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Week 07 - aftermath of the storm

[ 3rd of April 1836 to 9th of April 1836 ]
[ View related 'school content': Week 07: Work Onboard ]

After six weeks of bad weather and no progress, all of the travelers were unhappy.  The passengers on the John Pirie were still suffering the after effects of the terrifying storm, (one left the ship at Dartmouth never to return,) while the captain and crew saw about extensive repairs to the ship. There was also general dissatisfaction with the quality of the stores on board.

Captain Morgan of the Duke of York had troubles of a different nature.  Fed up with all the delays, during which they had received no pay, his crew refused to work unless he agreed to pay them ‘monthly wages’.  Evidently they had agreed to sail in exchange for a share of the whaling catch, a common arrangement at the time, but there was little chance of whaling until the passengers were delivered to Kangaroo Island - a far-off prospect.  Captain Morgan faced a very serious situation indeed. In the extracts below you will read two accounts of the incident, one written by Morgan himself and the other by Captain Martin of the John Pirie, who went to Morgan’s aid. They give us a clear picture of the delicate balance of power on board these ships and the many challenges captains faced on long sea voyages. There might have been a very different outcome had the Duke of York been at sea, far from armed assistance.  Meanwhile both the Cygnet and the Lady Mary Pelham were also on their way, the Cygnet near Portland and the Lady Mary Pelham about to leave Liverpool for the second time on 8 April.

Tensions were apparent on the Lady Mary Pelham even at this stage, as both captain and crew resented the fact that they were required to carry live sheep. Once again, the main issue was the impediment this placed in the way of whaling en route.


Ship progress week 7.

Journals from passengers at sea:

Monday 4 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

This Morng Lloyd’s Surveyor, and two other Gentlemen,
came on board, to look at the Damage, our Vessel had
received in the late tremendious Gale’s, and found that
amongst other disasters, the Fore-top-Mast was ‘Sprung’ is the past participle of ‘spring’. In respect of the John Pirie’s Fore-top-Mast, the word ‘sprung’ refers to the mast being split or cracked during the storm it experienced. sprung ,
and in the Afternoon sent Workmen to commence repairs __
At 2, P,M, we were very much surprised, at receiving
a visit from Sl Stephens Esqr C.M. who had left the
Duke of York in Tor Bay, which is not more than
5 Miles distant from this place and where She has been
all the late bad Weather, but has broke her A machine with a horizontal axle for hauling or hoisting: in this case it refers to the device used to hoist the anchor on the John Pirie. A windlass is different from a capstan, which has a vertical axle. Windlass , and
lost an Anchor,  _________  The Weather is very fine to
Day, with a gentle Air of Wind, from the Northward  ___

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Monday 4 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

At dawn of day I gave orders to the chief officer to get
up the seacond anchor he returned said the people
wished to speak with me after reading the word of
God as usall and commending my all to the God
of all grace I then went out to the people they
told me they whould not go out of the port
without monthly wages I said they aught to have
considered this before they signed When seafarers joined a ship they signed the articles. The captain signed them as well and they formed a contract that set out conditions of employment including how much crew would be paid, what food they would be given, and what hours they would be expected to work. The articles would also say that if a ship was in danger, the normal expectations of work would be set aside and the captain could call on his crew for whatever was needed to save the ship. The articles could form the basis for shipboard discipline, giving the captain authority to punish seafarers who broke them. articles I
asked them if they whould move the ship in
a safe place or a safe harbour they refused
to sail out of torbay Mr Stevens read the articles to them
Mr Stevens and myself went on shore for advice
from the Shipping agents provide local knowledge and represent ships in port. Their job is to provide anything that a ship might need. They may arrange a pilot to navigate a ship out of port, arrange clearances from customs or buy stores from local suppliers. agent came on board and offered
the people fivety pounds if they would proced
and if Whales came in the way to heave all
lumber over board that whould stop us Whale
ing for that was thier princable grevance but
they refused and whould not remove the ship
to a safe harbour Mr Stevens went on shore
went to Dartmouth and returned with Captn
Talbert of the royal navy and Mr Inkston
Loyds agent he had on his uniform with his
men with A pair of pistols. brace of pistols he called for me
to bring the articles and call the mens names
over I did so he asked the men if they signed
these When seafarers joined a ship they signed the articles. The captain signed them as well and they formed a contract that set out conditions of employment including how much crew would be paid, what food they would be given, and what hours they would be expected to work. The articles would also say that if a ship was in danger, the normal expectations of work would be set aside and the captain could call on his crew for whatever was needed to save the ship. The articles could form the basis for shipboard discipline, giving the captain authority to punish seafarers who broke them. articles which they replyd they did
he questioned them if they had any complaints
to make of my conduct towards them they
said no they where satisfied with the ship and
officers said the desipleing was good Captn
Talbert took Prichard the ringleader on shore with him
all the rest on board with the exception of Riley agreed
to go to thier duty – …

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Tuesday 5 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

After commending my all to God and his grace
with reading and praying wrote aletter to my
wife and employers – the people all on duty
doing it with appearant chearfulness James Riley
left last night and Prichard was sencanced to
twenty one days imprisonment I went on shore
ordered some oil and candles and pertatoes received
them on board the wind still SW …

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Wednesday 6 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

Letter from Martin to Angas

Dartmouth, April 6th 1836

To /

G.F. Angas Esqr


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 extract ]

Thursday 7 April 1836

[, on board the wrote.]

7th. Still beating off Portland! Wind N.W.

Remark 1. Nearly 3 weeks at sea between decks, still ‘Lumbered’ is an informal term mainly used in Britain to refer to someone being burdened with a thing, or things, unwanted. In shipping terminology, ‘much lumbered’ or ‘lumbered with’ were sometimes used to describe the state of decks that had become cluttered with cargo and other objects during storms. lumbered up, also the deck, Kingston complaining of the dirt below. I suggested that with troops, the men were ordered to parade with bare feet. He immediately determined to act upon this, and gave an order accordingly, Adams did not think proper to obey, but after some warning did so. The married passengers Chapman, Bristow, Hoare, Brown etc did not appear.

An untoward circumstance occurred soon after passing St. Antonio. one of the Cape Verde Islands. A favourite A breed of dog often used for hunting game. setter belonging to a passenger was thrown overboard during the night. Presumptive evidence fixed this act upon none [?] of the sailors.

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Friday 8 April 1836

[on board the wrote.]

Liverpool 8th April 1836

Mr Angas


9th Feby 1836 Arrived in Liverpool, saw Capt Ross all appeared very
comfortable – at a future time in speaking of the sheep thought Capt Ross
consider’d them mine as he said there would not be room for them
asked him if he had not been acquainted with their going pr Lady
Mary Pelham before his leaving London he said yes, but he was
told by you there should be no obstruction fo whaling –

– Since the men have been engaged I have now full evidence
they have been given to understand the sheep were mine –
Heard of Mutiny took no notice of it thought it was only
sailors talk – since have heard they meant to take a fitting
night for the occasion to throw the Sheep &c overboard, or as
they termed it to dowse the dirt a term used for the sheep &c

6th April – Present Capt Landers &c Capt Ross said he beleived
still the sheep were mine … I now find the men have been
told the same story – I was very pleased he spoke of it
as it gave me the opportunity to get Mr Hurry to
contradict it – We are now out at Sea …

I now remain

Your humble

But faithful Servant

Cornelius Birdseye

[ Read the full journal extract ]

Next week: Peace restored,the Duke of York is once more underway, but with the glass (barometer) falling rapidly, there is every prospect of another bad storm. Meanwhile on the Lady Mary Pelham, resentment continues to simmer just below the surface, with the crew threatening to throw the sheep overboard at the first opportunity.

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