Imágenes de página





Reasons for leaving England—Leave Berwick-London-Go on board ship at Plymouth — Our fellow-passengers and officers

- Scene on board an emigrant ship— Desertion Mode of obtaining sailorsObservations on emigrant vessels–Weigh anchor-Sunday—Modes of killing time-Journals — Auspicious commencement of our voyage—A fresh breeze-Slow progress-Internal arrangements— The evils of the sea-Our exporter-Scarlet fever on board — Irish emigrants—StormScotch songs — Fine weather at sea - A meteor - Danger of fire on board ship— Foul wind — Discomforts — Time at sea — Disturbance — Colours of the ocean-Severe storm – Ejected from my bed— Divine service at sea- Madeira in sight-A man overboard-Gallant attempt to rescue him-Accident from the fall of the boom— Vineyards of Madeira --Smoking-Flying-fish-Our occupations—Provisions-Sands of Africa -Heaving the log-Cape de Verd Islands--An intruder-Phosphoric light – Winds – Dress—Noise a board ship — Porpoise, Crossing the Line-Booby bird-Motion of the vessel- A whale - Island of Trinidad -Accuracy of our chronometers.

Plymouth, May 12th, 1841.—Had any one foretold to me that I should at any period of my life find myself a passenger on board an emigrant ship, bound for Australia, I should not only have felt convinced that he was a false prophet, but I might have been tempted to resent the


[blocks in formation]

conjecture. So little, however, do we know of our future career in this world, that here I sit in my cabin in the good ship the Lady Kennaway, in immediate expectation of being borne away to that far country.

It will not be doubted by those who know me, that I must have urgent motives indeed to induce me to brave so many perils, and to make so many sacrifices of different kinds; and to my friends, the knowledge of the complicated pain and anxiety that must necessarily be my companions, will be sufficient proof of my conviction of its expediency

With somewhat heavy hearts, my son A - and myself left our home at Stoneridge in Berwickshire on the morning of Friday the 21st May, 1841. We arrived at Berwick in time for the London steamer, the Rapid; which weighed anchor and left the wharf at half-past three.

On this occasion she did not at all deserve her name. What with foggy weather, and running aground in the Thames at Mile Reach, we did not arrive at the Tower Stairs till Sunday the 23rd at eleven at night, and we only set foot in the Heart of the world on Monday the 24th. The passage up the Thames is extremely beautiful at this season of the year. The contrast from the cold barrenlooking coast of Northumberland, the rugged shores of York, and the bare sands of Norfolk, to the rich scenery of Essex, is very striking; and the banks of the river, studded with gentlemen's seats, and wooded in some places to the water's edge, and abounding in beautiful green fields, is indeed most pleasing. My young companion was enchanted; all was new to him, and he seemed to feel what every stranger feels—the unrivalled richness of Old England.

A few days after our arrival in the Modern Babylon,

[blocks in formation]

passages for

I agreed with Mr. J. M. of B- Lane, for

my son and myself in the ship, the “ Lady Kennaway,” of 584 tons, bound for Sydney direct. The cabins are excellent, and she stands A 1, at Lloyd's, though twenty-four years old, being teak-built, -a material so trustworthy and durable, that some vessels built of it last eighty years. She was originally in the Calcutta trade, and is considered one of the best vessels out of the port of London, that was ever chartered as an emigrant ship.

London was no novelty to me, but to my son it was full of interest, and I rejoiced that he had the opportunity of seeing it before he left the country. We remained there till Saturday, the 5th of June, when, by Mr. M.'s directions, we set out for Plymouth, to join the ship. We took the Great Western railway as far as Chippenham, in Wiltshire, travelling in that most luxurious way eightyfour miles, at the rate of twenty-eight miles an hour! from thence by coach, through Bath to Exeter, and reached Plymouth at three o'clock on Sunday. Notwithstanding Mr. M. had hurried us down, to get on board ship on the 9th, we were told on the 10th, that it would not sail until the next day.

11th June, 1841.-Friday.-We went on board the Lady Kennaway, in Plymouth Sound ; and on setting foot on deck we instantly perceived, from the confusion that prevailed everywhere, that matters were not ready for our going to sea. We dined on board. The party in the cabin consisted of the captain; the surgeon, an agreeable-looking man, and an alumnus of Edinburgh, though an Irishman; Mr. R., an English barrister of most inild and pleasing manners; Mr. E., a fine youth from the banks of the Tay, son of the late M. of M.; Mr. N., a gentleman from Essex ; my

[blocks in formation]

son and myself; one or two other passengers ; and the first and second mates of the ship.

The first repast at sea has only novelty to recommend it : although we were within the breakwater, and of course not troubled with much motion, still the difference from the steady table and seats on shore, the peculiar style of the cooking, the slang and professional talk of the officers of the ship, the cold and formal manner of the passengers, each employed in scanning and reconnoitring the others,—all contributed to render it uncomfortable; and I felt it a positive relief when we rose from table.

If the cabin was deficient in comfort, it was a paradise when compared with the other parts of the ship. There the scene below decks baffles description,- Irish, Scotch, English, Germans, French-mechanics, cottagers, watchmakers, and ladies of all descriptions, young, old, and middle-aged. Some were tolerable in appearance; but the majority, chiefly Irish, were of the coarsest fabric of woman kind. In the evening dancing was resorted to, to keep all in good humour.

I went into my berth, expecting that by day-break we should have weighed anchor and got out of the Sound; but no such good luck awaited us. By six o'clock six men had refused to work the ship; and it appeared that out of our complement of thirty-two hands, there were only two that could steer. Our captain had gone ashore; he was now sent for express ; police-officers were to be procured; the refractory sailors were forthwith to be sent to jail, and their places to be filled up by others from Plymouth. Here was a plentiful crop of troubles, all leading to the conclusion that sailing was out of the question at present. It seems that the Jews in London have almost a monopoly in supplying vessels with men:

« AnteriorContinuar »