From Sunday 30th Nov.r to Sat.y 6 December. This week has been spent in Harbour and fortunately we have enjoyed much finer weather, than when we were here last. I went on shore pretty frequently and saw more in one day than formerly during the whole of my stay. The Commander, Master and self took a long walk, peered about us, and examined wherever we could get. On the whole we were much pleased. We saw numerous marks of the ravages of the fire which destroyed a great part of the Town some years ago in the appearances of the houses without doors windows or roofs. My observations then enabled me to correct my previous judgement of the Town. I had thought all the houses were erected of stone – vide my last Journal. Not so. At the west End and in the hollows between the hillocks on which the town is built, the houses are almost all of wood & occupied by the lower classes. We passed thro’ many back streets, lanes, wynds, which contrasted in their narrowness, meanness, want of pavement &.c with the opposite qualities as exhibited by the main street. After all I still like S.t Thomas very well.
One day the Commander & self went to take a walk a little out of Town. We followed the course of a small stream, which descended in scanty measure from the mountain. We had not proceeded far, before we perceived a very useful purpose to which it was applied, viz to assist in the cleansing of clothes. From the origin almost to the termination of the stream groups of blacks & brown with a few whites, at short intervals were busily occupied in washing & thumping the clothes with a flat board, which saved them a slight trouble in getting rid of the dirt in the shirts &.c but at the same time did a great deal of injury to their texture & buttons.
The work seemed to be carried on cheerfully & merrily. The laugh & the joke were bandied about, occasioned I suspect at the intruder, while here and there some gay & lively songstress would strike up her wild notes & cause the place to sound with the Tones of the Coromantie or Mandingo country.
S.t Thomas is entirely depend.t on the fall of rain for its supply of water. For the collection of this precious fluid strong tanks are built, and carefully attended to. No expence is spared on them. Every respectable house has one and more importance is attached to its condition than to that of any other part of the house. Sometimes when the drowth has been long continued, water is sold at a high price and vessels are dispatched to Santa Cruz for supplies of it.
S.t Thomas is not the seat of Government. It is only the residence of a Deputy Governor. It is subordinate to the Government of Santa Cruz, an Island at no great distance off & which distinctly seen from this place, and where the Governor General resides. During our stay at S.t Thomas the weather during the day has been very fine. At night occasionally we have had heavy squalls with heavy showers of rain.
Sunday 7th Dec.r – having received all our Mails on board, we this morning got our anchor up, and without regret bid adieu to S.t Thomas. Strong breezes – fine weather during the day – heavy squalls with rain at night.
Monday 8th – strong and foul wind – fine weather.
Tuesday 9th – moderate and unfavourable wind, fine weather.
Wednesday 10th – beautiful weather. In the morning & forenoon light variable breezes – afternoon calm – at night light & foul.
Thursday 11th – rainy morning – very fine day – Moderate and foul wind.
Friday 12th – beautiful weather. Fresh and favourable breeze, which we had early this morning, having just passed the region of the Trades /entered on that of the variables.
Saturday 13th – fresh and favourable breeze. Unsettled weather – occasional heavy showers & squalls with intervals of fine weather.
At the commencement of this [week] being heartily tired of our sojourn at S.t Thomas, which had been somewhat longer than we had expected in consequence of the non-arrival of the Southern Mail Boat, before yesterday night – we gladly set our faces once more towards the Northward. Of course, as we had to cross the Trades which had been so favourable to us on our voyage hitherward, we laid our account with meeting a foul wind till we were beyond their range. And we were right in our judgement, up until we reached the latitude of 28* we had to contend against foul winds, making our Northing at the expence of our Easting. Then we entered upon the Domains of the Variables and most fortunately of Friday 12 Dec.r we fell in with very fresh and favourable breezes which are still blowing, as I now write at the end of this week.
The weather has been generally speaking very fine. We are every day changing the temperature & shortening the length of our days – darkness coming on at ½ past 5 oClock. We hope, if it please God, to be in Falmouth three weeks hence.
Sunday 14th Dec.r – very fine weather. Very fresh and favourable breeze.
Monday 15th – unsettled weather. Strong squalls with heavy rain at times.
Tuesday 16th – light and foul wind from the Eastward, with very heavy swell from NW. Fine weather all day. Slight showers at night.
Wednesday 17th – calm till noon, when we had a light & foul breeze. Fine weather.
Thursday 18th – fine weather. Very light and foul wind.
Friday 19th – moderate and foul wind. Fine weather.
Saturday 20th – fresh and foul wind with heavy sea. Pleasant weather.
At this season of the year, when you get well to the Northward, experience leads you to expect a prevalence of Westerly winds. And certainly at our first setting off we had every prospect of them, and of accomplishing a speedy return, when lo, on Tuesday 16 Dec.r we saw the disappointment of our hopes. An Easterly wind set in light, variable & treacherous in its calms & changes. Every one felt vexed at this and for my part I was not behind any one in expressing my regret. With various alternations of hope & disappointment the remainder of the week passed on, leaving us to console ourselves with the expectation that perhaps the next change of the Moon will bring back our Westerly breeze.
The weather has been very fine with the exception of a few showers.