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1793— 1814 










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In a memorial presented in 1835 to the Lords 
of the Admiralty, the author of the journals which 
form this volume details his various services. He 
joined the Navy in October, 1793, his first ship 
being H.M.S. Blonde. He was present at the siege 
of Martinique in 1794, and returned to England the 
same year in H.M.S. Hannibal with despatches and 
the colours of Martinique. For a few months the 
ship was attached to the Channel Fleet, and then 
suddenly, in 1795, was ordered to the West Indies 
again. Here he remained until 1802, during 
which period he was twice attacked by yellow 

The author was engaged in upwards of eighteen 
boat actions, in one of which, at Tiberoon Bay, 
St. Domingo, he was wounded in the head, and 
entirely lost the hearing of his left ear. 

As first lieutenant of H.M.S. Volage, while 
attempting to cut out an enemy's vessel laden with 
tobacco from under the guns of the Moro Castle, St. 
J ago de Cuba, after a running fight of two hours 
with three Spanish privateers, he was obliged to 
surrender, and was carried prisoner to St. J ago, 
where he remained for six weeks until exchanged. 

M r\r~^. M 


In 1802 he returned to England in the Volage, 
which was then paid off. 

In 1803 he was appointed lieutenant of H.M.S. 
Minotaur on the Channel Service, but in 1804, in 
consequence of a very severe attack of rheumatic 
fever, which completely prostrated him and for 
several months necessitated the use of crutches, he 
resigned his post. 

On his recovery, in the summer of 1805, he was 
appointed to H.M.S. Toiinant, and was senior lieu- 
tenant of her lower deck quarters in the Battle of 
Trafalgar, concerning which he gives several new 
and interesting details. During the battle he was 
slightly wounded in the left hand. 

His next ship was H.M.S. Diamond (to which 
he was appointed March 8th, 1806), ordered for 
service on the West Coast of Africa. In 1807 
he became commander of the Favourite sloop of 
war in consequence of the death of her captain, and 
three months afterwards took the last convoy of 
slave ships to the West Indies. 

In 1808, while in Jamaica, he was attacked by 
fever, which affected his eyesight, nearly producing 
blindness ; and, on the advice of the doctor at Port 
Royal Hospital, Admiral Dacres gave him per- 
mission to exchange into the Goelan sloop of war, 
which was shortly afterwards ordered to England 
with convoy. 

In 1810 he was appointed to command the Apelles 
on the Downs station, and in this capacity he was 
actively employed until May, 1812, when, during 


the middle watch, and in a dense fog, the Apelles, 
with the Skylark, her leader, unfortunately grounded 
on the French coast, near Etaples, on "the infant 
ebb of a spring tide." All efforts to float the sloop 
were vain, and, after being for three hours under 
the incessant fire of a French battery, which riddled 
her hull and cut away her masts, and having mean- 
while sent away all the crew which the boats were 
capable of containing, the author and eighteen 
others were com.pelled to surrender. 

The following is the sentence of the Court Martial 
held at Portsmouth on the conduct of Captain 
Hoffman for the loss of H.M. sloop Apelles, Sir 
George Martin, Bart., President: — 

" That there is no blame whatever attached to 
the conduct of Captain Hoffman ; that he is fully 
and honourably acquitted. 

" That great praise is due to him for remaining 
with his ship. 

" That the Court regrets he was under the painful 
necessity of becoming a prisoner, and that his 
services were lost to his country for the period ot 
two years." 

After reading the sentence Sir G. Martin spoke 
as follows : — 

'' Captain Hoffman, — In the name of the Court 
and myself I present you the sword, which by your 
conduct you so well merit." 

The author spent about two years in France, 
and during his captivity there did excellent service 
to his country by opening and superintending a 

viii PREFACE. 

school for the midshipmen who were also prisoners 
of war at Verdun. 

It appears that he wrote these records of his life 
while residing at Dover in 1838. He evidently 
intended to have them published, but for some 
reason or another they have never hitherto been 

The Editors, in presenting them to the public 
more than sixty years after they were originally 
written, think that they will prove of general 
interest, not because they lay claim to literary 
excellence, but because they present a simple, 
unexaggerated picture of the everyday life in the 
navy a century ago, and give us an insight into 
the characters of the men who helped to build up 
the sea power of Great Britain, and to bring her to 
her present position of political and commercial 

November, 1901. 




My mother consents to my going to sea — Journey to Portsmouth — 
Join H.M.S. Blonde — Take General Prescott and suite on board 
— We sail — Supply West Indiamen with provisions and in return 
impress six seamen — Windbound at Fahnouth — Again sail — 
Attacked by four French frigates, but escape and again make 
Falmouth — Finally sail for West Indies— Amusements in crossing 
the Equator pp. i — 1^ 



Arrival in West Indies — Cruise among the French Islands — Bombard- 
ment and capture of St. Pierre, Dominique — Attack on Fort 
Bourbon — Capture of Forts — Surrender of General Rochambeau 
and the French garrison pp. i8 — 29 



Sail for England with despatches — A lunar rainbow — A two-tailed 
fish — Reach Falmouth after passage of fifteen days — To Plymouth 
to refit — All leave refused — S.nlors' frolics ashore — To sea again — 
Cruise off French coast and Channel Islands — Run aground off 
Guernsey — Return to Plymouth to repair damages — Rejoin fleet 
— French fleet escapes into Brest — Return to Plymouth to refit 
for foreign service — Transhipped to H.M.S. /Af/z/z/Z-'tz/— Descrip- 
tion of the ship's officers — Tricks played on the Irish chaplain. 

pp. 30—45 




Join the Channel fleet off Ushant — Capture the French frigate Gentille^ 
also a twenty-four-gun ship five days later — Fleet returns to 
Portsmouth — Prize-money — To sea again in charge of a convoy — 
Transport with two hundred Hessian troops on board founders off 
Cape Finisterre — Suddenly ordered to West Indies — Fightbetween 
a negro and a shark at Port Royal, Jamaica— Dignity balls — 
Collision with H.M.S. Sampson — Outbreak of yellow fever — 
Ordered to sea — Capture two French ships and two privateers. 

pp. 46 — 56 



Owing to ravages of yellow fever go to Jamaica to obtain more 
seamen — Difficulties and humours of impressment — Author 
attacked by yellow fever — Proceed to Cape St. Nicholas mole- 
Great mortality among the officers .... pp. 57 — 68 



Tough yarns — The sea-serpent — The fair-wind sellers of Bremen — 
Mermen and mermaidens — Capture of Spanish schooner with 
mulatto laundresses on board — Boat attack on, and capture of the 
French privateer Salamandre — Outbreak of malignant scurvy — 
Novel method of treatment — French women dressed as men — A 
voyage of discovery PP- ^9 — ^5 



A ball on board — Fishing with a seine — Ordered to cruise off Porto 
Rico — News of the Battle of Camperdown — The boasts of 
Napoleon — Views on matrimony — A sailor's courtship — Futile 
boat attack on a Spanish war vessel at St. Domingo — Author 
loses the hearing of his left ear from effect of a wound, pp. 86 — 99 



Tea with the boatswain's wife — News of the mutiny at the Nore 
causes trouble among the sailors — Sent to cruise in consequence 


— A white squall and waterspout — Capture of a Spanish cruiser — 
Return to Port Royal — H.M.S. Hernn'ofie seized by mutineers 
and carried to Porto Bello — Recaptured by Captain Hamilton — 
An alarm caused by fireflies pp. \oo — 113 



Transhipped to H.M.S. Quee7i (98)— Sailors' appreciation of books — 
The ship runs aground and sinks : with difficulty raised — A mock 
court-martial on the master — Author made lieutenant with a 
commission on a twenty-four-gun ship . . . pp. iiA — 125 



Requested to act as first lieutenant, but refuses — Description of 
officers— A fruitless search for a Spanish treasure ship— Run on 
a coral reef, but float off again — A tropical thunderstorm — A 
futile attempt to cut out three schooners off Matanzas — Author 
becomes first lieutenant — Return to Port Royal— The incriminating 
papers of an American sloop found in a shark — Seize a French 
ship in ballast off St. Domingo .... pp.126 — 138 



Visit to a Jamaica plantation — Condition of the slaves — A growl 
against the House of Commons and the Admiralty — Author 
attempting to cut out a Spanish zebec, is taken prisoner — His 
pleasant experiences while in captivity — At last released. 

pp. 139—155 



Returns to his ship— Capture of a French schooner — An episode with 
two American sloops of war — Return to Port Royal — Attacked a 
second time by yellow fever — Seize and burn a Spanish gunboat 
— Return to Port Royal — Wetting a midshipman's commission — 
Ordered home with a convoy — Pathetic farewells with mulatto 
washerwomen PP- 156 — 168 

xii ^ CONTENTS. 



Ordered to the Black River — Meet the magistrate there, and "bow to 
his bishop " — Sail with a convoy of thirty ships — Arrive at Deal — 
A cruise on horseback on a baker's nag, which conscientiously 
goes the bread round — The author's brother comes on board, but 
he fails to recognise him — Paid off at Deptford . pp. 169 — 181 



On shore — Tired of inactivity — Apply for a ship — Appointed to H.M.S. 
Minotaur (74) — Prisoners sent on board as part of crew — Go to 
Plymouth — Scarcity of seamen — Ruse to impress an Irish farm 
labourer — Ordered to join the Channel fleet off Ushant — Capture 
French thirty-six-gun ship — In danger off Ushant — Capture two 
small French ships and one Dutch one : Author sent to Plymouth 
in charge of the latter — Placed in quarantine . . pp. 182 — 198 


The ship arrives — Captain's attempt to form a band — Sail again — 
Attacked by rheumatic fever and invalided ashore — Ordered to 
join H.M.S. To7inant — Proceed to Mediterranean — At Oran : 
experiences ashore pp. 199 — 209 



Join Lord Nelson's squadron — Battle of Trafalgar — Author's experi- 
ences — Occurrences during action — Severity of operations before 
the use of anaesthetics — The Tonnanfs casualty list— Proceed to 
Gibraltar — A truce with Spain during horse races on neutral 
ground there i>p' 210 — 221 



Return under jury-masts to England — Arrive at Spithead — The 
admiral, the middy, and the dirk— Join H.M.S. Diamond as first 
lieutenant — Attached to Lord St. Vincent's fleet off Brest — A 
change of captains — Weary waiting for an enemy who never 
came pp- 222 — 233 




Ordered on foreign sei-vice — Visit Madeira, Cape do Verde, and Goree 
— Experiences on shore — Sail for Cape Coast Castle — Difficulty 
of landing— The captain's black lady— Author appointed captain 
of H.M.S. Favourite— VrocQQd to Accrah— Sacred alligators. 

pp. 234—245 



Cruise along West African coast— Dinner with the Danish consul at 
Cape Coast Castle— Ordered to Sierra Leone— A trip inland— We 
proceed to the Los Islands— A trip up the River Pongo— Quell 
disturbance on a slaver— A dinner with a native prince — His 
presents PP- 246 — 258 



Return to Sierra Leone— Dinner party aboard— Sail with convoy ot 
five slave-ships — How the slaves were obtained — Arrive Bar- 
badoes— Sail for Tobago and Trinidad— Visit Pitch Lake— To 
Jamaica— Cruising off Cuba — Futile attempt on two Spanish 
privateers — Capture small Spanish privateer — Return to Jamaica 
— Arrange exchange with captain of home-going ship — A challenge 
to Spanish corvette declined by the latter . . pp. 259 — 268 



My new ship — Sail for Belize — Native and alligator— Sail for England 
with convoy of ships — Hear of peace being signed between England 
and Spain— Arrive in England— Paid off at Sheerness— Return 
home— Tired of country life— Apply for ship— Appointed to 
H.M.S. Apelles pp- 269—279 



Brig sloop sent to watch the French flotilla off Boulogne— Monotonous 
duty— Return to Sheerness to refit— Story of Billy Culmer— More 
cruising off Boulogne— Return to England . . pp. 280—289 




Leave to return home for four days — Visit of the Duke of Clarence — 
Again off Boulogne — Down Channel with a convoy — Boulogne 
once more — Refit at Plymouth— Return Boulogne — Run aground 
on French coast — Part of crew escape in boats — Author and 
nineteen men remain on board .... pp. 290 — 300 



Taken prisoner, and removed to Boulogne gaol — Asked to dinner by 
General Lemaroix — News of Perceval's assassination — Parole 
refused — Marched to Montreuil-sur-Mer — On to Hesdin ; being 
footsore, Author insists on having a carriage — Drives to Arras. 

pp. 301—310 


Meet an Englishman — At last put on parole — Dine with Lieutenant 
Horton — Proceed to Cambray — Relics of Archbishop Fenelon — 
Meet Captain Otter at Verdun — Prisoners' amusements — Author 
and Captain Otter establish a school for midshipmen — Author 
moves into country quarters — Severe censorship of prisoners 
letters — Ordered to Blois — Purchase a cart and horses. 

pp. 311—320 



Horses bolt, and cart upsets — Reach Blois after six days' travelling — 
Miserable condition of French troops after return from Moscow — 
Ordered to Gueret on the Creuse — A miserable journey of five 
days — Poor accommodation — Allowed to move to country quarters 
at Masignon — An earthquake shock — News of Napoleon's abdi- 
cation — Start for Paris — Reach Fontainebleau in nine days — 
Proceed to Paris — Lodgings dear and scarce — State entrance of 
Louis XVIII. into Paris /^A 321— 331 



Obtain a passport after some difficulty from Prince Metternich — Start 
for England via Rouen and Havre — Sail to Spithead — Amused at 
Englishwomen's queer dress— Return to family — Acquitted for 
loss of H. M.S. ^/^//^^ //• 332— 334 

Appkndix ... pp. 335 — 340 



Captain F. Hoffman, R.N. {hy V. Varillas, 

1818) Frontispiece 

Falmouth Harbour To face 10 

Plymouth Harbour 

Port Royal, Jamaica 

Luxurious Vegetation, Jamaica... 

Entrance to St. Iago, Cuba 

The Battle of Trafalgar {after C. Stanfield, R.A .) 

HM.S. Apelles 

The Entry of the Allies into Paris by the 
Porte St. Martin, March 31, 1814 







My mother consents to my going to sea — Journey to Portsmouth — 
Join H.M.S. Blonde — Take General Prescott and suite on board 
— We sail — Supply West Indiamen with provisions and in return 
impress six seamen — Windbound at Falmouth — Again sail — 
Attacked by four French frigates, but escape and again make 
Falmouth — Finally sail for West Indies — Amusements in crossing 
the Equator. 

One morning sitting with my mother in the 
drawing-room and entreating her to comply with 
my wish to enter the Navy, she was so intent on 
listening to my importunities and her patchwork 
that she did not observe that the cat was running 
away with her favourite goldfinch ; the cat, with 
the poor bird in its mouth, was near the door, 
waiting to escape. Seeing what had happened, I 
immediately ran to the poor little bird's assistance, 
but, alas ! too late, as the cruel animal had torn 
off one of its wings. 

Whilst my mother was feelingly lamenting her 
favourite's untimely death, and deliberating whether 
the cat should be given away, the door opened, 

K.G. B 


the culprit escaped, and Captain Elphinstone 
entered. On his observing my mother's paleness, he 
requested to know if anything of a serious nature 
had occurred in the family. " No," replied she, 
" except the loss of a favourite bird, which I cer- 
tainly regret, as it was killed by the cat in a most 
distressing manner, and," added she, " my spirits 
are not at this moment very good in consequence 
of my son's wishing to enter the Navy." " The 
first," said he, " I lament, as it has deprived you 
of a pet ; the latter may in the end be a matter of 
rejoicing. Whoknowsbut that your son, if he enters 
that noble service, may turn out a second Hawke." 
My ears thrilled at his remark. 

" Do you really think. Captain Elphinstone," 
said my mother, with a half-sorrowful countenance, 
"that it would be to his advantage?" "Most 
assuredly," replied he, " as I think it very likely war 
will shortly be declared against that unhappy and 
distracted France, and he will have a very fair 
chance of making prize money, and in time will 
gain his promotion." 

" Quit the room a short time, my love," said my 
mother to me. In about a quarter of an hour, 
which I thought an hour, I was sent for. Captain 
Elphinstone had taken his leave. I found my 
mother still very pale. " I am afraid, dear boy," 
she began, "that Captain Elphinstone has almost 
persuaded me against my will. He has spoken of 
the prospects of the Naval Service in so favourable 
a manner that I am nearly tempted to let you 


enter it, and should war unhappily be declared 
against our unfortunate neighbours, the French, 
and my friend Captain Markham be appointed to a 
ship, I believe I must make up my mind to be quite 
persuaded and let you have your wish." '' Thank 
you, my dear mother," replied I, overjoyed at what 
I knew nothing about. A short time after this 
conversation, war was declared against France, 
or rather France provoked it, and Captain Markham 
was appointed to the Blonde frigate. My mother 
instantly wrote to him ; his answer was favourable, 
and he requested her to let me join him as soon as 
possible. All now was bustle and preparation. 
My brothers were sent for home, and begged to be 
allowed to go with me. Poor fellows ! they little 
knew what they asked. In a few days I was fully 
equipped. I mounted my uniform, and I thought 
my brothers and the young friends who came 
to take leave of me appeared to envy me my 
finery, particularly my dirk, which they examined 
so often that I began to think they would wear it 
out. At length the evening arrived for me to quit 
my dear, happy home. My mother was sensibly 
affected, my sister looked serious, but my brothers, 
who were younger than myself — little rogues ! — only 
looked disappointed that they could not go with 
me. I am sorry to say that my spirits were so 
buoyant that sorrow did not enter my head. 

Captain Elphinstone was kind enough to accom- 
pany me to the coach, and on the 12th day of 
October, 1793,— oh ! happy day, at least I thoui^ht so 

B 2 


— we repaired to the sign of that nondescript 
bird, the " Swan with Two Necks " in Lad Lane, 
Cheapside. After taking an affectionate farewell of 
those who came with me, I stepped into the vehicle 
of transport with a light foot, a light heart, and, I 
fear, a light head, as I fancied by the people 
staring at me that I was the lion of the occasion. 
When we stopped for supper a gentlemanly person, 
who sat opposite, asked me what ship I belonged 
to. I informed him, and he told me he was 
Captain W., of the 31st Regiment, going to join his 
division at Portsea, destined for Gibraltar. "It is 
probable you will not join the frigate for a few days 
after your arrival," said he, " and if you do not, we 
have a mess at Portsmouth where I shall be happy 
to see you." I thanked him warmly for his con- 
siderate and kind invitation. I had only one oppor- 
tunity of dining with him, as he embarked three 
days after his arrival. About six o'clock in the 
evening I reached the "Blue Postesses " where 
the midshipmen put their chestesses and eat their 
breakfastesses. Next morning, and whilst I was 
prosing over my breakfast, in walked a midship- 
man, about twenty years of age, with a face which 
appeared to have been rolled down Deal beach a 
dozen times. "Waiter," said he, "have you in 
the house a young officer lately arrived from 
Lunnen ? " " Ho, ho ! " thinks I, " m.y boy, you are 
from my country the West, and probably from 
where it rains upon Dock ^ nine months in the 

^ Plymouth Dock. 


twelve." " Yes, sir," said the waiter, "the young 
officer is eating his breakfastesses ; " saying this he 
brought him to my box. " Good morning, sir," 
said he, "I have come on shore to take you on 
board. Have you all your things ready ? " " Yes," 
said I, " I shall be ready in twenty minutes. Can 
you spare me that time ? But," continued I, 
" have you breakfasted ? — you look rather cold," — I 
was afraid to say hungry — " I think a cup of tea 
will warm you." I then gave him one. "If you 
will allow me," said he, " I'll put a poker in 
it." I wondered what he meant. It was soon 
explained. He called the waiter and told him to 
bring a glass of rum, which he put into the tea, and, 
as he thought I should feel the cold going off, he 
said I had better do the same. As I considered him 
my superior officer I complied, although the fiery 
taste of the spirit almost burnt my mouth, which he 
perceiving smiled, and told me I should soon be 
used to it. "You will oblige me," said I, "if you 
will give me a little insight into the characters of 
the officers of the ship." "Why," said he, "the 
captain is a tight one, and sometimes in a hurri- 
cane I never heard any officer pray so well or so 
heartily as he does : his prayers, if not heard else- 
where, are certainly heard by all on board, and 
are generally effective. However," added he, 
"you will soon be able to judge for yourself. The 
first lieutenant is one of the old woman's school, an 
easy and good kind of person, but not fit to be first 
of an active frigate. The second lieutenant is a 


regular-built sailor, and knows his duty well, but he 
is fond of mast-heading the youngsters when they 
think they do not deserve it. The third lieutenant 
would be a sailor if he knew how to set about it ; 
he generally begins at the wrong end, and is 
always making stern way, but," said he, "he 
almost prays as good a stick as the skipper. As 
for the other officers, we have not so much to do 
with them as with those I have described. How- 
ever," added he, "there is one more — I mean the 
purser : he is a complete nip-cheese, and as for his 
steward, he ought to have swung at the fore-yard 
arm long ago." " There is one more question I 
have to ask," said I, "which is, what sort of young 
gentlemen are the midshipmen ? " " Why," repHed 
he, " two of what you term young gentlemen are 
old enough to be your father, but take them in a 
lump they are not so bad ; four of them are about 
your age, and full of fun and frolic. Now," said 
he, " it's time to be off." He beckoned to a seaman 
near the door, who, I found, was the coxswain of the 
cutter. " Take this officer's chest to the boat." 
Here the waiter interposed, and said it was 
customary for the waterman of the " Blue Postesses" 
to take packages down to the water side. To this 
I consented, and away we trotted to sally port 
where the boat was lying. On our arrival at the 
stairs, I found another midshipman about my own 
age, who had been left in charge of the boat's crew 
during the other's absence. He eyed me obliquely; 
then turning to the elder, " I thought," said he, 


"you would never come. I have been so bothered 
during the time you were away by three of the 
men's confounded trulls, who wanted me to give 
them a passage off, that every five minutes appeared 
an hour, and I have only this moment got rid of 
them." " Never mind, my boy," said the other, 
"let's shove off." 

Passing round a point, going out of the harbour, 
I observed a gibbet with part of a human skeleton 
hanging on it. " You are looking at the remains of 
Jack the painter," said the elder midshipman tome. 
" Do you know his history ? " I answered in the 
negative. "Why," said he, "that burning rascal 
set fire to the rope-house in the dockyard about the 
time you were born, and there the gentleman's 
bones are rattling to the breeze as a warning to 
others." The wind was blowing strong, and we 
were more than an hour before we reached the 
frigate, which was lying at Spithead. My eyes 
during that time were fixed on twelve sail of the 
line ready for sea. As I had never seen a line of 
battleship, I was much struck with their noble and 
imposing appearance, and I imagined everybody 
who served on board them must feel pride in 
belonging to them. After a severe pull we got 
alongside as the boatswain and his mates were 
piping to dinner. I followed the elder midshipman 
up the side, the other came up after me. On 
reaching the quarter-deck we made our bows, when 
I was introduced to the second lieutenant, who had 
the watch on deck. He asked me some indifferent 


questions, and sent for one of the master's mates to 
give orders respecting my hammock. The first 
lieutenant, an elderly, weather-beaten, gentlemanly 
looking person, now came on deck. I had a letter 
for him from my sister's husband-elect, which I 
gave him. After reading it he asked me how I 
had left my friends, and before I could answer the 
question I heard him say to the second lieutenant, 
** What the devil do they send such delicate boys 
into the Service to be knocked on the head for ? 
— much better make civilians of them." Then 
turning to me, "Well, youngster," said he, with a 
good-humoured smile, "you'll dine in the gun 
room with us at three o'clock." He then sent for 
the gunner, and requested him to take me into his 
mess, who grinned assent. This last was a square, 
broad-shouldered Welshman, with an open coun- 
tenance, and of no little consequence. I descended 
to his cabin, which was under water, and I could, 
when in it, distinctly hear that element bubbling 
like a kettle boiling as it ran by the ship's side 
above our heads. I found this said cabin not too 
large for three of us, as the surgeon's mate was an 
inmate as well as myself. Its dimensions were 
about eight feet by six, and when we were at table 
the boy who attended us handed everything in we 
wanted by the door. In a few days I was quite 
at home with the mids ; some of them began 
spinning tough yarns respecting the hardships of a 
sea life — what a horrible bore it was to keep night 
watches, or any watch at all, and you are sure, 


said one of them, to catch the fever and ague after 
you have been four hours walking under the 
draught of the mizzen stay-sail ; and, added another, 
to be mast-headed for three hours with your face to 
windward by those tyrants, the second and third 
lieutenants. They both ought to be turned out of 
the Service for tyranny and oppression, and as to the 
last he does not know how to put the ship about 
without the assistance of Hamilton Moore or the 
old quartermaster. I thought this all very en- 
couraging. I, however, kept my own counsel, and 
as I did not appear much discomposed by the 
recital of so many miseries, they considered me a 
complete Johnny Newcome just caught. 

We were now ready for sailing, and only waiting 
the arrival of a general officer and his suite. The 
second morning after I joined the frigate a most 
serious accident occurred which might easily have 
proved fatal to all on board. In a part called the 
after cockpit, where, after breakfast, the surgeon 
examines the sick, a large piece of iron called a 
loggerhead, well heated, is put into a bucket of tar 
in order to fumigate it after the sick have left it. 
On this occasion the tar caught fire. It soon 
reached the spirit-room hatches, which were under- 
neath, and the powder magazine bulkhead. 
Unfortunately, without considering the conse- 
quences, a few buckets of water were thrown on the 
flaming tar, which made it spread more. At length 
the engine was set to work, and beds and blankets 
from the purser's store-room surcharged with water 


soon got it under. These last were of the greatest 
service in smothering the flame, and were more 
effectual in saving the ship than the engine. The 
captain and officers behaved nobly on this occasion. 
I had the honour of conducting the hose of the 
engine down the hatchway, and was almost stifled 
by the smoke for my pains. On looking through 
one of the gunports after the danger was over, I 
could not help laughing to see two of the women 
with a rope fastened under their arms and held by 
their husbands, paddling close to the ship's side, 
with their clothes rising like large bladders around 
them. A number of boats on seeing our danger 
came to our assistance, but they were ordered to 
lay on their oars at a distance. Providentially we 
did not require their aid. 

On the 2nd of November we received on board 
General Prescott and his suite, and immediately 
afterwards got under weigh and made sail with a 
favourable wind down Channel. We had taken our 
departure from the Lizard, when, on the same 
night the wind, which had continued some time 
from the eastward, changed to the westward, and 
came on to blow fresh with very hazy weather. A 
number of West Indiamen passed us ; they had 
been beating about in the chops of the Channel for 
more than a week. Some of them were in great 
distress for provisions. We relieved three of them 
by sending some bags of biscuit and casks of salt 
beef, and as we were feelingly alive to their situa- 
tion, we took from their crews six of their seamen. 


('' ''-sulmt' 


I was much interested in two of these men. They 
had been absent nearly eighteen months from their 
wives and famiHes, and were fondly looking for- 
ward to a meeting with those for whom they lived 
and toiled, but, alas! they were doomed to return to 
that foreign climate they had a few months before 
left, and from whence it was impossible to know 
when they would come back. 

We kept the sea for two days longer notwith- 
standing the violence of the westerly gale, in the 
hope it would not long continue; but finding we 
were losing ground, we on the third day bore up 
for Falmouth, where we anchored in the evening 
and remained windbound four days, during which 
period we exercised the guns and sails. 

On one of these days I went with a party of my 
shipmates on shore at St. Maw's. Before coming 
off I bethought me of a pair of shoes, which I had 
forgotten to procure at Falmouth. I inquired of a 
boy who passed me where I could find a shop to 
supply my wants ; he informed me the mayor was 
the best shoemaker in the town. To this worthy 
magistrate I repaired, who I found very busily 
employed on a pair of boots. He had spectacles on 
nose, which feature was not very prominent and of 
a reddish-blue. I acquainted him with my wish to 
have a pair of solid, good understanders. Pointing 
to some shoes, "Good," said he, "young officer, 
here's a pair will fit you to a T. They were made 
for Captain H.'s son, but the ship sailed before he 
could send for them." As they fitted me I bought 


them. " So I understand," said he, "gentlemen," 
— for two of the mids were with me — "you are 
going to the Indies to make your fortunes." " Are 
we?" said I, "that is more than we know." 
"Yes," continued he, "I am sure of it, and in a 
year's time you will return with your pockets well 
filled with French money; and I hope," added he, 
" that if you return to Falmouth you will pay my 
shop a second visit." I need not inform my reader 
that the worshipful shoeraaking magivStrate proved 
a false prophet. We did return within a twelve- 
month, and to Falmouth, 'tis true, but nearly as 
poor as when he told us our fortunes ; consequently 
we did not visit his shop a second time. 

As we were the senior officer, and there being 
several sloops of war and cutters in the harbour, we 
fired the evening and morning guns. The first 
evening we fired proved fatal to a pilot and four 
boatmen, who imagined the firing proceeded from 
a ship seen standing for the harbour with the loss 
of her fore top-mast. The night was very dark 
and tempestuous, and a short time after leaving St. 
Maw's the boat upset and they were all lost. This 
was the more distressing as they all left wives and 
families. The officers among the squadron made a 
subscription for them, and the mids, although not 
rich, were not backward. The wind becoming 
favourable, we on the fifth morning made sail out 
of the roads and stood down Channel. The same 
night, which was very dark and squally, we fell in 
with the Venus frigate, who, before \vq could 


answer the private signal, favoured us with a dis- 
charge of musketry. Fortunately, it did no other 
damage than cutting some of the ropes. 

On the morning of the second day after leaving 
Falmouth we saw four ships about five miles dis- 
tant to the S.W. At first we took them for India- 
men homeward bound. In the expectation of pro- 
curing: some gfood seamen we stood towards them. 
After a short time we discovered them to be French 
frigates. We immediately altered our course, and 
made all possible sail to avoid them. On perceiv- 
ing this they signalled each other and stood after 
us under a press of sail. The wind was 
moderate, and had again changed to the 
westward. The enemy was drawing fast on us. 
After a chase of five hours the nearest frigate fired 
her foremost guns at us, which cut away the main- 
top bowline. We returned their fire with our stern 
chasers. As they had neared us so rapidly, we 
thought it prudent to throw overboard the foreign 
stores in order to improve our sailing. Two of the 
enemy's frigates were now within gunshot and the 
two others nearing us fast. We had almost 
despaired of escaping, when fortunately one of our 
shot brought down the advanced frigate's fore top- 
sail yard, and we soon found we were leaving her. 
The second yawed, and gave us a broadside ; only 
two of her shot took effect by striking near the 
fore channels. Her yaw saved us, as we gained on 
her considerably. The wind had become light, 
which still further favoured us. We were now 


nearlng our own coast, and towards sunset the 
enemy had given up the chase and hauled off to 
the S.W. The wind veering to the northward, we 
altered our course to the westward ; but, singular to 
say, at daylight next morning we found ourselves 
about six miles from the same vessels, who, directly 
they perceived us, made all sail towards us. We 
tacked and stood again for Falmouth, where we 
anchored that evening and remained three days to 
complete our stores. We once more made sail for 
our destination, which I now found was the West 
Indies, without meeting further obstacle. As we 
neared the tropic those who had crossed it were 
anticipating the fun ; others were kept in ignorance 
until Neptune came on board, which he did with 
one of his wives. It was my morning watch, when 
the frigate was hailed and desired to heave to, 
which was done. The cooper, a black man, per- 
sonated the sea-god. His head was graced with a 
large wig and beard made of tarred oakum. His 
shoulders and waist were adorned by thrumbed 
mats ; on his feet were a pair of Greenland snow- 
shoes. In his right hand he held the grains (an 
instrument something resembling a trident, and 
used for striking fish). He was seated on a match 
tub placed on a grating, with his wife, a young 
topman, alongside of him. Her head-dress con- 
sisted of a white flowing wig made of oakum, with 
a green turban; on her shoulders was an ample 
yellow shawl ; her petticoat was red bunting ; on 
her feet were sandals made from the green hide 


of a bullock. In her right hand she held a 
harpoon ; her cheeks were thickly smeared with 
red ochre. 

After beinc: drawn round the decks three times 
in order to astonish those confined below by the 
noise and bustle it made, Neptune introduced his 
young bride to the captain, and informed him he 
was in mourning for his last wife, pointing to his 
skin. "What occasioned her death?" inquired 
the captain. " She," replied the sea-god, " died of 
a violent influenza she caught on the banks of 
Newfoundland nursing her last child in a thick fog, 
and," added he, " I intend next month blockading 
the coast of Shetland in order to compel the mer- 
maids to give up one of their young women whom I 
hired three months ago to suckle my last infant, since 
the death of its mother." He then requested to 
know if there were any new arrivals from his 
favourite island, England. The captain informed 
him there were several, and as some of them were 
rather delicate, with very little beard, he hoped his 
barber would not shave them too close. One ol 
the midshipmen was then brought up blindfolded. 
Neptune asked him how he had left his mamma, 
that he must refuse biscuit when he could have 
soft tommy (white bread), that he should lower his 
main-top gallant sail to a pretty girl, and make a 
stern board from an ugly one. After being taken 
to the sea-god's wife, who embraced him most 
cordially, leaving no small proportion of the ochre 
on his cheeks, he was desired to be seated, and was 


led to the narrow plank placed over a very large 
tub of water. The barber then began his operations 
with grease and tar, and as the mid did not 
admire the roughness of the razor, he began to be 
a little restive, when over he went into the tub, 
where he floundered for some short time. He was 
drawn out, the bandage removed from his eyes, 
and he appeared not a little surprised to see so 
many grotesque figures around him. He soon 
recovered himself and entered into the fun which 

All the others came up one at a time and went 
through the same ceremony. Some were inclined 
not to submit to Neptune's directions. This only 
made matters worse for them, as the more they 
struggled the oftener they were plunged into the 
tub of water. After about two hours' amusement 
the decks were dried, everything in order, and all 
hands at breakfast. I could not help laughing at 
one of the lieutenants of Marines who, to avoid 
getting wet, had placed himself on the forecastle to 
enjoy the pastime without partaking in it. One of 
the mids who had been ducked determined he 
should not escape, and had a couple of buckets 
filled with water on the gangway, ready to throw 
on him when he quitted his post, which he did 
when he saw the tub removed from the quarter- 
deck. As the youngster wished, he went along the 
main-deck, when, as he passed, over his shoulders 
went the first bucket of water ; he unfortunately 
lifted his head to see who threw it, when over went 


the other right in his face and breast, so that he 
was as completely drenched as if he had been 
ducked. Unluckily, he had on his red coat, which 
was completely spoiled ; salt water is a bitter enemy 
to red cloth, as it turns it black. A few days 
afterwards we caught several dolphins and a shark 
seventeen feet in length. We were obliged to fire 
seven pistol balls into its head to kill it before we 
could get it on board. It was cut up and put into 
pickle for those who chose to eat it. There was a 
beautiful fish, striped alternately black and yellow, 
swimming under it. The sailors called it a pilot- 
fish, and they informed me that sharks are very 
seldom without one or two, and that they appear to 
direct them where to go ; this last must be mere 
conjecture. The pilot-fish is generally about a foot 
long, and in shape like a mullet. 




Arrival in West Indies — Cruise among the French islands — Bombard- 
ment and capture of St. Pierre, Dominique — Attack on Bourbon 
— Capture of forts — Surrender of General Rochambeau and the 
French garrison. 

After a pleasant passage of thirty-four days we 
anchored in CarHsle Bay, Barbadoes. Two days 
after our arrival I had permission to go on shore 
with the gunner, who had been here before. I 
found the town not very extensive. The houses are 
built much in the same style as those at Kingston, 
in Jamaica, except that they have more garden 
ground. The streets are very sandy, but they are 
ornamented with a profusion of cocoa, plantain 
and banana trees, which afford a partial shade. 
It appeared to me that most of the people who 
inhabited Bridge Town maintained themselves by 
washing clothes. The women are well made and 
very indolent. The men are sufficiently conceited but 
active. I procured here a quantity of very pretty 
small sea-shells. They assort them very taste- 
fully in cases, and for about two dollars you may 
purchase a tolerable collection. The natives of this 
island pride themselves on not being Creoles, that 
is not being of the Caribbean race, although it 


assuredly is one of the Caribbean Islands. If you are 
unfortunate enough to speak in favour of any of the 
other West Indian Islands in their presence, they 
immediately exclaim, " Me tankey my God dat I 
needer Crab nor Creole, but true Barbadeen born." 
They drawl out their words most horribly. I hap- 
pened one day to hear two of the dignity ladies of 
Bridge Town, as black as ink, returning the saluta- 
tions of the morning. The first began by drawling 
out, '* How you do dis maurning. I hope you berry 
well, m-a-a-m, but I tink you look a little p-a-a-le." 
The other answered, " I tank you body, I hab berry 
b-a-a-d niete (night), but I better dis mording, 
I tank 3'ou, m-a-a-m." This island is famed for 
its noyeau, guava jelly, candied fruits — particularly 
the pine-apple, which is put on table in glass 
cases — and its potted flying-fish, which I thought 
equal in flavour to potted pilchards. Were I to 
make this assertion at Mevagissey I fear I should 
stand but little chance of being invited to dine off 
star gazy pie^ ; but for fear my reader should 
be from that neighbourhood, I beg him to under- 
stand that I do not think them better, but, in my 
individual opinion, as good. After remaining among 
these true Barbadian-born drawlers about ten days, 
we left them, and made sail for St. Pierre 
Dominique, where we anchored two days after. 
The manners and customs of the people at this 
island were totally different to those in vogue in 

' A pie made of pilchards with their heads peeping through the 
crust, hence the name " Star gazing." 


Barbadoes ; all, with the exception of a few, spoke 
Creole French. 

This island is mountainous, but not very pic- 
turesque. It produces sugar which undergoes the 
process of being clayed — that is, after a great part of 
the molasses has been drained from it, it is put into 
forms made of clay, which extract the remaining 
moisture ; it then becomes a beautiful straw colour ; 
it is exported in cases. Coffee also grows here, but 
not of the finest quality. We also saw abundance 
of different fruits. The purser purchased several 
tons of yams for the use of the ship's crew, some of 
which weighed upwards of twenty pounds each. 
We bought for our mess some sweet potatoes, 
plantains, bananas, shaddocks, forbidden fruit, and 
limes. There were groves of oranges, but we had 
not time to visit them. We saw in the market 
melons, guavas, sour-sops, alligator-pears, love- 
apples and mangoes. I remarked that oxen were 
the only animals used for burthen. I did not see a 
single horse. The streets of the town of St. Pierre 
are not laid out with much regularity, nor are the 
houses well built. I thought it an ugly town ; it is, 
however, ornamented with a number of cocoanut- 
trees, some of which are forty and fifty feet high. 

The general officer we brought from England 
and his suite left us at this place. The object of 
his visit was to raise a mongrel regiment for the 
purpose of acting against the French islands, as a 
fleet with troops from England was daily expected 
to effect their capture. We remained here a few 


days, and afterwards amused ourselves by cruising 
off the islands of Martinique, Guadaloupe, St. 
Lucie and Marie Galante, but were not fortunate 
enough to effect any captures. We repaired a 
second time to St. Pierre roads and received on 
board two companies of mongrels to transport 
to Barbadoes. We wished them, and sometimes 
ourselves, in heaven. All the mids thought it a 
great pity that we had not fallen in with a first-class 
French frigate. We might have walked on board 
of her, said they, in such fine style. There were 
several women with the troops, some of whom 
had children at the breast. I pitied them, and 
endeavoured to assist them all in my power. For 
them to stay below was impossible, as we had 
almost as many soldiers on board as our ship's 
company, and to keep their children quiet was 
equally difficult. To effect this they frequently 
gave them strong rum and water, which threw them 
into a state of stupor — poor, miserable little beings ! 
After having these suffering people on board for five 
days we at length, to their relief and our great joy, 
arrived amongst our drawling — no, Creole friends, 
and the following morning all the redcoats were 
disembarked. On the second day after our anchor- 
ing the expected fleet made its appearance. It 
consisted of the Boyne, Vice-Admiral Sir J. Jervis, 
one 70 and two 64-gun ships, several frigates, 
sloops of war, bomb-ships, and transports with 
troops. We saluted the admiral, which he returned. 
All now was life and bustle, and in a short time the 


gun-boats were ready ; each man-of-war received 
two flat boats to tow astern. In the latter end of 
February, 1794, we finally bid an affecting adieu 
to our yellow and black legged female friends at 
Bridge Town, who remained on the shore waving 
handkerchiefs much whiter than themselves until 
the fleet cleared the harbour. On making sail, 
Needham's Fort, which commands the harbour, 
saluted the admiral, which he returned. The fleet 
and transports soon cleared the bay, when each 
ship took her station. It was a majestic sight to 
see so many vessels with all their canvas spread 
and swelling to a strong sea-breeze. 

The second day we reached Fort Royale Bay, 
Martinique, in admirable order, and took French 
leave to let go our anchors out of range of the 
enemy's shells. The nearest vessels of the fleet 
had been warmly saluted by Pigeon Island, as they 
were going in, which, however, we treated with 
contempt. On the third day after our arrival a 
frigate with a bomb-ship and three gun-boats 
engaged it, and three hours afterwards it capitulated. 
One of the sixty-four-gun ships, some frigates, and 
a bomb with transports, had gone round to subdue 
the northern part of the island. We were now 
all actively employed getting ready the gun and 
flat-bottomed boats for landing the troops, who 
were commanded by Lieut. -Gen. Sir C. Gray. The 
Duke of Kent shortly after arrived with some 
troops from Halifax. As it was thought advisable 
to reduce some of the smaller towns before the attack 


on Fort Royale, we were ordered with one of the 
sixty-fours, two frigates, the bomb-ship and some 
gun-boats to assault the town of St. Pierre. We gave 
three cheers in the cockpit on hearing this news. At 
dayhght we weighed, and in the evening entered the 
bay of St. Pierre ; we were ordered to take off the 
hard knocks from the bomb by anchoring between 
her and the enemy. About g p.m. we all opened 
our fire as nearly as possible at the same time. It 
was a most brilliant sight ; the bay was literally 
illuminated. The enemy's batteries began to play 
with some trifling effect ; this added to the splen- 
dour of the scene. The night, fortunately for us, 
was very dark, which made it difficult for them to 
strike us, as they could but imperfectly discern the 
object they fired at; this was evident, as they fired 
immediately after we did. Our shot and shell 
could not fail every time we fired them, as we had 
taken the bearings of the principal places when we 
anchored. The cannonading ceased about 3 a.m., 
when all the enemy's batteries, except one, struck 
their colours. This was in a great measure owing to 
our troops investing the back of the town. At four 
o'clock the remaining fort, finding the town had 
surrendered, hauled down the tricoloured flag. The 
losses on our part were twelve killed and twenty 
wounded. Those of the enemy must have been 

All the flat-bottomed boats and those belonging 
to the squadron were ordered to land a number of 
marines. I was in the first division. We landed 


about 7 A.M., and were astonished at the mischief 
our shot and shell had done. The roof of the 
municipality, or town house, was nearly knocked 
in. At the time some of the shells fell through 
it, all the wise men of the town were assembled 
under its, as they imagined, bomb-proof roof. 
Two of them were killed and several wounded. 
The principal church had also suffered, as two 
sacrilegious shells had penetrated it and fallen 
near the altar. On entering it we found the 
models of three frigates. As they had not struck 
their colours, we did them that favour, and made 
prizes of them. There were also some pictures of 
grim-looking saints, which one of the sailors was 
endeavouring to unhook until another called out, 
" Let them alone. Jack, they'll only bring you bad 
luck," on which he desisted. This church was 
very dirty, and the ceilings of it filled with cobwebs ; 
the priests had taken everything from the altar, as 
well as from the recesses or small chapels. A 
party of marines, with some artillerymen, took 
possession of the forts, and sentinels were 
stationed over the public buildings, and picquets 
round the town. Terms of capitulation had been 
drawn out by the authorities, which, as the town 
was taken by assault, were not agreed to. All 
found in arms were considered prisoners of war ; 
everything belonging to the Republic was given up. 
The citizens were not molested, and allowed to 
keep their private effects. I was much amused at 
the genuine sang-froid^ or more properly speaking, 


the French philosophy, of the people who kept the 
coffee-houses. They moved about as gay as if 
nothing had happened, everything was regularly 
paid for, and the most perfect discipline observed. 

Having taken on board some of the principal 
French officers and a party of our troops, we 
arrived at our former anchorage, Fort Royale Bay, 
the next morninir. Fort Rovale, which was of 
considerable strength, had been bombarded for 
several days, when it was decided to carry it by 
storm. On the third day after our anchoring, at 
3 A.M., the attack took place. The gun and flat- 
bottomed boats were covered by the bomb-ships 
and frigates. A landing was soon effected ; the 
bamboo ladders for two men to mount abreast were 
placed against the outer bastion of the fort. The 
soldiers and sailors vied with each other w4io 
should mount first. Unfortunately, some of the 
ladders gave way, and the men were precipitated to 
the ground ; and, what was still more unfortunate, 
some few fell on the bayonets of those below and 
were shockingly wounded. In about ten minutes 
the outer works were carried, and a marine's jacket, 
for want of other colours, was hoisted on the flag- 
staff. The enemy retreated to the inner work, but 
it availed them little. In less than a quarter of an 
hour they were compelled to give way. Several of 
them were cut down by the sailors, who had thrown 
away their pistols after discharging them. MovSt 
of them had abandoned their half-pikes before 
mounting, as they declared they were only in their 


way, and that they preferred the honest cutlass 
to any other weapon. The sailors and soldiers 
behaved well on this occasion ; those who did not 
form the escalade covered those who did by firing 
incessant volleys of musketry, which brought down 
those of the enemy who were unwise enough to 
show their unlucky heads above the parapet. In 
about twenty minutes the British flags were floating 
on the flagstaffs, the French officers surrendered 
their swords, and were sent on board the Boyne. 
I forgot to mention that an explosion had taken 
place in one of the magazines of the fort 
before we entered it, which killed and wounded 
more than fifty of the enemy. About ninety of the 
enemy were killed and more than twenty wounded. 
We had forty-six killed and wounded ; among the 
number were eleven officers. We found in the 
harbour a frigate of thirty-six guns and a corvette 
fitted up as a receiving ship for the wounded. 
Several merchant ships, loading with sugar when 
we first entered the bay, had re-landed their 
cargoes. The warehouses were more than half 
filled with sugar, rum and coffee. A party of 
seamen were immediately employed to load the 

The town had suffered considerably from the 
shells and shot. Some of the houses were in ruins 
and the public buildings much damaged, particularly 
those in the dockyard. 

We now encamped before and laid siege to the 
principal Republican fort, commanded by the French 


General Rochambeau. It had before been called 
" Fort Bourbon," and had a garrison of 3,000 men.^ 

We had already taken one of its principal re- 
doubts within gunshot of it and Fort Royale. A 
party of sailors who had the management of it 
under a lieutenant and three midshipmen, christened 
it by a name that would shock ladies' ears. When 
the enemy's shot fired at them were not too deeply 
entrenched in the ground, they dug them up and 
returned them, the middies first writing on them in 
chalk the names of those quack doctors who sold 
pills as a remedy for all complaints. 

For the first fourteen days we all appeared to 
enjoy the novelty of our situation, although it was 
by no means an enviable one, as the shot and 
shell were flying about us in every direction, and 
it was no joke to scamper away from a bursting 
shell just as we had sat down to dinner. Some 
were almost every day sent to " Kingdom come " 
sooner than they expected. Our camp on the plain 
before the enemy's fort was picturesque enough ; 
the officers only had tents or marquees, the sailors 
and soldiers made the mOvSt of their blankets. 
However, except when the dew fell heavily at night, 
these were quite sufficient. A few only suffered 
who were not of the strongest, and they were 
attacked by a low fever. 

We had been before this fortress nearly three 
weeks, and were impatient to storm it, as what with 
casualties and the enemy's shot we were losing the 

' See note (a). 


number of our mess faster than we liked, and, 
although our fire had been incessant, we had not 
been able to effect a breach of any considerable 
consequence. To give more facility to the opera- 
tions the Boyne landed some of her guns, and a 
party of sailors were ordered to draw them up, or 
rather they volunteered to do so. The guns were 
placed in an advanced fascine-intrenched battery, 
made by the pioneers and artillerymen during the 
night, within half a gun shot of the enemy. In 
getting them up they were either placed upon field 
carriages or sledges made out of the trunks of trees. 
The sailors, who were harnessed by twenties, soon 
had them in their places, and when they were 
mounted they gave three hearty cheers, which must 
have astonished the enemy. The guns soon after 
opened a most destructive fire on the nearest work, 
as we could see quantities of the wall fly like showers 
of hail. During the night we expected a sortie from 
the fort, and were provided for such an event. A 
constant fire from all the batteries was kept up all 
night ; the shells were well directed, and an 
explosion took place in the enemy's fort. At day- 
light we perceived that the advanced sailors' battery 
had effected a considerable breach in the fort, and 
a consultation was held among the superior officers. 
When over, they acquainted the sailors and soldiers 
that they were determined to storm it the following 
night. The three cheers which followed this speech 
must have been heard for miles. At lo a.m. we 
discerned a flag of truce advancing towards our 


lines, and shortly after a French superior officer 
with his aide-de-camp requested to speak to the 
commanding officer. As the enemy had ceased 
firing, we did the same. The purport of the flag of 
truce was that General Rochambeau, finding it 
useless holding out any longer, wished to treat on 
terms, and requested a cessation of hostilities for 
twenty-four hours. The following morning the 
capitulation was arranged. At 10 a.m. the enemy 
marched out of the fort under arms, with drums 
beating and their colours flying, when we marched 
in and soon hoisted the colours of Old England on 
the flag-staffs. The island was now entirely in our 
possession. The French garrison marched to Fort 
Royale, where they grounded their arms in the 
market-place. Their superior officers were met by 
the Admiral, Sir C. Gray, and the Duke of Kent, as 
well as other officers of the Navy and Army. In a 
few days afterwards they were embarked on board 
some of the transports and sent to France, the 
officers on parole, and the men not to serve until 
regularly exchanged. 



Sail for England with despatches — A lunar rainbow — A two-tailed 
fish — Reach Falmouth after passage of fifteen days — To Plyanouth 
to refit — All leave refused — Sailors' frolics ashore — To sea again 
— Cruise off French coast and Channel Islands — Run aground off 
Guernsey — Return to Plymouth to repair damages — Rejoin fleet 
— French fleet escapes into Brest — Return to Plymouth to refit 
for foreign service — Transhipped to H.M.S. Hannibal — Descrip- 
tion of the ship's officers — Tricks played on the Irish chaplain. 

On the 14th of April, 1794, we were ordered to 
receive on board a superior officer of the Navy and 
Army with the despatches for England, also several 
wounded officers and the colours taken from the 
forts and churches. In the evening we saluted the 
admiral and left the bay for England. 

On our passage, during a middle watch, I beheld 
a splendid and most perfect lunar rainbow. It 
extended from the stern of the frigate to some 
considerable distance. These bows are generally 
more distinct than the solar, owing to the glare of 
light not being so great. 

We were followed for some days by a fish with 
two regular tails. It was about three feet long, of 
a bluish colour, and shaped like a salmon. We 
endeavoured by every possible stratagem to take it, 
but it was either too shy or too cunning to be caught. 


Fifteen days after quitting Martinique we anchored 
at Falmouth. The ofBcers in charge of the de- 
spatches left the ship to proceed to London. 

After having taken on board water and refresh- 
ments we repaired to Plymouth, ran into Hamoaze, 
lashed alongside a receiving hulk, unrigged and got 
the guns and stores out, and were afterwards taken 
into dock to have the copper cleaned and repaired. 

Now, reader, I hope you will not think me 
unreasonable when I make known to you that I 
wished to see my mother, but I might as well have 
asked for a captain's commission. The time was too 
precious, and we were of too much use to be spared 
to see our mammas, so the second lieutenant 
said, and that was a sufficient damper. He had 
his wife in snug lodgings at Dock ; he neither felt 
for us nor our mammas, so one of the youngsters 

Whilst the frigate is refitting, I will describe some 
of our sailors' frolics on shore. Returning one 
afternoon from Plymouth, I met two hackney 
coaches driving very rapidly. The first of them 
contained one of our boatswain's mates and the 
coxswain of the launch with their delicate ladies. 
On the roof was another of our men playing the 
fiddle. I expected to see him fall off every moment, 
but, like a true sailor, he had learnt to hold fast. 
The second coach contained the mens' hats and 
their ladies' bonnets. As they were not allowed to 
go farther than Plymouth, they had been driving 
from Dock to that place and back again for the last 



two hours. On their coming on board they brought 
with them the sign of Whittington's cat, which 
belonged to the pubHc-house in North Corner Street, 
where they had dined. They gave the landlord four- 
teen shillings for it, and two days after gave it to him 
back for nothing. On another occasion twelve of 
them took six coaches, into which they stowed with 
their ladies, to drive backwards and forwards from 
Plymouth toDock six times. The sternmost to pay 
for a dinner, of which the whole were to partake, 
each kept bribing the coachman to go faster ; the 
consequence was that the money they gave for this 
task amounted to more than the hire of the vehicles. 
When they made their appearance on board they 
were decorated with shawls tied round them like 
scarfs, and three of them had portraits of their 
females as large as an ordinary picture fastened 
round their necks with a piece of a bell rope. 

I prithee, reader, censure them not too harshly. 
Sailors possess shades like other men ; but when 
you reflect that they are on board their ships for 
months in an open sea, exposed to all weather, 
privation, and hardship, which they bear with philo- 
sophic patience, you will agree with most people 
and admit that they deserve indulgence when they 
get on shore ; but 3^ou may wish for their sakes that 
they knew the value of money better. You cannot 
change the Ethiopian's skin without boiling him in 
pitch, which you know is a dangerous experiment. 
Sailors seldom arrive at the age of reflection until 
they are past the meridian of life, and when it is 


almost too late to lay by anything considerable to 
make them comfortable in their old age. 

I have known a boatswain's mate who a few 
months after he had joined the ship received about 
twenty pounds. One of his messmates asked him 
to lend him a few shillings. "That I will, my 
hearty," was his generous reply ; " here's a fist full 
for you. Pay me a fist full when you are able." 
The master at arms who observed the action 
desired the borrower to count it ; it amounted to 
twenty-nine shillings. 

The frigate now came out of dock and warped 
alongside the hulk, and in five days she was ready 
for sea. On the seventh day we sailed to cruise off 
Cherbourg, and to join a squadron of frigates under 
Captain Saumerez. The enemy had three large 
class frigates fitting out at Havre de Grace and two 
others at Cherbourg. Our squadron consisted of 
five frigates and a lugger. 

At this period, 1794, Cherbourg, although a 
strong place, was nearly an open roadstead, and 
we frequently stood in so close as to oblige the 
outer vessels at anchor to run farther in. 

Having cruised along the French coast for five 
weeks watching the progress of the enemy's 
frigates, which appeared very slow, we, in carrying 
sail after a small vessel, sprung our fore and mizzen 
top-masts, and were ordered to Guernsey, where we 
shortly after anchored in Castle Cornet roads. 
Whilst we remained here some of the mids and my- 
self had permission to go on shore. After rambling 

K.G. D 


about the town without meeting with any object 
worth attention, we crossed over to some small, 
rocky islands, and having two fowling-pieces with 
us we shot four large rabbits ; their hair was very 
soft and long. The inhabitants, who are neither 
English nor French, but speak both languages in a 
corrupt manner, fabricate gloves and socks from 
the fur of these animals. I bought two pairs 
of the former, but they did not last long ; the hair 
constantly came out on my clothes, and when once 
they are wet they become useless. 

On the fifth day after quitting the squadron we 
rejoined them in Cancale Bay. At daylight next 
morning our signal was made to chase an enemy's 
lugger in shore. We were gaining rapidly on her 
when she ran in between some rocks ; we then pre- 
pared the boats to attack and bring her out, but as 
we stood in for that purpose we found the water 
suddenly shoal, and a battery we had not perceived 
opened its fire on us. We were obliged to haul off, 
but not before we had fired several shot at both 
lugger and battery. The latter again fired and 
knocked away our mizzen top-gallant mast. We 
bore up and gave it a broadside, and could see 
pieces of rock near it fly in all directions. The 
signal was made to recall us, and soon after we 
rejoined the squadron. For more than two months 
had we been tantalized by cruising in this mono- 
tonous manner, with little hope of the saiHng of 
the frigates we were blockading, when the commo- 
dore ordered another frigate, ourselves, and the 


lugger to Guernsey to refit and procure live bul- 
locks. Having got on board what we wanted, we 
made sail out of the harbour through the Little 
Vessel passage ; the pilot, thinking the tide higher 
than it was, bumped the frigate on shore on the 
rock of that name. She struck violently, but soon 
floated off as the tide was flooding. On sounding 
the well we found she was making water rapidly. 
The pumps were soon at work, but as the leak 
gained on us, we made the signal of distress and 
want of assistance. It was soon answered by the 
frigate and lugger, who came within hail. We 
requested them to see us as far as Plymouth, as 
we could not keep the sea in consequence of our 
mishap. Fortunately the wind was in our favour, 
and we reached Plymouth Sound in the afternoon, 
ran into Hamoaze the same evening, lashed along- 
side a receiving ship and had a party of men to 
assist at the pumps. 

At daylight we got out the guns and the heavy 
stores, and the ship into dock. On examining her, 
it was found that part of the main keel and bottom 
were so much injured that it would be a fortnight 
before the repairs could be finished. In three 
weeks we were ready for sea, and were ordered to 
join a squadron of nine sail of the line, under the 
command of Rear-Admiral Montague. We sailed 
with the intention of joining the Channel fleet under 
Lord Howe, but were much mortified on receivin"- 


intelligence from a frigate we spoke that the action 
between the English and French fleets had taken 

D 2 


place on the ist of June, and that the latter were 
defeated with considerable loss. In the sanguine 
hope of meeting with some of the enemy's lame 
ducks, we made all sail for Brest water. The next 
morning we saw the Island of Ushant, and soon 
after eight sail of the enemy's line of battle ships 
and five large frigates. They were about three 
leagues on our weather beam. We made all sail in 
chase of them, but they being so near Brest, and 
in the wind's eye of us, we only neared them suffi- 
ciently to exchange a few shots. In the evening they 
anchored in Brest roads. On this mortifying occa- 
sion there was a grand cockpit meeting, when the 
middies declared the French were a set of cowardly, 
sneaking rascals. '' Let me," said one of the 
youngest amongst them, " command a squadron of 
eight sail of the line against ten of the enemy, I 
would soon take the gloss off their sides, and show 
them the way into Portsmouth harbour." 

On the afternoon of the following day we fell in 
with the defeated enemy's fleet which had escaped 
Lord Howe. They, unfortunately, were to wind- 
ward of us standing for Brest, but the nearest of 
them was not more than two leagues distant. We 
made all possible sail to get between them and the 
land. Fourteen sail of their effective ships of the 
line perceiving our intention took their stations 
between us and their disabled vessels. Towards 
sunset we exchanged some shot with the nearest 
without effect. 

The night was now setting in with dark, squally 


weather from the W.S.W., when we reluctantly 
gave up the chase. I will not shock my reader's 
ears with what the mids said on this occasion. 
Suffice it to say, that they offered up their prayers 
most heartily : in this, they, like obedient young 
officers, only followed the example of their gallant 
captain and most of the lieutenants. 

Six weeks after remaining with this squadron we 
were ordered to Plymouth to fit for foreign service. 
The captain went on shore, and we did not see him 
until his return from London with a commission in 
his pocket to command a seventy-four-gun ship, 
into which, shortly after, we were all turned over. 
We regretted leaving the frigate, for although she 
was one of the small class, we v/ere much attached 
to her. Not one of us mids had ever served in a 
larger vessel than a frigate. On board this large 
ship we were for some days puzzled to find out 
each other, and for the first time in our lives we 
messed and slept by candle-light. In a few days 
we received on board four additional lieutenants, 
six mids, a captain of marines, a chaplain, school- 
master, and two hundred more men, besides forty 
marines. As my former messmate, the gunner of 
the frigate, did not join this ship, I had to find 
another mess. One of the master's mates asked 
me if I would join him and six other midshipmen, 
which I did. Our berth, or the place where we 
messed, was on the orlop deck, designated by the 
name of cockpit, where open daylight is almost as 
unknown as in one of the mines of Cornwall. The 


mids' farthing candles and the sentinel's dark, 
dismal, not very clean lanthorn just made a little 
more than darkness visible. When the biscuits are 
manned, that is, infested by " bargemen," they may 
be swallowed in this dark hole by wholesale, as it is 
next to an impossibility to detect them, except they 
quit their stow-holes and crawl out, and when they 
do, which is but seldom, they are made to run a 
race for a trifling wager. On the home station 
bargemen are scarcely known ; it is only in warm 
climates where they abound. Another most 
destructive insect to the biscuit is the weevil, called 
by the mids purser's 1 — e. 

While walking down Fore Street one morning 
with one of my messmates we came up with two 
well-dressed females, when he exclaimed, " By Job ! 
what a well-built little frigate she is to the left ! 
How well she carries her maintop-gallant sail ! 
What a neat counter, and how well formed between 
the yardarms ! I'll heave ahead and have a look 
at her bow chasers, head rails, and cut heads, for 
I think I have seen her before somewhere. You," 
said he to me, '' can take the one on the starboard 
hand." He then let go my arm and shot ahead. 
He had no sooner done so than the youngest of 
them exclaimed, "Why, my dear George, is that 
you?" "Yes," he replied, " my dear Emily, and 
my dear mother, too ; this is, indeed, taking me 
aback by an agreeable surprise. How long have 
you been here ? " They were his mother and only 
sister, who had arrived that morning and were going 


to the Admiral's office to gain information respecting 
the ship to which he belonged. His mother was a 
genteel woman, to whom he introduced me ; but 
what shall I say of his sister ! She won my heart 
at first sight. She was a beautiful, delicate girl of 
about nineteen. Her figure haunted me for months 
afterwards. They were at the " Fountain," and 
intended staying there until we sailed. "You will 
go on with us," said his mother. " Yes," said he, 
"that I will, my dear mother, but after I have 
conveyed yourself and my sister to your anchorage 
I must make all sail I possibly can on board, and 
ask the first lieutenant for fresh leave. I hope to 
be with you in about an hour. Having seen them 
both to the inn, we made our bows and repaired on 
board. On explaining to the lieutenant his reason 
for wishing to go again on shore he obtained further 
leave, put on a fresh set of rigging, jumped into the 
boat that had brought us off, and was soon in the 
fond arms of his mother and sister. Shall I say I 
envied him ? No, I did not ; I only wished my 
mother and sister — for I had, like him, only one — 
were at the " Fountain " and I alongside of them. 

In less than a month we were ready for sea, and 
when we were all a taunto I was proud to belong to 
such a commanding and majestic-looking vessel. 
Before sailing, I will indulge my reader with a little 
sketch of the officers of our noble man-of-war. 

The most noble captain I have before described, 
except that they had given him in the cockpit (he 
being a very dark-complexioned man) the name of 


"Blackjack"; his prayingpropensitiesseldom quitted 
him, but, notwithstanding this fault, he had many 
good qualities. The first lieutenant of the frigate 
we left had gone to his family. The second, in 
consequence, had become first. He was a thorough 
seaman, and carried on the duty with a tight hand. 
Woe betide the unfortunate mid who was remiss 
in his duties : the masthead or double watches were 
sure to be his portion. When the former, he hung 
out to dry two and sometimes four hours. The 
mids designated him "The Martinet." The second 
lieutenant was an elderly man, something of the 
old school, and not very polished, fond of spinning 
a tough yarn in the middle watch if the weather 
was fine, a fidgetty, practical sailor with a kind 
heart. He informed us he was born on board the 
Quebec, that his father was gunner of her when she 
blew up in the action with the French frigate 
Surveillante, when all on board except fourteen of 
the crew perished. Among the number saved were 
his father and himself. The former jumped over- 
board from the fore-channels with the latter, who 
was only seven years of age at the time, on his 
back, and swam to the Frenchman's foremast, which 
was floating at a short distance, having been shot 
away by the English frigate. He added that had 
not this unfortunate accident occurred, the French 
frisfate must have struck her colours in less than 
ten minutes. He spoke most indignantly of the 
conduct of an English cutter that was in sight at 
the time. His nickname was " Old Proser." The 


third was a gentlemanly person, but more the 
officer than practical sailor, fond of reading and 
drawing, and he frequently gave some of us instruc- 
tion in the latter. He had been in the East India 
Service, and was a good navigator. We named 
him " Gentleman Jack." The fourth had been third 
in the frigate we left. I have already handed him 
up. His right leg was rather shorter than the 
left ; he was called '* Robin Grey." The fifth was a 
delicate-looking man, fond of dress and the ladies, 
almost always unwell ; he was something of a 
sailor, but thought it a horrid bore to keep watch. 
Strange as it may appear, this officer left the ship 
a few months afterwards, and was made com- 
mander, post captain, and retired admiral without 
serving afloat! We named him " The Adonis." 

The sixth was a stout-built regular man-of-war's 
man, an officer and a sailor, fond of conviviality, of 
gaming and a stiff glass of grog, but never off his 
guard. He went by the name of '* Tom Bowline." 
The seventh was as broad as he was long; the cock- 
pitonians dubbed him " Toby Philpot." He was an 
oddity, and fond of coining new words. He knew 
the ship had three masts and a sheet anchor. He 
was a strict disciple of Hamilton Moore, fond of 
arguing about dip and refraction, particularly the 
former, as he put it in practice on himself, being 
sometimes found with his head and heels at an 
angle of 30 degrees in consequence of dipping his 
head to too many north-westers. He was, however, 
good-natured, knew by rule how to put the ship in 


stays, and sometimevS, by misrule, how to put her in 
irons, which generally brought the captain on deck, 
who both boxhauled the ship and him by praying 
most heartily, although indirectly, for blessings on 
all lubberly actions, and would then turn to the 
quarter-master and threaten him with a flogging for 
letting the ship get in irons, poor Toby looking the 
whole time very sheepish, knowing the harangue was 
intended for him. The master was a middle-aged, 
innocent west-countryman, a good sailor, knew all 
the harbours from Plymouth to the Land's End, and 
perhaps several others, but he was more of a pilot than 
a master, and usually conversed about landmarks, 
church steeples, and crayfish. The surgeon was a 
clever little dapper man, well-read, shockingly irri- 
table, fond of controversy on ethics, etymology, and 
giving the blue pill. I need not acquaint my reader 
he was from York. The purser was the shadow of 
a man, very regular in his accounts, fond of peach- 
water, playing the flute, of going on shore, receiving 
his necessary money and taking all imaginable care 
of number one. The captain of marines was a 
soldierly-looking, little, strong-built man, very up- 
right, fond of his bottle of wine, of holding warm 
arguments with the surgeon, which alv/ays ended 
without cither's conviction — sometimes to the annoy- 
ance, but more frequently to the amusement of the 
wardroom, and he always appeared an inch taller 
when inspecting his corps. In his manner he was 
always on parade, and he thought it a condescension 
to notice a mid. The first lieutenant of marines was 


a tall, slight man, knew the manual by heart, was 
fond of reading novels, presumed he was a great man 
among the ladies (question, what sort of ladies ?). 
He was a great puppy, and when he passed the 
mids he regarded them with an air of patronage, 
which they returned by a look of sovereign contempt. 
The second lieutenant of marines was quite a 
different character. He was as playful as a kitten, 
and never happier than when skylarking with the 
mids in the cockpit. He was not a bad soldier, 
and a promising officer. When at sea he always 
worked the ship's reckoning for his amusement. 
The mids, with the exception of three, were fine- 
looking lads from the ages of fifteen to eighteen, 
fond of fun and mischief and of their half-pint 
of rum ; were frequently at watch and watch, 
mast-headed, pooped, and confined to their half- 
farthing candle-lighted mess-holes. But, notwith- 
standing all these complicated miseries, they were 
wicked enough to thrive and grow, and when on 
shore forgot all their troubles and enjoyed them- 
selves like princes. 

The first surgeon's assistant was a tall, slight 
young man, with his head filled with the Pharma- 
copoeia, bleeding, blistering and gallipots. We 
dubbed him " The Village Apothecary," and some- 
times " Snipes." 

The second assistant was a coarse Scotsman, full 
of pretension and conceit, who assured us that if any 
of us should have occasion to have our legs or arms 
amputated he could do it without any pain. He 


used to feel our pulses after dinner with ridiculous 
gravity, and after examining our tongues tell us 
we should take great care and not eat salt junk 
too quickly, for it seldom digested well on young 
stomachs, and, added he with great consequence, 
" I have a specific forsair heeds if ye ha' any." As 
he was much pitted with the small-pox, we called 
him " Doctor Pithead." 

With every feeling of reverence to the revered 
chaplain, I will tread as lightly over him as a 
middy's clumsy foot encased with boots is capable. 
Dear man, he came all the way from the Emerald 
Isle to join our ship, and brought with him an 
ample supply of pure brogue, which he spoke most 
beautifully. He was very inoffensive, perfectly 
innocent, and never ruffled in temper, except when 
the wicked youngsters played tricks with him while 
he was composing his sermon. One day he was 
much alarmed by the following adventure, got up 
expressly by the mids. Some of these incorrigible 
fellows, among whom I blush to acknowledge I was 
one, had laid a train of gunpowder to a devil close 
to his cabin, whilst they presumed he was very busy 
writins: for their edification. The train was fired 
from the cockpit hatchway, and soon caught the 
devil. As soon as the dear, good man saw the 
sparks, he rushed out of his cabin, crying out, " Oh, 
shure, byes, the ship's on fire ! Och ! what shall I 
do now the ship's on fire ? Och ! what will I do ?'' 
On seeing that he was really alarmed, one of the 
master's mates went up to him with a comically- 


serious face, and informed him that the first lieu- 
tenant finding, when looking round after breakfast, 
that there was something which smelt unpleasant in 
his cabin, had ordered it to be fumigated with a devil, 
but as he knew it was about the time he composed 
his sermon, he was unwilling to disturb him, and the 
devil had in consequence been placed as near his 
cabin as possible to effect the purpose intended. 
His reverence was quite bewildered — an unpleasant 
smell in his cabin, and a devil to drive it away was 
to him incomprehensible ; until the mate requested 
him to calm himself, and assured him there was no 
danger, that the devil was perfectly harmless except 
to unwholesome smells. " There," added he, "is 
his infernal majesty," for he was ashamed to say 
devil so often before the chaplain, " nearly 
exhausted," pointing to the shovel which 
contained the lump of gunpowder mixed with 
vinegar. " Now, sir, i hope your alarm has 
subsided, and that you will not be more disturbed." 
During this ridiculous scene, worthy of the pencil of 
Hogarth, the youngsters with their laughing, wicked 
heads up the hatchway, were enjoying themselves 
most heartily. The following day was Sunday ; 
prayers were read, but no sermon, as the poor man 
was too much agitated afterwards to make one, and 
whenever his messmates thought his sermon too long, 
they threatened him by a visit from another devil. 

The captain, on being informed of this trick, sent 
for the whole of the mids and admonished them as 
to their future conduct. 



Join the Channel fleet off Ushant— Capture the French frigate Gentille, 
also a twenty-four-gun ship five days later— Fleet returns to 
Portsmouth— Prize-money— To sea again in charge of a convoy- 
Transport with two hundred Hessian troops on board founders off 
Cape Finisterre— Suddenly ordered to West Indies— Fight between 
a negro and a shark at Port Royal, Jamaica— Dignity balls- 
Collision with H.M.S. ^'rtw/^^;/- Outbreak of yellow fever- 
Ordered to sea— Capture two French ships and two privateers. 

We were now destined to make one of the 
Channel fleet, which we joined off the Island of 
Ushant, consisting of thirty-six sail of the line and 
seven frigates. 

At daylight on the 6th of October, 1794, our 
signal was made to chase three suspicious vessels 
in the S.W. On nearing them we made the private 
signal, which they did not answer. We beat to 
quarters, and as they were under the same sail as 
when we first saw them, we neared them fast, and 
when within gunshot the nearest yawed and gave 
us a broadside, running up a French ensign, as did 
the other two. The shot fell short of us ; we 
opened our main-deck guns and brought down her 
mizzen top-mast. The other two fired from time to 
time at us with little effect. They did not support 
their companion as they ought to have done. In a 


short time we were nearly alongside the one we had 
engaged, and gave her another broadside which she 
returned, and struck her colours. She proved the 
Geutille, of forty-four guns and three hundred and 
eighty men. The other two, also French frigates 
of the same size, made all sail to the southwards. 
The enemy had eight men killed and fifteen 
wounded ; we had four men wounded. We soon 
exchanged the prisoners ; put the second lieutenant, 
a master's mate, three midshipmen and fifty men on 
board her, and sent her to Portsmouth. We imme- 
diately made sail in chase of the others, but as they 
had gained a considerable distance from us during 
the time we were exchanging the prisoners, there 
was little chance, without a change of wind, of 
overtaking them. In the middle watch we lost 
sight of them, and the day after rejoined the fleet. 
In five days afterwards we were again in chase of a 
ship, and after a severe tug of fourteen hours we 
captured her. She proved a French twenty-four- 
gun ship, with one hundred and sixty-five men. 
We also sent her into Portsmouth. After having 
cruised off and on near Ushant for about eight 
weeks, we were ordered to Portsmouth, where we 
arrived shortly afterwards and completed our stores 
for six months. Before sailing we received some 
prize-money, which produced, from stem to stern, 
little wisdom, much fun, and more folly. We were 
again ready for sea, and received orders to repair off 
Plymouth and join part of the Channel fleet and a 
convoy consisting of more than two hundred sail, 


bound to different parts of the world. In a few 
days we joined the rest of the fleet off Cape Finis- 
terre, where some of the convoy parted company. 
The day following a most tremendous gale sprung 
up from the S.W., and in the night a transport with 
two hundred Hessian troops on board went down 
on our weather beam. The shrieks of the poor 
fellows were distinctly heard. As it was impossible 
to render them any assistance, every soul on board 
her perished. In the morning the convoy were 
much dispersed ; the gale continuing, they were 
ordered to leave the fleet for their destinations. 
After the gale abated the signal was made for 
our captain. An hour afterwards he came back 
looking as black as a thundercloud. As soon as 
he reached the quarter-deck he stamped with rage, 
and when it had nearly subsided he informed the 
officers that we were to proceed to the West Indies 
without delay. This was an unexpected shock to 
many of the officers as well as himself, as they had 
left some of their clothes behind ; however, there 
was no remedy for this mishap. As for myself, I 
anticipated a merry meeting with the many copper- 
coloured dignity ladies I formerly knew, provided 
the land-crabs had not feasted on their delicate 

In the afternoon we gave a long, lingering look 
at the fleet, and parted company with two other 
seventy-fours who were in the same scrape. Our 
noble captain did not get rid of his angry looks for 
some days, and actually wept at what he termed 


the treacherous conduct of the Admiralty. We 
understood afterwards that he was under an 
ens:as:ement ofmarriao:e to the sister of a nobleman, 
which was to have taken place in three months. 
Nothing worth notice occurred during the passage, 
except the visit from Neptune and his wife, and the 
shaving and ducking all his new acquaintances, 
who were rather numerous. We saw several 
tropical birds, which the sailors call boatswains, in 
consequence of their having one long feather for a 
tail, which they term a marlin-spike — an iron instru- 
ment sharp at one end and knobbed at the other, 
used in splicing ropes, etc. 

The captain of marines also shot an albatross or 
man-of-war bird, so called from its manner of 
skimming through the air after other birds, which 
the seamen compare to sailing. It measured seven 
feet from pinion to pinion. On the fifth week of our 
separation from the fleet we made the Island of San 
Domingo, and on the day after anchored with the 
squadron in Cape St. Nicholas mole. W^e found 
here the Sampson, of sixty-four guns, the Magicienne 
and the Thorn, and some transports. This mole, 
or harbour, is formed by the high land of the island 
on the right hand going in, and on the left by a 
peninsula, joined by a narrow sandy isthmus to the 
island at the head of the mole. It is strongly forti- 
fied. The harbour is a fine one, and would contain 
the whole British fleet. The town has a common 
appearance and has nothing remarkable in it. We 
remained here three weeks, at the end of which period 

K.G. B 


we ran down to Jamaica, and anchored off Port 
Royal. This town is built on a small peninsula, 
joined to the island by a long, narrow neck of sand 
called the Palisades. Here all unfortunate whites 
who depart this life become feasts for crabs of all 
descriptions, as it is the place of burial for the town 
and men-of-war. This isthmus is the dam which 
secures the harbour of Kingston from the inroads 
of the sea. The houses of this town are generally 
not more than a single storey high, constructed 
of wood with overhanging shingled roofs, and 
verandahs in front, which prevent the sun entering 
the rooms. 

One evening, being on shore at Port Royal, 
seated on a bench, I overheard a grey, woolly- 
headed black man relate the following story. I 
will give it in good English. In the year 1788, 
said he, the harbour of Port Royal was much 
troubled by a very large shark, which drove all the 
fish out to sea and distressed a number of fisher- 
men. Every attempt had been made to catch him, 
but without success. He at length became so 
constant a visitor that they named him " Port Royal 
Tom." At last, continued old Sambo, for that was 
the narrator's name, a young friend of mine, who 
was a very vStrong, courageous fisherman, said if 
the magistrates of the town would give him a 
doubloon, he would engage the shark and try to 
kill him in single combat. The magistrates con- 
sented, and two mornings after, before the sea- 
breeze set in, the dorsal fin of " Port Royal Tom " 






was discovered. The black fisherman, nothing dis- 
mayed, paddled out to the middle of the harbour 
where the shark was playing about ; he plunged 
into the water armed with a pointed carving knife. 
The monster immediately made towards him, and 
when he turned on his side (which providentially 
sharks are obliged to do to seize their prey, their 
mouths being placed so much underneath) the 
fisherman, with great quickness and presence of 
mind, dived, and stabbed him in the bowels. The 
shark, in agony, gave a horrid splash with his tail, 
and disappeared for a short time. He then rose 
again and attempted to seize the man a second 
time, but the latter once more dived and gave him 
his death-blow ; he then regained his canoe almost 
exhausted. The shark soon after turned on his 
side, discolouring the water with his blood. Four 
men in a canoe threw a rope over his tail and 
towed him on shore, where all the town came to 
meet the courageous fisherman, with the magistrates 
at their head, who presented him with his well- 
merited reward and his liberty. The shark was 
dissected and the skeleton sent to Spanish Town, 
where a few years afterwards it fell to pieces for 
want of care. This unfortunate town has been 
twice destroyed by an earthquake ; the ruins on a 
clear day may be seen in three-fathom water. 

We had been refitting and amusing ourselves on 
shore by dancing at dignity balls given by the 
upper-class copper-coloured washerwomen, who are 
the quintessence of perfection in affectation, when 

E 2 


we were obliged to bid adieu to these interesting 
copper and coal-skinned ladies, as the ship was 
reported ready for sea, and the following morning 
we weighed and stood out of the harbour. As we 
passed the point we saw handkerchiefs without 
number waved by our dear, motley-coloured damsels 
as a farewell. We beat up to St. Domingo and 
anchored in Cape St. Nicholas mole, where we 
found the Leviathan, Raisonahle, Sampson, and 
several frigates. We remained a week, and sailed 
with the above-named ships on a cruise round the 
island. On the third night after sailing, which was 
very dark with a fiery sea-breeze, the Sampson 
(sixty-four) ran on board of us. She came with 
such force that she, by the shock, carried away her 
fore-mast, bowsprit, main-top mast and figure-head. 
She fortunately struck us abaft the main channels; 
had she done so amidships, it would have meant the 
destruction of both ships and of about a thousand 
lives. Her larboard bumpkin dismounted the 
eighteen-pounder in the foremost lieutenant's cabin 
in the wardroom, and in falling clear she swept 
away both quarter galleries from the side, one of 
which was fitted up as a library for the first 
lieutenant, who lost all his books. Some of the 
mids who loved him were wicked enough to say 
that it was a punishment inflicted on him for mast- 
heading them so often. I say nothing ! 

The Sampson was towed to Jamaica hy i\\Q Success 
frigate to repair her damages, and a fortnight after- 
wards we followed. The heroes of the cockpit 


declared the commodore was ashamed of our 
appearance. As v/e had only galleries on one side, 
we looked like a pig with one ear. 

We anchored at Port Royal in the afternoon, 
and before the sails were furled we were surrounded 
by a number of boats and canoes filled with dignity 
and first and second-class dingy damsels, some of 
them squalling songs of their own composition in 
compliment to the ship and officers, accompanied 
by several banjos. When the ropes were coiled 
down they were admitted on board, when they 
began dancing round the quarter-deck and making 
love to the ofiicers for their washing. Having 
accomplished the purpose of their visit, they de- 
parted, promising that we should **hab ebery ting 
berry clean by Saturday ebening, and dat he lib in 
hope for see massa at him house berry soon." 

The carpenters from the dockyard soon repaired 
the quarter galleries, and made good all other 
defects, when that fatal scourge, the yellow fever, 
made its appearance among the ship's company. 
The schoolmaster, a clever, intelligent young man, 
who had been educated at Christ's Hospital, was 
the first victim. This was quite sufficient to alarm 
the nerves of our gallant captain, who never joined 
the ship afterwards ; he, having obtained permission 
from the admiral to return to England by a lugger 
going with despatches, took French leave of the 
whole of us— that is, no leave at all. In a few days 
afterwards Captain B. joined us as acting-captain. 
He was a young, active, and smart officer. The 



yellow fever was now making lamentable havoc 
among the crew. Six were either carried to the 
hospital or buried daily. After losing fifty-two men, 
one of the lieutenants, the captain's clerk, and four 
mids, the captain requested the admiral's permission 
to go to sea, for, although we had more than thirty 
cases of the fever on board, the surgeon thought 
the pure sea-breeze might be the means of pre- 
serving their lives. Alas ! he was fatally mistaken, 
for nearly the whole of them were thrown over the 
standing part of the fore -sheet before we returned 
from our cruise. We were one hundred and sixty 
short ofour complement ofmen, besides having about 
fifty more in their hammocks, but the captain wished 
to persevere in keeping the sea. We had been from 
Jamaica three weeks, cruising on the south side of 
St. Domingo, when we captured a French brig of 
war of fourteen guns and one hundred and twenty- 
five men, and two days afterwards a large schooner 
privateer of one longeighteen-pounder on a traverse, 
and six eighteen-pounder carronades, with seventy- 
eioht men. We now had nearly two hundred 
prisoners on board, and thought it prudent to retrace 
our steps to Port Royal, when on the following 
morning we fell in with two more schooner-rigged 
privateers. The first we captured mounted a long 
brass twelve-pounder and two six-pounders, with 
sixty-eight men. The other during the time we 
were exchanging prisoners had got considerably to 
windward of us. Fortunately towards the evening 
it fell calm, when we manned and armed three of 


the boats. I had command of the six-oared cutter 
with eight seamen and three marines. In the launch 
were the heutenant, a mid, and eighteen men, and 
in the other cutter as many as my boat held. We 
were two hours on our oars before we got within 
musket-shot of her. She had several times fired at 
us from her long gun charged with grape-shot, but 
without effect. We cheered and gave way, when 
her last charge knocked down the coxswain of the 
cutter I was in, v/ho died a few hours afterwards, 
being shot in the head. The lieutenant and one 
man were slightly wounded in the launch. We 
were soon under the depression of her gun and 
alongside, when, on boarding her, one half of her 
motley crew ran below. The captain and the 
remainder made a show of resistance, when we 
ordered the marines to present. As soon as they saw 
we had possession of her decks and were advancing 
with our pistols cocked and our cutlasses upraised, 
they threw down their arms and surrendered. She 
proved a French privateer with a long six-pounder 
on a traverse and eight one-pound swivels, with 
fifty-two men. We took her in tow and soon 
regained the ship. We made all sail for Port Royal 
with our four prizes, and on our arrival next morning 
astonished our black and yellow-faced acquaintances, 
who, as before, came off with boats and banjos to 
welcome our return, not a little by our success. 
The following morning we sent fifty men to the 
hospital. We had buried during the cruise forty- 
three seamen, besides two mids and another of the 


lieutenants. The most healthy were the first 
attacked, and generally died on the third day. Out 
of the five hundred and sixty men we brought from 
England, we had only now two hundred to do the 
duty of the ship. 



Owing to ravages of yellow fever go to Jamaica to obtain more sea- 
men — Difficulties and humours of impressment— Author attacked 
by yellow fever — Proceed to Cape St. Nicholas mole — Great 
mortality among the officers. 

On the fourth evening after our arrival it was 
thought necessary to despatch two armed boats to 
Kingston to procure seamen either by entering or 
impressing them. Finding there was no chance of 
the first, we entered on the unpleasant duty of the 
last. We boarded several of the vessels in the 
harbour, but found only the mates and young boys, 
the seamen having on seeing our boats gone on 
shore. We had information of three houses noto- 
rious for harbouring seamen. To the first of these 
we repaired, where, after strictly searching the 
premises, we were unsuccessful. A sailor we had 
recently impressed, and who the day after entered, 
informed us that it was the fashion for the men of 
the West Indian and Guinea ships, when on shore, 
to disguise themselves, sometimes as American 
women, at other times as tradesmen, such as 
coopers, shoemakers, etc. 

On entering the second house, the scene was 
laughably ridiculous. At a table sat three slovenly- 


dressed females with old, coarse stockings In their 
hands, which they appeared to have been mending, 
and on the table near them were some children's 
shirts, with needles, thread and a small basket. 
Not far distant from them was a cradle of a large 
size, half-covered by a thick mosquito net. The 
bed in the room had also a net, and in it was 
lying a person in the last stage of illness. Another 
female, who appeared to be a nurse, was near the 
head of the bed, persuading the invalid to take the 
contents of a bottle of some red mixture. At the 
foot of the bed stood a man dressed in the uniform 
of the town militia, who acquainted us that the 
woman in bed was his wife in the last stage of con- 
sumption ; that in consequence he had sent for 
all her friends to take leave of her before she died, 
and to attend her funeral ; and that the person 
dressed in black standing near him was the doctor. 
This last, with a countenance full of gravity, assured 
the lieutenant that he did not think his patient could 
live more than an hour, and begged him to examine 
the house as quietly as possible, as he had another 
sick patient in the next room who had arrived from 
the other side of the island, and from fatigue and 
distress had been seized with a fever. The lieutenant, 
who really was a humane man, listened to his 
mournful story with much attention, and replied 
he was sorry to disturb a dying person. Then 
turning to the women, he assured them it was 
with much reluctance he entered on the duty he had 
to perform, but as he had information of seamen 


frequenting the house he must be under the neces- 
sity of searching it. One of the persons sitting at 
the table, who was most Hke a female in appearance, 
rose and said they had only the room they sat in 
and the next, which was occupied at present by 
the other sick female. "But I guess," said she, 
" your notion of there being British seamen in the 
house must be false, as we are not acquainted with 
any." During this speech, uttered with as much 
grace as a Yankee lady of the seventh magnitude 
is capable, the coxswain of one of our cutters, who 
had been searching the features of one of those 
dressed as a female sitting at the table mending 
a shirt, exclaimed, " If I ever saw my old ship- 
mate, Jack Mitford, that's he." Another of our men 
had been cruising round the cradle, and whispered 
to me that the baby in it was the largest he had 
ever seen. After the coxswain's ejaculation, all the 
party appeared taken aback and began to shift their 
berths. Perceiving this, we immediately locked the 
door and insisted on knowing who they were ; but 
when they spoke we were convinced that they were 
all men except the American, who began to scream 
and abuse us. I approached the bed, and on looking 
closely at the sick person I discovered a close-shaved 
chin. The lieutenant, who had followed me to the 
bed, desired two of our men to move the clothes 
a little, when we found the dying person to be a 
fine young seaman about twenty-six years of age, 
and who, on finding he was detected, sprang out 
of bed, and joining the doctor and nurse, who 


had armed themselves with hangers, attempted to 
resist us. As we were sixteen in number, and well 
armed, we told them it was useless, and the con- 
stable who was with us desired them to be peaceable 
and put their weapons down. As they saw they 
were on the wrong tack, they surrendered. The 
dear little sleeping infant in the cradle proved a fine 
lad sixteen years old. The over-fatigued female 
in the next room turned out a young seaman, whom 
we secured with the pretended sergeant, the nurse, 
and the doctor, making in the whole eight good 
seamen. This was a good haul. We got them 
without accident to the boats. The delicate 
American female followed us screaming and 
abusing us the whole way. We could hear her voice 
for some time after leaving the wharf. The men a 
few days after being onboard, finding the boatswain's 
mates did not carry canes, entered. The nurse, 
sergeant, doctor and his dying patient were rated 
quartermaster's and gunner's mates, and the re- 
mainder topmen. We had been a month refitting 
when we made another attempt to procure seamen 
at Kingston, but only sent one boat with a lieutenant, 
myself, and twelve seamen. On landing, we 
made for the house we had not entered on our last 
visit, where we knocked at the door, and had to wait 
some short time before it was opened, when a 
mulatto man appeared and asked " What Massa 
Buckra want ? He hab nutting for sell ; he no hab 
any grog." "Why, that copper-skinned rascal," 
called out one of our men, "is the fellow who 


deserted from the Thorn sloop of war when I was 
captain of the mizzen top." *' Take hold of him ! " 
said the lieutenant ; but before this could be done 
he slammed the door against us ; this was the work 
of a moment. Three of our seamen instantly 
set their backs against it, and with a " Yo-heave-ho," 
they forced it in. We now entered the house. 
After passing through two small rooms, which, as 
an Irishman might say, had no room at all, for they 
were very small, dirty and barely furnished, we 
came to a door which was fastened. We attempted 
to open it, when an elderly, dingy white woman 
made her appearance and informed us the house 
belonged to herself and sons, who were coopers, and 
at work in the cooperage. " That door," said she, 
" leads to it, but I have the key upstairs ; wait, and 
I will fetch it." The old woman, on going out, 
turned the key of the room we were in. I 
remarked this to the lieutenant, who, apprehend- 
ing some treachery, ordered the men to force the 
door we had endeavoured to open. It soon gave 
way, when we suddenly came on four men dressed 
as coopers. Two of them were knocking a cask to 
pieces, the other two drawing off a liquid which 
had the appearance of rum. They did not desist 
from their occupation, nor were they surprised at 
our visit, but told us very coolly we had mistaken 
the house. So should we have thought had we not 
seen our copper-faced acquaintance who had in such 
unmannerly fashion shut the door in our faces. 
" Come, my lads," said the lieutenant, " there's no 


mistake here ; you must leave off drawing rum for 
your old mother, who wished to take great care 
of us by locking us in, and go with us, as we want 
coopers." " Rum," said one of the boat's crew, 
who had tasted it, " it's only rum of the fore-hold. 
A fellow can't get the worse for wear with such 
liquor as that, sir. It's only Adam's ale." 

" Oh, oh ! " cried out some of our men, " is this 
the way you work to windward, my knowing ones ? 
Come, come, you must be more on a bowline before 
you can cross our hawse ; so pack up your duds, 
trip your anchors, and make sail with us." 

The old woman again made her appearance, 
and asked us if we were going to take her sons. 
" If you dare do it," said she, " I will prosecute the 
whole of you for breaking through my premises, and 
have you all put into gaol." " Hold your tongue, 
mother," said one of the men we had taken, 
" what's the good of your kicking up such a bobbery 
about it ? You only make it worse. If you don't 
see us to-morrow, send our clothes to Port Royal." 
They then quietly submitted. We returned through 
the rooms entered, and on turning into the passage 
leading to the street, we encountered Master Copper- 
skin. Two of our men immediately seized him ; he 
struggled violently, and attempted to draw a clasped 
knife, which on the coxswain perceiving he gave 
him a stroke on his calabash with his hanger, which 
quieted him. He was then pinioned with one of 
the seamen's neck-handkerchiefs. On getting into 
our boats a party of about twenty men and women 


of all colours came down to the wharf in the hope of 
rescuing the mulatto man, but they were too late. 
When we put off from the shore we found it no joke, 
as they fired into our boat and seriously wounded 
the man who pulled the stroke oar. Luckily 
the awning was canted towards them, or they 
would have shot several of us, as it had seven 
shots through it. We were obliged to fire in self- 
defence, killing one man and wounding several 
others. I remarked the man we killed jumped a 
considerable height from the ground and then fell 
prostrate. Finding they had had enough fighting, 
they marched off with their killed and wounded. 
The day after we were summoned to Kingston to 
explain our adventure before the magistrates, who, 
finding we were first attacked, acquitted us of 
wilful murder as we had been compelled to act in 
self-defence, but informed us it was necessary to 
appear before a jury next day for the satisfaction 
of the townspeople. This was vexatious. 

The day following, after rowing about three hours 
in a hot sun, we were examined by twelve very wise 
and common-looking bipeds, who, after questioning 
us in a most stupid and tiresome manner, found a 
verdict of justifiable homicide. On returning to the 
boat we were followed by a number of women and 
boys, who made a most horrible squalling, and 
some stones were thrown at us on our pushing off. 
The yellow fever was still making havoc amongst 
the officers and crew. We had lost five lieutenants, 
the surgeon's mate, captain's clerk, and eight 


midshipmen, one of whom died singing " Dulce 
Domum." It was at length my turn. I was seized 
with a dreadful swimming in my head ; it appeared 
so large that it was painful to carry it. I was much 
distressed by a bitter nausea in my mouth and 
sudden prostration of strength. The doctor gave 
me an emetic, and soon after I ejected a quantity 
of bitter bile. It tried me exceedingly, and when I 
put my head down I thought I was not far from 
" Kingdom come." The second morning I knew no 
one, and was in a high fever. The third was much 
the same until about noon, when I slept for about 
two hours. On awaking I found the pain in my 
head less, and was perfectly sensible. I requested 
something to drink, when the sentinel gave me some 
orange-juice and water, which refreshed me. About 
dusk, one of the mids who had just come on board 
from Port Royal, came to me with a cup filled with 
some sort of herb tea mixed with rum. He requested 
me to drink it off. This I refused to do. He 
assured me he had been on shore on purpose to 
procure it for me, that old Dinah, who was a grey- 
headed washerwoman, had made it, and I must 
drink it. I was so weak that I could scarcely 
answer him, when he put it to my mouth and forced 
more than half of it down my throat. With the 
exertion I fainted. He told me the following day 
he thought he had killed me, and had called 
the doctor, who gave me a draught. On the 
morning of the fourth day I was considerably 
better and in a gentle perspiration, and had passed 


a quiet night. My three messmates, who alone 
survived out of eleven, came to cheer me. He who 
had given me the tea and rum told me he was 
certain they had cured me, and I really believe it 
caused the pores to open and in a great measure 
drove the fever from the system. I was removed to 
the gun-room, and in a few days was able to sit 
up and eat oranges. 

A week had now elapsed since the doctor had 
reported me convalescent, when I was painfully 
distressed by seeing my open-hearted, generous 
messmate brought in his hammock to the gun- 
room, attacked by the fatal malady. As he was 
placed near me, I watched him with intense anxiety. 
On the fourth morning he died. He was a very 
florid and robust youth of sixteen. He struggled 
violently, and was quite delirious. When the sail- 
maker was sewing him up in his hammock he 
gave a convulsive sigh. I immediately ordered the 
stitches to be cut, but it availed nothing. He was 
gone. Poor fellow ! I felt his loss. 

In the fifth week I began to crawl about. The 
boatswain's wife was very kind to me and brought 
me fresh fruit every day. The doctor, who although 
a little hasty, was a clever and excellent character, 
paid me great attention. The kindness and care I 
experienced, and the affectionate letters I received 
from my mother, informing me of the happy mar- 
riage of my only sister and of the appointment of 
my youngest brother in India, all these possibly 
contributed to my recovery and cheered my spirits. 

K.G. V 


Our acting-captain, who was a good and active 
officer, was appointed to a frigate. He was super- 
seded by an elderly, farmer-looking man, who, we 
understood, was what a black man considers a 
curiosity — a Welshman, When in harbour we never 
saw him, and at sea very seldom. He left every- 
thing to the first lieutenant. He appeared to have 
too much pride to ask an humble mid to dine at his 
table, so that when he departed this life, which he 
did four months after he joined us, of yellow fever, 
he died unregretted. Having received a draft of 
men from the flagship, we were ordered to our old 
station, Cape St. Nicholas mole, it being considered 
more healthy than Jamaica, although the yellow 
fever was carried from thence to the other islands in 
1794 by the vessels captured at Port-au-Prince. 

We arrived there three weeks afterwards, having 
captured on our passage a French brig laden with 
coffee. We completed our water, and took on 
board a Capuchin friar and two mulatto officers, 
for what purpose we never could find except to give 
them a cruise. The friar, who was a quiet, fat, 
rather good-looking man, messed in the cabin. 
The wicked mids said to " confess " the captain. 

One afternoon we anchored in a bay to the west- 
ward of Cape Fran9ois. The carpenter was directed 
to go on shore and cut some bamboos for boats' 
yards. The pinnace was despatched with himself, 
a master's mate and nine men. They landed and 
had cut about nine poles when they were fired on 
from the bushes. They, not being armed — for the 


mulatto officers assured us there was no danger — 
attempted to reach the boat, but before they could 
do so the carpenter was killed and two men 
seriously wounded and taken prisoners. The rest 
jumped into the boat and came on board. The cap- 
tain appeared to feel he had done wrong in placing 
confidence in people who were strangers to him. 
After cruising on the north side St. Domingo with- 
out capturing anything, we returned to the mole. 
Our worthy, hasty-tempered skipper was taken 
unwell about a month after our arrival, and took 
apartments on shore, where he in a fortnight after- 
wards died. 

The captain who stepped into his shoes was a dark, 
tolerably well-built, good-looking man, who had a 
very good opinion of himself, and by his frequently 
looking at his legs, imagined there was not such 
another pair in the West Indies. This gallant 
officer proved the quintessence of gallantry. He 
loved the ladies, loved a good table, loved the games 
of crabs and rouge-et-noir, was a judge of hock and 
champagne. He had seen much of high and low life, 
had experienced reverses, he said, through the im- 
prudence of others, and had been detained in a large 
house in London much longer than he wished. He 
had run through two handsome fortunes, and was 
willing to run through two more. He had the misfor- 
tune, he told us, of being a slave to the pleasures of 
the world, although he knew it was filled with rogues. 
Whilst I was with him his memory was rather 
impaired, for he forgot to repay several sums of 

F 2 


money he borrowed, although he was frequently 
written to on the subject. In short, he was a liber- 
tine, liked but by no means respected. He brought 
with him six mids and his clerk. The first were 
complete scamps, picked up from the scrapings of 
London ; the last was a fine young man. Our 
martinet mastheading first lieutenant, who had 
outlived all the others save one, was promoted as 
commander into a sloop of war, in which he died a 
few months after of apoplexy in consequence of 
repletion. The only one remaining of those who 
sailed from England with me was a few months after- 
wards also promoted as commander into a brig sloop, 
and he, poor fellow ! was drowned on his second 
cruise. The six lieutenants who came from 
England were now no longer living, and out of 
eighteen midshipmen only another and myself were 
in existence. The lieutenants who had superseded 
those who died were rather commonplace charac- 
ters. The discipline of the ship was totally 
changed. The first lieutenant was a disappointed 
officer and a complete old woman, and the ship was 
something of a privateer. 



Tough yarns — The sea-serpent — The fair-wind sellers of Bremen — 
Mermen and mermaidens— Capture of Spanish schooner with 
mulatto laundresses on board — Boat attack on, and capture of the 
French privateer Saiamandre— Outbreak of malignant scurvy — 
Novel method of treatment — French women dressed as men — A 
voyage of discovery. 

We generally had about seventy men in the sick 
list, and were at anchor nearly four months — half the 
crew doing nothing and the other half helping them. 
They generally amused themselves by dancing, 
singing, or telling tough yarns. I was much enter- 
tained by hearing some of them relate the following 
stories, which they declared were true. 

" My brother," said one of these galley-benchmen, 
"belonged to the Unicorn, of Shields, which traded 
to Archangel in the White Sea. I suppose," said he, 
" it is called the White Sea because there is much 
snow on the shore, which throws a kind of white 
reflection on the water. Well, the ship had 
anchored about a mile from the town, when my 
brother, who had the middle watch, saw something 
like the ship's buoy close to the vessel. At first he 
took little notice of it until it raised itself about three 
feet out of the water and opened a mouth wide 
enough to swallow a Yankee flour-barrel. He was 


very much afeared, for he was only a young chap 
without much experience. He immediately jumped 
down to the chief mate's cabin and told him what 
he had seen. They both went on deck, the mate 
armed with a loaded pistol and my brother with a 
cutlass. By this time the serpent — for it was a sea- 
serpent — had twisted itself round the bowsprit of 
the vessel, and was about twenty feet long. Its eyes 
were about the size of the scuppers and shined like 
the morning star." "Why, Bill," said one of the 
listeners, " clap a stopper on that yarn ; those sar- 
pents are only seen on the coast of Ameriky, and 
nobody but Yankees ever seed them." "Avast, Bob," 
replied the narrator, " don't be too hasty ; it is as true 
as the mainstay is moused, for I never knew Jack 
tell a lie (meaning his brother), and now I'll fill and 
stand on. The boatswain, hearing the noise, came 
on deck. The mate pointed to the monster, and 
told him to get an axe. The beast had bristled up 
like an American porcupine and was ready to dart 
at them when the mate got abaft the foremast and 
fired at its head, which he missed, but struck it in the 
neck. The animal, finding itself wounded, darted 
with its jaws wider than a large shark's at the 
boatswain, who was the nearest. Luckily for him, 
the mate was ready to fire his pistol again. The ball 
struck its lower jaw and broke it. It then made a 
stern-board, but before it could reach the bows the 
boatswain gave it a stroke with the axe which 
nearly guUyteened it ; you know, shipmates, what 
that is. Why, mayhap you don't; so I'll tell you. 


It's a kind of gallows that cuts off Frenchmen's 
heads. But I must heave-to a bit and overhaul 
my reckoning, for I almost forget. Did ever any 
of you see a port-go-chaire ? " " We never heard 
of such a port," said some of his auditors ; '* you're 
humbugging us." " I have been to America, the 
West and East Ingees, but I never heard of such a 
port," said another. "Why, you lubbers," said 
the story-teller, " if you go to France, you'll see 
thousands of them. It's what they drive the coaches 
under into their yards." I was inclined to correct 
the word, but I thought it better not to interrupt 
them. "Where did I leave off?" "Come, Bill, 
heave ahead and save tide ; your yarn is as long as 
the stream cable ; they'll be piping to grog presently," 
said one of his impatient listeners. " Well," said 
Bill, " to make short a long story, I left off where 
the boatswain cut off the head of the sea-serpent. 
By this time all hands were on deck ; they threw 
a rope over the beast and secured it to the cable- 
bits, but not before they had got several raps over 
their shins, as it kept twisting about for almost an 
hour afterwards. Next morning, said my brother, 
the magistrates having heard of it, came on board 
to know all about it, as no one in the town had 
ever seen such a serpent. A man with a cocked 
scraper offered to buy it, but the mate wanted 
to stuff it and carry it to England. The captain 
who had come off with the magistrates said it could 
not remain on board, as it would bring on an 
infection. At last it was agreed that if four dollars 



were given to the ship's crew, he might have it. 
The money was paid to the mate, and the serpent 
towed on shore, and before they sailed Jack saw it 
in a large room, stuffed and the head spliced on, 
among a great many more comical-looking animals. 
And if any of you go there," added he, " you may 
see all for nothing." The boatswain's mates now 
piped for supper, and the party left the galley- 

The following evening I found another set on 
the bench. Their tales were rather marvellous. 
The captain of the waist of the starboard watch 
was the teller. He began by asking the others 
if they had ever been in the Baltic, to which they 
answered in the negative. *' It is now," said 
he, "five years since I sailed in the Mary, of 
Newcastle, to Bremen. We had been lying there 
a fortnight, taking in hemp and iron, when two old, 
ugly women came on board in a small boat paddled 
by themselves. They had with them two small 
leather bags full of wind. They went to the chief 
mate, for the captain was on shore, and asked him 
if he would buy a fair wind, and pointed to their 
bags. ' How long will it last ? ' asked the mate. 
' Two days,' said the hags ; ' but if you want it for 
four, we will to-morrow bring you off a larger sack.' 
' And what do you ask for it ? ' said he. ' Oh, only 
eight dollars,' replied they." 

I must inform my reader that the greater number 
of the sons of the sea, although fearless of the 
enemy and of the weather, however stormy, are 


superstitious and have implicit faith in ghost- 
stories, mermaids, witches and sea-monsters, as 
well as in the flying Dutch ship off the Cape of Good 
Hope. This rough son of the north was a hardy 
sailor, but he had his share of credulity. He 
told them the captain was on shore, but if they 
would come off in the morning, as they were to 
sail the following afternoon, it might be settled. 
The weather at this time was anything but fair, 
which made him the readier to enter into the 
witches' bargain. Here I must first inform my 
reader that these women are exceedingly cunning, 
and can not only scan the mind of the person they 
deal with, but can also, from keen observation, 
calculate on the wind and weather for the next 
twenty-four hours, and, as what they prognosticate 
generally proves true, they frequently meet with 
ready customers. Next morning the captain came 
on board, and shortly afterwards was followed by 
the hoary fair-wind sellers. After some consulta- 
tion with the mate, the captain gave four dollars 
for a bag of fair wind for three days from the time 
he was to sail. 

" The wind," continued the captain of the- 
waist, "remained foul until four o'clock next day, 
when it veered round and became favourable. 
The believing captain and mate thought they had 
made a good bargain. The bag was to be untied 
after three hours." I reflected on this narrative, 
and was astonished to find that people who are 
Englishmen, and who, generally speaking, imagine 


themselves the most free from superstition and the 
most intellectual of any nation, should be so easily 
deceived and cheated by a set of old women. 

It was now the turn of anotherto spin hisyarn. He 

began by entreating his shipmates not to disbelieve 

what he was going to say, for it was about mermen 

and mermaids. He did not see it himself, but it 

had been told him two years before by his uncle, 

who was mate of a ship that traded to the North 

Sea. " The ship," said he, " was the John and 

Thomas, named after the owner's two brothers, and 

bound to Stockholm for flax and iron. One day 

they were becalmed near the Island of Oland, and 

let go the anchor in twelve-fathoms water, when 

soon afterwards they saw, as they supposed, two 

men swimming towards the ship. They soon after 

came alongside, and made signs for a rope to be 

thrown to them. On their getting on deck the 

crew found they were mermen. One of them, who 

appeared to be about twenty-six years old, told the 

captain he had let go his anchor through his kitchen 

chimney, and begged him to weigh it again, as it 

had knocked down the kitchen-grate and spoilt his 

dinner. * It has happened very unfortunately,' said 

he, ' for we have some friends from the coast ot 

Jutland, who have come to attend the christening 

of our infant.' Whilst he was speaking four young 

mermaidens appeared close to the ship's side, 

making signs for the mermen on board to join 

them. The sailors wished them to come on board, 

and threw them ropes for that purpose ; but they 


were too shy. The mermen requested the captain 
to give them some matches to light their fire, and 
a few candles. This being complied with, they 
shook hands with him and the mate, and jumping 
overboard, rejoined the females, swam round the 
ship three times, singing some kind of song, and 
disappeared. The wind becoming favourable, the 
crew got the anchor up, on which, when catheaded, 
they found part of the chimney and the fire-tongs 
astride on one of the flukes ! " 

When this improbable tale was told, I asked 
them if they believed it to be true. "Yes," said 
two of them, "we do, because we have had ship- 
mates who lived with some of the mermaidens for 
several years and had children ; but as for their 
having combs and glasses, that's all nonsense. 
One of the children was sent to London to be 
educated, but not liking so many double-tailed 
monsters, as he called the men, nor their manner 
of living, he crept down to the Thames, and in 
a few hours rejoined his parents." 

During the time we were at anchor at this 
place I was ordered, with four seamen and two 
marines, to take the command of a block-house 
on the Presqu' Isle to watch the movements of 
the enemy, whose advanced post was about four 
miles on the other side the isthmus, as well as to 
make signals to the commodore whenever strange 
ships appeared near the land. I remained a 
month, shooting guanas and gulls and other 
birds, catching groupers, snappers and some- 


times rock-fish, living principally on salt junk, 
midshipman's coffee (burnt biscuit ground to a 
powder), picking calelu (a kind of wild spinach), 
when we could find it, snuffing up a large portion 
of pure sea-breeze, and sleeping like the sheet 
anchor. Oh, reader, I blush to inform you that 
I was envied by the greater part of the mids 
of the squadron who loved doing nothing. The 
life I now led was too independent to last much 
longer ; my month expired, when I gave up my 
Robinson Crusoe government to a master's mate 
belonging to a ship which had come in to refit. 
We at length up-anchored, as the mids declared 
if we remained longer the captain feared we 
should ground on the beef-bones we threw over- 
board daily ! Three days after sailing we captured 
a Spanish schooner from Cuba, bound to Port-au- 
Paix, with nine French washerwomen on board 
with a quantity of clothes. We presumed, with 
some reason, these copper-faced damsels — for they 
were all mulattos, and some of them handsome — 
had taken French leave of their customers, or 
possibly they were going on a voyage of discovery 
to find out whether the water of St. Domingo was 
softer for washing linen than that of Cuba. We did 
not ask them many questions on the subject, and as 
the vessel was nearly new, and about seventy tons, 
we put a mid and five men on board her and sent 
the ladies for a change of air to Jamaica. 

We had been cruising between Cuba and Cape 
Fran9ois a fortnight, when we saw a roguish- 


looking black schooner about nine miles to the 
westward of the cape, close to a small inlet. We 
tacked and stood to sea, to make her imagine we 
had not discovered her. At dusk we stood in 
again, and at ten we armed the barge and large 
cutter. The fifth lieutenant, who was a great 
promoter of radical moisture {i.e., grog), was in 
the barge. I had, with another mid, the command 
of the cutter. We muffled our oars and pulled 
quietly in shore. About midnight we found the 
vessel near the inlet, where she had anchored. 
We then gave way for our quarter. She soon 
discovered us, and hailed in French. Not receiving 
an answer, she fired a volley of musketry at us. 
The strokesman of my boat fell shot in the brain, 
and two others were seriously wounded in the arm 
and leg. We had three marines, two additional 
seamen and my volunteer messmate in our boat. 
This last had smuggled himself in without the first 
lieutenant's leave. We cheered and stretched out. 
The killed and wounded were placed in the bottom 
of the boat, and the extra men took their oars. 
The barge was nearly alongside of her, and we 
boarded at the same time, she on the starboard 
quarter and we on the larboard side. The marines 
kept up a constant discharge of their muskets, and 
fired with much effect on the foremost of the enemy. 
We soon gained her deck, and found about twenty- 
five of her crew ready to oppose us abaft her main- 
mast. The man who appeared to be the captain 
waved his cutlass and encouraged his men to 


attack us ; at the same time he sprang forward, 
and about twelve followed him, when the conflict 
became general. I was knocked down on my 
knees. I fired one of my pistols, which took effect 
in my opponent's left leg, and before he could raise 
his arm to cut me down with a tomahawk, the 
coxswain of my boat, who had kept close to me, 
shot him in the head, and he fell partly on me. 
I soon recovered and regained my legs. I had 
received a severe contusion on the left shoulder. 
The lieutenant had shot the captain, and the 
marines had knocked down nine men. The rest 
now called for quarter and threw down their arms. 
She proved to be the French privateer Salamandre, 
of twelve long brass six-pounders and forty-eight 
men. She had also on board nine English seamen, 
the crew of a Liverpool brig, who informed us they 
had been captured in the Turk's Island passage 
three days before. The privateer's loss was eleven 
killed and seven severely wounded, ours three men 
killed and five wounded. On our drawing off from 
the shore, a small battery opened its fire on us and 
wounded the boat-keeper of the barge. We dis- 
charged the guns of the privateer at it, and as 
it did not annoy us a second time, we supposed 
our shot had rather alarmed their faculties and 
probably subdued their courage. By 3 a.m. we 
rejoined the ship. Our mates gave us three hearty 
cheers, which we returned. We soon got the 
wounded of our men on deck and the prisoners 
out. I was ordered to go as prize-master, taking 


fourteen men with me, and carry her to Cape St. 
Nicholas mole, where I arrived the same evening. 
I found myself stiff for some days afterwards and 
my shoulder painful, but in a short time I was quite 
myself again. After remaining idle and half-dead 
with ennui for three weeks, the ship arrived, 
bringing in with her an American brig laden with 
flour. False papers were found on board her, and 
she was shortly afterwards condemned as a lawful 
prize. The captain of her, who was a regular- 
built Bostonian, declared we were nothing " but a 
parcel of British sarpents and robbers, and it was 
a tarnation shame that the United States suffered 
it. But," said he, " I calculate that in two years 
we shall have some three-deckers, and then I have 
a notion you will not dare to stop American vessels 
without being called to account for it." 

The yellow fever had now taken its departure, 
but in consequence of the scanty supply of fresh 
provisions and vegetables, it was succeeded by a 
malignant scurvy, and one hundred and forty of 
the seamen were obliged to keep their beds. Their 
legs, hands, feet and gums became almost black, 
and swollen to twice their natural size. Some we 
sent to the hospital, which was miserably fitted up, 
for it was only a temporary one, and several died 
on being removed. As the cases were increasing, 
the commodore ordered us to Donna Maria Bay, 
near the west end of St. Domingo, where the 
natives were friendly disposed towards us. The 
day after we arrived there, having taken on board 


all our sick that could be removed from the hospital 
with safety. Immediately, on anchoring, by the 
advice of the surgeon, we sent a party on shore 
with spades to dig holes in the softest soil they 
could find for the purpose of putting the worst 
scurvy subjects into them. The officer on shore 
made the concerted signal that the pits were dug. 
Twenty men, who looked like bloated monsters, 
were removed on shore, and buried in them up 
to their chins. Some of the boys were sent with the 
sufferers to keep flies and insects from their faces. 
It was ridiculous enough to see twenty men's heads 
stuck out of the ground. The patients were kept 
in fresh earth for two hours, and then put into 
their hammocks under a large tent. On the fourth 
day they were so much benefited by that treatment 
and living on oranges, shaddocks, and other anti- 
scorbutic fruits, that they were able to go on board 
again. At this place I rambled with some of my 
messmates through orange and lime groves of some 
leagues in extent, as well as through several cocoa 
plantations. We were at liberty to take as much 
fruit as we chose, and sent off several boats filled with 
oranges and limes, as well as a vast quantity of yams, 
sweet potatoes, cocoanuts and cocoas, besides 
fresh calelu (wild spinach), which is considered 
a fine anti-scorbutic. We found some arrowroot, 
which was also of great service. In one of our 
rambles we met a party on mules going to the 
town of Donna Maria, which was not far distant. 
It consisted of two young mustiphena-coloured 


men, an elderly mulatto woman, with an infant 
on her lap, and a black manservant. They 
saluted us in passing, when we remarked that 
the men had delicate European features, and that 
the infant was white. 

A short time afterwards we stumbled on a 
burying-ground, and seated on one of the graves 
we found the two persons we had taken for men, 
the eldest of whom was suckling the infant. They 
proved to be the wife of the Governor of Donna 
Maria, who was a native of France, and her sister. 
The old woman was the nurse, and the black man 
their factotum. They spoke French, which some of 
our party understood, and we spent a very agree- 
able half-hour in their company. After having 
given us an invitation to their house, they bade 
us adieu and proceeded on their journey. I after- 
wards found it was a common custom for the 
better class of females in this island to ride and 
dress like men when they made any distant 
journey, as the greater part of the island is too 
mountainous to admit of travelling in carriages. 

One of the lieutenants, who was fond of voyages 
of discovery, had permission to take one of the 
cutters to survey a deep inlet about three miles 
from where we anchored. He asked me if I 
should like to be one of the party. I thankfully 
said yes. "Well," said he, "to-morrow morning 
at daylight I intend going round the Cape Donna 
Maria (which has the shape of the mysterious 
helmet of Otranto), and exploring a river which runs 

K.G. G 


into a large lagoon, and we shall be away most 
likely two days. I shall find prog, but don't forget 
your great coat and drawing apparatus." 

At four o'clock the following morning we left 
the ship, and after pulling for two hours we 
entered the river, which was narrow and enclosed 
between two thickly-wooded hills. The noise of 
our oars startled a vast number of large and small 
birds, which made a horrible screaming. I fired 
at one of the large ones and broke its wing ; it 
fell ahead of the boat, and we picked it up. It 
was twice the size of a gull, a dark brown colour 
on the back, a dirty white underneath, long, reddish 
legs, and rather a long, pointed bill ; it was shaped 
like a heron. We had been rowing about an hour 
when we entered the lagoon, which was about a 
mile long and three-quarters of a mile wide. The 
country to some extent was low, and covered with 
mangrove trees, whose branches take root when 
they touch the ground, and one tree forms a 
number of irregular arches. Those nearest the 
water are covered with a profusion of small oysters, 
which are taken by the natives and pickled with 
spice and vinegar, and sold in small jars. They 
are considered good eating. We observed several 
large ants' nests formied on the branches of these 
trees ; they were about the size of a bushel 
measure. The insect is half an inch in length ; 
its bite is severe, but not very venomous. We 
could only make good our landing at one spot, 
covered with long, coarse grass, which the natives 


twist into ropes for the rigging of their canoes, 
and the finest of it they clean, stain with different 
colours, and fabricate into hammocks, which are 
made like a net with large meshes. 

I had strolled from the boat with one of the 
men, when he called out, " There goes a large 
water-snake ! Take care, sir ! " It came close to 
me, when I made a stroke at it with my hanger. 
I struck it on the body, but not sufficiently, for 
before I had time to give it another blow, it had 
wound into a kind of jungle, and I lost sight of 
it. It was about five feet long, speckled yellow 
and black ; its tongue, which it kept in continual 
motion, was forked ; its eyes were small, and not 
projecting. Finding myself in company with 
gentry of this description, I retraced my steps to 
the boat, where I found the whole party with their 
hands and mouths in full activity. I soon was 
as well employed as themselves. The lieutenant 
told me whilst we were at dinner that one of the 
men had found some alligators' eggs ; two of them 
were broken and the young ones alive. They were 
about half-a-foot long, of a dirty brown. The 
eggs were oblong, and larger than a swan's, of 
a brownish-white colour. 

The evening was now drawing on, when we 
pulled the boat to the middle of the lagoon and 
let go the grapnel for the night. One of the boat's 
crew, who sung in the style of Incledon, entertained 
us with several sea songs until we fell asleep, which 
was not, however, very refreshing, in consequence of 

G 2 


the multitudes of mosquitoes. I positively believe 
some of us lost two ounces of our best blood. 
About three o'clock in the morning, the man who 
had the watch pulled me by the arm and pointed 
to something dark floating near the boat. I awoke 
the lieutenant, who, after yawning and rubbing 
his eyes, for he had taken an extra strong north- 
wester the evening before to make himself sleep 
sound, took up his fowling-piece ; but he might 
as well have fired at the best bower anchor — the 
swan-shot with which it was loaded glanced from 
the object at an angle of twenty-five degrees. We 
weighed the grapnel, and were soon in pursuit, 
when we saw two other black-looking objects. We 
steadily gave chase to the first, the lieutenant, 
myself and the coxswain firing at and frequently 
striking it, but without any visible effect. At 
length it landed, when we found it was an alligator 
about fifteen feet long. It soon ploughed up the 
mud in which it buried itself; our musket-balls 
were unavailing. The other two had also landed. 
On turning the boat round, we saw another, and 
as he was with his head towards us, we had a 
better chance. We stretched out, and when within 
a few yards of him, let fly our muskets at his head. 
One of the balls struck him in the left eye, which 
stunned him, and he lay insensible on the water 
until we reached him. W^e threw a rope round 
him and towed him astern, after having given him 
another ball in the throat, which despatched him. 
He was a young one, nine feet four inches long. 


After rowing round the lake In search of fresh 
adventures, and finding none, we amused ourselves 
by cutting off several branches of the mangrove 
trees strung with oysters, and being tired of rowing 
where there was so little novelty, we turned the boat's 
nose towards the river, on reaching which we again 
startled numerous flocks of screaming birds, five 
of which we shot ; but as they were only noddies 
and boobies, we did not take the trouble to pick 
them up. ifVt 4 p.m. we joined the ship, with our 
prizes, the alligators, their eggs, the heron, and 
the oysters. The doctor, who was something of 
a naturalist, asked for the alligator we had shot, one 
of the young ones, and the bird, and shortly after- 
wards he had them stuffed. We had now but 
five slight scurvy cases, and had only buried three 
seamen and one marine, who died two days after 
our anchoring. The boats were employed nearly 
two days in bringing up oranges, limes and yams, 
besides other fruit. 



A ball on board — Fishing with a seine — Ordered to cruise off Porto 
Rico — News of the battle of Camperdown — The boasts of 
Napoleon — Views on matrimony— A sailor's courtship — Futile 
boat attack on a Spanish war vessel at St. Domingo — Author 
loses hearing of his left ear from effect of a wound. 

The officers gave a dance to the inhabitants of 
the town of Donna Maria, which was attended by 
the Governor, who was a well-bred, gentlemanly 
old Frenchman, his wife and sister-in-law (whom 
I had seen dressed as men when we first arrived). 
The quarter-deck was filled with mustiphenas, 
mustees, mulattos. Sambos, and delicate, fiat- 
nosed, large-mouthed and thick-lipped black ladies. 
Had Vestris been present, she might have taken 
some new hints in dancing. The waltzing was 
kept up with so much spirit that four couples were 
hurled to the deck one over the other, and it was 
truly laughable to see the melange of blacks and 
whites struggling to be the first on their legs. At 
one o'clock in the morning they took their depar- 
ture, highly pleased with their entertainment. 

The following day I was sent with another mid- 
shipman with two boats to haul the seine in a bay 
about a mile to the westward. On the first haul we 
caught about four bucketsful of rays, parrot-fish, 


snappers, groupers, red and white mullet, John- 
dories, some crabs and two electric eels. One of 
the boat's crew hooked one of the latter by the 
gills with the boat-hook, when his arm was imme- 
diately paralysed, and he let it fall, calling out that 
someone had struck him. The man near him laid 
hold of the fish again as it was making for the 
shore, and the shock he received threw him on his 
knees. I ran up to him, for he appeared in great 
pain. However, he soon recovered, and before the 
ill-fated eel could reach its element, he caught up 
a large stone and made it dearly atone for the pain 
it had inflicted. We made another haul, but were 
not so successful, as we only caught some ray, 
crabs, and an alligator three feet long, which had 
torn the net. We stunned him by a blow with 
one of the boat's stretchers, threw him into the 
boat, and after taking in the net, repaired to the 

In one of my excursions at this place I found a 
large manchineel tree. The fruit is nearly the size 
of a pippin, of a light yellow colour blushed with 
red ; it looked very tempting. This tree expands its 
deadly influence and poisons the atmosphere to 
some distance. We in consequence gave it a 
wide berth. I also found a number of sponges, 
and some beautiful shells and sea-eggs. We had 
been enjoying ourselves for nearly three weeks at 
this agreeable place, when a sloop of war arrived 
with orders from the commodore to join him off 
the east end of Porto Rico, as he had information 


that a French squadron had been seen by an 
American schooner off the Caicos Islands steering 
for St. Domingo, which report in the sequel proved 
a tarnation Yankee lie. When near the Platform 
we experienced a heavy squall, which carried 
away the foretop-mast and jib-boom, and, most 
singular to relate, although some miles from the 
shore after the squall had passed, we found some 
scores of very small crabs on the decks. I leave 
this phenomenon to longer heads than mine — 
although mine is not the shortest — to explain. We 
had seen two waterspouts in the morning between 
us and the land. It might possibly have happened 
that the suction which forms them drew up these 
unfortunate crabs and crabesses, and discharged 
them with unrelenting fury, through the medium 
of a dark, lowering cloud upon our decks. They 
being too small to eat, were given to the Muscovy 
ducks, who found them a great treat, and soon made 
mincemeat of them. We soon got up another top- 
mast and jib-boom out, and the following morning 
signalled the ships lying in the mole. 

Five days after we joined the squadron near the 
Mona passage, when the commodore acquainted 
the captain that the inteUigence he had received 
respecting the French squadron was all an American 
humbug. The next morning we spoke three ships 
bound to Jamaica, from whom we took seven good 
seamen, and procured a newspaper, which informed 
us of the gallant action off Camperdown, and that 
Bonaparte had frightened men, women and children 


by his threatening to invade England, take up 
his residence in Portland Place, turn the royal 
palaces into stables, make a riding-school of St. 
Paul's and a dancing academy of Westminster 
Abbey! The cockpitonians said he might whisper 
that to the marines, for the sailors would not 
believe him. Here, reader, I beg you will pause 
and reflect that you must die ; and may your depar- 
ture be like that of our worthy captain of marines, 
who died as he lived, in charity with all his frail 
fellow men. His loss was much regretted by nearly 
all on board. His messmates declared they could 
have spared another man, looking hard at the purser 
whilst they uttered it; but "Nip-cheese" would 
not take the hint, and lived to return to England, 
where he took unto himself a better half, and I 
hope he is happy, for who is not so when they take 

a fair lady for better I dislike adding anything 

further, so, reader, finish it yourself. I hope to 
get spliced myself one of these fine days, and I 
sincerely trust it will be a long splice. But we 
must keep a good look-out that in veering the 
cable does not part in the hawse, for if it unfor- 
tunately does, ah, me ! the separation most likely 
will be a permanent one. 

Whilst I am on the tender subject of connubial 
felicity, I will relate a short dialogue which passed 
between two of my messmates. The eldest was 
a Benedict, the other about twenty, who wished to 
be initiated, as he thought he had a kind of side- 
wind regard for the innkeeper's sister at Port 


Royal. " Why," said the first, " I met my wife 
at a hop in the country among a parcel of grass- 
combers. I asked her to dance, which she at first 
refused, giving for a reason that, as I was a sailor, 
I could not know how to lead down the middle 
and cast off at top. 'If that's all,' said I, 'my 
dear, I know how to do that as well as anybody in 
the room.' I was now pushed aside by a lubberly, 
haymaking chap, who led her out, but who as 
much knew how to dance as the captain's cow. 
After they all sat down, I asked the catgut scraper 
if he could play the fisher's hornpipe. He said 
yes. I told him to play away, and I would dance 
it. After veering and hauling on his instrument 
for a short time, he brought it out. I then struck 
out, with my hat on one side, my arms a-kimbo, 
and a short stick under one of them. The bumpkins 
all stared, and Nancy began to awake and find out 
that a sailor knew how to cut a caper. After I had 
finished, I ran up to her to pick up her handker- 
chief, which I thought she had dropped, but found 
it was only the tail of her gown. She smiled and 
gave me her hand. I thought this a good begin- 
ning, and was determined to follow it up. I 
observed her plough-tail admirer did not half like 
seeing me on such a good footing with her. I had 
not forgotten his push, and if he had interfered I 
should have knocked him down, for I began to 
feel that I was already over head and heels in 
love. About midnight all the clodhoppers took 
their departure. As the dance, or merry-making 


as they called it, was given at her father's house, 
I remained as long as I could, and as the old 
governor was fond of sea songs and tough yarns, 

1 served them out freely until the clock struck 

2 A.M., when, after taking a good swig out of a 
large tankard of strong ale, which had frequently 
been replenished, I took Nancy's hand and kissed 
it, and wished her good-night. The father, who 
was a hearty old farmer, asked me to call in again 
before I sailed, for at this time I was master's mate 
of the Savage sloop of war. She was just com- 
missioned at Chatham, and as we did not expect 
to sail for three weeks, I had plenty of time to 
make love." " But did you think it prudent to 
marry, knowing that you could scarcely support 
yourself, much less a wife ? " demanded the 
younger. "That's all true," replied he; "but 
don't put me in mind of my misfortunes. I was 
in love, you know, and when a man is in love, 
why, he's two-thirds a woman. I only thought of 
the present — the future I sent packing to the devil." 
"Well," asked the other, "how long were you 
backing and filling?" "About a fortnight," 
replied he. " Her mother said it was too short 
a time, and the marriage had better be put off 
until I returned from a cruise. ' That will never 
do,' replied I ; * I may be popped off the hooks. 
There is nothing like the present moment, is 
there?' said I, appealing to Nancy and her 
father. • Why,' said she, ' dear mother, I think 
William ' — for that, you know, is my Christian 


name — ' is right ; is he not, father ? ' ' Do as you 
like, girl,' said he. ' I only wish to see you happy.' 
It was now settled that in two days we were to be 
spliced. All the clodhoppers and grass-combers 
I had met before, who were mostly her relations, 
were asked to the wedding, and among the rest 
her clownish admirer, who, I understood, was her 
cousin. He was rather sulky at first, but seeing 
everyone around him in good humour, he came up 
to me and offered his hand, which I took and 
shook heartily. The farmhouse not being more 
than three miles from Chatham, we hired two 
coaches from that place, and with the addition of 
two chay-carts belonging to the farmers, we made 
a numerous (for there were twenty-six of us) , if not 
a respectable, appearance. After pairing off and 
pairing in, we weighed and started with a pleasant 
breeze. The church soon hove in sight, and the 
bells struck up merrily. We hove to, all standing 
before the altar. The parson read the articles 
of marriage, and I was hooked. Nancy piped her 
eye, and I looked nohow. We made a man-of- 
war's cruise there and back again, and took in our 
moorings at the farm, where I had leave to remain 
four days. I had asked two of my messmates to 
the wedding, who were obliged to be off next 
morning by daylight. The same day my good 
old father-in-law took me aside and told me he 
would allow Nancy forty pounds a year as long as 
he lived and did well, and that she might remain 
with her mother, who did not like parting with her, 


as she was their only child, as long as I liked. I 
thanked the old governor most sincerely, and 
informed him that the Secretary of the Admiralty 
was a relation of my mother's, a ninety-ninth 
cousin far removed — but that's nothing — and that 
I was certain of a lieutenant's commission in two 
years, when my time would be served. Here I 
counted my chickens before they were hatched, for 
I have now served three years over my time, and 
here I am, with not much a day, except the good 
farmer's forty pounds, to keep myself, my wife and 
a child. You see," said he, " how I am obliged to 
keep close hauled, and can't afford to sport my 
figure on shore as some of you do. No," added 
he, " don't be after splicing yourself until you have 
a commission, and if you do then, you will have 
as much business with a wife as a cow has with a 
side pocket, and be, as a noble First Lord of the 
Admiralty used civilly to tell married lieutenants, 

not worth a d n." 

My messmate's narrative brought me up with 
a round turn, and I felt my heart working like 
the tiller-ropes in a gale of wind. "Well," said 
I, after a pause, " how did you back out when you 
parted with your wife ? " " You may well say 
'back out,' " said he. " I was taken slap aback — 
it came over me like a clap of thunder. I was half 
inclined to play the shy cock and desert, and had it 
not been for the advice of the good old man, I 
should have been mad enough to have destroyed 
my prospects in the Service for ever. Now," said 


he, " how do you feel ? " "A little qualmish," said 
I, " and I'll take a good stiff glass of grog to wash 
it down. But you have not finished. How did 
she behave when you were ordered to join your 
ship?" "Nobly," said he; "just as I thought 
she would. After a good fit of crying, she threw 
herself on her mother's shoulder, and after fondly 
embracing me, ' Go,' said she. ' VViUiam, may 
that God who has a particular providence over 
our sailors always be with you ! If your duty will 
not prevent you, come again to-morrow, and get 
leave to remain until the ship sails.' 

" I joined the sloop, and the first lieutenant and 
my messmates told me I looked more like a person 
who had been doing something he was ashamed of 
than a happy Benedict. 

" When I got below, my mates informed me the 
sloop was to fit foreign and going to the West 
Indies. My mind was like a coal-barge in a 
waterspout when I heard this, and I was deter- 
mined to cut and run ; but when I reflected next 
morning on the probability of my gaining my 
commission shortly after our arrival, as I should 
go out on Admiralty promotion, I clapped a stopper 
on my determination, and held on. We were to sail 
in two days, and I contrived to get leave to go 
every evening to the farm, and return by 8 o'clock 
next morning. I told my wife our destination, 
and the probability of my promotion. ' Never 
mind me, WiUiam,' said she, with her sweet voice ; 
' go where duty calls you. When in that path you 


cannot be wrong. The hope of your promotion 
cheers me. Let us do all we can to merit the 
blessings of a gracious Creator, and the good- 
fellowship of our fellow-creatures, and we shall 
not be very unhappy, although far distant from 
each other.' The last morning I spent with my 
wife was a mixture of cheerfulness and grief. At 
last I tore myself away. I have now given you 
the whole history, from the main-royal truck down 
to the kelson." 

" Come," said I, " let's have another glass of 
grog, and I'll drink your wife's good health and 
speedy promotion to yourself." " That's a good 
fellow," said he, giving me his hand, and brushing 
away a tear. " Should you ever be spliced, which 
I hope for your own sake will not be for some 
years, may you anchor alongside just such another 
saucy frigate as mine." I am truly happy to 
inform my reader that my good-hearted messmate 
was shortly afterwards promoted into a frigate 
going to England. 

After cruising with the squadron for some days, 
we had permission to go in search of adventures, 
and next morning, as we were running down along 
the coast of Porto Rico, we discovered five sail 
of vessels in a small bay. The water not being 
sufficiently deep to admit the ship, we manned 
and armed three boats and sent them in. I had 
the six-oared cutter, with nine men ; we were soon 
alongside of them. They proved vSpanish vessels, 
four small schooners and a sloop laden with fruit, 


principally oranges and shaddocks, and a quantity 
of yams and plantains. We sent them all down 
to Jamaica — why, you must ask the captain, as 
by the time they reached their destination almost 
the whole of the fruit was rotten, and the vessels 
did not pay the expenses of their condemnation. 
Shortly after this affair, two of the boats, with 
a lieutenant, a master's mate, and myself, were 
sent in shore near Cape Francois, St. Domingo, 
on a cruise of speculation. No object being in 
sight when we left the ship, about lo p.m. we 
came suddenly on three dark-looking schooners, 
who on seeing us gave us a warm reception. The 
night, fortunately for us, was very dark, and we 
were nearly alongside of them without our per- 
ceiving them, as they were anchored so near the 
land. I was mid of the lieutenant's boat, and 
he determined on boarding the largest of them. I 
knew, or rather I could foresee, the result ; but as he 
had taken in the course of the last two hours three 
north-westers, and was half-seas over, my advice 
availed little. The other boat was at some distance 
from us. On we went, when three of our men 
were seriously wounded and I received a musket- 
ball through the left side of my hat, which slightly 
wounded my ear, taking part of the hair, and I felt 
a distressing whirling noise inside my head, and 
was so giddy I was obliged to sit down, not before, 
hovVever, I had shot a man in the main-channels 
who I thought had fired the shot at me. We had 
kept up a brisk firing, and must have killed several 


of their men, when they got long spars with a 
spike at the end over the side, and endeavoured 
to drive them through the bottom of our boat. 
The heutenant, who was now more himself, found 
boarding her impracticable, as she had her boarding 
netting up, her decks filled with men, and nine ports 
in her side. We reluctantly pulled off. We had 
unfortunately taken the bull by the horns — that is, 
pulled for her broadside. The lieutenant and myself, 
for I recovered sufficiently to load my musket, 
kept firing at her decks as we retired. She paid 
us the same compliment, and slightly wounded 
another of the boat's crew. Had the night not 
been so cloudy, and without a moon, we should 
have paid dearly for our temerity. We rowed in a 
straight line for her stern. The two other vessels 
were well armed, and they saluted us with a few shot 
as we pulled off, which, however, went far over us. 
We soon after joined the other boat, which had lOvSt 
sight of us when we attempted boarding the enemy's 
vessel. We learnt a few days afterwards, from a 
New Providence privateer, that they were three 
guardacostas, as the captain of her called them 
— in other words, Spanish government vessels, 
commanded by lieutenants, well armed, manned 
and equipped. We joined the ship next morning, 
and gave a Flemish account of our cruise. One of 
the wounded men, through loss of blood, died soon 
after coming on board. The other three having 
received flesh wounds, soon returned to their duty. 
The surgeon examined my ear, and found the 

K.G. II 


tympanum ruptured. It destroyed my hearing on 
that side for ever, and for years after I was dis- 
tressed with a loud roaring noise on the left side 
of my head. A fortnight later we fell in with a 
Spanish eighty-gun ship, a large frigate and a 
heavy-armed store ship. We were soon alongside 
the former, having beat to quarters previously. 
We asked her where she came from. Her answer 
was, " From sea." We then asked her where she 
was bound to. Her answer was, " To sea." Our 
skipper then jumped upon one of the quarter-deck 
carronades, with his eyes glistening like a Cornish 
diamond. The muzzles of our guns were at this 
time almost touching her side. One of our crew 
spoke Spanish. He was desired to hail her, and 
say that if she did not answer the questions which 
had been put she should be fired into. " From 
Cadiz " was the prompt answer, and " Bound to 
the Havannah." "You might have answered that 
before," said the skipper; "if I had given you 
a good dressing, you richly deserved it." " I do 
not understand what you say," was the reply. 

"You be d d," said our man of war, and we 

turned off on our heel. The same evening a 
court of inquiry was held by the mids, who were 
unanimous in declaring that the captain of the 
line of battle ship ought to be superseded and 
made swab-wringer, and that their own captain 
had acted with that spirit which became a British 
commander of a man-of-war, and that he deserved 
to have his health drunk in a bumper of grog, 


which was accordingly done. Here the court 
broke up, hoping the mate of the hold would bring 
with him, after serving the grog, an extra pint of 
rum to make up the deficiency. The captain, 
having heard of our proceedings, sent his steward 
to us with a bottle of the true sort as a proof of his 

H 2 



Tea with the boatswain's wife — News of the mutiny at the Nore 
causes trouble among the sailors — Sent to cruise in consequence 
— A white squall and waterspout — Capture of a Spanish cruiser 
— Return to Port Royal — H.M.S. IIcjDiione seized by mutineers 
and carried to Porto Bello — Recaptured by Captain Hamilton — 
An alarm caused by fireflies. 

On the evening of the next day the boatswain's 
wife invited me to take tea. I could not refuse so 
kind an offer, and at the vulgar hour of six, behold 
us sipping our Bohea out of porringers, with good 
Jamaica stuff in it in lieu of milk. " Do you like 
it?" said the boatswain to me. " Have you 
enough rum in it ? Take another dash." " No, 
thank you," said I; "no more splicing, or I shall 
get hazy, and not be able to keep the first watch." 
"That rum," said he, "is old pineapple, and like 
mother's milk, and will not hurt a child. Now," 
said he, " we are talking of rum, I'll tell you an 
odd story that happened to me in the last ship I 
belonged to. I had a capital case of the right sort 
given to me by a brother Pipes. One evening I 
had asked some of the upper class dockyard maties, 
for we were lying at Antigua, to take a glass of 
grog. When I went to the case, I found two of 
the bottles at low-water mark, and another a 


marine. 'Ho! ho!' said I to myself; 'this is 
the way you make a southerly wind in my case- 
bottles, and turn to windward in my cabin when 
I am carrying on the war on the forecastle, is it ? 
rU cross your hawse and cut your cable the next 
time, as sure as my name is Tricing.' After the 
last dog-watch, I threw myself into my cot all 
standing, with my rattan alongside of me. About 
three bells of the first watch, I heard someone 
go very cunningly, as he thought, into my cabin. 
I immediately sprung out and seized a man in the 
act of kissing one of my dear little ones, for it was 
a case with nine quart bottles. * Who are you ? ' 
said I. 'Nobody,' replied he. 'You are the 
fellow I have been cruising after since I entered 
the service five-and-twenty years ago, and now 
I have got you, by G — d ! I'll sheet you home 
most handsomely for all past favours.' I then 
gave it to him thick and thin. ' Now, my lad,' 
said I, ' chalk this down in your log, that when 
you have the thievish inclination to take what does 
not belong to you, remember my cane, it you do 
not your God.' This rum gentleman belonged to 
the after-guard, and I did not forget him." 

After cruising round Porto Rico and Hispaniola 
for two months, we bore up for the mole, where 
we found two sail of the line, a sixty-four and two 
sloops of war. In the course of our cruise we had 
sent in an American brig and a schooner laden 
with Hour. The latter was condemned, half- 
barrels of gunpowder being found in the under 


flour casks. The former was let go, although we 
thought she ought to have been condemned, as her 
register was defective. We understood that the 
judge's wife, of the Vice-Admiralty Court, who was 
notorious for accepting presents, had received a 
purse from some of the masters ot the American 
vessels detained by the cruisers to let them escape 
trial. How true this may be must be left to time 
and the curious to decide. 

On overhauling the fore-shrouds and mainstay, 
we found them too much worn to be trustworthy. 
As we could not be refitted with lower rigging from 
the naval stores at this place, the senior officer 
gave us an order to proceed to Jamaica. We took 
leave of all the " Ballaker ladies," as the mids chose 
to call them. Know, reader, that the fish called 
by that name is a most destructive and voracious 
one, and as I presume they thought the ladies were 
of that character, some of them had too much 
reason to call them so. We reached Port Royal 
on the afternoon of the following day, but remarked 
we were not received with that welcome as before ; 
no boats filled with yellow-legged females came off 
with banjos. Why ? Because we brought in no 
prize with us. And when we went on shore some 
of these delicate dames exclaimed when we accosted 
them: "Eh, massa, you hab know me before? I 
no recollect you. What ship you belong to?" 
And we were seldom asked to the dignity balls. 
We were all now in tolerable health, when the 
packet from England arrived, bringing letters for 


the squadron, one of which I received, acquainting 
me that my sister's husband was appointed to com- 
mand the A. frigate fitting for the Mediterranean, 
and that my youngest brother, in the India marine, 
had died in Bengal. He was a fine, spirited youth, 
nineteen years of age ; we had not met since we 
were at school. Some of our seamen also received 
letters by the same opportunity, acquainting them 
with the mutiny at the Nore, and a few days after- 
wards a disaffected spirit broke out in the squadron, 
which we had some trouble in subduing. However, 
by reasoning with the petty officers and the best 
seamen, it terminated without open mutiny or 
bloodshed, although the crews of some of the ships 
had been mistaken enough to have delegates for their 
proceedings. To finally root out the trouble the 
admiral ordered the five line of battle ships fitting 
out at Port Royal to complete their stores and sail 
without delay for the Gulf of Mexico. Two days 
afterwards we stood out to sea. The squadron 
consisted of a ship of ninety-eight guns, four seventy- 
fours, and a frigate. The commander-in-chief 
had his flag on board the former. After touching 
at the Grand Caymans for turtle, we reached the 
Bay of Mexico, where, and off the Havannah, we 
cruised for some weeks without taking anything. 
One night, having the middle watch and looking 
over the lee gangway, I observed some black spots 
on the water. The moon, which was in her third 
quarter, was sometimes hidden by the dark scud, for 
it was blowing fresh, and when she shone in full 


splendour the spots appeared stationary. I lost 
no time in pointing this out to the lieutenant of the 
watch, who agreed with me that they must be the 
negro heads of some coral reef. We were with 
the squadron running directly on them. We 
immediately fired a gun and hauled our wind, 
and then fired a second to warn the ships astern 
of us of the danger. When we hauled off we 
could not clear them, and it was more than an 
hour before we got an offing. They were the 
"Double-headed shot" keys. Our signal was made 
for the captain and master to repair on board the 
admiral. The latter, we understood, was well 
hauled over the coals, and he came on board 
looking like a boy who had been whipped. He 
thought it was "moral impossible" (for that was 
always his favourite way of speaking when he 
thought he had anything of importance to relate) 
that the admiral should find fault with him as 
a navigator ; he could not account for counter 
currents and undertows, and he knew how to 
navigate a ship as well as any man in the fleet. 

The inhabitants of the cockpit, as usual, held a 
court of inquiry on his conduct, when they declared 
on summing up what they had remarked of his 
character, that he was too conceited to be clever, 
that he was a very indifferent navigator, and they 
wondered who the devil gave him his warrant as 
master, for they would not trust him to navigate 
a barge in the New River. After cruising till the 
mids declared they were ennuied of seeing the 


Havannah, the dry Tortugas, Cape Antonio, and 
the low land near Mississippi so often, and that 
thev had worn their chemises twice over and had 
only soiled sheets for table-cloths ; that they were 
obliged to get one of the marines to pipe-clay their 
stockings and the collar of their shirts when they 
were asked to dine in the cabin ; that it was a 
horrible, hard case to eat biscuits filled with barge- 
men and purser's lice ; that the water was full of 
jenny jumps — all these miseries, concluded they, 
ought to be made known to the admiral, and that if 
he did not order the squadron in again he ought 
to be tried by a court of mids and reduced to the 
humble rank of a cockpitsman and feed off barge- 
men for a month. 

We had now been out for two months when we 
bore up for the Gulf of Florida. In making the 
Havannah for a departure, we fell in with four 
Spanish brigs laden with quicksilver, which we 
captured. When near Cape Florida we experienced 
a white squall which carried away the foretop-gallant 
mast and split the foresail. The ninety-eight gun- 
ship, which led the squadron, heeled so much over 
before she could shorten sail that she appeared to 
be turning the turtle. At last her foreyard went in 
the slings, and her main-topsail in ribbons, and she 

When off New Providence the wind was light 
and the clouds heavy and low, and in less than 
half an hour seven waterspouts had formed, two 
not far from us on our weather beam, the largest 


of which was nearing us rather fast. We got two 
of the main-deck guns ready, and waited until we 
could see its suction. The cloud which drew up 
and contained the water was in the shape of a 
reversed cone with a long point at the bottom of it : 
this was something like a corkscrew. We now 
thought it high time to fire, when down it came, 
discharging a sheet of water which must have 
contained many tons. The shock it gave the 
water drove it in breakers to some distance, and 
we partook of the motion, as we rolled for at 
least ten minutes before the swell subsided. The 
other waterspout passed some distance astern. 
In this gulf some years ago a dreadful catastrophe 
occurred to a West Indiaman homeward bound, 
caused by one of the sucking clouds or water- 
spouts. Several had formed very near her, one 
of them so near that the master of her was 
afraid to fire as it might endanger the vessel. 
It appeared to be passing when a flaw of wind 
came, and being heavily surcharged with water, 
broke it. Fortunately the hatches were on, and 
only the master, mate and four men on deck. The 
immense body of water it contained fell with such 
violence that it carried away all her masts, boats, 
spars and hen-coops, with all the live stock, as well 
as washing the master and three of the men over- 
board. The mate and the other man were saved by 
jumping into the caboose which held on, although 
they were half-dead with fright and half-drowned 
with water. After we had cleared the islands 


forming the Bahama group, we fell in with a low, 
rakish-looking schooner, which gave us a chase of 
seven hours, although our shot went over her. At 
length two of her men were killed, and the spy- 
glass knocked out of the skipper's hand, when he, 
finding it was useless holding out any longer, hove 
to. She proved a Spanish privateer of six guns 
and forty men, with a number of sheep on 
board, but the mids declared they were more like 
purser's lanterns. When killed, one of them 
weighed only fifteen pounds. Nothing further 
occurred during the remainder of our passage to 
Jamaica, where we anchored two days after with 
our prizes. Before the sails were furled, half the 
inhabitants of Port Royal were round the ships 
making a most hideous noise with their squalling 
and banjos. Our five prizes made their eyes shine 
like a dollar in a bucket of water, and their mouths 
water like a sick monkey's eyes with a violent 
influenza. The last time we had anchored we 
returned prizeless, and no boat came off but an old 
washerwoman's; we now paid them off in their own 
coin, and desired all the canoes with the exception of 
two to paddle to some other ship, as we should not 
admit them on board. After lingering for about 
half an hour in the hope that we should change 
our minds, they paddled away looking blacker than 
their skins. Soon after our arrival we heard that 
the Hermiouc frigate had been taken and carried 
into Porto Bello on the Spanish Main by her crew, 
after having killed their captain and all the officers. 


This dreadful news gave me real concern, as one of 
my late messmates was third lieutenant of her. 
Captain Hamilton, of the Surprise of twenty-eight 
guns, offered to bring her out from where her 
rebellious crew had anchored her, and a few days 
after he sailed for that purpose. We were refitting 
very leisurely, and had been in harbour nearly five 
weeks, when one afternoon we saw the Surprise 
towing in the Hermioiie. Captain Hamilton had kept 
his word to the letter. He was three days before 
the port where she lay before he attempted his 
purpose. She was at anchor very close in shore, 
protected by a heavy half-moon and triangular 
battery. On the evening of the third day Captain 
Hamilton made his will, and after consulting with 
the officers he armed and manned the boats, and 
took with him the lieutenants, surgeon, a proportion 
of mids, and the lieutenant of marines, besides 
sailors and marines, making in the whole a hundred. 
He left the master and the remainder of the crew 
in charge of the ship, and ordered him when the 
boats shoved off^ to stand out by way of feint. The 
night was very dark. After a short pull they were 
alongside of the Hermioiie^ which was evidently 
taken by surprise. On seeing the crew of the 
Surprise board them, they seized their boarding- 
pikes and cutlasses, and made a resistance which 
would have done them credit in a better cause. 
The conflict was severe and fatal to many of them ; 
several jumped overboard. The struggle had con- 
tinued about hall an hour when her cables were 










cut and her topsails loosed. The remainder of the 

mutineers finding their numbers considerably 

decreased threw down their arms and surrendered, 

and at daylight the ship was in company with the 

Surprise.* Captain Hamilton received a severe. 

contusion on the head, and had it not been for his 

surgeon, who was a powerful son of the Emerald 

Isle, he must have been killed. The loss on board 

the Hermione was considerable, that of the Surprise 

comparatively speaking trilling. Soon after they 

anchored I was sent on board the latter to learn 

the particulars which I have given above. The 

mutineers taken in the Hermione were but few, as 

the greater part were either on shore or had jumped 

overboard from her when they saw they should be 

overpowered. Before we sailed they were tried, 

and, with the exception of two who turned King's 

evidence, were hanged in everlasting jackets on 

the small islands without Port Royal harbour. 

I also learnt that my former messmate was 

lieutenant of the watch when the mutiny broke out, 

and one of the King's evidence mutineers gave me 

the following account : — 

"The captain," said he, "was very severe with 
the men, who were all good seamen, and they 
were determined to either run the ship on shore 
and desert, or else take her by force. This had 
been in their minds for months before it happened. 
At last," said he, "on a dark night, when the 
young lieutenant had the watch, our minds were 

'■'■ See note (b). 


made up. A party went to the cabin-door, knocked 
down the sentry, and entered it. The captain was 
in his cot, and he was soon overpowered. We 
threw him out of the cabin-window. Another 
party threw the officer of the watch over the 
larboard quarter, but he, being young and active, 
caught hold of the hammock-stanchion, when one 
of the men cut his hands off, and he soon dropped 
astern. The first lieutenant had been ill and keep- 
ing his cot, but on hearing the noise, he came 
up the hatchway in his shirt, when one of the 
carpenter's crew cut him down with an axe, and he 
was sent overboard with several others." Captain 
Pigot, who commanded her, was no doubt a severe 
disciplinarian, but this was a most unheard-of, 
cruel and bloodthirsty mutiny ; all the officers, 
both guilty — if there were any guilty — and innocent 
shared the same untimely fate, and surely if the 
crew found themselves oppressed and ill-used, they 
ought to have represented their complaints to the 
senior officer or the admiral, and they, in justice, 
would have been listened to; at least I hope so. I 
am sorry to state here that I have seen men some- 
times flogged for trifles where a minor punishment 
would have been more appropriate. Caprice and 
partiality should never govern an officer's conduct ; 
young lieutenants are too prone to make complaints 
to their captain without reflecting on the character 
of the offender. A thorough-bred seaman is very 
seldom in fault, and should he unfortunately trespass 
a little on the discipline of the ship, his offence 


should be visited as lightly as possible. Well- 
timed admonition will make a surer impression 
than half-a-dozen cats. I speak from experience. 
Before we sailed I had occasion to purchase some 
stockings, as I found on inquiry that my dingy-faced 
washerwoman had supplied her " lubing bruder" 
with several pair belonging to me, to dance with 
her at a banjo hop, and took care I should not 
have them until the day before we sailed, which 
was Saturday. On examining them I found they 
were so worn into large holes that I could not put 
them on. Having obtained permission to go on 
shore, I repaired to the magazine. All shops in 
the West Indies are called magazines or stores, 
although some of them are so small that you are 
not able to turn round without hurting your 
elbows. The said shop, magazine or store was 
kept by a worthy, said to be honest, Israelite. I 
acquainted him with my wants. " I can't sell you 
nothing to-day," he said ; " it is my Sabbath ; but 
I will tell you what I can do. I will lend you six 
pair, and you can pay me to-morrow." " Thank 
you," said I; " where's your conscience? To- 
morrow will be my Sabbath." " Ah," said he " I 
forgot that. Then you can pay me on Monday." 
"No," said I ; " I'll pay you off with the foretop- 
sail." He laughed. " Here, take the vStockings, 
and pay me when you please." This I did not do 
until I had given him a little note promising to pay 
him when we returned from our cruise. 

We sailed the following morning, to cruise off 


the windward passages, where we fell in with two 
American sloops of war, cruising for an appetite. 
We were now tolerably well manned. Yellow fever 
and scurvy had taken their departure, and the only 
evil which remained with us was the blue devils, in 
consequence of the monotony so prevalent in a 
long cruise. We boarded several American vessels, 
and from one of them we procured some long, lanky 
turkeys. They stood so high that they appeared 
on stilts ; they were all feather and bone, and 
Jonathan asked four dollars apiece for them, but 
we got him down to two by taking nine, which was 
all he had. I asked him if he had any dollar 
biscuits. "No," said he; "but some of the men 
have a pretty considerable quantity of notions." 
Here he called to one of them, and said, " Nathan, 
I guess you bought some notions at Baltimore ; 
bring them up, and let the officer see them." 
Nathan was soon down the hatchway, and as 
quickly up again with his venture, or notions. 
They consisted of two pounds of infamous Yankee 
tea, three pounds of tobacco made into a roll, a jar 
of salt butter, a six-pound ham, and a bag of 
hickory nuts. The tea and ham I bought, and one 
of the boat's crew had the tobacco. The first 
proved too bad for even a midshipman's palate ; 
and the ham, when the cover and sawdust were 
taken away, was animated by nondescripts, and 
only half of it eatable. I was tried by a court of 
inquiry by my messmates for want of discernment, 
and found guilty ; and the Yankee who had cheated 


us was sentenced to be hanged, but as he was out 
of sight, the penalty was not carried into execution. 
We once more anchored at the mole, after having 
reconnoitred Porto Rico and part of Cuba, without 
any addition to our riches. 

On the fifth evening of our arrival we heard 
the drums at the town beating to arms. We 
manned and armed three of our boats, and 
sent them on shore to inquire the cause of the 
alarm. The soldiers were forming to march, 
when one of our mids exclaimed: "Look what a 
vast number of large fire-flies there are in the 
bushes over the town!" "Are you sure those 
lights are fire-flies?" said a captain of one of the 
companies. "Yes," said the mid; "I'll convince 
you in a jiffy." Away he flew into the bushes, and 
in about five minutes returned, with his hat swarm- 
ing with them, which produced a pale, bright light 
equal to several candles. The adventure produced 
much laughter at the expense of the piquet who had 
given the alarm, and the retreat was beat. 

At particular periods of the year these little 
insects meet in the same manner that birds do on 
St. Valentine's Day. The soldiers who formed the 
piquet had never seen anything of the kind before, 
and as the sentinel at a small fort at the entrance 
of the harbour had been shot by the enemy a few 
nights previously, they were determined not to be 
taken by surprise. 




Transhipped to H.M.S. Queen (98)- -Sailors' appreciation of books — 
The ship runs aground and sinks : with difficulty raised — A mock 
court-martial on the master — Author made lieutenant with a 
commission on a twenty-four-gun ship. 

After completing our water and stores, we 
sailed, and made the circuit of St. Domingo, and 
a month afterwards returned to Port Royal, where 
we found the dignity ladies looking as blooming as 
black roses, and as it was understood that we were 
to be paid prize money, a general invitation was 
given to all the wardroom officers to a grand ball 
two days after our arrival; for be it known to 
you, gentle reader, that humble mids are never 
invited to dignity balls of the first class, which are 
given by the mustees and quadroons. Some of 
these ladies are beautifully formed, with handsome 
features. The second class generally consist of 
mulattos and blacks ; these last are the most 
numerous ; the mids at their balls are quite at home, 
and call for sangaree and porter-cup in first style. 

At this period I had served my six years within a 
few months, when the captain sent for me, and 
told me he intended sending me on board the flag- 
ship on promotion. " I send you there," added he. 

ON BOARD A '98. 115 

" beforehand, that you may have the opportunity of 
becoming known to the commander-in-chief, that 
at the expiration of your time you may be more 
immediately under his notice and be sure of your 
promotion." I thanked him sincerely for his kind 
intention, and the following morning behold me, 
bed and traps, ensconced in the starboard midship- 
man's berth — one of the darkest holes of a cockpit 
I ever was yet in — on board the Queen, a ninety- 
eight gun ship. My messmates, ten in number, 
were the poorest of all poor mids. I was 
welcomed to the mess by the master's mate, who 
held in his hand a dirty, empty bottle, with a 
farthing candle lighted in the neck of it. '' Take 
care," said he, " you don't break your shins over 
the youngsters' chests." " Thank you," said I ; 
"but I always thought a flag-ship's cockpit too 
well regulated to have chests athwartships." 
" Why, to tell you the truth," replied he, '* those 

d d youngsters are so often changing ships, 

being here to-day and promoted to-morrow,- that 
it is impossible to keep either chests, mess or them 
in anything hke order. I wish they were all at the 
devil." " Amen," responded a person in the berth, 
whose nose was looming out of a hazy darkness, 

"for, d n them," he continued, "they have 

eaten all the cheese and have had a good swig at 
my rum-bottle, but I'll lay a point to windward of 
them yet." These two hard officers were both old 
standards. The last who spoke was the mate of 
the hold, and the other of the lower deck. One 

I 2 


had seen thirty-five and the other thirty-nine 
summers. The hope of a Heutenant's commission 
they had given up in despair, and were now looking 
out for a master's warrant. They were both 
brought up in the merchant service, and had 
entered the Navy at the beginning of the war 
as quarter-masters, and by their steady conduct 
were made master's mates, a situation which 
requires some considerable tact. The greater 
portion of my hopeful brother officers were from 
eighteen to twenty years of age. Their toast in 
a full bumper of grog of an evening was usually, 
" A bloody war and a sickly season." Some few 
were gentlemanly, but the majority were every-day 
characters — when on deck doing little, and when 
below doing less. Books they had very few or 
none ; as an instance of it, we had only one, 
except the Hamilton Moore's and the Nautical 
Almanack, among ten of us, and that was " Extracts 
from the Poets." One of the mates above mentioned, 
seeing me moping with the blue devils, brought it 
me. "Here," said he, "is a book nobody reads. 
I have looked into it myself, but there is so much 
dry stuff in it, that it makes my grog go too fast ; 
but," added he, " ' Dry ' is put under that part, so 
you can skip over it." Now, reader, the most 
beautiful passages of this neglected book were from 
Dryden. The mate, happy, ignorant man, imagined, 
in his wisdom, that where the abridgment of this 
poet's name was placed, it was to indicate to the 
reader that the poetry was dry and not worth 


reading. Oh, Ignorance, thou art sometimes bliss, 
but in the present instance it were not folly to be 
wise ! I attempted to take the Irish half-crown out 
of his mind by comparing some of Dryden's passages 
with the others, and he was as much convinced as a 
cable-tier coiling and stowing-hold officer is gener- 
ally capable of being, that the " Dry" poetry was 
the best. 

The captain of this ship was from the north, 
I believe, strictly moral and as strict in discipline, 
admirably economical, and as regular in his habits 
as any old-clothes man in Monmouth Street. He 
kept all the cockpitonians on the qidvive, and as every 
recommendation went through him to the admiral 
it was but good policy for the mids to be on the 
alert. As all the lieutenants were constantly 
changing, those promoted making room for others, 
I shall not describe their characters, except noticing 
that the generality of them were good officers and 
gentlemen. A month after I joined we were 
ordered to sail, and on going out of Port Royal 
Roads we struck with great force on a sand bank 
called the Turtle Head. The master, who was as 
ignorant as he was conceited, had taken charge of 
the ship before she was out of pilot water, and in less 
than half an hour after the pilot left us she struck. 
As we were still in sight of the vessels at Port 
Royal, we made the signal for assistance, and soon 
afterwards saw a frigate and a store ship coming 
out towards us. The sea breeze began to set in, 
which drove us more on the shoal, notwithstanding 


thatwe had carried out two anchors ahead. At length 
she thumped so violently that we jumped at least a 
foot high from the deck. I could not refrain from 
smiling to see the captain and officers with serious, 
long, anxious faces, cutting capers against their 
will. The rudder and false keel soon parted 
company, and we all expected to see the masts 
jerked out of their steps. On sounding the well 
we found the ship making water rapidly. The 
pumps were set to work, but in vain. She soon 
sank in three fathoms and a half water, and we had 
eighteen feet of water in the hold. The frigate and 
store ship, with some smaller vessels, had anchored 
as near us as they could with safety. The small 
craft came alongside and took out our guns and 
stores, and one hundred additional men were sent 
on board us to work the pumps. Pumps were also 
sent from the dockyard, and were introduced into 
the hold through the decks, which had been 
scuttled for that purpose. On the morning of the 
third day we had got everything, except the lower 
masts and bowsprit, on board the lighters, and by 
the exertions of the men at the pumps, which had 
been incessant for three days and nights, we had 
lightened her, and she floated off the shoal. The 
frigate took us in tow, and in three hours afterwards 
we were lashed alongside the dockyard. The 
fatigue and want of rest, for not a single hammock 
had been piped down during the time the ship was 
on vshore, threw about fifty men into the sick list, 
and several of them died at the hospital afterwards. 


The seamen of the fleet in general had a great 
aversion to go to the hospital, and when ill used 
to entreat the doctor not to send them there. It 
was said of the matrons, which did not redound to 
their credit if true, that when a seaman died, and 
was reported to them, they exclaimed : *' Poor 
fellow ! bring me his bag, and mind everything 
belonging to him is put into it." This they con- 
sidered their perquisite. Surely this is wrong and 
robbery ! Ah, Mr. Hume ! why were you a puling, 
helpless babe at that time ? Had you been a man 
and known it, you would have called for reforma- 
tion and been the seaman's friend. 

We had now a difficult and arduous duty to 
perform, which was to heave the ship down keel 
out. I was stationed on the lower deck with a 
party of thirty seamen to keep the chain pumps 
going as long as they would work — that is, until the 
ship was nearly on her side. In about twenty 
minutes she was nearly on her beam ends, when all 
the temporary stanchions which had been fixed to 
keep the deck from yielding gave way like a regi- 
ment of black militia in chase of Obie, or Three- 
fmgered Jack in the Whee Mountains, when they 
are in full retreat. I was standing at this time in 
no enviable position, my feet rested on the combings 
of the main hatchway with my back against the 
deck. I expected every moment to have my brains 
knocked out, but this apprehension was soon super- 
seded by a cry from the shore of, *' Make for the 
stern ports and jump overboard ; the hawsers are 


stranded; there will be a boat ready to pick you up." 
"Sooner said than done," thinks I to myself; "I 
wish with all my heart that the first lieutenant who 
ordered me here was in my place, and he would find 
the order practically impossible." Another cry was 
then heard: "Hold all fast on board!" "You 
are a wise man," thinks I again for that order; 
"it is the very thing we are determined to do." 
"All's safe," was the next squall through the 
trumpet, "the mastheads are secured to the 
beams." " Thank you for nothing," said I to 
myself, "it's more good luck than good manage- 
ment." When the ship was hove down, we got 
some of the pumps to work on the side next the 
water, as it had gone from the well, and in a few 
hours kept her clear. On the fourth day we righted 
her, as the dockyard maties had botched her up. 

We had now to wait about six weeks for the 
rudder ; in the meanwhile we got on board the 
water, provisions and stores, and fresh powder, the 
last having had a ducking. From the time the ship 
came to the yard we had slept and messed in the 
capstan house, consequently we had not an oppor- 
tunity of holding a cockpit inquiry on the master's 
conduct for running the vessel on shore. The 
second day after getting on board we put on our 
scrapers and toasting-forks, and assembled in the 
larboard berth, which was illuminated for the 
occasion by four farthing candles. The court 
consisted of fourteen members. I was chosen 
president ; a black man who waited on our berth 


was to personate the master. After taking our 
seats according to seniority, we declared we would 
show neither favour nor partiality to the prisoner, 
but try him fairly by the rules of the cockpit. I 
began, as president, by asking him the reason he 
let the pilot quit the ship before she was clear of 
the shoals. 

Prisoner: '"Cause, massa, I had berry good 
opinion of myself, and I tink I sabby de ground better 
den dat black scorpion who call himself pilot." 

President : "If you knew the channels better 
than the pilot, how came you to let the ship get on 
shore on the Turtle Head shoal?" 

Prisoner: ''Ah, Massa President, me no tink 
Turtle Head lib dere ; me tink him lib tree legs 
more west. De chart say him moral impossible he 
lib so near Port Royal." 

Here the chart was examined, and the shoal was 
in reality laid down in a wrong place. This saved 
the master, or he must have been smashed. Here 
the court adjourned to consider the sentence. 
After laughing and joking some short time in the 
larboard wing, we again assembled looking as 
solemn as a Lord Chancellor, when I, as the noble 
president, addressed the prisoner as follows : — 

" Prisoner, this honourable Court having duly 
considered the unseamanlike and stupid blunder 
you have committed, do adjudge you to be sus- 
pended from your duty as master of this ship for 
six calendar months, in order to give you time to 
reflect on the mischief you have done and the 


great expense you have occasioned by running His 
Majesty's ship on a shoal called the Turtle Head ; 
and they advise you not to be so self-sufficient in 
future, and, if it be not morally impossible, to 
clothe yourself with the robe of humility, and to 
put all your conceit into the N.W. corner of your 
chest, and never let it see daylight. And the Court 
further adjudges you, in consequence of your letting 
the pilot quit the ship before she was in sea-way, 
to be severely reprimanded and also admonished as 
to your future conduct, and you are hereby sus- 
pended, reprimanded, and admonished accordingly. 
I dissolve this Court. Master Blacky, get dinner 
ready as fast as you can, as we are very sharp set." 
"Yes, massa," was the answer; "to-day you 
hab for dinner salt junk and bargeman biscuit, and 
to-morrow you hab change." " What do you say, 
you black woolly-headed rascal ? " said one of the 
mids. " Why, I say, massa, you hab change to- 
morrow -you hab bargeman biscuit and salt junk." 
"Why," said another horrified mid, "I heard the 
caterer order you to get some fish from the canoe 
alongside." "Yes, massa, dat berry true, but de 

d d black scorpion would not sell 'um to massa 

midshipman, cause he no hab pay for fish last 
time." " If you mention that again," said one of 
my messmates, " I'll crack your black cocoa-nut, 
and if you do not get some to-morrow, I'll take 
care your grog shall be stopped." Here the 
caterer of the mess interfered by promising the 
mess should have some fish for their dinner next 


day, and the contest ended. Master Blacky started 
up the ladder to stand the wrangle in the galley for 
our dinner, and shortly after we attacked a tolerably 
good-looking piece of King's own, with the addition 
of some roasted plantains, which our black factotum 
had forgotten to mention in his bill of fare. 

Having procured our rudder we sailed to prove, 
the middies said, "Whether promotion should be 
stopped or not by the ship's sinking or floating ? " 
Fortunately for us, by the aid of the chain pumps 
twice a day, she did the latter. We continued on 
a man-of-war's cruise there and back again for five 
weeks, and then returned to our former anchorage. 
During this short cruise I had prepared myself for 
passing, and soon after our arrival, my time being 
served, I requested the first lieutenant to speak to 
the captain that I might pass for a lieutenant. 
" Go yourself," said he, " and tell him. He is in 
his room at the capstan house. I'll give you the 
jolly boat." 

I was soon on shore and at the door of his room. 
I knocked. " Enter," said a voice not at all 
encouraging. " What do you want, any orders?" 
" No, sir," said I, with one of my best quarter- 
deck bows, which appeared to soften him. " I 
hope I am not intruding ; I have taken the liberty 
of waiting on you, sir, to acquaint you that I have 
served my time." He was half-shaved, and my 
visit appeared unfortunately ill-timed, and I began 
to apprehend by the expression of his countenance, 
and the flourishes he made with his razor, he 


intended making me a head shorter. " Who sent 
you to me at this inconvenient time ? " asked he. 
*' The first Heutenant, sir," said I ; "he thought it 
was better for me to inform you before you went to 
the Admiral's pen." " Oh, very well ; you may 
go ; shut the door, and let the barge come for me at 
seven o'clock." On board I repaired, and delivered 
the message. I kept pondering whether my hardy, 
half-shaven captain's manner was favourable to the 
information I had given him or not. My messmates 
were anxious to know how I was received. " Not 
very graciously," was my reply. Next morning, to 
my agreeable surprise, I was ordered to take the 
barge, and go on board the Alarm frigate, where I 
met my old captain, who shook hands with me, and 
two others. "Well," said the former, "are you 
prepared to prove you are an able seaman and 
an officer?" " I hope so, sir," said I. He intro- 
duced me to his two brother officers, and informed 
them I had sailed with him some time, and that 
I had frequently charge of a watch. We all 
descended to the cabin, where Hamilton Moore's 
" Epitome," a slate and pencil were placed before 
me. I was first asked several questions respecting 
coming to an anchor, mooring, tacking, veering, 
and taking in sail. I was then desired to find the 
time of high water at different places, and the 
variation of the compass. 

They appeared satisfied with my answers and 
solutions, and before I left the ship they presented 
me with my passing certificate. On the following 


day I took the oath of allegiance, abused the Pope 
— poor, innocent man — and all his doctrines, and 
received my commission for a twenty-four gun ship 
which I joined the day after. I left some of my 
messmates with regret, as they were made of the 
very stuff our Navy required. 



Requested to act as first lieutenant, but refuses — Description of 
officers — A fruitless search for a Spanish treasure ship — Run on 
a coral reef, but float off again — A tropical thunderstorm — A 
futile attempt to cut out three schooners off Matanzas — Author 
becomes first lieutenant — Return to Port Royal — The incriminating 
papers of an American sloop found in a shark — Seize a French 
ship in ballast off St. Domingo. 

On introducing myself to my new captain, who 
was a short, corpulent, open-countenanced man, he 
informed me he had conversed with my former 
captain respecting me. "We lost both the 
lieutenants by the yellow fever the latter part of 
last cruise," said he, " and if you like to be first 
lieutenant, I will request the Admiralty to give me 
an acting officer." I thanked him for his good 
opinion, but begged leave to decline being first. 
About a fortnight afterwards, during which time no 
other lieutenant had joined, the captain again 
asked me if I had altered my mind. "And," 
added he, " the time you have been on board has 
given you some insight respecting a first lieutenant's 
duty. Your early rising I much approve, and your 
regularity with the duty pleases me. Let me write 
for an acting lieutenant." I made him due 
acknowledgments but still declined, pleading the 


want of experience. "Well," said he, "if you 
will not, I must ask for a senior officer," and 
soon afterwards he was appointed. Another fort- 
night expired, when we sailed for the Gulf of 
Mexico. I will now rest on my oars a little, and 
as I have the watch below, I will amuse myself by 
sketching the outline of the gun-room inmates. 

The first lieutenant knew his duty, but was too 
fond of the contents of his case-bottles of rum, 
which made him at times very irritable and hasty ; 
in other respects he was a sociable messmate. The 
second was a kind of nondescript ; he was certainly 
sober, and I hope honest, fond of adventure, and 
always volunteered when the boats were sent on 
any expedition. He was sociable, and frequently 
rational, although too often sanguine where hope 
was almost hopeless. Three-and-twenty summers 
had passed over his head, but still there was much 
to correct. He was generous and open-hearted, 
and never could keep a secret, which often got him 
into a scrape with ladies of all colours. The value 
of money never entered his head, and when he 
received a cool hundred, he spent it coolly, but not 
without heartfelt enjoyment. The master comes 
next. He was a little, natty man ; we presumed he 
had been rolled down Deal beach in his infancy, 
where pebbles without number must have come in 
rude contact with his face, for it was cruelly 
marred. He had made some trips in the East 
India Service, which had given him an air of 
consequence. He was not more than twenty-four 


years of age, and certainly clever in his profession. 
I will now bring forward the doctor, who appeared 
to doctor everybody but himself. He was every 
inch a son of Erin, could be agreeable or the 
reverse as the fit seized him, fond of argument, 
fond of rum, and sometimes fond of fighting. To 
see him put his hand to his mouth was painful ; it 
was so tremulous that half the contents of what he 
eat or drank fell from it, yet he was never tipsy, 
although the contents of three bottles of port wine 
found their way very glibly down his throat at a 

Now I will have a dead-set at the purser, who 
was generally purseless. He was the gayest of the 
gay, very tall, very expensive, and always in love. 
The first fiddle of the mess and caterer, fond of 
going on a boat expedition, very fond of prize- 
money, and as fond of getting rid of it. He used 
to say, " It was a terrible mistake making me a 
purser. I shall never be able to clear my accounts," 
and this was literally the case. Some years after- 
wards he was appointed to a large frigate, but by 
the irregularity of his conduct, although his captain 
was his friend, he was by a court-martial dismissed 
the Service. When I heard this I was much con- 
cerned, as there were some good points about him. 
I have now handed up all the gun-room officers. 
Other characters in the ship I shall not describe ; 
some were good, some bad, and some indifferent, 
but I am happy to remark the first-named pre- 
ponderated. We made the Grand Cayman, and 


sent a cutter to the shore to purchase turtle and 
fruit. In about an hour and a half she came off 
with three turtle, some yams, plantains, cocoa-nuts, 
and a few half-starved fowls. I had cautioned the 
purser not to buy any grunters, as those poor 
animals blown out with water we had purchased 
from these honest islanders in days of yore, were 
still fresh in my memory. 

The same evening we made Cape Antonio, and 
cruised between that cape and the Loggerhead Keys 
for some days without seeing anything but two 
American vessels from New Orleans. One of them 
gave us notice of a Mexican armed zebec ready to 
sail with treasure from Mexico for the Havannah. 
This news elated us. We were all lynx-eyed and 
on the alert. The youngsters were constantly at 
the masthead with glasses, in the sanguine hope of 
being the first to announce such good fortune. 
Alas ! we cruised from the mouth of the Mississippi 
to the Bay of Campechy for five long weeks, at the 
period of which we saw a vessel we made certain 
was that which was to make our fortunes, and our 
heads were filled with keeping our kittereens and 
having famous champagne dinners at Spanish 
Town. After a chase of seven hours, we came up 
with her, but judge of our chagrin ! She was the 
same rig as the American captain described. I 
was sent on board her, and expected to have 
returned with the boat laden with ingots, bars 
of gold and silver cobs. Oh, mortification ! not 
easily to be effaced ! On examining her, she 

K.Ga J^ 


proved, with the exception of four barrels of quick- 
silver, to have no cargo of any value. I really was 
so disappointed that I was ashamed to return on 
board, and when I did, and made my report, there 
was a complete metamorphosis of faces. Those 
that were naturally short became a fathom in 
length, and those that were long frightful to 
behold. The order was given to burn her and 
take out the seven Spaniards who composed her 
crew. On interrogating the patroon, or master, ol 
her, he informed us that the vessel with the precious 
metal had sailed from Mexico two months before, 
and had arrived at the Havannah. The Yankee 
captain who had given us this false information, 
and made us for five weeks poissons d'Avril, was 
remembered in our prayers ; whether they ascended 
or descended is a problem unsolved. We remained 
in the Gulf of Mexico jogging backwards and for- 
wards, like an armadillo in an enclosure, for ten 
days longer, and then shaped our course for the 
coast of Cuba, looked into the Havannah, saw 
nothing which appeared ready for sailing, and 
made all sail for the Florida shore. The following 
morning it was very foggy, when about noon we 
had the felicity of finding that the ship had, without 
notice, placed herself very comfortably on a coral 
reef, where she rested as composedly as grand- 
mamma in her large armchair. We lost no time 
in getting the boats and an anchor out in the direc- 
tion from whence we came. Fortunately it was 
nearly calm, otherwise the ship must have been 


wrecked. The process of getting her off was much 
longer than that of getting her on. The mids, I 
understood, declared she was tired of the cruise and 
wished to rest. In the afternoon it became clear, 
when we saw an armed schooner close to us, which 
hoisted English colours and sent a boat to us. The 
captain of her came on board and informed us that 
his vessel was a Nassau privateer, and he tendered 
all the assistance in his power to get us afloat. As 
the ship appeared disinclined to detach herself from 
her resting-place, we sent most of the shot and 
some of the stores on board this vessel, when we 
began to lift, and in a short time she was again 
afloat, and as she did not make water we presumed 
her bottom was not injured. On examining the 
chart, we found it was the Carisford reef that had 
so abruptly checked the progress of His Majesty's 
ship. Nothing dismayed, we cruised for a week 
between Capes Sable and Florida, until we were 
one night overtaken by a most tremendous thunder- 
storm, which split the fore and maintop-sails, carried 
away the jib-boom and maintop-sail yard, struck 
two of the men blind, and shook the ship fore and 
aft. It continued with unabated rage until day- 
light. We soon replaced the torn sails and got 
another yard across and jib-boom out. 

The following day we were joined by a frigate, 
and proceeded off the Bay of Matanzas. Towards 
evening we perceived three dark-looking schooners 
enter the bay. As it was nearly calm, we manned 
and armed four boats, two from the frigate, under 

K 2 


the direction of her first Heutenant and my senior 
officer, and two from our ship, under my orders. 
We muffled our oars and pulled quietly in. The 
nio-ht was very dark and the navioration difficult, 
owing: to the numerous coral reefs and small man- 
grove islands. At length we discovered them 
anchored in a triangle to support each other. We 
gave way for the largest, and when within about 
half pistol-shot they opened their fire on us. Two 
of the boats were struck and my commanding 
officer knocked overboard, but he was soon after- 
wards picked up, and, except a slight wound in the 
knee, unhurt. We persevered and got alongside 
the one we had singled out. She received us as 
warmly as if she had known us for years. I took 
the liberty of shooting a man in her main rigging 
who was inclined to do me the same kind office, had 
I not saved him the trouble. We attempted cutting 
away her boarding netting, and in so doing three 
men were severely wounded. Her decks appeared 
well filled with men : some of their voices were, I 
am certain, English. After a struggle of some 
minutes, in which one of the boats had not joined, 
my senior officer, who had five of his men wounded, 
ordered the boats to pull off. Shall I say I was 
disappointed ? I most assuredly was, and my 
boat's crew murmured. I desired them to be 
silent. The boat which had lost her way now 
came up, and received a broadside from the vessel 
we were retreating from, which almost sank her, 
and killed and wounded four of her crew. The 

A FIASCO. 133 

order was again given to pull off as fast as possible. 
As the senior officer neared me in his boat, I asked 
him, as we had found the large schooner so strong, 
if it were not desirable to attempt the others. His 
answer was yes, were they not so well armed and 
so close to each other. " But," said he, " it is my 
orders that the boats repair on board their own 
ships, as my wounded men are dying, and I am 
suffering the devil's own torments." *' So much 
for a broken-down expedition," thinks I to myself. 
" If the bull had not been taken by the horns, 
something might have been effected." 

On joining my ship I reported the wounded men, 
who were sent to their hammocks, after having 
been dressed by the doctor, who declared their 
wounds, though severe, not to be serious. " Well," 
said the captain, " what have you done ? " " Worse 
than nothing," replied I. "I never was on so sorry 
or so badly planned an expedition. The enemy's 
armed vessels were on the alert, whilst we were 
half asleep, and they were anchored so close under 
the land that we were nearly on the broadside of 
the largest before we perceived her, and she gave it 
us most handsomely, and I give her credit for her 
spirited conduct." " You are a generous enemy," 
said my skipper. " Not at all," returned I ; "it 
is my opinion that the man who commands that 
vessel, who has given us such a good trimming, 
deserves well of his country." I then made him 
acquainted with all the particulars. " My opinion 
of the officer who had the management of this boat 


affair has been hitherto favourable," said the captain. 
" He is certainly a young man, but his captain is 
perfectly satisfied with his method of carrying on 
the duty in the ship." "Yes," said I; "but ship 
duty and boat duty are different." Here the con- 
versation, which was irksome to my feelings, 
terminated. A few days floated away, when the 
first lieutenant had a dispute with the captain, and 
he was suspended from his duty. I was sent for 
into the cabin, when the captain told me he was 
happy in the opportunity of again offering me the 
situation of first lieutenant. " For," added he, 
" Mr. G. and I shall never accord after what has 
happened, and if he does not effect an exchange 
with a junior officer to yourself, I will try him by a 

Two weeks more finished our unsuccessful cruise. 
We bore up for the Florida Stream, ran through 
the Turks' Island passage, made St. Domingo and 
Cuba, passed over the Pismire shoal of the N.E. 
end of Jamaica, and anchored at Port Royal. The 
morning following we received letters from England. 
I must here relate an incident which was most 
feelingly trying to one of the youngsters. He had, 
among others, received a letter from his mother, 
and to be more retired had gone abaft the mizzen- 
mast to read it. The sea-breeze was blowing fresh, 
when, just as he had opened it and read the first 
words, it blew from his hands overboard. Poor 
little fellow ! The agonised look he gave as it fell 
into the water is far beyond description. He was 


inclined to spring after it. Had he known how to 
swim he would not have hesitated a moment. 
Unfortunately all the boats were on duty, or it 
mieht have been recovered. Mr. G., the first 
lieutenant, effected his exchange, and a fine young 
man joined as second. I was now positively fixed 
as first. I was invited to dignity balls without 
number, and had partners as blooming as Munster 

My servant was of a shining jet colour, and a 
fiddler. I took lodgings on shore, and after the 
duty of the day was performed, about half after six 
o'clock in the evening, I went to my chateau, 
taking with me Black George and his fiddle, where 
my shipmates and a few friends of all colours 
amused themselves with an innocent hop and 
sangaree, for I had now grown too fine to admit 
the introduction of vulgar grog. Even the smell of 
it would have occasioned the ladies to blush like a 
blue tulip. After amusing ourselves on shore and 
performing our duty on board, we were ready for 
sea the fifth week after our arrival, and on the 
sixth we sailed for the south side of St. Domingo. 
We had been cruising a few days off the port of 
Jacmel, when the Niinrod cutter and the Aber- 
gavenny's tender joined us. The lieutenants of both 
vessels came on board, and related the following 
fact in my hearing: — The former vessel had 
detained an honest trading Yankee brig on sus- 
picion, and had sent her to Jamaica to be examined. 
The latter vessel caught a large shark the morning 


after, and found in its maw the false papers of this 
said American brig, which she had thrown over- 
board when the Niinrod chased her. 

" Will you oblige me by a relation of the circum- 
stance? " said our skipper to Whiley, who com- 
manded the cutter. " It happened in the following 
manner : I had information of this Charlestown 
vessel before I left Port Royal, and I was deter- 
mined to look keenly after her. I had been oft' the 
Mosquito shore, where I understood she was bound 
with gunpowder and small arms. At length I fell 
in with her, but could not find any other papers 
than those which were regular, nor any powder or 
firearms ; but as I had good information respecting 
her, I was determined to detain her, even if I burnt 
my fingers by so doing. The morning after I sent 
her for Jamaica I fell in with Lieutenant Fitton, 
who hailed me, and begged me to go on board him. 
When I got on the quarter-deck of the tender I saw 
several large sheets of paper spread out on the 

" ' Hulloa ! ' said I; 'Fitton, what have you 
here ? ' ' Why,' said he, * I have a very curious 
story to relate ; for that reason I wished you to 
come on board me. This morning we caught a 
shark, and, singular to tell you, on cutting him up we 
found those papers (which you see drying) in his maw. 
He must have been preciouvsly hard set, poor fellow. 
I have examined them, and find they belong to the 
Nancy, of Charlestown.' ' The Nancy, of Charles- 
town,' said I. ' That is the very brig I have sent 


to Jamaica.' ' Well, then,' said Fitton, ' they are 
3'ours, and I congratulate you on the discovery and 
your good fortune.' " " This is singularly remark- 
able," said our captain ; *' I hope you have taken 
care of the jaw of the shark. It must be sent 
to the Vice-Court of Admiralty at Jamaica as a 
memento of the fact, and a remembrancer to all 
Yankee captains who are inclined to be dishonest." 
'' A good hint," said Fitton ; " it shall be done, sir." 
And it was done, as I well recollect its being sus- 
pended over where the American masters of detained 
vessels stood when they desired to make oath. 

In the evening these gentlemen, after having 
dined on board us, repaired to their respective 
vessels, and we soon after parted company. The 
following day we anchored off the Isle de Vache, 
near Port au Paix, St. Domingo, and sent the two 
cutters in shore on a cruise of speculation, under 
my orders. On quitting the ship we all blacked 
our faces with burnt cork and tied coloured hand- 
kerchiefs round our heads, in order to deceive the 
fishing canoes. On nearing the shore we discovered 
a schooner sailing along close to the beach. In 
a short time afterwards we boarded her, and found 
she was a French vessel in ballast from Port au 
Paix, bound to Jacmel. She was quite new, and 
not more than fifty tons burden. We took posses- 
sion of her, but unfortunately, when we were in the 
act of securing the prisoners, the enemy fired at 
us from the shore. We had three men severely 
wounded and the schooner's crew one. We lost 


no time In getting the boats ahead to tow her off, 
and although the enemy's fire was frequent, it did 
no further mischief. On nearing the Isle de Vache 
we found the ship gone, and, notwithstanding we 
were without a compass, I was determined to bear 
up before the sea-breeze for Jamaica. Fortunately 
we fell in with the A. frigate, who took out the 
wounded men, and wished me to burn the prize. 
This proposal I rejected. The following evening 
we reached Port Royal, and I sold her for ;f 140. 
In a fortnight afterwards the ship arrived. On 
joining her the captain informed me that three 
hours after we had quitted her two vessels hove in 
sight, and as they looked suspicious he got under 
weigh and chased, with the intention of again 
returning to his anchorage after having made them 
out. This he was not able to effect, as in point of 
sailing they were far superior to the Volage, and 
after a useless chase of a night and a day, they 
got into the port of St. Domingo. The ship 
regained the anchorage the day afterwards, and 
fired guns, hoping we were on the island ; but after 
an interval of some hours, without seeing the boats, 
the captain despatched an officer with a flag of 
truce to Port au Paix, thinking it likely we had 
been in want of provisions, or overpowered by gun- 
boats. The officer returned with the information 
of our having been on the coast, but that we had 
not been seen for two days. The ship again put to 
sea, and after a short cruise came to Port Royal, 
where happily they found us. 



Visit to a Jamaican plantation — Condition of the slaves — A growl 
against the House of Commons and the Admiralty — Author 
attempting to cut out a Spanish zebec, is taken prisoner — His 
pleasant experiences while in captivity — At last released. 

Soon after we arrived I was invited to spend 
a few days in the mountains. We were mounted 
on mules, and started from Kingston at four o'clock 
in the morning. Some part of the road was very 
narrow and wound round the mountain we were 
going to. At one of the angles, or turns, the purser, 
who was one of the party, had got his mule too near 
the precipice, and in a few seconds was rolling 
down the declivity, the mule first and he afterwards. 
Fortunately for both animals, there were several 
dwarf cotton-trees about half-way down, which 
brought them up with a severe round turn. The 
planter, who, I presumed, had seen exploits of this 
kind before, lost no time inprocuringfrom the nearest 
estate some negroes with cords, and in a few 
minutes they were extricated from their perilous 
situation. The purser was much cut about the 
head, and both his arms severely contused. The 
poor animal had one of his legs broken, and it was 
a charity to shoot him on the spot. 


As we were not far from the estate we were going 
to, the black men, who manifested much wilHng- 
ness and humanity, procured a hammock, which 
they suspended to a pole, and carried with much 
ease my poor unfortunate messmate, who, notwith- 
standing his bruises, kept joking on his misadven- 
ture. Another hour brought us to a delightful 
pavilion-built house surrounded by verandahs. It 
was like a Paradise ; the grounds were highly culti- 
vated and produced sugar-canes, coffee, cotton and 
pimento. The air was quite embalmed, and the 
prospect from the house was enchanting. I could 
see the ships at Port Royal, which appeared like 
small dark dots. The estate belonged to a young 
lady, a minor, residing in London, and it was 
managed by her uncle. The number of slaves it 
contained was three hundred. They appeared to me, 
the four days I remained among them, as one happy 
family. I visited, with the surgeon of the estate, 
several of the cabins or huts ; each had a piece ol 
ground to grow plantains, yams, sweet potatoes, 
cocoas, etc. Some grew a few melons, nearly all 
had fowls, and several had two or three pigs. The 
whole of Sunday and the Saturday afternoon were 
their own, on which days they repaired to Spanish 
Town or Kingston markets to sell their vegetables, 
fruit and poultry. The pigs, the doctor informed me, 
were generally bought at the market price by the 
overseers. " This estate," resumed the doctor, " is 
very well conducted, and during the five years I 
have been here we have only lost three slaves, and 



two of those were aged. I need not say that the 
manager is a man of humanity — you know him as 
a eentleman. The whip is seldom used, and only 
for theft, which scarcely ever occurs. And I do 
not think that, were they free to-morrow, they 
would leave Mr. W., who is an Englishman." 

On the second morning of my residence here I 
rose at four o'clock, and the view from a kind of 
field called the Park was most remarkable and 
picturesque in the extreme. Below me in all the 
valleys was a dense fog, resembling a white woolly- 
looking cloud, stretched out like an immense lake. 
The lower mountains appeared like so many islands. 
At first I stared in astonishment at so novel a sight, 
and it reminded me of the picture of the Deluge, 
when all the lower world was under water. 

At breakfast I mentioned to Mr. W. the extra- 
ordinary scene I had witnessed. "To you," said he, 
" it may appear strange, but for at least four months 
in the year we have those settling clouds or fogs. 
They first form on the higher mountains, and then 
descend into the valleys. About seven o'clock, as 
the sun gains force, they disperse. But," added 
he, "they are very necessary to the young planta- 
tions, which they moisten profusely." 

The purser was now sufficiently recovered to 
join us in our rambles of an evening, in one of 
which we came near a large tamarind-tree, where 
a number of humming-birds were flying around. 
" I would not hurt any of those little creatures for 
a trifle," said Mr. W. " Were I to do it in the 


presence of any of the negroes, they would imme- 
diately conclude I was wicked. They consider 
them sacred, and, although they might fetch a 
good price, I have never known one to be sold." 

On the fifth morning the mules were ordered at 
an early hour, and we bid adieu to our kind and 
hospitable friend, who promised to spend a day 
with us on board on our return from our cruise. 
We arrived at Kingston at eleven o'clock without 
accident, and were on board by dinner-time. On 
the following Sunday we put to sea, and a week 
afterwards were on our old cruising grounds in the 
Mona passage and off Porto Rico. 

We again sent two boats away on a speculative 
cruise with the second lieutenant, who a few 
hours after returned with a very handsome Spanish 
schooner, about forty tons, in ballast. We now 
put all our wise heads together, whether to send 
her to Jamaica or make a tender of her. As I was 
the first consulted, I voted for the last, '' As were 
she to be sent to Jamaica," said I, " the expenses 
of her condemnation will most likely exceed what 
she may be sold for. In this case, we should not 
only lose our prize, but have to pay for capturing 
her." " That is very true," said the captain, " and 
I have experienced the fact, which I will relate in a 
few words : — 

" I took a French ship from Antwerp bound to 
Caen, laden with salt. I took her into Portsmouth. 
A few months afterwards I received a letter from 
my agent to inform me that the vessel and cargo 


had been sold ; but in consequence of the duty 
paid to Government on the salt, she had not 
covered the expenses of her trial by eight pounds, 
which my agents were obliged to pay for me to the 

*' It is a hard case," said we all. " After risking 
our lives and distressing the ships by sending officers 
and men away in captured vessels, we are some- 
times informed, as a reward for the risk, anxiety 
and trouble, that instead of receiving we have to pay 
money." This most certainly cries aloud for re- 
form, and it appears monstrous that sailors find so 
little support either in the House of Commons or at 
the Admiralty. Soldiers have many advocates in 
the former, but sailors few, and those few not worth 
having. The first Secretary of the Admiralty is 
generally a member of Parliament, but he only 
concerns himself with the affairs of the Admiralty; 
but ask him respecting the habits of sailors, he 
may tell it to the marines, for the captain of the 
main-top will never believe him. It is true the 
Admiralty have now given orders for captains to 
make a quarterly return of all punishments inflicted 
on seamen. This I think quite right, as it must 
in a great measure strike down the hand of tyranny. 
Nor do I find fault with the encouragement and 
respectability which has lately been given to the 
petty officers. I am only astonished it was not 
given years ago, but we are still in our infancy. 
Before I quit this subject,! am compelled injustice 
to ask both Admiralty and Lower House the reason 


why old and meritorious officers are so shamefully 
neglected. The commanders above the year 1814 


may, I hope, expect promotion in heaven, as I 
fear they never will meet with it on earth. One 
would suppose the Admiralty were ashamed of 
having such old officers, and wish to forget them 
altogether, or probably they think they are too well 
paid and deserve, after spending the best part of 
their lives in toil and service, nothing more. As 
for the old lieutenants, God help them! — they must 
contrive to hang on by the eyelids until they slip 
their cables in this, and make sail into another 
world. Is the hand of interest so grasping that the 
Lords of the Admiralty cannot administer justice 
to old officers and promote four or six from the 
head of the list on a general promotion as well as 
those very young officers, who most likely were not 
in being when their seniors entered the Service, nor 
have many of them seen a shot fired except in a 
preserve ? It has been said that the patronage for 
the promotion of officers in the Navy is entirely in 
the hands of the First Lord, who is a civilian. If 
this be true, interest and not service must be his 
order of the day. He cannot know the merits or 
demerits of officers but from others. Possessing 
this ignorance, it is but a natural conclusion, though 
no consolation, to those who suffer from it, that he 
should only promote those who are recommended 
to him, and this accounts for so many officers who 
entered the Navy at the conclusion or since the 
termination of the war being made post-captains or 


commanders. We read that promotion comes 
neither from the east nor the west. In a recent 
instance it came from the north. It may be ad- 
visable for some old officers to make a trip to the 
coast of Nova Zembla, get frozen in for two or 
three years among the Nova Zemblians and Yakee 
Yaws, come home, present themselves to the 
Admiralty, who would undoubtedly promote them, 
then they would have an audience and receive knight- 
hood from a higher personage. This, as we all 
know, has occurred, and may occur again, more 
particularly so if they should be able to add to the 
important information the last persevering and 
gallant adventures brought to England. The 
French beg a thousand pardons when they have 
committed any little indiscretion ; an Englishman 
says simply, " I beg your pardon." As such, gentle 
reader, I sincerely beg yours, for having led you 
such a Tom Coxe's traverse. 

To resume my narrative. We came to a con- 
clusion that the schooner vshould be fitted up as 
our tender, and as we had all taken a fancy to 
her she should be called the Fancy. We put 
on board her a twelve-pounder carronade and 
mounted four half-pound swivels on her gunwales. 
The second lieutenant, as he captured her, was to 
command her ; he took with him one of the senior 
midshipmen and sixteen good seamen. After re- 
ceiving his orders and provisions he parted company 
for the north side of Cuba, and was desired to 
rendezvous every Sunday afternoon off Cape 

K.G. L 


Maize. This was Tuesday. In the meanwhile we 
sent a boat into a small bay to the westward of the 
Cape to fill some small casks with water from a fall 
we saw from the ship. Three hours afterwards she 
returned, not only with water but also with three 
large pigs, which the master, who had direction of 
the boat, had shot. At last Sunday arrived ; we 
were off the Cape, but no Fancy. The weather had 
been very squally, and we thought it probable she 
might have got to leeward. The following morn- 
ing we spoke an American brig from St. Jago, who 
informed us that she had passed a Spanish schooner 
laden with tobacco at anchor at the mouth of the 
river. We stood in, and discovered the ship with the 
glass. In the evening I volunteered to cut her 
out, and at dusk we started in a six-oared cutter. 
By eleven at night I was within the mouth of the 
river and under the Moro Castle and another large 
fort. Our oars being muffled prevented any noise. 
We pulled round the entrance twice, but to no 
purpose, as the vessel had removed and we could 
not discover her. Daylight was breaking as we 
cleared the shore, when we saw a vessel which 
appeared like our ship standing towards us, but 
were with reason alarmed at seeing three more. I 
immediately concluded they were enemy's privateers. 
My fears were soon confirmed by their hoisting 
Spanish colours, and the nearest began firing at us. 
I had eight men and a midshipman with me, and we 
all did our utmost to escape. Unfortunately our 
ship was not in sight, and after a fatiguing and 

-Jj' &, 

1 ■ '!i-~¥ ' ^ 









O c 
























anxious pull for three hours and having two of the 
boat's crew wounded, I was, in consequence of the 
nearest privateer being within pistol shot, obliged to 
surrender. We were taken possession of by the 
Gros Soiiris, a Spanish zebec with a long eighteen- 
pounder and seventy-five men. The other vessels 
were a three-masted zebec with an English sloop 
which she had captured and a schooner. Two 
hours afterwards we were all at anchor in the river, 
and the next day proceeded to St. J ago, where I 
had, with the crew, the felicity of being put into the 
gaol. In the afternoon I received my parole, as 
also did the youngster who was with me. The 
American Consul, Mr. B., very handsomely sent a 
person to conduct me to the American hotel. This 
said tavern was kept by a Boston widow, who was 
really a good sort of person. The table d'hute was 
very tolerable, and I had the honour of being 
acquainted with some of the American skippers. 
Some were very outre, coarse and vulgar, but two 
of them were agreeable and very civil. The morn- 
ing after my arrival the Governor sent for me. On 
being introduced he requested me to take a seat, a 
cup of coffee and a cigar. The two former I 
accepted, the latter I refused, at which he expressed 
some surprise, as he imagined all Englishmen 
smoked. He then requested me to relate through 
an American interpreter the manner in which I had 
been made prisoner, if I had been treated well on 
board the privateer, or if any of my clothes had 
been taken. I answered him very promptly to the 

L 2 


last question by informing him that I had nothing 
to lose, as I left the ship only in the clothes I stood 
in. After a pause he sent for his secretary, and 
desired him to write a note to the American 
Consul, who in a short time after made his appear- 
ance. " Here," said he, "is a British officer who 
has been unfortunately taken by one of our vessels; 
as you speak his language, tell him from me that I 
am very sorry for his accident, and that I have 
requested you to let him have any money he may 
require, for which I will be responsible." 

I made suitable acknowledgment for so noble 
and disinterested an offer. I told him in my own 
language, for he understood it, and spoke it imper- 
fectly, that it was out of my power to thank him 
sufficiently for his generosity to an enemy and a 
stranger. " The first, I am sure," replied he, "you 
are no longer ; the last you are, and call forth my 
sympathy and protection," offering me his hand, 
which I took respectfully. " Now," continued he, 
" we understand each other, and I shall be happy 
to see you without ceremony whenever you like to 
come." Here he turned to the Consul, and after 
some complimentary conversation, he said, " Take 
this officer with you and treat him as a friend, for 
he has found one in me." 

We made our bows and withdrew. In our walk 
to his house I could not forbear speaking of the 
great kindness the Governor had evinced towards 
me. " I am not astonished at it," said the Consul ; 
" I do not think since he has had the government 


of this place he has ever seen a lieutenant of your 
Navy, and as he considers you an officer of rank, 
he is determined as an act of policy to make the 
most of you. His character is that of the high 
Spanish, and I may add Irish, school, for his 
grandfather was an Irishman, and died ennobled 
and a general officer in their service. His name 
is O'B." 

This conversation brought us to the Consul's 
residence. "Walk in," said he, "and rest your- 
self." After having conversed on the unprofitable 
service and risk of boating, he asked me if my 
purse wanted replenishing. I answered in the 
affirmative. He gave me what I required, for which 
I gave him an order on my agent at Kingston. 
Before we parted, he invited me to ride out and 
spend the evening, which I accepted. At three in 
the afternoon we were on horseback. " Sailors," 
remarked he to me, " are not generally considered 
Nimrods. They ride too fast and sit too much 
over the horse's shoulders; but probably," continued 
he, " you British sailors ride much better than the 
Americans, for they certainly do not make much 
figure on horseback." " I frankly acknowledge," 
said I, "that I am no horseman, for the last time 
I was mounted was with a party of landsmen who 
had asked me to dine at Rock Fort, but I blush to 
relate that when we had reached the Parade at 
Kingston, my horse took fright at the black soldiers 
who were exercising. I, finding I could not manage 
him, gave him the l)ridle, when he ran into the 


ranks, knocked down one of the sergeants, and 
would have knocked my brains out against the 
upper part of the stable door, if fortunately a man 
had not been there, who threw up both his arms, 
which stopped him from entering." 

"How did you proceed afterwards?" inquired 
he ; " Did you lose your dinner ? " '' No," said I, 
laughing, " that would have been very hard on the 
rest of the party, whose mouths were anxious to 
devour the fish ordered at the tavern. I procured 
a more quiet horse, and we proceeded at a parson's 
trot, and did ample honour to our feast, for we 
were very hungry on our arrival." In our ride I 
found the country in this part of Cuba highly 
cultivated. Large patches of sugar-canes, cocoa, 
orange and lime groves met my eye in every 
direction, and in some places near lagoons or 
pieces of water rice was cultivated. I also observed 
some plantations of tobacco. Three and four times 
a week I rode out with the Consul, and found him 
and our excursions very agreeable. He informed 
me he had been several times in England, and was 
much pleased with his vivsits. " I found," said he, 
"the men prompt and regular in business, as well 
as hospitable ; but," added he, " the greater part of 
your women have the minds of angels, and make 
the best wives in the world. In saying this I only 
allude to the society I moved in — the merchants of 
the higher classes. I much regret," continued he, 
"that the better sort of my countrymen have not 
the polish of yours. As long as they give up all 


their time to dollar-making they cannot be anything 
more than what they are," 

One morning at an early hour I was called to 
attend the Governor. On my seeing him, he 
appeared agitated ; he had a kind of despatch in 
his hand. 

" I am sorry to say," said he, "I have bad news 
for you. I have received accounts from the coast 
that another of your boats has been taken. The 
officer and three men have been shot, and five 
taken prisoners. I have reprimanded my people 
severely for firing on them, as they were much 
superior to yours in numbers. The officer who 
commanded our party assures me he could not 
prevent it, as the natives near where your boat 
landed had been plundered of most part of their 
live stock, and several of their pigs were found shot 
near their huts." By the description given I knew 
it to be the master, who had before brought off pigs 
which he had shot. I told him then he would, I 
feared, try once too often, at which he only laughed. 
I made as many lame excuses for the conduct of 
those who ought to have known better, as I thought 
prudent, and assured the Governor that the officer 
must have exceeded his orders, as I was convinced 
the captain would be very much grieved to hear 
that he had lost his life and the lives of others on 
so worthless an occasion. 

" No," said he, " by what I can learn, his purpose 
was to procure water ; had he quietly restricted 
himself to that employment he would not ha\c been 


interrupted." Here the interview ended ; I with- 
drew, and went with my mind disquieted to the 
tavern, where I met some of the Yankee captains, 
who would have drawn me into a conversation on 
what had happened, but I was determined to be 
silent, and retired to prose in my chamber. 

On the second day after this sad event I received 
an invitation for myself and Mr. S., the mid who 
was with me, to a ball given by the Governor. 
About eight o'clock in the evening Mr. B., the 
American Consul, called for us, and we repaired 
to the Government House, a large, square building 
in a spacious yard. We entered an ante-room, 
where the guard were stationed, and afterwards 
a lofty kind of hall, the walls of which were white- 
washed, and at the farthest end was an orchestra 
raised on a platform. About eighty well-dressed 
people were assembled, the greater part of whom 
were females ; some of them were very pretty, 
and made my heart go pit-a-pat. I saluted the 
Governor, who shook hands with me, and intro- 
duced me to a lady, who, as he was a bachelor, 
presided for him, and whose fine auburn hair was 
so long that she had it fastened with a graceful 
bow to her side, otherwise it would have trailed on 
the ground. She was a native of Guadeloupe, and 
married to a relation of the Governor's. The ball 
was opened by four sets of minuets, which were 
danced with much grace. I figured off in one, 
but I fear, not gracefully. Country dances then 
began, which were kept up for about two hours. 


Waltzes were then the order of the ball, which 
continued until nearly daylight. I was heartily glad 
to reach my room, and did not breakfast until a 
late hour. I was spending my time very pleasantly, 
but not profitably. I was a prisoner, and that was 
sufficient to embitter a mind naturally active. I 
began to get tired of doing nothing, and longed to 
be free. I was shortly afterwards invited to two 
more balls, but as they were much the same as the 
one I have described, it is not worth while speaking 
of them, except that I lost my heart to three young 
females, who, alas ! were perfectly ignorant of the 

On the day of the American Independence, Mr. 
B. invited me to his dinner-party, where I met 
the Lord knows who. A number of toasts were 
given replete with freedom and Republicanism, and 
guns were fired, and we were all very merry, until 
a person near me, in hip-hip-hipping, hipped a 
bumper of wine in his next neighbour's face. This 
disturbed the harmony for some minutes, when, on 
the friendly interference of the Consul, the offended 
and the offender shook hands, and all went on 
prosperously until midnight, at which hour we 
took leave of our kind host, some with their eyes 
twinkling and others seeing double. A few morn- 
ings afterwards the Governor asked me to l)reakfast 
at six o'clock. I found him taking his coffee on 
the terrace of the house, where he had one ot 
Dollond's large telescopes, the view from which 
was magnificent and rich ; but before I had been 


half an hour with him I found my eyes suffering 
from the great glare of light owing to the terrace 
beine white. This he remarked. " We will 
descend," said he, " and if you are fond of horses 
and mules, you shall see my stud." On the 
landing-place of the stairs we met a servant. 
" Go," said he to him, " and tell the grooms to 
bring all the mules into the yard. In the mean- 
while you and I will enter this room," pointing to 
a door on the right. "This," said he, "is my 
retreat, and where I take my nap after dinner." I 
remarked it contained no bed, but a Spanish silk- 
grass hammock hung low from the ceiling, over 
which was a mosquito net and a light punkah 
within it. " Here," said he, " I lose sight of the 
world and all its absurdities for at least two hours 
every day by going quietly to rest, and as it is the 
custom of the country, there is little fear of my 
being disturbed." The head groom came to 
announce that the mules were in the yard. 
"Come," said he, "let us go and look at them ; 
they are considered fine animals." We were soon 
in their company, and I beheld eight beautiful 
cream-coloured mules of considerable height. 
" These are my state mules, and are seldom used. 
I have eight others for common work. Horses," 
continued he, " are seldom in request, but I 
have three, which you shall see in the stable." 
They were large-boned, with ugly heads and short 
necks. "You do not admire them," said he; 
" they are not very handsome. They came from 


the Island of Cura9oa, and perhaps are rather 
of Dutch build. I use them for the family 
carriage." After expressing my gratification 
which the sight of the beautiful mules had 
excited, and thanking him for his condescension, 
I took my leave. A week after this visit I was 
again sent for. " I have now good news for 
you," said the kind-hearted Governor. " Your 
ship is close in to the Moro, and has sent in 
a flag of truce to request me to release you, and 
you are free from this moment, and," added he, " I 
will send every English prisoner with you, if you 
will say that an equal number of Spaniards shall 
be returned on your arrival at Jamaica." This I 
did not hesitate to promise, as I was certain the 
commander-in-chief would do it on a proper repre- 
sentation. I took leave of this excellent man and 
the Consul Vv^ith the warmest feelings of respect and 



Returns to his ship — Capture of a French schooner — An episode with 
two American sloops of war — Return to Port Royal — Attacked a 
second time by yellow fever — Seize and burn a Spanish gunboat 
— Return to Port Royal— Wetting a midshipman's commission — 
Ordered home with a convoy — Pathetic farewells with mulatto 

On going on board a boat provided for the 
purpose, I found with much joy the five men 
who had been taken when the unfortunate master 
lost his Hfe, my own boat's crew, and seven 
other seamen. This addition was cheering. Five 
hours later we were shaking hands with some of our 
mess and shipmates, who appeared delighted to see 
us. The ship being close in with the vshore, we 
soon reached her, and received a hearty welcome 
from all on board. I acquainted the captain with 
every circumstance respecting our capture, and 
with the great kindness and liberality of the 
Governor and American Consul, and that I had 
pledged my word of honour as an officer that an 
equal number of officers and men should be ex- 
changed for us. " For your satisfaction, and I 
hope for his," replied the captain, " a cartel is on 
her passage with a superior Spanish officer and 
twenty men, for immediately our liberal-minded 


commander-in-chief, Lord H. Seymour, heard, by 
an American vessel, of our misfortunes, he ordered 
the cartel to be got ready, and desired me to pro- 
ceed, before we had half refitted, to St. J ago to 
reclaim you, having written a handsome letter to 
acknowledge the humane manner in which the 
Governor treated the English prisoners " — which 
letter was given to the Spanish officer to present to 
him on his arrival. " Now," continued the captain, 
"have you heard anything of the Fancy? I am 
afraid she is lost, with all on board her. The 
morning after you went away," resumed he, " we 
saw a vessel in the offing much resembling her. I 
stood towards her, and found she was an American. 
The sea-breeze became so strong that I could not 
fetch sufficiently to windward, and that accounts 
for your not seeing us. I was truly unfortunate, 
and the cruise was disastrous beyond credibility. 
You a prisoner, with a midshipman and nine sea- 
men, the master and three men killed, and five 
others taken, and the second lieutenant, a midship- 
man and sixteen of the best seamen most likely 
drowned — for I think beyond a doubt she has 
upset." This conjecture was a few days after 
unhappily confirmed by a Bermudian sloop, which 
informed us that she had passed a small vessel, as 
we described her, bottom up near the Island of 
Inagua. This intelligence threw a gloom over 
the whole of us. " This is too tender a subject," 
said I, '• to have any more tenders." " No," replied 
the captain ; " all these unhappy circumstances 


combined are most deplorable. I do not think 
I will ever send the boats away again." " Not 
till the next time," thinks I to myself. We repaired 
to one of our old cruising grounds, the Isle de 
Vache, and although our noble captain had some 
days before come to a kind of secondhand determi- 
nation of not sending boats away from the ship, on 
a large schooner heaving in sight towards the even- 
ing, I volunteered with the purser, if he would 
allow us the two cutters, as the wind had died 
away, to go after her. He, after a brown study of 
about half an hour, granted our request. " But," 
said he, " be cautious, and if you find her heavily 
armed, try to decoy her off shore, but by no means 
attempt boarding her. We have suffered too much 
already." Having prepared the boats, away we 
started, and after a most fatiguing pull, came up 
with her as she was making for Jacmel. Fortu- 
nately for us, the land-breeze was blowing rather 
fresh, which obliged her to make several tacks, and 
we boarded her whilst in stays. The people on 
board appeared astonished to see so many armed 
men so suddenly on her deck, as she had in the 
obscure light taken us for fishing canoes. She 
proved a French schooner, laden with bags of 
coffee. We soon rejoined the ship, quite elated 
with our prize, and sent her to Jamaica in charge 
of the purser. In the course of this cruise we fell 
in with two American sloops of war, which we 
chased, and as they did not shorten sail nor 
answer the private signal, we fired at the nearest ; 


the shot passed through her cutwater. This event 
roused the minds and, I presume, the Yankee blood 
of both Jonathans, for they bore up, and we could 
hear their drums beating to quarters. We shortened 
sail, and they soon bowled alongside of us, with 
their sails spread like the tail of a turkey-cock. 
" You have fired into me," said the nearest. " Have 
I?" said our skipper, very coolly; "I intended 
the shot to go ahead of you. You must blame 
your superior sailing for the accident. You fore- 
reached so rapidly that the shot had not time to go 
ahead of you." " I don't know anything about 
that," was the reply. " We are American cruisers, 
and no one has a right, I guess, to fire into the 
United States men-of-war." " Then the United 
States men-of-war should have answered the private 
signal and hoisted their colours," returned our 
captain, " as we did ours." Here they hailed each 
other, and soon afterwards hoisted their colours. 
Another boat adventure and the capture of a 
beautiful small schooner without any accident was 
the wind up of this cruise. 

We anchored at Port Royal once more. About 
a week after our arrival I was again attacked with 
the yellow fever and removed to my lodgings, where 
I was nursed with unremitting attention by a 
quadroon female, who did not leave my bedside day 
or night. She was a most tender and attentive 
nurse. It was a month before I was sufficiently 
strong to go on board, and nearly another before I 
could resume my duty. I was so reduced that I 


was literally a walking skeleton, or, if my reader 
pleases, the shadow of a ghost, and, had a purser's 
candle been placed within me, I might have made 
a tolerably good substitute for the flag-ship's top 
light. We were, In consequence of several of the 
crew being seized with yellow fever, ordered by the 
recommendation of the surgeon to Bluefields for 
change of air, and I am happy to state that from 
this judicious arrangement we did not lose a man. 
During the three weeks we remained here we 
amused ourselves by fishing. The water in eight 
fathoms was as pellucid as glass, and we could see 
the large conger eels twisting about between the 
stones at the bottom, as well as other fish, of which 
we caught several. I was regaining my strength 
rapidly, and was frequently invited to spend the 
day at several of the estates. 

I enjoyed walking of an evening about an hour 
before sunset in the pimento groves, of which 
there were several, and when the land-breeze set in 
we were often regaled on board the ship by their 
balmy fragrance. Mr. S., at whose house I 
frequently dined, was particularly kind, and his 
hospitality will not easily be effaced from my recol- 
lection. He had an amiable daughter, and had 
my heart not been lost in six different places, I 
think I should have sent it to cruise in her snug 
little boudoir. The captain, as the people who 
were ill had nearly recovered, thought His Majesty's 
ship should no longer lie idle. We bade adieu to 
our kind friends, and once more made the water fly 


before us. Three days more brought us off the 
Havannah, where we joined the Trent and Alarm 
frigates. Nothing worth noticing occurred until 
the Trent, which was in chase of a vessel, ran on a 
coral reef off Matanzas. The wind was light and 
the sea smooth, and we soon got her afloat again. 
The vessel she had chased ran on a sand beach 
under the protection of a martello tower. Two 
boats armed were soon in motion from each ship, 
to get her off if possible. I had the direction of our 
boats. The enemy's gun-boat, for such she was, 
under Spanish colours, hoisted her ensign and the 
red flag of defiance, and kept up a smart fire on 
our boats. Fortunately we escaped, but those from 
the Alarm had the lieutenant and three men 
wounded. Our boats were the first alongside of her, 
when I hauled down the red flag and her colours, 
and threw them into one of our boats, but the senior 
lieutenant claimed the former. This I refused, 
because as I was first on board and hauled it down 
I considered myself entitled to keep it. He said he 
should refer it to his captain, who was the chief 
officer. *' So be it," I replied. On our boarding 
the enemy's vessel we found the crew had aban- 
doned her, and were firing at us with muskets from 
the bushes. They had scuttled her, and she uas 
full of water. We turned her guns on them, which 
soon dislodged them, and they scampered off as 
fast as their legs would carry them. More than 
half of our boat's crews had landed and were under 
my orders. We soon perceived about thirty horse 

K.G. M 


soldiers in a full trot towards us. We formed in a 
body two deep, and when we were near enough 
gave them a sailor's salute with our muskets and 
three cheers. We knocked one off his horse, and 
set the others on a full gallop back from whence they 
came. They discharged their carbines at us, but 
they were too much alarmed to take good aim, and 
we escaped unharmed. 

As it was impossible to get the gun-boat afloat, 
we tarred her sails and set fire to her. We vshould 
have blown her up had not her powder been under 
water. She mounted a long eighteen-pounder 
on a traverse, and six long six-pounders on her 
quarter-deck. She was of great length and a 
formidable vessel, and we much regretted our not 
being able to get her afloat, as she would have 
answered for the Service. She had also four brass 
swivels mounted on her gunwales, which we took 
in the boats. After waiting until she had nearly 
burnt down to the water's edge, we returned to our 
ships, taking with us the wounded Spanish dragoon. 
Soon after we were on our oars the martello tower 
began blazing away at us. It had hitherto been 
silent, but we supposed that when the run-away 
dragoons perceived we were withdrawing, they 
returned and mounted the tower to give us a parting 
salute. They might have spared themselves the 
trouble, as it had only one gun, and that badly 
served. We were on board our own ships before 
they fired the fourth shot. "Well," said the captain, 
on^ my reaching the quarter-deck, "you were not 


able to get the vessel off." "No," I replied; "she 
was scuttled, and sank before we boarded her." 
" Were her guns brass or iron ? " " Iron," said I, 
" and not worth bringing on board ; there were four 
brass one-pound swivels, but those were taken by 
the lieutenant of the commodore's boat, and he 
ungenerously claimed the red flag I had hauled down, 
but I refused to give it up." Whilst this conversa- 
tion was going on, a boat from the Alarm came 
alongside with a midshipman and a written order 
from the commodore for me to give up, no longer 
the flag of defiance but that of dispute. " I think," 
said the captain, "you had better comply with the 
order." On seeing my disinclination to do so, he 
said, " It is not worth contending about." " I believe, 
sir," I replied, " you are right. It is of too childish 
a nature to contend about, although I cannot help 
considering it arbitrary, and I am surprised that a 
man like Captain D. could ever give such an unjust 
order." " There are many men of various minds," 
said he. There the disagreeable conversation 
ended. The mid received the piece of red bunting, 
and I walked the deck as surly as a bear with the 
Caledonian rash. The captain, who was going to 
dine with Captain A., told me he would explain 
to him anything I wished respecting what had 
occurred. This I declined, but I mentioned the 
swivels, and told him that they were very handy to 
mount in the boats when going on service. " I 
will ask him for two of them," said he ; " by 
doing this I probably may get one. You know," 

M 2 


continued he, laughing, "he is from the Land of 
Cakes and bannocks, where the device is ' To hold 
fast and not let go.' " 

In the evening the captain returned on board, 
brinirins: in the boat one of the swivels. " I have 
laid a point to windward of the Highlander," said 
he to me; "but I was obliged to make use of all 
my best logic, for he chose to be distressingly deaf 
on the subject of giving. But when I mentioned 
that I had a canister of real Scotch which was of 
no use to me, as I had left off taking snuff, his ears 
became instantly opened. * You said something 
about two swivels, I think,' said he ; 'I cannot 
spare you two, but I will give you one. Will you 
take it in your boat with you, or I will send it in 
our jolly boat, and as I am nearly out of snuff, you 
can spare me the canister you mentioned that you 
do not need.'" "This puts me in mind," said I, 
"of an Irish pilot who asked the purser of a ship 
I formerly belonged to, to spare him an empty barrel 
to make his pig a hencoop, and he would give him 
a sack of praters for nothing at all, at all." " The 
case is nearly in point," replied the captain; "I 
am afraid I have not gained so much on his weather- 
beam as I first imagined." The signal was now 
made to weigh, and we were soon under sail. Next 
morning we parted company with the frigates, 
swept the Bay of Mexico, ran through the Turks' 
Island passage, and cruised between Capes Maize 
and Fran9ois for three weeks ; took a small 
French schooner with tobacco, and burnt a small 


sloop in ballast. Again our anchor found the 
bottom of Port Royal, and the crew their copper 
and jet-coloured ladies. 

One afternoon, taking a glass of sangaree at 
the tavern, I was accosted by one of our late 
mids who had come on shore with some others 
to what he called wet his commission. "Will 
you do me the favour to join us for a quarter 
of an hour. We have a room upstairs," said 
he to me. I told him I would in about five 
minutes. On entering, I found a gallon bowl 
filled with strong punch, with his commission 
soaking in it, and eight jolly mids sitting at the 
table in full glee. They all rose as I approached, 
and one of them offered me a chair. " Come, sir," 
said the donor of the entertainment, offering me a 
bumper from the contents of the bowl, "tell me 
if it will suit your taste." " Not quite," replied I, 
"you have spoilt it by putting your commission 
into it instead of your pocket, and it smacks too 
much of ink and parchment." " I told you how it 
would be," said he, addressing a sly, roguish- 
looking youngster, who had persuaded him to put 
it in. " I vote that he shall drink it himself, and 
we will have another." " Not on any account," 
said I, " without you will allow me to pay for it." 
" That will never do," cried all of them. Another 
of a smaller size was ordered, out of which I drank 
his success. I remained nearly half an hour, during 
which time the large bowl was drained to the last 
dregs in spite of its parchment flavour, and the 


parchment was, what the micis called, returned 
high and dry to the owner of it, with the writing 
on it nearly effaced. I remarked they ought 
certainly to have a patent for wetting commissions, 
and wished them a pleasant evening. 

On returning on board I found a note for me from 
the captain, to acquaint me that we were to sail in 
a few days for Black River, in order to collect a 
homeward-bound convoy, as we were ordered to 
England. I withdrew my heart from the different 
little snug rooms I had left it in, and placed it on the 
right hook. I was so much elated that my dinner 
went from table untouched. I kept conjuring up 
Paradises, Elysian fields, and a number of other 
places never heard of, inhabited by women more 
beautiful than Eastern imagery can possibly describe 
— so fair, so chaste, so lovely, and so domestic. 
*' Oh ! " said I aloud, to the astonishment of my mess- 
mates, who were much occupied with their knives 
and forks, " give me but one of those fair ones, and 
I will not eat my dinner for a month." " Hulloa ! " 
said the surgeon, "what's the matter with you?" 
" Nothing," replied I ; " the illusion is vanished, 
and I will take a glass of wine with you. I cannot 
eat, my mind is too full of England, and my heart 
crowded with its delightful fair ones. What 
unfeeling sea monsters you are all of you," con- 
tinued I, "to be eating with such voracious 
appetites when you know we are going to glorious 
England — the land of freedom and genuine hospi- 
tality." "Not so fast," said he, interrupting me; 


" how long is it since you were there ? " '* Nearly 
eight years," said I. " I fear," resumed he, "you 
will not have your dreams — for dreams they are — 
verified. I was there eighteen months ago, and 
found freedom in the mouths of the lower classes, 
who evidently did not understand the meaning of it, 
and when they did they only used it as a cloak to 
do mischief, for demagoguing— if you will allow the 
term — was the order of the day at that time, and as 
for hospitality that has, as you may express your- 
self, made sail and gone to cruise into some other 
climate. I had letters to two families from their 
relations in India ; they asked me to dinner in a stiff, 
formal manner, and thought, I suppose, they had 
performed wonders. There our acquaintance ended. 
I am an Irishman," continued he, "and I assert 
without partiality that there is more real hospitality 
in my land of praters than in all Europe. Freedom 
we will not talk about ; but as for the women, dear 
creatures, they are a mixture of roses and lilies, and 
such busts, like dairy maids, sure," said he; " don't 
say anything more about them, or I shall be what 
has never happened to an Irishman yet — out of 
spirits." " Now," said I, " doctor, we have found 
you out. You lost your heart when in England, 
and were not requited by the cruel fair one." "Fair 
or foul," answered he, " I would not give one 
Munster girl for a dozen English. To be sure," 
added he to a young Irish midshipman, whose turn 
it was to dine in the gun-room, " they are rather 
thick about the trotters, and their heels are to be 


compared to their red potatoes, but the upper part 
of their figures — say no more. Come, messmate, 
let's drink a speedy passage and soon, as a worthy 
alderman did at a Guildhall dinner." " You 
mistake, doctor," said the second lieutenant, "he 
gave for a toast, a speedy peace and soon." 
" Never mind," said the doctor, " it will be all the 
same a hundred years hence; an Irishman is always 
allowed to speak twice." Our parting with our 
washerwomen and other friends was pathetic in 
the extreme ; their precious tears were sufficient 
to fill several (but as I did not measure them I 
cannot say how many) monkeys. 

" Oh, Gramercy, my lob ! " said my lady to me, 
" I neber shall see you no more ; but I hope dat 
3'OU member dat Julia lob you more den he can tell. 
No," said she, turning aside, " nobody can lob like 
poor me one, Julia." She appeared overwhelmed 
with grief, and I felt my situation awkward and 
pathetically silly, as she had followed me down to 
the boat, and the eyes of several boats' crews with 
their young, laughing wicked mids, were on us. I 
shook hands for the last time and jumped into the 
boat with a tear rolling down my cheek from my 
starboard eye. Reader, I beg you will not pity me, 
for I was not in love. I was what an old maiden 
cousin would have called imprudent. 



Ordered to the Black River — Meet the magistrate there, and " bow to 
his bishop" — Sail with a convoy of thirty ships — Arrive at Deal 
— A cruise on horseback on a baker's nag, which conscientiously 
goes the bread round — The Author's brother comes on board, but 
he fails to recognise him — Paid off at Deptford. 

At daylight next morning we catted the anchors, 
made all sail, and were the next day reposing like 
a swan in a lake at Black River. As notices from 
the merchants at Kingston had been sent to the 
different ports round the island that two men-of- 
war were going to take convoy to England, we 
were soon joined by several West Indiamen. This 
place can scarcely be called even a village, there 
being so few houses, and those straggling. The 
first time I went on shore I was called to by a 
stout man wearing a linen jacket and trousers, 
with an immense broad-brimmed straw hat on his 
head, and his address was abrupt and by no means 
polished. " What ship," said he, " officer ? " "The 
Volage,'' replied I, not in love with the person's 
face, which was bluish-red, with a large nose. 
"Then," said he, "you bloody dog, come and bow 
to my bishop," pointing to the best house there. 
I stared with astonishment, and was turning away 
presuming he was a cloth in the wind or some 


madman escaped from his keeper. " Ho, ho ! but 
you can't go before you have bowed to my bishop," 
he again called out ; " come with me to my house, 
and we shall be better acquainted." He took my 
arm ; I thought him a character, which I after- 
wards found he was, and gave in to his whim. On 
entering the verandah of the house, which was 
shaded by close Venetian blinds and very cool, he 
stopped before an immense large jug in the shape 
of a bishop. It was placed on a bracket slab, so that 
to drink out of the corner of its hat, which was its 
beak or spout, you were obliged to stoop. This I 
found he called bowing to his bishop. It contained 
delicious sangaree, and I bowed to it without being 
entreated to do so a second time. " Now," said 
he, "you bloody dog, you have complied like a 
good fellow with my first request. Your captain 
dines with me to-morrow ; I must insist on your 
doing so too, and then I shall consider you an 
obedient officer and worthy to bow to my bishop 
whenever you are thirsty. My dinner-hour is five 
o'clock, and as I am the magistrate of this over- 
grown metropolis I admit of no excuse." I could 
not help smiling at this rough urbanity. I accepted 
the invitation, and at the appointed hour repaired 
to his house with the captain and surgeon. He 
received us with great good humour, and insisted, 
as we were bloody dogs — I understood afterwards 
he was very partial to naval officers and always 
called them by that pet name — that we should bow 
to his bishop before dinner. We met at his table 


our kind acquaintance Mr. S., his daughter, 
another gentleman, his wife and two nieces, who 
were going to England in one of the ships of the 
convoy. The dining-room was entirely of cedar, 
and the floor like a mirror, very spacious, and it 
partly projected over the river. Above the dining- 
table was a large punkah, which was kept in 
constant motion during dinner by two young 
grinning black girls. The table groaned with good 
things, and we did ample justice to our host's 
entertainment. He was evidently a great humourist, 
and amused us at dinner by relating anecdotes of 
Lord Rodney and Admiral Benbow's time. " There 
are," said he, " twelve tough old fellows, of which 
I am the chairman, who keep up the twelfth of 
April by an annual dinner, and as he never flinched 
from the enemy, we never flinch from the bottle, 
and keep it up till daylight, when we are so gloriously 
sober that we are carried home by our slaves." 
" Is it true," said he, addressing the captain, 
" that Sir Eyre Cootc is to supersede the Earl of 
B. as Governor of our Islands ? Do you know any- 
thing of him?" "Only from report," was the 
reply ; "I think he distinguished himself by a 
brilliant victory over Hyder Ali in the East 
Indies." "Why, the devil," said he, " I beg your 
pardon, ladies, for swearing, do they send us 
soldiers as governors ? We want something in the 
shape of a statesman with a lawyer's head, with his 
wig and litigation. I have no fault to find with the 
earl; he has governed us very fairl}', and I hope his 


successor will do the same, although we prefer a 
civilian to a soldier." 

After dinner we were amused by the feats of one 
of his household slaves named Paddy Whack, who 
threw somersaults round the drawing-room, walked 
on his hands, and afterwards threw himself several 
times from the highest part of the bridge, about 
twenty-four feet, into the river. After coffee we 
took leave of our eccentric but warm-hearted host, 
who, on shaking hands, insisted on our bloody 
dogships dining with him once more before we 
sailed. We promised to do so conditionally. 
Eighteen sail of merchant vessels had assembled, 
and we expected seven more. The surf had been 
high on the bar, and we had not had communica- 
tion with the shore for the last two days. A canoe 
came off from Mr. C. with Paddy Whack, who 
delivered a note to the captain. " What is it 
about, boy?" said he. ''Paper peak, massa," 
was the reply ; " Paddy only wait answer from 
Massa Captain." The note was a pressing invita- 
tion to dine on shore the following day, and 
included the captain and officers. As I had dined 
with the worthy planter I persuaded the second 
lieutenant to go. The rest of the convoy having 
joined us, our sails were again swelling to a strong 
sea-breeze. The convoy of thirty sail of sugar- 
laden ships were hovering round us like chickens 
round the mother hen. Four others joined us at 
Bluefields, and off Negril Point we fell in with the 
S. frigate, with the former Governor of Jamaica on 


board and three other West Indiamen. The 
captain went on board the S. to pay his respects 
and to receive his orders. 

After his return on board the signal was made to 
make all sail, and away we bowled for the Gulf of 
Florida. We touched at the Caymans for turtle, and 
were cheated as usual. Nothing particular occurred 
during our passage but our nearly being run down by 
one of the ships of the convoy, and my having my 
left shoulder unshipped by being washed off one of 
the weather guns by a heavy sea, which obliged me to 
keep my cot for more than a fortnight. The eighth 
week brought us in sight of the Land's End, when 
we repeated the signal for the convoy to separate 
for their respective ports. Those bound to London 
kept company with us as far as the Downs. I 
longed to be once more on my native shore, but I 
was doomed to be mortified for two days, as the 
surf on the beach was too high to admit a boat to 
land. On the third day I jumped on shore with a 
light heart and a thin pair of trousers, and repaired 
to the " Hoop and Griffin." I had a desperate desire 
to have a cruise on horseback. I rang the bell, 
which was answered by one of the finest formed 
young women I ever beheld. I was taken aback, 
and my heart, which I had brought from the West 
Indies, went like the handle of the chain pumps up 
and down. "What do you please to want, sir," 
said she, with a most musically toned voice. I 
blushed and modestly requested to have a horse as 
soon as he could be got ready. " 1 am really sorry, 


sir," answered she, " that all our horses are post- 
horses, but" continued she, with the gentlest accent 
in this world and probably many more, " we will 
procure you one." " Many thanks," said I ; "and 
will you oblige me by sending up some bread and 
butter with some oysters, but not those which are 
eathered from the mangrove trees," for I had the 
West Indies in my mind. " Gathered from trees ! — 
oysters from trees ! I never heard of such a thing 
before," said she, and she went laughing out of the 
room. The waiter soon appeared with what I had 
ordered, and a foaming tankard of ale which I had 
forgotten to order. During my repast I envied no 
one. I was as happy as a city alderman at a Lord 
Mayor's feast ; I could not contain myself or 
believe I was in England ; I could not sit quietly 
in my chair ; I paced the room, jumped, rubbed my 
hands and head, and in one of my ecstatic fits I 
rang the bell. My beautiful maid (not Braham's) 
entered as I was cutting a caper extraordinary. 
"Did you ring, sir?" said she with a smile be- 
coming an angel. " I believe I did," I replied, 
" but I am not certain. I scarcely know what I 
am about. I have eaten my oysters, and now I 
wish for my horse." " He is not quite ready yet, 
sir. You said something about oysters growing 
on trees, didn't you, sir. I told it to my mother, 
and she thinks I did not understand what you said. 
Will you be good enough to tell me if they grow 
in orchards hke our apples?" "I have seen 
thousands, and have eaten thousands that have 


grown on trees," said I, "but not in orchards. 
The tree that bears them grows close to the water 
side ; its lower branches dip into it, and are clustered 
by the shell-fish, which are very small, and you 
may swallow a dozen at a mouthful." " Thank 
you, sir; my mother I am sure will believe me now. 
I will desire John to take away. Did you like our 
country oysters as well as those in foreign parts ? " 
"They are," said I, "like you, excellent." "I 
will see if the horse is ready," said she, as she 
dropped a curtsey and quitted the room. 

Shortly after up came John to announce my 
horse being at the door. " Will you have a pair of 
master's spurs, sir ? " said he. " No, I thank you, 
my good fellow," returned I. " Lend me a whip, and 
I shall be able to manage without spurs." Behold 
a sailor on horseback, gentle reader, to the admira- 
tion or astonishment of all the bystanders, of which 
there were as many as would man a king's cutter. 
I kept under moderate sail until I reached Middle 
Deal, when my companion brought up all standing 
at the door of a decent-looking house, nor could I 
make him again break ground until a maidservant 
opened the door. " Lord," said she, " I thought 
it was the baker, sir, for you are on his horse." 
" That accounts," I said, " for his halting at your 
door. I wish, Betty, you would get him once more 
into plain sailing." She most kindly took hold of 
the bridle and led him into the middle of the street. 
I now thought myself in the fair way, and I gave 
him a stroke with the whip, which I nearly 


repented, for he kicked up with his hind legs, and 
had not I seized the after part of the saddle I should 
have gone over his forecastle. I held on until he 
righted. After this freak, which was nearly knock- 
ing up my cruise, we jogged on steadily until we 
came to a narrow street, down which he turned in 
spite of all my endeavours to prevent him, and 
aeain hove to at the door of another house. 

" This turning to windward," thinks I, " will 
never do. It reminds me of Commodore Trunnion 
making a Tom Coxe's traverse to fetch the church." 
Whilst I was puzzling my wise noddle what I was 
to do next, a man passed me. " I wish you would 
get this horse under weigh," said I, " for here have 
I been at single anchor for these five minutes at 
this door, and cannot cast him the right way." 
" Why," said he, "I knows that there horse ; it be 

the baker's." " D n the baker, and his horse 

too," said I, not much pleased at his remark. 
'* You are close to the Canterbury road, and may- 
hap if I leads him he may go on." " You are the 
best fellow I have met for a quarter of an hour. 
Do get him into open cruising ground as fast 
as you can, for I have been on his back more 
than an hour, and have not gained half a mile." 
He gave me a broad grin, and good-naturedly led 
the horse until I got clear of the houses. He then 
let go the bridle, gave the animal a smart slap on 
the flank, which set him off at a hand-gallop, and 
nearly jerked me over the taffrail. I kept him to 
his speed, and in about half an hour he stopped 


suddenly near a small farmhouse, and I was again 
nearly going over his bows. A slovenly kind of 
woman hove in sight. I hailed her, and asked her 
to bring me a tumbler of milk, but I might as well 
have spoken to a Porto Rico donkey. She showed 
me her stern, and brought up in a piggery. " The 
devil take your hospitality," said I. The weather 
was exceedingly warm, and I was very thirsty, 
which made me more hasty in my expressions to 
the Dulciana of the pigstye than I ought to have 
been. But show me the fair one who would not 
excuse a sailor thirsty and on the back of an animal 
as obstinate as a boat's crew when cutting out. 
After a fruitless attempt to proceed further on my 
voyage of discovery, I hove about. The animal 
answered stays as well as any frigate, and was 
round sooner than the captain of the forecastle 
could clap the jib traveller over the end of the jib- 
boom. I was heartily tired of my horse cruise, 
and was glad when I hove to at the " Hoop and 

As soon as I had thrown myself on the 
sofa, my beautiful maid entered. " Will you 
favour me with your name?" said I, addressing 
her with quarter-deck modesty. " I am called 
Lucy," said she. "That's a very pretty name," 
returned I. "Pray, Miss Lucy, may I ask where 
the horse came from I have been riding ? I have 
had a worse cruise than a dismantled Dutch dogger 
on the Goodwin Sands. I have, into the bargain, 
lost out of my waistcoat-pocket two two-pound 

K.G. N 


notes and live new gloves out of six which I very 
stupidly stuffed into my coat-pocket." " I am very 
sorry, sir, indeed, for your misfortune," answered 
she. " The horse came from the ' Royal Oak.' 
We desired them to send a quiet one, as it was for 
a gentleman who was not in the habit of riding." 
'' I wish they had sent me a donkey instead of the 
baker's horse," said I ; "he took it into his head 
to stop at his master's customers' houses, nor could 
I make him leave them without assistance. No 
more cruising on horseback for me," continued I. 
" Pray do let me have plenty of oysters and bread 
and butter, with a tankard of ale as smiling as 
yourself, as soon as the waiter can bring them up, 
for I am very hungry." " We have a nice cold 
chicken in the house and some ham ; shall I send 
them up too ? " " That's the stuff for trousers," 
answered I. " Let all be handed up in the turn of 
a handspike, and if I do not do ample justice to the 
whole, you are not the prettiest girl I have seen. I 
suppose it would be treason to ask you to partake 
of the good things I have ordered ? " " Oh, no, sir," 
said she ; " that is not the fashion in our house, for 
me to sit down with a strange gentleman." Saying 
this, she left the room, and as I observed the smile 
which dimpled her blooming cheeks had vanished, 
I began to think I had said too much. Whilst I 
was in a blue study, up came chicken, ham, oysters, 
bread and butter, with the ale. I drew to the table 
and began with a keen West-country appetite, and 
for the first ten minutes forgot Lucy, baker's horse, 


pound notes and gloves, and almost that it was 
growing dark, and that we were to sail by the next 
morning's tide. Before I had finished moving my 
under jaw, which had been in constant motion for 
the last twenty minutes, in came the purser and 
one of the mids to report the boat being on shore. 
" You have saved me from a surfeit," exclaimed I. 
"Come," said I to the youngster, "sit down and 
finish the feast. As for you, Master Purser, I 
know you have been faring well elsewhere, there- 
fore I shall not ask you to take anything." 

Having paid the bill and shaken hands with 
Lucy, I jumped into the boat, and was soon on 
board. On seating myself in the gun-room, " Now, 
messmates," said I, addressing the second lieutenant 
and surgeon, " you commissioned me to buy you 
each a pair of gloves. I fulfilled it to the letter, 
but I have left them on the Canterbury road." I 
then related my adventure, which elicited a hearty 
laugh. " Now," added I, " we will have a glass of 
grog, and drink to fair Lucy at the ' Hoop and 
Griftin,' for she is a very pretty girl, and I have 
lost half my heart." " If we do not sail to- 
morrow," replied they, "we will go on shore and 
see whether she deserves the appellation you have 
given her." "Do," said I, "and give my love 
to her." 

At daylight our signal was made to remain at 
anchor until further orders. On sending the last boat 
on shore for the officers, I ordered the midshipman 
who had charge of her to acquaint my messmates 

N 2 


not to bring off any strangers to dinner, as no 
boat would leave the ship after they returned. About 
3 P.M. the boat came on board, and, in contradic- 
tion to my order, brought off a stranger. The second 
lieutenant was first up the side, and the stranger 
followed. On his reaching the quarter-deck, he 
introduced him to me as a person sent off by the 
admiral as a broker to exchange English for foreign 
coin. He gave me his card, which I put into my 
pocket without looking at it. I began by telling 
him he had come on board at a very inconvenient 
time, and that, in consequence of the spring tide, 
the boat would not leave the ship until the morning. 
" It is of little consequence to me," said he, very 
coolly; "I can remain where I am until that 
time." " Respecting the errand you have come 
on," I resumed, " I am afraid you will be disap- 
pointed, as two persons have already been before 
you," " How came you," said I to the youngster 
who had charge of the boat, " to disobey the order 
I gave you ? " Before he could answer the surgeon 
came up and whispered to me, " It is your brother." 
I examined his countenance more closely. He gave 
me one of his schoolboy grins and his hand, and 
then I was convinced. We had not seen each other 
for nearly nine years, and he had grown entirely 
out of my recollection. I did not give him the 
fraternal hug, but I shook him affectionately by 
the hand and told him I should not part with him 
until we reached Deptford, to which he willingly 
consented. He acquainted me with all family 


concerns, and that my mother was waiting in 
London, anxious to see me. 

The following day we received on board eighteen 
French prisoners for the prison-ships in the river. 
We wished them at Jericho, where the man fell 
amone: those who used him worse than a Turk 
would have done. The same afternoon we day- 
lighted the anchor, mastheaded the sails, crested 
the briny wave like a Yankee sea-serpent, and on 
the second day let go no fool of a piece of crooked 
iron off dirty Deptford. As orders were received 
to pay us off, we were fully occupied for nearly 
a week dismantling the ship and returning stores, 
etc. On the second day I ran up to London and 
saw my mother. She did not, luckily for both 
parties, shed a flood of tears, but received me with 
maternal affection, though she said she scarcely 
knew me — I was grown, as my sister was pleased 
to say, such a black man. On the sixth day after 
our anchoring I ordered the ship to be put out of 
commission, and the cook hauled down the 
pendant. We had a parting dinner at the " Gun " 
Inn, shook hands and separated. 



On shore — Tired of inactivity — Apply for a ship — Appointed to H.M.S. 
Minotau?- (74) — Prisoners sent on board as part of crew — Go to 
Plymouth — Scarcity of seamen — Ruse to impress an Irish farm 
labourer — Ordered to join the Channel Heet off Ushant — Capture 
French thirty-six-gun ship — In danger off Ushant— Capture two 
small French ships and one Dutch one : author sent to Plymouth 
in charge of the latter — Placed in quarantine. 

After I had remained in noisy, bustling, crowded 
and disagreeable London a month, my mother 
wishing to go into Surrey, I was glad of the oppor- 
tunity to accompany her and to breathe purer air, 
and left town without regret. 

I was now under my own orders, and was much 
puzzled to find out how I was to obey myself. For 
the last ten years I had been under the control 
of superiors. Now I had the whole of my crew 
within myself, and discipline I found was necessary. 
I knew no more of England than it knew of me. 
Men and manners were equally strange to me, except 
those on board the different men-of-war I had served 
in, and they were not the most polished. In the 
society of the fair sex I was exceedingly shy, and 
my feelings were sometimes painful when I had to 
run the gauntlet through rows of well-dressed 
women, some looking as demure as a noddy at the 


masthead. I was now in my twenty-third year, and 
an agreeable — nay, an old lady, whose word was 
considered sacred — declared I was a charming young 
man. My life passed as monotonously as that of 
a clock in an old maid's sitting-room. My habits 
were too active to remain long in this state of list- 
lessness. I was almost idle enough to make love, 
and nearly lost my heart seven times. Caring little 
for the society of the men, I generally strolled over 
two or three fields to read my books, or to scribble 
sonnets on a plough, for I began to be sentimental 
and plaintive. Whilst meditating one morning in 
bed, I started up with a determination to have an 
interview with Sir J. Colpoys, who was one of the 
Lords of the Admiralty, and ask him in person for 
employment, for I began to be apprehensive if I 
remained longer on shore I should think a ship 
was something to eat, and the bobstay the top-sail 
haulyards. Three weeks after my application I was 
appointed to the Minotaur of seventy-four guns 
lying at Blackstakes, and I found it black enough, 
for she not having her masts stepped, we were all 
obliged — that is the officers — to live at the " Tap " 
at Shurnasty, commonly called Sheerness, where we 
spent thirteen out of six shillings a day, and until 
the ship was ready to receive us, which was nearly 
a fortnight, we drank elevation to the noble 
Secretary of the Admiralty, for, owing to his ignor- 
ance, we had been obliged to spend seven shillings 
daily more than our pay. 

Two days after the ship was commissioned, and 


I had been carrying on the war, for I was the 
senior Heutenant, the gallant captain made his 
appearance. After touching his hat in return 
to my grand salaam, he said, " Hulloa, how is 
this ? I expected to find the ship masted. I will 
thank you to desire the boatswain to turn the hands 
up to hear my commission read, and quarter- 
master," addressing a dockyard matey, "go down 
and tell all the officers I am on board." 

"That is not a quartermaster," said I to him, "he 
is one of the dockyard men," " Then where are 
the quartermasters ? " " We have none," replied I, 
" nor have we a seaman on board except some one- 
legged and one-armed old Greenwich pensioners 
that were sent on board yesterday." At this satis- 
factory intelligence he turned his eyes up like a 
crow in a thunderstorm, and muttered, I fear, some- 
thing in the shape of a prayer for the whole Board 
of Admiralty. Whilst we were looking at each 
other not knowing what to say next, a man came 
up the hatchway to report that one of the Greenwich 
men had broken his leg. " Where is the surgeon?" 
said the captain. " He has not yet joined," replied 
I. "We must send him to the dockyard for surgical 
aid. Man the boat, and you, Mr. Brown, take him 
on shore," said I. Mr. Brown made one of his 
best bows, and acquainted me that it was the 
carpenter who was wanted and not the surgeon, as 
the man had snapped his wooden leg in one of the 
holes of the grating, and the carpenter's mate was 
fishing it. After a pause of some minutes, " So," 


resumed the captain, "this is the manner King's 
ships are to be fitted out. Why, it will take us a 
month of Sundays before the lower masts are 
rigged. What the devil did they send those old 
codgers with their wooden legs here for ? I 
will go immediately to the Admiral, and point 
out the state we are in." In the afternoon 
another lieutenant joined the ship, junior to me. 
I began to think I should be the first, when on 
the following day I was unshipped, for two others 
came on board by some years my seniors. The 
captain also sent four young mids on board and the 
Admiralty two oldsters, one of whom was a sprig 
of nobility. On the morning of the fourth day we 
were masted, and a lighter came alongside filled 
with riggers from London, and soon afterwards we 
received our complement of marines, with a captain 
and two lieutenants. We were now beginning to 
get animated and to make some show, when, as I 
was giving an order to the boatswain, Mr. Brown, 
whom I ought to have introduced before as the 
gunner, reported a barge coming alongside with 
prisoners. "That is surely a mistake," replied I ; 
" I hope they do not take us for the prison ship." 
Bump she came, stern on. " Hulloa!" I called out; 
" do you wish to try what the bends are made of? " 
Before I could say anything more, up came and 
stood before me, cocked-up hat in hand, a con- 
sequential, dapper little stout man dressed in black, 
with his hair in powder. " Please you, sir, I have 
brought, bythe order of the magistrates at Maidstone, 


fifteen men to belong to your ship. They be 
all of them tolerable good men, except five, who 
have been condemned to be transported, and two 
to be hung, but as they be contrabanders like, the 
Government have sent down orders for 'em to be 
sent on board your ship." " I am sure," said I, 
" I can in the name of His Majesty's officers offer 
many thanks to His Majesty's Government for 
their great consideration in sending men who 
deserve hanging to be made sailors on board His 
Majesty's ships." He then, with a flourish, 
presented me a paper with their names and the 
offences of which they had been guilty. Nine of 
these honest, worthy members of society were 
stout, robust fellows, and had only taken what did 
not belong to them. Two of the remaining six had 
been condemned for putting brave citizens in bodily 
fear on the King's highway and borrowing their 
purses and watches. The other four were smugglers 
bold, who wished to oblige their friends with a few 
hundreds of yards of Brussels lace and gloves, as 
well as some tubs of brandy, but were unfortunately 
interrupted in the exercise of their profession by 
those useless sea-beach cruisers called the Coast 
Guard. "Pray, sir," said I, "to whom may I be 
obliged to for the safe conveyance of these honest 
men?" "I be the under-sheriff's officer, sir," 
answered he, "and I have had mighty hard work 
to bring them along." "You deserve to be 
rewarded, Mr. Deputy Sherift^" (for I like to give 
every man his title), said I ; "you would probably 


like to have a glass of grog." " Why it's thirsty 
weather, and I shall be obliged to you, sir." I 
called the steward, desired he might have some 
refreshment, and he soon after quitted the 
ship, admonishing the live cargo he brought on 
board, who were still on the quarter-deck, to 
behave themselves like good men. A month had 
expired by the time the top-gallant masts were on 
end. We had received all our officers and two 
hundred men from Chatham and the river. At 
length, Greenv/ich pensioners, riggers, and dock- 
yard mateys took their departure, to our great 
satisfaction, as it was impossible to bring the ship's 
crew into discipline whilst they were on board. Our 
complement, including the officers, was six hundred 
and forty men. We had only three hundred and 
twenty when orders came down for us to proceed 
to Plym.outh. The captain and first lieutenant 
looked very wise on this occasion, and were appre- 
hensive that if the ship slipped the bridles vshe 
would be like an unruly horse, and run away with 
us, for there were only forty men on board who 
knew how to go aloft except a few of the marines. 
The pilot made his appearance, and soon afterwards 
down went the bridles, and we were fairly adrift. 
We reached the Nore, and let go the anchors in a 
hail squall, and it was with the greatest difficulty 
we got the top-sails furled. The admiral, having 
proof positive that we were as helpless as a cow in 
a jolly-boat, took compassion on us and sent fifty 
more men from the flag-ship, most of them able 


seamen. On the fourth day after quitting the Nore 
we anchored in Plymouth Sound. 

I now had the deHghtful opportunity of once 
more breathing my native air, viewing beautiful 
Mount Edgcumbe, revelling in clotted cream and 
potted pilchards, tickling my palate — as Quin used 
to do — with John-dories, conger eels, star-gazey 
and squab pies, cray-fish, and sometimes, but 
not very often — for my purse was only half-flood in 
consequence of my expenses whilst on shore at the 
** Tap " at Sheerness — I had a drive upon Dock. 
The flag-ship in Hamoaze v/as the Salvador del 
Muiido^ a three-decker taken from the Spaniards in 
the memorable battle of the fourth of February. 
The day after anchoring I was ordered by the 
captain to go with him on board the Sally-waiter-de- 
Modo. I reflected a short time, and not knowing 
there was such a ship on the Navy List, turned to 
the first lieutenant and asked him if he had 
heard of such a man-of-war. " No," said he, 
smiling, " the captain chooses to call her so ; he 
means the flag-ship." On repairing on board her, 
my commander said to me, " You help me to 
look at those fellows' phizes," pointing to a number 
of men who were toeing the seam on her quarter- 
deck. " I am to take thirty of them ; they are 
queer-looking chaps, and I do not much like the cut 
of their jib. But mind," added he, " don't take 
any one that has not a large quid of tobacco in 
his cheek." 

I went up to the second man, who had a double 


allowance of Virginia or some other weed in his gill, 
the captain following me. " Well, my man," said 
I, "how long have you been to sea?" " Four 

months," was the reply. "Why, you d d rascal," 

said our skipper — for observe, reader, he never 
swore — "what the devil business have you with 
such a quantity of tobacco in your mouth ? I 
thought you were an old sailor." "No, sir," 
answered the man, " my trade is a tailor, but I 
have chawed bacca from my infancy." " Question 
another," was my order. I interrogated the next, 
who was a short, slight, pale-faced man. " And 
pray," said I, " what part of the play have you been 
performing; were you ever at sea ? " " No, sir," 
said he; "I am a hairdresser, and was pressed a 

week ago." "D n these fellows!" said my 

captain ; " they are all tailors, barbers, or grass- 
combers. I want seamen." 

"Then," said Captain N., who was the flag- 
captain, and had just come on board, " I much fear 
you will be disappointed. These are the only dis- 
posable men, and it's Hobson's choice— those or 

" The admiral promised me some good seamen," 
returned my skipper, rather quickly. " Then I fear 
the admiral must find them," was the answer, " as 
I have not more than twenty seamen on board 
besides the petty officers. The last were drafted a 
few days ago in the Defiance. Will you take any of 
these men, Captain W. ? " " What do you think," 
said my captain to me ; " shall we take any of 


them ? " " Suppose," returned I, " we take twenty 
of them and the tailor ; they will all fit in in time." 
I then picked out twenty of the best, who were bad 
enough, as they were the worst set I ever saw 
grouped. Their appearance and dress were wretched 
in the extreme. I reached the ship before the hour 
of dinner with my live cargo. " What, more hard 
bargains," said the first lieuteuant, "we have too 
many clodhoppers on board already. The captain 
told me we were to have seamen." " Captain N.," 
said I, " assured our noble captain that the Defiance 

had taken all the A. B.'s." "D n Wiq Defiance!'' 

replied he ; " I defy Captain N. or anybody else 
to match those gentlemanly ragamuffins." The 
master's mates were called, and they were given 
into their charge. 

One of them, a tall, large-boned man, requested 
to remain on deck a little longer as he had 
a palpitation of the heart. " What country 
man are you?" said I. " Shure," answered he, 
" I'm all the way from dear ould Ireland, and I don't 
think I shall be arter seeing the bogs again ; but 
good luck to her, wherever she goes ! " " What 
did you do there ? " said I. " Och," said he, " why 
do I give all this trouble and what business have I 
here ? In Ireland, plase your honour, I planted 
praters and tended cows. In the hay season I 
came to England and was employed in stacking, 
when one day, as I was taking a walk in a field 
near Lunnen, I fell in with four men who asked me 
to join them as they were going to a public-house 


to have something to drink. I thought this was 

very civil to a stranger. After taking the first pot 

they told me they intended going in a boat on the 

river, and asked me if I could pull an oar. ' I'll 

try,' said I. 'Well,' said they, 'on Saturday, at 

five o'clock in the evening, be down at Wapping 

Stairs and you will see a green painted boat with 

six men in her. I will be ready to meet you,' said 

one of the most good-natured, ' and we will have a 

pleasant trip.' I little thought, your honour, that 

these spalpeens, saving your presence, intended 

anything more than friendship. I was at the place 

pointed out, and stepped into the boat. I took the 

second oar, but I caught so many crabs that I was 

desired to sit in the stern. We pulled up the river, 

which I thought very pleasant. In returning, the 

man who steered said he had a message to deliver 

on board a dark-looking vessel we were close to. 

We got alongside of her. ' Won't you go up, Pat?' 

said he ; * you never was on board so large a 

vessel; she is worth looking at.' I went up after 

him, when a man dressed in a blue coat with yellow 

buttons came up to me and told me to go below. 

Saying this, he called to another, who told me he 

would show me the way, which he soon did, and I 

was forced into a dark place where I found seven 

more half-ragged, half-starved looking animals. 

Two of them were countrymen. ' Who have we 

here ? ' said one of them. ' I am all the way from 

Ireland,' said I, ' and I have come to see this ship.' 

' The devil you have, my honey ; and what do you 


come here for ? ' ' Shure enough,' repHed I, ' that's 
true. I'll go and see arter my frinds.' At this 
they all laughed. I went to the door, but found a 
sodjer there with a drawn sword. ' What do you 
want ? ' demanded he. ' To go, and plase you.' 
' To-morrow, my lad,' replied he ; * to-night you 
stay where you are.' ' Why, what a bother you 
are making, Pat,' said one of my companions ; 
' you know you are going to serve the King,' 'And 
pray,' said I, ' who is the King ? I never saw 
or heard of him before. How can I serve him?' 
' That's a good one,' said the one who first spoke. 
* Where were you born and baptized ? ' ' About 
the bogs of Ireland,' replied I, ' and I was baptized 
over a bowl of buttermilk and praters by Father 
Murphy in a stable among a parcel of cows.' 
' You'll do,' said another ; ' have you any dibbs ? ' 
'Yes,' answered I, 'I have got two shillings and 
fourpence. ' That will do. Send for a pot of the 
right sort, and we'll drink a long life to Ireland.' I 
gave the one who spoke some money. We had 
our pot, drew ourselves up like pigs in a trough, 
and went to sleep. Next morning at daylight we 
were put on board a tender — not very tenderly, 
your honour, for I lost my waistcoat and my money, 
and when I complained I was forced over the ship's 
side. They said the boat could not wait, as the 
tender was under weigh. We arrived at Plymouth 
about a fortnight ago, and here I am, your honour." 
"Well," said I, "if you behave yourself well and 
endeavour to do your duty, you will be happy 


enough ; and as I brought you on board, I will, if 
you deserve it, keep sight of you, and in time you 
may become a good seaman, and perhaps a petty 
officer." " Long life to your honour! I'll be shure 
and take your advice." And so he did, and in a 
few months after was made captain of the waist. 

We were now tolerably in order, and soon after 
joined the Channel fleet off Ushant. The second 
day after leaving Plymouth Sound we fell in with the 
Franchise, a large French frigate of thirty-six guns 
and three hundred and forty men, who, after ex- 
changing a few shot without doing us any mischief, 
struck her colours. She was from St. Domingo, with 
General F. on board, bound to Brest. Her second 
captain appeared a very delicate young person, and 
during the four days he was on board he never slept 
in the cot provided for him in the captain's cabin, 
but always threw himself down on the sofa in his 
clothes. We all conjectured that, as a son of Erin 
might say, he was a woman, which idea after the 
prisoners left us, was confirmed by the captain's 
steward, who had been bribed to secrecy during the 
passage to Plymouth. The lady was the daughter 
of the captain of the captured frigate in disguise. 

Having seen our prize into Hamoaze, and taken 
our officers and men out of her, we left her in 
charge of the prize agent, and repaired to our 
station off Ushant. We joined the fleet, consisting 
of thirteen sail of the line and two frigates. We 
looked into Brest roads, and could discover only 
eight sail of the enemy's line of battle ships, with 

K.G. o 


their top-gallant yards crossed ; nine others were 
coming forward. Four more sail of the line having 
joined our fleet, we were directed to part company 
and cruise off Vigo Bay. Soon after we fell in 
with the Venerable. Having the watch on deck, 
the captain desired the signalman to hoist the dog- 
a-tor)^ pendant over the dinner signal. The man 
scratched his head and made wide eyes at one 
of the midshipmen, requesting him to tell him 
what the captain meant. " By Jove ! " said the 
mid, " if you do not bear a hand and get the signal 
ready, he will make you a dog-of-a-wig instead of 
a Tory." Seeing the man at a pause, I asked him 
if he had the signal ready. " Yes, sir," replied he ; 
" I have the telegraph dinner flags ready, but I do 
not know what the dog-a-tory pennant is ; it must 
be in the boatswain's store-room, for I have never 
had charge of it." I could not forbear laughing at 
the man's explanation. " What's the signalman 
about ? " inquired the captain ; " why does he not 
hoist the signal ? " " He did not know where 
to find the pendant you mentioned," replied I. 
" I have told him you meant the interrogatory 
pendant." " To be sure ; I said so as plain as 
I could speak. The fellow must be stupid not 
to understand me," continued our deeply-read 
skipper. A worthier, better or braver seaman 
than our noble commander never had the honour 
of commanding a King's ship. His zeal and 
loyalty were unimpeachable. To hear him read 
the Articles of War to us once a month was, if 


not improving, most amusing. He dogrogated 
God's honour with emphasis, and accused the 
ministers of the Church of being lethargic. Some 
of my messmates declared, although it was perfectly 
without intention on his part, that the captain in 
the last expression was right, for although the word 
was liturgy, he was justified in reading it lethargy. 
Respecting the other word, " dogrogation," they 
had all turned over the leaves of Bailey's ancient 
dictionary in vain ; but they presumed the captain 
meant to read " derogation," as it respected God's 
honour, and they considered it as a lapsus lingucE. 
Two of the officers' names were Bateman and 
Slateman. For months after they had been on 
board our worthy captain did not appear to know 
one from the other, and we were sometimes much 
diverted, and they were much annoyed, by his send- 
ing for one when he meant the other. Although 
our cruising ground appeared a profitable one, 
and we were considered fortunate in being sent 
there, for six weeks we only made prizes of 
hundreds of the finny tribe by trawling off Quimper 
and L'Orient. This amusement, exercising guns, 
sails and lead, gave us full employment, and kept 
us out of mischief. 

For nearly two months we had only seen four of 
our cruisers, and a few of the enemy's small craft 
going along shore, and although we frequently 
volunteered for boat service, our commander always 
closed his ears to our requests. He was no friend 

to boating, he said ; it very seldom turned out 

o 2 


successful, and it only answered, if it did at all, 
when courage was doubtful. "And if you are not 
men of courage," he used to add, " you are not 
the men I took you for." At length a cutter 
brought us orders to rejoin the Channel fleet 
under Lord Gardner, as the French fleet had 
increased to nineteen sail of the line, besides 
frigates. After joining, we were stationed off the 
Black Rocks, with four other ships, to watch 
Brest and the movements of the enemy's fleet. At 
this time we were seventeen sail of the line and 
three frigates, and were very sanguine that the 
ships at Brest would favour us with their company, 
as they had been practising their firing and sailing 
in Brest water. We strained our eyes and imagi- 
nations in vain. There they stuck, as the seamen 
used to say, like the Merryduii^ of Dover, which 
took seven years in veering, and when she did 
so the fly of her ensign swept two flocks of sheep 
off Beachy Head, while her jib-boom knocked 
down the steeple of Calais church and killed the 
sexton. Cruising on this Siberian ground was 
horribly monotonous work. We sincerely wished 
the French fleet alongside of us, or in a warmer 
place. On one dark night we were caught in a 
heavy gale from the westward. We were under 
close-reefed main and foretop-sails and mizzen. 
The ship was settling down on Ushant rapidly, 
and we expected to strike every moment. The 
rebound of the water from the rocks caused the 
spray to fly half-way over the decks from to leeward. 


A rock called La Jument was on our lee bow. 
Luckily we saw the sea breaking over it. " Port 
the helm ! " called out one of the pilots, "or the 
ship's lost. She must bear the main-sail, captain," 
added he, " or we shall not weather the island, and 
she will strike in less than half an hour." The 
main-sail was cast loose, and after a severe contest, 
its unwilling tack and sheet were belayed. The 
ship was literally buried in the foam, and I 
expected to see the main-mast go by the board 
every instant. Orders had been given, in case 
of such an event, to have all the axes ready. 
Providentially the wind veered two points to the 
southward, which saved the ship and her crew. 
Had she struck, she must instantly have gone to 
pieces. The rocks were so perpendicular that in 
all probability the whole of us must have made 
food for fishes. In a quarter of an hour we were 
clear of the island. Had we been under sentence 
of death, and suddenly reprieved, the effect on our 
minds could not have been greater. Long, anxious 
faces coiled themselves up to half their length and 
became brighter. The captain, who had been 
pacing the quarter-deck in quick time, brought 
himself up all standing, and I could perceive his 
lips move, and, if I mistake not, he was offering 
up a mental prayer of thankfulness for our hair- 
breadth escape. At daylight the gale abated, 
when, on examining the masts, the maintop-mast 
was found sprung in the cap. The following even- 
ing we captured two French brigs from Martinique, 


laden with sugar and coffee, and the day after a 
Dutch ship from Smyrna bound to Amsterdam, 
laden with silks and cotton, in which I went as prize- 
master. On our arrival at Plymouth we were put 
into quarantine. The boat which came out to us 
kept on her oars. I could not forbear smiling 
when I requested our letters might be sent on 
shore by her to see the great and certainly neces- 
sary precautions taken by these cunning people. 
A long kind of sprit was held up, split at the end 
to receive the letters. When in the boat, one man 
clipped them with a pair of scissors, another fumi- 
gated them with brimstone, a third bedabbled them 
with dirty vinegar and threw them into a leathern 
bag, taking care not to touch them with his hands. 



The ship arrives— Captain's attempt to form a band— Sail again- 
Attacked by rheumatic fever and invalided ashore— Ordered to 
join H.M.S. Ton>ta?ii—'2 xocQtd to Mediterranean— At Oran : 
experiences ashore. 

The ship anchored at Cawsand Bay four days 
afterwards, when we joined her, leaving the prizes 
in charge of the agent. I found her with the 
yellow flag flying at the masthead. She had been 
put in quarantine on her arrival, which we paid off 
with the foretop-sail, as we sailed the day after for 
a six weeks' cruise in the chops of the Channel. 
At the end of that period we returned to our 
anchorage with another French brig laden with 
Colonial produce. Our gallant and would-be 
musical captain consulted us all respecting har- 
monious sounds, but, alas ! we were weighed in 
the musical balance and found wanting. This, 
however, did not discourage him. Nine of the 
crew came forward with three of the marines, 
oftering themselves as candidates for the band. 
The captain, after having consulted one of the 
sergeants of marines, who played the hautboy, 
whether anything might be made of the men who 
had come forward as musicians, it was determined 


nem. con. that a pease-barrel should be manu- 
factured into a big drum, that two ramrods should 
be metamorphosed into triangles, that the two 
bassoons and the hautboy taken in the French 
frigate should be brought into action without loss 
of time, that the marine and ship's fifer, with the 
marine drummer, should be drilled with the others, 
under the direction of the sergeant, in the captain's 
cabin twice a day, and a horrible confusion of 
unmusical sounds they made for more than six 
weeks. The skipper was in his glory, and every- 
body else amazed. Some of my messmates prayed 
for them heartily, particularly the first lieutenant, 
who thought the captain musically mad. The 
mids declared they never would be respectable 
enough to be called a band, but would be bad 
enough to be called a banditti, as they looked more 
like brigands than musicians. 

We had nearly completed our water and vStores, 
when I was ordered to the dockyard with the launch 
for the remainder and two anchor-stocks. It was 
blowing fresh, and in consequence I desired the leaves 
of the anchor-stock to be triced up under the oars 
outside the boat, that in case of shipping a sea we 
might be able, if necessary, to cut them away. 
The last leaf was lowered down to the boat, when 
I felt a touch on my shoulder. I turned quickly 
round, when my nose, which is not very short, 
came in rude contact with a cocked hat, which 
it nearly knocked off the head of the wearer. It 
was the admiral, who was in stature a King 


John's man, four feet nothing. I immediately 
pulled oft' my hat and apologised. " What are 
you doing, sir," said he to me, " with these anchor- 
stocks ? " " Tricing them up outside the boat, 
sir," replied I. "Why do you not boat them?" 
I explained my reasons for not doing so. After 
a short pause, he said, " You are perfectly right. 
What ship do you belong to?" I informed him. 
He wished me good evening, and I repaired on 
board. The morning after we sailed, and in three 
days we joined the Channel fleet under Lord 
Gardner. For two long, lingering months we had 
our patience exercised, jogging backwards and 
forwards like a pig on a string. The Prince was 
our leader, and the ship astern of us the Spartiate. 
The former sailed like a haystack, the latter like a 
witch, and the sailors declared she was built of 
stolen wood, as she always sailed best at night. 
One squally night I was lieutenant of the middle 
watch, when the Prince split her maintop-sail, and 
we were in consequence obliged to show a light 
astern and shorten sail. The Spartiate shot up, 
and was nearly on board of us. The captain, 
hearing a bustle, was soon on deck. " What are 
the fleet about?" asked he. "What is the matter 
with that beastly Pn«c^.^" I informed him. "And 
what the devil is the Spartang doing on our weather 
quarter ? " 

"Why," replied I, "if the Prince and the 
Spartiate could divide their sailing, we should do 
very well ; but we arc very critically placed, being 


constantly obliged to shorten sail for the former, for 
fear of pooping her, and in so doing we are in our 
turn in danger of being pooped by the latter." 

"Have you showed a light to the Spartang?^^ 
demanded he, for he always called her by that 
unheard-of name. I answered in the affirmative. 

" D n that Prince,'' resumed he, ^' she ought to 

be ordered out of the line. When I go on board the 
admiral, I will report her." The ships again fell into 
their stations, and the captain took his in his cot. It 
was now the depth of winter, and the weather very 
severe. I had caught cold which confined me to 
my cot, and when we arrived at Plymouth I had a 
violent rheumatic fever. I was carried on shore to 
sick quarters in blankets, and before I was suffi- 
ciently recovered the ship sailed. 

When I was strong enough I requested permission 
from the admiral to goto London, which was granted. 
I had a run in the country for a few months, for I 
soon got tired of noisy, smoky London. Soon after 
this I was informed by the Admiralty that I was 
superseded in the last ship, and ordered to 
Portsmouth to join the Tonnant, an eighty-four. 
A few days after receiving my commission, I joined 
this glorious ship of ships. When I took a per- 
spective view of her gun-decks, I thought her an 
equal match for any ship afloat, and so she certainly 
was, and nobly proved it afterwards. Her gallant 
commander. Captain Troubridge, was from the 
Emerald Isle ; had a slight touch of the brogue, and 
was replete with anecdote ; he was good-humoured 


and a gentleman, and he never punished a man 
unless he richly deserved it. My messmates were all 
young men, and generally speaking well informed, 
with the exception of the master, who was a 
countryman of mine, and desperately fond of 
doggerel verse as well as cray-fish and conger eels. 
We were again destined to make one of the 
Channel fleet, when to our great joy, after tacking 
and half-tacking for six weeks, we were ordered 
with some more ships of the line under Admiral 
Collingwood to proceed off Cadiz to watch the 
motions of the Spanish and French fleets, after the 
scratch they had with our fleet under Sir R. F. 
Calder. We occasionally ran into Gibraltar for 
refreshments and stores. On one of these occa- 
sions the Port-Admiral took it into his head to hoist 
his flag on board of one of the active ships, and 
ordered us with two others to make sail out of the 
harbour. As we were not acquainted with his 
object, we presumed he wanted to purify his con- 
stitution by a strong sea-breeze ; if so, he was 
disappointed, as it fell calm two hours after we 
cleared Europa Point, and during the night we were 
under the shells and shot of Ceuta, which for- 
tunately fell harmless. The day after we reached 
our former anchorage at Gibraltar, where we found 
Sir Richard Bickerton, who took us under his 
orders to cruise off Carthagena, where three 
Spanish line of battle ships were lying ready for sea. 
On our way thither we anchored in Oran 
roads to procure bullocks for the squadron. As 


soon as the sails were furled a Turkish officer, 
dressed something like that figure of fun called 
Punch, came on board us, as we were the nearest 
ship, to inquire if the fort saluted us what number of 
guns would be fired in return. We referred him to 
the flag-ship ; he took his departure with his inter- 
preter who spoke broken English. About i p.m., 
whack came a large shot from the fort nearly into 
the bow, and presently several more. At first, as 
shot were fired so close to us, we could not exactly 
tell what was intended until the nineteenth shot was 
fired, when the battery was silent. The flag-ship 
returned seventeen guns. On inquiry we found 
that these barbarians always salute with shot, and 
endeavour to send them as near you as possible by 
way of compliment. 

About 3 P.M. three principal Turkish officers came 
on board, the youngest of whom was the commander 
or governor of the town. The purser, who had been 
eyeing him with a wicked look, said to us, "I'll make 
that fellow drunk before he leaves the ship." He had 
expressed a wish to see the ship, and I offered to 
take him round the decks. In the meanwhile the 
purser went to his cabin, mixed some strong punch, 
and made some sherbet. " Now," said he to me, 
"when you show him the cockpit, hand him into 
my cabin." The Pacha admired the ship and the 
guns, and said it was the largest vessel he had seen. 
He spoke a little broken English. At length we 
came to the purser's cabin which was neatly fitted 
up and well lighted. The Turk was requested to 


repose himself on the sofa, and to take some sherbet. 
"First of all," whispered the purser to me, "we 
will try him with the punch." A glass was accord- 
ingly handed to him, and we filled others for 
ourselves. It went down his throat like mother's 
milk. He declared it was the best sherbet he had 
ever drunk, and asked for another glass of it. 
Down that went without a pause. " He'll do," 
whispered the purser, " he is a true Mussulman; he 
prefers stiff punch to cobbler's punch." A tureen 
was now filled with yet stronger punch, of which he 
took three more tumblers, and down he fell. He 
was laid on the sofa until his friends were ready to 
leave the ship. When they came from the captain's 
cabin, where they had been taking refreshments, 
they inquired for the sub-governor. After some 
delay and more difficulty he made his appearance. 
His turban had fallen off, and his countenance was 
ghastly. He was so helpless that he was obliged 
to be lowered into the boat, to the astonishment 
and terror of all those who had brouefht him off, 
and to the amusement of all our officers and crew. 
The following morninc: I received orders to eo 
on shore with three boats, each containing two 
barrels of powder and a half barrel of musket balls 
as a present to the Bey. On our arrival alongside a 
kind of quay, hewn out of the solid rock, a number 
of Moors rushed into the boats and seized on the 
ammunition. I desired the boats' crews to take 
the stretchers and give them some gentle raps on 
their petit toes, which made them soon jump back 


again. I then ordered the boats to He on their oars, 
and seeing a person who looked something in the 
shape of an Irishman, I asked him if he would go 
to the English Consul and inform him that I should 
not land anything until he made his appearance. 
" Shure," said he, "I am the Consul's secretary; 
won't that do, so please ye?" "No," replied I, 
"nothing less than the Consul." "He has not 
finished his dinner yet, sir," was the answer. 
" Now," said I, " Mr. Consul's secretary, if you do 
not immediately go to the Consul and acquaint him 
that I am waiting for him, I will go on board, and 
you will all be hanged by the sentence of a court- 
martial." " Oh, sir, I shall be there in no time at 
all. Do not leave the harbour until you see me 
again." " Run," returned I, " for your life depends 
on your expedition." The poor man, I believe, was 
as frightened as he appeared ignorant. 

In about seven minutes down came a tall, large- 
boned Yankee-kind-of-person with the before- 
mentioned secretary. "Will you, if you plaise, 
permit the boats to come on shore, sir," he called 
out; " I am His Majesty's Consul." We again got 

alongside the jetty. " Now, Mr. Consul," said I 

" My name is Murphy, sir, if it's not bad manners." 
" Well, Mr. Murphy, if any of those barbarians 
dare come into the boats, they will be thrown over- 
board. Our men will put the barrels on the 
rocks, and they may take them, but you will give 
me a receipt for them." " Shure that I'll do for 
you, sir, in a few minutes. Will you favour me 


with your company to my house?" "By no 
means ; my orders are not to set a foot on shore. 
But if you will purchase for me half a dozen of 
small bottles of otto of roses I will thank you. I 
cannot remain," added I, ''more than a quarter of 
an hour longer." Whilst we were waiting for His 
Majesty's Consul, who, I need not hint, was an 
Irishman, an animal made its appearance which 
the boat's crew declared was a woman. It was 
clad in a coarse, light brown wrapping gown almost 
in the shape of a sack with the mouth downwards, 
with two small holes in the upper part for the eyes. 
As soon as it came near the boats it was driven 
away by the Moors. At length Mr. Murphy made 
his appearance with the requisite piece of paper 
and eight bottles of otto of roses, for which he did 
not forget to ask a good price. He informed me 
that bullocks would be sent off to the squadron 
next morning. We repaired on board, when my 
captain asked me if the Bey had sent me a sabre. 
"No," replied I, "I have received nothing." 
"Then," said he, "he is worse than a Turk; he 
ought to have given you one." 

The day after we received twelve bullocks not 
much larger in size than an English calf, and I, with 
one of my messmates, went on shore outside the 
town. The soil we found very sandy. I took out 
my sketch book, and had drawn the ouJine of the 
batteries, when an armed Arab rode up to us at full 
gallop on a beautiful, small, dark chestnut horse. 
My messmate wore a highly polished steel-hilted 


hanger, the brightness of which, as it glittered in the 
sun's rays, attracted the Arab's attention. He spoke 
broken EngHsh, and asked to look at it. "Yes," 
said my companion, "if you will let me look at 
yours." He took it from his side without hesitation 
and presented it to him. The Arab admired the 
workmanship of the English sword, and then 
examined the blade. We had inspected his, and 
found it fine Damascus steel. " Will you exchange," 
said my messmate. He made a most contemptuous 
grimace at the question. " I tell you what," said 
he, " English very good for handle, but Arab better 
for blade." He then put spurs to his horse and 
galloped away, chuckling the whole time. 

As we had not permission to enter the gates of 
the town we amused ourselves by examining the 
houses outside, which were low and whitewashed. 
The windows were few, small and high, and some 
of these mean, wretched-looking hovels v/ere sur- 
rounded by a mud and sand wall. We saw only 
Moors and a few Arabs. The country higher up 
appeared green and fresh, although much rock and 
sand abounded. The harbour, or rather bay, is 
small, and its depth of water from two to five 
fathoms. The principal battery is built on a solid 
" ■^ongue of rock which curves outward and forms a 
dai'nd of harbour. I remarked the Spanish arms on 
boai? centre of it, and on inquiry I found it had been 
rocks, -d there by Charles the Fifth when he landed 
me a rec^k possession of the town, 
you, sir, i- morning of the third day we were under 


sail for Carthagena. On nearing the harbour, which 
is strongly fortified by an island at its mouth, we 
discovered two Spanish ships of the line at anchor, 
but so close under the island that it was impossible 
to make any impression on them. The next day they 
removed into the harbour and struck their top-masts. 
We cruised between Capes di Gata and Palos for a 
fortnight, occasionally looking into Carthagena to 
see if the Spaniards would take the hint. Finding 
all our wishes and hints fruitless, we left a frigate 
and a brig sloop to watch their motions and 
shaped our course for Gibraltar. Near the small 
island of Alberaw we fell in with two frigates 
convoying twenty sail of levanters, the commodore 
of which called me brother-in-law. As the wind 
was light I had permission to spend the day on 
board his frigate, where I partook of an Italian 
dinner, more shadow than substance, and after 
coffee I repaired on board my own ship, where I 
ordered something substantial to eat, as the Italian 
dinner had provoked a good appetite. We anchored 
at old Gib four days afterwards, and were ordered 
to refit with all expedition and join once more 
Admiral Collingwood off Cadiz, where the French 
and Spanish fleets still remained and were 
apparently ready for sea. 




Join Lord Nelson's squadron — Battle of Trafalgar — Author's experi- 
ences — Occurrences during action — Severity of operations before 
the use of anaesthetics — The Tounani^s casualty list — Proceed 
to Gibraltar — A truce with Spain during horse races on neutral 
ground there. 

In a week's time we formed one of the squadron, 
and shortly after were joined by fourteen sail of 
the Hne under Lord Nelson. The salutation was 
heartfelt and most gratifying. The dispositions of 
the fleet were soon made, and as they were as 
simple as possible, there could be no mistake. A 
cordon of frigates were ordered to repeat signals to 
us from the one nearest the shore, whilst we kept 
nearly out of sight of the land, and all our ships' 
sides were ordered to be painted yellow with black 
streaks, and the masts yellow. 

We now mustered twenty-seven sail of the line, 
four frigates, and a schooner, and were waiting 
impatiently for the joyful signal from the frigates 
that the enemy were coming out of harbour. On 
the afternoon of the 20th of October, 1805, our 
longing eyes were blessed with the signal. We 
cleared for quarters and were in high spirits. At 
daylight we had the felicity to see them from the 




deck, and counted thirty-three sail of the line and 
three large frigates. They extended in line ahead. 
We answered with alacrity the signal to make all 
sail for the enemy, preserving our order of sailing. 
The sails appeared to know their places and were 
spread like magic. The wind was very light, and 
it was nearly noon before we closed with the 
enemy. We remarked they had formed their ships 
alternately French and Spanish. All our ships 
that had bands were playing " Rule Britannia," 
" Downfall of Paris," etc. Our own struck up 
" Britons, strike home." We were so slow in 
moving through the water in consequence of the 
lightness of the wind that some of the enemy's 
ships gave us a royal salute before we could break 
their line, and we lost two of the band and had 
nine wounded before we opened our fire. The 
telegraph signal was flying from the masthead of 
the Victory, " England expects every man to do his 
duty." It was answered with three hearty cheers 
from each ship, which must have shaken the nerve 
of the enemy. We were saved the trouble of 
taking in our studding-sails, as our opponents had 
the civility to effect it by shot before we got into 
their line. At length we had the honour of nestling 
His Majesty's ship between a French and a 
Spanish seventy-four, and so close that a biscuit 
might have been thrown on the decks of either of 
them. Our guns were all double-shotted. The 
order was given to fire ; being so close every shot 
was poured into their hulls, down came the 

p 2 


Frenchman's mizzen-mast, and after our second 
broadside the Spaniard's fore and cross-jack yards. 
A Spanish three-decker now crossed our bows and 
gave us a raking broadside which knocked away 
the fore and main top-masts, the main and fore- 
yards with the jib-boom and sprit-sail yard, part of 
the head, and killed and wounded twenty-two of 
the men. One midshipman was cut literally in 
half. This was the more provoking as we could 
not return her the compliment, having full employ- 
ment with those we first engaged. 

We were in this situation about half-an-hour, when 
the Spaniard called out he had struck, but before 
we could take possession of him, a French ship of 
eighty guns with an admiral's flag came up, and 
poured a raking broadside into our stern which 
killed and wounded forty petty officers and men, 
nearly cut the rudder in two, and shattered the 
whole of the stern with the quarter galleries. She 
then in the most gallant manner locked her bow- 
sprit in our starboard main shrouds, and attempted 
to board us with the greater part of her officers and 
ship's company. She had rifle-men in her tops 
who did great execution. Our poop was soon 
cleared, and our gallant captain shot through the 
left thigh and obliged to be carried below. During 
this time we were not idle. We gave it to her 
most gloriously with the starboard lower and main- 
deckers, and turned the forecastle guns loaded with 
grape on the gentleman who wished to give us a 
fraternal hug. The marines kept up a warm and 


destructive fire on the boarders. Only one man 
made good his footing on our quarter-deck, when 
he was pinned through the calf of his right leg by 
one of the crew with his half-pike, whilst another 
was going to cut him down, which I prevented, 
and desired him to be taken to the cockpit. At 
this period the Bellerophon, seeing our critical 
position, gallantly steered between us and our first 
French antagonist and sheeted her home until she 
struck her colours. Our severe contest with the 
French admiral lasted more than half-an-hour, our 
sides grinding so much against each other that we 
were obliged to fire the lower deck guns without 
running them out. 

At length both ships caught fire before the 
chest-trees, and our firemen, with all the coolness 
and courage so inherent in British seamen, 
got the engine and played on both ships, and 
finally extinguished the flames, although two 
of them were severely wounded in doing so. At 
length we had the satisfaction of seeing her three 
lower masts go by the board, ripping the partners 
up in their fall, as they had been shot through 
below the deck, and carrying with them all their 
sharp-shooters to look sharper in the next world, 
for as all our boats were shot through we could 
not save one of them in this. The crew were then 
ordered with the second lieutenant to board her. 
They cheered and in a short time carried her. 
They found the gallant French Admiral Magon 
killed at the foot of the poop ladder, the captain 


dangerously wounded. Out of eight lieutenants 
five were killed, with three hundred petty officers 
and seamen, and about one hundred wounded. 
We left the second lieutenant and sixty men in 
charge of her, and took some of the prisoners on 
board when she swung clear of us. We had 
pummelled her so handsomely that fourteen of her 
lower deck guns were dismounted, and her larboard 
bow exhibited a mass of splinters. 

After she cleared us another Spanish three-decker 
drifted nearly on board of us. We received her fire, 
which shot away the gaff. We returned her salute 
with interest, and her foremast went about four 
feet above her deck. We cheered and gave her 
another broadside, and down came her colours. 
We manned the jolly boat — the only boat that we 
thought would float — to take possession of her, but 
she had not proceeded more than a few yards when 
down she went, leaving the fourth lieutenant and her 
crew paddling like sea nondescripts. Having no 
boat that would float, four of the seamen jumped 
overboard to rescue those who could not swim, and 
they all regained the ship. Mr. C, the lieutenant, 
was nearly drowned, and had it not been for a 
black man, who took him on his back, he must 
have sunk. (This man he never lost sight of and 
left him a handsome legacy when he died.) We 
were drifting like a pig upon a grating, and as 
helpless as a sucking shrimp, when the signal was 
made to repair damages. We soon cut away all 
that was useless, and in twenty minutes we were 


under topsails as courses, and top-gallant-sails as 

The carpenters had cobbled up one of the 
cutters, in which I was sent on board the Royal 
Sovereign to report our condition and to request 
the assistance of one of the fleet to tow us, as in 
consequence of our rudder being so much shattered 
by shot it was rendered unserviceable. The 
Defiance was ordered to take us in tow ; we shortly 
afterwards made the signal, that we were able to 
renew the action. The enemy's fleet were making 
for Cadiz. Nineteen sail of their line of battle- 
ships had surrendered, and one, the Achillc, had 
blown up. The explosion she made was sublime 
and awful ; a number of her crew were saved by 
the Pickle schooner. The wind still continued 
light, and the signal was flying to renew the attack. 
In about twenty minutes we were again in the rear 
of the enemy, who appeared to have had enough of 
it, as they had neared Cadiz, and all the prizes 
except four seventy-fours were making for the 
harbour. This was owing to their having so few of 
our men on board them, and to our not being able, 
in consequence of the loss of boats, to take out the 
prisoners. We gave them some parting salutes. 
There were so many of us in a crippled state it 
was thought prudent to haul to the westward, as 
the swell was throwing us to\vards the shore, and 
the sky had all the tokens of a gale of wind from 
the west-south-west. The signal was out to pre- 
pare to anchor if necessary. The Royal Sovereign, 


which had only her foremast standing, with four 
other ships of our fleet, had already anchored. 

The Santissinia Trinidada, one of the Spanish 
prizes, went down in consequence of having 
received so many shot between wind and water. 
Her crew were taken out by our frigates and she 
was scuttled. She was the largest ship and had 
four regular tiers of guns, mounting in the whole 
one hundred and thirty-six. About 7 p.m. the 
wind began to freshen from the westward. The 
signal was made from the Royal Sovereign for all 
those ships that could carry sail to proceed to 
Gibraltar. About 9 p.m. the wind increased to a 
heavy gale, and the ship which towed us was 
obliged to cast us off. We fortunately had been 
able to fix the quarter tackles to the ring-bolts of 
the rudder before the gale came on. The night 
was passed in much painful anxiety, and we 
expected every time we wore to strike on the rocks 
of Cape Trafalgar. Providentially the wind drew 
more round to the north-east, and at daylight we 
weathered the Cape and about noon anchored at 
Gibraltar. We found the four prizes with several 
of our fleet lying there, and we were congratulated 
most cordially on our having escaped a lee shore, 
as they had given us up as lost. 

I must retrograde a little here and relate a few 
occurrences which took place during the action, and 
of which I was an eye-witness. We had hoisted our 
colours before the action in four difl'erent places, 
at the ensign-staff, peak, and in the fore and main 


top-mast shrouds, that if one was shot away the 
others might be flying. A number of our fleet had 
done the same, and several of the enemy followed 
our example. The French admiral's ship who so 
gallantly attempted to board us had his flag hoisted 
in three places. One of our men, Fitzgerald, ran up 
his rigging and cut away one of them and placed it 
round his w^aist, and had nearly, after this daring 
exploit, reached his ship, when a rifleman shot him 
and he fell between the two ships and was no more 
seen. The principal signalman, whose name was 
White, and a captain of one of the guns on the 
poop, had his right great toe nearly severed from 
his foot. He deliberately took his knife and cut it 
away. He was desired to go below to the doctor. 
** No, sir," was his reply; " I am not the fellow to 
go below for such a scratch as that. I wish to give 
the beggars," meaning the enemy, " a few more 
hard pills before I have done with them." Saying 
this, he bound his foot up in his neck-handkerchief 
and served out double allowance until his 
carronade was dismounted by the carriage of it 
being shattered to pieces. He then hopped to 
another gun, where he amused himself at the 
Frenchman's expense until the action ceased. 

We had fought on nearly empty stomachs. At 
the time we began the action it was dinner time, i.e. 
twelve o'clock ; a small proportion of cheese had 
been given out and half allowance of grog. During 
the latter part of the action the captain, who was 
lying on a cot in the purser's cabin, sent for me. 


On entering the cockpit I found fourteen men 
waiting amputation of either an arm or a leg. A 
marine who had sailed with me in a former ship 
was standing up as I passed, with his left arm 
hanging down. "What's the matter, Conelly ? " 
said I to him. "Not much," replied he; "I am 
only winged above my elbow, and I am waiting my 
turn to be lopped." His arm was dreadfully broken 
by a grape-shot. I regret to mention that out of 
sixteen amputations only two survived. This was 
in consequence of the motion of the ship during the 
gale. Their stumps broke out afresh, and it was 
impossible to stop the haemorrhage. One of them, 
whose name was Smith, after his leg was taken off, 
hearing the cheering on deck in consequence of 
another of the enemy striking her colours, cheered 
also. The exertion he made burst the vessels, and 
before they could be again taken up he died. 

When I was sent on board Admiral Colhngwood's 
ship during the action I observed a great anxiety in 
the officers' faces. It immediately occurred to me that 
Lord Nelson had fallen, and I put the question to 
one of the lieutenants, who told me he was mortally 
wounded and that he could not live long. Thus 
gloriously fell in the arms, and on the deck, of 
Victory, as brave, as intrepid, and as great a hero 
as ever existed, a seaman's friend and the father 
of the fleet. The love of his country was engraven 
on his heart. He was most zealous for her honour 
and welfare, and his discernment was clear and 
decisive. His death was deservedly and deeply 


felt by every man in the fleet. I must not omit 
that when the Commander of the French fleet, 
Admiral Villeneuve, was brought alongside us 
instead of the Victory, he was informed it was not 
Nelson's ship. "My God," said he, "you are all 
Nelsons ! "^ 

On mustering our ship's company after we were 
tolerably in order, we found we had twenty-six 
killed and fifty-eight wounded, the captain included, 
who, as soon as we arrived, went on shore. We 
sent our wounded men to the hospital, and began 
to refit. Our rudder was unshipped, or rather the 
wreck of it, to be spliced. On the fourth morning, 
at daylight, during a fog, we were not a little 
astonished at findins: ourselves bombarded, and 
the shells and shot flying fast and thick amongst 
us. We had taken the precaution of keeping our 
guns towards the enemy shotted, but fortunately 
for us and for those people who were amusing 
themselves in the enemy's gun-boats, the fog was 
so dense that we neither could see them or they 
us. However, we fired as nearly as we could 
judge in the direction frqm whence their shells 
came, and I presume we must have done some 
execution among them. After our second broad- 
side all was silent. We had only a few ropes shot 
away and one man wounded. The shells fell 
either short or over us on shore, where they did 
no injury. The shot were the most destruc- 
tive. After this freak, which might have proved 

» Note C. 


serious, we had additional guard boats during 

The Governor, General Fox, sent an invitation to 
all the officers of the fleet requesting their company 
to a ball at the Government House. I understood 
it was well attended, and the ladies very amiable. 
I, having received a wound in the left hand, which 
was painful, did not attend. Before we sailed we 
had several dinner-parties and made excursions to 
St. George's and other caves. One afternoon I had 
been rambling with another brother officer over 
the Rock, when, as we reached the O'Hara Tower, 
we were overtaken by a thunder-storm. As we 
stood in the tower, which, as Paddy would say, is 
no tower at all, we saw the thunder-clouds descend 
under us, and could distinctly see the lightning. 
It was to us a novel and awful scene. We soon 
removed from our position, as the small building 
under which we had taken shelter had been formerly 
struck by lightning, and we began to be apprehen- 
sive of its second visit. In descending we started 
two large baboons, who appeared as much sur- 
prised as we were. We soon lost sight of them 
among the rocks. It is strictly forbidden to use 
fire-arms or to destroy anything on the Rock. We 
also saw a few red-legged partridges, which were 
not very shy, and some large lizards. 

The officers of the garrison gave a horse race on 
neutral ground, and invited the Governor of St. 
Roch with his staft\ He came with a numerous 
retinue. Flags of truce were stuck up beyond the 


Gibraltar limits, and we were at liberty to go 
nearly as far as the nearest Spanish fort. It was 
a singular coincidence to see us shaking hands and 
offering cigars to men whose duty it was an hour 
before to shoot us. Everything went off very 
pleasantly except with the poor, distressed horses, 
who had to run over deep sand. After the Spanish 
Governor and his officers had partaken of a plenti- 
ful collation under a large marquee, they took their 
departure, and we gave them three cheers. We 
at lenfrth received our rudder from the hands of the 
dockyard mateys. They had made a good job of 
it, and it answered admirably. 



Return under juiy-masts to England— Arrive at Spithead— The admiral 
the middy, and the dirk— Join H M.S. Diamond as first lieutenant 
—Attached to Lord St. Vincent's fleet off Brest— A change of 
captains— Weary waiting for an enemy who never came. 

A FEW days after we sailed, with three other 
line of battle ships, under jury-masts, for old Eng- 
land. On our passage we spoke a frigate, who 
informed us that Sir Richard Strachan had taken 
the four sail of the line which had escaped from 
the French fleet. We were delighted as well as 
*' Dicky Strong," and gave three hearty cheers. On 
the eighth day we arrived at Spithead, and were 
cheered by all the ships lying there, which we 
returned. Some of the fleet had, we thought, 
made rather a show of their shot-holes, but our 
commodore declared that " good wine needed no 
bush." Our shot-holes, of which we had a good 
share, were painted over and not perceptible at any 
distance. The captain left us, and was heartily 
cheered as he left the ship. As soon as we were 
in the harbour I had permission from the Admiralty 
to return home for a month. 

I found my sweetest half (for I had, without 
knowing why or wherefore, become a Benedict) 


in much anxiety, as our ship had been reported 
lost. She put into my arms a dear little black- 
eyed girl, who was born a week after the 
action. After spending three delightful weeks, 
the happiest of the happy, I tore myself away. 
On my rejoining the ship I found her in dock, 
and all the crew on board a hulk. I now 
became commanding officer, as the first lieutenant 
had leave of absence. I have here to remark that 
forty seamen and ten marines had leave to go to 
their families and friends for three weeks or a 
month, according to the distance, and out of six 
hundred men only one desertion occurred. I 
mention this circumstance to prove that seamen, 
when they become accustomed to a man-of-war, 
have no dislike to her discipline, provided they are 
properly encouraged when deserving, and the cat 
is only used when it is absolutely necessary, which 
was the case in our ship. Seamen are too valu- 
able to be ill used. 

Admiral Montague was the commander-in- 
chief at this port, and Sir Isaac Coffin, of 
inspecting memory, the rear - admiral. One 
morning one of the midshipmen, in stepping into 
the dockyard boat, had the misfortune to lose 
his dirk overboard. As it was blowing strong, he 
could not return to the hulk to borrow another. 
He consequently went to the yard without one. 
The rear-admiral, who was always in search of 
adventure, met him. " Hulloa ! officer," said he; 
" why arc you without side arms ? " The youngster 


related what had happened. " Then, sir," said he, 
" you must buy another as fast as you can." " I 
have no money, sir," repHed the mid, " and I know 
no one here." " Then I will put you in the way 
to get one. Come with me to my office." The 
youngster followed him, and received the address 
of a sword cutler. " And tell him," said Sir Isaac, 
" from me that you are to have a dirk. But," 
added he, "I had better write my name; he will 
then know I sent you." Next morning the mid lost 
no time in repairing to the shop of the vendor of 
slayinginstruments. He produced the rear-admiral's 
paper. The cutler at first hesitated. At length 
he said, " Do you pay for it?" " No," answered 
the mid, " not till I return from my next cruise." 
" Oh, never mind," said the man of cut and thrust ; 
" Sir Isaac has signed the paper, and he will, of 
course, be responsible. What kind of dirk do you 
wish to have ? " " Oh, a good one," returned the 
mid ; " one at about forty shillings." It was given 
him ; he gave his name and ship, and left the shop. 
In a few days after this an order came on board 
from the admiral to discharge a lieutenant and a 
midshipman into another ship bound to the West 
Indies. The sixth lieutenant and this youngster 
were selected. About four months afterwards the 
bill was sent to the rear-admiral for payment of 
the dirk. It was naturally refused. Some months 
passed, when the bill was again presented and 
refused. The poor mid was far away and not 
forthcoming, although he fully intended, had he 


not been so suddenly exiled, to pay it when he was 
able. The cutler now brought an action against 
the rear-admiral, and he was, as he had put his 
name to the paper, obliged to pay the account. 

The shipwrights and carpenters having repaired 
the ship, she was hauled alongside the hulk, and 
in ten days was as majestic as ever. Another 
captain was appointed, and I was ordered to join 
the Diamond frigate, as first lieutenant, off Brest. 
I took an affectionate leave of my messmates, and 
procured a passage on board a passage-sloop going 
to Plymouth. We sailed in the evening, through 
the Needles passage, and when off the Shingles 
the head of the mast went in the hounds. After 
much exertion we got the main-sail out of the water, 
and the try-sail set. We reached, to my great joy, 
Portland Roads on the third day, where, as I 
found myself rather queerish on board the sloop, 
I salaamed the skipper of her, and mounted a 
horse, which they assured me was quiet enough 
to carry the parson. With this assurance, which 
was corroborated by three old men and two young 
women, I trusted myself once more on a horse's 
back. A brother officer, who was also going to 
join a ship at Plymouth, accompanied me. We 
dined at Weymouth, saw Gloucester Lodge, had 
a somersault, to the terror and astonishment of 
the lady housekeeper and servants, on all the 
Princesses' beds, viewed the closet of odd-and-end 
old china belonging to the amiable Princess 
Elizabeth, thought ourselves an inch taller when 

K.G. Q 


we sat ourselves down in the chair in which the 
good King dined at one o'clock, generally off a 
boiled leg of mutton and turnips, so we were 
informed, and in the evening hired a post-chaise 
and arrived at Dorchester, where we took the mail 
for Plymouth. On reaching the latter place we 
repaired to the admiral's office, where, as there 
was no present opportunity of joining my new ship, 
I remained five days, calling on my old acquaint- 
ances and talking of old times. 

One day we made an excursion to Plympton, and 
entered a neat farmer's house. We inquired if we 
could be provided with some home-baked brown 
bread, and milk from the cow. The farmer's wife, 
who was a hale, buxom, youngish-looking woman, 
and had only nine children, brought out chairs and 
benches. We had some madeira with us, and we 
made delicious whip-syllabub. The nice, well-baked 
and wholesome brown loaves, with the milk and 
cream, were too good for city aldermen, but quite 
good enough for sailors. We did ample justice to 
the good wife's fare, of which she partook with her 
mother, who was sixty-five, and had eleven boys 
and nine girls all living. Nine of the former were 
on board different men-of-war, and the other two 
working with their father on the farm. "And," 
added the poor woman, with an anxious, smiling 
face, " whenever we see a squadron of King's ships 
arrive we expect a son." The girls, with the 
exception of three who were married, were out 
in respectable families. We made a trifling purse. 


which we gave to a fine boy about eleven years 
old for himself and brothers ; recompensed our 
good hostess, shook hands, and departed in peace 
and good fellowship. 

Two days later I went on board the Alexandria 
frigate for a passage to my proper ship, which 
we fell in with soon afterwards off the Black 
Rocks. I found her a fine, first-class frigate, 
but, alas ! I also found she only sailed like the 
launch, stern foremost. The captain, a jolly, 
little, fresh-faced, rather corpulent man, welcomed 
me with a smile, and after a short conversation 
relating to the ship he inquired the news, on 
which I presented him with the latest newspaper. 
The surgeon, a delicate, pale young man, came 
up to me and asked me to the gun-room. On 
entering it he introduced me to my future mess- 
mates. The second lieutenant was a fine-looking 
young man, highly connected, but unfortunately 
disgusted with the Service, and too fond of a very 
strong north-wester, which soon destroyed him, as 
he died a few months after I joined the frigate. 
The third lieutenant was a person of great conse- 
quence in his own opinion, and always imagined 
himself in the right. He was, nevertheless, an 
active officer and knew his duty. The master was 
a hardy north countryman, and knew what he was 
about. The marine officer was a well-informed, 
sensible man ; the mids were a fine set of lads, 
ripe for mischief and alert on duty. The ship's 
company were, generally speaking, good and 

Q 2 


willing seamen, and I thought myself fortunate 
in being first lieutenant of such a ship and of 
having intellectual messmates. 

We were placed as one of the look-out frigates to 
watch the enemy's vessels in Brest. The fleet was 
under the command of the brave and persevering 
Earl St. Vincent, whose laws were those of the Medes 
and Persians in days of yore. Implicit obedience 
and non-resistance was his device, and woe to those 
who were disobedient. My messmates gave me the 
outline of the captain's character. They informed 
me he was more cut out for a country gentleman 
than the captain of a man-of-war, that he was very 
partial to a good dinner — " Show me the man 
who is not," interrupted I ;— that he was highly 
nervous, and that he left everything to the first 
lieutenant, except the discipline of his cook. " So 
be it," cried I, " I think we shall accord." About 
ten days after being on board he sent for me into 
his cabin. " Now," said he to me, " Mr. Hoffman, 
we have had time enough to know each other. I 
approve of your method of carrying on the duty, 
and from henceforth I shall consider you as sailing, 
and myself as fighting, captain." I thanked him 
for the confidence he reposed in me, and assured 
him that, being very partial to the profession, 
I never was happier than when in the path of 
duty. He then mentioned he was not fond of 
punishment with the cat. I informed him that, 
having been first lieutenant for nearly three years 
of a former ship, I would submit to his inspection 


a code of minor punishments which had proved 
beneficial to her discipHne. " Did you not use 
the cat at all ? " demanded he. " Never," returned 
I, " except for theft, drunkenness at sea and inten- 
tional disobedience of orders. On these occasions 
the punishment was severe, and they very seldom 

When the wind was light, we generally 
anchored about two gun-shots from the shore, 
and in the evening the crew danced or got up a 
kind of farce, which was farcical enough. After 
seven long, lazy, tedious weeks, we were ordered 
to Plymouth to refit. We flew like a shovel-nosed 
barge against tide, and reached Hamoaze on the 
evening of the third day. Reader, I do not know 
whether you were ever at Plymouth. If you have 
not, go there. It is in a beautiful country, and very 
healthy. The people are very civil, and until the 
taxes and poor rates became so high, were very 
hospitable. Even m the poorest cottager's hut, if 
you happened to call at their dinner-hour, you were 
invited, with a hearty " Do ye, God bless ye, sit 
down and take some-at. There be more than we 
can eat." We frequently made social picnic parties 
to the small farmhouses. I have heard sailors 
declare they would rather be hanged in their native 
country than die a natural death in any other. It 
is not very agreeable to be hanged even in Paradise, 
but I certainly prefer residing in the neighbourhood 
of Plymouth to any other part of England. The 
month we were in harbour vanished like a dream. 


We cast off the moorings, and soon after anchored 
at Spithead. 

The following week we were again on the 
Siberian or Black Rock station. One night, in 
consequence of a light westerly wind with a heavy 
swell and a counter current, we had drifted so near 
the south-west end of Ushant that we were obliged 
to let go an anchor in rocky ground. For more 
than six hours it was a question whether the cable 
would part or hold on : had the latter occurred, the 
frigate must have gone on shore. After hoping, 
wishing and expecting a breeze from the eastward, 
it made its appearance by cat's-paws. We weighed, 
and found the cackling and one strand of the cable 
cut through. As the wind freshened we worked up 
to our old station off Point St. Matthew, and 
anchored. The following morning we reconnoitred 
Brest, could make out fourteen of the enemy's 
ships of the line with their top-gallant yards 
crossed, and five others refitting. The same day 
a cutter joined us with our letters and two bullocks. 
After cruisins: between Ushant and the Saints, 
the small rocky island Beriguet and Douarnenez 
Bay, until we were tired of seeing them, we, at 
the expiration of two months, were again ordered 
to Plymouth to refit, but not before the con- 
siderate old Earl had taken from us thirty of our 
best seamen, which so much pleased our noble 
captain that he declared if he was ordered to re- 
join the Channel fleet he would give up the frigate. 
After having refitted, to our great mortification we 


were again under orders for the detestable station 
off Brest. The captain wrote to be superseded, 
and as there was no lack of sharp half-pay skippers 
looking-out, his request was immediately complied 

His successor was a shambling, red-nosed, not 
sailor-like looking man, who had persuaded a 
counterpart of himself, the village barber, to 
accompany him as his steward. Sure such a 
pair was never seen before ! The hands were 
turned up and his commission read. "Well, 
my men," said he, addressing the crew, " I 
understand you know how to do your duty, 
therefore my advice to you is to do it. That's 
all," said he to me; " pipe down if you please, sir," 
and after adding, "We shall sail to-morrow morn- 
ing, and I shall be on board in the evening," he 
ordered a cutter to be manned, and went on shore. 
At the time appointed we were under weigh, and 
three days afterwards off the Black Rocks, which 
made us look black enough. The enemy's fleet 
were much in the same state, with little prospect 
of their coming out. Easterly winds were 
prevalent, and we were generally at anchor, one 
half of the ship's company doing nothing, and 
the other helping them. I soon found that 
our noble commander was fond of the game of 
chess and a stiff glass of grog, and I frequently 
found him en chemise with those companions at 
daylight on one of the cabin lockers. He was an 
unmarried man, but a great admirer of the fair sex 


of all descriptions, and was sometimes heard to say 
he was astonished at their want of taste in not 
admiring him. He was not altogether an unread 
man, but his manners were like his dress, slovenly, 
and too often coarse. He had been, when he was 
a lieutenant, in command of a cutter, and after- 
wards of a lugger. There, the mids declared, 
he ou"-ht to have remained, as he was out of his 
element on the quarter-deck of a fine frigate. They 
were not singular in their opinion. He was, with- 
out exception, the most slovenly officer I ever had 
the misfortune to sail with. I am probably rather 
severe. His only redeeming quality was certainly 
good nature. He, unfortunately for himself and in 
some measure for the Service, courted a kind of 
left-handed popularity amongst the seamen, and 
neglected the officers. The consequence was, that 
in less than two months the discipline of the ship 
became so relaxed that the crew, from being one 
of the smartest in the fleet, was now the slackest. 
After a disagreeable cruise of nine weeks, in which 
time we had carried away the main and foretop- 
masts, we were ordered to Portsmouth. After 
refitting we joined another frigate to cruise off 
Havre de Grace, where the enemy had two frigates 
and a corvette nearly ready for sea. We were 
shortly after joined by a sloop of war. At the full 
and change of the moon we always anchored inside 
the Cape, in order to watch the enemy's motions 
more effectively, and, when under weigh, we some- 
times trawled and dredged, and frequently caught 


sufficient fish for the whole crew, as well as a 
quantity of oysters. 

On one unlucky evening we ran on board 
the sloop of war, carried away the mainmast, 
and destroyed a part of her upper works. Fortu- 
nately for the officer of the watch the captain 
was on deck, and had been giving orders respecting 
the sails, which took the responsibility from the 
shoulders of the former. The sloop was so ill- 
treated by us that she was, without delay, obliged 
to proceed to Portsmouth. A few days after this 
accident we were ordered to the same port. On 
our arrival a court of inquiry sat to investigate the 
reason why the mainmast of one of His Majesty's 
cruisers should be so unceremoniouslv knocked 
away by the jib-boom of another. The answers not 
being quite satisfactory our captain was repri- 
manded and the other admonished. We sailed 
shortly after, and resumed our station. Of all 
duties imposed on an active mind blockading 
vessels in an enemy's port, from whence there is 
not much probability of their sailing, is the most 
tiresome. The mids declared that had patient Job 
been on board the ten weeks we were off Havre 
he would have lost his patience in the fifth week 
and thrown up his commission. After a lazy cruise 
of nearly eleven weeks the frigate once more sat 
like a duck at Spithead. 


"ordered foreign." 

Ordered on foreign service — Visit Madeira, Cape de Verde, and 
Goree — -Experiences on shore — Sail for Cape Coast Castle — 
Difficulty of landing — The captain's black lady — Author appointed 
captain of H.M.S. Favourite — Proceed to Accrah — Sacred 

After a refit and taking on board six months' 

provisions and stores, as we were ordered to fit 

foreign, our signal was made to proceed to sea 

under sealed orders, taking with us a sloop of war. 

On the tenth day we anchored in Funchal Roads, 

Madeira, with our consort. The day following was 

the natal day of our gracious Queen, on which 

occasion we both fired a royal salute and dressed 

the ships with f^ags. The captain, with as many 

of the officers as could be spared, was invited to 

dine with the consul at Funchal. At four o'clock 

the captain, two of my messmates and myself, left 

the ship, and in half an hour afterwards we reached 

the consul's house, where we met an agreeable 

party, consisting of four English ladies and eight 

gentlemen. It was the month of June, and the 

weather was very warm, but it did not prevent us 

from seeing the town and visiting some of the 

nunneries. The former was scarcely worth our 

trouble, and the latter gave us, from the nuns' 



appearance, no very high opinion of female beauty. 
We visited some of the vineyards. The vines, 
trained over arched trelHs work, extend to some 
distance, and when in full leaf afford a delightful 
shade. The grapes are generally remarkably large 
and of a delicious flavour. The morning: before 
sailing I found the best bower cable was two- 
thirds cut through by some small, sharp instru- 
ment on the turn round the bit-head. The hands 
were turned up and singly interrogated. Nobody 
knew anything about it. All appeared anxious to 
find out the culprit, but in vain. Had the cable 
parted in the night we should not have had room 
to have let go the small bower, and must have gone 
on the rocks. 

In the afternoon we sailed, ran along the 
Canary Islands, and in five days afterwards 
anchored off the island of Goree. This small, 
tolerably well-fortified island is a few miles 
from Cape de Verde. It possesses no harbour, 
but the anchorage off the town is good. It pro- 
duces nothing but a few cotton bushes. The 
inhabitants are very poor. They manufacture 
cotton cloths, in which they clothe themselves. 
They are a mixture of black, brown and white. 
Their features are more of the Arabian than the 
African cast. They speak corrupt English, French 
and Portuguese. They are very proud and equally 
independent. The better class live in small houses 
made of mud and clay, the inferiors in cone-shaped 
buildings something like Indian kraals, formed 


neatly of bamboo and surrounded by a bamboo 
wall. The Governor, Colonel Lloyd, gave us an 
invitation to dinner and a ball. I was one of the 
party. The former consisted of buffalo soup, fish, 
and Muscow ducks, the latter of a number of brown 
ladies dressed like bales of cotton. Dancing with 
them might be compared to a cooper working 
round a cask. Some few had tolerably regular 
features, and I noticed the captain making love 
like a Greenland bear to the girl I danced with. 

The second morning after our arrival I was sent 
with two cutters to haul the seine off the mainland 
about three miles to the westward of Cape de 
Verde. As soon as we had made the first haul, in 
which we had taken a quantity of herrings, about 
twenty of the inhabitants of that part of the coast 
rushed towards the fish with the intention of 
seizing them. I desired the marines we had with 
us to present their muskets in order to frighten 
them. It answered perfectly, and they retired. I 
then desired two of the seamen to take a quantity 
of the fish and lay them down at some short dis- 
tance, and I beckoned to the natives to come and 
take them, which they did, tumbling over each 
other in the scramble. After having taken a 
quantity of herrings in three hauls, besides several 
larger fish, I proceeded with one of the marines 
and the coxswain to the town. 

I found it a miserable place, much like Goree, 
but three times the size, and surrounded by a 
high fence of thick bamboo matting, supported by 


long stakes. All I could purchase were two old 
Muscovy ducks, some pumpkins, and a few cocoa- 
nuts. One of the ducks got adrift, and a long, lean, 
hungry girl caught it and ran off with it into the 
brushwood, where we lost sight of her. The people 
of Goree informed us they were terrible thieves, 
and we proved it. The following day I again paid a 
visit to these Patagonian people, for the greater part 
of the men at Cape de Verde were more than six feet 
in stature and very slight. They all carried long 
lances, principally because of the numerous patti- 
goes, or hyenas, in their neighbourhood. The 
purser, who was with me, purchased with some 
rum which the coxswain of the boat brought with 
him two sacks of beans and some oranges. I 
mentioned the loss of my duck the day before 
to a man who understood EngUsh and spoke it 
indifferently. As I stood alongside of him, both 
the purser and myself, who were five feet seven, 
appeared like pigmies. He was at least seven feet 
two inches, and had an amazing long lance in his 
hand. He laughed loud and long at my recital. 
'' Ah, Buckra," at last he chuckled out, " you takee 
care anoder time, eh ! and you no lettee de duck 
run abay ; if you do, anoder piccaninny girl hab it 
again, eh ? " 

"Confound this fellow!" said the purser; "I 
believe he is a worse rogue than the girl. Have 
you had enough of his palaver?" "Almost too 
much," answered I. "Let us pull foot." We 
returned to the boat, and after an hour's row 


got on board. The following day I dined with 
Commissary Hamilton, who showed me a letter 
from the interesting Mr. Mungo Park, who was 
surireon of the ree^iment he belonged to. Mr. 
Hamilton told me he had set out with forty in 
his party, but that in consequence of sickness it 
was reduced to twenty-five ; but notwithstanding 
these drawbacks Park wrote in good spirits, and 
was determined to persevere in his journey to 

Before we sailed I made another excursion on 
the mainland, and fell in with fourteen Arabian 
traveUing merchants. They were seated on the 
ground like London tailors, surrounded by their 
bales of goods, principally rough cotton, with six 
camels and two tame ostriches. The former were 
lying down, the latter walking about and searching 
for food among the short, rank grass and stones. 
Some of the latter I observed they swallowed. I 
purchased from the merchants some ostrich eggs. 
They asked me to give them rum. One of them, 
who spoke a little English, and was interpreter for 
the others, told me they intended coming on board 
to see the ship, and to shake hands with the 
captain. I informed him he would feel himself 
highly flattered by such Arabian condescension, but 
that they must make haste, as the ship would sail 
in a day or two. They all begged to shake hands 
with us, for the marine officer accompanied me. On 
returning to the boat we found two of the natives, 
who appeared at a distance more like maypoles 


than men, endeavouring to hold a conversation 
with the boat's crew. The coxswain told me they 
had fallen in love with the boat-hook, and oftered 
in exchange one of their lances. When we appeared 
their thoughts were turned from the boat-hook to 
the marine officer's sword, and they requested him, 
by signs, to make an exchange. Another native had 
joined the other two, armed with a musket. I 
made signs to him to let me look at it, but he would 
not trust it out of his hands. I remarked it was an 
old English worn-out gun without a hammer to the 
lock. Perceiving that they were beginning to be 
troublesome, we jumped into the boat and threw 
them some biscuits, which they devoured with the 
appetite of wolves. 

We had not been on board an hour when 
we were honoured with a visit from four of the 
Arabians, who, without ceremony, went up to the 
captain and shook him by the hand, and asked 
him for the purser. The latter very opportunely 
made his appearance, when the captain pointed him 
out to the Arab who spoke broken English. He 
soon left the latter, and accosted the former with 
unbluvshing effrontery, and asked him for a cask of 
flour. " And for what ? " demanded the purser. 
" Because I your good friend," was the answer. 
" You are an impudent, beggarly rascal," said our 
hasty-tempered purveyor of provisions to him. 
"What can I see in your precious ugly black face 
that will induce me to give you anything but a good 
kicking?" " Patience and policy, messmate," I said. 


"Where is your philosophy? Let your steward 
give them a few biscuits and a dram, and get rid 
of them." To this proposal, after a grumble, he 
assented, and they departed. 

The following morning we weighed, and made all 
sail for Cape Coast Roads. On our passage we 
experienced heavy squalls of wind and rain, which 
frequently obliged us to clew all up. We anchored 
at Sierra Leone on the fourth day, and found the 
colony healthy. After remaining two days to com- 
plete our water, we left it, and proceeded to our 
destination. We anchored off Cape Coast a few 
days afterwards, at a respectable distance, as the surf 
> breaks two miles from the shore. The ship's boats 
on this part of the coast are useless. Were they to 
attempt to land they would soon be swamped and 
knocked to pieces, and the crews drowned. Native 
canoes of from eight to twenty paddles are only 
used, and it requires great caution and dexterity by 
the black boatmen to prevent their being upset. I 
once came off in a large canoe with twenty paddles. 
On the third rolling surf she was half filled, and I 
was washed out of the chair among the paddlers. 
As soon as the sails were furled, a large canoe 
came off from the Governor with an invitation for 
the captain to dine with him. I remarked that the 
greater part of the coal-coloured crew of the canoe 
had the wool on their heads tied into about thirty 
tails an inch in length. A painter might have 
manufactured a tolerable Gorgonian head from 
among them. 


On the following day we were visited by several 
flat-nosed, thick-lipped, black-skinned ladies, who 
came off with the express purpose of being married 
to some of the man-of-war buckras. They soon 
found husbands. In the afternoon a canoe came 
alongside with a tall grasshopper of a woman as 
ugly as sin and as black as the ace of spades, 
with a little girl about seven years old a shade, if 
possible, blacker, and as great a beauty as herself. 
One of the canoe men came on the quarter-deck 
with them. He made a leg and pulled one of the 
many tails of his wool, and addressed me as follows: 
" Massa officer, Massa Buckra Captain hab sent 
him wife off and him piccaninny." Saying this he 
gave me a note, which was addressed to his steward, 
the barber, who came and told me, to my amaze- 
ment, that the animal on two ill-formed legs was to 
have the use of the captain's cabin. Thinks I to 
myself, "Wonders will never cease. There is no 
accounting for taste. Some people are over nice, 
some not nice enough." About two hours after our 
gallant captain came on board, I presume love- 
sick, for he either looked love or shame-stricken. 
Probably I was mistaken, as I concluded he had 
discarded the latter when he entered the Service as 
an unmanly appendage. 

Whilst here I went on shore with some of 
my messm.ates, and dined with the mess at 
the Castle off goat, boiled, broiled, roasted, 
stewed, and devilled, and some fish. In short 
they have nothing else except some half-starved 

K.G. R 


fowls and Muscovy ducks ; sometimes, but not very 
often, buffalo beef, which is so tough that after 
you have swallowed it — for you cannot chew it — 
you are liable to indigestion for two months or so ; 
so naturally they prefer young goat. The Castle, 
which stands on an eminence, is strong on the sea 
face, but I presume it would not hold out long on 
the land side against a regular siege, but as I am 
no engineer, I will leave it, as Moore's Almanac 
says of the hieroglyphic, to the learned and the 
curious. The town consists of small, low huts, the 
greater part of which are built of stakes and mud, 
whitewashed over, and thatched with palm leaves. 
I saw a spot of parched, arid ground which was 
designated a botanical garden. If it did not contain 
many exotics, it did a most savage tiger, which was 
enclosed in an iron cage. 

We had been cruising along the coast, and some- 
times anchoring for about five weeks, when the 
captain of the sloop of war was promoted from this 
fleeting world to a better. I was, in consequence, 
appomted as her captain, being in my ninth year as 
lieutenant when I obtained my promotion. I parted 
company with die frigate shortly afterwards, and 
anchored off Accrah. A canoe soon came off with 
an invitation from the Governor requesting my 
company to dinner. I accepted it and went on shore, 
where I was received by a young man who was more 
merchant than soldier, but who had command of 
the fort which coQimanded the roadstead and the 
town. He informed me that a little distance from 

FETICH. 243 

the town was a large lagoon or lake in which were 
frequently found four or more large tame alligators. 
'* For," added he, " although the natives often 
suffer from their depredations, and once one of 
their children was devoured by one of these reptiles, 
they hold themsacred, and they are ' fetiched ' or 
made holy." "I should much like to see one," 
said I. "I will," answered he, "send for one of 
the Cabaceers, or head men of the town, and we 
shall soon know if there are any in the neighbour- 
hood." A quarter of an hour had elapsed when in 
came a grave-looking black man dressed in blue 
serge, with a gold-headed long cane in his hand, 
the badge of his office. He informed the Governor 
there was a large alligator at the bottom of the lake, 
and that if he would provide him with a white fowl 
and a bottle of rum, his people might possibly lure 
him out. About an hour expired when we heard a 
bustle not far distant, and a man came to apprise us 
that the alligator was in the town, that a marabout, 
or priest, was ready to fetich it, and only waited for 
us. We had not proceeded more than twelve yards 
from the fort when we saw the reptile, which was 
about eighteen feet long, in full trot after a man 
who held the unfortunate fowl destined to be the 
victim. As soon as we approached he turned short 
round. The reptile, with his upper jaw nearly 
thrown on the back of his head, was some time in 
turning, owing to its length and the shortness of its 
legs, and was again in chase of the man who held 
the fowl. The marabout now came after it, and 

R 2 


when close to its tail, threw the rum over it, 
mumbling some strange sounds. It was then 
considered sacred, and death would have been the 
punishment of those who hurt it. Before it came 
to the margin of the lagoon, the man with the poor 
fowl, which was more than half-dead with fright, 
slackened his pace, and threw it into the alligator's 
mouth. The reptile then made for the water, sank 
to the bottom, and ate the miserable bird. We 
returned to dinner, which consisted of a hearty 
welcome, some excellent fish, fowl soup, boiled fowl 
^\•ith ham, and a roasted saddle of kid, with yams and 
plantains, pine-apples and oranges, madeira and 
sherry. In the evening I took leave of my hospitable 
host and repaired on board, and the following 
morning put to sea. 

After cruising for six weeks in chase of the wind 
— for we saw nothing during that period except two 
slave ships from Liverpool, from whom we procured 
a few indifferent potatoes — we again anchored off 
Cape Coast. I went on shore and paid my respects 
to the Governor, General Tourenne, in a new 
character. I had once dined with him when 
lieutenant of the frigate ; he did not recollect me, 
but requested me whenever I was disposed to take 
up my residence at the Castle, and to consider it 
my home during the time I remained on the station. 
"The Ashantee, or Assentee nation have," con- 
tinued he, " been very troublesome of late and have 
declared war against the Fantee nation, who are 
under our protection, as it is through them all the 


commerce along the coast takes place, and of this, 
the Ashantees, who are the inland nation, wish to 
partake. Your being in the roads will in some 
measure check them." I promised to visit the 
roads as often as my other duties would permit 
me, and if necessary assist with the marines. 



Cruise along West African coast— Dine with Danish consul at Cape 
Coast Castle— Ordered to Sierra Leone — A trip inland — We pro- 
ceed to the Los Islands— A trip up the River Pongo— Quell disturb- 
ance on a slaver — A dinner with a native prince — His presents. 

After remaining a few days, during which time 
nothing transpired that required our presence, we 
again weighed and sailed along the coast towards 
the Bight of Benin. We experienced frequent 
calms with much squally weather, attended with 
vivid lightning and heavy rain. Finding a current 
setting round the bight to the eastward, we were 
obliged to carry a press of sail to act against it, and 
were nearly three weeks working up from Cape St. 
Paul's to Dix Cove, where we anchored. On this 
part of the coast, particularly Dix Cove, you may 
land without the assistance of a canoe, as the surf 
is not so rolling or so high. There is a small 
English settlement here, which I visited, and dined 
with the principal settler. The town is small and 
not worth a description. We procured a quantity 
of oranges and cocoanuts, and I had the opportunity 
of witnessing the native dancing. A tom-tom, or 
rough kind of long drum, is beaten by two men, to 
the noise of which (for it was anything but music) 
they keep time. The dancers, particularly the 


women, appeared by their gestures and movements 
to be in a state of delirium ; they certainly were 
much excited, and kept up such a continued howl 
that I soon took my departure. 

As I turned round I came in contact with a most 
pitiable object — a sickly, dead-white coloured native. 
I had heard of such beings, but had never seen one. 
He was about five feet five inches high, and very thin ; 
his features were rather more prominent than those 
of a negro, his eyes were very small, very weak, and 
of a reddish hue. He appeared by his manner to 
be an idiot. He held out his hands to me in a 
supplicating manner, I gave him a small piece of 
money ; he looked earnestly in my face, and mixed 
with the crowd. On returningto the town I passed 
three females with different coloured ochres smeared 
over their bodies. On inquiry, I found they were 
subject to fever and ague, and the application of 
different earths was their best mode of treating this 
complaint. Three weeks afterwards we again 
visited Cape Coast Roads, where we found the 
frigate, who had lost the marine officer and several 
of the seamen. Whenever the surgeon reported 
five men on the sick list in harbour I immediately 
put to sea, and to amuse the crew we got up some 
pantomimes. They were ridiculous enough, but 
they answered the purpose and kept all hands in 
good humour. The consequence was that we did 
not lose one man during the four months we were 
on the coast. 

I received orders from the captain of the frigate 


to repair to Sierra Leone and proceed to the 
West Indies with the slave ships as soon as they 
were ready. We had now been more than two 
months on this station without capturing anything, 
and we were much pleased with the order to change. 
On taking leave of the Governor, he told me he had 
had a palaver with the King of the Ashantees, 
whom he described as a fine, high-spirited young 
man. "I have been trying," said he, "to prevail 
on him to make peace with the Fantees. The 
King's answer to my request was brief and 
positive. ' What,' asked he, ' is your most sacred 
oath ? ' ' We swear by our God,' I replied. 
' Then,' said the king of the savages, ' I swear 
by an EngUshman's God that instead of making 
peace with the Fantee nation I will exterminate 
the whole race.' ' Not those under the protection 
of the British flag ? ' said I. * Yes,' returned 
he, ' all, and without exception.' ' Then if you 
do persist in so fatal a purpose, you must take 
the consequences, for I also swear that if you 
or any of your people come in a hostile manner 
within reach of our guns, I will shoot every one of 
you.' He gave me a look of fierce defiance, and 
informed me by the interpreter that the palaver was 
over. On which I took my leave, not highly 
pleased. You are going to leave us, I understand," 
said he. " I much regret it, for we have just made 
your acquaintance, and I should like to have 
continued it." I acknowledged the compliment, 
which I believe was sincere. " To-morrow," 


continued he, " I am invited to dine at the Danish 
settlement. The Governor is a very good kind of 
man, well-informed, and hospitable. Would you 
like to accompany me ? He speaks English, and I 
am sure would feel flattered by your visit." 

I consented, and at four o'clock in the afternoon 
on the following day I was at the Castle, where eight 
stout black men, with palanquins, were ready to 
carry us. I found this mode of travelling very easy 
and agreeable. The hammock in which I reclined 
was made of a long grass, stained with several 
colours ; two of the bearers carried it on their 
shoulders by a pole, the other two sang songs, kept 
off the mosquitoes and sunflies by whisking about a 
branch of a cocoanut tree over the hammock, 
and occasionally relieved the others. On our jour- 
ney we paid a short visit and took Schnapps with 
the Governor of a Dutch settlement, who saluted us 
with his four guns (all he had), and in so doing 
knocked down some of the parapet of his fort, which 
dismounted half of them. My bearers were so 
frightened by the report that they let me fall. As 
their fears soon subsided, and I was not hurt, we 
continued our journey. About three-quarters of an 
hour brought us within sight of Cronenburg Castle, 
the Danish settlement, when we were met by a set 
of wild black men, who called themselves men of 
war. They had a leathern case containing a 
musket cartridge hanging from the cartilage of their 
noses. This gave them the appearance of having 
large moustachios, and if they did not look very 


warlike, they looked ridiculously savage. They 
kept constantly charging and firing muskets, 
without any order, in honour of our visit. 

We at length entered the great gate, and were 
ushered, by two black lacqueys in livery, into 
a large hall, which, for Africa, was tolerably fur- 
nished. The Danish Governor, who was dressed 
in a blue embroidered coat, soon made his appear- 
ance. He was a portly person, with much good 
humour in his countenance. At six we sat down to 
dinner, which was abundant, and, for the first time, 
I eat some kous-kous, or palm nut soup. I thought 
it excellent, and the pepper pot was magnificent — so 
a Frenchman would have said had he been one of 
the party. My old acquaintance, goat's flesh, did 
not make its appearance, but instead we had 
not badly-flavoured mutton — which, to tell you a 
secret, was not very tender. We remained until 
half-past nine o'clock, when we took our departure. 
The men of war with their cartridge moustachios 
saluted us by firing their muskets, the wadding of 
which struck me and my palanquin, for which I did 
not thank them, as a bit of the wadding burnt my 

On reaching the Castle at Cape Coast I was so 
wearied that I was almost too lazy to undress. 
I slept soundly, and ate a late breakfast, took a 
final leave of the good General (who made me a 
present of a fine pointer), repaired on board the 
frigate, whose captain was tormented with the 
blue devils ; he requested me to remain until the 


following day, when, as he had chased them away 
by a few glasses of his favourite beverage — good 
stiff grog — and there was no further hope of posting 
myself into the frigate, I ordered the anchor to be 
tripped, and we soon made the sparkling, transparent 
wave curl like an old maid's wig before us. 

We were three tedious weeks before we reached 
Sierra Leone, owing to what sailors term " Irish 
hurricanes" — when the wind is perpendicular, or, in 
plain English, no wind at all. On landing, I met 
the Governor, Mr. Ludlow, who had kindly come to 
welcome me, and begged that I would consider the 
Fort my home. I made suitable acknowledgments, 
and accompanied him to his house, which was con- 
venient, tolerably cool, and comfortable. He showed 
me a clean, cool room, which he was pleased to 
call my sleeping room. I found him an amiable 
and good person, and was happy and proud of his 
acquaintance. He told me he intended to make an 
excursion into the interior, in order to discover the 
source of a water-fall, and invited me to be one of 
the party, to which, as I was naturally fond of 
voyages of discovery, I willingly consented. 

The day after, at daybreak, we started, the 
Governor and myself in palanquins with awnings and 
mosquito nets. We were thirty-five in party, including 
twenty-four black pioneers, the captain of whom was 
an intelligent white man. We cut a path through an 
immense large forest, which boasted some noble- 
looking cotton, manchinel and iron trees, and a red 
tree something resembling the bastard mahogany. 


Although we had penetrated and ascended more 
than half-way up one of the Mountains of Lions, 
we discovered nothing living but a variety of 
beautifully-plumaged birds, which, unused to the 
intrusion of other bipeds, uttered most discordant 
screams. After a fatiguing march, in which we 
were directed by a pocket compass, we descried a 
small rivulet. We followed its course for some 
time, and at length arrived at the base of a 
stupendous rock from which it issued. We, by 
calculation, were distant at this time from the town 
nineteen miles, nearly seven of which we had cut 
through the forest. We all took refreshment and 
drank His Majesty's health, first in wine and then 
in a crystal draught from the spring. In returning 
we kept on the bank of the rivulet until it swelled 
into a small river. The ground then became thickly 
beset with jungle and swampy. 

By five o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at 
the fall, which, by measurement, was one hundred 
and seven feet perpendicular, and about forty-two 
wide without a break — it was a beautiful sight. 
We dined on a large rock about a quarter of a 
mile from its base, and even at that distance our 
clothes were damp from its spray. We discovered 
a large rock of granite from which issued a small 
stream of water that became tributary to that of 
the fall. We also saw two brown monkeys, one of 
which was shot. Some of the blacks brought it 
with them; it was of the small kind, and they told 
me it was good eating. 


We arrived at the Fort at three o'clock the next 
morning, when I was suddenly attacked with a 
severe headache and a violent fit of the bile. As 
this was nothing new to me, I kept myself quiet, 
and Nature was my best physician. The slave 
convoy for the West Indies, I found, consisted of 
three ships and a brig, with about eleven hundred 
slaves. As the rice season was backward, I was 
petitioned by the merchants to postpone the convoy 
a fortnight, to which I consented, and made a short 
cruise off the Los Islands, where I anchored and 
made an excursion up the Rio Pongo. I passed 
a small English settlement near its mouth, not 
fortified, at which I landed, and was informed that 
a slave ship belonging to Bristol was in a state of 
mutiny, and that her surgeon was confined in irons. 
As she was lying about twenty miles farther up the 
river, and we had to pull that distance under a 
burning sun, I thought it no joke. However, as 
there was no alternative, we made up our minds 
to bear it, and reached her after a fatiguing four 
hours' pull. I found her a rakish-looking vessel 
with her boarding netting triced up. On gaining 
her deck I inquired for her captain. " He is on 
shore," was the answer. "Who are you?" said 
I to the spokesman. *' The chief mate," returned 
he. "Turn your hands up and let me see what 
sort of stuff you are made of. You look very 
privateerish outside." Nine men made their 
appearance, some of whom looked sickly. " These 
are not all your crew; where are the remainder?" 


"On shore, sir?" "Where is the surgeon?" 
"On shore also." " Show me the ship's papers." 
" The captain has them." " Now," said I, " I 
tell you what, Master Mate, I am going on shore 
to have some conversation with the African Prince 
Lawrence, and if your captain and surgeon are not 
with me at the chieftain's house in half an hour 
after I land, I will put an officer and men on board 
your ship, and if everything I have heard against 
his conduct is not cleared up to my satisfaction, 
I will carry her to Jamaica." 

The river at this beautiful place, for the country 
appeared green and fresh and ornamented with a 
profusion of lofty palm and cocoanut trees, was much 
wider than at its mouth. On landing, a number of 
the natives had assembled on the shore to view us as 
sea-monsters or curiosities, as they had never seen 
two men-of-war's boats at their settlement before. 
The prince's son, who was among them, came up 
to me. He was dressed in a white linen jacket 
and trousers, with a white English hat. He spoke 
tolerable English. He requested me to go to his 
father's house, which was a long, low, white- 
washed building, with a four-pounder sticking out of 
a kind of window at one end of it, and before it 
was a mud battery of four more four-pounders in 
bad repair. On being introduced to him I found 
he also spoke English. He asked me the occasion 
of my visit. I acquainted him, when he, without 
ceremony, summoned one of the cabaceers, or 
principal men, and desired him to find the captain 


Ox^ the slave-ship and bring him with him. " I 
dine at three o'clock," said he; "I hope you will 
favour me with your company." I accepted the 
invitation. This prince's appearance was Hke that 
of an European, his features were regular and 
pleasing. He informed me his father was an 
Arabian chief, but that he was born on the spot 
where he now resided, and that he had married 
one of the native king's daughters. He had two 
sons ; the eldest was with him, and the other in 
England for his education. " I am very partial 
to the English," added he, " and should like to go 
to England, but that is impossible." Our con- 
versation was interrupted by the entrance of the 
native magistrate with the master of the slave-ship, 
a sharp-looking, rather slight man. He pulled off 
his hat. " I understand, sir, that you wish to speak 
with me." " I most assuredly do," answered I. 
*' Have you brought the ship's papers and the 
surgeon with you ? " "I have the first about me," 
saying this he took them from his coat-pocket and 
gave them to me. " As for the surgeon," said he, 
" he has behaved infamously and ungratefully. I 
paid his lodgings at Bristol, and if he had not 
come with me he must have starved or have been 
put in prison." "This," answered I, "is your 
concern and not mine. I want to know where he 
is." " He is in a house about a quarter of a mile 
off, where I intend keeping him until I am ready 
for sea, for he has also made a mutiny in the ship 
and the greater part of the men have gone on shore 


without leave." " I have only one order to give," 
said I, " and that is that you show my lieutenant and 
two marines, whom I will send with you, where you 
have confined the surgeon." He reluctantly con- 
sented, and in about an hour the lieutenant and his 
party returned with an emaciated, tall young man. 
He had been confined in irons and fed on bread and 
water, with sometimes a few vegetables. 

As it was too long a story for me to investigate, 
I left it to be discussed by the proper authorities 
on the ship's arrival at Jamaica. I had the men 
who had left the ship brought before me. They 
refused to join her again until I told them that 
if they did not I would impress the whole of them. 
Five of the best of them immediately stepped 
forward and begged to enter. As there were 
fourteen others I accepted them. The others 
returned to the ship on the captain promising to 
use them well and to overlook all past grievances. 
The papers were regular, which I returned, 
admonishing him at the same time to be more 
considerate in his conduct to his men. A dinner 
was sent to the boats' crews by the prince, and 
I desired the midshipmen to entertain the surgeon, 
who had expressed a wish to join our ship. 

After all this much ado about something, I was 
ready for my dinner, and in a quarter of an hour it 
was announced by the blowing of a conch. In passing 
through a large hall I found myself surrounded by 
coal-coloured gentlemen of all grades, one of whom 
wished to look at my dirk. He examined it very 


closely ; it appeared to take his fancy as it was 
silver gilt, but as I did not take the hint, and was 
very hungry, I took it from him and hastened into 
the dining-room. The dinner was laid out on a 
large table on trestles ; all the dishes were covered 
with cones made of cane and stained different 
colours. The table was also covered with light 
cane mats ; altogether it had a very pretty effect. 
The eatables consisted of fowls stewed to death, 
ducks and buffalo, and an abundance of rice, which 
was served up with every dish. My favourite 
dish, pepper-pot, was much in request, and I could, 
by a sly peep, see some of the Massa Blackies use 
their fingers instead of their spoons. Roasted 
plantain was eaten instead of bread ; palm-wine 
and grog were the principal beverages, although 
the prince, the lieutenant and myself drank two 
bottles of madeira which I had brought in the 
boat. The princess was amiability itself; she was 
very black, very fat and very good-natured. After 
dinner we walked round the mansion. In one of 
the yards the young prince showed us a black 
ostrich, which was considered a rarity. It stood 
with its neck erect, and was about eleven feet high 
to the crown of its head. Its eyes were fierce 
and resembled rubies. 

At six o'clock I took my leave of the chieftain 
and his wife. On entering the boat, I found 
a milch cow and calf, two dozen ducks, and 
a dozen fowls, besides bows and quivers filled 
with arrows, a variety of fruits, and some 

K.G. s 


tiger skins. He had also, at parting, presented 
me with a gold ring weighing four ounces. I was 
overpowered with his disinterested kindness, and 
sent him some rum and gunpowder. Before I left 
the place I obtained from the master of the slave- 
ship an order, payable at Jamaica, for the surgeon's 
salary and wages of the seamen who had entered. 
We got on board the same evening. The next 
morning I visited the largest of the Los or Loes 
Islands, which, I presume, in days of yore had been 
created by a volcanic eruption. I struck off some 
of the rock which contained iron, and had a ringing 
sound, and on rubbing it together it smelt of sulphur. 
There were a few small houses on the island 
inhabited by fishermen, who appeared as poor 
as Job's stable-boy. 



Return to Sierra Leone — Dinner party aboard — Sail with convoy of 
five slave-ships — How the slaves were obtained — Arrive Bar- 
badoes — Sail for Tobago and Trinidad — Visit Pitch Lake — To 
Jamaica — Cruising off Cuba — Futile attempt on two Spanish 
privateers — Capture small Spanish privateer — Return to Jamaica 
— Arrange exchange with captain of home-going ship — A chal- 
lenge to Spanish corvette declined by the latter. 

Finding little and seeing less, I repaired on board 
and made sail for Sierra Leone, where we anchored 
next morning. I went on shore and dined with the 
Governor, and the day following received an invita- 
tion to a dinner from the principal merchants, which 
I accepted, and was introduced to the native king 
who had sold the settlement to the English. He was 
dressed in an embroidered blue silk coat, white satin 
waistcoat and inexpressibles, with agold-laced cocked 
hat and a pair of heavy ammunition shoes. He wore 
no stockings, he was old and ugly, and his shins 
were sharp and curved. I gave him an invitation 
to dine on board, which he declined. Before we 
sailed, I joined a picnic party to Bence Island, 
which is situated about fourteen miles up the river 
from Free Town. We dined there very pleasantly, 
and one of the merchants made me a present of a 
collection of insects and handsome shells, in return 

s 2 


for which I sent him some views. The 21st of October 
falHng on the day before our departure, I asked the 
Governor, the officers of the regiment, and the mer- 
chants to dine on board. We dressed the ship and 
decorated the quarter-deck. At five o'clockwe sat down 
to a dinner, consisting of all the delicacies of Sierra 
Leone and the ship's provision. Port and madeira 
circulated freely, and the company began to get in 
high spirits; and as there were two white ladies, 
wives of the two military commanding officers, who 
accompanied their husbands, a dance was proposed 
on the quarter-deck. The only musicians we could 
muster were the marine drummer, ship's fifer, and 
my steward, who performed on the clarionet. I 
opened the ball with the Honourable Mrs. Forbes, 
and was followed by most of the others, until it 
became too ridiculous, as few knew anything about 
dancing. Before confusion became rife I proposed 
singing. My steward sung in the style of Incledon, 
and he was much applauded ; and one of the marines, 
after the manner of Braham — he also had his share 
of applause and encores. Punch was now the order 
of the night, and, after laying in a good stock, they 
all ordered their canoes and paddled on shore, huzza- 
ing the whole time. The Governor had taken his 
departure in one of the ship's boats some time before, 
to avoid the uproar. I shall not mention the toasts 
that were given; as we were all loyal and true, they 
were the quintessence of loyalty. The morning 
before sailing I breakfasted at the Fort. The 
convoy, consisting of five sail, were ready. I bid an 

SLAVES. 261 

affectionate farewell to the Governor, who had been 
uniformly kind, and I was soon on board, where I 
found a note from the Honourable Captain Forbes, 
and one from the Governor. The first was to beg 
I would accept some excellent bacon, a beautiful 
live fawn, and some cane mats. The last was accom- 
panied by a fine crown bird, which stood five feet 
high, two dozen fowls, and some Muscovy ducks. 
My feelings were quite overcome by so much 
genuine kindness, and I shall ever retain it in 
grateful recollection, and I have real pleasure in 
recording it in this narrative. 

I must not omit to inform my readers that 
during the time I was at Bence Island, which 
was the great mart for slave dealing, forty of 
those unfortunate beings arrived, most of them half 
famished. The principal merchant, who was a 
mulatto, told me that the greater part of them had 
been pledged for rice, which is the principal food m 
Africa, that they had not been redeemed at the time 
appointed, and in consequence had become the pro- 
perty of those who supplied the food. The remainder 
were those taken prisoners in the skirmishes occa- 
sioned by their trespassing on each other's ground, 
particularly on the rice patches when the grain was 
nearly ripe. A black woman offered me her son, a 
boy about eleven years of age, for a cob — about four- 
and-sixpence. I gave her the money, and advised 
her to keep her son. Poor thing ! she stared with 
astonishment, and instantly gave me one of her ear- 
rings, which was made of small shells. It was like 


the widow's mite, all she had to bestow. We were 
soon under sail, and next morning Africa was as a 
dream ; it was no longer seen. 

During the passage in fine weather I myself 
or some of the officers visited the Guinea men, 
and found them orderly and clean, and the 
slaves healthy. On the seventh week we arrived 
at Barbadoes, saw Lady Rodney, Sally Neblet, 
and several more of the true Barbadian born, 
drawling, dignity ladies, who entreated in no 
very dignified manner to "hab de honour for wash 
for massa captain." I gave the preference to the 
relict of Lord Rodney, as she was the oldest acquaint- 
ance, and remembered me when I was " a lilly 
piccaninny midshipman." I paid my respects to the 
Admiral, Sir Alex. Cochrane, who asked me to 
dinner, where I met the Governor and some more 
bigwigs. The Admiral's secretary. Maxwell, who 
appeared to have a snug berth in the country, 
requested me to dine with him the day after, and he 
sent a kittereen, or one-horse gig, for me. I met at 
dinner some brother officers and a few military men. 
Our entertainment did credit to the donor, who 
appeared a hospitable, frank kind of man. In the 
evening I went on board, and next morning received 
a chest of money for the troops at Tobago. At noon 
we cheered the flagship and sailed. On the evening 
of the following day we anchored at Tobago, got 
rid of the soldiers' money, and sailed next morning 
for Trinidad, which we made the same evening, 
but owing to the strong current opposing us through 


the Boca Chlen, or, as it is otherwise called, the 
Great Dragon's Mouth, we did not gain the anchor- 
age before noon on the following day. 

On opening a sealed order I had received from 
the Commander-in-Chief at Barbadoes I found I 
was to take on board some casks of lime juice for 
the men of the hospitals of Jamaica. Thinks I to 
myself, this is what Mr. Hume would have, in the 
Commons House, called jobbery, and a poor kind of 
job it turned out; for, on inspecting the lime juice 
at Port Royal, some of it was condemned as unfit 
for use. The two days I remained at Trinidad 
I dined with the Governor, Sir Thos. Heslip, who 
was urbanity itself. I visited the pitch lake at this 
place, which is a most extraordinary phenomenon. 
I remarked several large chasms in it, where small 
fish were enjoying themselves. I was told by the 
officer who accompanied me that the pitch could not 
be applied to any use. Whilst we were looking 
at it one of the smaller chasms, or rents, closed 
with a bubbling noise, and the water above it 
appeared as if boiling. At daylight on the third 
day I sailed with the convoy for Jamaica, and 
anchored at Port Royal. The day after I waited on 
the Admiral at the Pen, where I dined, and met a 
number of my brother officers, whose conversation 
after dinner was principally respecting their ships. 
As the ship I commanded was healthy I was, if 
possible, determined to keep her so, and I requested 
permission to sail on a long cruise as soon as we 
were refitted. The Pen, or the Government House, 


where the Admiral resides, is about three short miles 
from Greenwich. It is enclosed in a park, and the 
views from it are extensive and beautiful. Some of 
my former parti-coloured beauties of Port Royal had 
gone on the other tack — that is, they had taken up 
their everlasting abode among the land crabs on the 
Palisades, and as I partook of those crustaceous 
fish I very possibly might have eaten some part of 
them. If I did, I thought them very good. 

The yellow fever was making rapid strides on 
board the squadron. It fortunately did not reach 
us, and we sailed on the tenth day after our arrival. 
My cruising ground was between the north side of 
Jamaica and Cuba. I frequently sighted the Moro 
Castle at the entrance of the river where I was for- 
merly taken prisoner and sent to the town of St. Jago. 
The good Spanish Governor's kindness held a lively 
recollection in my memory, but the captain of an 
American vessel who had sailed from thence the day 
before I fell in with him, informed me that he was 
numbered with the dead. Peace to his "manes." 
We had been out a fortnight when one afternoon we 
fell in with two large Spanish schooner privateers. 
They were to windward, and standing for St. Jago. 
" Now," thought I, " if I can get you once under our 
guns, I will pay off old scores." The sea breeze was 
fresh, and we were closing fast. They at first, I 
believe, took us for an American, as I had hoisted 
the Yankee colours. When they came nearly within 
gun-shotthey, unfortunately for us, sawtheirmistake, 
and hauled in for the shore. I tacked, and had got 



within gun-shot of them, when the lower fort of the 
Moro opened its fire on us, one of the shot passing 
through the main top-saih They also fired, and 
their shot went over us. Finding the breeze lulling, 
and that we had no hope of capturing them, I gave 
them our passing broadsides, and as one of them 
yawed, I had reason to believe some of our shot 
took effect. The battery gave us a parting salute 
without doing us injury, when, as the evening was 
closing, and the enemy's vessels had run into the 
mouth of the river, I was obliged to haul off". 

After blockading the mouth of the river for ten days 
without the slightest prospect of success, I anchored 
at Montego Bay, and procured fresh beef for the crew. 
During the two days I remained at anchor I was 
invited, with some of my officers, to the ball given by 
the inhabitants. It was well attended, and I was 
agreeably surprised to meet so many of my fair 
countrywomen, some of whom were handsome and 
still in their teens. I soon became acquainted with 
several respectable families, and if my heart had not 
been in safe keeping in beloved England by a still 
more beloved being, I fear I should have lost it. 
Montego Bay is well fortified, and the town and its 
background, consisting of several ranges of hills and 
mountains, form a rich and pleasing picture. On 
the morning of the third day we sailed, and were 
soon on our former cruising ground. Off' Ochre 
Bay we started a small Spanish privateer, which ran 
into a creek. I sent the boats armed in pursuit of 
her, and after a smart contest of a quarter of an 


hour, in which the gunner and one of the men were 
wounded, they brought her out. The crew had 
landed and taken her gun — a six-pounder — with 
them, which did the mischief to our boats. The 
gun they threw into deep water, after having 
spiked it. She was a small schooner, about 
seventy-five tons. I kept her as a tender, put an 
eighteen-pound carronade, a master's mate, and 
twenty men on board her, and a few days after- 
wards she captured a very pretty schooner coming 
round Cape Mayzi. 

My time being expired, I bore up for Jamaica 
with my two prizes, and arrived at Port Royal on 
the second day. My health, which had been deli- 
cate since leaving Africa, began to decline, and I 
was tormented with a rash, particularly in my face, 
which affected my eyesight. I had, at different 
periods, been twelve years on the West India 
station, and I thought I had had a sufficient share of 
a torrid zone. The Admiral, hearing of my indis- 
position, invited me for change of air to the Pen. 
This kindness, however, did but little good to my 
health. One morning, as I was strolling in the 
Park, calling the crown bird I had given to the 
Admiral, and feeding him and some Cura^oa birds 
which were his companions, I was accosted by the 
captain of a sloop of war who was ordered to take 
a convoy of mahogany ships from Honduras to 
England, and in the course of conversation he men- 
tioned that he understood I intended to give up my 
ship and invalid. " Whoever informed you that I 


intended to invalid," I replied, '' mUvSt have laboured 
under a gross mistake. I would rather go to ' King- 
dom come' quietly than run from my post." "Well," 
said he, "be it so, but if the Admiral were to con- 
sent to your exchanging with me, as I am almost a 
Johnny Newcome in this part of the world, and 
you are an old standard, would this accord with 
your way of thinking ? " "As I am so unwell," 
returned I, "it certainly is a great temptation, but 
we must both have the Admiral's opinion and con- 
sent, and I will give you an answer in two days, 
provided I do not get better, and Fishly, the 
builder, shall give me his opinion respecting your 
sloop, whether Government, on my arrival in 
England, will consider her an effective ship." 

He met me at the builder's at Port Roval the 
following day, when the latter assured me the ship's 
repairs would be comparatively trifling, and that he 
was certain, as those class of vessels were much 
wanted in the Channel, she would be kept in com- 
mission. Three days afterwards we effected the 
exchange, and I sailed to cruise again off Cuba for 
six weeks. Working up against a fiery sea breeze 
tries the minds of those on board as well as the 
rigging, masts and yards of His Majesty's ships. 
A few top-masts sprung and yards carried away are 
trifles, and you may think yourself fortunate if it 
does not happen to a lower mast. We looked into 
Tiberoon, crossed over to Cape St. Nicholas Mole, 
beat up between the island of Tortuga and the 
larger island, overhauled the Grange and Cape 


Francois, took a small row-boat with six swivels 
and fourteen sharp-looking, smutty-coloured gentle- 
men, destroyed her, and bore up for the north side 
of Cuba, where we captured a small Balaker 
schooner, who informed us that a Spanish corvette 
of eighteen guns was lying at Barracow. I imme- 
diately proceeded off that port, and finding the 
information correct, sent her a challenge, and that 
I should remain three days waiting for her. I might 
as well have sent my defiance to the Eddystone 
lighthouse. She sent word that I mii^ht remain 
three years if I chose. The harbour was difficult 
to enter, and well fortified, otherwise her three 
years would not have been three hours before we 
were alongside of her. I remained a week watching 
her movements, which, by-the-bye, were no move- 
ments at all except that she had struck her top-masts 
and hauled further inshore. Finding hope, respect- 
ing her, hopeless, and our cruise at its last gasp, I 
stood close in and fired a gun unshotted by way 
of showing our contempt, which probably the 
Spaniards laughed at, and made sail once more for 



My new ship — Sail for Belize— Native and alligator — Sail for 
England with convoy of ships — Hear of peace being signed 
between Spain and England— Arrive in England — Paid off at 
Sheerness — Return home — Tired of country life — Apply for ship 
— Appointed to H.M.S. Apellcs, 

The sloop of war I now commanded was a fine 
sixteen-gun brig carrying twenty-four-pound-car- 
ronades, with a crew of one hundred and twenty 
as fine men as any in the fleet. They had been 
some time together, and only wished for an 
opportunity of making the splinters fly out of a 
Frenchman's side, and hauling down his tri- 
coloured piece of bunting. I found on my reaching 
Port Royal that Admiral Rowley had arrived to 
supersede Admiral Dacres. In the afternoon I 
dined with both Admirals, and met the Duke of 
Manchester, who was a fine-looking man, but unfor- 
tunately had a nervous afl"ection of the head. He 
asked me several questions respecting the different 
islands, and appeared amused by my descrip- 
tion of them. After we had refitted we sailed for 
Honduras, the Admiral first taking from me the 
master, without appointing another, for which I 
did not thank him. We made the Swan Islands, 
which are small, uninhabited, and surrounded by a 


reef of coral, and on the morning of the third day 
anchored off the town at the mouth of the Behze 
river. Colonel Drummond, who was the command- 
ing officer, received us very civilly, and requested I 
would dine with him as often as I could. A deputa- 
tion of the merchants waited on me to say the 
convoy would be ready in a fortnight. I dined 
frequently at the military mess, and found the 
officers generally gentlemanly. I gave two parties 
on board, but as I had no music there was no 
dancing. We revelled in Calepache and Calapee, 
and I think some of the city aldermen would have 
envied us the mouthfuls of green fat we swallowed. 
I made an excursion up the river with Colonel 
Drummond in a scow, a flat boat so called, or rather 
float, and slept at a pavilion he had on the bank of it. 
I shall never forget my nocturnal visitors, the bull- 
frogs, who, sans fagon, jumped about the room as 
if dancing a quadrille, not to my amusement but 
their own, making a most unmusical noise to the 
tune of something like, " Pay your debts, pay your 
debts, pay your debts." After the third croak they 
paused, probably to give time for everybody to 
become honest. I made daily excursions to the 
neighbouring quays, and picked up a quantity of 
beautiful shells. 

Dining one day with Colonel Drummond, I 
remarked that the black servant who stood near 
me had a piebald neck, and mentioned it as some- 
thing singular. " Why," said the Colonel, " thereby 
hangs a very curious tale, and not a pleasant one to 


him, poor fellow. He is a native of Panama, and 
formerly was employed to float rafts of mahogany 
down the Belize river. He is an expert canoe-man 
and something of a carpenter, and as he was a free 
man I took him into my household. At my request 
he related to me the cause of those white marks on 
his neck. It was thus. As he and another black 
man were floating down the river on a large raft of 
mahogany, it being Sunday he wished to bathe, 
and jumped into the river for that purpose. As he 
was sw^imming after the raft, which was close to 
the mangroves, and had nearly reached it, a large 
alligator seized him by the neck. He roared most 
piteously ; the animal, either alarmed at the noise 
he made, or wishing to have a more convenient 
grip, threw him up, and in so doing he fortunately 
fell on the raft. His companion bound up his 
wounds, which were deep, and soon after he arrived 
at Belize he was sent to the hospital, when, on his 
recovery, he became my servant. " It was a most 
providential escape," exclaimed I. " Indeed it was," 
replied the Colonel, "and so he thinks himself." 
On reaching the ship in the evening I found a 
beautiful mahogany canoe alongside, and on enter- 
ing my cabin the steward brought me a glass globe 
containing two Panama tortoises, which, when full- 
grown, are richly marked and not larger than a 
crown piece. The native name of these pretty 
animals is chinqiia. They were a present from 
Captain Bromley. At the time appointed, seven 
vessels, deeply laden with mahogany, were ready for 


sea. I spent the last day on shore, dined at the 
miUtary mess, bade adieu to all my red-coat friends, 
and the following morning got under weigh with 
my haystack convoy for England. 

We doubled Cape Antonio on the third day, and 
when off the Havannah we perceived a frigate 
standing out of the harbour. We concluded she 
was Spanish. I consulted the officers respecting 
the probability of taking her by laying her along- 
side and boarding her. They thought it might be 
effected. I turned the hands up and acquainted 
them of my intention. Three hearty cheers was 
the response. We prepared for action, and stood 
towards her. We were three gunshots from her 
when it fell calm, as well as dusk, and about an 
hour afterwards a large boat came near us. We 
presumed she was a Spanish gunboat, and had 
taken us for a merchant vessel. I let her come 
alongside, having the marines ready to give them 
a reception when they boarded, and to quietly 
disarm and hand them down the hatchway. The 
first man who came up was a lieutenant of our 
service. ** Hulloa, sir, how is this, and where have 
you comiC from?" said I. "From the Melpo- 
mene,'" replied he, " the frigate you see off the 
Havannah." " This is a terrible disappointment," 
resumed I. " We had made up our minds to 
board and, if possible, carry that frigate, supposing 
her Spanish." "Why, sir," said he, " we yester- 
day carried the disagreeable news to the Governor 
of Cuba of a Spanish peace, and seeing you with 


a convoy, Captain Parker despatched me with some 
letters for England, if you will have the goodness 
to take charge of them." "Willingly," replied I, 
" and pray acquaint him with our mortification." 

He shortly after left us, and we proceeded 

through the Gulf with the convoy. Nothing of 

any importance transpired during our passage of 

nine long, tedious weeks, when we anchored in the 

Downs, where I got rid of all our snail-sailing 

mahogany haystacks. The three days we lay in 

the Downs I took up my quarters at the " Hoop 

and Griffin." Bread and butter, with delicious 

oysters, were my orders of the day, but, alas, my 

former pretty maid was no longer there. She was 

married, had children, and I sincerely hope was 

happy. On the same floor, the father-in-law to the 

First Lord of the Admiralty, with his daughter and 

niece, had taken up their abode for a few days on 

their return journey to London from a tour in Wales. 

Before I was acquainted with this information, 

seeing a carriage at the door and an old gentleman 

with two ladies alight from it, I asked the waiter 

who they were. He answered he did not know, 

but that they had arrived yesterday and that the 

gentleman appeared much out of spirits, and one 

of the ladies very much out of health. The 

purser had been dining with me, and we were 

enjoying our wine, when I said to the waiter, in a 

half-joking manner, " Give my compliments to the 

old gentleman, and request him to hand himself 

in, that we may have a look at hmi." He fulfilled 

K.G. T 


his commission, although I did not intend he should 
do so, to the letter, and in walked a stately, gentle- 
manly-looking man, about seventy. He gave us a 
look that appeared to say, " Surely this is some 
mistake, I know you not." On perceiving his 
embarrassment I advanced towards him, and 
begged, although there was some little mistake, 
that if he were not engaged, he would do me the 
favour to take a glass of wine. " I see," said 
he, "you are officers of the navy," and without 
further hesitation, sat down and became quite 
cheerful. In the course of conversation he in- 
formed me that he had tried the air of Wales for 
the benefit of his daughter, who was married to a 
captain in the navy, and that his other daughter 
was married to Lord Mulgrave, First Lord of the 
Admiralty. I told him we had come from the 
West Indies and were going to sail for Sheerness in 
the morning ; that if he thought his daughter 
would like to go so far on her journey by sea, 
instead of by land, my cabin was entirely at his 
service. He thanked me cordially, but declined it. 
After finishing a brace of decanters of wine he took 
his leave, first giving me his address in London. 
A month afterwards I heard of his death. 

The following morning we sailed, and arrived at 
Sheerness next day, when I received orders to pay 
off the ship, in consequence of herbeing iron-fastened 
and wanting so much repair. She was afterwards 
sold out of the Service. I need not say I was 
much disappointed, and thought the builder at 


Port Royal something of an old woman, and only 
fit for superannuation. I found one of my old 
captains commissioner at this place, to whom I 
gave a turtle, a pig, and a bag of bread dust, for 
he thought one without the other useless, and for 
which he did not even invite me to his house. 
*' Oh, what is friendship but a name that lulls the 
fool to sleep," etc. On the sixth day the ship was 
put out of commission and myself out of full pay. 
I took a postchaise with my light luggage, and I 
arrived in the evening at my dear home, kissed my 
wife and all the women I could meet with that were 
worth the trouble, sat myself down in a snug elbow- 
chair near a comfortable English fire, told a long, 
tough yarn about mountains of sugar and rivers of 
rum, bottle-nosed porpoises, sharks, grampuses, and 
flying-fish, until I fell sound asleep, but, however, 
not so sound to prevent my hearing my best end of 
the ship whispering to someone to put more coals 
on the fire, and roast a chicken for my supper, and 
then she added, with her dear, musical, soft voice, 
" Dear fellow ! How sound he sleeps. I hope he 
will awake quite refreshed, and eat his supper with 
a good appetite. How rejoiced I am he is once 
more at home." I could have jumped up and 
hugged her, but I thought it better to enjoy my 
sleep. If this narrative meets the eye of a bachelor 
sailor I could wish him to splice himself to such 
another clean-looking frigate as my wife, but mind, 
not without he has a purse well filled with the right 
sort, and as long at least as the maintop bowline, 

T 2 


or two cables spliced on end. Love is very pretty, 
very sentimental, and sometimes very romantic, but 
love without rhino is bewildering misery. 

When I awoke next morning I scarcely could 
believe my senses, it appeared too much happiness. 
The elite of the village favoured me with calls and 
congratulations, as well as invitations to tea and petit 
soupers^Wiih a seasoning of scandal. I in return enter- 
tained them occasionally with a few King's yarns, 
which, my gentle reader, are not tarred, and are what 
the seamen vulgarly call rogue's yarns, so called 
because one or more are twisted in large ropes and 
cables made in the King's dockyards, to distinguish 
them from those made in the merchants' yards, and 
should they be embezzled or clandestinely sold, the 
rogue's or white yarn is evidence against the 
possessor. I had been some months on shore 
when I began to get tired of looking at green fields 
and grass combers, and longed to be once more on 
the salt seas. My family had increased to seven 
boys and girls, and I thought it criminal to be 
longer idle, and, after many applications, Mr. 
Yorke, the First Lord of the Admiralty, favoured 
me with an appomtment to command a sloop of 
war on the Downs station. 

I joined her in the cold, uncomfortable month of 
December. The weather was remarkably severe, 
and it was five days before I could get a launch to 
put me on board her. At length I made my footing 
on the quarter-deck. The first lieutenant received 
me and informed me the captain was unwell in the 


cabin, but that he wished to see me. I descended 
into a complete den, filled with smoke and dirt. The 
first object I perceived looming through the dense 
vapour was the captain's nose, which was a dingy 
red. His linen was the colour of chocolate, his 
beard had, I presumed, a month's growth. I 
informed him of my errand, to which he answered 
with something like a growl. As it was impossible 
to remain in the cabin without a chance of being 
suffocated, I begged him, if he possibly could, to 
accompany me to the quarter-deck. He followed 
me with a slow step. I expressed my wish to have 
my commission read. He then gave orders to the 
first lieutenant to turn the hands up. After this 
ceremony I took the command, made a short speech 
to the crew, in which I assured them they should 
have every indulgence the Service afforded. I then 
turned to my predecessor, and asked him when he 
wished to leave the ship. He informed me that 
to-morrow would suit him. I gave the necessary 
orders and went on shore. The admiral, Sir G. 
Campbell, received me very kindly, and invited me 
to dinner, where I met Lady C, the admiral's wife, 
a ladylike, pleasant person. The dinner party con- 
sisted of brother officers. The admiral was a quiet, 
gentlemanly, pleasing man, and a distinguished and 
good officer. As I sat next him he was kind enough 
to inform me that the captain of the sloop I super- 
seded was considered out of his mind, that the 
officers had represented to him that the discipline 
on board her was worse than on a privateer, and 


that he would neither punish for insubordination 
nor have the decks washed. " In consequence of 
which," continued the Admiral, " I was obliged to 
order a Court of Inquiry. The report was to his 
disadvantage ; he was advised to go on shore, to 
which, after some hesitation, he consented, and 
another captain was applied for. You have super- 
seded him, and I make no doubt you will soon 
make her once more a man-of-war." I thanked 
him for his kind communication, and assured him 
that zeal on my part should not be wanting to 
make her equal to one of his best cruisers. On 
rejoining the ship, as I had been the first lieutenant 
for five years in former ships, I told the officers I 
wished to make my own observation on the men's 
conduct, and I would endeavour to effect a reform 
when I found it necessary. The officers, with the 
exception of the master, who was a rough, practical 
seaman, were gentlemanly, well-informed men, and 
I was not surprised at their wishing to get rid of 
their insane chief, although, in any other case, it 
might have proved to them a difficult and probably 
a dangerous experiment. A few days afterwards I 
called on him. I found him in small lodgings in 
an obscure part of the town. I was accompanied 
by Captain J., an old messmate of his in former 
times. He neither knew us nor asked us to take a 
seat. He had a large loaf under his left arm, and 
in his right hand a dinner knife. He appeared to 
wear the same chocolate-coloured chemise and 
beard, his stockings were down over his shoes, and 


his clothes all over flue. We wished him health 
and happiness, to which he returned no answer, 
but began cutting his loaf. The people of the 
house told us he would neither wash himself nor 
take his clothes off when going to bed, but that he 
was perfectly quiet. I understood, before I sailed, 
that his sister had come from the north of England 
to stay with him, and that she had been of great 
use to him. 



Sent to watch the French flotilla off Boulogne — Monotonous duty — 
Return to Sheerness to refit — Story of Billy Culmer — More 
cruising off Boulogne — Return to England. 

On the ninth day after joining, we sailed to 
cruise off Boulogne. The vessel I now com- 
manded was a brig sloop of fourteen 24-pounders, 
the ship's company by no means a bad set, and 
in the course of the cruise I had the satisfaction 
of seeing them alert, clean and obedient. This 
was in a great measure owing to the officers, who, 
when supported, were firm, discriminating and 
encouraging. The consequence was that during 
the time I commanded her there was only one 
desertion in eighteen months, and the cat did not 
see daylight once in three months. I found off 
Boulogne another cruiser watching the French 
privateers and Bonaparte's boast — the flotilla. 
The captain of her was a Job's comforter. He 
told me he was both sick and sorry to be on such 
a wear-and-tear, monotonous, do-nothing station, 
that he had been out two months without effecting 
anything, that he had frequently had the enemy's 
privateers under his guns, but that the run was 
so short, they were always sure of escaping. 








"One morning," said he, "about five months ago, 
I had got within musket-shot of one of those vaga- 
bonds, and had been sure of him, when a shell 
fired from Cape Grisnez fell directly down the 
main hatchway, bedded in one of the water-casks, 
and shortly after exploded, without, fortunately, 
doing more mischief than destroying a few more 
casks and splintering the beams and deck without 
wounding a man. I was in consequence reluctantly 
obliged to give up the chase, but not before I had 
taken ample revenge. In tacking I gave her all the 
larboard broadside, and not a vestige of her was 
to be seen : but," continued he, " I hear of their 
taking prizes ; but where the devil do they carry 
them to ? " " Not into Boulogne or Calais," 
replied I. " Havre and Cherbourg are the ports 
to sell them in." " Then why," said he, " do they 
keep so many of us on this station and so few to 
the westward ? " "I presume it is," I replied, 
" because this being the narrowest part of the 
Channel, there is more risk of our vessels being 
captured, and you know all the old women, with 
the Mayor and Aldermen, would petition the 
Admiralty to have the fleet back again to watch 
that frightful bugbear the half-rotten flotilla, 
which sometimes prevents them from taking their 
night's rest. And it is very probable that, was 
this station neglected, our vessels would be cut 
out from the Downs." " I never dreamed ot 
that," answered he. " It's all right, and if I 
can only take six of their privateers, or about 


twenty of their flotilla, I will not say a word 

I remained out nearly three months, watching 
the flotilla and the privateers. We sometimes 
anchored just beyond range of their shells, and 
frequently when the wind was light hauled 
the trawl, and were richly rewarded by a quantity 
of fine fish. I was at length relieved by another 
cruiser, and again anchored in the Downs. 
We were a fortnight refitting, during which 
time I dined several times at the admiral's 
table, where I had the pleasure of meeting Sir R. 
Strachan, Sir P. Durham, and several other dis- 
tinguished officers. One day, after dinner, the 
characters of several eccentric officers were the 
subject of conversation. 

" I make no doubt," said a veteran captain, 
" that most of the present company recollect a 
man by the name of Billy Culmer, a distant rela- 
tion of Lord Hood's. He was a short time one 
of my lieutenants, and was between thirty and 
forty years of age before he obtained his commis- 
sion. The next time I dined with Lord Hood, who 
was then one of the Admirals in the Channel Fleet, 
I was determined to request his lordship to give 
me a brief outline of his history, which was nearly 
this. Shall I proceed, Lady Campbell ? " " Oh, 
by all means, Captain M." 

" ' The Culmers were distantlv related to me by 
marriage,' said his lordship. ' Billy, as he was 
always called, was sent to me when I hoisted my 


pendant as master and commander. He unfortu- 
nately had lost an eye when a boy in one of his 
freaks, for they could do nothing with him at 
home. When he came on board I was not pre- 
possessed in his favour ; his manners were rough 
and bearish, although he had some redeeming 
qualities, for he was straightforward and frank. 
After being with me about two years, he said he 
was tired of being a midshipman, and requested 
me to obtain his discharge into the merchant 
service. I remonstrated with him to no purpose. 
To prevent his deserting, which he declared he 
would do, I procured his discharge, and he entered 
on board a West India ship going to Jamaica. I 
had lost sight of this extraordinary being for more 
than eight years,' continued his lordship, ' when, 
as I was standing on the platform at Portsmouth, 
waiting for a boat from the frigate I commanded, I 
was much surprised to see Billy Culmer, in a dirty 
sailor's dress, a few yards from me. He perceived 
me, and pulled off his hat. " Hulloa ! " said I, 
" Billy ; where have you come from ? I understood 
you were dead." " Not so hard up as that, sir," 

replied he. " I am d d." " Explain yourself," 

said I. " Why," said he, " I am d d in the 

King's service, for I shall never be able to enter 
it again, in consequence of my folly in requesting 
you to get me discharged." " I probably may have 
interest enough, Billy, to get you once more on 
the quarter-deck if you will promise me faithfully 
to remain steady." " 1 promise you solemnly I 


will," replied he. " Then meet me at the admiral's 
office to-morrow at ten o'clock," returned I. " And 
I suppose, from your appearance, you are pretty 
well aground. Here is something that will keep 
your body and soul together." He made a leg 
and took his departure.' But I am afraid. Lady 
Campbell, you have had enough of this rigmarole 
story, for it is rather a long one, and to those who 
know nothing of the man it may not be an inter- 
esting one." "Why, Captain M.," said Lady 
Campbell, "as the weather is disagreeable, and 
we do not intend to take a drive this evening, 
we may as well hear about Billy Culmer as any- 
body else. Do you not think so, Admiral ? " The 
admiral, who appeared more inclined for a nap 
than to listen to a long-spun yarn, I verily believe, 
wished the narrator and the subject of his narra- 
tion at the masthead together. However, he 
nodded assent, and the story went on, 

" ' On speaking to the admiral, Billy was again 
under my command,' resumed his lordship, ' and 
was appointed mate of the hold. When I was 
promoted to my flag, Billy and I parted company, 
for he had followed me steadily from the frigate to 
a ship of the line. As soon as he had served his 
six years, I sent for him and told him he must go 
to London to pass his examination. " You must 
excuse me, my lord," was his answer; "I would 
rather remain the oldest midshipman than the 
youngest lieutenant," and he persisted in this whim 
for more than three years. At the end of that 


period the ship he belonged to arrived at Spithead, 
and he came on board me to pay his respects. 
"Well," said I, " Culmer, will you now pass your 
examination, or are you determined to die the 
oldest midshipman in the service ? " "I have been 
thinking of it," was his reply, " but I have no money 
to carry me to London." " That," said I, " I will 
give you. And if you can mount a horse, I will 
procure that also." In a few days Billy started 
for London, where he arrived a week after, having 
sold my horse on the road, without informing me 
of his having done so. When he made his appear- 
ance before the Commissioners at Somerset Place, 
they were all younger than himself, and one of them 
had been a mid in the same ship where he was 
mate. This last addressed him, and in a half 
comic, half serious manner, said: "Well, Mr. 
Culmer, I make no doubt you are well prepared 
for your examination." " And who the devil put 
you there," answered Billy sharply, "to pass one 
who taught you to be something of a sailor ? Do 
you remember the colting I gave you when you 
were a youngster in my charge ? But I never 
could beat much seamanship into you. So you 
are to examine me, are you ?" The two other 
commissioners, who knew the whimsical character 
of the person before them, called him to order, and 
requested he would answer some questions, as he 
could not obtain his certificate without doing so. 
" Begin," said Billy, turning his quid and hitching 
up his trousers. " You are running into Plymouth 


Sound in a heavy gale from the S.E. ; how would 
you proceed in coming to an anchor ? Your top- 
gallant masts are supposed to be on deck." " I 
would first furl all and run under the storm fore- 
stay sail, unfid the topmasts going in, and have a 
long range of both bower cables on deck, and the 
sheet anchor ready. On coming to the proper 
anchorage I would let go the best bower and lower 
the topmasts as she tended head to wind ; veer 
away half a cable and let go the small bower ; veer 
away on both cables until the best bower splice 
came to the hatchway. I should then half a whole 
cable on one and half a cable on the other." 

"'"The gale increases, and there is a heavy 
scud, and you find both anchors are coming home. 
What then ? " 

" ' " Then I would veer to one and a half on 
the best and a whole on the other." 

" ' " In snubbing the best bower, it parts in the 
splice. What then ? " 

" ' " What then ? " exclaimed Billy sharply, for he 
began to be tired of being interrogated respecting a 
part of seamanship he thought he knew better than 
themselves. " Why," replied he, taking a fresh 
quid of tobacco, " I would let go the sheet 

" ' " But," interrupted the elder Commissioner, 
" there is not, in consequence of having dragged 
the bower anchors, room to veer more than a few 
fathoms before you tail on the Hoe ; consequently 
your sheet anchor, being only under foot, will be of 


little or no use, and the strain being on the small 
bovver, it soon after parts." 

u . u What humbug ! ' cried Billy, who could not 
contain himself longer. " I tell you, gentlemen, 
what I would do. I would let her go on shore 
and be d d, and wish you were all on board 


" * "Sit down, Mr. Culmer," said the second Com- 
missioner, " and calm yourself. We shall leave you 
a short tmie. Probably we may ask you a few 
more questions." 

" ' " Hem ! " muttered Billy, and he scratched his 
head. After an interval of half an hour, the Com- 
missioner who had been his former messmate, 
entered with his certificate. 

'" " I have much pleasure," said he, " in having 
the power to present you your passing certificate, 
and I hope your speedy promotion will follow. Do 
you stay long in London ? " 

" ' " Only to have a cruise in Wapping and to see 
St. Paul's and the Monument," returned Billy, 
*' and then I shall make all sail for Portsmouth." 

" ' " Have you any shot in your locker ? " asked 
Captain T. " As much as will serve this turn," 
replied Billy, " for Lord Hood has sent me an 
order for ten pounds on his banker." " Good after- 
noon, Culmer," said the former. " I wish you your 
health." " Thank you," replied Billy ; " the same 
to you ; but give me more sea-room next time you 
examine me, and do not let me tail on the Hoe.' " 
Billy, through the interest of Lord Hood, was 


quickly installed lieutenant, but died shortly after- 

•' Well," said the admiral's lady, ** I think, 
Captain M., had I known this Billy Culmer, as 
you call him, I certainly should have made a pet 
of him." 

"I am afraid, my dear," answered the Admiral, 
who appeared relieved now the story was at an 
end, " you would have found him very pettish." 
The admiral's play on the word produced a smile. 

A young captain who sat near Lady Campbell 
asked her if she had ever heard of a captain who 
was, in consequence of his extravagant behaviour, 
called " Mad Montague ? " " Pray, my dear," cried 
the Admiral, who appeared terrified at the idea of 
another story, "let us have our coffee." 

The hint was sufficient, we sipped our beverage 
and chasse, and departed in peace. 

Being ready for sea we left the Downs, and in a 
few hours were off our old cruising ground to 
watch the terrible flotilla and the privateers, which 
were principally lugger-rigged and carried long 
guns of different calibres, with from fifty to seventy- 
five men. Some few had ten or fourteen guns, 
besides swivels. The vessels forming the flotilla 
consisted of praams, ship-rigged, and brigs carrying 
one or two eighteen or twenty-four pounders, and 
the largest a thirty-two pounder (with sixty or 
ninety men), all of them flat-bottomed. They 
sometimes, when the wind blew fresh from the 
westward, ran down in squadrons close in shore, 


under the protection of their batteries, to Calais. 
One Sunday I chased twenty-seven and made the 
shot tell among some of them, until the pilots 
warned me that if I stood further in they would 
give up charge of the ship. I chased them, with 
the exception of one, who ran aground near 
Calais, into that port. In hauling off after giving 
them a few more shot, their battery favoured us 
with one which struck us between wind and water. 
As the shells were now falling plentifully around 
us, I thought it prudent to make more sail, as one 
of the shells had gone through the foretop-sail. 
Our force generally consisted of three sloops of 
war to watch Boulogne, the senior officer being the 
commodore, but in spite of all our vigilance the 
privateers crept along shore under cover of the 
night without being seen, and they sometimes 
tantalized us by anchoring outside, but so close in 
and under their batteries that it was impossible to 
get at them in that position. We, one morning at 
daybreak, captured a row-boat with twenty-two 
men, armed with swivels and muskets. We had 
disguised the ship so much that she took us for a 
merchantman, and before she discovered her mis- 
take was within pistol-shot. Three months had 
now expired, which had been passed much in the 
same manner as the last cruise, when a cutter 
came out to order us into the Downs. 

K.G. U 



Leave to return home for four days — Visit of the Duke of Clarence — 
Again off Boulogne — Down Channel with a convoy — Boulogne 
once more — Eefit at Plymouth — Return Boulogne — Run aground 
on French coast — Part of crew escape in boats — Author and 
nineteen men remain on board. 

On our arrival, in consequence of the vessel 
wanting material repairs, we were desired to repair 
to Sheerness. The commander-in-chief at this ill- 
flavoured town was a King John's man, four feet 
something without his shoes, and so devoted to 
the reading of the Scriptures that he sometimes 
carried that sacred book under his arm. Some 
ill-natured people said he understood little of its 
doctrines, as he was too cross and unsociable to 
be a good Christian. Be that as it may he gave 
me leave, whilst the ship was refitting, to go home 
for four days. Where is the man who does not, 
after he has been absent from his family for nearly 
ten months, yearn to be with a fond wife and half a 
house full of dear children once more. During the 
short period I was at home, I thought myself in 
the seventh heaven. Alas, the time flew away 
on rapid wings. How soon our joy is changed 
to sorrow. I tore myself from the house that 


contained my dearest treasures, and was soon again 
among tar jackets and tar barrels. The admiral 
appeared satisfied with my punctuality, but he did 
not invite me to dinner, and as he did not I 
repaired to the principal inn with a few brother 
officers, and ordered some fish and a boiled leg of 
mutton and mashed turnips. "It is very extra- 
ordinary, gentlemen," replied the head waiter when 
we mentioned the articles we wished for dinner. 
'' There are thirteen different naval parties in the 
house, and they have all ordered the same. But," 
added he, " I am not at all surprised, for our 
mutton is excellent." The following morning the 
signal was made for all captains to repair to the 
dockyard to receive the Duke of Clarence. At one 
o'clock he arrived in the commissioner's yacht from 
Chatham. I had the honour of being presented to 
him first, as I happened to be nearest. He asked 
me a few questions of no importance, and then 
passed on to another officer. He inspected the 
yard and the troops, we all following him. As he 
was afterwards to breakfast, or rather lunch, with 
Commissioner Lobb, the latter was considerate 
enough to invite us all to meet him, and a curious 
kind of meeting it was. The distinguished and 
illustrious admiral was very chatty, and appeared 
from the manner of his eating to be sharp set. 
The little Admiral of the Port did not, for some 
reason, attend. His friends said he ought to have 
given the refreshment instead of the commissioner, 
but it was not his fashion. I was not sorry when 

V 2 


the Duke took his departure, as his presence 
brought everything to a standstilL 

In a week's time we were ready for sea, and I left 
Sheerness, the httle hospitable admiral, and all its 
contents without shedding one tear. Off Margate 
the pilot had the kindness to bump us on shore, but 
as the tide was making, the vessel was soon afloat 
without receiving any injury. His wife had predicted 
this in her preceding night's dream, and he, silly man, 
had not sense enough to give up his turn to another 
pilot. On arriving in the Downs, I v/as ordered 
next day to repair to my old tiresome cruising 
ground, where, during a period of three long, 
lingering months, we cruised, anchored, fished, and 
frequently on Sundays engaged the old women's 
terror, the flotilla. We also took a chasse maree 
laden with plaster of Paris. As I imagined I 
should gratify the honest people at Dover, particu- 
larly the female part, who might be twisting their 
papillotes and talking scandal for want of other 
amusement, by sending in a vessel with the 
English flag flying above the French, I was deter- 
mined to do so, although I knew she would scarcely 
pay her condemnation. A few days afterwards I 
received a note from the prize agent to request I 
would not send in anymore of the same description, 
as there was a balance of six pounds against us 
for Proctor's fees, etc. Thinks I to myself, how 
odd. So, as the sailor says, after venturing life 
and limb in capturing an enemy's vessel, I am to 
pay for taking her. D n me, Jack, that's too 


bad. I'll write to Joseph Hume to bring it before 
the House of Commons. I know he is a great 
reformer and a sailor's friend, although he terms 
them a dead weight. 

We were at the end of our cruise relieved, and 
anchored again in the Downs, where I was in- 
formed Sir G. Campbell had been relieved by Sir 
Thos. Foley, his counterpart in worth and gallantry. 

I waited on the gallant admiral, left my card on 
Lady Lucy, and was invited to dinner. The 
admiral, as he is well known, and considered one 
of our most distinguished officers, I need not 
describe. His lady was a lively, hospitable, agree- 
able person, and I often reflect on the many 
pleasant hours I passed at the admiral's house. 
I understand she is now a saint and is very charit- 
able. Generally speaking, I do not admire saints. 
They are too pure to mix with this sinful world, 
and are not fond of sailors. A fortnight passed 
away when we once more sighted our anchors, and 
the day after that eye-sore Boulogne. Our occupa- 
tion was much the same as the last cruise, except 
that I was ordered shortly after I sailed to take 
charge of a large convoy outward bound, and to 
proceed with them as far as Portsmouth. On my 
arrival there I went on shore and waited on the 
admiral. Sir R. Curtis, whom I found walking, what 
he termed his long-shore quarter-deck, the plat- 
form. He was a little, shrewd man, and knew a 
handspike from a capstan bar. I informed him 
from whence I came, and that 1 had fulhlled my 


orders respecting the convoy. I then presented 
him the necessary papers belonging to my own 
ship. " Come with me to my office," was the 
order. In going there we had to pass part of the 
market, where the admiral was well-known. He 
conversed in passing with several pretty market 
girls, and chucked them under the chin. " Ho, 
ho!" thought I. On breaking the seal of the 
envelope of the papers I had given him, he said, 
" I find all perfectly in order. How long have you 
been a commander ? " I informed him. " Your 
seniors," returned he, " may blush and take your 
correctness for a pattern." I made my bow. " You 
will sail to-morrow for your station," continued he. 
" Foley is a good fellow, and I will not detain you 
longer than that time, so that you may take prizes 
for him. There will be a knife and fork at my 
table at five o'clock, where, if you are not engaged, 
I hope to see you." He then withdrew. If I had 
not known this gallant officer's character as a 
courtier, I should have been highly flattered by his 
compliments. Had anyone else stood in my shoes, 
his language would most likely have been the same. 
However, it put me in good humour, for who is 
there that does not like to be commended and 
sometimes flattered ? At the admiral's table I met 
his amiable daughter, who did not appear in health, 
and some old brother officers. 

At daylight I robbed Spithead of some of its 
mud, and was soon in sight of detested Boulogne, 
and of its, if possible, more hated flotilla ; and I 


almost believe that if our men could have caught 
some of its crew they would have eaten them alive. 
This cruise we assisted, as the French say, in 
taking one of their privateers, the prize-money of 
which gave soap to the ship's company for the next 
cruise ; what other good we did I say not. At the 
expiration of another three months, His Majesty's 
sloop's anchors once more bit the mud in the 
Downs. On my going on shore to the admiral's 
office, I was informed that I was to repair to 
Plymouth and there refit. I was, as Sir R. 
Strachan said in his despatch, "delighted." I 
hoped we should be ordered to the Mediterranean. 
I dined with the admiral, and the day after we tore 
the anchors from their unwilling bed and made all 
sail. As I passed the coast near Boulogne I made 
my bow and wished it good-bye, I hoped for ever. 
On the fourth day we graced Plymouth Sound. I 
made my bow to the commander-in-chief. Sir R. 
Calder, who asked me, with some surprise, where 
I came from, and what I did at Plymouth. I 
produced my order, etc. "This is a mistake of 
some of the offices ; I have no orders respecting 
you. However, as you are here, I suppose we must 
make good your defects, and, notwithstanding that 
you have taken us by surprise, I hope I shall have 
the pleasure of seeing you at six o'clock to dinner." 
I repaired on board with a pilot and brought the 
vessel into Hamoaze. At the appointed time I 
waited on the admiral. The dinner I thought 
passed off heavily. There were no ladies to 


embellish the table, and after coffee I went on 
board. Next morning I waited on the com- 
missioner, Fanshaw, who received me very 
graciously, as I was known to several of his family. 
As the vessel was to be docked and fresh coppered, 
we were hulked, and I took lodgings on shore, 
where the commissioner did me the honour of 
calling on me and requested me to dine with him 
the following day. The dinner party consisted of 
another brother officer, his own family, who were 
very amiable, and myself. During the fortnight I 
remained here, as I was well acquainted with 
several families, I contrived to pass my time very 

I expected every hour orders to fit foreign, but, 
oh ! reader, judge of my mortification when the 
admiral informed me I was to go back from whence 
I came in a few days, and take with me a heavy- 
laden convoy. My mind had been filled with 
Italian skies and burnished golden sunsets, ladies 
with tender black eyes, Sicilian coral necklaces, 
tunny-fish and tusks. I was to give up all these 
and to return to that never-to-be-forgotten, good- 
for-nothing rotten flotilla, to see Dover pier, the 
lighthouse, and the steeple of Boulogne, to cross 
and re-cross from one to the other to provoke an 
appetite. If I had had interest enough I would 
have changed the Board of Admiralty for having 
sent me to Plymouth on a fool's errand. My 
thoughts were bitter and seven fathoms deep. 
Again I cruised, like an armadillo on a grassplat, 


there and back again. After our usual time 
we again disturbed the mud, and most likely a 
number of fish, by letting go our anchors in the 
Downs, I little thought for the last time. How 
blind is man to future events, and fortunate it is he 

is so ! 

On the ninth day His Majesty's brig was again 
dividing the water and making it fly to the right 
and left in delicate wavy curls. We wished 
Boulogne, Bonaparte, and his flotilla burnt to a 
cinder during this cruise ; we were generally at 
anchor off that detested place, and took nothing, 
for there was nothing to take. On Sunday we 
were usually firing at the flotilla as they anchored 
outside the pier, but so close to it that I fear our 
shot made little impression. At this time they 
were erecting a column on the heights, on which, 
we understood from the fishing-boats, an equestrian 
statue of that great dethroner, Bonaparte, was to 
be placed. A large division of the army of 
England, as they chose to call themselves, were 
encamped round it. We occasionally anchored at 
Dungeness for a few hours to procure fresh beef 
and vegetables. Our cruise was nearly terminated 
when the sloop of war, whose captain was senior 
to myself, made m.y signal. On repairing on board 
her, he informed me that a division of the flotilla 
was to run along shore for Cherbourg that night, 
and that it was necessary to keep the vessels as 
close in shore as possible, in order to intercept 


I again joined my ship and remained on 
deck until midnight in the hope of encountering 
these bugbears, and making them pay dearly for 
all the trouble they had given us ; but, alas ! how 
futile is the expectation of man ! I had gone to my 
cabin and thrown myself on the sofa, and fallen 
into a canine slumber — that is, one eye shut and 
the other open — when I heard a confused kind of 
rumbling noise, and soon afterwards the officer of 
the watch tumbled down the hatchway and called 
out to me that the ship was aground on the French 
coast, but that the fog, which had come on about 
an hour after I quitted the deck, was so dense that 
the land could not be seen. I had only taken off 
my coat and shoes. I was immediately on deck, 
where I saw, to my sorrow and amazement, my 
commanding officer hard and fast about half pistol- 
shot from us. I asked the pilots, whose careless- 
ness had done us this favour, what time of tide it 
was. " The infant ebb of the spring," was the 
comfortable answer. " I wish you were both 
hanged," I replied. " So be it," responded the 
officers. During this period we were not idle ; the 
boats were got out as well as an anchor astern, 
and the sails hove aback, the water started, the 
pumps set going, guns thrown overboard over the 
bows as well as shot, but all our efforts proved 
fruitless — you might as well have tried to start the 
Monument ; and, to conclude this distressing and 
disastrous scene, a heavy battery began pouring its 
shot into the vessel I commanded, she being the 


nearest, and the fort not more than an eighth of a 
mile from us on the edge of a cHff. A boat came 
from the sloop to request that I would make prepara- 
tions to blow up my vessel and quit her with the crew. 
" Sooner said than done," replied I to the officer 
sent; "my boats will not carry the whole of us, 
and however I may wish to go to heaven in a 
hurry, probably those who are obliged to remain 
may not be willing to bear me company." As the 
vessel began to heel over towards the battery, I 
ordered the boats to be manned, and all left the 
ship except nineteen men and myself, who had the 
felicity to be fired at like rabbits, as the enemy had 
now brought some field-pieces to bear on us. Our 
rigging was soon shot away and our sails cut into 
ribbons. At length away went the lower masts a 
little above the deck, while about two hundred men 
were pegging away at us with muskets. To make 
our happiness supreme, the sloop of war which had 
been set on fire and abandoned, blew up, and set us 
partially in a blaze, and while we were endeavouring 
to extinguish it the enemy took the cowardly advan- 
tageof wounding the purser, gunner, and two seamen, 
as well as myself, though only slightly. We had now 
fallen so much on the side that we stood with our 
feet on the combings of the hatchways, v*'ith our 
backs against the deck. What a charming sight, 
as my Lady Dangerfield might have said, to see 
four heavy guns from the battery, three field-pieces, 
and about two hundred soldiers firing at a nearly 
deserted vessel, and endeavouring to pick off and 


send to " Kingdom come " the unfortunate few of 
her crew who remained. The captain of the other 
sloop, finding I was not in the boats, pulled back in 
a gallant manner under a most galling fire to 
entreat me to come into his boat. This I declined, 
as I could not in justice leave those who were 
obliged to remain behind. Finding he could not 
prevail on me to leave, he joined the other boats 
and proceeded to England, where, happily, they all 
arrived in the evening. We had now been aground 
about four hours, and the enemy had amused 
himself by firing at us for about two hours and a 

* See Note D. 



Taken prisoner, and removed to Boulogne gaol — Asked to dinner by 
General Lemarois — News of Perceval's assassination — Parole 
refused — Marched to Montreuil-sur-Mer — On to Hesdin ; being 
footsore, author insists on having a carriage — Drives to Arras. 

When the tide had receded sufficiently for the 
enemy to board us without wetting their delicate 
feet, about one hundred and fifty disgraced our 
decks. About thirty of these civil gentlemen, 
principally officers, paid a visit to my cabin without 
asking permission. The wine, of which I had ten 
dozen on board, was their first object, which I 
make no doubt they found suited their palate, as 
they drank it with much zest. My clothes, spy- 
glasses, knives and forks, as well as the crockery- 
ware, were seized on in turn ; and it appeared by 
their smirking looks and lively conversation that 
all they had achieved was perfectly to their satis- 
faction, and that instead of plundering a few 
ship-wrecked sufferers they had only been asked to 
a fete given by me. The commanding officer of 
these brave and honest men desired us to go on 
shore, where we were met by another officer, who 
ordered us to the guard-house near the battery, and 
an hour afterwards we marched for Boulogne, which 


was four miles distant, escorted by about forty of 
our tormentors. On our arrival we had the un- 
expected happiness of being lodged in the common 
gaol, cooped up in a dirty tiled room of twelve feet 
by eight, with a small well-grated window. "Well," 
said I to the doctor, who had remained behind to 
dress the wounded, "what will the marines say to 
this? The sailors will never believe it." Whilst we 
were prosing with our elbows on our knees and our 
chins on our thumbs, looking very dolefully at each 
other, the ill-looking man who had locked us up 
made his appearance with a servant in a rich livery, 
who asked in French for the commandant. I stood 
up and said I was that person, on which he pre- 
sented me with the following note : — 

"Le General Comte Lemaroix, Aide de Camp de 
sa Majeste I'Empereur et Roi, Commandant en 
Chef le Camp de Boulogne, etc, prie Monsieur 
Hoffeman, officier, de lui faire I'honneur de venir 
diner avec lui aujourd'hui, lundi, a 4 heures. 

"Now," said I, "doctor," addressing my sur- 
geon, "you are my senior in age and I think in 
experience; be my mentor on this occasion. In the 
first place, I have no inclination to go, for I am too 
sulky; in the second, I am wet and dirty." "Oh, 
do go, sir ! " they all exclaimed. " It may better our 
situation, and we may have our parole." "On your 
account I will accept the invitation," said I. As I 
had no writing implements I sent a verbal answer 
in the affirmative, and made myself as much an 


Adonis as I was able. At the appointed hour the 
same servant and two gendarmes made their 
appearance, and from the gaol to the general's 
house I appeared, to judge by the people staring at 
me, to be the lion of the day. On my arrival I was 
ushered into the general's presence. The Comte 
Lemaroix, who was about forty years of age, was of 
a pleasing manner and countenance. He informed 
me he was sorry for my misfortune, but it was the 
fortune of war. I apologised for my dress, which 
was as wretched as my thoughts. At this time a 
young man in the French naval uniform came to 
me and asked me how I was. I remembered him 
as one of the officers sent to capture us. He spoke 
indifferent English, and as my knowledge of the 
French language was slight, I was glad to pair off 
with him. At the dinner-table were ten officers 
and one lady. I was seated on the left side of the 
Comte. I cut a sorry figure among so many smart 
and star-coated men. The dinner was plentiful 
and good, and everybody chatty and in good 
humour, in which I could not help, notwithstanding 
my situation, taking a part. After we had taken 
our coffee I naturally concluded I should be on 
parole. When I took my leave the captain in the 
navy and another officer said they would walk with 
me as it was dusk, and I presumed we were going 
to an inn — but, oh, horror of horrors ! I was 
conducted to the prison from whence I came. 
They there wished me good-night, and I wished 
them at the devil. Next morning, after a restless 


night on a bed of straw, we were awakened by the 
grim, hard-featured gaoler who had been kind enough 
to lock us up. He asked the doctor if we wished to 
have breakfast, and if we could pay for it ; he 
answered in the affirmative. This turnkey gentle- 
man informed us that our first admiral, Mons. 
Poncevan, had been killed by an assassin. This 
report puzzled all our wise heads. An hour 
afterwards our cafe-au-lait entered, and with it the 
principal gaoler, or, as he was called, Mons. le 
Gouverneur. He was a stout, square-built man, and 
gave us an inquisitive look. The doctor, who was 
an Irishman and our interpreter, asked him the 
news, and if he were ever at Cork. " No," answered 
he, ** I never was in America! but," said he, "I 
understand that your Prime Minister, Mr. Piercevell, 
has been shot by an assassin." He meant Mr. 
Percival. We were sorry to hear such bad news, as 
Mr. Percival was certainly a loss to his country 
and his large family. However, it did not destroy 
our appetite for breakfast. The considerate governor 
only charged us as much more for it as we should 
have paid at the best coffee-house in the town. 

After two days of durance vile I was visited by 
three very wise-looking men, who, I understood, 
were some sort of lawyers. One of them produced 
a printed paper, and asked me if I were acquainted 
with its contents. I answered, "No." " Do you 
know for what purpose they were intended, for we 
have more than thirty of them which were found 
on board your ship?" I answered as before. " This 


appears very extraordinary that you, as captain of 
the ship where they were found, should not know 
they were on board her." " It may be so," I 
answered with indifference. " You may think it a 
trifle," said one of them, " but it may, without it is 
satisfactorily explained, prove in the end very 
serious to you." " Indeed," returned I, " that will 
be still more extraordinary. Probably it may be the 
means of a change of residence, for I cannot be 
worse off than where I am at present." " Monsieur 
chooses to be pleasant, but he must give us some 
account of these papers before we leave him." 
One of them then translated their contents. As 
I had never heard of them before I was rather 
struck with their purport, which was to create a 
counter-revolution, and cause that English-loving 
man, Bonaparte, to be dethroned. "Doctor," said 
I, ''do you know anything about these terrible 
papers ? " " Very little," replied he. " They were, 
I believe, in circulation about two years ago, in 
Mr. Pitt's time, and they were called his projects, 
for he loved Napoleon with all his heart." " Pray," 
said I, turning to the commissioner who had the 
longest and most snuffy nose, and who had trans- 
lated the paper, " in what part of the vessel were 
these projects found?" "In the second cabin," 
was his answer. He meant the gun-room, where 
the officers slept and messed. " What is their 
date ?" " 1808." " Come," resumed I, " I think 
you will not shoot me this time. I did not join the 
ship until i8io, when they were never given into my 

K.G. X 


charge. Now, gentlemen, you may either remain 
or depart ; no more answers or explanation will I 
give." They grouped into the corner of the room, 
and after taking a pinch of snuff with a few shrugs 
of their shoulders and some whispering, took their 

Soon after the turnkey appeared with another 
worthy person as interpreter, and to whom I 
was to pay three francs a day and give him a 
dinner. I remonstrated, and said the doctor was 
my interpreter. " Bah, bah! " said the fellow, and 
marched out of the room, the door of which he 
locked. This person, whom the turnkey had so un- 
ceremoniously introduced, had, it appeared, been sent 
for by the gouverneur, as he chose to understand we 
wished to have "un maitre de la langue Francaise," 
who could act as interpreter when required. The 
poor man, who appeared as if he had fallen from a 
balloon, apologised for the intrusion, which he said 
did not lie with him, he had been sent for and 
came, but that when the turnkey unlocked the 
door he would withdraw. " No," said I, "as you 
are here and you speak good English," which he 
did, " I will, if you have a grammar, take a lesson 
in French, and you may come every day during 
our stay in this abominable place, which I suppose 
will not be long." He pulled a grammar from his 
pocket, and I began with the verbs. " I intend 
sending a letter to the Comte Lemaroix. Will you," 
said I to him, "take it for me?" "Willingly," 
replied he. I drew it up, and he translated it. It was 


to request that myself and officers might have our 
parole, but as day after day rolled on I do not think 
he received it, as my request was not complied with. 
I was again examined by a military court 
respecting those fearful papers, but they, as well as 
myself, were not satisfied, I for being sent for on so 
useless an errand, and losing my French lesson, 
and they because they could not discover whether 
I was a spy, or prove that I had circulated those 
papers among the fishing boats. After this tedious 
and ridiculous examination the President, who 
appeared half sailor and half soldier, asked me in 
so mild a manner as if sugar-candy would not have 
dissolved in his mouth, " Pray, sir, will you acquaint 
me how many cruisers you have in the 
Channel ? " " Your question, Mr. President, is a 
delicate one," replied I, "and the only way you 
can gain that information is to send all your 
frigates that have been lying at anchor so long in 
your different harbours to ascertain the fact." I 
thought my answer made him look cross, two 
others look sulky, and the remainder smile. " I 
think we may discharge the prisoner," said he, 
turning to the other wise men ; " we can elucidate 
nothing." " No," said I to myself, "you will get 
nothing out of me." On the tenth day after the 
shipwreck we were ordered to march, and had the 
honour of having two livery servants, in the shape 
of gendarmes on horseback, to attend us. I 
begged to have a carriage, but I was refused, 
although I offered to pay liberally for one. 

X 2 


We reached Montreuil-sur-Mer in the evening, 
where we marched into the common gaol. I was 
much fatigued, as I had never walked so far in my 
life ; my feet were becoming blistered, and I was 
very hungry. " Do," said I, " doctor, let us have 
something to eat, for we have fasted since breakfast. 
Have they any eggs ? " The gouverncur du chateau 
appeared, and informed us he had plenty of eggs, 
and could give us a fricassee de mouton and pommes 
de terre au maitre d' hotel, " but," added the doctor, 

"those d d fellows the gendarmes must dine 

with us. This I did not like, and requested him to 
speak to the gaoler, which he did ; but the former 
declared it was customary, when they escorted 
prisoners they always eat with them. We were 
obliged to conform to the nuisance. After dinner, 
or rather supper, or, more correctly speaking, the 
two in one, I fell asleep in my chair until a dirty- 
looking girl shook me by the arm to say that my 
bed was ready. I gave her a look that had she 
been milk it would have turned her into vinegar. 
I followed her, however, into a room about twelve 
feet by seven, where there were two crib bed- 
places like those on board the packets. They 
were, considering the place, tolerably decent, and I 
turned in half-rigged. At half after two in the 
morning our two horse attendants had the civility 
to wake us out of tired Nature's sweet reposer, 
balmy sleep. I looked daggers, and they looked 
determined on their plan of making us march at three 
o'clock. The dirty, but civil damsel, brought me 


a basin of water. I shook my feathers and refreshed 
myself. She then appeared with some porringers 
filled with what she called cafc-aii-lait — i.e., milk 
bedevilled, and some tolerable bread and salt butter. 
However, as we presumed we had another long 
march to encounter, we made no hesitation in 
accepting it, and for which and the supper I had to 
pay most extravagantly. We began our agreeable 
walk before daybreak, accompanied by our two 
attendant cavaliers. As I walked rather lame one 
of them offered me his horse, which I thought civil. 
I declined it, as I preferred walking with my officers, 
although in pain. 

About three in the afternoon we reached Hesdin, 
our destination for that night, having marched 
nineteen miles, and were ushered into the gaol. 
" May the devil run a-hunting with these rascally 
vagabonds!" said the doctor. "Amen," responded 
the rest. We were put into a dirty brick- 
floored room with a grated window, in which 
there were three beds. " Now," said I to the 
doctor, "let us hunt for something to eat, for not- 
withstanding all my miseries I am very hungry." 
The gouvernenr du chateau made his appearance ; 
he was a brigadier of gendarmes. "What do you 
wish?" said he. " What have you to eat ? " asked 
the man of physic. " Eggs, a fowl, and some excel- 
lent ham." " Let us have them," cried I, "as soon 
as possible." Whilst these good things were getting 
ready I bathed my feet in warm water, they were 
much swollen, and the blisters on them had broken. 


I afterwards rubbed them with brandy. The dinner 
was put on table, and the gendarmes took their 
seats sans fagons. After I had taken my second 
tumbler of wine I began to revive. The dinner was 
not bad, and by the time it was finished we were in 
good humour. *' Now," said I, "doctor," for he 
was my factotum, "tell our attendants if they will 
not allow me to have some kind of carriage I will 
not step a foot further. My feet are so bad I cannot 
walk, and they must carry me. The Brigadier was 
sent for, and after a consultation of a few minutes 
I was told I might have one if I paid for it, but it 
could be only a covered cart. " Very well," said I, 
" any port in a storm." We were now informed it 
was time to go to rest. This was no punishment ; 
and notwithstanding being bug- and flea-bitten, I 
slept well and forgot all my sorrows. At six I 
was roused by the men at arms, had a tolerable 
good breakfast, and stepped into my travelling 
machine with two of my officers, the top of the 
cart being so low we were obliged to lie down, and 
if it had not been for its abominable jolting we 
should have found ourselves snug enough. 



Meet an Englishman— At last put on parole— Dine with Lieutenant 
Horton— Proceed to Cambray— Relics of Archbishop Fenelon— 
Meet Captain Otter at Verdun — Prisoners' amusements — Author 
and Captain Otter establish a school for midshipmen— Author 
moves into country quarters — Severe censorship of prisoner's 
letters— Ordered to Blois— Purchase a cart and horses. 

We reached Arras in the afternoon. On entering 
the town we were followed by a crowd of idlers, 
who I rather think took us for a caravan of wild 
beasts. Among this choice assemblage I per- 
ceived a sailor who looked like an Englishman. 
"What are you doing here?" I called out at 
a venture. " I am Lieutenant Horton's servant," 
answered he. "Pray," said I, "who is he?" 
" He is the lieutenant of the sailors at this 

" Then," said I, "take this to him," giving him 
a piece of paper with my name on it. " Aye, aye, 
sir," said he, and ran off to execute his errand. 
We were, as before, ushered into the common gaol 
with due ceremony, where we were received by 
another Brigadier, who had the honour of being 
goiiverneur. The gaol was considerably larger than 
those we had lodged in on the road, and the people 
were civil. We ordered dinner, which I had to pay 


for without doing it justice, in consequence of the 
appearance of Lieutenant Horton with a French 
commissary, to inform myself and officers we were 
on parole, and the former, like a generous sailor, 
begged us all to dine with him at his house. We 
made ourselves as smart as circumstances would 
allow, and accompanied him to a snug little house 
where he lived. He introduced us to his wife, who 
was a very kind person and paid us every attention, 
and I shall ever retain a feeling of gratitude for 
their hospitality. In the evening we were joined by 
the English surgeon of the depot, who engaged us 
to dine with him the following day. A servant was 
sent to the American hotel to bespeak rooms for us, 
and the day after I engaged a carriage to take us 
to Verdun, for which I was to pay eight napoleons, 
and find the coachman. In the evening, or rather 
night, we took possession of our new quarters, which 
from what I had lately been accustomed to, appeared 
a paradise, although the doctor and purser declared 
they were half bled to death by bugs and fleas. We 
breakfasted like gentlemen, and afterwards strolled 
about the town, to the amusement of the inhabitants, 
who, as we passed them, made great eyes at us. 
I shall not trouble my readers with a description of 
Arras, as they may satisfy their curiosity, if they 
wish it, by consulting a Gazeteer. At five o'clock 
the lieutenant called on me, and we all repaired to 
the surgeon's house. He gave us a good dinner, 
and was very attentive. At ten o'clock they accom- 
panied us to the inn, where they took their final 


leave, as we were to start in our new vehicle at five 
in the morning. 

At the appointed time behold us seated in 
our coach chattering like magpies, and going 
at the rapid speed of about five miles an hour. 
At Cambray we dined and slept. We visited 
the cathedral, which, thanks to those honest, 
religious men, the Republicans, was in total ruins. 
All the Virgins and saints were decapitated and the 
quiet repose of the dead disturbed by their pure, 
delicate hands. " Erin's curse be upon them ! " 
exclaimed my man of medicine. "The devil has 
them by this time," said the purser. " What a set 
of impious scoundrels," ejaculated the midshipman. 
•' I am afraid," added I, " France has in a great 
measure brought all her misfortunes on herself. It 
the King and the nobles had stood firm to their 
guns and given a more liberal constitution, millions 
of lives might have been saved, and we should not 
have had the supreme happiness of being attended 
by the gendarmes or of taking up our abode in 
their filthy, loathsome gaols, besides a thousand 
other circumstances, of which, as you have been 
partakers, I need not mention, as they are too 
agreeable to bear in memory." We reached a small 
place called Gateau Cambresis, where we dined at a 
fourth-rate inn, formerly the country palace of the 
good Archbishop Fenelon. At dinner, which, like 
the auberge, was also of the fourth class, I had a 
silver fork with the armorial bearings of an arch- 
bishop. I remarked the fact to my inaitrc cVhoiel, 


the doctor. " I have a spoon with the same," 
repHed he. "This, you are aware, was Fenelon's 
favourite country palace, and as a quantity of 
family plate was buried during the Revolution, 
these very likely belonged to him." When the 
woman who attended us at dinner came in again, 
the doctor interrogated her respecting them. She 
informed him they had been found among some old 
rubbish in the yard. I asked her if she would sell 
them ; she answered in the affirmative, and demanded 
thirty francs. I gave her twenty-four, and took 
possession of my prizes. 

In a remote part of the building I found some 
Englishmen at work manufacturing what the French 
were then little acquainted with, dimity. They told 
me they had permission to sleep out of the prison, 
and that the French allowed them a franc a day 
and some wine. I asked them if they were working 
on their own account ; they answered, no, but on 
that of the French Government. " Bonaparte has 
his wits about him," said I to myself, " and appears 
wide awake." 

We reached Verdun on the sixth day. I waited 
on Captain Otter of the navy and the senior officer, 
who introduced me to the commandant, the Baron 
de Beauchene, who, by his rubicund face, appeared 
to be fond of good living. My name was registered 
at the police office, where I was desired to sport 
my graceful figure the first day of every month. 
Several officers did me the honour of a visit, but as 
my news was like salted cod — rather stale — they 


were not much edified. The day following I dined 
with Captain and Mrs. Otter, who were good, kind 
of homespun people. I met at their table the worthy 
chaplain, Gordon. Some of his friends said he was 
too mundane, and bowed to the pleasures of the 
world most unclerically. I found him an agreeable, 
gentlemanly person in society, and a plain-sailing 
parson in the pulpit. There were two officers here 
who were most amusing. Captains Miller and Lyall, 
and when dining with them, which I frequently did, 
I do not know which I enjoyed most, their dinner or 
their dry jokes. I also became acquainted with 
Captain Blennerhassett, and sometimes took a cold 
dinner at a small house he rented on the banks of 
the Meuse. We dubbed it Frogmore Hall, in conse- 
quence of a vast quantity of those creatures infesting 
it. Lord Blaney, who once wrote a book, principally 
on the best mode of cooking, figured away here. 
He was a good-natured but not a very wise man. 
He could not bear the midshipmen, because, he 
said, they cheated him out of his best cigars and 
made him give them a dinner when he did not wish 
for their company. This was, strange to say, some- 
times the case. 

There were about twelve hundred prisoners 
at this depot, principally officers of the army 
and navy, and a few masters of merchant 
ships, as well as some people detained in a most 
unjust manner by a decree of Bonaparte when 
the war broke out. About two miles from the 
town was a racecourse, made by the officers and 


kept up by subscription, where, I was informed, 
there was as much jockeyship practised as at 
Newmarket. It made a variety, and the ladies 
say variety is charming. After residing in this town, 
where every description of vice was practised, about 
a month, I remarked that the mids, of whom there 
were about one hundred and twenty, were idle, 
dissipated, and running into debt. The greater 
part of them were fine lads. I proposed to Captain 
Otter the establishment of a school for them, and 
said that if the requisite masters could be procured 
I would superintend it. He entered into my views 
most willingly and wrote to the Admiralty respect- 
ing them, informing their lordships the expenses for 
a hundred midshipmen would not be more than 
eighty pounds a year. Not receiving an answer, he 
established it at his own risk ; whether he was ever 
remunerated is a problem I am not enabled to 
solve. Six lieutenants volunteered to assist me, 
and attended the school hours in turn."" Every- 
thing went on exceedingly well for twelve months, 
when unfortunately the Baron de Beauchene died, 
and was succeeded by a man who ordered the 
school to be broken up. This was as unexpected 
as unmerited. Captain Otter and myself remon- 
strated, but in vain. The youngsters were sent to 
the right-about ; but I am happy to say that the 
greater part of them had the good sense to form 
themselves into classes at their own lodgings, where 
the same masters attended them. Finding my 

* See Notes E and F. 


services of no further use, I sighed for country air 
and a change of scene. The town manners shocked 
my delicacy, and I much feared I should lose m}' 
innocence. The copy I frequently wrote when at 
school stared me in the face — that " Evil communi- 
cations corrupt good manners." I therefore de- 
termined before I became contaminated to change 
my quarters, I waited on the commandant and 
obtained leave to live at a small village two miles 
from the tovvn. My new residence was a small 
chateau, the proprietress of which was the widow of 
a colonel of cuirassiers in the old time. I took pos- 
session of a good-sized bedroom and drawing-room, 
for which I paid, with my board, seventy napoleons 
a year. The establishment consisted of a house- 
keeper, more like a man than a woman, one maid 
servant, and two men. The widow was an agree- 
able person, nearly in her seventieth year, but very 
healthy and active. At the back of the chateau was 
a delightful garden, with a brook running through 
it, in which were some trout, carp and tench. Ad- 
joining it were vineyards belonging to the house. 
I could now, in the literal sense of the word, in 
which one of our poets intended it, " From the loop- 
holes of my retreat peep at such a world " without 
partaking of its folly. 

My time was occupied with a French mavSter, and 
in drawing, and reading French authors, and if my 
mind had not been tortured by my being a captive, 
and not knowing how long I was likely to remain 
so, I should have been comparatively happy. 


Our letters, when we did receive them, were always 
broken open and read to the commandant by one 
of the gendarmes who could blunder out a little 
English. If they contained anything against the 
French Government, or treated on politics, they 
never reached us. By these honourable means 
all our domestic concerns became known to the 
mighty chief, the ignorant, left-handed, blundering 
translator, and a host of others. In short, our 
letters, after having run the gauntlet through a 
number of dirty hands, with still more dirty minds, 
were scarcely worth receiving. 

One morning, as I was sitting at breakfast in not a 
very cheerful mood, a woman, of not very prepos- 
sessing appearance, entered. She came, she said, 
to make a complaint against three wicked mids. 
They had taken the figure of Bonaparte from the 
mantelpiece and knocked his head off; for so doing 
she threatened to complain to the commandant if 
they did not pay her a five-franc piece. I told her 
I would send for the decapitating youngsters, and, 
if I found her complaint to be well-grounded, they 
should remunerate her by giving her another 
Emperor, or paying her for the old one. She 
departed, but not in peace, as I could hear her 
grumbling as she went along the vestibule. At 
noon next day these Emperor-destroying lads came 
to my lodgings to answer the complaint. 

" We lodge in this woman's house," said one of 
them, " and one morning we thought we would 
amuse ourselves by bringing Bonaparte fairly to a 


court martial. Our charges against him were 
tyranny and oppression, imprisonment against our 
consent, and not granting an exchange of prisoners. 
We found him guilty on all the charges, and as he 
could make no defence, we sentenced him first to be 
shot, but we thought that too honourable for him ; 
then to be hanged, and lastly, to have his mischief- 
making head chopped off by a case-knife, which 
sentence was carried into execution; but as we do 
not wish the woman to quarrel with us, we have no 
objection to pay her two francs, which we think is 
too much by thirty-nine sous." 

" You value Emperors, gentlemen," said I, " at a 
very cheap rate." "Yes," replied they, "such an 
Emperor as Bonaparte, who we think is a most un- 
relenting tyrant." "Hush!" cried I, "walls 
sometimes have ears. Go and make your peace 
with your landlady, offer her the two francs, and if 
she will not accept it send her to me, for, to tell you 
the truth, were she to go with her complaint to the 
commandant, you most likely would be shut up in 
the old convent and kept there for a month." I 
gave them a glass of wine, in which they drank the 
downfall of Bonaparte and departed. I understood 
afterwards this knotty point was settled amicably ; 
the woman, not wishing to lose her lodgers, 
accepted the money. As the lying " Moniteur " 
was the only paper we could read, we of course were 
always deceived, and supposed from its contents that 
France was carrying everything before her. More 
than eighteen months had now passed away, like a 



disturbed dream, since I became a prisoner, when 
the order came, like a flash of Hghtning, from the 
police to desire all the English prisoners to be ready 
to quit Verdun in forty-eight hours and proceed to 
Blois. To those who had the misfortune to be 
married to French women and had children it was 
a thunder-stroke. The weather had set in with 
great severity, it being the month of December. 
Another brother officer and his nephew joined me 
in purchasing a covered cart and two cart horses ; 
and a captain of a merchant vessel, said to be a 
descendant of the immortal Bruce, volunteered to be 
our coachman, provided we lodged and fed him on 
the road, to which we, without hesitation, agreed. 



Horses bolt, and cart upsets— Reach Blois after six days' travelling — 
Miserable condition of French troops after return from Moscow — 
Ordered to Gueret on the Creuse — A miserable journey of five 
days — Poor accommodation — Allowed to move to country quarters 
at Masignon— An earthquake shock — News of Napoleon's abdica- 
tion — Start for Paris — Reach Fontainebleau in nine days — 
Proceed to Paris — Lodgings dear and scarce — State entrance of 
Louis XVIII. into Paris. 

At the time appointed we had our machine ready. 
The gendarmes were Hterally driving some of the 
officers out of the town. To save them the trouble 
of doing us the same favour we departed early. 
On the first stage from Verdun, in descending a 
steep, long hill, a hailstorm overtook us, and as the 
hailstones fell they froze. The horses could not 
keep their feet, nor could our sailor coachman keep 
his seat. The animals slid down part of the way 
very comfortably. At length, after much struggling, 
they once more gained a footing, and in so doing, 
the fore wheels came in contact with their hinder 
feet, which unfortunately frightened and set them off 
at full speed. I got hold of the reins with the 
coachman, and endeavoured to pull them into a 
ditch to the left — on the ri<^ht was a precipice — the 
reins broke, and we had no longer command over 
them. We were in this state of anxiety for a few 

K.G. Y 


minutes, when the fore wheels detached themselves 
from the carriage, and over it went on its larboard 
broadside. I was, with the coachman, thrown head 
foremost into the ditch, which, being half filled with 
snow, broke the violence of our launch. I soon 
floundered out of it, without being much hurt. My 
falling companion, being a much stouter man than 
myself did not fare so well, as his right shoulder 
received a severe contusion. The noble man-of- 
war captain inside had his face much cut with the 
bottles of wine that were in the pockets of the 
vehicle, and he would have made an excellent 
phantasmagoria. His nephew had one of his legs 
very much injured. Here we were in a most 
pitiable condition, not knowing what to do, as we 
could not move our travelling machine without 
assistance. As we were scratching our wise heads, 
and looking at each other with forlorn faces, a 
party of French soldiers approached, and for a five- 
franc piece they assisted us in righting the carriage 
and catching the horses, which had been stopped 
at the bottom of the hill. On an examination ol 
our cart we found that, fortunately for us, the 
traverse pin of the fore-wheels had jumped out, 
which freed them and the horses, and occasioned 
our turning turtle. Had not this taken place, 
we most likely should have gone over the precipice. 
We, after some sailor-like contrivances, got under 
weigh. As we were grown wiser by this mishap, 
we took care to lock the hinder wheels when going 
down hill in future. We reached Clermont in the 


dusk of the evening, and glad I was to turn into a 
bed replete with hoppers, crawlers, and wisdom, for 
it was very hard. Being much fatigued, I slept 
soundly, notwithstanding my numerous biting com- 

After a most suffering, cold, and uncomfortable 
journey of six days we reached Blois. A number 
of our soldiers and sailors perished with cold on 
the road. We assisted some few of them with 
money and something to eat. Poor fellows! some 
were so worn out that they threw themselves down 
on the stubble in the fields, where the severe frost 
soon put an end to their sufferings. The day we 
quitted Verdun the retreating French army from 
Moscow, with numerous waggons full of their frost- 
bitten and wounded men, entered it. That and 
the allied army advancing on the French borders 
were the cause of our being sent away with so 
much speed. When this division of the enemy's 
army marched through Verdun for the purpose of 
conquering Russia, it was the general remark 
amongst the English that the appearance of the 
men and their appointments could not be better in 
any country ; but to see them return in the extreme 
of wretchedness and suffering was truly pitiable. 
Oh, Bonaparte ! I charge thee fling away ambition; 
it is, unfortunately for the world, thy besetting sin. 
It cannot continue for ever, and you will be brought 
up with a severe round turn before you are many 
years older — such is my prophecy. 

We had not been settled at Blois a month before 

Y 2 


we had orders to quit it and to proceed to Gueret 
on the river Creuse. We understood the allied 
army having entered France was the cause of our 

As I had never heard of Gueret before, I requested 
my landlord to give me some information respecting 
it. " Why," said he, with a most awful shrug ol 
his shoulders, "it is where Louis the Fourteenth 
banished his petite noblesse, and is now filled with 
lawyers, who, as the town is small and the inhabi- 
tants are not numerous, go to law with each other 
to keep themselves, I suppose, in practice. Oh, you 
will find the roads rough and much out of order ; we 
call it 'tmchemin perdu,' and as the town is insig- 
nificant, and produces nothing, we call it 'un 
endroit inconmi' I do not think," added he, 
"there are more than cinquante cheminees a feu in 
the whole town." 

This information did not raise my spirits. How- 
ever, there was no alternative, and it was of little 
use to be downhearted. The weather continued 
very severe, and we had again to encounter 
frost, snow, and intense cold. We prayed for the 
humane Emperor of France, and wished him 
elevated on Raman's gibbet. Our journey was 
most horrible and fatiguing ; the roads in some 
places were literally lost, and we were obliged to 
drive over ploughed fields in order to avoid the deep 
ruts. I thought we should have had all our bones 
dislocated. The five days we were on this wretched 
road will never be effaced from my memory. We 


slept where we could. Inns there were very few, 
and those few the abodes of poverty, filth, and 
rags. The small farms sometimes took us in, 
where, whilst eating the coarse brown bread and 
tough fowls they put before us, and for which they 
made us pay most extravagantly, the pigs and 
poultry kept us company during our repast. 

One night, at one of these abominable places, I 
was obliged to lie on a table, as they had not a bed 
to give me. I was awakened early by a most 
horrible smell. I thousfht I should be suffocated. 
I procured a light and inspected the room. On 
opening an old press I found several half-putrid 
cheeses, full of jumping gentlemen, and probably 
ladies, for there was a large assembly of them. I 
made my escape from this savoury, not sweet- 
smelling den, and threw myself into what they 
called a chair, which, from its form and ease must 
have been fabricated before the time of Adam. I 
found I had seated myself before a kind of crib, 
something like a corn-bin, in which was lying, fast 
asleep and snoring, the landlady, who was a coarse, 
dingy beauty of about forty. " Lead me not into 
temptation and deliver me from evil," ejaculated I 
to myself. At this time a huge cock that had been 
roosting in some part of the kitchen gave a loud 
crow. She started up and called out " Oh, mon 
Dieu, je ne puis pas dormir a cause de cette bete la ! " 
I pretended to be asleep, although I made a loop- 
hole with my left eye. A short time afterwards she 
was snoring as loud as before. 


When daylight began to break I went out into the 
yard, and was saluted by the barking of a very 
large dog, who was chained to a small shed. This 
roused all the inmates of the house. We had some 
milk and eggs, and once more assumed our most 
agreeable journey. On entering Gueret, I verily 
believe all the men, women, children and dogs came 
to meet us. I do not know what they thought of us. 
We appeared, I thought, like a set of wild men in 
search of a more civilised country than that whence 
they came. It was soon understood we wanted lodg- 
ings, and the importunity of the females was most 
embarrassing. I took up my abode over a small 
grocer's shop. The only room I could obtain, 
which contained a small bed, a minikin table, and 
two common chairs, cost me fifty francs a month, 
(about two pounds sterling), and I was considered 
fortunate in having such good lodgings. I some- 
times dined at the principal inn, where I met the 
elite of the town, such as bankers and half broken- 
down noblemen who had been pigeoned by their 
dearly-beloved Napoleon. One day at dinner I 
overheard a conversation between two of these last, 
one of whom wished, if he could find two officers 
among us who preferred living in the country, to 
have them as lodgers. I seized the opportunity of 
introducing myself to them when we rose from table. 
An officer in one of our regiments offered himself 
as the other inmate. 

We were mutually satisfied with each other, and 
two days afterwards I obtained leave from the 


French commandant to remove to Maslgnon, about 
four leagues from Gueret. On reaching the village 
I was directed to a large chateau with two embattled 
towers. I was much pleased with its romantic 
appearance, but more so with its amiable inmates, 
which consisted of the Dowager Countess de Barton, 
the count, her son, and the two young countesses, 
her daughters, the eldest in her twenty-fourth and 
the youngest in her twenty-second year. 

There were seven saddle horses and a carriage, 
all of which were at our service, and I had a 
chamberlain to attend on me. The domain was 
very extensive. We had the privilege of shooting 
and fishing, and I found myself as comfortable as I 
could possibly wish, and I much regretted I was 
deprived of the happiness of seeing my wife and 
dear children in such distinguished and amiable 

One evening as we were all sitting in the large 
drawing room, it suddenly appeared to be going on 
one side, and immediately after we were much 
alarmed by a roaring noise like the flame in a 
chimney when on fire. I attempted to move and 
nearly fell. 

This was occasioned by the shock of an earth- 
quake. During the anxious suspense we were in, 
the servants had rushed into the room with horror 
in their countenances, exclaiming, " Oh, mesdames, 
le chateau va tomber, et nous serons ecrasees 1 " 

"Peace," said the elder countess; "remain 
where you are." By the time she had spoken the 


trembling ceased, nor had we another shock. After 
a short interval we resumed our conversation as if 
nothing had occurred. 

This part of France is much infested with wolves, 
and I frequently in the night heard them near the 
house, but I only saw one of them in the day. I 
fired at him, but as he was at some distance, he 
escaped without injury. 

I had resided with this amiable family nearly a 
month, when one of the servants who had been to 
Gueret entered nearly out of breath to say that, 
" La belle France etait prise ! " At the same time 
he handed a small printed paper to the mother 

She smiled at the idea of the servant's report, 
and turning to me she said, " I am rejoiced to be 
the first to announce to you that you are no longer 
in captivity. The allied armies have taken Paris 
and Bonaparte has abdicated. This is the 
* Gazette,' 1 am happy to see once more decorated 
with the Fleur de Lys." 

I kissed her hand for the intelligence, and 
assured her although the joyful news was everything 
I wished, I should much regret quitting her family, 
where, during my short stay, I could not have 
experienced more affection and kindness from my 
own relations than she had shown to me. 

On the second day after this delightful intelli- 
gence, I took an affectionate leave of the ladies. 
The count was absent. 

At Gueret I joined the same party who had been 


my companions in misery and fatigue. Our nags 
had been well taken care of, and the nine hundred 
and ninety-ninth cousin of the brave, but unfortu- 
nate, Bruce deserved praise. 

I will not describe our tiresome and wretched 
journey of nine days. At length we reached 
Fontainebleau, where we remained two days to rest 
ourselves as well as the horses. In passing through 
its forest, which is very fine, we were almost 
poisoned by the stench occasioned by dead men and 
horses. We saw the palace, and the ink on the table 
where Bonaparte had signed his abdication was so 
fresh that it came off by rubbing it a little with the 

Two days after we entered Paris, which we found 
in possession of the allied armies, and it was with 
the greatest difficulty that we procured lodgings even 
in the Faubourg St. Antoine. They were at the 
top of the house, only five stories and an entresol 
to mount ! and alarmingly dear as well as dirty and 
small. We sold our stud and carriage for a little 
more than we gave for them. 

During the three days we remained in Paris, I 
visited the Louvre and its stolen goods. It was a 
brilliant treat ; never was any palace so decorated 
with such gems of art, nor, I hope, under the same 
circumstances, ever will be again. On the day 
Louis le Desire entered, I paid a napoleon for half 
a window in the Rue St. Denis to view the pro- 

Nearly opposite the window the King halted to 


receive the address from the Moullns and Poissardes, 
some of whom appeared to me drunk. A child 
dressed like a cupid, with a chaplet of flowers in its 
hand, was handed to the Duchess d'Angouleme, 
who sat on the left hand of the King. I remarked 
she was much confused and scarcely knew what to 
do with the child, who was about five years of age, 
and who put the chaplet on her head. At length 
she kissed it and returned it to its mother. 

The window of the houses were dressed with 
pieces of tapestry and white flags, which appeared 
to my view nothing more than sheets and table- 
cloths. The Garde Nationale lined the streets, 
and by the acclamations of, " Vive Louis le Dix- 
huit, Louis le Desire, les Bourbons!" and other 
cries, all foreigners who had never visited France 
or conversed with its natives, would have exclaimed, 
" Look at these loyal people ; how they love the 
Bourbon dynasty ! " 

The mounted National Guard who came after the 
royal carriage out-Heroded Herod by their deafen- 
ing cries of loyalty. Who would have imagined 
these gentlemen would have played the harlequin 
and receive their dethroned Emperor as they did 
when he entered Paris again ? " Put not your 
trust in men, particularly Frenchmen in 1814, ye 
house of Bourbon, for they made ye march out of 
France without beat of drum." 

I was much amused with the conduct of the 
Imperial Guard who followed the national heroes. 
The Poissardes cried out, "Vive le Garde Imperiale ! " 







w ^ 



^^^1 IS^g:- i^>^, ^-2fi 


All they uttered was "Vive les Poissardes ! " They 
looked as black as thunder. 

I understood there was a cause of dissatisfaction 
among them in consequence of a mark of distinction 
having been given to the shop-keeping soldiers and 
not any to them. This was the Comte d'Artois' 
clever policy ; at least, so I was informed by my 
companion who had taken the other half of the 
window where we stood. My thoughts were seven 
fathoms deep. 



Obtain a passport after some difficulty from Prince Metternich — Start 
for England via Rouen and Havre — Sail to Spithead — Amused at 
Englishwomen's queer dress — Return to family — Acquitted for 
loss of H. M.S. Apelles. 

The morning before my departure I waited on 
Lord Aberdeen, requesting a passport to England ; 
he referred me to Prince Metternich. I reached his 
hotel, and had to wade through a host of long- 
whiskered, long-piped gentlemen, who were smoking 
with all their might and main, and spitting in all 

As I advanced, a genteel-looking young man, who 
was dressed in an aide-de-camp's uniform, came to 
me and asked in French the purport of my visit. 
I informed him. He left me, and soon returned and 
requested I would walk into another room, where I 
found the German Prince, who received me very 
cavalierly, and asked me what I did in Paris when 
there were transports waiting at Bordeaux to carry 
over the English. 

" I thank your Highness for the information, but 
I do not wish to go by that route. My intention is to 
return to England by Havre, and I shall feel obliged 
by your granting me a passport to that effect." 

" You should go to Lord Aberdeen for one." 


" I have already seen him, and he directed me to 
you, as you were in command of the capital," 
I replied. 

He muttered something which I could not, nor 
did I wish to, understand. After a pause he asked 
me my rank. I informed him, when he directed his 
secretary to make out my passport, and here ended 
much ado about nothing. 

We started next morning, slept at Rouen, revisited 
its ancient cathedral, which had been struck by light- 
ning, breakfasted, and arrived at Havre, where we 
remained two days, waiting for a vessel to take us 
across the Channel. I viewed this town with much 
interest, as it had saluted the vessels I had belonged 
to with several hundred shot. 

We arrived at Spithead in the evening, but too 
late to go on shore. There were nine of us — men, 
women, and squalling children — and we had the 
comfort of lying on the cabin deck, there being no 
sleeping berths, as the vessel was only about fifty 
tons, and not fitted up for passengers. 

When I landed next morning I appeared to tread 
on air, but I could not help laughing out aloud at 
the, I thought, ridiculous and anything but pic- 
turesque dresses of the women. Their coal-scuttle 
bonnets and their long waists diverted me, although 
I was sorry to observe in my healthy and fair country- 
women such an ignorance of good taste. I took a 
hasty mutton chop at the " Fountain," and started 
for London by the first stage coach. 

On my arrival at dear home I found all I loved in 


good health. My excellent wife and affectionate 
boys and girls clung round me, and I was as happy 
as an innocent sucking pig, or, if my reader thinks 
the simile not in place, as happy as a city alderman 
at a turtle feast. 

A few days after my appearance at the Admiralty 
I was ordered to proceed to Portsmouth, to undergo 
my trial for the loss of the ship, which, as a son of 
the Emerald Isle would say, was no loss at all, as 
she was retaken afterwards. 

My sentence was as honourable to the officers of 
the court martial as it was to myself. I received 
my sword from the President, Admiral Sir George 
Martin, with a high encomium. 

The days of my youth have floated by like a 
dream, and after having been forty-five years in the 
Navy my remuneration is a hundred and eighty 
pounds a year, without any prospect of its being 
increased. If the generality of parents would take 
my advice they never would send one of their boys 
into the service without sufficient interest and some 
fortune. If they do, their child, if he behaves well, 
may die in his old age, possibly as a lieutenant, with 
scarcely an income to support himself; and if he 
should under these circumstances have the misfor- 
tune to have married and have children, God, I 
hope, will help him, for I very much fear no one 
else will ! 

Here ends my eventful but matter-of-fact history, 
which, if it has afforded my reader any amusement, 
my pains are well repaid. 


Note A. 

If the French accounts are to be credited General 
Rochambeau had a garrison of only 600 men, 400 of whom 
were militia {cf. " Victoires et Conquetes," tome iii., 
p. 249). At any rate, when Fort Bourbon surrendered 
the garrison was found to be only 200, including the 
wounded {cf. James, vol. i., p. 219). 

Note B. 

James, in his account of this brilliant feat (vol. ii., 
p. 360 et seq.), gives several interesting details of the affair. 
"Every man was to be dressed in blue, and no white of 
any kind to be seen. The password was 'Britannia' 
and the answer 'Ireland.'" The boarding party pro- 
ceeded in six boats, each being instructed to effect an 
entrance on a particular part of the Hermione. " From 
the moment of quitting the Surprise till the Hermione was 
boarded Captain Hamilton never lost sight of her for a 
moment. He stood up in the pinnace with his night- 
glass, by the aid of which he steered a direct course 
towards the frigate." When still a mile from the 
Hermione the boats were discovered by two Spanish 
gunboats. Some of Hamilton's boats disobeyed orders 
by attacking these gunboats instead of concentrating 
their attention on the Hermione, and thus nearly spoilt 
the attack. 

James adds that : " In effecting this surprising cap- 
ture the British sustained so comparatively shglit a loss 


as 12 wounded, including Captain Hamilton. Of their 
365 in crew the Spaniards had 119 killed and 97 wounded, 
most of them dangerously." 

Note C. 

Copy of letter written by Lieutenant Hoffman to his 
wife immediately after the action of Trafalgar : — 

"ToNNANT, Oct. ■zjth, 1805. Off Cadiz. 

" My Beloved Sarah, — It has pleased Providence 
once more to bless our favoured isle with astonishing 
success. On the 21st of the month the combined enemy's 
fleet, consisting of thirty-four sail of the line, four frigates, 
and two brigs, were seen by us. At five minutes after 
twelve afternoon we broke their line and engaged them. 
Captain Tyler gallantly placed the Tonnant, and I hope 
we as gallantly defended her. We have lost twenty-six 
brave fellows and fifty wounded in our ship only. We 
have captured sixteen sail of the line, French and Spanish, 
and sunk one of the line and one blew up. We are now 
going for Gibraltar to refit, as we are decently maul'd. 
We were twenty-six of the line, three frigates, a cutter and 
a schooner. I am very sorry to relate Lord Nelson has 
gloriously fallen, covered with heroic wounds. Captain 
Tyler is wounded rather dangerously, but I hope he will 
soon recover. The French Admiral Magon, in the 
Algerzaries (sic), of equal force, laid us alongside, and 
attempted boarding, but found it ineffectual. At the same 
time we were engaged by three other sail of the line. 
After engaging this fine fellow for about an hour he struck 
his flag, and we took possession of her (sic) ; in short, with 
this noble ship's company we humbled three of nearly 
equal force. This battle, my beloved, plainly shows it is 
not always to the strong. An Almighty Hand fought it 
for us. To Him we trust in this and every future event. 
May He protect my Sarah." 

Note D. 

Captain Hoffman's report to the Admiralty of the loss 

of the Apelles : — 

"Verdun, France, May iSth, 1812. 

'' Sir,— Captain Boxer, of H.M.S. Skylark, and my 
senior officer, having communicated to me on the evening 


of the 2nd of May he had received information of a large 
division of the flotilla being in readiness to escape from 
Boulogne to Cherberg that night, he thought it necessary 
that his sloop the Skylark and the Apelles, under my com- 
mand, should be kept as close in shore as possible between 
Boulogne and Etaples in order to intercept them. But it 
is with feelings of regret I have to acquaint you, for the 
information of the Lords of the Admiralty, that on Sunday, 
A.M. the 3rd of May, H.M.S. Apelles ran aground about 
eighteen miles to the westward of Boulogne, as also did 
H.M.S. Skylark. The wind at this time was moderate at 
N.E. with a dense fog. 

"The sloop, on a wind, heads E.S.E., going about five 
knots an hour, the land not perceived. Shortly after it 
became clear enough to discern that we were about a 
musket shot from a battery elevated above our mastheads, 
which, on perceiving our situation, opened a most destruc- 
tive fire on the Apelles, she being the nearest vessel. 
During this time the boats were got out, and an anchor 
carried astern to heave the sloop off. Guns, shot, and 
heavy stores, etc., were thrown overboard, from before the 
chest tree the water started and pumped out, in order to 
lighten the vessel, but without effect, as, unfortunately, 
the sloops had run on shore on the infant ebb spring tide, 
and it receded much faster than it was possible to lighten 
them. About half-past five the Apelles fell over on her 
starboard side, with her decks entirely exposed to the 
battery, field pieces, and musketry from the beach and 
sandhills. At six she became a complete wreck, the shot 
from the enemy having cut away nearly all the standing 
rigging, as well as the sails to ribands. In this state 
Captain Boxer sent his first lieutenant on board the 
Apelles to request I would set fire to her and abandon 
her without loss of time, as he thought it was imprac- 
ticable to get either of the vessels off. I then called a 
council of the officers and pilots, who were unanimous in 
the positive necessity of quitting the vessels. The pilots 
further added that as the tide was so rapidly ebbing, 
the vessels would soon be left dry on the beach, and if 
the crews were not sent immediately away there would 
be no possibility of escape. I then ordered the boats to 
be manned, and shortl}^ afterwards they left the Apelles 
with the greater part of the officers, leaving on board 
the following in consequence of their not being able 

K.G. z 


to contain more, some of them (boats) having been 
struck by shot : 

" F. Hoffman, Commander. 

"Mr. Manning, Surgeon. 

" Mr. Hanney, Purser. 

" Mr. Taylor, Gunner. 

" Mr. Johnston, Mid. 

"Wm. Whittaker, Clerk. 

"J. Thompson^ 

" Davies 

" Crosbie V Seamen. 

" George 

" Raymond 

" Sergt. Owen "^ 

" Corp. Cleverly 

" Ready V Marines. 

" King 

" Baxfield 

" On the boats of the ^/j^-Z/^s joining those of the Skylark 
Captain Boxer, finding I remained behind, he, in a most 
gallant manner, pulled towards the Apelles with his 
deeply laden boat under a heavy discharge of shot and 
musketry from the enemy to entreat me to go with him. 
This I refused, but begged him to make the best of his 
way with the boats to England, for as he had not room in 
the boats for those remaining as well as myself I could 
not, as a point of humanity, as well as duty, think of 
quitting the Apelles whilst a man was compelled to remain 
behind. Finding he could not prevail he gave up the 
point. He joined the other boats, and was soon out of sight. 
I need not express my feelings to their Lordships, or to 
you. Sir, on this trying occasion; I cannot describe them. 
Shortly after the boats had left the sloops both masts of 
the Apelles fell by the board, having been nearly severed 
in two by the shot of the enemy. At this time the Skylark, 
having grounded within hail of us, was enveloped in flame 
and partially exploded, some of her shot striking the Apelles. 
I now ordered a white flag to be shown by holding it up. 
This at length appeared to silence the enemy, who had been 
incessantly firing at us from the time we grounded until 
about seven o'clock. About twenty minutes afterwards the 
Apelles, being partly dry, was boarded by about 200 men, 


principally soldiers, who compelled us to leave the sloop, 
and almost immediately afterwards followed us, as the 
Skylark exploded with an appalling report, setting fire to 
the Apelles. Owing to her being previously dismasted 
consisted her safety. The enemy soon after the explosion 
returned to the Apelles, and extinguished the fire on board 
her. Only a vestige of the sternpost of Skylark now 
remained, half buried in the sand. 

" Through this severe trial of more than three hours, 
whilst the shot were going through the sides of the Apelles, 
and destroying her masts and rigging, every officer and 
man behaved with that coolness inherent in British sea- 
men, and which I trust will speak favourably of their 
conduct to their Lordships. 

" I have now to remark that although we were under 
the painful necessity of lowering His Majesty's colours, 
which was not done until the last extremity, the enemy 
did not desist from firing into us for an hour afterwards. 
Seeing the crippled and distressed state we were in, his 
motive was certainly not that of humanity. I have to 
add that Mr. Hanney, the purser, was wounded in the 
head, and Mr. Taylor, the gunner, in the shoulder and left 
hand, but neither dangerously. I am now happy to add 
their wounds are nearly healed. 

"The signal books and instructions of every description 
were burnt in the galley fire by the Purser and myself 
when we saw there was no possibility of our escape. 
*' I have the honour to remain. Sir, 

" Your obedient servant, 

(Signed) *' F. Hoffman, 

" Late Commander of H.M.S. Apelles. 

"Wm. Croker, Esq., &c., &c., &c., 

Note E. 

Letter from Captain Otter respecting the establishment 
of a school for midshipmen at Verdun. 

"Verdun, Oct. 26th, 1812. 

*' Dear Sir, — As I am very anxious that the 
establishment of a school should be supported with our 
utmost endeavours, it is with the greatest satisfaction I 
perceive you enter into the plans, and undertake the con- 
ducting of it, with all the energy I could wish. I have 


already spoken to Lieutenants Lambert, Brown, Thack- 
stone, Carslake, Robins, Boyack, Bogle, and Kennicote, 
who have volunteered to assist you, and I have no doubt but 
that they will always be ready to follow such instruction 
as you may think proper to give them. 

" It is my wish that all the young gentlemen of the age 
of eighteen and under attend the school, and that it may be 
open to those above that age who will submit to the rules, 
and who wish to benefit by the attending masters. 

" As the intention of the school is solely for the improve- 
ment of the young gentlemen of the Navy, it is presumed 
they will be sufficiently sensible of the advantages they 
may derive from it, and by their regular attendance and 
strict attention when in school, both show their desire of 
improvement, and their respect to the gentlemen who have 
so kindly volunteered to attend during the school hours. 

" Wishing you every success in this your laudable 

" I remain, dear Sir, 

"Yours truly, 

" C. Otter, 

" Senior full-pay Captain of the;.Naval Department." 

Note F. 
Testimonial from Captain Otter. 

" BiDEFORD, Devon, Aug. jst, 1827. 
" My Dear Sir, — I have sincere pleasure in 
acknowledging the great assistance you afforded me by 
your voluntarily taking the trouble of superintending, and 
also the able manner you conducted the school established 
by me, as senior naval officer of the depot of Verdun. 

" I have likewise great satisfaction in testifying to your 
good conduct as an officer and gentleman during the time 
you were a prisoner in France. 

" I remain, dear Sir, 

" Yours very truly, 

*' C. Otter. 

" F. Hoffman, Esq., Commander R.N." 


Aberdeen, Lord, Minister at Paris, 

Achille, French battleship, 215 
Admiralty, mismanagement, 143 ; 

promotion patronage, 144 
Alarm, H.M.S., 124, 161, 163 
Albatross, an, 49 
Alberaw Island, 209 
Albino, an, 247 
Alexatidria, H.M.S., 227 
Allies, Paris occupied by the, 328 
Alligators, 83, 243, 271 
American cruisers, an episode with, 

Antonio, Cape, 129, 272 

Apelles, H.M.S., 277; loss of, 299, 

Aral« at Cape Verde, 238 
Arras, 311, 312 
Ashantee v. Fantee, 244, 248 
Ashantees, King of the, 248 

Bahamas, the, 107 

" Ballaker ladies," 102 

Barbadoes, 18, 262; the elite of, 19 

" Bargemen," in biscuits, 38 

Barracow, 268 

Barton, Dowager Countess de, 327 

Bateman and Slateman, 195 

BeauchSne, Baron de, 314 

Belize River (Central America), 270 

Bellerophon, II. M.S., 213 

Bence Island (Sierra Leone), 259, 261 

Beriguet Island, 230 

Bickerton, Sir Richard, 203 

Bight of Benin, 246 

" Bishop,'' a colonial, 169 

Black River, 169 

Black Rocks, off Brest, 196, 230, 231 

Blaney, Lord, 315 

Blennerhassett, Captain, 315 

Blois, 323 

Blonde, II. M.S., 7, 33 

Boulogne, 280 — 289, 292, 294, 296 ; 

Apelles, lost off, 299 ; Hoffman in 

gaol at, 302 

" Bowing to a bishop," 169 
Boxer, Captain, H.M.S. Skylark, 336 
Boytie, H.M.S., 21, 26, 28 
Bremen, the fair-wind sellers of, 72 
Brest, 36, 196, 228. 229 
Bridge Town, Barbadoes, 18 
Bromley, Captain, 271 
Bull-frogs, 270 
Buonaparte. See Napoleon 

Cadiz, 203, 209 

Calder, Sir R. F., 203 

Cambray, 313 _ 

Campbell, Admiral Sir G., 277, 293 

Campbell, Lady, 277, 282, 284, 288 

Campechy, Bay of, 129 

Cauiperdovvn, Battle of, 88 

Canary Islands, 235 

Cape Antonio, 129, 272 

Cape Coast Castle (North-West 

Africa), 240, 242, 244, 247, 250 
Cape di Gata, 209 
Cape Finisterre, 48 
Cape Florida, 131 
Cape Fran9ois (West Indies), 66, 76, 

96, 268 
Cape Grisnez, 281 
Cape Mayzi, 266 
Cape Palos, 209 
Cape Sable (Nova Scotia), 131 
Cape St. Nicholas (West Indies), 49, 

52, 66, 79, 267 
Cape, St. Paul's (West Africa), 246 
Cape Verde (Senegambia), 235, 237 
Carthagena, 203, 209 
Cawsand Bay, 199 
Caymans, Grand (West Indies), 103, 

128, 173 
Ceuta, 203 

Chaplain, an Irish Naval, 44 
Charles V., of Spnin, 208 
Cherbourg, 33, 297, 337 
Clarence, Duke of, 291 
Clermont, 322 
Cloud effects, curious, 141 
Cochrane,Admiral Sir Alexander, 262 



Cockpit, a frigate's, 37 

Coffin, Rear-Admiral, Sir Isaac, 223 

CoUingwood, Admiral, 203, 209, 218 

Colpoys, Sir J.. 183 

Conelly, a marine at Trafalgar, 218 

Consul and his Secretary, a (Cartha- 

gena), 206 
Coote, Sir Eyre, 171 
Court-martial, a mock, 120 
Courtship, a sailor's, 90 
Croker, William, 339 
Cronenburg Castle (Cape Coast 

Castle), 249 
Cuba, 76, 113, 130, 134, 264, 267 
Culmer, Billy, 282—288 
Curtis, Admiral Sir R. , 293 

Dacres, Admiral, 269 
d'Angouleme, Duchess, 330 
d'Artois, Comte, 331 
Deal, 174, 273, 295, 297; a cruise 

on horseback at, 175 
Defiance, H.M.S., 189, 215 
Diamond, H.M.S., 225 
di Gata, Cape, 209 
Dix Cove (North-West Africa), 246 
Donna Maria Bay, 79 — 87 
Dorchester, 226 
Douarnenez Bay, 230 
Drummond, Colonel, 270 
Dryden, Sailors' appreciation of, 1 16 

Earthquake, an, 327 
Electric eels, 87 
Elphinstone, Captain, 2, 3 
Equator, amusements when crossing 
the, 14—17, 49 

Falmouth, ii, 14, 31 

Fanshaw, Commissioner (Plymouth), 

Fantee v. Ashantee, 244, 248 
Fenelon, Archbishop, 313 
Fetich, 243 
Finisterre, Cape, 48 
Fire-flies, 113 
Fitton, Lieutenant, 136 
Fitzgerald, a sailor at Trafalgar, 217 
Flogging, in the Navy, 1 10 
Florida, Cape, 131 
Florida, Gulf of, 105, 173 
Florida Stream, 134 
Foley, Lady, 293 
Foley, Sir Thomas, 293 
Fontainebleau, 329 
Forbes, Captain, 261 
Forbes, Honble. Mrs., 260 
Fort Bourbon, siege and surrender of, 

27—29, 335 

Fort Royale, captured from the 

French, 25 
Fort Royale Bay, Martinique, 22 
Fourth of July dinner, a, 153 
Fox, General (Governor of Gibraltar), 

France, war declared with, 3 
Franchise, capture of the French 

frigate, 193 
Fran9ois, Cape (West Indies), 66, 76, 

96, 164, 268 
Free Town (Sierra Leone), 259 
French brigs, frigates, and privateers, 

capture of, 47, 55, 78, 193, 197, 

French frigates, chased by, 13 

Frogs, bull-, 270 

Funchal Roads, Madeira, 234 

Gardner, Lord, 196, 201 

Gentille, capture of the French 

frigate, 47 
Gibraltar, 203, 2l6 
Gordon, Rev. — , Chaplain at 

Verdun, 315 
Goree Island (Cape Verde), 235 — 237 
Grand Caymans, the, 103, 128 
Gray, Lieutenant-General Sir C, 22, 

Grisnez, Cape, 281 
Gros Soiiris, a Spanish zebec, takes 

Hoffman prisoner, 147 
Guadaloupe Island, 21 
Gueret-on-the-Creuse, 324, 326 
Guernsey, 33—35 

HA\flLTON, Captain, H.M.S, Sur- 
prise, 108 
Hamilton. Commissary, 238 
Hannibal, H.M.S., 37 
Havannah, 103, 105, 130, 161, 272 
Havre, 232, 333 
Hermione, mutiny on H.M.S., 107 — 

"0, 335, 336 

Hesdin, 309 

Heslip, Sir Thomas, Governor of 
Trinidad, 263 

Hoffman, Captain F., 

Chapter I. — Early experiences, 
I — 17 ; appointed to Blonde frigate, 
3 ; journey to and breakfast at 
Portsmouth, 4, 5 ; joins the Blonde, 
7 ; an outbreak of fire, 9 ; a deal 
with West Indiamen, 10 ; a pair 
of shoes at Falmouth, 11 ; nearly 
captured by the French, 13 ; 
crossing the line, 14 

Chapter II. — Arrives in West 
Indies, 18 ; the elite of Barbadoes, 



19 ; the town of St. Pierre, 
Dominique, 20 ; Fort Royale, 
Martinique, 22 ; attack on St. 
Pierre, 23 ; Fort Royale captured, 
25 ; seige and surrender of Fort 
Bourbon, 27. 

Chapter III. — Returns to Eng- 
land, 30 ; a lunar rainbow, ibid ; 
sailors' frolics ashore, 31 ; their 
generosity, 32 ; Cherbourg, 33 ; 
runs aground off Guernsey, 35 ; 
transferred to a "74," 37 ; an 
unexpected meeting, 38 ; his new 
shipmates, 40 ; marines and 
surgeons, 42, 43 ; the chaplain and 
the devil, 44. 

Chapter IV.— With the Channel 
Fleet offUshant, 46 ; capture of the 
French frigate Gentille, 47 ; a trans- 
port sunk off Cape Finisterre, 48 ; 
ordered to West Indies, ibid. ; 
negro v. shark, 50 ; dignity balls at 
Port Royal, 51 ; collision with 
H.M.S. Sampson, 52; yellow 
fever, 53 ; capture of French ships 
and privateers, 54. 

Chapter V. — Difficulties and 
humours of impressment, 57 ; 
coopers and rum, 61 ; a scrimmage 
with the press-gang, 62 ; down 
with yellow fever, 64 ; a change of 
captains, 67 

Chapter VI. — Tough yarns — 
the sea-serpent ; the fair-wind 
sellers of Bremen ; mermen and 
mermaidens, 69 — 75 ; capture of a 
Spanish schooner, 76 ; boat attack 
on, and capture of, French privateer 
Salamandre, 77 ; malignant scurvy 
and its treatment, 79 ; a question 
of sex, 81 ; a voyage of discovery, 
82 ; snakes and alligators, 83. 

Chapter VII. — Cruising off 
Porto Rico, 86 ; a haul of fish, 87 ; 
Napoleon's boasts, 88 ; views on 
matrimony, 89 ; a sailor's courtship, 
90 ; slow promotion, 93 ; catching 
a Spanish tartar, 94 ; tympanum of 
left ear ruptured, 98. 

Chapter VIII.— Tea with the 
boatswain's wife, 100 ; a case of 
rum, loi ; •' Ballaker ladies," 102 ; 
signs of mutiny, 103 ; much cruis- 
ing, little comfort, 105 ; water- 
spouts, 106 ; J/er?>iione seized by 
mutineers and re-captured, 107 — 
109; Sabbath v, Sunday, ill ; fire- 
flies, 113. 

Chapter IX. — At Port Royal 

again, 114 ; on board a "98," 115 ; 
sailors' appreciation of books, 116; 
H.M.S. Queen runs aground, sinks, 
and is raised, 117, 118; a mock 
court-martial, 120; appointed 
lieutenant to a "24," 125. 

Chapter X. — His new ship- 
mates, 127 ; a chase and a dis- 
appointment, 129; aground on a 
coral reef, 130; a tropical thunder- 
stoim, 131 ; futile attempt to cut 
out three schooners off ISIatanzas, 
132; a lost letter, 134; more 
dignity balls at Port Royal, 135 ; a 
Yankee, his papers, and a shark, 
136 ; seizes a French ship off St. 
Domingo, 137. 

Chapter XL— Visits a Jamaica 
plantation, 132; condition of the 
slaves, 140 ; curious cloud -efifects, 
141 ; a growl against the House of 
Commons and Admiralty, 143 ; 
officers' grievances, 144 ; taken 
prisoner by a Spanish zebec, 147 ; 
generously treated in gaol at St. 
Jago, 149 ; the Governor's ball, 
152; a fourth of July dinner, 153; 
freedom at last, 155. 

Chapter XII. — Returns to his 
ship, 156 ; a chapter of accidents, 
157; captures a French schooner, 
158; American cruisers, 15S; at 
Port Royal once more, 159; a 
second bout of yellow fever, 159; 
capture of a Spanish gunboat, 161 ; 
dispute about a captured flag, 163 ; 
wetting a middy's commission, 165 ; 
an Irishman's opinions, 167 ; 
pathetic farewells, 168. 

Chapter XIII.— The Black 
River, 169; "bowing to the 
bishop," 171 ; at the " Hoop and 
Griffin," Deal, 173; a cruise on 
horseback, 175; tlie baker's round, 
176; an unrecognised brother, 

Chapter XIV.— A spell ashore, 

182 ; appointed to the Mino/aitr, 

183 ; surgeon or carpenter? 1S4 ; a 
mixed crew, 186 ; tailors for sailors, 
189; Pat's excursion, 190; a lady 
in disguise, 193 ; the dog-a-tory 
pennant, 194 ; in danger off Ushant, 
197 ; in quarantine at Plymouth, 

Chapter XV.— Wanted — 

musicians, 199; an inc|uisilivc 
admiral, 201 ; joins the Tonnant, 
202 ; with Collingwood, 203 



punch or sherbet, 205 ; a consul 
and his secretary, 206. 

Chapter XVI.— Battle of 
Trafalgar, 211 ; at close quarters, 
213; a glorious victory, 215; 
British pluck, 217 ; the cockpit 
after Trafalgar, 218; British losses, 
219; international amenities, 221. 

Chapter XVII. — Trustworthi- 
ness of sailors, 223 ; Sir Isaac 
Coffin, 223 ; more horse exercise, 
225 ; a trip to Plympton, 226 ; joins 
the Alexandria, 227 ; Earl St. 
Vincent, 228 ; in praise of Ply- 
mouth, 229 ; the Black Rock 
station, 230 ; a slovenly skipper, 
231 ; a collision, 233. 

Chapter XVIII. — Madeira, 
234 ; Goree Island, 235 ; light- 
fingered natives, 237 ; Arab visiters, 
238 ; Cape Coast Castle, 240, 242 ; 
no accounting for tastes, 241 ; 
fetich, 243 ; Ashantee v. Fantee, 

Chapter XIX. — Analbmo, 247; 
the Ashantee king, 247 ; Dutch 
and Danish settlements, 249 ; a 
voyage of discovery, 25 1 ; "Irish 
hurricanes," ibid.', up the Rio 
Pongo, 253; a slaveship, 253—256 ; 
an African dinner, 257. 

Chapter XX. — Sierra Leone. 
259 ; a picnic at Bence Island. 260; 
a slave mart, 261 ; Lord Rodney's 
relict at Barbadoes, 262 ; lake of 
pitch at Trinidad, 263 ; Montego 
Bay, 266 ; captures a Spanish 
privateer, ibid. ; exchanges ships, 

Chapter XXL— Honduras, 
269 ; Colonel Drummond, 270; an 
alligator story, 271 ; home with 
mahogany, 272 ; at his old quarters 
in Deal, 273 ; a First Lord of the 
Admiralty, 274 ; home, sweet 
home, 275 ; appointed to the 
Apelles, 277 ; a mad captain, 278. 

Chapter XXII to XXIV.— Off 
Boulogne on blockade duty, 280 — 
289, 293, 297 ; Billy Culmer, 282 ; 
a queer examination, 285 ; thirteen 
boiled legs of mutton, 291 ; in 
Plymouth Sound, 295 ; loss of the 
Apelles, 299, 336 ; in gaol at 
Boulogne, 302; dines with the 
French commandant, 303 ; a mare's 
nest, 305 ; examined by a French 
military court, 307 ; Montreuil, 308 ; 
Hesdin, 309, 

Chapter XXV. — Arras, 311 ; 
Lieutenant Horton, 312 ; Cambray, 
313 ; relics of Archbishop Fenelon, 
ibid; at Verdun, 314 — 320; Captain 
Otter, 314; scheme for establish- 
ment of midshipmen's school at 
Verdun, 316; prisoners' amuse- 
ments — Use viajesti, 318, 319. 

ChaptersXXVI. and XXVII.— 
Clermont, 322 ; Blois, 323 ; Gueret, 
324 ; a French farmhouse, 325 ; an 
earthquake. 327; Allies occupy Paris, 
328; Louis XVIII. 's triumphal 
entry, 330 ; Prince Metternich, 332; 
returns to England, 333 ; honour- 
ably acquitted, 334. 

Hoffman, Mrs. (mother), I — 3, 65 

Honduras, 269 

Hood, Lord, 282, 287 

Horton, Lieutenant, 31 1, 312 

Hospitals, seamen's, 119 

Howe, Lord, 35, 36 

Hume, Joseph, 119, 263, 293 

Humming-birds, 141 

Impressment, difficulties and 

humours of, 58 — 60 
" Irish hurricanes," 251 
Isle de Vache, 137 

"Jack, the painter," 7 
Jacmel (Jamaica), 135 
Jamaica, 50,264 ; a plantation in, 140 
Jervis, Admiral Sir John (Earl St. 
Vincent), 21, 228 

Kent, Duke of, 22, 29 

Kingston (Jamaica), 57, 60,63, 139 

La Jument rock, off Ushant, 197 
Lemaroix, Comte, 393 
Leviathan, H.M.S., 52 
Lloyd, Colonel, Governor of Cape 

Verde, 236 
L'Orient (France), 195 
Lobb, Commissioner, 291 
Los, or Loes, Islands (North-West 

Africa), 253, 258 
Louis XIV., 324 
Louis XVIII. , 329, 330 
Ludlow, Governor Sierra Leone, 25l> 

Lunar rainbow, a, 30 

Lyall, Captain, 315 

Madeira, 234 
Magicienne, H.M.S., 49 
Magon, Admiral (French), 213 
]\Iaize, Cape, 164 



Manchester, Duke of, 269 

Manchineel tree, the, 87 

Margate, 292 

Marie Galante Island, 21 

Marines, 43 

Markham, Captain (H. M.S. BlcvAte),^ 

Martin, Admiral Sir George, 334 

Martinique Island (West Indies), 21, 

Masignon village (France), 327 
Matanzas, Bay of (West Indies), 131, 

Matrimony, views on, 89 
Maxwell (Sir A. Cochrane's secretary), 

Mayzi, Cape, 266 
Melpomene, H.M.S., 272 
Mermen and mermaidens, 74 
Merry dim, of Dover, 196 
Metternich, Prince, 332 
Mexico, Bay of, 164 
Mexico, Gulf of, 103, 130 
Midshipman's commission, wetting a, 

Miller, Captain, 315 
Minotaur, H.M.S., 183 
Mississippi, 129 

Moniteur, (French newspaper), 319 
Montague, Admiral, 35, 223 
Montego Bay (Jamaica), 265 
Montreuil-sur-jNIer, 308 
Moore, Hamilton, Epitovie, 9, 41, 124 
Moscow, French soldiers from, 323 
Mount Edgcumbe, 188 
Mulgrave, Lord, 274 
Mutiny, at the Nore, 103 ; on H.M.S. 

Herinione, 107 — no 

NAroLi:oN, 297, 305, 318, 319, 323, 

326, 328 ; his boasts, 88, 280 
Neblet, Sally, 262 
Negril Point, 172 
Negro V. shark, 50 
Nelson, Lord, 210, 218 
New Providence, 105 
Nimrod, cutter, 135 
Nore, mutiny at the, 103 

OCHRK Bay (Jamaica), 265 

Oran Roads (Algeria), 203 

Otter, Captain C, 314 — 316; his 
letter regarding establishment of 
school for midshipmen at Verdun, 


Oysters, tree-, 174 

Paddy Whack, a Black River slave, 

Palos, Cape (Spain), 209 


Paris, occupied by the Allies, 328 

Park, Mungo, 238 

Parker, Captain, 273 

Pat's excursion, story of, 190 

Pennant, a dog-a-tory, 194 

Perceval, Spencer, 304 

Pigeon Island, 22 

Pigot, Captain (H.M.S. Herinione), 

Pilchard pie (" star-gazy" pie), 19 
Pilot-fish, 17 

Pitch, lake of, Trinidad, 263 
Pitt, WiUiam, 305 
Plymouth, 31, 35, 188, 198,202, 222, 

226, 229, 230, 295 
Plympton, 226 

Point St. Matthew (Brest), 230 
Port Royal (Jamaica), 50, 53, 55, 

102, 107, 114, 117, 134, 138, 159, 

165, 263, 266, 269 
Portland Roads, 225 
Porto Rico, 88, 95, lOi, 113, 142 
Portsmouth, 5, 47 
Prescott, General, 10 
Presqu' Isle, 75 

Pressgang, a scrimmage with the, 63 
Prince, H.M.S., 201 
Promotion, in Navy, 93, 144 
Punch or sherbet ? 205 

Quarantine, 198 

Quebec, H.M.S., 40 

Queen, H.M.S., sunk and raised in 

Port Royal Roads, 117, 118 
Quimper (France), 195 

Raisonable, H.M.S., 52 

Rio Pongo River, 253 

Rochambeau, General, 29, 335 

Rodney, Lady, 262 

Rodney, Lord, 262 

Rouen, 333 

Rowley, Admiral, 269 

Royal Sovereigti, H.M.S., 215, 216 

Rum, a cask of, 100 

Sabhath v. Sunday, iii 
Sable, Cape (Nova Scotia), 131 
Sailors, their frolics ashore, 31 ; their 
generosity, 33 ; their appreciation 
of books, 116; their hatred of 
hospitals, 119; their trustworthi- 
ness, 223 
St. Domingo (West Indies), 49, 52, 

67, 134 

St. Jago, 147, 264 

St. Lucie Island (West Indies), 21 

St. Maw's, II 




St. Nicholas, Cape (West Indies), 49. 

52, 66, 79, 267 
St. Paul's, Cape (West Africa), 246 
St. Pierre Dominique (West Indies), 

19 ; attack on, 23 
St. Vincent, Earl (Sir John Jervis), 

21, 228, 230 

of French 

Salamandre, capture 

privateer, 78 
Salvador del Mitiido, taken from the 
Spaniards, 1S8 

Sampson, H.M.S., 49, $2 

Santissi/na Z>7«?Vart'rt, Spanish battle- 
ship, 216 

Saumerez, Captain, 33 

Savage, H. M.S., 91 

Scurvy, and its treatment, 79> 80 

Sea-serpent, yarn of a, 70 

Seymour, Lord H., 157 

Shark, negro v. , 50 

Sheerness, 183, 274, 290 

Shipmates, a list of, 40, 127 

Sierra Leone, 240 — 251, 259 

Skylark, II. M.S., 336 

Slateman and Bateman, 195 

Slaves, in Jamaica, 140 ; at Sierra 
Leone, 261 

Slaveship, a, 252 — 256 

Spain, peace with, 272 

Spanish ships, capture of, 161, 265 

Spanish Town, 51 

Spartiafe, H.M.S., 201 

Spithead, 7, 222, 233 

'■ Star gazy " pie (pilchards), 19 

Slrachan, Sir Richard, 222, 282, 295 

Siiccess, H.M.S., 52 

Surgeons, naval, 43 

Surprise, H.M.S., 108 

Sjirveillaiite, French frigate, 40 

Swan Islands, 269 

Thorn, H.M.S., 49, 61 

Tiberoon (West Indies), 267 

Tobago, 262 

Tonnant, H.M.S., 202 

Tortoises, Panama (chinqua), 271 

Tortuga Island (West Indies), 267 

Tourenne, General, Governor of Cape 
Coast Castle, 244 

Trafalgar, Battle of, 211— 219 

Trent, H.M.S., 161 

Trinidad, 262 

Troubridge, Captain, H.M.S. Ton- 
nant, 202 

Turks' Island (West Indies), 164 

Turtle Head sandbank (Jamaica), 117 

USHANT, 36, 47, 193, 196, 230 

Vache, Isle de, 137 
Verde, Cape (Senegambia), 235, 237 
Verdun, 314 — 321 ; proposed scheme 
for midshipmen's school at, 316, 339 

Venerable, H.M.S., 194 

Vemis,, H.M.S., 12 

Victory, H.M.S., 21 1, 218 
Vigo Bay, 194 

Villeneuve, Admiral, 219 

Volage, H.M.S., 169 

Waterspouts, 105 

West Africa, 246 

West Indies, 18—29, 49—63 

Weymouth, 225 

White, a signalman at Trafalgar, 217 

Wolves, in France, 328 

Yellow fever, ravages of, 53—56, 
63—65, 264 

Yorke, Mr., First Lord of the Ad- 
miralty, 276 





Los Angeles 
This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 

NOV 1 1963 




DEC- 1 1 1963 

Form T.9-:i7m-r). '5 7 (05424x41 444 



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