice were disappointed – for they went on board some merchantman. Throughout the day & afternoon the weather was alternately clear & foggy & the atmosphere – loaded with moisture – so that we had a good [deal] of discomfort to add to our anxieties. Towards evening, the wind which had been before very light began to freshen – the sea was troubled – & a dense fog hung over the horizon not far from us. The wind too was from the N W. All these things were to say the east very suspicious – and the Capt.n ordered the fore topsail to be loosened, but not hoisted, to be in readiness – whilst our Carpenter was prepared to unshackle our chain cable at a moments notice. No farther steps were taken – and we awaited in considerable anxiety to see whether or not it would [come] on to blow hard. The other vessels around us were more timid apparently than we, for they slipped their cables & set sail. In a short time the wind, instead of increasing sensibly lulled & ultimately died away to our very great satisfaction.
Next day very early, two launches came off with our money – followed by our Gig with the Mails. We found from the accounts of M.r Geach that yesterday they had got all the money down from the town to the Bar – but that they could not procure any of the large boats to take it off – but were compelled to remain there all night & keep watch for the safety of the freight. We were all heartily glad to see our shipmates off once more. The weather fortunately was very fine & our men setting to with a will soon emptied the barges of the silver, and put on board of them the remaining bottles of quicksilver to be delivered to the Agent for the Mines.
The best part of the day was occupied in overlooking, arranging, comparing, & stowing away the money in the different parts of the ship so as to equalise the weight and prevent her from having a list to the Starboard or larboard sides, or from being much by the head or the stern.
At last we had done, and at 3.30 P.M. we weighed anchor, and set sail for Vera Cruz with a moderate but foul wind. For the next three days we had the wind sometimes fair, sometimes foul – but never from the N & W. The weather in general was most delightful, very cool but pleasant, with most lovely moon light nights, with hardly a cloud to hide the brilliance of the numerous stars, which sparkled in the blue canopy over our heads.
On Friday 14th Feb,y altho’ in the morning the land breeze being strong & against us, we had hardly any hopes of gaining our port (from which we were distant not more than 15 or 20 miles), to our great delight we obtained at 11 a favourable tho’ light breeze, and at 4.20 we came to anchor off the Castle de San Juan de Ulloa.
Saturday 15th The Master having occasion to go on shore on duty, I accompanied him. When we landed I took notice of the pier, at which we landed. It has been originally built very strong – as else it could never have stood so well the ravages of so many years. But it is on the road to decay and whereas a little care & trouble now would make [it] something like what it has been the Mexican Government are either – too poor, too lazy – or too indifferent – to do the little needed, and probably will think nothing of the matter, until sheer necessity shall compel them to rebuild it de novo. Passing up this, we [went] thro’ the gate on the right, which all who enter the city are obliged to pass, that on the left being intended for those leaving the city, we were once more in the streets of Vera Cruz. I have nothing new to observe of it – except perhaps to remark the excellence of the streets & of the houses. Au reste it is as dull, lifeless, & poor as ever with abundance of pride among its inhabitants – to make them hold up their heads as high as their most wealthy allies.
After a call at our Vice Consul Francis Giffards, Esq.re we repaired to M.r Eberts where we were most kindly received asked to take grog of wine an excellent Havanah and finally invited to dine at 2 oClock. All these courteous offers we unhesitatingly accepted, because we knew them to be sincere from the character of the man, whereas we as unhesitatingly declined the dry frigid conditional – not intended to be accepted invitation of his High Mightiness the V. Consul. The day being very hot, we stayed in ____ Hen. Eberts Counting-house, smoking & chatting till the hour of dining, when we were shewn up stairs and again had the pleasure of seeing M.rs Eberts, whom we found looking quite charming and completely recovered from all the fatigues of her voyage. By the bye I should have mentioned that M.r Eberts house is immensely large – a palace in extent – with a complete labyrinth of passages – stairs & rooms – but then the furniture was not such as we would have in England, either as regards quantity or quality. A few rooms only had any pretensions to the possession of elegant furniture & these were the reception & dining rooms – a chair or two with a bed & eke a small table comprised the riches of the others.
But this is by the way. At 2 precisely we three (Master, A. Snell & self) sat down to table with about 8 others, among whom were M.rs Ebert & a female companion lately come from Germany. The Dishes were excellent & plain – in quantity neither too much nor too little – in arrangement neat & comfortable. I was much pleased with every thing I saw – and was as much at my ease as I would have been on board a [dielanglier ?] which is to be put down as a Compliment to our Host & Hostess by every one who had felt (as I have sometimes done) the bore & misery of a tremendous – courteous & fussy dinner.