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Briefly about the Captain George Martin:

George Martin (1778 – 1842) was born in England. He married Mary Brett in 1817 when he was 39 and she was 22. By 1835 Mary had given birth to eleven children, three of whom did not survive past infancy. Martin was a continual wanderer and an experienced ship’s captain. His childrens’ birthplaces read like [...]

Read more about the Captain George Martin

Journal Entries written by: Captain George Martin

Wednesday 6 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Another account of the same storm was written by the captain of the John Pirie, George Martin:

Letter Martin to Angas 6 April 1836

Dartmouth, April 6th 1836

To /

G.F. Angas Esqr

Sir

I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt
of your letter, last evening, dated the 4th, when I wrote you on
last saturday, it was late, & having but just come to an Anchor,
being at the time much fatigued, not having been in a bed for
nearly ten days, you will pardon my not writing you at the time
all particulars, which by your leave I will now endeavour to do –
After having sailed from Falmouth, soon after passing the
Lizard the wind began to increase to a gale & variable from NWt
to SWt , taken every advantage of the wind changing to Tack,
in order to get to the westward, & had succeeded by the 26th of
March to get as far as 100–00′ West & 460–00′ North, the wind
still increasing, and nothing gale after gale, ancsiously looking
out for a change, each quartering of the moon, but to no effect;
On sunday 27th the wind at SWt, at 3 P.M the A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed squalls
came on very fast & heavy, no appearance of a favourable
change, Bore up much against my will, in company with
several other Vessels, stowed all the fore & aft sails close reeft
the Fore Topsail, & endeavoured to set it, but by this time the
wind had increased to such a pitch, that with the assistance
of all the passengers I could not get the sheets more than half
home, nor could I take it in again, was glad it was so far set,
in order to keep the Vessel before the sea; the wind still
gradually increasing, with heavy squalls & very high sea; at
Midnight, thought it impossible that it the wind could continue
long with such violence, but of which I was mistaken, for the wind
& squalls became most terific, the sea rising to a dreadfull hight
& running very cross, from the wind veering from SWt to North; but
was obliged to keep her Dead before it, fearfull of To ‘heave to’ is to reduce a ship’s sails and adjust them so they counteract each other and stop the ship making progress. It is a safety measure used to deal with strong winds heaving her too  –
and as much as three or four men could do to steer her, to keep her
from broaching too, at 2 A.M (Monday Morning) a tremendous
sea broke on board of us, which complitely overwhelmd her in one
solid body of water, I then for some time gave up all hopes of ever
seeing her rise again, she being to all appearance at the time going
Down, in consequence of the great weight of water on her decks, the
Sailing ships carried various smaller boats for different purposes. A longboat was an open row boat accommodating eight to ten oarsmen that was capable of moving through high waves long boat  also being full of water, but having all hands on deck we
with bars & handspikes broke the Sides of a ship raised above deck level to protect objects and crew Bulwark  upon, by which means
the water got of the decks, & she rose her head again, set both Pumps
[to?], which to my great joy soon suck’t, the wind blowing now a most
dreadfull Hurrican, & the sea past all possible description, and in fact
past all belife, about 3 A.M. the fore yard came down in two pieces,
the Fore Topsail split in ribbands, the sea making a complete breach
over us fore & aft, & a most horrible sight, the Vessel appearing a
a complite wreck, not one on board ever expting to see daylight,
all the hatchways I had battend down, so no water could get below, by
this time, but the [seas?] had broken the sheep pens & washed the most of sheep
overboard – it had also broken the skylight & nearly fulld the cabin with
water, which damaged ever thing in my cabin, particularly my sextant,
quadrant, charts, cloths &c which with my stock of the desk, I should
not be able to replace for Thirty Pounds –, I had by this time thrown overboard
all the hay & every thing loose we could put our hands upon, in order
to lighten the weight of our Decks, I had one man washed overboard, but
fortunately succeeded in getting him in again, we were all now To lash fast is to secure objects or seafarers to the deck of the ship with ropes so that they would not be swept overboard during a storm lashd
fast
, two men to the Pumps were essential equipment because all ships took in water. They were worked by hand, either by the crew or by steerage passengers who were expected to assist Pumps , four men to the Helm & nothing but a
sight of Horror before us, passed a great quantety of wreck of
difrent description; at about noon the wind moderating a little and
the squalls less frequent; at 4 P.M. the wind Moderating fast & the
sea falling a little, though still very high & cross, hove her too under a
close reeft Main, cleared the decks as much as we could, but the crew
nearly wore out with fatigue, & two layd up intierly, I had now made
my mind up to run for the first port I could get to in France, so soon
as I could get the Fore yard fisht, saw several Vessels that had bore up
with us more or lessdistresed, & I am fearfull for some that I saw
on the comensment of the gale, they appearing to labour heavy when
I was making fine weather of it, & I must confes that the John Pirie
is without any exception the finest sea boat I ever was at sea in, or
els she would not now be in exsistance, on Wednesday got the Foreyard
fisht & across, bent a New Fore Topsail, the wind came from the
Southward, made all sail I could for England, on Thursday got good sights
for the Chronomiter, (which is a most excellent one) also a good
Meridian altitude is a method of astronomical navigation used to calculate ones latitude on earth, in this case the latitude of a ship at sea. Using a nautical almanac to determine an estimated time of the meridian altitude of a planet or star, a ship’s captain would then use a sextant to track the object’s altitude for a few minutes before and during its pass through the meridian (in the case of the sun this was usually at noon). Meridianal Altitude , shaped my course for the Lizard point, past
Ushant about 2 Oclock P.M –, light winds during the night, but in
the morning freshning again to a gale, & getting very thick, could not
see two miles ahead, run within a few miles of the Lizard, but could not
see it, hove too about 2 P.M & on the flood tide, about 6 P.M the wind
shifted round in a heavy squall to NNWt & cleared up when I found
myself not more than five miles off Falmouth Harbour, but blowing
so hard could not carry sail to get in, bore up for Plymouth, at daylight
was close in to Plymouth but again blown out, it blowing at the
time tremendously from the North, I then run close round the
Start point where I got a To navigate difficult stretches of water, ships took pilots on board. Pilots were coastal navigators with knowledge of their local waters and they captained the ship through the channel or harbour Pilot , and came safe to an Anchor at Dartmouth,
having the Carpenter & two men layd up, the Ships’ mates were either first, second or third officers who came directly under the command of the Captain. Mates were responsible for supervising watches, crew, navigation and safety equipment, and sometimes even served as the ship’s doctor Mate  scearsly able to moove
myself not much better, & had I remaind two days longer at sea, I should
not had a man to stand the deck, I have not had two fine day all the month
of March,

Waiting you orders allow me most respectfully
to subscribe my self

Yours & the Company’s

Most Obt humbl servt

George Martin

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 6 April 1836 ]


Wednesday 6 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Letter from Martin to Angas

Dartmouth, April 6th 1836

To /

G.F. Angas Esqr

Sir

I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt
of your letter, last evening, dated the 4th, when I wrote you on
last saturday, it was late, & having but just come to an Anchor,
being at the time much fatigued, not having been in a bed for
nearly ten days, you will pardon my not writing you at the time
all particulars, which by your leave I will now endeavour to do –

The following day being Sunday, I requested all the Passengers
with some of the crew, to come on shore to church, to render thanks
for our safe delivery from the dangers we had escaped; when to my
great surprice one of them (Steven Session) has absconded & I have
not seen or heard of him since, he being completely terified to death
at the sea, & which I dont wonder at, I am sorry that he is gon, as
he was one of the best of the company’s servants on board, one of the
crew has also run away, the name of wood, but as he was a useless
fellow I have not made any serch for him, but has shipt another in
his place, the carpenter & the cook I am afraid they will not be sufiscantly
recovered to take to sea with me, therefor beg you will not Pay
the Carpenters note that I gave in London, and indeed it would be
a great benifet to the company to get clear of hime, for he is a
very useless and good for nothing fellow, & not by any means worth half
his Wages –; should you see Mr Simpson Father of my second mate, you
give very great hopes of the Prospects of his son, who I am happy to say
is a very praysworthy & promising young man, and in fact the best I
have in the Vessel, & I shall loose no oppertunity in putting him forward,
On Monday I had a To survey a ship is to inspect and determine the structural condition of it. survey , the result of which I hereby inclose
you a Copy, & am getting every thing repaird as fast as possible, & I expect
I shall be all ready by next monday, I with pleasure beg to inform you
that I have received every possible assistance & attention from Mr
Hingston of this place; and very Difrent from that received from
Mr Fox at Falmouth, who was only by chance shewn to me once
in passing, though I made it a rule to call at the Office every day we layd in that Port –
I was greatly surprised at meeting Mr Stephens in the street,
& he was eaqually surprised at meeting me, he informed me the unpleasant
situation they were placed in respecting the crew on board of the Duke
of York, I emidiately went with him & Mr Hingston on board, having
first got the The preventative service was the establishment of coastguards at numerous stations along the coast of the United Kingdom for the prevention of smuggling. It reported to Customs, which also had control of the revenue cutters which cruised off-shore. Commander of the preventetive service to follow us, with
his boats crew armed, and after having calld the men The stern or rear of a ship. Aft , questioning
them if they would get the Vessel underweigh, one of them being a
spokesman or ringleader, answared for the whol, & sayd they would not
without being put on Monthly Wages, finding it useless to contend with
them, I persuaded Captn Morgan, to Make an example of him
in the first place, to the utmost extent of the law, to see how that
would work with the rest, & which I am happy to say had the desired
effect, for Captn Morgan acordingly gave him in charge of the Naval
Officer, who very kindly offerd every assistance, & he was taken before
a Majistrate, I attended with Mr Stephens & the mate; where he
was sentenced to 21 days hard labour in Exceter Prison, two of the
crew having run away, the remainder very peasably went to their
duty, & to day (Wednesday) after having settled their afairs at Bricksham
I saw her leave the Bay with the wind NNWt & fine weather,
but the wind is since changed to West, and no good prospect before
them, the glasses falling very much, Mr Stephens requested me to
write you of their sailing; he being very much fatigued, having from
from fatigue and angsiety not had a nights rest for some time, but
will write you before he get clear of the channel, if the weather
permits, he has wrote me a letter, the copy of which I have also
inclosed, should you aprove of those directions be so good as to
write me word, or any other advice you can favour me under
the present cercomstances, which shall be most punctualy be attended
to, as far as my humble abillities goes –
I beg to complain of the Person who supplyd the sugar &c
in the first place it is not sugar a tall, but apears to me to be
some rotten stuff taken out of the bottoms of Molasses cask, the
smell is past bearing, the loaf cheese is not worth the porterage,
nor is the quantety in either package I have yet oppend
of Porter wine or Brandy, and about half the A dark-brown, bitter beer brewed from charred or browned malt, thought originally to have been made especially for porters. Porter in small wine Bottles,
the Vinegar also very bad –; this complaint dont rest with me alone, but
Mr Stephens requested me particularly to write about it, informing you
that it was the same case with the Duke of York —
I also beg to complain of the muskets sent on board for the use
of the Vessel, not one in four are the locks of any use, & I beg to
asure you, that I have never had any of so bad a quallity to trade,
with the savages of the south sea Islands –
When you was absent, during my stay at Falmouth, I wrote
several times begging the favour to send me an Invoice of the Articles of clothing and bedding supplied or sold to sailors. Slops &
Tobacco, but have never received an answer –, I will feel greatly
obliged if you will be so kind as to order it to be sent, as I dont
know what to charge the men for them
Waiting you orders allow me most respectfully
to subscribe my self

Yours & the Company’s

Most Obedient humble servant – a common form of ending business letters.

George Martin

[ Read the full journal for: Wednesday 6 April 1836 ]


Friday 13 May 1836

[, on board the wrote.]


At 8, A,M, a Vessel To ‘heave to’ is to reduce a ship’s sails and adjust them so they counteract each other and stop the ship making progress. It is a safety measure used to deal with strong winds. hove in sight astern (being the first
we have seen since the 28th Abbreviation for ultimo, of last month. Ult , She sailed remarkably
fast, and was soon near enough, for us to make her out,
to be a suspicious looking A small vessel of two or more masts whose principle sails are fore-and-aft. Schooner , so all our A muzzle-loaded, smooth bore long gun, fired from the shoulder. Muskets
&c, were got ready, in case of being attacked, we therefore
To hoist and display the ship’s flag. hoisted our Colours , when She was about 2, or 3, Miles, off us,
and which, in the course of ¼ of an Hour, was answer’d by
her, showing the Flag of Portugal, She then hauled close
to the Wind, and was soon out of sight, there is little doubt
but She was either a A ship used for piracy, the act of robbery or violence on the high seas. Pirate , or A ship transporting slaves for sale in a suitable market. Slave Vessel ,   ______

[ Read the full journal for: Friday 13 May 1836 ]


Saturday 29 October 1836

[, who arrived in South Australia on board the wrote.]

Hobart Town, Oct. 29th 1836.

My Dearest Mary,

I have at length an opportunity of writing you, by the ship, Elphenston, to inform you that we have all arrived safe at our port; the first part of the passage till nearly as far as the Cape, we had very fine weather, never once having ocasion to take a reef in, but the remainder just nothing but dreadful gale but we did not suffer any loss, she being a very fine sea boat, and I made Kangaroo Island to the hour, the other two ships the Duke of York & Lady Mary Pelham, having left England one ten & the other fourteen days before me, arrived but five & ten days before me, so I think I don well in so small a vessel, particularly as both those vessels where fast sailers having been both Packets, the two Commissioners Ships we beat one fourteen days & the other six weeks, I was three weeks short of four months from Dartmouth, nothing particularly happen’d on the passage except one of our women passengers jumpt overboard in the heat of passion, the vessel was going at the rate of six knots at the time, I put the vessel about emidiately & stood towards her & succeeded in picking her up just as she was going down, she soon recover’d but blam’d me for saving her, she afterwards refused to take any food or nurishment till she became really ill and …………….. leaving a husband and four young children one not then ween’d, but it was a great blessing to them all, for she was a most horrid wretch, all the rest I landed safe & well satisfied, but not so with either of the other vessels for they appear’d to have had nothing but quarreling all the passage out, and on shore after they landed, & the crews of the vessels in a very insebordinate state, till my arrival, and I soon set them to wrights, after having set them in Irons and it was out of the Manningers power to rule them, ther being no Gov. nor any power to inforce obedience, I on the contrary have not had the least dificulty with any one on board, after I had restored them all to good order & disiplene, the first Mirical I don was to join together two couple in holy Matrimony, one was no less a person than Mr. Stephens, the Maninger, after which I set about exploring the country, but found Kangaroo Island, a most wretched & barren place not worth anything, & feeling uneasy at the appearance of future prospects, I took a whaleboat, mand and arm’d it well, & went over to the main, which is but twelve miles across, I proceeded up the gulf of St Vincents to the distance of from 100 miles or more, landing ocasionally and walk’d inland, & I must confess, that in all my travels I never saw so fine a country before & abundance of fresh water, and but few natives, not having fell in with more than eight in all that extent of country; on my return I found the vessel nearly ready for sea again and having made my arrangements, and occording to my advice we proceeded for Hobart Town for sawd timber & such articles as I saw them most in need off, we had a very good passage of six days and had scearsly got in the river before Hobart Town was viseted with a continuation of most terrific gales for three weeks, such as has not been before experienced in the memory of any one in the Island, thank god is was now my watch below, on my arrival I was most heartely wellcom’d by every person I met…

Robert & George is going to school to morrow to Mr. Giblins Father, a very good school at New Town where I have got them to take both, through favour, for fifty pounds a year, I have provided them well with everything, & I am happy to say they are fine Boys & loved by everyone who knows them, I have great hopes in them, & I trust in God, that my dear girls will prove a comfort to us also – I hope & trust you are all well in health, and that you have been abble to mannage to rub through. I have wrote to Mr Angas who I have no doubt will render you every assistance in his power & advance you what money you may require to fit yourself & children out little respectable, and also procure you a passage out, either to Kangaroo Island or Van Diemens Land, but I think you had best if possible endeavour to get to Hobart Town first, & I will see you shall be provided for on your arrivel, but should you arrive at Kangaroo Island first, you will find yourself well received, I shall have a house built, and a garden for you before you arrive; endeavour to provide yourself & children as respectable clothing as your means will enable you, I am thank God in better health than ever I was & getting very lusty, & I have every prospect of dooing well, having an oppertunety of making a good deal trading backwards & forwards to the —. Mrs. Stephens is inclined to afford me every oppertunety of adding to my stock, therefore with the blessings of God I trust we shall yet see better days, & God send you safe to me again, The best month for you to leave England so as to insure fine weather will be in the months of June or July, I hope your brother & all his family are all well and in prosperety, I have wrot to them, & I hope & trust Mother & Eliza with her children are also well & that you are friendly with all for belive me my dear Mary that it is far more pleasing to make friends than enemys, I sepose Parnell is dead, & I trust he died a christian, & confeced his falshoods, should your Mother & sister come out to this part I will do all I can for them, give my love to them, also give my love to Mr. & Mrs. Barrow, Carters, Quillys, Ann & all inquiring friends – Mrs. Lord lives in the country and I am informed she looks as well as ever, Should you see Mr. Simpson the Father of my secont mate give my best respects to him & his family & tell him I have great pleasure in giving a good account of his son, he behaves himself mutch to my satisfaction, he has been very attentive to my two Boys, in teaching them to read and write; & I shall not fail in advancing so soon as I see a good oppertunity.

You must take cear to have a few comforts with you when you leave, independant of the ship, as you are an old Traveler you are well aquainted with what is necessary, be sure you take plenty eggs with you for the children, you see that I have not been afraid to face my enemys, but I assure you that I have not one is thes whole place, & to prove that my credit is good, I have sold Bills … of £200 for articles purchased her for our settlement, and it will I trust convince those persons who gave your Mother such favourable account of me, that I am not afraid to meet any one in this world that I have seen before, I hope Marian is a good girl and is kind & obedient to you, for she ought to be a patern to the rest, I have no fear of Georgiana , give my love to them all & kiss them all for their Father. I hope little Tom is growing a fine boy as will Isabella, Polly, & dear little Stewart. I hope you have not neglected poor Polly   lip, Robert & George send their dear love to you & their sisters & brothers, Robert never hears your name mentioned but he crys bitterly, poor George he often talks of you but of course have not that sense of feeling, he is the fiddle of the vessel, once more give my love to all inquiring friend and accept the love of
Your ever Afectionad Husband,
George Martin.

Mr. & Mrs. Bascombe sends
their best respects
God bless you & send you soon to me.

Bring the certificate of your Marriage & the births
of Marian & Thomas, for should anything happen to me
you can get your Dower of that 800 acres of land which
is now become very valuable.

[ Read the full journal for: Saturday 29 October 1836 ]


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