Thomas Reed Stavers,
Ship Mary Ann: First Voyage to the South Seas
Davis Straits Man, Majestic: Seaman
The Brig Concord: Hand Before the Mast to Riga
The Greenland Whaleman, King George: Line Manager & Boat-Steerer
The Perseverance, William Stavers, Master: Boat-Steerer
The Southseaman Zephyr, Peter Stavers, Master: Second Mate
The Ship Tuscan, Francis Stavers, Master: First Officer
The Ship Tuscan: Master, Voyage of 1824
The Ship Tuscan: Master, Voyage of 1827
The Ship Tuscan: Master, Voyage of 1830
At Home, 1833
The Ship Tuscan: Master, Voyage of 1833
The Brig Onyx: Master, 1837 - The Final Whaling Voyage
Departure for Java
The Steamboat Glasgow (Java): Scotland to the Indies
Life in Java as a Mill Owner
Visit to England, 1862
Return to Java
Final Departure from Java
It is hard for a Person to become his own Biographer, more particularly so, when he will have to relate many hair breaths Escapes, and innumerable Troubles, which have befallen him up to his thirty second Year.
I was born in the Parish of Deptford County of Kent, on the 19th day of September, 1798 of respectable Parents. Of my Forefathers I can give but little account. This much I know, that my Grandfather, on my Father's side, was a Scotchman, and tradition says, fled from Scotland, during the War of Stuart, but however this may be, imports nothing as these lines relate merely to myself.
My Infant Days will be passed over in silence, until memory took possession of this mortal frame, at which time my Father was Master of a Whale Ship, was taken by a French Privateer and carried to Prison. My mother died in Child Bed, but the Infant Daughter was saved and my Aunt, having about the same time lost her Infant, my little Sister took its place.
At this Juncture I was taken to a place called Wandsworth by a kind, indulgent family and treated in every respect as one of them. Their little Circle consisted of the Mother, Three Daughters, and two Sons. My time for three or four Years passes on as is usual at this Age, at which time I was Joint by my Sister Betsey.
I was then sent to a Day School in the Town, and Mam Vickery kept me out of mischief as far as an Old Woman could do. Who knew that it was not to her Interest to offend a wayward Boy, and perhaps a spoiled Child for I fear I was verging fast that way, through the kindness of my ever much lamented Dear Mrs W.
Little Tom was her favourite and we were seldom separate: You wanted Tom – he was sure to be fast to the Apron of his Dear Mamma.
If there ever was a good Christian in this world, she was one. The Poor adored her and blessed her steps as she passed their humble dwellings. She was a Mother to the Orphan, and at friend to the Distressed. She trusted not to others, but was not content unless she did the good deed herself.
At the Age of six, I was taken from Mam Vickary's, and sent to a School that was kept by Madame Pasquine, a Native of France. Of her I learnt little, and being almost to a severe for one so Young, I soon left her Seminary and was sent to the best school in Wandsworth, kept by Mr. Chapman. I was now seven years old, and being too big a Boy to mind my Dear Mamma, Miss W. The eldest daughter took me under her care. But poor, Dear Lady, she had a Bad Boy to deal with.
I am sorry to say I was guilty of lying, thieving, and many other vices, for which I got severely punished. However, it was thought better that I should become a Boarder at the before mentioned Mr. Chapman's. I was always a Dunce and prone to idleness. Mr. C. had to contend with all these. I soon found the difference of my present dwelling and my former one. I longed for the kind attention of Miss W., whose indulgence to me during my Childhood will never be forgotten or thought of without offering up a sincere Prayer for her health and happiness.
But to return. One Morning I was standing in my Class reading when one of the Boys remarked the passing of a funeral. "Oh" said one of the Day scholars, "it is the Funeral of Mrs W.". The shock was too great. I fell in a state of insensibility. When I came to myself, I thought my Heart would have broken. The Boy was chid for telling but it was too late. The sound of Mrs. W. is no more, my Dear and ever to be lamented kind Mother gone! Miserable, and I became quite wretched, this being the first serious trouble I had met with.
My Father being much at sea, I scarcely ever saw him and therefore – Boy-like – thought little of him.
Several days passed, and I heard no tidings of the W. family but on my retiring to Bed on the Saturday night I found lying on my Trunk a suit of Black. On the Sunday morning we went to Church as usual, but I saw no one in the Pew of my Dear Mama. The next week passed, and on the Sunday I saw the Ladies – all in Black. This confirmed all my suspicions. I shed tears and wished much to speak to them, but at this time was prevented. The Moment after our return to the School Room, the Bell was rung for me. When I entered the Hall I saw the House Maid belonging to the W. family waiting to take me home. My feelings were such I could not speak. The Servant who had been many years with her late mistress, was also much affected! The School being but a short distance from their dwelling, I soon saw the Ladies returning from a Walk.
Our Meeting!! Words cannot convey the Idea. It was indeed affecting in the extreme. They embraced and wept over me, and had I been their brother, they could not have consoled me more. The Day was passed melancholy enough, and in the Evening I was sent back again to School.
Some months after this, I heard that one of my Brothers who had been sent to sea was cast away and that my Father had gone to look after the Vessel, and try to get her off. He succeeded and took her to Shields, put her in Dock, had her repaired, and sent to London with a Cargo of Coals. Soon after this, heard my father intended re-marrying and boy-like thought that all Mothers must be to me like Dear Mrs W., but I have since learnt the difference.
My Father and new mother came one day to visit my dear friends, at which time I was at home for the Holidays. At their arrival in a handsome Carriage, I was much pleased, and heard that I was to be taken away. This being something new, delighted me. My brother Peter and self were conveyed to my Father's Lodgings in the Haymarket. The noise and bustle of London gratified us, and being next door to the Theatre was great pleasure to us boys.
This was all too fine to last long for our Holidays being up, I was taken back to School and being sent for each Sunday to dine at the Mansion in Garret Lane was much more pleasure to me than my Home.
I was now between 8 and 9 years old and had obtained great praise for my writing, and Reading but had made very little proficiency in the French Language, in consequence of my Teacher being very brutish and chastising and almost too severely which, not being in concordance with my disposition, did not succeed.
At the commencement of the following Holidays I received a Letter from my Father, saying that he would meet me at the Penter Platter in Gracechurch St. if I came by the coach. I met him and was taken to a new House in Lucas St.
Commercial Road [was] a miserable looking place in those Days. I soon discovered that my new Mother was going to have family of her own and she soon contrived to turn my Father against his eldest Son. Poor little Tom used sometimes to get leave to spend a Week at Wandsworth. that week always flew too soon. My Father and the W. family being at variance, he never visited them but that could never keep me from them I loved.
My father used sometimes to say he admired gratitude in a Boy. The time had now arrived for me to go to School again and glad I was to. It was not so much for the School as to be near my Dear friends. This half year passed like the rest in taking floggings, Praises.
At last I heard that my Father was going to Sea, and that I was to go home and see him before he sailed. On a Wednesday, I arrived at home and on the following Saturday I was on Board a Ship lying at Gravesend ready to sail next tide, not knowing a Soul on Board. Being sent with my Father's Baggage, who had not yet joined the Ship, here I was crying to be washed. Cold and Wet with a hard bed, no Sheets and stowed in a little place called the Half Deck.
I had a fellow sufferer whose name was Thompson Pater, the Son of a Surgeon, who lived next door to us and also a Friend of my Fathers.
The next day my father arrived, but I found he was not the Captain of the Ship, but Supercargo. The Ship was soon got under weigh and sailed down the River. This was a strange sight, and I did not think much of it, for I soon found that my father on Board Ship and my Father on Shore, were quite two different persons.
The Captain was a good man as also was the Mate, and they were very kind to me. I was soon attacked by Sea Sickness and I suffered very much, but was quite astonished at the rude unfeeling remarks made on me.
I thought of dear Wandsworth and what would be said if little Tom was sick. We had a bad passage to Yarmouth, through contrary Winds, and it being War time were obliged to wait convoy. At last we arrived off the Orkney Islands, the Birth Place of my new Mother. Here we laid wind Bound for some Days, and had the opportunity of seeing a specimen of the behaviour of Seamen.
Geese being very cheap, the Sailors were allowed them instead if their Salt Provisions, but they were dissatisfied and wanted Beef, I thought little of it then but since I have found it is a common thing for Sailors to be dissatisfied.
At last we sailed in company with a Brig that was also under my father's orders. We were now out in the great North Sea and at a time of the Year when we could not expect much fine weather.
I learnt that we had a Government Cargo on Board for the Danish Factories at Davis' Straits. Having recovered in a small measure of my Sea Sickness, I was desired by my Father to keep watch. This was something new to me – to be called out in a Cold night, amid Frost and Snow. I oftentimes wished myself at Dear Wandsworth. In the Day time it was "Boy! Go on the Forecastle and look out for ice." If I saw anything first I was praised, but I used to get my little arms round the Cook's Funnel for warmth and keep a good look out that nobody from the Quarter Deck saw me.
At last we arrived at Davis' Straits, and ran into the Harbour of Disco [Disco Island] to discharge out Cargo, and took in Blubber and Casks, Seal Skins and Whale Bone for London. This work being finished, we waited the arrival of the other Vessel. At last, it was thought best to sail for another Island, and wait for her. All was ready for Sea, for when the Brig hove in sight my Father and myself went out in a Boat and joined her. She made sail for another island and discharged her Cargo and fitted her with the same Cargo as the Ship which the Danes had procured. We then sailed to Whale Fish island to join our Consort. We remained here a few Days to refresh the Crew.
My Father wished me to go with him, but I begged to be left on Board the Brig. I saw my fellow sufferer Thompson Pater. He did not seem to miss me, so with a better Heart I embarked alone. We had a Cold boisterous Passage to the Orkney Islands, where we were obliged to wait Convoy.
My Father lived on Shore and I liked my situation on Board the Brig much better than the Ship. My principal duty was to catch fresh Fish every Morning, and carry them to my Father for Breakfast.
Tom was now become a useful body. He could skull the Jolly Boat on Shore. This was the month of December, and daily the Wrecks of Vessels were towed into the Harbour by Fishermen and my Father was very kind to the poor wretches that were saved. He sent two different ships' Companies on Board the Brig with Orders that they were to be fed at his expense and many others he used his Interest to get Passages in Vessel’s bound to London.
I recollect one circumstance of a Ship sinking and the Crew took the boats. The Captain had his Wife with him. It came on a Gale of Wind and they gave up all for lost, when the Captain's Wife espied a Vessel which took them and brought them to the Orkney Islands. We had the people as passengers on board the Brig.
Sunday was the usual day of Liberty for us Boys and my Friend Thompson Pater and I used to take walks and end talk of how long it would be before we saw Lucas St. and its dear inmates. One Morning I saw from our Vessel a great Bustle on Board the ship. Boats lowering and grapnels were thrown overboard. They have lost something was the cry. Our Boats were Bent for, and I soon heard that my Friend Thompson Pater had fallen overboard from the mizzen Chains while the people were at Breakfast.
A Boy coming on Deck to throw some dirt overboard discovered his Hat alongside the Ship when he gave the alarm. Poor Pater. It was two Hours before they hooked him by the Jacket. A coffin was made by the Carpenter of the Ship, and the Funeral was attended by both Ships' Companies – my Father as chief Mourner. We conveyed the Body to the North Side of the island of Pomona and deposited it in the silent Tomb, the Minister of the Place reading the burial Service. I shed a tear for poor Thompson and returned on board the Vessel.
All fishing was put a stop to; boys were not allowed to go outside the Ship. At last a Man of War arrived and took us under Convoy to London. My Father left The Ship at Yarmouth and we arrived at Blackwell in the Brig three days after. On my arrival at home, I found a little Brother, and the Pater family in tears, at the loss of a Son. I was then sent on Board the Brig and remained on board until all the Cargo was landed.
In March 1812, my Father took command of a Ship belonging to Mr. W. Mellish and two of my Brothers were to go as officers were with him.
SHIP MARY ANN: FIRST VOYAGE TO THE SOUTH SEAS
I was bound apprentice to Mr. Birnie, ship owner, and sent on board the Ship Mary Ann, then lying in the City Canal, bound to Port Jackson and from there to a Whaling Voyage. I arrived alongside the ship with my Chest and was called a stupid Fellow for letting the Porter go until he had put my Chest on Board.
I recollect that at this moment that I said to myself what already? My new master begins be time. I was made Cabin Boy but little did I think I should have to wash Plates end clean Knives. I thought my Father, being Master of a Ship, and myself, brought up at Boarding school, that I should be exempt from such menial service, but I found the difference. Josephe Moor, Master of the Mary Ann, was a Sailor in every sense of the word and a strict hand over Boys.
We sailed to Gravesend where the Master's Wife, a kind agreeable lady, came on Board. My eldest sister, who lived at Northfleet, sent on Board for me to come and see her. My Master granted me leave. I saw my dear Sister unhappy, and having been forbidden by my Father to visit her, I was afraid to stop long but thro' the kindness of Mrs Moore my liberty was lengthened, with a promise to let me know if my Father's Ship arrived, for she was almost ready for Sea.
I now thought all was well and that I should not be found out, when a large Dog belonging to my Sister flew at me and tore my hand very much. This was a great misfortune. I was now obliged to go on Board, and was afraid we should not sail before my Father arrived. At last the day came. We left Gravesend; Mrs Moore dressing my hand daily. It soon got well.
In a few days we arrived at the Mother Bank there to wait convoy. I was indulged by Mrs Moore was again in a fair way of becoming a spoilt Child for Tom could not do wrong. Many a beating her kindness cost me afterwards.
There was much trouble with the Ships crew. It being Wartime, most of them were Foreigners and having had good advance, the Master was fearful that some of them would escape. A rope was tied to the Stern Boat tied in through the Cabin Window, and made fast to Chairs and other things that would make a noise. One night, when fast asleep I was awoke by the Chairs so running about the Cabin. The Master jump't up and found the stern Boat in the Water, full of People. The Master tried to get on Deck, but all was made fast. They at length cut the Rope and made off. We got our Boat next day, which was found in Stokes Bay beach. After lying at the Mother Bank a Month, Mr. Mrs. B. came on board to go as Passengers to Port Jackson. The signal was made for sailing when I lost my kind friend Mrs Moore.
We sailed under the Convoy of his Majesty’s Ship Jason and Spitfire with 300 sail of Merchantmen. After Knocking about in the Channel, the signal was made for the Fleet to Anchor in Falmouth Harbour. Our stay here was of but short duration. I went on shore with Mr. B. to take care of his things as I bought them. I was sitting in a Boat which belonged to some Fishermen. A Gentleman came up and said "little Boy take these things into the Boat." Mr. B. soon came down. I told him of the Gentleman, but we set sail and returned on board. I have never heard of the Gentleman since.
We sailed from this place and with a good east wind. Soon cleared the Channel and lost sight of the Commodore. We were now alone. Had plenty of Guns, but few Men.
One day the Master struck me with a Rope. This was enough. I told him that was not what I was used to. I down with the Tea Kettle would not fill it nor wash the plates. "I came not here", said I, "as a Servant but to learn the art of a Mariner." This was the Boarding School Boy. I was sulky. The Master beat me. Mrs B. scolded me and her scolding went father with me than the Master's beating.
After a long Passage we arrived at the Cape of Goad Hope. Here we landed some Cargo, and took in Wine for Port Jackson. In going into Sydney Cove, the Pilot ran the Ship aground. The next tide she was got off without damage.
The cargo that the Mary Ann had on hoard was principally Spirits, Wines tools of all descriptions. It was my lot to be placed in the Lighter when loaded, to watch it until delivered. One Morning, when the People were at Breakfast, I was enticed bye some fine Oysters attaching to the Rocks close by, to reach after them when I tumbled overboard and had been a long time in the Water not I being able to swim. I was on the point of sinking when I. Owen, the Cooper, came in time to save my life.
Our Cargo was soon delivered and every preparation made to fit the Ship for a whaling Voyage. Boats we brought from England but the try Works and other necessaries were procured at Sydney.
The latter end of October 1812 we sailed to the Coast of New Zealand to commence our Fishing but the weather being bad and our Ship not adapted for the Service, it was determined by Mr. M to sail to the coast of Timore [Timor]. We one day landed on a part of New Zealand and discovered the remains of the Ship Boyar whose Crew was murdered by the natives. Our people got out of some of the Huts (whose inhabitants had fled at our approach) Clothes belonging to the Captain and many papers belonging to him also. At sunset our Boats returned on board and the Ship was steered towards the Bay of Islands to refit for our Passage to Timore [Timor].
When we arrived at the latter mentioned place the natives were very hostile but our Ship being well armed we did not fear them for we had intelligence that they meant to take us if they could. Sentries were placed at each Gangway and all the Guns loaded. They seeing us so well prepared went away we got a good supply of Potatoes, wooded and watered the Ship and left these troublesome folks without any accident. Soon after leaving, we fell in with Anne, Capt. Guyn, who agreed to accompany us to the Coast of Timore [Timor]. After a boisterous passage of two months, we arrived off the Island of Gillolo [Halmahera, Pulau, Indonesia; previous Gilolo, Djailolo, Jailolo] and parted with the Anne. At this time, I began to know something of Whaling. For there being nobody else I was taken to pull Capt. Moore's after oar. I was now better pleased for I thought myself of some use. But this plate washing I did not like. I wanted to be a sailor and, at my complaint, my Master took every pains to teach me. We cruised about for many months but with bad success. At last our provisions began to grow short. At this time I heard of the American war and that my Father and two brothers were taken. I thought little of it then, but I have experienced since that the American was a great loss to our Family.
Preparations were now made for our return to England and I for one was heartily glad being quite sick of the Whaling trade. We sailed into Copang [Kupang], on the Island of Timore [Timor], to wood and water, and refresh the Crew. Our next trouble was Privateers and having but few Men we had much to fear. However we arrived at St Helena safe and there we found H.M.S. Baracoota bound to England. In thirteen days after our arrival we sailed for Old England in Company with the Grand Satchin, Waler Ship, Manstead, Brig Marian, Merchantmen, under convoy of the Baracoota. Three days after we left the island of Ascension the signal was made to take all sail. That was the last day we saw our good Commodore. Our little Fleet was like a Flock without a Shepard. We all closed together and used every precaution for each other's safety. This did not last long, for ten days after, the Grand Satchen was the only ship in sight. Our Captain disguised the Ship by painting 14 on each quarter, exercising the Guns twice a week and making many Quakers; the Mary Anne had formerly been a Liverpool Guinea Man and was pierced for thirty guns. We had 24 and only eighteen Men. Run we could not but the Privateers used to come close to us and look and sheer off.
It was in the Month of October. We arrived in the English Channel when we were met by hard Gales at N.E. and to our comfort H.M.S. Nymphene pressed three of our best Men. After being three weeks in the Channel, we at last bore up for Dartmouth where the fresh Beef and potatoes were very grateful to us who had not seen such for the thirty-six long months. After getting a New Windlass, we sailed for London with a fair Wind and soon arrived at Lucas street but the welcome had nothing of sublime in it.
DAVIS STRAITS MAN, MAJESTIC: SEAMAN
My Father, I found, had been in England and had gone to Halifax to claim his oil that had been recaptured. I soon got tired of stopping at home and being out of my time, I applied to the Owners for situation, but they told me I was too young to go anything but as a Boy and wanted me to be bound again. I begged to be excused. I then went down to the East Country Dock were I saw a Davis’s Straits man fitting out. I knew myself to be a Sailor and did not think that my being only 15 Years Old made any difference. I went on board and went to the Mate with my Hat in my hand and asked if he wanted hands. His reply was "what are you?" I said, "a sailor". "A young one I should say," said he, "go down in the between decks end the Boatswain will see what you can do." Here I was at a stand but I mustered Courage and went down where I saw about 20 men stropping double luff Tackle Blocks, one was put into my hands and my best efforts were put forward to accomplish it. After a great deal of work, I finished it and shipped in the good Ship Majestic, Captain Lawson, bound to Davis Straits, black Whaling.
We sailed in March 1815 for Davis' Straits. Five nights after we sailed from Gravesend I was walking the Deck in the Dog Watch when I heard a rumbling noise and found myself almost knocked off my legs. This was something new. The land was in sight and the ship going about eight miles an hour. The noise was accompanied with the cries "we're ashore!", but no! We had escaped. The Captain told me that rounding a Shoal, called Rottery Brigs, we had run two close ashore. The Well was sounded and found that no Water was in the Ship. Two days after, we arrived at Strominess [Stromness]. When the Anchor was let go the Cable got foul of the Ships bottom and she rode by it, the cable being slack round the Windlass. We now found that the ship had received some damage and on the next day the anchor was hove up by the Buoy Rope and the Ship taken into the inner Harbour. The other Anchor was let go and it got foul in the same place as the other.
The Captain, who was a very kind man to me, asked me if I would not like to go and see my mother-in-Laws Father, Captain Southerland. I was much obliged and a boat sailing for the Isle of Burra I was put in, and that night arrived at the Mansion of this great man. I was well received and kindly treated by all in the Island, and was in hopes the ship would sail without me but at last a letter came, saying I must return and with a heavy heart I bid adieu to the good folks at Burra.
When I arrived on board I found that they had hauled the ship on shore, and had discovered that the false keel was knocked off Which not being of much consequence they had her hauled off again and were now ready for sea. The next day our Captain, fearing that we should be late, as the season was fast advancing, attempted to warp the ship out of the harbour against a strong wind. I was heaving at the Capstan when a heavy squall took the Ship. "Stand to your Bars, Boys!" was the cry, but the Wind was too strong and we gave way. The Capstan Bars flew in all directions. One struck me across the Back and laid me low. Many of our people were wounded. The work was given up and the next day we sailed with a fair wind. We had got but a little way when one Night all hands were called to reef Topsails. I run up the Fore rigging to reef the Fore topsail. The man that followed me was in the act of stepping off the rigging on to the Yard when he missed his hold and fell over board.
I called out as loudly as I was able but the roaring of the Wind and the clashing of the Sails, drowned my voice. The ship was going nine miles an hour with a tremendous sea. It was a great shock to me to see a fellow creature snatched from my side while I was speaking to him. I came down on deck and shed a tear for my poor Shipmate. "Oh!" thought I, "if I were at home I would never come to Sea anymore" but this was soon forgotten for many disasters attended us.
Soon after we were running with a fair Wind from the Southward, when it shifted in a tremendous squall of wind and Hail. The Ship was thrown on her Beam Ends. All the sails blew away and the Crew were clinging to the weather rail expecting every Moment to be the last. I asked one of our old Seamen if he thought she would righten again. He was afraid we should have to cut away masts. Lord have mercy upon us thought I, my time in this World is but short but the Divine dispenser of Events ordered it otherwise. After laying for an hour with two planks of the Main deck in the Water, the Majestic rose again. The Weather still was bad and very severe. The people could not stay aloft any length of time. The gale lasted three days, after Which we repaired Damages and soon arrived on our Fishing Ground. Our success was very bad and I was more disgusted with the black Whale Fishing than the Sperm. In September we returned to London with 5 Whales.
THE BRIG CONCORD: HAND BEFORE THE MAST TO RIGA
On my arrival I found I had lost two of my dear Friends at Wandsworth and that another was married of that dear Family and when I went to see them I was so much affected at the loss of my dear friends that I stayed but a short time, finding my house much the same as when I left it on my last voyage. I took my chest and bed and put on board the brig Concord bound to Riga. This was a new Scene. A Vessel loaded full at every Hatch, and but a small place to go down below. Four Hands before the Mast, three Boys, Captain, Mate, Carpenter was all the Crew: so different to what I had been used to a large Vessel with Fifty eight hands on Board. I did not know what hard work was until I sailed in the Concord. For weeks I have not had my clothes off; no place to put my bed, but was forced with the rest to lie down upon the Cargo, the Rats running over us every minute. We sailed from Cherry Garden stairs in the Month of October, with an agreement to deliver up six Months pay if we were frozen up in Russia. Our Wages were three pounds per month and good care was taken that we earned them. Sunday, night or day all was the same. Four hours sleep out of 24 and if there was anything particular to do, all Hands were called. After knocking about in the North Sea a long time we at last arrived in the Baltic when I saw that wonderful floating bridge and our Vessel passed through it and moored alongside the quay.
I soon found that most of our Cargo was to be smuggled and we used to discharge Pepper and Coffee by day and Bale Goods by Night. This was keeping up the old plan. The Brig was very leaky. All the way out an the Pump constantly going. As we discharged the Cargo, we found that the Rats had knawn a hole through the side, and if a Bale had not fell against the place I should perhaps not have lived to tell the Tale.
I was anxious to see the Town of Riga and thought perhaps on Sunday we may be allowed as they do not suffer us to discharge Cargo. But alas! No! the Brig's side wanted tarring. I complained but it was of no use. Work you must. The next week all the Cargo was landed and orders for the Brig to go down the River to take in a Cargo of timber. At 4 o'Clock in the morning the Bridge was opened and we proceeded down the River. I gave up all thoughts of seeing the town of Riga for when we arrived at Bullray, the large Charcoal Fires were lit in the Hold to smoke the Vessel for Rats. Our kind Captain went on shore and left the poor Crew to pass the night on Deck under a Sail. When I awoke at Daylight I thought I had lost the use of my Limbs for in the night there had been a great fall of snow with a hard Frost, but it was useless to complain. I caught a dreadful cold and was very unwell. After the Fires were out we opened the Hatches and found all the Rats dead round the Fire.
We now we began to take in timber and a Cold Job it was for at Daylight when we came to work we found all the Timber covered with Ice. I worked at this for four or five days when one Morning I fell overboard off the Raft. When I go on Board, my feet were much frostbitten and being of little use, they made me Cook.
This all appeared hard, and I thought so, for many vessel’s were laying along the Quay taking in their Cargo comfortably and in smooth Water when our Vessel was lying out in the Roads, the Sea breaking over the Raft of timber and sometimes washing them a drift. At last, our Cargo was completed and we made Sail for Shields. Our Vessel was loaded below and upon Deck that we could not sail nor rise to the Sea. The least Breeze of Wind, the water came in at one side and out at the other.
After a boisterous passage we arrived off Shields and hove to for a Pilot. It being Night, I got into trouble with the old Waterman that used to attend Vessel’s into the Harbour. A useless set of old Fools, and my being a stranger made things worse. However we got in safe and our Crew was all paid off but me and the apprentices.
I wanted to go to London and so I thought I might as well go in the Concord as another. A Week after the Cargo was all out and the Brig prepared to take in Coals, I now found we were to have a place to live in the aft deck was built up and made very comfortable. Soon after they attempted to get the vessel up to the Spouts to take in Coals, but it blew so hard that we were obliged to give it up. That same day, 11 Keels came alongside and the next day we sailed for London (I had not yet got over sleeping on Deck at Riga) and two days after, I was taken very ill and not able to move. I arrived in Lucas St., but little or no notice was taken of me. I laid in Bed for a day or two after which I began to get better. This was in December 1815.
THE GREENLAND WHALEMAN, KING GEORGE: LINE MANAGER & BOAT-STEERER
As soon as I was quite recovered, I began to look after another Ship. I could find no South Seaman, so I went to the old trade again. I shipped in the King George, the first Ship that took me to Sea (as Line Manager) Bound to the Greenland Fishery, James Patterson Master. I began to think I should get on in time as I was more at home with this good man than with the Wretches I had left.
We sailed in the Month of March 1816 in the King George and soon arrived at Greenland. The first day we made the Ice. The Ship struck a large piece and stove the Starboard Bow. The Month of May we got the first whale. The Chief Mate’s Boat-stearer was broken for inattention — his excuse was he had bad eyesight. I was called Aft and asked by the Captain if I would steer a Boat. When I gave my consent, all the Harpooners said I was not fit; the Mate said I would do well enough.
The first day we went away we got a Whale and we continued more successful than the other boats all the Voyage. In the Month of August [arrived] in London with a full ship.
THE PERSEVERANCE, WILLIAM STAVERS, MASTER: BOAT-STEERER
When I arrived I found my Father and, two of my Brothers in England and many ships fitting for the South Seas. I went to visit my dear Friends at Wandsworth and found them both well. This was the last time I saw Mr. J.W. was married and died in consequence of a fall. Miss F.W. was also married. Left dear Wandsworth and went to live at Buxton. I have seen the House many times since as I now love to gaze on those places that call to mind my happy childhood.
In the month of September my Father took command of the Perseverance, and began to fit out for a voyage to the Brazil Banks. I was ordered on board and I thought perhaps I might be appointed third mate. My Father used to attend to the fitting of his Ship himself and the same man was appointed Chief Mate that was in the Mary Anne with me. I acted as third Mate until the Ship was ready for sea.
I was then sent home and desired to go to a Navigation School. Three days after, I was sent on Board as a Boat steerer. The Ship lying at Gravesend, my Father did not join her until we arrived at the Mother Bank. On our Passage there, I saw our worthy Chief Officer dead drunk on the Quarter Deck in his watch. I thought this would not do when the Captain came.
It appeared when we arrived at the Mother Bank, that my Father had been waiting some days for his Ship and was very angry at us for not coming faster. We immediately put to Sea and with a Fair Wind we cleared the Channel in two days. The ninth day after our leaving the Mother Bank we arrived off the Island of Madeira. I wrote home to my Mama and the next day was sent on shore in the Boat with the Chief Officer and Doctor to fetch off some Pipes of Wine. The Wine was soon sent off and we made sail towards the Brazil Banks. The Boats Crews were chosen, and every thing got ready for the Whales. I was appointed to steer the larboard Quarter Boat. We saw Whales several times but caught none, my Father sending the third Mate away in his Boat.
On the 5th Day of December I was at the Masthead at Nine o’clock in the Morning, when I saw a School of Sperm Whales. I reported them, when my Father said they were Hump Backs but I persisted they were Sperm Whales. The Ship by this time had got close to them. The Boats were lowered and my Father went in the Boat himself. One of the Boats Crew (Campbell by Name), who had been sick, came up to go in my Fathers Boat when my Father told him he had better not go as he had been unwell but the Man said: "I am well enough to go Sir". With that they put off. This was the last time I saw my Father or Campbell alive. A Whale came up close to my Fathers Boat. The Boat-steerer struck her. When I saw the Boat knocked to pieces, our boat was about a Mile from my Father's. We pulled towards them as quickly as possible. The first thing I saw was my dear Father lying dead on the Water. I caught hold of the Collar of his Shirt the way the Boat had drew me over board. The crew caught me by the legs and hauled the son and Father into the Boat. We then pulled for the Ship where every means were used by the Doctor to restore him, but alas, my dear Father was gone to that Goal where none return. The stoven Boat was picked up when it was found that Campbell was missing.
The loss of my dear Father was a great shock to me, for I now knew that all would go wrong. I had no one to comfort me in all this trouble and the Mate was drunk while the Corpse was lying in the Cabin that night. The Voyage was altered and sail was made towards Cape Horn.
The next day the Body of my dear Father was committed to the Deep and it was with much troub1e I could get common respect shown at the Funeral. In the afternoon all hands were called aft when the new Captain told them that he had taken charge of the ship and was now going round Cape Horn Sperm Whaling. The other officers were promoted and I was made third Mate, being the only one that knew anything about navigation.
The next case of the Captain was to get drunk and so he remained for a Week end. The course that night the Perseverance used to steer would have fetched South Georgia, rather than round Cape Horn. I complained to the Mate and Doctor. When it was thought best to mention it, a Court of Enquiry was called. The Chief Mate was asked by the Captain "did you Sir, but ever see me in a fit state to command this Ship?", the answer was "no"; the same Question was put to the 2nd Mate he made no answer, then to me when I left the Cabin. I was then put down to be recollected some future time.
It was not long before we came to an open rupture. I had taken an Inventory of my Fathers Effects and locked up all the trunks. One day I was asked by the Captain for the Keys to get something out that he wanted. I refused them. This brought on high words. When I gave him the keys and told him if anything was missing out of the Chest he must be answerable. It was in the first week of January we arrived on the Coast of Chile and all the preparations were made for Whales. We ran down the coast to the latitude of 17 South where we were very successful and took many Whales. Our good Captain now could navigate the Ship and began to get tired of me and as he could not catch a Whale he thought it must be my fault.
I had refused to go in the Boat after Whales when he was drunk. Soon after this we fell in with a Ship belonging to the same Owners, they having no surgeon on Board. A man that had lost the use of his legs was taken on Board the Perseverance, for our Doctor to cure him, but in fact to put me out. I said nothing.
The next time we saw Whales as I was getting the Boat ready. I was ordered out of her. This hurt my proud spirit and I told the Captain if he were a Fisherman we should catch Whales. I had known him well in the Mary Anne when Joseph Moore had to teach him his duty, but away went poor Tom, from third mate to after oar in one of the other Boats.
We got several Whales that Day and at my return I took Chest and Bed and went down in the Forecastle and the gentleman that came out of the other ship was made third Mate. Now all was right in the Captains opinion, but he would get drunk, and the man that took my place would not go in the Boat when he was so.
One day the People came aft and told him that if he could not keep sober, they would not sail in the Ship. This caused a great disturbance and I was blamed for putting it into their heads. The Ship was immediately steered for Calleo to punish the offenders. As we were sailing in, a boat came off to ask What we were at, for we were coming so unseamanlike. They thought we were all drunk, and every one began to look out for his ship. By good luck we anchored in safety and orders that no one was to leave the Ship.
The captain came on deck in my poor Fathers Clothes, and they fitted him so badly that cries of pull off the Captains Coat was ludicrous in the extreme. The orders for no one to go out of the Ship were not obeyed for our new third mate assisted two or three to go on Shore and by the next night most of the People had left the ship and some were put in prison. Several ships were laying there and the Masters of some had been brought forward by my father, but hearing such a bad character of me did not condescend to speak to me.
I was one morning scrubbing the Deck when a boat came on Board from one of the other Ships. One of the Boats crew came to me and said "which is this Stavers they talk so much about – the Captains son I mean?", I said, "I am hé", "you! Said he?", Why I thought he was same great fellow that had threatened to take the ship and confine the captain and officers.
My story was then told the right way and I was invited on Board that Evening but not one of the Masters took the least notice of me. I have lived to hear some of those Masters ask me a favour.
Our Captain found that he had lost as good a Ship company as ever sailed and where to get more he could not tell. The most of our people went on board the Ships bound to England.
A few days after, the Captain fearing I should leave the Ship and carry the news home (he could not keep me unless I chose to stop for I did not belong to the Ship but merely came with my Father to learn my Profession), asked me what I was going to do. I told him that if he could let me steer a boat I would stop but not without. He promised me I should.
At this time many People who had run from the Ship Echo came to Calleo and our Ship was again manned with them. We got underweigh and put to Sea with our new Ships company when the boats crews were chosen. I was desired to pull the third mates aft oar. This being the lowest station in the Ship and what was more, I was desired to sweep the decks down. This I could not bear and complained but no I must do it. I looked at the land and was determined to complain no more let what would come.
Our voyage was now altered to Ceras Island to get Elephant Oil for fear a new Captain should be sent out from England.
It was in the month of August 1817 we arrived in Jobbins Bay at the Island of Ceras. The Captain went with the Boat for a good place to anchor. That night he did not come off. The next morning a boat was sent to look for him. They found him and Crew on shore. They had been capsized in the surf and the boat stove. They brought them off and the ship was soon after anchored. This was new to all Hands and many a boat got capsized before we got into the new work.
Our Captain had me now and I saw it was in vain to try to get away. About this time the mate took a little more upon himself and would not let the Captain drink so much. The time we used to go away in the morning was 1 o'Clock and sometimes not come back for two days, with nothing but a Piece of Pork a bag of Bread and a Bottle of Rum. I was now put in the mates Boat to cook for the Boats crew and pull the after Oar. One day we Went to the island of Native Dad for Elephants. The Captain's Boat was with us. We killed many Elephants, and it being late it was determined that we should sleep on the island and leave at Daylight. The Captain's Boats Crew said to ours we have saved our grog for it will be cold in the water tomorrow morning and when we have got the Blubber afloat we will take our dram which will be much better than drinking it tonight as you have done. We all thought so too, but alas when the work was done next Morning there was no Grog. The Captain had awaked in the Night and drank it all. This is a foolish thing to write about but it is to show what a Drunkard is for a Commander.
In the month of October the Ship was moved to Portland Bay end now the Elephants came up fast and every prospect of filling the Ship soon. I used to stick close to my duty in hopes of soon in getting clear of it and I got quite clear of it and I got quite expert at flenching for I could take the Hide off 5 Elephants to another 3. I went the whole of the time without a Shirt and could sleep as sound on the Beach, with a stone for a Pillow, as if I were in my Bed on Board the Ship.
The 18th January 1818 we sailed from Seras – 2700 Barrels of Oil, 60 Tons of Sperm, the rest Elephant. The Scurvy now began to make its appearance, and many of our People were laid up. We had been a long time without Vegetables, as our good captain would not go to the Sandwich Islands but steered for Conception on the Coast of Chile. Two of our Men died, and by the month of March we had but six men on Deck. The Captain was very bad also. I was the best and I was lame of one leg.
We arrived in Conception on the 10th of March in a miserable plight. Our sick were landed, and on the next day I got liberty from the mate to go on Shore. When the Captain heard it he scolded me for staying out of the ship until all the work was done. I was obliged to speak now. I told him that six of us had all the work to do, and if I were not allowed to go on Shore of an Evening, I should soon be obliged to give up for I was bad with the Scurvy also. This had the desired effect. We had liberty and the next day I got into a plantation with liberty to eat as much Fruit as I pleased, but pocket none. The peaches and Grapes were quite ripe and I sat under a Peach Tree and eat more than I ever done since.
I soon got quite well and began to walk about the Town which was in a shocking state owing to the War. I one day was invited to a Spaniard's House to take supper where I saw many of the Beauties of South America. I had learnt French when I was at School, and that assisted me to talk Spanish and I was very kindly treated by most of the Inhabitants. I, like most Young Men, fell in love with a beautiful Girl named Marcellèta and I believe she had an affection for me. One Evening I was at the House when the Press Gang knocked at the Door. I said in Spanish do not open it but when she heard who they were, she was obliged. They came in and asked who I was. I said "English", but they said no! they had heard me speak Spanish, and all Marcellèta could say did not save me from going to Prison and I went away with them, thinking I should soon he cleared when the Officer saw me. But when we came to the Prison, he was not there. I was put in there where was about 50 or 60 poor Creatures confined that had been taken in the last battle which had been fought between the Spaniards and Patriots. The Morning came, but no release. I sent to our Good Captain, but he said I got in without his assistance and I might get out in the same way. This was a comfort, and I had no Idea of being taken on Board the Spanish Frigate. About 5 O'clock in the afternoon, I saw the Captain of the Port, who was a Frenchman. I spoke to him, and related how I had been taken. He desired me to go, for he knew what Ship I belonged to. On my return to Marcellèta's house, I gave her an account of the Spanish Prison, and all that had occurred to me in my absence, at which she laughed, heartily.
April 10th our Ship was ready for sea, and I had but one moment to say farewell to Marcellèta before orders were given to get underweigh. We had a favourable passage round Cape Horn and on the 19th July I arrived at Deptford, and left the Ship immediately, glad to get from under the command of such a set of men. I went home, and found one of my Brothers there.
THE SOUTHSEAMAN ZEPHYR, PETER STAVERS, MASTER: SECOND MATE
Mrs S. met me very affectionately; and now I determined to look higher and not to go to Sea again without obtaining an officers situation. In this I had not much trouble, for in the month of August 1818, my Brother Peter was appointed to the command of the Ship Zephyr, bound round Cape Horn on a Whaling Voyage, and he wished me to go with him, as second mate and with all the anxiety felt by a Young officer, I joined the Ship on the 12th of August.
There was much trouble with the Owner and me about my wages. He thought me to young to have as much as an experienced man. I would not go without I had. So at last it was decided that if I performed the duty, I was on my return to have as good wages as was given out of London, I was perfectly satisfied, and the Ship left Gravesend on the 6th Sept 1818. Our Vessel was well manned, but badly provided with provisions – most of it being old Stores. However all went on smoothly, and after a boisterous passage round the Cape, we arrived on the coast of Chile on the 9th of January, and all were anxious to commence Whaling and none more so than myself.
We ran down the Coast and fell in with my Brother Francis who commanded the Ship Policy. We continued in company and on the 4th February we caught our first Whale. I was in my boat very anxious and exerted myself to the uttermost. I was fortunate, for the second time we struck, I killed her, and now I thought I should get on. We continued successful and remained in company with the Policy three weeks.
On the 13th of April we went into Paita to refresh our Crew. We observed a large Ship end a Brig sailing after us all Day, but little did we think it was Lord Cochrane coming to take the place. We had not been at Anchor more than three hours when the Boats belonging to the Frigate were sent in to cut out the Spanish vessel’s lying inside of us. At 9 O'clock the shot came across our Deck like Hail stones, for the people on board of the Spanish vessels had jumped over board, and alarmed the Town. The next morning a Brig was sent in to attack the Fort, and our Ship being in the way, we received more damage than they did.
We had to tow the Zephyr out with the boats. The shot flying in every direction but thank God no one was hurt. After we got clear, we saw the troops landed, and the place taken. Our Ship's company then became dissatisfied because they could not get on shore and refused to work. But, as usual, this was forgiven, and they went to work when they found they could not get on shore. We then steered for the Galapagos Islands and anchored there on the 10th of May 1819. We took a supply of Turpin, and then put to sea to cruize off the North Head. We were very unsuccessful and short of Salt Provisions so that we could not leave the Galapagos Islands, for when our stock of Turpin were out, we used to go and get more. After knocking about the Ocean for Thirty Months we were obliged to go Home with 1100 Barrels of Sperm Oil, and arrived in England on the 6th of February 182l.
We found our Brother Francis living in a small Cottage at Stepny, with our Sister Margaret. We were invited to come and live with them. Our good Mama having left our House that was built for us by our Father, but I did not miss the comforts I had there.
THE SHIP TUSCAN, FRANCIS STAVERS, MASTER: FIRST OFFICER
The Tuscan, Francis Stavers, Master, sailed from Gravesend on May 5, 1821. Thomas Reed Stavers was the first officer. Alexander Birnie, the owner, had arranged for several passengers to be carried to the Society Islands. Among the passengers were three missionary couples: Rev. and Mrs. Thomas Jones, a minister; Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Blossom, a weaver; and Mr. and Mrs. Elijah Armitage, a carpenter. Two other passengers, Daniel Tyerman and George Bennet, were embarking on what what turned out to be an eight year journey to inspect missions of the London Missionary Society in the Pacific, China, India, and Africa. Tyerman and Bennet's account of their travels would become a classic work of its genre.
The Tuscan provisioned at Funchal in the Madeira Islands before crossing the equator on June 23, 1821. Cape Horn was passed on August 1. On September 24, Tahiti was sighted and the ship anchored in Matavai Bay, off Point Venus. After discharging passengers and, most likely, acquiring water, wood, livestock and fresh provisons, the Tuscan departed for its whaling cruise.
[Note: It is known that in mid-April 1822, Stavers' vessel arrived at Honolulu in the Sandwich Islands [Hawaii]. The Tuscan's movements otherwise in the Pacific are not fully known up to the resumption of Staver's narrative in late October, 1822, in the Loo Choo Islands [Ryukyu Islands]. – Ed.
I now lived happy for the first time since I had refreshments could not comply. They would not let us go off the Beach, but placed Sentries at every quarter of a mile, to prevent of Landing. My Brother told the Chiefs that we wanted Water. That they sent us and a present of two Bullocks, but still we could not go to Sea because the Wind was blowing into the Harbour which was a miserable place for a Ship to lay. Payment was offered for the things that came from the Shore, but they would not take any thing. After a few days they sent us some Potatoes and 5 Goats. All they would take in return was a Chart of the World. On the 20th October many of the Chiefs Came on Board to see our Form of Worship. They seemed much pleased with the Singing.
After Caulking and Painting our Ship, on the 4th November, we got underweigh and left our Loochoo Friends. The Island seems very fertile, but we could not see much of it being so close confined. I one day stole away by myself about a mile into the Country. I saw Sugar Cane, Onions, Potatoes, Turnips, and Rice. I intended going further, but about 200 Natives arose as it were out of the Earth, and Drove me back. They did not use force, but surrounded me, and walked towards the Beach, and I could not get out from amongst them until we reached the Boat that was waiting to take me back to the Ship, into which they saw me get and watched me on till I got on Board.
We were now steering towards Gillolo, intending to cruize for Whales. On the 19th November we made Lord North's Island, and about 9 0' clock we were surrounded by about 18 of their flying Prows that are spoken of by Lord Anson. My Brother, wishing to prevent blood shed, made all sail from them. But we found they meant to attack us. We fired several shots over them. When they found they could not get alongside, they came astern, but a stiff breeze springing up, we left them.
On the 25 November we made the Island of Gillolo. At noon we saw a Ship under the Land. We spoke her. It was the Recovery of London, Whaler. The Captain having Letters for us, the Boat was sent, and the first I heard was That Clara's Father was Dead, and herself married. This was news indeed.
I felt it very much at first, but soon forgot it and was determined in my own mind to beware of such flighty fair ones. On the 27th we spoke our Brother Peter who confirmed the news, and he having been served in the same manner condoled with me. We now agreed to keep company with our brother and share the oil taken by both Ships. On the 13th December we lost all our sails and the mizn topmast in a heavy squall. On the l7th both Ships went into Terrat. After filling up by our water and getting a few necessaries from the Shore, we sailed on a cruize, but did little towards filling a Ship.
On the 10th of March 1823 we went into the Bay of Copang on the Island of Timor. Here we had nothing but thunder, Lightening and Rain all our stay and many of our People got the Fever so prevalent on the Coast. On the 11th March, we got underweigh, our people very sickly. On the 28th spoke the Griffin. The Captain was invited on Board and who should be in the Boat but Miss N.’s Brother, poor Billy. The last time I saw him was at his Father's House but then the sun was not allowed to burn his little Face, but now, pulling after whales under a vertical sun, he told me a melancholy tale of the loss of his Father and of the circumstances of his family, and of Miss N.’s marriage unknown to his Mother, and at last of his being sent to the South Seas. Poor fellow. I pittied him and wished much to have had him with me. Two days after we left the . . . .
The Tuscan arrived in England on October 20, 1823.
. . . . days I received a favorable answer, which made me very happy for I thought I had placed my Affections on a deserving Girl. I asked the consent of her Parents to address her, and was by them favourable answered. All was now well, and those Days passed happily enough.
THE SHIP TUSCAN: MASTER, VOYAGE OF 1824
December came to put an end to my Joy for I found the Tuscan fitting out, and my Brother had declined going in her. I went and offered myself, but was refused. Soon after this I was sent for, and the command of the Ship given to me to sail on the 1st January 18..
My time was now taken up between the Ship and my dear Fanny. At length the Day arrived that was to part us. At 6 O'clock in the morning of the 13th of January, I left Charles street (the residence of my Fanny) with a heavy heart. She had given her promise to be united to me on my return.
It was a cold dark morning, the ground covered with snow, and too early to find a couch to take me to the Ship, I was obliged to walk, but the first place I Found myself in was the Islington road. I now abused myself and steered straight for the London Docks, when I found the Ship just passing the Gates. The Fog came on so that we could get her no further than the Dock Buoy and there she lay two Days. I could not go to see my Fanny again, but went to our House at Chiselhurst.
0n the 17th of January I joined the Ship at Gravesend and the next Day we sailed. On the 22nd we anchored at the Motherbank, and I received a Letter from my Fanny. Our stay at this place was tiresome in the extreme, for SW Gales of Wind nearly the whole time.
On the l2th of February my Sister Margaret, accompanied with my dear Fanny, came to visit me. The next Day they left me, and they had not been gone more than 5 Hours before a fair wind came, and I was at Sea with a Ship under my Command for the first time. No person but those who had experienced it can tell the feelings of a young Master when he first finds the charge of a Vessel solely upon himself – no one to look too! All looking up to him. I confess I felt at a Loss. My Officers were none of the best and I found before I had been to Sea 14 Days that I had a leaky Ship to comfort me, and that the winter Passage to make round Cape Horn.
After the first Month I began to have more confidence in myself. As we approached the Equator, we caught a large Whale. This was a good beginning and all were in good spirits.
On the 18 April we had the first Gale of Wind and until the l4th of June we scarce ever had one fine day. Our Ship covered with Ice, and the Pumps constantly going. The Ship being so leaky, I found it was necessary to go into Port. On the 3rd of July we Anchored in Calleo [Callao, Peru] Roads, laid my case before Captain Malin of H M S Cambridge. He advised me to come close to his Ship and try to get at the leaks. I wished after I had taken his advice. It would have saved me a great deal of trouble and anxiety.
The reason I did not do so was I knew I should have much Water to star[board], and the ship to heel over. Now the Port was blockaded by a Frigate and a Brig and they were in the habit of coming in, and firing upon the Batteries, and I thought should they come in and my Ship in that state I could not get her out of the way, and I found sometime, afterwards that they were not very particular who was in the way. I thanked Captain Malin and told him my reasons for not complying with his advise.
On the l0th of July I left Calleo [Callao, Peru] for the Port of Santa. On the 12th we brought up in the Bay. We began to lighten the Ship by starting the water. On the third Day we found the Leak. So far well, now my troubles began!! I went up to the Town with my Surgeon, Mr. Layman, when I was told I must take the Ships Papers about 30 Miles inland to the Governor before I could get any refreshments. General 0'Higgins was at this time travelling through the place. He sent for me and asked me many Questions as to the News I had heard at Calleo [Callao, Peru].
The next day I went on Horseback, accompanied by the Alcady and a Captain of Horse, to the Town of Napenia, where the Intendente resided. After five or six hours riding over Sandy Plains, I was introduced to the Intendente. He received me very politely and took my Papers, and said they were good. I was kindly treated by General O'Higgins, being always invited to his table. I now wanted to return to my Ship, but I could get no conveyance.
The General asked me it I had come to Napenia on pleasure? I said no! I was sent for by the Intendente, and then, said he, they must find you a Horse and conduct you back again.
The next morning the Horse was sent to me and a Certificate from the Intendente certifying my Papers were good and that he had seen them. I returned my thanks to the General for his Kindness and rode off in high spirits towards the Ship.
I found on my return that they had much trouble to get Water from the Shore, owing to the heavy surfs. Two boats turned over and one was stove. On Saturday Evening, the 25th of July, we had got all our Water and stock on Board and the next Day I allowed the Ships Company to go on shore. They had not left the ship one hour before the Colombian Ship Pechincha arrived. The Captain came on board and asked for my Papers. I desired the Steward to get them out of my trunk, but alas! they were gone. The Captain left the Ship and placed an officer on Board and a Guard off 11 soldiers. He then sent Hands and unbent all the Sails.
I went on board the Pechincha and 8poke to the Captain about his taking such hasty measures, before he had given me time to look for my Papers, but he said, "you knew before I anchored that you had no Papers." I told him that he was not a Gentleman to say so. With that, I left him. The next morning they began to plunder the Ship. I was angry and complained of such behaviour to the Lieutenant who had charge, but he gave me no satisfaction. I called for the British Ensign. I then hoisted it myself. The eleven soldiers, with their muskets loaded, were waiting their orders to fire. The Lieutenant said, "you have done very wrong if any thing happens to you; it is your own fault." I said, "you must take the Ship before I allow you to plunder her." I was soon taken on Board the Pechincha. The Captain asked me how I dared hoist that Flag. I told him I would not allow my Ship to be plundered. "Go, Sir!" said he, "and haul that Flag down."
I refused! He threatened to put me in Irons. I told him he could do as he pleased, but that I would not strike my own Country Flag. The first Lieutenant was sent to haul it down, but he was afraid. A poor black man that was in the Boat was ordered to haul down the Flag. When I saw It struck I went to the Captain and told him that now he had taken Possession of the Ship, he must be answerable for all that was missing. He flew in a Passion and sent me on board again.
On the 28th July they took all the People out of the Ship, and began to take water to supply their Ships. They took all our small stores and much Provisions, and left the Ship in a miserable state. On the 3rd of August, hands were sent from the Pechincha to take the Ship to the Port of Samancha.
I was now a Prisoner on Board the Ship. They did everything they could to distress me. Being young I hardly knew how to act. Previous to this I had sent a Boat away to try to get up to Calleo, and state our case to the Commander in Chief. On the 6th of August they anchored the Ship in Samancha, in the middle of a Squadron of their Men of War and Transports.
The Commodore came on Board to see the Ship and hear the news. When he found how the Captain of the Pechincha had been acting, he was very angry and told me to go and get my Men. I went with a Boat and one Boy, and pulled alongside of the Pechincha for my officers and Crew.
I was very anxious about my Boat, that I had sent up the Coast. On the 8th, I saw a Man waving his Hat on the Shore. I sent a Boat and brought him on Board. He told me he was sent by the Boats Crew, that they were taken Sick with the fever and Ague, and were then at a place called Guramy. He gave me a letter from one of the Crew which confirmed it. He also told me that as he came down the Coast he saw a Frigate laying at Cazma, about seventy miles from where we were laying. I was determined to go myself.
I sent him to tell the boats Crew to return, but here was another difficulty: who was to take charge of the Ship? My Officers would get drunk whenever I was absent, but I had no alternative – something must be done. So off I went, determined to strive to get the Ship clean from these troubles.
The Man that brought me intelligence of the ill success of my Boats Crew undertook to guide me up to the place where he saw the Frigate lying! I travelled all that Day and all the Night. At four O'clock we arrived at the Town of Cazma. A lodging I could not get anywhere. I was obliged to lye down on the ground with my saddle for a Pillow. At Daylight, I bought something to eat, and then I hired another Horse to go to the Port. I was riding along in great hopes of its being an English Frigate, but I soon saw that it was one belonging to the United States.
I rode down on the Beach, and asked an Officer that was on shore with the Boat if he could allow me to go on Board. He was kind enough to do so. I laid my case before Commodore Hall, but he told me being under different Colours, he could do nothing for me except to take myself, or letters, up to the Commander in Chief at Calleo [Callao, Peru]. I was anxious to go, but I knew I could not leave my Ship long with such Officers as I had. I wrote to Captain Malin and the letter was sent off by a small Schooner.
I came on shore, but alas! The Horse was gone. I wandered about almost distracted. At last, I found some Negroes returning to Town with some Horses. I hired one and returned to Town, where on the next morning an English Merchant sent for me and told me he had great interest and that if I would go on Board of the Frigate with him he would put me in the way how to act. After breakfast, he said he would go, as he had some business to transact on Board of the Frigate. Accordingly, after Breakfast I again started. As soon as we arrived on Board lost sight of this good Friend, and being a stranger I was at loss how to find him. At last I asked one of the Gun Room servants if such a person was there. He said he is in this Cabin, pointing to one on the larboard side of the Ship.
I requested him to tell this Friend that I wished to speak to him. I was desired to walk in. I asked him to perform his promise. "Oh!" said he, "you’ll never get your Ship back, it is a folly for you to trouble yourself." "This Gentleman (pointing to one of the Company) has lost a Brig in the same way, and he cannot get her back. "I thank you, Sir," said I, [I] wish you had given me this information in the Morning. I might by this time have been on Board my Ship again." So I left this true Friend.
I left the Frigate with a heavy heart for I knew I had a long way to go, and I did not know I one step of it. I found my poor Horse who had stood all Day on the Sandy Beach without anything to eat or drink. I mounted and determined that if I arrived safe back to the Town, I would get him a good Supper, but which way to go I could not tell, and no person to guide me for it was dark. However I rode on as I thought the right way, but the poor Horse was very reluctant to go. At last I gave up and threw the Reins loose on his Neck and as soon as I gave up guiding him, he turned round, and trotted off briskly; I was fearful he would take me to the wrong Place. In about a quarter of an hour he stopped at a run of Water.
I then thought that he meant to go no farther. But after he had drank he turned round and trotted offs I did not touch the Reins but let him go, when to my astonishment he stopped at the very Door I had left in the Morning. I immediately went and bought a Bag of Beans and gave him. I took up my abode on the ground until the morning, when I went out to buy my Breakfast. I bought one dozen of Eggs and had them boiled, but they were ill rotten. I complained to my Hostess but she said, "I cannot help it, I was not in the inside to see if they were good."
I next applied to the Governor for a Guide back to the Ship, but he refused. I then started trusting all to the Horse and I am happy to say that in Eight Hours I arrived at the Ship where I found that in my absence my Officers had been drunk, and my Ships Company refused to work till my return, and that our old Friend Captain Drynot had taken a Bower Anchor away.
I now endeavoured all in my Power to get the Ships Company satisfied, for the Officers of the Squadron were offering them 40 bounty to enter. On the 12th of August my Boat returned in a miserable condition having been absent since the 30th of July. I now kept a boat away fishing, and the rest of my People I kept repairing sails etc.
On Sunday morning the 22nd of August at Daybreak, two Gentlemen came on board and took the Doctor away with them. I was ill in Bed at the same time. At nine O'clock I received a Letter from him saying he would not return any more; also a Letter from the Captain of the Chimboraso, desiring me to send his Clothes. I wrote a note and told him I would not give them up, after which a Lieutenant was sent with a Boats Crew and took them by force. At Noon, the Commodore came on board, and said that I had been speaking disrespectfully of the Captain under his command, and if I ever did the like again, he would confine me.
I was very ill, and quite worn out, for trouble came so fast, and I had no one to help me, for my Officers wanted more looking after than my Men. At 3 0' clock in the afternoon I was walking about the Deck,(all the People being on shore) thinking what would become of me should I loose the Ship. What shall I do? It will be the ruin of me. I cannot go home.
I looked towards the Shore and saw all the officers belonging to the Squadron hurrying down the Beach. I saw a signal up on the Hill also. At length, I saw the Jib Boom of a Vessel coming slowly round the Point. I took up the Glass, and saw it was a Man of War but of what nation, I could not destine, for her Ensign had not yet blown out, the wind being light. At last, Heaven be praised! I saw that it was a British Man of War. She anchored close to me in a majestic style and a Boat dispatched with a Lieut. to the Commodores Vessel.
This all happened so quick that I could not believe it. It was such a change, that I could not think it was sent for me, but soon I saw the Boat leave the Commodores Vessel and steer towards our Ship. I committed a thousand fooleries, and was so elated, that I scarce knew what I was about. How dirty the Ship is I said. Look what a figure I am! Where are the Man Ropes – we have no Ladder for him to get up. At length I had the pleasure to see a British Lieut. On the Tuscan's Quarter Deck. He asked for the Master of the Ship. I replied I was him. You will repair on Board H.M.S. Mersey with whatever Papers you have that will prove this Ship to be British property. My joy was so great that I committed a thousand mistakes. I went in the Boat and was introduced to Captain Furgeson, a fine venerable looking old Gentleman, who took me down in the cabin, and treated me with great kindness and sympathized in my misfortune. "All will soon be well." said he! "Tomorrow we must enquire as to the loss of your Papers, do you suspect anyone?" I mentioned the Doctor having left the Ship. "That looks suspicious" said he! "However rest assured that you will soon have your Ship again." I returned on Deck where all the Officers crowded round me to hear my sad tale. As I was talking, the Commodore of the Patriot Squadron came on board. He looked hard at me, and I was quite happy to think that times were altered, and that I should get out of his custody. I staid on board the Mersey till 8 O’ clock and then returned in high spirits.
At Daylight, an officer came from the Mersey with a Boats crew and took charge of the Tuscan. He called for the Colours, and I had the pleasure to again see the British Ensign waving at the Tuscan's Mizen Peak. As soon as the Colours were seen from the Patriot's Vessel there was a great stir. A Boat came to the Ship but was ordered to keep out. At 10 O'clock the Mersey Sent another Boat and took my Officers, steward, Cooper, and Carpenter. At 11 I was sent for and taken down in the Cabin where I found a Court setting. I was sworn and cross questioned by the Captain and first Lieut. as to the loss of the Ships Papers. I was at this time attacked with a fit of Ague and was hardly able to stand during my examination. At Noon all was over and I was sent to take charge of the Ship again. As soon as the Officers left the Ship, the Patriots had the impudence to take possession again and put a Lieut. on the Quarter Deck. I immediately went and complained. At 3 O'clock in the Afternoon the Ship was given up to me once more, and a Sea Letter to sail under, also Dispatches to take up to the commander in Chief at Calleo [Callao, Peru].
Captain Furgeson came on board and asked if I wanted any assistance, and desired me to get ready for Sea. I begged of him not to leave me till the Ship was outside of the port, for I knew that my old friends would trouble me as soon as he was gone. Our Ship was in a miserable state – all the Water having been taken out of the Fore Hold – but I was determined to go to sea immediately and run all risks.
I was so ill myself that it was with difficulty I stood the Deck till the Ship was outside of the port. On the 26th of August I left this place and made sail for Calleo [Callao, Peru]. On the 29th, in the act of reefing the Main topsail, one of the People fell on Deck and was killed. Though I was ill in bed, I heard the fall and something struck me it was a Man. I enquired? But they told me not and it was some time before they would tell me. Here I was with no medical assistance; no Officers on Board that I could trust. On the 4th of Sept we arrived off Calleo [Callao, Peru], and at 3 O'Clock in the Afternoon I anchored alongside of H.M.S. Cambridge. A Lieut. came on Board and took me with him on Board the Cambridge. I delivered my Dispatches, and was desired to return the next Day. At 10 0' clock the next morning the Spanish Gun Boat made an attack on the Patriot Frigate so that I was obliged to get under weigh and tow the Ship out of the range of their Shot. The Cambridge was obliged to move also, and a breeze springing up, she made Sail towards the Island of Lorenzo and I followed her. At 10 P.M. we brought up close to her again. The next Morning, ill as I was, I went on board of the Cambridge and had an interview with Captain Malin who treated me with great kindness, sanctioned and signed my Sea Letter, and told me to sail when I thought proper.
I applied for Medical assistance and received it from Dr. Cummingham. I was now anxious to go to sea, but being so ill and many of people sick with the Ague, I remained until the l2th of Sept. The next consideration was to get water having but little on Board. I could not get any at Calleo [Callao, Peru] – all communication being stopt with the shore. I made sail for Gueramy on the l6th of Sept. We anchored in 4 fathoms water. I sent the 3rd Officer to look for water when he and the Boats Crew were taken. The Spaniards, thinking that I had run away from Santo with the ship, the Boat was sent with two of our People to tell me how things stood. I sent them back, and told them to tell the rest to run into the Boat, and push off, but they were afraid.
I saw soon after 3 of the boats crew mounted on Horseback – each behind a Soldier. The next Morning I was sent for by the Governor to know if I had any Papers. I produced my Sea Letter and all was right again. We now began our toilsome work of Watering. In the first place we had a tremenderous surf to contend with and in the next a long sandy beach to roll the Casks. My Officers, not being acquainted with landing a Boat through a surf, got several times turned over. At length I was obliged to go myself though suffering under a tertian Ague. On the 24th Sept I left Gueramy and made all sail off the Coast of Peru, determined not to come near it again for all my troubles originated in being obliged to go there. Had not the Tuscan been leak[ing], I should not have thought of going there.
We soon found that the Water we got at Gueramy was very bad and also brackish, but I was obliged to put up with it, there being no place to get better. I was still very unwell and the thoughts of losing a Whale season very much disheartened me. On the 4th Nov. we arrived on our cruizing ground, and, myself quite recovered, I found when I returned on Deck, that it was high life below stairs. The sailors had been allowed to do as they pleased and would come and sit down on the quarter and smoke their Pipes with all the nonchalance of old acquaintances. I had much trouble to get all things put to rights, for such a set as I had to deal with was enough to drive one mad.
We cruized on the Equator till the 26th January, 1825 and then left for the Island of Raietea with 600 Barrells of oil on Board. On the 17 February we anchored in the safe Harbour of Raietea, and had a drink of good Water for the first time these three Months. We got every supply we needed and the People got over their Ague fits.
On the 14th of March we were ready for Sea. And on the 15th, we found the Boltsprit [bowsprit?] to be gone – nothing but troubles! This detained us till the 31st for our Carpenter was taken ill, so that I was obliged to finish it myself, and being no Carpenter I made but a rough Job of it.
On the 31st of March we made sail for the Coast of Japan. I now found I had a new duty to attend to, for Henry King, a fine young Man, was taken very ill with a pain in his Back. At last a large white swelling appeared. What to do, I knew not. I took him down in the Cabin, and paid him every attention but on the 5th he died. I could not tell what was the matter with him, and I believe that had he had Medical Assistance that he would have recovered. Picture to yourself Reader, a fellow creature in the same room with you in great agony, and dying for the want of Medical Assistance, and you know no remedy within your reach. Poor fellow, he suffered much.
On the 4th of June we arrived on the Coast of Japan, and having been a long time without Whales, I was very anxious to catch some. On the 6th, at 5 O'clock in the afternoon, we saw many Whales. My Officers, as usual, was doing but little among them. At 6 O'clock I struck a large Whale, and when he was nearly dead he stove my Boat all to pieces. It was quite dark and no Boat to be seen. After being in the Water some time, we heard the splashing of Oars, and the Chief Officer came and picked us up. I asked for the second Officer but could give no intelligence of him. By this time the Whale was dead and the third Officer had got hold of him. I returned on Board, uneasy about the other Boat where I found on my arrival, it was hoisted up and the Crew very comfortable. I immediately sent them away after the other Boat. I then beat the Ship up to the Whale and took her alongside. By this time it was 12 O'clock and it began to blow very hard. The Fluke rope parted and the Whale got adrift. Sail was again made and at 3 O'Clock in the Morning I took her alongside again. The 2nd Mate returned, having let my Boat go without attempting to save either lines or Oars.
I was very much vexed at such conduct, but our troubles had not ended for in the act of hoisting up the Mates Boat, she broke in twain. In fact, all our Boats having been so badly used while in possession of the Patriots, that they were hardly fit to get a voyage in the Ship, but as the old adage goes, there is no trouble without a remedy. For a few Days afterwards we saw a Ship and the Captain sold me a Boat.
We cruized until the 7th August without getting any more Oil, and we now began to think we should make a poor voyage. But thanks to Providence, on the last day of September, we made sail for the Sandwich Islands with 1500 Barrels of oil on board. On our Passage we lost two Boats in a heavy Gale of Wind and the 2nd Mate lost his by a Whale, so that we arrived at the Sandwich Islands with only two Boats on Board.
On our arrival, we found two Ships of the Owners by whom I expected some Letters from my dear Fanny, but alas! was disappointed though many of my Sailors received Letters. My People began to get dissatisfied at their past troubles, and the consequence was that eleven ran away. What was to be done now? I applied to the Chiefs of the Islands, but they would not interfere.
I bought two Boats out of a Ship that was full and sent Letters by her to England stating all our troubles. I tried with my few remaining hands to get the Ship underweigh, succeeded, and put to Sea. Five days after, one of them took sick and died.
I cruized about until the next June 1826, only taken 80 Barrels of oil during the last nine Months. After all these troubles, we began to be successful, and by July 25th had obtained a complete Cargo. I again returned to the Sandwich Islands, and found my Brother John lying there, bound to England. I had no provisions left, and without his kind assistance I should have been badly off. Our Ship at this time making one Foot of Water an Hour. We agreed to keep company to England, and an the 23rd October 1826 we made sail for our native shore. . . .
Arrived home May 7, 1827.
THE SHIP TUSCAN: MASTER, VOYAGE OF 1827
. . . . to me And if I had not been blown into Portsmouth I should have gone away miserable. On the 17th Sept 1827 the Wind came favourable and the ship was soon put to sea.
Here I had once more to part with my Fanny, and I watched the Boat she left the Ship in until it was lost in space. Duty now called and my Mind was so occupied that the happiness of the last few days was thought of no more. A fair Wind soon carried me to warm latitudes. We were bound to St. Helena by the Eastern route, and not being acquainted, it was an anxious time. However we caught one hundred Barrels of oil on our passage and on the 1st Day of December we anchored off James' Valley to the surprise of the Inhabitants, for it was an unusual thing for a South Sea man to touch there outward bound. Two days after, I had the Honour of an Invitation to dine at Government House where I was kindly received by Brig. General Walker.
On the 11th we sailed from St. Helena for the Coast of New Holland, in hopes of finding Whales. On the 23rd of January we landed on the Island of St Paul’s, where we caught Fish and boiled them in the hot Springs.
On the 2lst of February we made the Coast of New Holland, and ran into Dirk Hartogs Roads to procure Turtle. In two Nights we took 50 weighing from two to three hundred-weight a piece. On the 23rd we left the Coast in search of Whales, and now a new trouble arose. The Sailors would not eat the turtle so that I was obliged to throw them overboard. After much blowing from the W. we ran from the North when we spoke the Hope, bound to London, belonging to the same owners as ourselves. We now began to take oil fast. On the 6th of May I made sail for Monada to land some Money for the owners. When I arrived, I found that the Anchorage and Harbour dues were immense and I had no money to pay them. I was obliged to sell things by auction, at a great sacrifice, to obtain money and these Dutch Gentlemen put 36 percent on the money and paid me in Copper. This was all loss to me, for I had no business myself at the place.
We then sailed for Japan, where we were successful. On the 20th of October we anchored at Mowee [Maui], one of the Sandwich Islands [Hawaiian Islands] with 1100 Barrels of oil on board. After refreshing we again put to sea on a cruize but without success. On the 8th of January, while cruizing off Duke of York's Islands [Lord Byron's Duke of York Island (1767) is Atafu, Tokelau Islands], two Canoes came off to the ship. The Natives appeared to have been drifted away for there was 16 men in the two Canoes, and no inhabitants had been found by former Navigators. They sold their Cocoa Nuts for Pieces of Iron hoop and they began to steal so that I was obliged to drive them away.
On the 30th of January 1829 we landed on the Island of Whytootacke [Bligh's "Whytootackee" - now known as Aitutaki, in the Cook Islands] to procure fresh Provisions. We were kindly received by the King and native teachers who had been put there by some of our English Missionaries to Instruct the Inhabitants in the Christian religion.
There is also an other Island close to this called Harveys Island [Cook's Hervey's Island is Manuae atoll in the southern Cook Islands]; the Natives of which, being anxious to learn as well as the Whytootaokians, came in a Canoe to the Islands, but in returning were all lost so that there are no inhabitants upon that Island now, and only one Girl and boy belonging to it are left.
We left these Hospitable Islands and made sail to the East in search of Whales, but had no success, On the 17 February a heavy squall blew away all our sails, and nearly turned the ship over. On the 19th we ran into Raiatea for Wood and Water. On the 14th of March H.M.S. Satellite arrived off the Harbour. A Boat had been sent in previously to take some Convicts that had run away from Port Jackson. I went on board, but the wind being out of the Harbour it was two days before I could get her in. The Captain, not being acquainted with the place, asked me to Pilot the ship in. On the 23rd I took the Tuscan to Sea, and returned for the Satellite but it falling calm, could not get her out that day. On the next morning we put to Sea where I joined my own Ship and made all sail for the last cruize.
On the 28th of Sept. we finished our Cargo and made all sail for the Sandwich Islands. On the 8th of October we anchored in the Harbour of Woahoo [Oahu, Hawaii]. After laying in stock of Water and refreshments and having a great deal of troubles with a set of dissatisfied Sailors, I sailed on the 27 for England. On the 23rd of November we again anchored in the harbour of Raiatea to fill up the water and on the 4th of Dec. we sailed. Our passage round Cape Horn was particularly fine, not having seen land all the passage until we made the Island of Flores, one of the Western Islands [Azores]. We were all in high Spirits, thinking that in a few days we should see all Friends. I had not heard one word from home since I left and I had been round the Globe during my absence.
On the 3rd of April it began to blow very hard. On the 4th it was much worse – a tremendous Sea and the Wind a perfect [gale?]. Our people were obliged to come down in the Cabin. For 3 days no hatch could be taken off. What with the noise of the wind and roar of the Sea and the clanking of the Pumps, krak, it was miserable enough. No fire could be kept in. On the 5th a heavy sea struck the ship and took away all the Bulworks.
At daylight on the 6th, I gave orders to set the topsail. The Wind beginning to abate, and being in a hurry, the Vagabond that went to loose it did not see our danger and were very saucy in the room of exerting himself at such a time. I was obliged to chastise him to make him work, for which I had to pay £13 on my arrival. This is the way a Master is served and sailors know it and will take the advantage accordingly, for if they think they will not get much money on their arrival they will insult the Master or Officers and then they strike them after which they will be the most obedient fellows in the ship.
The fellow above mentioned I took off the Beach on the Island of Timore in a dying state. He had a companion that died the day after I took him. The other I kept Eight months, feeding him on the best the Ship could afford and the Doctor attending him daily until he recovered. This was his Gratitude, but enough of this. We got a fair Wind and soon arrived in the Channell but the fog came so thick that it was some time before we could get up. We at last got a Pilot and run as fast as Dungeness as we supposed and then brought up but when it cleared we found that we were off Hastings. We got underweigh and run into the Downs. Two day after, we arrived of[f] Gravesend when my Brother came on Board and told me that my dear Fanny was well and that she now resided in the Kent Road. I was all anxiety to land but having some little duty to attend to, was some time first. At last I landed at the Falcon Inn and called for Breakfast for we had been up since daylight and this was eleven O'Clock. After a hearty meal, we mounted the Wellington-Dover Coach, and at 2 O'Clock I embraced my Fanny. How pleased was I to see such a neatly furnished house, recollecting how I had left things. Now the scene was changed. All was happiness and believe me, no one can tell the pleasure one feels [after?] so long a voyage to find all his Friends in health and happiness. The heart is raised with gratitude to the great disposer of events.
Thus ended the most successful voyage I ever made and the most comfortable. I had a drunken Doctor. Him I out of pity brought home and a drunken second Officer, him I landed but we cannot have all things as we wish.
My time was now passed in visiting my Friends. I did not forget the Friends of my Infancy. I went to visit Mrs. Pain, the only one of the Williamson family remaining. I found her in great distress, for her husband, as upon his death bed. I then saw, for the first time, her Nephew and Niece, Son [and?] daughter of Mrs Fallowfeild, formerly Miss Margot Williamson. It was then I thought of past times when I embraced the dear Family. They were also orphans for Father and Mother were both dead.
Oh that I had thousands but we must be content. Soon after this, I found that all my Fanny's family were coming to live close to me. This was a comfort, for I was not fond of going far from home. My stay in England being so short that I never got tired of it. All the pleasures past as usual. At length the Ship was put into Dock and I was solicited to take command again to the Missionaries to the Society Islands. I asked the owners to fit the ship as well as she was last voyage and I would be content but I have since found that I could not trust to what was said. A Drunken fellow to superintent and insult me daily was not the way to treat so old a Servant and if I had not given my word, I would not have gone in their Ship. It was appointed that the ship should sail as before, on the 1st of September and on that day she went by steam down to Gravesend. I followed with my Fanny and a Party of Friends in a steam Boat and landed at Falcon, the same place I landed at the last voyage. We passed a very merry Evening but should have been much better pleased if it had been on the arrival instead of the departure.
THE SHIP TUSCAN: MASTER, VOYAGE OF 1830
The next morning our passengers and surgeon, Mr. Charles Sturges, met on board. I was obliged to go to Town again about other People's business. The Ship proceeded to the Docks and the next night I arrived at Deal by the coach. I took a boat and joined the Ship. I was now going to embark on another long voyage. I had the same chief officer (Mr Young) that I had last voyage and I had also known him many years. These things all tended to make me comfortable. Our passengers were quiet, inoffensive people and seemed to take the rough with the smooth.
On the 4th of September we sailed from the downs but as soon as we got off the Isle of Wight, the wind set in at SW and I was obliged to put into the Mother-bank again and it is well we did for many Ships stopt out and were obliged to put in with the loss of Masts sails etc.
My dear Fanny had been watching the wind and had perceived that it had shifted and actually left London before we anchored at the Mother bank. At 10 AM I was surprised to see her and her Brother come on board. Our owners talked very large about their ship laying at the Mother bank and insinuated that it was the Captains Wife that kept the Ship there. I deprived myself the pleasure of seeing my dear Fanny and sent her to London. After lying ten days without seeing her, I took coach and went to London to see how all friends were at home. On the 29th of the Sept. we sailed once more and passed in a few days those ships that had been so good to themselves and owners and had stopt out all the bad weather and saved £4 Pilotage and destroyed 30 or 40 Pounds worth of sails etc.
I think they will not have to say so of again exerted ourselves and arrived off Cape Horn in December and run down the coast of Peru. In the Lat. of 18 we took some whales and would have stopt longer, but having passengers to land at the Island of Raitea, I steered my course across the great south sea . In the beginning of March we landed our passengers and all the Missionary goods in good order. We had much to do, for all the goods were carred out and it took much time to set them up.
In the beginning of April we sailed for the Coast of Japan, calling at the Sandwich Isles to hear the news. In May we arrived on our fishing ground but did not do much until the middle of June, from which time to the end at July we had taken 900 barrels of oil. The month of August we took no oil. On the 31 st we saw whales. I must digress a little here.
Many people believe that we have presentments before death. I will leave my reader to judge from the following, also of superstition of sailors.
A favourite cat that was sworn against by the boot steerers. Some said they would throw her over board. Some of the sailors said if you do you will never have any luck. At last Pussy disappeared. No one knew anything of her. Some time elapsed. At 6 O'clock, on the evening of the 31st of August, as we set at supper, my chief officer who had begun his supper, suddenly put down his knife and fork and sent his plate away. I asked him if he was unwell. He said not very well.
After Supper, the doctor went to him and the report to me was that the chief officer had a little headache. That night he kept no watch. At daylight, the whale was seen on the weather quarter, going to leeward. I was at the mast head looking at them and then I thought the Ship would fetch to windward of them on the other tack. I ordered the ship to be put about but no answer from the Deck.
It must be understood that Mr. Young, my chief officer, was a man most attentive to his duty and I wondered not to hear him give the order to tack ship. I called out again, but no answer. At last, I called the third time and the second Mate put the ship about. The Boat was got ready for Rowing and I came down from the mast head and found to my astonishment, the chief officer setting down on deck smoking his pipe. I went up to him and said, "Mr Young, you do not seem well enough to go in your Boat." "Today remain on board and I will go." His reply was, "I thank you Sir, I would rather remain on board." The boat put off and though the clumsy manager, the second mate attacked the Whale. His boat was stove. When it was seen from the ship, the Doctor told me afterwards, that Mr. Young came to him and said, "I must go now." This man, at all other times, was first away with his boats. I saw that the second mate must meet with some accident if the Whale cut with her fluke and was prepared to pick his crew up. There were seven of us in my boat and with his line etc. which made my Boat very heavy. I was obliged to act with caution in attacking the Whale. Soon after, Mr. Young came with his Boat and assisted me to kill the Whale. Then he appeared well and acted as usual.
I saw another Whale coming up close to us. I said to him, "Mr Young, you will be able to take care of this Whale." "Now I will cut my line and fasten to the other." He was turning to answer me when I heard a noise. I felt much water go over me and Mr. Young was in the other world. The loose Whale struck with his fluke under the dieing Whale, missed me and struck Mr. Young on the right hip. I think the body went 30 feet before it fell into the water.
A native of the Society Islands saw the accident and sprang over board immediately to try and save the body, but poor fellow, it had sunk to rise no more. From the blow I should think that he must have been smashed before he never rose afterwards. To see a fellow creature taken so suddenly shocked me much and I must say, I shed many tears. But to have seen some of our Tars that when all was still around them, boasting of their courage, and now roaring through fear, I was obliged to suppress my feelings.
I sent those away to the ship and kept my own crew and thus addressed them. Our times are in the hand of God. It was no ones fault. Therefore, be composed. If I had been 3 feet further ahead the Blow would have taken me. Keep up your sprits and act like men. Say, shall we go to the ship and leave the Whale? If we do, we can do no good. Some of you that have been on board of a man of war must know better. Come, cheer up.
At last, they took to there oars and pulled the Boat up to the Whales. I threw my lance into the Whale, that had killed Mr. Young and I saw him no more. I then struck the Whale that we had been killing before and remained at a distance till he was dead. I had much trouble to get the Ship's crew to do anything, for if you spoke loud, they would run against each other like frightened sheep. I had now lost my right hand man, and much work came upon me.
On the 6th of Sept. we struck another Whale, but no one would come to help me, not having got over their frightened. The 9th another, but still the same. I found that my strength would fail if this was to be the way. On the 20th, one was struck by one of the other boats and also I was there to assist. The line was cut and we lost the Whale.
I then took the Ship into the Island of Waahoo [Oahu, Hawaii], and those men that had proved such cowards at sea were the first to get drunk amd cause disturbances. I was left with no officer on board, for the only one I had left had drunk to excess that his life was endanger.
On the 12th of October I left the harbour, having shipped a young man to act as 2nd officer, promoting the other, which he ill deserved. I was glad to get to sea again for the crew took ever advantage of my situation and if it had not been for the assistance of the British Consul, I should have lost half the Ships company. It must be remembered that the Boat-steerer of the mates boat was the man that threw the cat over board and he confessed it, firmly believing that it was unlucky to hurt cats on board ship.
We now shaped our course to the eastward and then to the South toward the Equator. It was the 3rd of Dec. before we took any Whales. On the night of the 18th I was asleep in my cot when I was awoke by a noise. I asked who was there but no answer and I thought nothing of it and went to sleep again. At 12 O'Clock I was again awoke by a noise like look tinkling. I called to the Doctor who slept on the other side of the cabin to know if he heard anything. I heard somebody breath. I flew out of the bed and alighted on the back of a man who was on his knees under my cot. I gave the alarm and called for lights. The man who had the watch on deck was asleep but the Doctor came to my assistance.
I found I had got the steward who was trying to open my trunk where I had 500 Dollars! I could not help laughing when the light came, for I was sitting upon his back in my white shirt his black head between my legs and his nose to the deck holding on to his ears, for I was afraid at first it might be someone come to murder me. I confined him until daylight when I found the noise that at first awoke me was this fellow at the locker stealing the wine. It shows what a bad look out was kept on deck for he had taken the wine forward and drank it with some of the Sailors.
I ordered him to be seized up and flogged with the thief Cat. I then called all the people and told them that I had suffered so much from Robbery on board ship that for the future I should sleep with loaded pistoles, and if any person came into my cabin at night and did not answer when I spoke, I should fire. It had the desired effect, for I was never troubled after.
We continued cruizing on the Equator. On the 7th of January, 1832, I received the first letter from My dear Fanny informing me that I was a father. Little Rosetta was just 12 months old before I heard that she was born on the 15th of Feb.
I again anchored in the Harbour of Raitea to fit our Ship. Having 3/4 of our Cargo on board, when we began to Caulk the Ship, we found her so rotten that I was fearful she would not take us home safe and the people began to talk a great deal about Seaworthy, Insurance etc. 6 of them ran away. At last an old sailor put all to rest: "I says this here that if the Captain arnt afeard, I wonder why we should be. He would not take her home if he did not know her better than us. Besides, all the bad places are out of the Water. Her bottom is good and she will only leak in bad weather."
I have always found that Ship's have an Oracle on board and if he should chance to be of the Captains side, you have but little trouble with your ship's company! Sailors are curious fellows and will believe what one of their numbers says much sooner than one of their officers. I was in a Ship once where the Oracle was against the Captain. A cask of bread was opened for the use of the Crew. The Captain saw that it was maggoty and desired the Cooper to head it up again and not give the Sailors bad bread as long as there was good in the Ship. Our Sea Lawyer told the crew that Maggots never entered bad bread and that they were fools if they did not have the first cask, that was opened, for it was the best and the Capt. wanted it for his own use. It came to the Capt. ears, but the voyage was near at end and no notice was taken of it. Such is the character of half of the Sailors that sail in Southseamen. I relate only facts.
On the 12th of March, the Kings vessel came alongside to have the Masts put in, being the first vessel built by the Raiteans themselves. On the 25th all the War canoe came out to exercise previous to their going to fight at the other side of the Harbour. The natives where all dressed in their best clothes they made a grand display, Manoeuvring their canoes which had a very imposing and pretty effect. We were detained by calms for 6 days, which proved of great use to the Raiteans, for the enemy thought that our letting go our anchor so many times was to assist at the battle with our guns.
On the 3rd of April the battle was fought: Raiteans Victorious! We sent a boat to the Island Huinie [Huahine, French Polynesia] and heard that the Sailors that had ran away from us was in the kings Vessel assisting.
We now made Sail for our last cruize. On the 10th of May I went on shore at the Island of Woahoo [Oahu, Hawaii] for letters or news. A quarrel, as I afterwards learnt, had arisen among the crew, the chief Officer, having allowed liquor to come into the Ship. At 5 0'Clock in the evening, I returned on board not knowing what had happened at supper. The Mate told me. I said, "I cannot take any notice now." "Why did you not tell me before, then I could have laid it before the Consul." At 8 O'Clock I came on deck. Now I never allow my ship's company to come to me in a mob. [I] chose two of them and come and complain in a proper manner and I would listen. As I said before, I came on deck. The crew came towards me. I knocked the first one down that I could reach and drove them some one way and some another. The cry was take her back and we will leave the Ship.
I gave orders to Brace up the yards and proceed towards Waahoo [Oahu, Hawaii]. I stood on deck all night and in the morning I found I was covered with blood. I had said nothing to them, but the mutinous way they came to me made me very angry. At 8 O'Clock, I anchored at Waahoo [Oahu, Hawaii]. I sent a boat for the British Consul who came and took the Ringleaders out of the Ship and I can safely say, that if it had not been for the Consul, many Ships would have lost their voyage through the insubordination of Sailors.
It was the second of July before we took a whale. On the 20th, I had much trouble with a Whale that attacked the boat with his jaw and, although I had left the Mate on board to look out for the Boats, the sea being very rough, he actually left the ship and went on other way with his boat. This was vexatious for I had two boats laying stove and all the signals we could make the ship did not come near us. I succeeded in getting on board with two men bailing and so much time lost that it was night before the Whale was taken alongside. That night it blew a gale of wind and the next day we lost half the Whale.
This shows what officers I had and what loss and trouble they gave the Ship's crew. On the 20th of August we spoke a Ship that had been dismasted in a typhoon. On the 19th of Sept. I made sail for the Sandwich Isles. 15th of October I arrived with 1800 barrels, our Ship very leaky. On the 27th I ran down to Waahoo [Oahu, Hawaii], hearing that my Brother Francis had arrived in the Ship Partridge. He came on board and advised me not to go home but to come into the port and look for the leak. I did so and found a hole under the head knees. When we had finished our Work, we again put to Sea. On the 4th of January, 1833, I took 3 Whales and then made Sail for home.
On the 16th of Jan. I anchored at Raitea harbour to fill up our water. On the 25th we had a hurricane that took houses, Coconut trees, etc. away before. It lasted about 6 hours. The Ship was quite safe in the excellent harbour. We were detained 2 days getting our anchor, for the chain had got foul of a rock and if it had not been for the assistance of the Natives, we should have lost the Anchor. Grumbling, we went away at our detention for it fell Calm and was obliged to Anchor again, but good came out of that, for the next morning, as we came out of the harbour, we took a large Whale that completed our Cargo. As we passed the Island of Rurutu we sent a boat on shore. Here the hurricane has blown down all their trees and done much damage to their houses.
On the 22nd of Feb., in Lat. 35 we had a most terrific gale of wind. Lost one poor fellow off the main top sail yard. Two fell, but one caught in the rigging and saved himself. The other fell on the deck and was killed. We had a boisterous passage round the Cape. Our ship very leaky, and complaining. The bolts and treenails actually sticking out through her side. I said little, but thought much. On the 6th of April we had another of those terrific Gales. I thought the old Tuscan would not survive it for it suddenly fell calm and left us to the mercy of the waves. After that, we made all sail and on the 6th of June we saw our Native shore, being only 4 months from the Society Islands. I landed at Gravesend and took a post chaise for Devonshire Grove, where I found my dear Fanny and her little charge in good health.
AT HOME, 1833
We now made up our minds not to be parted so long again and began to talk of going to Sidney. All the talk through the Month of June and July was about Sydney. I went so far as to speak to a Mess. Asperell and Co. to take part of a ship and go out, but A. B. Co. always kept a good look out for me and made it his business to meet me and talk of my plans.
"If you wish Mrs S. to go with you, I have no doubt," (said he) "that Mr. Birnie would consent if you would keep command of the Tuscan." I had asked the same question before, but had been refused and I thought that what he said was true. I went to Mr. B. and he consented that Mrs S. should go and that every accommodation that the ship could afford would be granted. I thought that Mr. B., being a man of his word, and I being so old a servant, that he would not deceive, but this was only a bait to catch me.
I certainly did not behave well to Mess. Asperell Co., for I never called on them afterwards, and closed with Mr. Birnie to take the Tuscan again under those circumstances. She required much repairs and I attended daily. Mrs S. being daily employed procuring necessaries for the voyage.
After I had spent much money, I was sent for one day to the office where Mr. B. told me that he intended to send three Missionary families out in the Ship. I was quite astonished at this, for our accommodation were so small that I was fearful there would not be room enough. But the answer was, you will have the after Cabin as was before proposed and I went away satisfied. All went on smoothly, when about a fortnight before the Ship sailed, I found there was no accommodation left for me and my wife.
I spoke of former promises, but they knew how I was situated, that I had laid out much ready money in things that I could not get rid of again in this country and I was obliged to submit a great disappointment to Mrs S. It may be imagined that I went to sea very dissatisfied and determined not to trust to promises again.
THE SHIP TUSCAN: MASTER, VOYAGE OF 1833
On the 14th of October the Venus steamer took us down to Gravesend, where Mr. Mrs. Loxton, Mr. Mrs. Rogerson, and Mr. Stallworthy joined us. On the 16th we left Gravesend and on the 20th we Anchored at the Mother bank. Our passengers left us here. We got the Ship in order, for Southseamen are sent away in such a hurry that many of the sails were not bent before we got to Beachy head. On the 27th I sent for our passengers as the weather became fine and every prospect of a fair wind. 28th we sailed out through the Needles; then I had time to read a sealed packet that was delivered to me at Gravesend, stating that I was to allow the Missionaries every thing the Ship afforded and go into 52 degrees North Latitude to cruize for Whales. Had I seen this before, I would have sacrificed all and left the ship, for I shall always think that I had been imposed upon. All the officers that I had with me had never been officers before and I thought they would soon get into my way and that I should not have any old ways to correct: Viz. such as we used to do, so and so, last voyage.
In a Southseaman it is so different to a Merchantman. You are shut up for 3 years on board ship. If you have officers that you can converse with you are lucky. If they do their duty, you must be content.
My surgeon was a Mr. Bennet [Frederick Debel Bennett], a respectable young man and very clever in his profession. [He] had a great taste for Botany and Natural History. Throughout the voyage I gave him every opportunity to collect plants etc. of which he made a large collection, But to return.
We had a favourable passage down channell and on the 21st of November we took our first whale in the Latt 8 North. Our passengers were very troublesome, for they wished for so many things contrary to the Order required on board ship, that it gave me much trouble to comply. On the 25th of Dec. we took an other Whale. I thought of my friends at home, how different they where employed, for it was a rough day and we had much trouble killing him. After we got him to the ship, a gale of wind came on and we lost half the whale.
On the 4th of January 1834 we saw an Island of Ice in the Latt. 47 South on the 18th. We doubled the Cape Horn the 12th of February. Saw the Island of Juan Fernandez, sent 2 boats to catch fish, two of our passengers accompanying the fishing party. This detained us but a few hours, for the boats soon returned with plenty of fresh fish, this being the first land we had been near since leaving Madeira.
I had a Chronometer made by Roskel that kept mean time from England to this Island.
We now shaped our course to the west for the Society Islands, having orders to land the Missionaries and their stores at the Island of Raitea. On the 7th we saw the Pitcairians. I went on shore with the boat where I found the landing very bad and, if it had not been for one of the Natives swimming off to pilot us, we should have had the boat stove against the Rocks. I found the Inhabitants in a sad way. A Mr. Hill had got amongst them and, like the fable of the Snake and the Porcupine, had asked to live in a Mans House and then turned the Man out and made himself Governor, telling the people that he was sent out from England. I had seen the man before at the Sandwich Islands. He got there from America in a Whale ship. The man was such a Nuisance, that if he got but once into your home, he would not go out for Months. Before, from the Sandwich Isles he got to the Society Isles, there he again fastened himself upon some of the European inhabitants that it was some months before they could get rid of him and ship him off to Pitcairns. Governor Hill, has he styled himself, had built a prison, formed a privy Counsel, established a Police, and in fact became very arbitrary in his government.
I found many of the inhabitants were confined to their Houses and not allowed to speak to Mr. Hill's party. They attempted to stop me from visiting them, but I wished to hear both stories.
One man, an Englishman, claimed my protection. Previous to my visit, Mr. Hill had seized him up and flogged him and when I returned to Mr. Hill's House, he came to speak to Mr. Hill before me, but he was knocked down by the Privy Counsel and turned out. There were two other Englishmen living on the Islands who had married Native women and had large families. They were the leading men before Mr. Hill came and it is his wish to get rid of them. These men petitioned me to take them Off the Island I believe our landing did some good, for now all the inhabitants came together and thanked for coming to their assistance. The Missionaries also talked to them and begged them to live in peace. I saw two of the old Otaheitian women that had been taken there in the Bounty. I also visited the grave of old Adams, the father of these people. I think there were 69 in number. Their going to Otaheite had reduced their number.
These poor people treated us very well for they sent on board what ever their Island afforded. I gave them some clothes and Many little things they stood in need of. I saw the Iron ballast that formerly belonged to the Bounty. In the evening we left this Island and proceeded towards Otaheite [Tahiti, French Polynesia]. We had much rain, Thunder and lightning all the Passage through the low Islands. On the 22nd of March we saw the Island of Otaheite [Tahiti, French Polynesia].
This being the month that all the Missionaries came up from the leeward, I landed as I was anxious to call to know who would take charge of the stores that I had to land. I went on shore and found as I expected. I did not wish to anchor the ship If I could avoid for I knew that the sailors would get drunk and cause much trouble. Two of the Gentlemen came off with me and consulted with my passengers which was best to be done. I held out that I had orders to land the Missionaries and their stores at the Island of Raitea, but Mr. Williamson had left and gone to England. At last it was determined that a vessel should be sent out and take the stores on shore. At daylight it blew very hard so that we could not carry sail to keep up to the Island and at 10 O'clock was obliged to bear up for the Harbour of Tonnago [Taunoa]. It was much against my will, for I knew what would happen as soon as the Anchor was down and the passengers on shore.
I went to bed, for I had not lain down for 3 days and Nights. 24th all their stores were landed for I was anxious to get away. Our sailors, drunk and troublesome. On the 25th, at 12 0'clock at night, the officer of the watch came and told me that a canoe was lurking about the ship. I came on deck. Two strangers had got on board and were robbing the ship. I seized one fellow and lashed him fast to the Quarter deck, which took some time, for most of the people, having drunk, did not hear the noise. The second officer did not catch the other. I then called for a Musket, but before I could get it loaded, they were out of reach, however I fired it after them. They has a chest in the canoe which was fast to one of our ships ropes but whether they had brought, or where in the act of taking it away, I never could learn. We made a prize of it. This fellow that I had caught confessed that he had come for two of the people's clothes that intended to leave the ship. I found that they were a gang of convicts that had run away from Port Jackson. As I was going to sea in the Morning, I let the wretch go, for he had been well punished.
On the 26th we got to sea through the assistance of other vessels. I was in hopes that all would be right. At 8 O'Clock the Doctor, having to go down to some of the sick, found much spirits among them. I called all Hands upon deck (I found about 10 sober), took in sail and bore too for the night and when they had gone aloft I got possession of the spirits and throw it overboard. If we could have carried Sail all night we should have got into port in the Morning, but mark the sequel.
At 4 O'Clock in the afternoon of the 27th, One of those heavy thunder squalls struck and although all sail was in, the ship had nearly turned over for taking so much out of her and the chain cables being on deck they fetched way to leeward which made her lay down on her beam ends. All this through drunkenness. If it had not been for that, I should not have left Taheta [Tahiti, French Polynesia], for the ship was in a good harbour.
At 9 the next Morning we Anchored in that fine Harbour at the the [is]land of Raitea. Here all hands was peace and quietness. No spirits to be got and the people doing their work willingly for we had much to do to get the ship in order for whaling. I pulled down the Cabin and altered it to the form that was promised me on my taking command of the Tuscan for this voyage, to let the Owners see that I had not forgot what they had promised me, but I never saw Mr. Birnie more for he died before we returned to England.
After putting the Ship to rights, we proceeded to the North, calling at the Sandwich Islands to get some information from the old N.W. Captains that resided there. But they gave me very little hope of success. "The weather", said they, "will not be fine enough to catch Whales and you will have a dead lee shore, for the wind is mostly from the West." However I was determined to go and try. On the 7th of July I was in Latt. of 50 degrees North, with much bad weather. We got two whales coming down, but saw no Sperm whales here, most of the people laid up, and the season almost out. I stopt until August without success and then made sail to the south towards my old cruizing ground.
As soon as we arrived in the Latitude of 29-30 N. we saw whales for a week every day which shows that the Owners in England do not know anything about it, and they should tell their Captains to get a Cargo of Oil and not tell them to go to any particular place. My officers, as I have said before, were young at this business and I lost much oil by their bad management. One day we had a hard fight with a whale before we caught him. We saw them at daylight. 3 boats struck 3 small whales. The Whale I was fast too run very, very much, and took towards a large whale that the loose boat was chasing. The line from my boat got under his Flukes. My Whale still running, the boat was drawn close up to the large Whale. At the same moment, the second mate struck him, the Whale struck my boat and turned her over. I had a narrow escape for my life. My left shoulder was hurt but was not thought of in the hurry of the moment.
The Whale I was fast too ran off with my line and the second mate cut from the large Whale to pick me up. We turned the boat over and found that she was not broken. We hauled her bow on the other boat and bailed her out and went in pursuit of the Whale. The ship at this time about 10 miles off. The Crew of my boat began to be tired, for we had lost all our water Kegs. I called the second mate to me and I went into his boat and told my Crew to follow as well as they could. We were chasing the Whale to Leeward with sail set and every exertion possible to come up with him.
The ship, at this time, out of sight. At about 4 o'clock we got close too him and hooked the piece of line that was fast to the harpoon that was in the Whale. We kept the sail on the boat until we bent the line from our boat to it, so that the Whale did not know that we were fast to him. It was a beautiful sight to see him when we hauled the boat up alongside. He turned round and threw half of his body out of the water. After the first Lance, he turned towards the ship and we fell in with the other two boats coming to look after us. They met the whale and struck and soon killed him. I was glad to hear that they had caught two other whales. The sun, at this time, getting low and no ship insight but it was astonishing to see how cheerfully the people pulled towards the ship.
After being away since 6 in the morning without anything to eat, I got on board and found that they had taken the two small whales to the ship. I was tired and really knocked up. I had left two boats with the Large whale. I began to cut in one of the small whales which detained the ship, and at 1/2 past 12 o'clock at night, we got the large Whale alongside and went to sleep for 3 hours and then went to work again. I now began to feel the blow on my shoulder and I was laid up for a long time. This last affair helped us a little, for we were almost 11 months out with 150 barrels of Oil. On the 3rd of Sept. we went into the Sandwich Islands with 400 barrels of oil – a bad season for us.
We filled up our water and then made sail again for the Coast of California. On the 25th of November, we saw Cape St Lucas. We staid here a few days and then proceeded to the South. On the 2nd of December, at 12 0' clock at night, was alarmed by a Cry of "shoal ahead". The Ship was luffed to the wind and the lead thrown over board but I found that the light appearance was occasioned by numerous Animalculer which extended for miles. Shoals of porpoises where seen swimming about in it as plain as in daylight. The sky looked quite black from the light below. As the Morn broke, the sky resumed its natural appearance. Water taken up in a bucket smelt fishy, but the Animalcule was too small to be felt. I have no doubt that many of the shoals laid down on the Charts is the wonderful appearance of the water at night and, if I had a been a stranger, I might have been likewise deceived. All my officers [were] very sure it was a shoal until the lead was cast several times which convinced them and the water taken up by Mr, Bennett, the Surgeon, explained the reason scientifically. This was in Lat. 17 N. 107 W.
On the 15th of December I was obliged to turn the Steward out of the Cabin for Drinking. This may be called a digression, but I wish to warn all masters when they sail from England, particularly in a South Sea ship, to have a good Steward, for they have such opportunities to rob you, and plunder the ship of her stores, that all must suffer in so long a voyage with a bad Steward. I never had a good one. I have tried a Steward of my own, but they are as bad. But to return.
On the 17th, in Lat. 6.35 N.; 104.16 W., we had every indication of Land by the land birds coming round the ship. A Pelican alighted on the Ship, a very unlikely bird to be seen far from land. I think there must be an Island near that Latitude but we could not find it although we cruized about for 3 weeks, now and then taking a Whale. On the 6th of January 1835, I caught a whale which had a young one inside. We hauled it on Deck and the Doctor detected it was 14 feet long, 6 feet in girt, the entrails 14 times the length of the fish. It had ten ribs – 5 real and 5 false. We had much rain in the above mentioned Latt. and my people would lay about the Decks at night so that our sick list increased daily. And although plenty whales, I was obliged to leave, for better weather.
On the 24th I spoke my brother John, whom I had not seen for many years. I found him, poor fellow, very sick and a bad set of people round him. He had his eldest son with him, a fine young man, and I little thought I should not see him any more for, before I arrived from the voyage, he had sailed in another ship and was killed by a whale on the Coast of New Zealand. Poor fellow. He met his death as his Grandfather did before him and indeed, most of our family have been wounded or killed in this adventurous business, but it is what we have been all brought up too and we think nothing of it. We continued cruizing about the Equator with good success.
On the 28th of Feb. we anchored at the Island of Witahoo, one of the Marqueses. Although I had not been here for some years, the Natives knew me again and where very profuse in their friendships. On the 5th, I landed 3 Natives on the Island of Boapohoa [Roapoa - now Ua-pu] that I had brought from Oahu. They had been left by same ship and I took those people to their own Land, again out of Charity. They wished me much to land among them but I did not much like their looks, and, as most of the Natives of the South Sea Islands do not know the meaning of Gratitude, I thought it best not to trust them.
On the 18th of March we went into Raitea to prepare for the coast of Japan, but the Devil, in the shape of an American ship, had got there before me and sold rum to the Natives of this peaceful Island, and now all was confusion. Tivety as they used to call me was not looked upon – he had no rum to sell. My Sailors drunk and troublesome, many Convicts from Sydney threatened to take my life because I would not let them come on board the Ship. On the 14th of April we left this place not so satisfied has I had been before. As I passed the Island of Marua [Maupiti, Frency Polynesia], I sent a boat to trade for Yams, of which we procured a great supply, and then bare away to the North for the cruize that would determine a good or bad voyage. As we passed Caroline island [Gilbert Islands, now Kiribati], in the Latt. of 10 South, I landed to ascertain if there was a passage into the Lagoon. I had often looked for one but could not find it this time. We carried a boat over land and then pulled round and found a way out of the Lagoon and returned to the Ship with Coconuts and fish. A great abundance we found in the Lagoon for they followed the boat in shoals, I suppose never having seen one before. The entrance to the Lagoon is on the east side of the island. It is narrow and dangerous, but a ship might get wood from the Island if she was in want. Capt. Finch, in U. S. N. Ship Vincennes, says in his journal that it does not exist. If any one steers due North from the Island of Eimoo [Eimeo now Moorea, French Polynesia], they will make it in the Latt. of l0 S. and also, 60 miles west of it, discovered by the Tuscan 1826, on the l2th of May, we saw Javises Island [Jarvis Island], level with the sea not a tree upon it, about 3 miles long. I make 228 miles S.W. from the S.W. point of Christmas Island, or 20 Miles South of the Equator, Long. 160.30 West.
We cruized along the line as far as the Long. 167 and then steered to the North and it was lucky for us that we did do so, for no ship found so many Whales as we did in the Lat. of 27 North, 169 W. We saw the first Whale and continued to cruize there and in three I months we took 900 barrels of oil. On the 4th of October we arrived at the Sandwich Islands again with 1700 barrels. We only want 400 more to complete our cargo and as I had not been on shore much all this voyage, I took a hut to myself and for the first time in my life I left the ship and lived on shore for my health required it.
I became acquainted with a Mr. Robson, whom afterwards I took up [to] Tahiete [Tahiti, French Polynesia] with me. We found our Bowsprit rotten and was obliged to purchase another. Through the kindness of the English Consul, we got everything done easily, for the Island of Oahu is not the cheapest place in world.
On the 2nd of Nov. the ship was ready for sea and I intended to have sailed, but a Sailor that was prisoner in the fort escaped and it was thought he was on board my ship. The officer of Police came to me for permission to search the ship. I told the Chief mate to assist him and to get Lanthorns for I did not like deserters on board the Tuscan. He looked round the Ship and then he went on Shore. About an hour afterwards, a mob of armed natives came on board and found the man. I was on shore at the time.
The Natives ill used the man and the Mate of my ship told them not to beat him, but they would. He went to interfere when he was likewise knocked and many of my people ill used. I was with the Consul at the time and we met the natives beating their prisoner. Through the Consul, I complain[ed] to the King of this outrage; got no redress, and I think that if something is not done to keep these people under, they will get into trouble with the Shipping.
On the 4th November we left Oahu and steered to the North in our last years track, hoping to fill the ship this cruize. On the 28th of November we found the ship to make water more than usual. On the 12th of December we saw three Islands not laid down on the Charts. They must be known, for they are not 100 miles from the Coast. on the 15th December, I went on shore at Cape St Lucas, found a few inhabitants who sold us bullocks and Cheese, little fruit to be got.
19th we made sail to the South to cruize down the Equator hoping to fill the Ship before we got so far west as Taheite [Tahiti, French Polynesia], but we found our mistake on the 19th of Feb. I found that we should not fill the ship this cruize and it was time to prepare for another. The officers wanting much to go home which is very troublesome for a Master. I went into Taheite to endeavour to stop the leak and then to proceed across the Ocean towards Timor, so as to go towards home and go over as much whaling ground as possible. My mate was always down below sick and I knew what a dangerous passage it was to make. On the 20th of March 1836, I Anchored at Taheite [Tahiti, French Polynesia] where I heard of the death of Mr. Birnie. I also got same letters from home. We sailed the 1st of April and was out 20 days but found our leak was as bad as ever. We returned to Taheite [Tahiti, French Polynesia] and broke out the fore hold and succeeded in stopping the leak. The 3rd of May we took our final departure and steered to the N.W. for the Coast of New Guinea.
We saw whales several times and the 4th of July, off the Island of Oby Major [Obi Major - now Marua or Maupiti, Indonesia], we caught our last Whale. So far, thank God, I had accomplished my object. We put into Sutram on the Island of Timor to fill up our water and now for Old England. The 12th of Sept. we doubled the Cape of Good Hope. The 21st we had again Circumnavigated the Globe. 29th Anchored at the Island of St Helena, where I was kindly received by Mr. Carrol and his amiable family.
One day a gentleman came into the House. He began relating to Mr. C. that he was master of the ship Clyde that had sunk off the Isle of France and that himself and crew where saved in the long boat. I offered him a free passage in my ship to England and he embraced my offer as he was badly situated in the ship he came from the Isle of France. 4th of October, we made sail for England. I found my passenger a good Companion and was a Comfort to me. 21st of November, we saw the Lizard lights. It is but those that have been absent 3 years from all they hold dear on earth can experience such feelings as we did at beholding our native shore again.
We had much bad weather getting up the channel, for it was about the time of those dreadful gales that did so much mischief in England. Thank God, we got up safe and I took a coach from Gravesend and was soon in the Bosom of my family where I was first introduced to Miss Catherine Stavers, my second daughter, who told me she did not like me, but when she found that her Sister got all the kisses, she soon came to me and thought that she could love me. Poor little darlings. They each had been 2 years old before they saw their Father.
Thus ended the last voyage in the Tuscan. I joined her April 1821 and left her November 1836 and I was sorry to leave her after being so long and the many gales I had Weathered in her. Such is man that, although a prisoner, he leaves it with regret. Landsmen will not believe that Sailors love their Ships. I confess that I never could go near her after I gave up the Command.
THE BRIG ONYX: MASTER, 1837 – THE FINAL WHALING VOYAGE
I thought that the House of A. B. Cos. did not look so staunch as it used to and I had money in their hands and I was fearful I might lose it for there was some talk of want of funds. But they promised to buy a ship and that my Brother Francis and self should take half. This was talked of and thought of for many days. At last a Gun brig, called the Onyx, was bought and fitted out for an experimental cruize on the Coast of Africa. On the first of May 1837, We bought half of this Vessel and started on the Cruize with such a Crew and officers I never was adrift with before and such a Ship. I was sick of the voyage before I got to Deal. I found that I had but few Sailors. In fact, not more than four could steer the Ship and before I got clear of the Channell, two out of the four took sick. In former voyages I been used to a Doctor and now I was obliged to attend the sick myself. Thank God I succeed[ed] through the voyage and we had much sickness. Sometimes, 8 out of the 16 down with the fever. But to return to our passage out.
The Onyx sailed very fast, but so low that the Deck was continually full of water which made it very uncomfortable. We cruized off the Island of Madera but without success and then run down to the Western Islands [Azores]. We sent a boat on shore on the Isle of Floris [Flores] to get some more people. 3 were procured and we remained cruizing about from the 26th June to the 20th of July without seeing anything worth noticing. I now made sail for the Cape de Verds [Cape Verde Islands] and the 6th of August we saw the Isle of Brava. I went on shore to procure same refreshments for the crew. I remained on shore all night as the boat that had gone off to the Ship loaded did not return. I was invited by one of the Natives to go up to his house which was on the top of the Island. I found the road very bad and as we ascended, the rain fell in torrents. As it was a dark when we arrived, I could not see much of the House, but his Wife received me very kindly and gave me dry clothes to put on. The news soon spread that a stranger had arrived and many people came with their Guitars and their families, and after some refreshment, they began to play and dance which was kept up until 12 at night. I then laid down on the only bed that was in the House. The head of which was close to the window. At daylight a Jack ass that had been used to come to the window to be fed put his head into the Window and Brayed close to my ear which, need not to be told, thoroughly awakened me. The Family got up who had been sleeping on the ground and prepared breakfast, after which we again descended the mountain. After again loading the boat, I bid adieu to the kind Islanders and made sail towards the Coast of Africa. After much rain, contrary Winds, and strong currents, on the 26th of August, I arrived on the Coast and began to Cruize.
I was now 1/2 of the time I was fitted for and no Whales, yet I began to be very uneasy and my ships company very troublesome. On the 23rd of Sept. I made up my mind to leave the Coast and go round the Cape. To he able to save my salt Provisions, I must purchase some fresh and I thought no place like Annabora from the good Accounts I had heard from other Ships. I ran into Roads and Anchored about 5 O'Clock in the Afternoon, when the king came on board, a filthy, dirty Old Negro dressed in a red cloak, duck trousers, with a pair of Shoes like Anchovy tubs. His first demand was give me handkerchief to wipe my countenance making tom. I gave his Majesty a handkerchief when another Negro said "me kings mate, me want handkerchief too." One was given then ordered for Spirits and many other articles.
I could talk a little Portuguese and the Priest who accompanied his Majesty asked me for what I came and what country ship and so on. I found that I must make a present to the king before I could trade. I told him I would collect something for him tomorrow. He left the ship. Our boat went on shore to get water but found that with our casks we could not. The next morning the king came on board at daylight. I presented him with a white shirt, a piece of Calico, knives, axes, but he said I want my Comy, which he began to enumerate. First, 2 Muskets, 3 shirts, l Cask of Powder, 1 Cask of Salt, l Umbrella, 2 looking Glasses, Rum, Brandy, Knives, Handkerchiefs, for which he would give me 2 small Kids and 4 cocoanuts. If he had looked at my countenance he would have stop't long before, for I jumpt up, and seized bayonet. The old fellow tumbled out of the Cabin with all his mob into his canoe, taking care to take his Kids, and cocoanuts. I desired the sailors to seize some fruit, that was on deck and drive all the natives out of the ship, as we could not buy anything till the king had his Comey. This about paid for all the presents they had got the night before.
I immediately got underweigh and left the port. I then run down to the Island of St Thomas. 26th of Sept I anchored where I found the Anchorage and Harbour dues exorbitant. I went on shore to a Capt. Ball Birnie that was living there. While he collected a Cargo of Coffee, he introduced me to the Governor, and I was let off with paying 1/2 the usual demand.
I remained here one week, procuring all the provisions the place afforded, but that was small compared to want I wanted. 3rd of October, I got underweigh, and stood to the west and made the Isle of Ascension. Sent a boat on shore with letters for England.
It was now time to see same Whales, and I was daily in hopes we should do something towards getting a Cargo. From Ascension we made all sail for the Cape of Good Hope. Oon the 15th of November we had the first Gale of wind in the Onyx. The sea struck our boats and stove them and the water remained so long on her decks. I thought she would have foundered. This vessel will not do for a whaler, said I, and I was on the point of returning when the Gale abated and I pushed on for the Coast of Timore. 2nd of December we made the Isle of St Pauls and sent Boats to catch fish, but it came on to blow and was obliged to leave with but few fish. I spoke a whale Ship with most her crew bad with Scurvy and I gave them what Vegetables I had, which I hope saved many of them. I made sail from the Island when I saw a large Ship coming towards me. I waited. It was the Neptune, bound to Sydney with Convicts. They were in want. I shared with them some fish. I had no more to give. The Capt. gave me a Chart of the Indian Ocean for I had left mine in England, not thinking I should go round the Cape. On the 11th of December I was sleeping in my Cot when I heard same one call me. I arose and looked about but no one was to be seen (as a light was burning in the Cabin) but the Second Mate, sleeping on the other side of the Cabin, I thought I must be mistaken and I went to sleep again.
Again I was called and awoke but could see no one and I asked the Second mate if he spoke but he was asleep. I thought I must have dreamt it but the third time I was awake and heard the Second mate call "Captain Stavers". Well I said, "what do you want?" "This is the third time you have called me", but he was fast asleep. In the morning I said to him, "What was you calling me for so last night?", he said, "I do not recollect that I spoke to you." "Well," I said, "I mind you do not call me again for perhaps I may not answer."
At 5 O'Clock in the Evening he was at the mast head and saw Whales. We went in pursuit, this being the first time this voyage. The second mate struck first, then the mate and, when I saw all was right, I struck myself. I killed 3 Whales and was getting them in tow. It was about 7 O'Clock and night coming on, I was anxious for the other boats as we had but few hands on board the ship and they strangers to this work. It was now dark and my boat's crew was towing the Whales Leewards towards the Ship, rejoicing in their success. How soon the scene was changed.
I thought I heard a voice on the Ocean like one in distress. I listened and all my people heard it. I let go the Whales and pulled towards the sound. It was the Boat steerer of the second mate who was swimming towards my boat. He told me that their Boat had been stove at sun down, and that the crew was nearly exhausted and that he had swam towards my Boat thinking I might hear his cries. God be praised for his Mercy I found the boat and what was remarkable that the second mate had called upon my name until he became insensible. I happily arrived in time to save them, and then, with all speed, took them on board the Ship. In 1 hour I brought them too and put them to bed. The mate was still missing, yet at last I saw his light and went to him with the ship. He knew nothing of our accident. We took his Whale alongside and after we began to calculate our days work, we found that we had lost more than we had gained.
First we had 5 Whales and lost a boat and all the things belonging to her. This was very disheartening to our Crew. For the next day we saw Whales and only 2 boats to go after them. The next disaster I gave the second mate my own new boat and took the old one myself. The first time he went off he lost his Whale and got the new boat knocked all to pieces. Afterwards, in his watch when he was told to receive another boat, he neglected it and the sea broke her bottom in. This was more than I could bear and the remainder of the voyage, I only lowered 2 boats. But ere this we lost Whales, for this fellow would pass them they were dead and say he did not see them. I brought him up to be sure, but if he did not like the business. He could not be trusted to go ahead of the ship in a boat to sound, for he would throw the lead over board with the sail set and break the line, and lose the lead, and by the time he returned the ship would be at Anchor, and without rendering any service.
I now was obliged to go and look for rice, as our bread was getting short. On the 1st of July 1838, I Anchored in the Lagoon at the Cocoa Island where I was kindly received by the fami1y of Capt. Ross, whose praise-worthy exertions, in cultivating fruits and digging wells for Water, has been the means of restoring many of his fellow creatures to health after an attack of the Scurvy.
This kind family supplied me with rice and every other thing they could spare and although an English Ship was laying there, loaded with rice, he could not sell me a bag, and through the assistance of my Ships Crew, we saved his Ship when she was on the Rocks. Such is the difference of people in this world. After remaining one week, I left the Cocoa Island and beat towards Timore in the Latt. of 12 to 14 South so as to be on the ground where I had caught Whales before, but our bad luck or bad management attended us. We saw Whales but only saved 1/2 of those that we killed. On the 21st of March I spoke an American Ship that had been in the Straits of Allas [Alas Strait separates Lombok and Sumbawa, two islands of Indonesia in West Nusa Tenggara province] where he told me rice was to be had in abundance and that lead would purchase it. Our vessel, coming so lately out of H.M. Service, that all the magazine bulk heads where lined with lead and as we could do without it. I took it off and made sail for the Straits of Allas [Alas Strait separates Lombok and Sumbawa, two islands of Indonesia in West Nusa Tenggara province] and sold my lead and got a good supply of rice. I did not stop long among these people as they appeared very disorderedly and being always armed. I thought the less I had to do with them the better.
On the 4th of April I had a narrow escape from shipwreck for the current set in so close to the rocks of the south point of the Straits of Allas [Alas Strait separates Lombok and Sumbawa, two islands of Indonesia in West Nusa Tenggara province]and no Anchorage that the boats were the only thing that kept the Ship off. I am sure that the Ships stern was not 10 yards from the cliff. Thank God we got clear after much toil. On the 10th of April, as I was beating towards the Island of Timore [Timor], at 1/2 past 7 in the morning in the act of Tacking Ship, one of the Boys fell overboard from the Ships rail and sank to rise no more although ropes were thrown to him. He never came up again and a boat was lowered on the place where he fell but he was gone, poor fellow. The ship was laying still at the time. He left a father and Mother to lament his loss. On the 30th I got up to the Isle of Timore.
Now more trouble came upon me, for the people began to get sick from drinking and sleeping about on the shore, as I was obliged to go frequently there to get Buffaloes and tried to make our salt provisions last. Out of 16, I had 8 down with the Timore fever and no Doctor. I endeavoured to do all I could and with God's assistance, all recovered but one and he died through weakness, for the fever had left him. I went down to the North as far as Boro, thinking a change of air would do some good, also to get wood and spars for the ship, as many were rotten. Being so short of help, I was obliged to take an axe and assist, but I did not mind. I only wished to obtain a Cargo and I should have been happy. On the 27th of June we got a large Whale, which was some help to us, and got into the Company of some good Friends who assisted me very much. Capt. C. of the Pacific and Capt. M. of the Eclipse. To these gentlemen I owe much for their kindness to me.
A curious circumstance occurred on board the Onyx, showing what imprudent beings Sailors are. I allowed my Sailors to keep fowls and I often gave them things to purchase them. One day I saw a man whose mess contained 5 men and who was carrying down into the half deck for their dinner, 10 pound of fresh pork and 5 lb of yams. This the ship allowed. He had also 2 roast fowls and a stew made of two more fowls. I remarked to him that he had better save the fowls until we got out into the open sea and be content with the ships allowance which was more than a man could eat in 24 hours. His answer was, that he could not eat the same thing more than once in the day and that the other was for supper and breakfast. This is not the first occasion. For I knew people that would not eat fowls because they were obliged to pick them themselves and once in my ship they would not drink chocolate without those that grounded it were excused from all other duty for the day, although I bought the Cocoa out of my own pocket, thinking it better than the sea Coffee the ship allowed. Such are sailors – never satisfied. Do what you will, I am at liberty after being boy and man for 30 years to judge of such people, but to return after many troubles too numerous to mention, I left the Straits of Timore and went out for my last cruize.
On the 19th of Nov we got two Whales in sight of the Cocoa Isles. We got them to the ship at 12 O'Clock, but our old way of doing things. The Whale was dead at 9 O'Clock but the second mate let the ship drift past the Whales to leeward and it was noon before I could get the ship up again. If they had been taken to the ship one hour sooner, we might have saved the whole but it came on to blow with squally weather and the ship driving down on the Island, the head broke adrift and went on the rocks where I saw it two days after, for I ran in to the Harbour with the ship and covered her in with sail and saved the oil.
Thus ends the Whaling for that is the last I did for some time. After getting all put to rights through the kind assistance of Mr. Ross and family who procured all the Island afforded for me, I made sail for England, thinking now I should get out of this troublesome ship and crew. In 42 days I Anchored in St Helena, quite in good spirits at the quick passage I had made and in hopes of letters from my family. They came and the first I opened told me that the House of A.B. and Sons had failed, and that I must look out. The next, that my dear Wife had taken the small pox and lost our dear little girl. What to do or which way to turn I knew not. I thought the best way to go on as fast as possible toward England.
I arrived in Falmouth on the 12th of March, 1839, and immediately got into the mail and in 26 hours I was in London and secured my share of the ship and Cargo. I found my dear Wife in good health also our dear children. My Brother William arrived from Java and joined with my Brother Francis in a Steam Boat to run from Pool to Portsmouth. After I had settled all my business in London, I went down to Falmouth to fetch the ship up and about the same place where I met first my brother William in the year 23.
I met him in the year 39. He came to meet me in a steam tug and that night we made her fast in London Docks. Thus ends the voyage of the Onyx, a good, strong, fast sailing vessel, but not fit for a Whale[r] and I agree with Capt Marryat, that a 10 gun brig is a perfect Coffin.
The Cargo of the Onyx was sold at a good price and the Money divided. I had a narrow escape of loosing all my money, for if I had not have taken a part of the Onyx, I should not have got my wages for the last voyage in the Tuscan. The Owners failing was the ruin of several Masters who had left off going to sea and whose money was in Mr. B.'s hands. I had served the house many years and they always proved good and kind friends to me. The Onyx was sold and myself out of employ. I had been so long with Mr. Birnie that I did not like to take another ship out of London. My Brother William spoke much about Java and that he was sure if I was to go, I should do well, that he would use his influence with the folks in Holland to get permission to go.
DEPARTURE FOR JAVA
My dear Fanny was anxious to be with me and after much talking on the subject, it was agreed that we should put our children to school and embark in the month of Oct 1839.
My Brother and self went over to Holland. I returned after an absence of 5 days whence I found that Mrs McNeil had departed this life after a few weeks illness. Poor old lady. She had been a good Mother-in-law and had acted a mothers part to Mrs McNiels children. Her loss was much felt by her husband and he remained at our house during the funeral. She was buried in our family grave with my mother and Grand Father. My Brother William, her nephew Mr. McNiel junior, and myself followed her to the grave. Peace to her soul. She was a kind affectionate friend to me and mine. After some stay at my house, the old gentleman went to live with his son at his farm.
But to return to my story. We were busy getting all things ready for our voyage to Java, as the request of my brother was answered through the kind interest of General Naughas who had formerly been with my brother in Java. In the month of August, I received the permission to go to Java and our passage was taken in the ship Lucie, Capt. Bulsing, to sail on the 1st of October. My brother William was very kind in assisting us with his advice as to our fit-out for we were going to a new world. We sent our dear children to school to a Miss Clark at Sydnam where we hope they will have every comfort and get a good education. The parting with them I did not feel so much, as I had not been with them, but their Mother had never left them and she felt it accordingly. I must pass over parting with friends and relations. On the 22nd of Sept. 1839, we went to church for the last time and When the service was over, I felt that I was leaving home indeed, for I knew that it would be many Month before I should hear the sound of Christians, joining in the praise of the Great God of all. Sept. 23rd we left our house and slept at the Adelaide hotel. As the steam Boat left London bridge early in the morning, many friends met us to take the last farewell and the next morning, which by the by was a very wet rainy morning, we embarked in the Ocean steamer for Rotterdam.
On our arrival we found we had a day or two to spare. We took a carriage to the Hague to see the wonders of that place. We went to the Museum, the palace of the Prince, and returned to dinner at the Bellevue Hotel and in the evening, to Rotterdam. The next morning we embarked in a sloop (as the Dutch steamer had broke down) for Helvoet where the Lucie was laying. Our brother assisted us to put our cabins in order and after introducing us to some of the other passenger[s] who were known to him, he left us. Never shall I forget it.
It came upon me so suddenly that I was off my guard. It is true, I had not known much of my brother William, but his kind attention to our welfare and taking so much trouble [to] assist us, was more than we could have expected. I wept bitterly. I thought nothing of parting with others, for I had been used to it all my life, but he was the last and I felt alone that I was a passenger on board ship. My dear wife was with me and it was a new life all together. However, we got underweigh and touched the ground where we lay 2 days and one night.
It was with much work the ship got off, but it was the 12th of October before we got out to sea and proceeded down channel with a South wind. We passed close to the south fore land and looked with anxious eyes towards our home. The wind remaining from the South and SSW. We put into Falmouth where my Fanny recovered from her sea sickness we went on shore and remained while the wind was against the ship. A party was made up to go and see some of the wonders of Cornwall and many of our passengers who had not been in England before, were delighted with the mines and scenery of the country. The 19th of October we got underweigh and bid adieu to Old England. God knows if we shall ever see it again.
As we were daily out we received a letter to say that our dear children were well. This was a great comfort to us. Our passage out was particularly favourable – fine weather and fair winds. Myself and my dear Fanny kept much to ourselves and endeavoured to learn the Malay language of our servants, for we had two through the kindness of General Naugas, but our progress was slow. January 29th we saw the Land of Sumatra and the 31st we anchored in Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] Roads. Now we began to look about us for we were in a strange land without friends and without a home. We went on shore, also on a rainy day as when we left England, and took up our abode at a boarding house which we found very dear – about 23 £ per month for board and lodging alone – and then servants, washing, and Carriage hire, for no one walks but the Natives. It was too expensive for me and I was all anxiety to get some employment but alas, they took no notice of my petitions nor could they let me take command of a ship although I had such good papers from the Government in Holland.
I was kept in this dreadful uncertainty for 6 weeks, not knowing which way to turn or what to do. At last, I was asked by Mr. Roberts to take charge of the steamer Van der Kapellen and go down to Surabaya and fetch her up. He got permission for me to command her from the Resident and 18th of March we left Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] in the Bark Diana, a dirty, bad managed vessel. After a weeks trouble through bad management we arrived in Surabaya, glad to get out of such a ship. I would advise all people to look after there cabins themselves and not trust to the wretches that go as mates of ships nowadays.
I immediately took command of the steamer which was in a bad condition and wanted much doing too. However, I turned too with a will and soon got her ready, but I must relate how different we were received here to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. People came to see us at the Hotel and a Mr. Bogel, a respectable merchant, came and took us to his house and introduced us to his friends. And more, he took us to Pasoerang and introduced us to Mr. I. B. H. who kindly invited us to remain at his house and as I was going up to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia], and perhaps to Cochin China, he told me he would wish Mrs Stavers to live with her Nephew at Ningpit mill. The arrangement pleased me and we returned to Surabaya. The first of April I was ready for sea, showing people here that work could be done quick if required. I left my dear Fanny in a strange land by herself among strange people but what could I do. I thought of our dear children at home and they must be looked after. In 36 hours I arrived in Semarang and delivered our Cargo and took in another for Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] with many passengers but I was sorry to find she was sold and that another Capt had been appointed to take her to Cochin China and that the Gov. would not allow me to command a ship anymore. This was bad luck indeed and as thrown me back all the kindness I received from my Brother's friends became a burden to me for now I was out of employment and under a great obligation which I had never been used too and I soon found a master of a ship was thought very little of in Java to what they are in England.
The beginning of May I sailed in the Dutch ship Delta for Surabaya to join dear Fanny at Ningpit Mill were I could learn to make sugar. After remaining same months at Ningpit, often going to the town of Passoerang, I got aquainted with a Mr. Dudman that had bought a small foundery from my Brother when he returned to England. In l838 he asked me to take over the half share from him and the Contract was agreed 1st of August 1840 to commence as a blacksmith. I now had a house to live in and all things comfortable, only I did not know much about my business. Then I must learn and, as I had been often where I had to make shifts, I got on better than I expected. I first turned my attention to drive a large hammer by a water wheel and, although no Mechanic, I succeeded and it answered well for four years. It was the only one in Java. We forged the largest Axels for the Sugar Mills and also got much work from the Gov. All the Iron Wheels and chains of the citadel at Surabaya were made by me. No other European at that time to help me. I also had 1/4 share of the firm of Waller Co’s at Surabaya and I thought all was going on well, but not being a man of business, I was at last made aquainted that all was not true that was spoken about the firm at Surabaya. 17th of July 1843, My Partner, who was about to return to Europe, called upon me to come to Surabaya to look after the business which was not a very pleasant thing, as the two places were 45 miles apart. I had not been long at Surabya before I found that it was all true I had heard and that I should be obliged to sell all I possessed to clear me of my debts. So, at the end of June 1844, I was left with nothing and took the administration upon a salary of the firm of D.M.L and Co.
Now, to begin again after all my turns and finding through the troubles of a South sea life of 25 years at the Age of 46, to begin the world again, many anecdotes I could relate which shall be left to the end of the Chapter as I do not know into whose hands this may fall. I set the first large hammer at work in 1840 that ever worked by a water wheel in Java and put up the first steam Engine that ever worked at Passoerang and after working 4 years I found I could only pay off my debts.
I must say that the great folks have not used me well as I hear the whaling company is established in Holland but it is perhaps as well I am out of it. But all the trouble I have got into here is through not having employment on my arrival in Java, so was obliged to take the first I could I catch. Thank God, I am now out of debt and clear of a stupid ostentatious partner who was all talk and no work. I cannot be too thankful to Mr. D. McL. for all the kindness he has shown. Although a stranger, he has stuck to me through all and if he had not taken over my share of the foundary for my debt, I do not know what I should have done. Not that it was a loosing concern but I had no capital to go on with it. [It] is now twelve months that I have been free with a salary of 3O0fl. per month and a free house and the year has passed quiet and happy. We have had our sicknesses and little accidents but not more than our share and upon the whole, we cannot complain. In May we received the melancholy news of the death of Mrs P. Stavers at Calcutta, the wife of my brother and the sister of my wife.
I am now what I always wished to be, a ships builder and it is a business I know something of also having much to do with shipping which experience of 25 years makes me more at home than I was at the foundary. People in England would hardly believe that we heave down and repair and new copper the largest Indiamen out of Holland and although the Javanese work slow they work well and the large Masts that are made here are as good or even better than are made in Holland and last double the time. How long we shall remain in this, quiet God knows, but we are thankful. Our children are being educated in England and once to see them seems our only wish.
The year 44 was past in quiet and happiness doing much work in the shipping line and all was content. The year 45 we began to talk of taking our children from school and removing the young ones to England. To find the means and who was to take the voyage was now the greatest consideration. Our brother William, we thought, might be tempted to take a voyage to Europe and schemes were made, but I time enough yet was the conclusion of all our conversations on the subject. At last a ship arrived called the Kenau Hassler, Captain Schulz, a good old man as far as one can judge upon so short aquaintenance. It was determined that my dear Fanny should make the voyage to Europe with my son and daughter and return with the other two as yet could not afford to keep them at school any longer.
My brother William came forward with the means and on Sunday the 14th December 1845, the ship lifted her Anchor for Europe with my dear wife and children on board. God, in his infinitive Mercy, grant them a safe passage to her native shore and may she return in good time to the place were we reside to end our days. I went part of the way down the coast, our sailing boat accompanying the ship. It was in the night when I left. Our dear children were asleep. What were my feelings when I kissed these innocent cheeks, perhaps never to meet again, but I know that I am doing the duty of a parent by sending them where they can get an education, that they may be taught to be virtuous religious children, Which we could never expect if they remained here. God bless the means used us poor mortals can not tell what is best. My dear Fanny was much affected at parting. I live in hope of her safe return. The same Omniscient Almighty watches over us at sea as well as on land.
17th Jan. 1847 at 5 this morning I was awoke with the good news by letter from my dear wife that she had arrived in Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] Roads. The only accident during the voyage out and home was the loss of the ships fore yard. How thankful I am for such great mercies. On the 28th I was blessed with the sight of my wife and children. I found my niece, Miss Anne Stavers, very ill and not expected to live. Gods will be done. On the 8th of February we committed her to the silent tomb. Poor child. She returned to her native land only to die. Peace to her remains.
I had at the same time a troublesome work on hand. That was to copper a steamship by heaving down. That had never been done in this country before and as most people were against, it caused me much anxiety, but through the blessings of the Almighty we succeeded without accident. We are now living as usual, as happy as our means will allow and endeavour to find a livelihood in this strange land and educate the two young ones left in England. 1848 has gone off well without much sickness or trouble.
We built a small steam prouw which proved, when finished, to be the first Steamer that assended the Solo river. His Highness the Emperor went on board, having never seen anything of the kind before. In July we began to build a steamer of large dimensions which we finished in 8 months, also 12 Pontons to land the guns and Artillery of the Bally [Bali, Indonesia] expedition which brings us to March 1849. I went on as usual all the year building and taking Contracts for the Govt. but my employer not rewarding me or ever saying that he was pleased with my work but daily complaining that I did not make profit enough and meant to curtail the expenses. I refused to work for less but was willing to remain and go on as usual, but now I was to leave and on the 21st Jan. 1850 we left the establishment of D. McLennan and Cos. after 7 years hard toil.
THE STEAMBOAT GLASGOW (JAVA): SCOTLAND TO THE INDIES
My family went to my Brother's house at Modjokerto and I went over land to Semarang to put up a mill for a Gent, there. After 42 days work I returned to my family. 7 days after, I left for Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] to endeavour to get some employment. May 10th, returned without success.
I travelled about the country untill the Month of July when I returned to Surabaya and rented a [????]. The Steamboat Company, offering me the superintendancy of a new Boat they intended to build, I employed myself looking for a suitable place to commence, but the difficulty in procuring wood, the plan of building was abandoned.
August I was employed by Fraser Eaton to erect an Iron Crane on the banks of the Surabaya river which I finished in 14 days and was handsomely rewarded. When finished, on the 16th of Sept 1850, I again left Surabaya, little thinking when I left home what a voyage I had before me.
On my arriving at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] I was employed to go overland to England and purchase a Steamer to carry the Mail from Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] to Singapore. Such where my Instructions and many who may read this will say if I did not obey my Orders to the letter, that other boats came out, I could not help. But our boat was out first and did carry the Mail for sometime, but she got into the hands of Men that would not listen to reason and took coals without measure or weight and had 24 stokers where I had but 6 and did not make use of their judgments or trouble their heads with economy on the use of the expensive Geer so that the Boat, although beating all others, was pronounced a very dear Boat. However, I found the sooner I got out of it the better for all parties. This will show that you may do all in your power to serve, but if the speculation does not yield profit you that has had the toil and burden are not rewarded. However I must now give an account of my journey home and my voyage out.
Saturday 28 Sept 1850, the steamer Batavia, Cap. van der Moor, left the Roads of Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] with the Mails for Europe On board and myself as passenger. At 1/2 past 9 AM we were under steam going at the rate of 8 1/2 Miles p. hour, the Engine making from 17 to 18 revolutions p. Minute. On the 29th, at 8 AM, the Island of Lucepara bore NBW. At 3 PM, the E. Point of Sumatra bore WSW. Going 9 Knots. Fresh breezes from the ESE. At 4 PM, saw the mountain over the town of Muntok. At 7 PM, Anchored and a boat came to receive the Mails. We did not leave the Roads until 7 AM. On the 30th, we rounded the Point of land on the Island of Muntock very close. A riff of Rocks being outside, we steered NW until the Mountain over the town bore East, then steered NBW until 3 PM. Were made the Island Tayeo. A strong current setting the steamer to the West. We went at half speed during the night and in the Morning we Anchored in the Roads of Rio and delivered the Mail. At 9 AM we left the Roads and Steamed towards Singapore. The Buoy on the Pan shoal was passed at Noon. At 3 PM Anchored in Singapore Roads. Took up my quarters at the London Hotel.
I must say the few days I spent here I could not help comparing the comfort of Java to this miserable place. It looks pretty from the sea and when you have said that you have said all. The hotel 1£ p. day, no potatoes or good Butter to be had and a very miserable feed into the bargain. At any of our Java hotels 10.6 p. day you have a splendid table and every thing you can wish for good vegetables, good bread, and good Dutch butter. Several steamers where in the Roads which I visited and through the politeness of the 1st Lieut. of the Sphinx, I had an opportunity of seeing the Engines of that splendid ship. I was sorry I had not the opportunity of paying my respects to my friend Cap. Shodwell, not deeming it proper to intrude as the news of the death of his father had just arrived by the Mail. Most of my time was spent in gaining information from Experienced Engineers and doing all that laid in my power for the interest of the Company which I forwarded by post every opportunity with the remarks on what I saw but these were taken very little notice of, although my instructions where very plain on that subject. My answers to these remarks were that I should find most Engineers differ on the same subject.
On the 7th of Oct. I embarked on board the Archilles, Capt. Evans, 450 horse power. The boat I bought and brought out was built and fitted as this vessel. This boat appeared to me to be all one could wish as a Steamer and from her I drew my conclusions in buying the City of Glasgow and when I arrived in Java, I wished to introduce many of the plans I had seen on board that ship, but I found I was only thought troublesome. At the same time, my whole heart was interested for the Company but they would or could not see it.
On the 14th of Oct., we arrived at Ceylon. Went on shore to the Mantior house hotel. Found great difference to the behaviour of the Natives and those of Java. We had to call the Police to Keep the natives out of the bedrooms. Such an impudent set I never saw. Thursday 17th, left in the Haddington, Capt. Field, and at 8 PM left Ceylon. Steamed to the west. This ship had Engines of 500 horse power by Berry Co., direct acting. We had rather a long Passage in the Haddington as the wind was against us all the way to Aden.
It was the 29th of Oct before we anchored there. We found 2 Parsees had erected an hotel and in fact they had done every thing in their power to make the passengers comfortable. They gave us a good dinner and paid every attention and such people ought to be patronised. To come to a barren Rock and set up a place for the accommodation of travellers they have their Profit no doubt but the only time they can expect to get any thing is the time of the Steamer arrival. 500 tons of Coal was taken into the Haddington very quick. The plan was good, and I tried to Establish it at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia], but was over ruled. 30 October, we passed through the Strait of Barba mendel and saw the town of Mocka. Thermometer 100. 5 Nov., the Climate so changed with a strong North wind, that the Thermometer stood at 70. We anchored at Suez at 3 PM on the 5th Nov. and at 6 PM I left in the vans, having been so fortunate to get in the first set. 6 vans go at a time and 6 Passengers in each van; 3 hours after, 6 other vans start; so those that go first have a rest at Cairo, but those that come last are hurried off.
We had the Gov. of Ceylon on board with his Lady and one daughter. On the 6th of Nov., arrived at Cairo. On the 7th, at 8 AM, left in the Nile Steamer. At 5 PM,arrived at Atfey and on the 8th, at 1 O'Clock in the Morning, arrived at Alexandria, tired and sleepy. At daylight I took my Passage in the Triest Boat, according to my instructions, a fine boat of 700 tons, but badly managed. Took the liberty of suggesting to the directors on my arrival at Triest that the Engine had not enough to do as the Boat fell off from 10 to 5 Knots when the wind came ahead that the Achilles went 6 Knots with the wind ahead; I advised larger Paddles boards or, if that would not do, to make larger wheels.
On my arrival in London the next mail [???], I called upon the Director of the Company and they told me that the same boat had made the last Passage in less time than she did the Month I was on board. I asked why that was. They said they could not tell, but that a passenger had suggested to the Director at Triest that a little alteration in some part of the vessel, but they could not tell what it was or did they know who the Gent was.
I had gained all the Information I wanted and left the office. I have only made this remark not out of any ostentation but only to prove that a Company who had 36 steamers listened to the remarks of a passenger they did not know and the Company in whose employ I was in, that had two boats, thought me not fit to make any remarks or give any advise. It was the 14th Nov. I arrived at Triest. 16th left Triest. Could not get a place sooner in the diligence. 18th, arrived at Vienna and left by first train for Prague. 19th, at 6 AM, left Prague at 10 AM arrived at Aussick. Took the steamer down the Elbe to Dresden. On the 20th, left Dresden.
I had a meeting with the director of the steamboat company and arranged with them to carry our Java letters if the Govt. approved of it. I see that they have approved of it and via Triest is an established post. 1852, At noon arrived at Lepsick. Had to wait until 4 PM for the train. Arrived at Hannover, but as the train did not leave until the Morning, took up my lodgings in a Miserable Inn. Arrived at Arnhem by the steamboat down the Rhine and at Amsterdam on the 22nd of Nov. At 9 PM, left for the Hague. On the 23rd, thus ended my journey so far. We had one accident. After leaving Vienna came in contact with a train that had troops and Artillery. It was fortunate that we struck 2 Wagons loaded with hay. If we had have gone a little further, it might have been a serious accident, as the wagons next to the hay was Gunpowder and the next were filled with Soldiers. Our Locomotive was broken and the funnel and fire place Knocked to pieces.
On the 26th, had an interview with his Ex. the Minister of Colonies, concerning my Mission, then returned to Amsterdam, doing all in my Power to get a steamer from Holland, but without success. 29th, left Amsterdam. Arrived at Rotterdam. Visited Feyenoord and several other places. Saw also the Steamers building for Java which have since arrived. Finding no Ship to suit me, I left in the Ocean Steamer for London and on the 2nd of December laid my I Instructions before Mr. Finly Hogdson, Agent to the Batavia Steam Boat Company. Mr. H. read me a Copy of a letter he had written to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] advising the Company to build, but I stated that the Company had but one boat and that I had seen Boats building in Holland for Java, that I thought it best to look about first, and if not meeting with a boat ready, then build.
At the same time, ready to obey their orders, My instructions were to stop new Engines ordered to be made by Mess. Field and Maud for Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] until it was decided that we must build a new boat. I gave orders also for the new Boilers to be made for the Queen of the Netherlands, our other Boat, with all dispatch, and I have since seen these Boilers arrive only in time for the above mentioned vessel. I then took the train for Scotland as directed by my instructions. I visited Dundee, saw several Steamers for sale, but all wanting much repair.
I then visited Aberdeen, and saw a fine new Steamer at the Establishment of Mr. Hall, but not for sale. I contracted with Mr. H, to build a new vessel if in my travels I could not find one to suit me. In the course of Conversation, Mr. H. called my attention to a Steamer laying in the East India dock, formerly in the employ of the Royal West India Mail Company. He told me she was just the vessel I wanted, that he had been to London and had looked at her and found her good but they could not agree about the price. He took me to several other Steamers but they all wanted repair. I then set out for Glasgow, having letters of Introduction to Mr. Napier. He called my attention to a Steamer and took me to the parties who owned her.
I kept all this to myself and wrote to my employers what I had done. Mr. Napier recommended the old side Lever Engine as the best for sea going vessels. I waited at Glasgow until the 14th Dec., then I went to Grenock and Port Glasgow, but found nothing better than what I had in view. On the 19th Dec. I returned to London, reported to Mess. Hodgson what I had done. I went to the East India Docks and found the steamer Mr. Hall, of Aberdeen, had recommended laying full rigged, new Coppered, and new Boilers. The Engineer was on board and I looked with him over the vessel and found all true Mr. Hall had told me. I reported to Mr. Hodgson what I had seen he also made many inquiries. Mr. Robinson, Engineer of Pall Mall, had the selling of the vessell. He asked 15.500 £ I asked for an inventory of the Ship and visited her daily with other Masters of Ships and all pronounced her a good Ship. On the 26th, I offered 13.000. Mr. Hodgson thought I ought not to stand out for a few hundred pounds, as the Company would blame me if I should loose the vessel. I knew that Mr. Melbourn, one of our Directors, would arrive this Mail, and I wished him to see the vessel before I bought her.
On the 2nd of January Mr. M. arrived. I took him on board. He thought the vessel just the thing for Java and advised me to purchase her. I still remained to my first offer and on the 4th of January the Steamer was bought. On the 6th, I took her out of dock and Steamed down the River. She went well and the Engine worked well and seemed in good order. I then put her into dock to look at her Bottom. I took a Sheet of Copper off all round her and the Lead off her stern, put some Copper Bolts through some knees in the place of Iron, Coppered her stern, and Caulked her top sides, put extra Iron Knees under her Paddle Beams, and some Iron Knees in the Boxes Inside. I had to put Pool Bitts, rails, Bridges, and Build Cabins and Closets on deck. I then called a survey. Mr. Richey, Lloyds surveyor, came and pronounced all in good order. I must remark that this vessel was taken out of the Dock by me with 6 Lumpers, 2 fire men, and the Engineer. The Month of January it came on to Blow and rain. The Pilot got frightened and my fresh water sailors did not like to get wet. We had to anchor and draped alongside a Margate steamer and smashed her Paddle Box for which I had to pay 24 £.
I can assure those that think otherwise that it was no easy work in the cold short days after being in a warm Climate for 12 years to have such work to do. Thank God I kept in good health and was able to get on with my work, although I had such long shore sharks to deal with.
After much trouble I took the Ship out of dock with a Steam Tug and moored her in safety in the East India dock. I put a new Bowsprit in, new top Masts, Jib Boom, new Rigging, and 13 tons of Iron Ballast. When I had got all going, I began to think of the Flag. I waited on the Dutch Ambassador who advised me to go to Holland and see the Minister. I went to Holland with Mr. S.H., our agent, and had a meeting with the Minister who desired me to go out under English Colour and that I should get the Dutch flag at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia].
I returned on the 10th February and found the Carpenters had not done much in my absence, the weather much against us. 15th, began to take in Coal which was put in bags of 112 lbs. each. I bought an Engine of one horse power from Bolter Watt to pump the Boiler, also How's patent Sallenometer, in fact every thing I could think of that would be useful to the Company and save fuel. I then began to look out for the furniture for the Ship as there was little or nothing belonging to her. This took same time but fortunately, I got into the hands of 2 worthy Gentlemen, as Brokers, who assisted me very much.
But now the great trouble was come that I had never thought of – Engineers stokers and crew. I thought that as I had never any trouble in getting crew that it would be very easy. I had not been to sea for same years, although sailed out of London in Employ and commanded a Ship for 18 years, I found I must go to school or look for a Captain. At last they began to look over some old Books and I sent in an account of my services for 30 years as a Seaman. I was allowed to command the Ship and get a certificate of servitude. I went to the Shipping Masters, but the long coated sailors did not like going to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. I hope I may never have to command an English crew again. The more good Mr. Green and many other Gentlemen do for sailors, the worse the are. 22nd February, Mr. Melbourn came and inspected the Ship and all that had been done and was well pleased. Shipped a Crew – 20 £ p. Man for the run out to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia], to be landed at Singapore. Ship detained for firemen and a motly group I got drunken, disorderly set. It is a pity there is no law for Engineers and stokers that they may got drunk and neglect their duty when they like.
At last, on the 23rd of March l85l, I left the East India dock. Blowing a gale of wind. We were to have left in the morning but the crew, Engineers, and stokers would not obey the Pilot and when I came down to see if the Ship had gone, I found her laying in the dock and no one at work. I went on board and threatened to hauled into the Dock again and discharge all hands. I then, with great difficulty, got the Ship out but could not reach Gravesend that night, having lost half the day by such behaviour. That was the beginning. We got used to it before we got to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. We anchored at Greenhythe for the night. On Sunday Morning we arrived at Gravesend. I was forced to go to London again, as I had not finished all the business of the Ship. 23rd March, we left Gravesend at 2 PM. Landed the Pilot at Dover. Very Bad weather. Steaming against a West Gale through the night. Had same very narrow escapes in coming in contact with vessels. Day light, Hard gales at WSW SW. Shipping much water. At 4 PM run into the Mother Bank out of the way of the heavy seas and rainy weather. Coals going very fast. We laid until the Gale abated. On the 1st of April we left the Mother bank. Went out through the needles and so on to Falmouth, at which place we anchored on the 2nd. At Noon on the 3rd the coals came off.
Now our Crew began to show their teeth. [They] did not ship to hoist in coals; they came as seamen and would not do it without being paid extra. Went on shore to the Magistrate who told me the law was sailors, if fatigued, could demand ld p. ton. My Gents wanted lsh p. ton. I sent 2 on shore. The rest took in coals. Filled up our water and then went to sea 4th of April 1851.
We had a rough passage across the Bay of Biscay. The Ship being so deep made, it very unpleasant, however we got to Madera on the 12th, having steamed through these heavy seas with 3 Boilers. We anchored close to the Lao Rock to be close to the coal depot. It was Blowing hard when we anchored with a heavy swell setting into the Roads. Midnight much hail and Rain Thunder and Lightning. Rolling much – not able to get any coals off for some days.
15th began to coal. 17th got the last of our coals on deck when it came on to Blow. The other vessels slipped and went to sea. At 4 PM we saw a large Ship standing to the south, endeavouring to pass to windward of the Island. Our steam up all night, in case of accidents. At 3 AM in the Morning of the 18th of April, a Boat came to our Ship. It was with difficulty we got the Gentleman on Board that was in her. The wind had abated but the sea was still heavy. Cap. Stewart, R. N. was the Gentleman who came to ask assistance for the Ship Raja of Sarawak, Cap. Bell. She was athwart the swell and driving in towards Brazen head and was expected to be thrown on the Rocks. My ship was not in a state to assist, the decks being full of coals, therefore I refused. He then applied for the life boat. I could not spare my hands. I remarked that if the ship was in danger, the Cap. would have made Signals of distress. He told me all was in confusion and they did not know what to do. I showed him my chart and told him there was a Bottom close to the shore and that I thought that the ship might anchor, but if there was danger of loss, I should be forced to come to their assistance. He then left the ship, saying if there was danger, they would throw up Rockets. Some time after he left I saw 2 Rockets. All hands were called. Our Ship put underweigh and Steamed in the direction of the Ships light. As the day broke, we saw this ill-fated Ship laying close to the Rocks, pitching very heavy from the sea that was rolling into the Bay.
The Cap. of the port, Don Castello Blanco, came with his boat and said if you do not make haste the ship will be lost. I then steamed under her bows and sent a small line to her by which means we hauled an hawser from her on board of the Steamer. The Steamer held the Ship until they had taken up their anchor, then set on and towed the Ship Raja of Sarawak into Funchall Roads and anchored her in safety, for which I did not even get thanks.
The good people where afraid to speak or enter into the business, for when the danger was over, they did not want the assistance of the Steamer. When I applied to H. B. M. Consul, he told me I had done nothing but tore the vessel from a bad anchorage to a better. I hope there are some that know enough of my character that I would not run my ship into such danger for the sake of doing it or to make myself conspicuous. On the 19th of April, the Raja left the Roads, Bound to Sydney. I sent all the particulars home to our Agents, but I have heard no more of it.
On our arrival in Symons Bay the first news I heard from the Capt. of the Port was our friend. The Raja of Sarawak was laying in Table Bay with only the Mizen Mast Standing and that the Capt. Bell had told some of his friends at the Cape, that if it had not been for a Steamer, he would have lost his Ship at Madera. Poor Man. He lost his life in Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] Roads in sight of the said Steamer and when I arrived at Surabaya, the ship Raja of Sarawak came there also to load for England. I hope her troubles are past and that she may arrive safe.
After putting our Engine in order which took us until the 22nd of April, we left Funchall Roads and Steamed to the SWBS. After passing the Canaries Islands we took off the lower paddle Boards and sailed as well as we could. The first night we had a heavy rolling sea and not much wind. I find the vessel not at all adapted to sail without steam. I fear we shall have a long Passage. How our small Masts will answer in those gales and high seas off the Cape I am not prepared to judge. We sailed along to the East of the Cape de Verds Islands [Cape Verde Islands]. Our greatest amusement – trying to satisfy our Sailors. We had Baffling winds and SE current until the 10th of May when the floats where put on and the steam got up. The Engineers and firemen, being so long Idle, they do not like to work. We steamed with 2 Boilers, burning 300 pounds of coal p. hour, working the Engines Expansively at the rate of 6 Miles p. hour. 11th of May we had strong winds SSE. Little or no current experienced. Ship Steering to the SEBE. 19th of May, stopped Engine on the Meridian of Greenwich and 1 south of the Equator. Took off the floats and headed to the SW. This we expected to be the most tedious part of our passage and we found that the ship would not make more than 4 miles p. hour with the wind abeam.
It was the 24th of June before we got far enough to the South to get a west wind. Then we had gales of wind and high sea. Much of our Iron work breaking, our Jib Boom gone, and the Bowsprit adrift from the Bobstays giving way. However, what with our Act of Parliament, sailors, and heavy gales and high sea, I had as much as I could do to get along. The Ship behaved well in these heavy seas; the only thing was to get her Steered. Some could not steer without they were allowed to sing; others the Wind blew into the Back of their necks and some had never been used to steer, as it was not the custom in Mr. Greer['s] Ships for sailors to steer, those Ships having Steermen shipped on purpose. What will all this came too in the end.
On the 6th of July, being about 90 miles from the Land, put on the floats and Steamed for Symans Bay, where we anchored on the 7th in 7 fathoms Water and Moored with two Bowers. We began to repair our damage and make inquiries for coals. The commodore did all in his power to assist me, but being so many Steamers requiring coals, he could only spare 50 tons. I was obliged to be satisfied and, although I had a long passage before me, I expected fair winds. After much trouble with the Ships company we got the Ship ready for sea.
The Steamer Rudamantus arrived that had been ten days longer on her passage than we had. On the 16th of July we left Symons Bay and Steamed to the SE. Hard gales with high sea. On the 19th we had cleared the Cape. Stopped the Engine, took off the floats, and prepared to run across the Indian ocean in the Latt. of 35 South. Our Ship run very well before the heavy sea and averaged 7 to 8 Knots with strong winds. 12th of August to the 15th we had variable winds from NE to ESE. A sea struck our Larboard bow and Stove the Bullwarks. This happened on the 16th. At Midnight 25th, we got the WSW wind again and arrived in the Longitude 110 East.
Now to get up coals and put the Ship in order was much trouble as the people, by the run out, thought the less they did the more profit. On the 30th we steered to the NNE. In Latt. 25 S Long 106 E. we saw 4 large sperm Whales. It was in the Latt. 20 before we got the SE trade wind. We found a daily set to the West. Our course NNE. 10-11th of Sep. the Wind ESE. Found we were driving to the West. 12th, we put on the floats and Steamed to the NNE, the boat going so fast that the Spray went over the funnel. 13th, at 4 AM, saw the Island of Krakatau [or Krakatoa]. At 8 AM took letters out of the report boat at Anjer. At 6 PM Anchored in the outer Roads of Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. Happy to get away from such a set of vagabonds. At daylight, on the 14th, Sunday, we steamed into the Roads and soon met my family who had been waiting my arrival at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. I have very few remarks to make on this.
I hope my last voyage with an English crew and drunken Engineers. I wonder the Board of trade do not look into it and make some law that would tend to keep Engineers sober. My people threatened me that if I did not comply with their demands and give them grog as much as they wanted, they would not attend to the Engine. Thanks to the Almighty, Disposer of Advents, we arrived in health and safety, although we left in the worst time of the year and had to round the Cape in the winter, where many ships where damaged in the same gales and lost their Masts and sails. How thankful ought we to be for His goodness to us miserable sinners.
3 days after our arrival, the Dutch flag was hoisted and the Ships Name changed from the Glasgow to the Java. The Guard Ship fired a salute on the occasion; Resident of Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] seeing the ceremony performed.
The Ship was then loaded for Semarang and Surabaya, my family going with me. I landed my cargo at Semarang and [on] the [??] Sep arrived safe home, being one year absent from Java. I remained in the service of the Steam boat Company until Nov. when other Masters where appointed. Thus I again have left the sea for a life on shore.
January 1852, begins by my Eldest daughter being asked in Marriage. Also, in this same Month, my friend Mr. E. asked me to join him in renting a sugar Mill. The contract was signed to take it over in January 1853. March, my eldest daughter Rosa was married to G. Curtis, Master of the Steamer Queen of the Netherlands.
On the 15th April, I took charge of a small steamer who was employed to take our Dear Friends, Mr. Mrs. E. to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] on their route to their Native Land. It has been often said that few sincere disinterested friends are to be found. We have found them in this dear family. We have this day parted with. May they arrive in health and safety at that home they so longed for. Should ever these lines meet their eyes, they will have the satisfaction of knowing they made one family happy and their kindness to us will always be remembered with Gratitude.
1852 brought sickness to our house. Yhe Wife of my Nephew Francis Stavers came to stay with us, but all the Medical Skill of Surabaya could not save her – consumption being her complaint. She returned to Passoerang and there died, leaving a little Boy, William Stavers. Jane Dorothea Stavers, my Niece and daughter of my Brother William, began to show symptoms of consumption. She came to us and although she had every attendance possible both from the Dr and her family, she breathed her last in my arms, August 24th 1852. Her funeral was attended by many. She lies in the Silent tomb, No 61, in the New Ground of Surabaya. We where all very dull and sorrowful for we all loved her dearly.
Sept 1st. The latter part of this month there was much talk about the Mill at Krembong that the Govt. would not give me permission to have the Administration. The owner of the Mill went to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] and found that some one had written against me and that Mr. A. van Vloten was appointed in my place. As this young man was engaged to marry my Daughter Kitty, we were happy that he was appointed rather than a stranger.
Now it was settled that we where to leave the Town of Surabaya. We were employed preparing for our removal.
1st of Dec our second Daughter, Kitty, was married to Mr. A. van Vloten. Her Mother and self being present. The same day they left Surabaya for their house at the mill. On the 23rd we joined them, having previously sent our furniture. They had arranged it for us so that we found our rooms ready for our reception.
LIFE IN JAVA AS A MILL OWNER
On the 29th I went to Surabaya and signed a contract with Mr. F. Sjacob to hire his Mill for two years, Mr. Etty and the firm of Fraser Eaton becoming security. This good fortune fell to us by the kindness of our Dear friend Mr. Eaton who has done every thing to assist us that laid in his power. The 1st of January, 1853, begins by my taking over the Mill from Mr. Sjacob and signing the Inventory. God grant us health and strength to perform the duties that lay before us and we hope and trust, that by proper attention, we may be enabled to support our families in comfort.
Our Daughter Rosa left Java with her husband for Australia. She was about to become a mother but would not take our advice and remain at home. God protecting her. During the last 4 Months we have lived in health and happiness, busily employed putting the Mill in order. Ready to take off the crop of Cane that look well and promise fairly for a good result. God give us health and strength to perform our work. The year 1853 has finished. We have had health and happiness. In the Month of Sep. was the only misfortune we had the whole year. Our Daughter Kitty was confined at Surabaya of a still born girl and we are thankful her life was spared to us.
We made a large crop of sugar but at low prices. We are happy that there was enough to pay all off without leaving us in debt. We all spent the Christmas and New Year with our brother William at Modjokerto. The new year brought tidings that our Daughter Rosa was on her way to Java. On the 19th of January, 1854, we had the delight to see our first Grand Child who was born on board the Ship laying in Swan River. All our family had now met. We hope and trust that this year may pass in health and happiness and that we may be content with those blessings it has pleased God to give us. We have had many happy days and our lot in this life, although not what the World calls pleasure, we are content. All went on well at Krembong Hill, making a large crop of Sugar. The Month of Sep. brought letters that we must leave the Mill at the end of the year. This was a Bad disappointment to us, as we had hopes that we might remain same years in this retired Spot. All was now changed. Nothing but bustle and packing up as a kind friend had promised a house for us at Passoerang. Still we had hopes that we might [find] some arrangement to remain. The end of the year, the Owner of the Mill returned from Europe and took over charge and we had to leave our quiet home all in confusion. So ends 1854.
Jan 12th our Daughter Kitty was confined of a Son, at Surabaya. 15th, I left the Mill and engaged to take over a share of a Mill at Toeban with a friend, Mr. Eaton. Left Surabaya in a Steamer leaving Mrs. Stavers to follow. We had very bad weather but arrived safe and found a very different place to what we had been used to. The steamer went back to Surabaya and Mrs Stavers arrived here same days after, with our furniture, servants. They also had a very bad passage and got on shore with much difficulty. This has been a change indeed.
The next Morning it was fine for a few hours. We got all our things on shore and by the end of February we began to get things in order. We are thankful for all things and live in hopes we may be able to earn an honest living. In the Month of June we began to take off the Crop. The business goes on very differant to the Krembong Mill.
The Mill out of order and work bad. In the Month of July, the large Iron Spun Wheel parted and half fell with great force on the ground. Fortunate no one was hurt. After that one of the Natives was playing with the Centrafugical Machines while at Work. His hair was caught by the spindle and in a moment the Scalp was taken from his head. No Medical assistance being near, I dressed it in the best manner I could and wished him to remain until a Dr. could be found to assist him, but he would return home to his family. I went several times with a Dr. to assist him and it was supposed he was getting better. One day he would go out in the sun without any dressing on his head and died.
The Month of Sep. we finished the crop and by the end of Nov. all the Sugar was at Surabaya. I am of opinion that this place has not been well looked after and let to go to ruin, attending to other business in place of looking after the Mill. I hope and trust we may get through all these difficulties. For those concerned I am sorry I ever was persuaded to undertake it. The longer I live the more I see the double dealing of people in this world. My Family, thanks to the Divine disposer of events, have had their health throughout this year and the Blessings we have received are ten fold to the troubles. Thus end[s] 1855.
1856. Began as many former years with health and happiness. Every day busy putting the Mill in order to take off the new crop of canes that are growing in the fields. In the Month of May all was in order, but the Java new year fell on the beginning of June. Could not begin until the 10th of the Month.
At the same time, I began to build a dwelling house outside the old bamboo place we have been living in these 2 years. Rather a curious way to build a new house – put the Roof on first and built Walls in place of the Bamboo.
In the Month of Sep. Mrs. Curtis was confined of a daughter; also Mrs. van Vloten, but 6 days after birth, Mrs v. Vloten lost her little daughter. End of Sep. we finished taking off the Crop of 1856. I hope our endeavours may give satisfaction to those concerned. In the Month of Dec. we went to Probolingo to see Mr. Etty who was unwell. We bid him goodbye on the Sunday Morning and on Thursday, the 4th Dec., he departed this life. He had been a good friend to us and we felt his loss very much.
We soon found that we had got in other hands and very near lost our situation at the Toeban Mill, but, at last, by paying up for 1855, we were safe. The profits of that year had been laid out on the Mill and I was not in a situation to meet the payment, but through good friends, I got over that difficulty.
Month Sep l857. We have been blessed with health and happiness. Began to take off the crop on the first of June. Had fine weather throughout the Season. Our Daughter, Augusta, engaged to Mr. Henry De Vogel. This Month we have heard that our Son Albert has left England for Holland, to learn the Language before returning to Java. We May, please God, be spared to see him again. Thus ends 1857. Few have been our troubles this last year.
Jan. 1858, on the 18th, Augusta, our youngest daughter, was married to Henry De Vogel. May they be happy. We are now left alone and look forward in hopes to see our Son placed out in the world. 17 July. Died at our house, after a long illness, Frances Mary Curtis. She was buried in the grave yard at Toeban. It was a happy release. Poor child suffered many long months at Surabaya. At last, came here for change of air, but all we could do would not help to restore her to health. Peace to her soul. Several of our friends have departed this life during the year, some that we truly loved and were sorry to part with. Mrs D.M. was ready to leave this country and she also died before she left the Island. She was a good, amiable lady and we all felt her loss much. We have so little society here in Java that we feel the loss of one that we loved more here than in Europe. This year has not passed so well as last, but we have much to be thankful for.
N.B. On the 19th Sep. 1858, being my birthday, having arrived at my 60th year, had many friends also some of my family to breakfast.
On the 6th of March 1859, being Mrs. Curtis Wedding day, many friends with my family was at Breakfast with me. After the Cloth was removed, the Controleur of Toeban placed before me a Beautiful Clock with my name Engraved on the Pedestal, saying it was a Birthday present from my Toeban friends, and I hope my family will keep it as a heir Loom in our family, as long as it remains, as a Remembrance of my kind friends, F.S.Domis! Haase! Bergsma van der Hell.
24th of April. This year we have had a heavy loss in our family. G.R. Curtis, the husband of my Eldest daughter, departed this life. Hearing of his illness, we started off to Surabaya. On Friday night we attended him in his last moments. He died on the Tuesday, 1 AM. I laid his Body in the Coffin and [he] was buried in the Cemetery of Surabaya. His prayers where fervent to the last and we trust he died in the full belief of a happy resurrection through Jesus Christ, Aged 43.
May 29th l859. We began to take off the Crop. Received a letter from the Resident that as the Contract of the Mill was out, the Govt. had given orders to him only to plant l50 bows in place of 240 as usual which will be a great loss.
June. Mrs Curtis and family removed from Surabaya to Toeban. Sept. 16th we finished Grinding. We have had a pleasant time of it. All has gone on well. We have also had the pleasure of hearing that our Son Albert left Holland with my Niece Harriet on the 12th of August. God grant them a safe passage.
12th November. We Started off to Semarang over land then took Steamer to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia]. On the 25th of Nov. we had the pleasure of embracing our Son and Niece Harriet Stavers. They arrived in health and Spirits, but Batavia [Jakarta], not being a place for us, we took the first Steamer on the 4th of Dec. and on the 5th arrived at Semarang. On the 7th we left in our Carriage for Toeban. On the 8th, arrived at our quiet home rather fatigued from our long journey. All has passed off well and, I trust, we are thankful for all this health and happiness and hope that our son may grow up a good member of Society.
On the 26th of Dec Mrs De Vogel was confined of a daughter, who was named Mary. Thus ends the year l859. Our opinion of the health of our niece Harriet is very delicate and the Drs. think her consumptive. We hope not, having had our trials in that unfortunate sickness. January 1860 begins with peace and quiet. Our family in health and happiness. On the 11th, Mrs. van Vloten was confined with a daughter Antonia Albertena. Month of June. We began our Sugar Season and all seems to go on well. Through the attention of the Engineer, all worked well and we found that the produce was larger than any other year. Our Niece Harriet daily looks thinner.
August. This Month we had the Melancholy task of attending our Niece during a dreadful sickness until the 24 of the Month when she gave up her spirit. She was laid in the silent Tomb. Many of the Inhabitants following her to the Grave. Peace to her Manes.
Dec l2th 1860. We have finished the largest Crop of Sugar ever made at this Establishment without any accident for which we are thankful. Dec 23. This day all my children joined with me in Worship to the Great God who Rules all: This being the first time I have had all my family round me.
April 1861. Went to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] to endeavour to do something for the good of the Mill. But I fear with all these new Regulations our property will be much reduced in value. We hope for better times, but at present it looks gloomey. 90 Bows of cane taken from us and not allowed to plant private cane is a great loss to us.
May. Returned to my house with many promises. Never have taken the Crop off the fields and have had health and strength to finish it. Although small we must be Content.
September. I bought a Steam Mill thinking that as I must have a new Mill. It was better to add the Steam Engine to it in the Month of November. It was all in its place without any loss, having to transport it in my own vessels.
Received a letter from Mr. Eaton, my partner, to sell his half share of the Mill at a reduced price and as no one would take it over, although I had offered it to my son-in-law van Vloten three different times, so I have been much troubled how to act.
December has arrived and no decision from Govt. I fear I shall be forced to take the Mill over myself – a great burden at my age. The chief of Fraser Eaton Co. came to Toeban and decided the business: that I should take over the whole of the Mill. The only change this year is our Daughter, Mrs Curtis, is engaged to be married to a Dr. Thepass. May she be happy. So ends 1861.
January 1862 begins. March 11th 1862. Our daughter Kitty van Vloten was confined with a daughter. Waroe Mill, Surabaya, April 17 1862. Our daughter Rosa was married to Dr Thepass of Surabaya. We have many changes so soon in this year, but the blessings of health still remain with us in our old days for which, I hope, we are thankful.
On the 26th April 1862 departed this life my Brother Captain William Stavers, aged 75 years, having been 51 years in Java. He was born 1789 and began his carrier on board the H.M.S. Europa., Cap. Gibson. He was at the taking of the Cape of Good hope in 1806, but not liking the sealife, he entered the Army and served for many years. At the taking of the Isle of France also. Through the troubles in India in those days, at Palor. He was at the taking of Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] in 1811 under Colonel Gelipsee where he was severely wounded in 3 places. He was then an officer in the 25 Light Dragoons. When the Island was given over to the Netherlands Govt., he left the army and began to cultivate Coffee. He was married to a Daughter of Colonel Smith of the N. Army. When the rebellion broke out in 1824, his dwelling was in the Middle of the Natives, who respected all his property as long as he remained at home, but fearing that to remain would not be allowed, he left his all, which was Immediately destroyed by the Rebels. He then joined the Dutch Army in the Rank of Captain and served until the war was finished. H.N.M. William 2 remarked him for his services and also gave him the order of William, Netherlands, of the 4 Class. In 1842 he set himself down at Modjokerto and remained quiet in his old days.
Remark. Mr. H. de Vogel and Mr. S. Wybrants became shareholders in this Mill on the first of January 1862, each holding 1/4 share of 60.000 Rupees each. Mr. Wybrants gave up his share to me, T.R. Stavers, June 1862. We began to take off the crop of Canes planted by Govt for the Mill. We also received a Concept contract for 10 years showing that we must pay for the planting of Sugar cane, in Sugar, at the rate of 8 Rupees p. p. Sugar. I must say that the Contract is more favourable than other Mills, but at same time the Natives are to be paid more for their work causes the profits to be small, Viz: For cutting the cane the pay used to be 15 duits for 30 Bundles; now it is 30 Cents for 30 Bundles. The Natives can get that some of Money in hand by 10 O'Clock in the day when he returns home quite contented, never for a moment thinking the Mill is standing still for want of cane. Money will not bring work in Java, for the Natives have so little necessary that when he has that little, he is satisfied. Our good Government takes great care of the people and the Natives know that and if they can get money for little work they would sooner work for Govt. than us planters that have a certain work that must be finished in a certain time. But what is to be done.
July l862. All going on well at the Mill. Finding that I was likely to loose my eyes sight, I made up my mind to go to Europe for a oculist, also to look into other affairs.
VISIT TO ENGLAND, 1862
September we left the Mill for Surabaya then to Waroe where we found our Daughter Kitty ready to go with us to put her eldest son Tommy to School. She had made up her mind to go with her infant in arms. It was a bold undertaking, but thank God it turned out well. We started from Surabaya in the Steamer Onarang, took leave of our friends at Semarang and arrived safe at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia].
On the 1st of October we began our journey in ernest and now we felt that we were going away from Java. New scenes, new faces and a long journey before us. I was the only one that had made the journey.
We left in the P O steamer Ripon and found many things that we had not been used to. Bad water and bad wine but still we said it is only for a short time. In 8 days we anchored at Point de Gall and took at our abode in Lovetts Hotel. We remained a few days when the Steamer Bengale came in, also a steamer from Australia. We went to the Bengall and found Passengers from Calcutta also all those from Australia. We left Ceylon the 13th October for Aden where we arrived all safe. Remained to take in Coals and then left for Suez. We arrived at Suez 6th of November in the Morning and at 2 PM started in the train for Cairo. We found that the French Language did the most good in Egypt, most of the Conductors talking that language.
We arrived at Cairo at 7 in the Evening, quite dark and had same trouble to find our way, but all came right in the end. Having two Children and 2 Ladies and myself, not able to see well made it troublesome. After remaining 2 days the Southampton boat arrived, also the Boat from Marseilles. I went on board the Marseilles Boat and finding her small and many Passengers I changed our route and went to the office of the P O Company and paid our passage via Southampton. I thought it best with a child and ladies to change to the steamer in preference to the train through France. We left Alexandria in the Steamer Ripon and arrived all safe and in health at Southampton on the 20th of November 1862. We remained there two days to rest after our long journey and the cold weather caused us to keep close to the fire. On the 22nd of Nov we set off for London and found our Baggage laying in the Drawing room of No 19 Cecil Street strand with a good fire to keep us warm here. Was a change – in 42 days from the Climate of Java to the Winter of England – but Thank God all was in good health.
As soon as I got information of the best Oculist, I called on Mr. C. Stuges who formerly was a Surgeon of mine in the Tuscan. He introduced me to Mr. Chrichett who told me that I ought to have come to him before. That it was a case of Opthalmia and that it would be some time before he could cure them. When I related to him that I had come from Indies he said he would do all he could, but the time was to short and that I had better remain longer in Europe. I could not remain longer than April. He was very attentive to me knowing my situation.
The 1 March my eyes were better and I took our passage by the Mail that left the 4th April. All was now bustle to get ready in time.
In the Month of January I went to Holland. With Mrs S. and my daughter Kitty, we had a fine passage over to Rotterdam in the Steamer. My daughter went to Arnhem to visit her husbands family.
Mrs S. self remained at Rotterdam. Next day we took a Carriage to Delft to visit many of our Java friends and so on to the Hague where also I found many I had known in Java. After staying some days, I went to Amsterdam. From there to Arnhem to see the family of my son-in-Law, van Vloten.
I was introduced to Mr. Mrs. Keyzer and family who I found very agreeable and made us quite at home with them. I was sorry I was taken ill and obliged to leave for I found Arnhem such a pretty place. I was sorry to leave it, but being unwell, and my eyes not yet of much use, I was glad to get back to the Oculist. We came to Rotterdam and as the Steamer was just leaving. We embarked with a load of Sheep and Cattle. A gale of wind in the North sea is not pleasant and being unwell.
I was glad when we arrived safe at the warf. It was some time before I got round again after so much travelling about. My eyes had also got worse and I found that I must be careful to be able to return to Java on the 4th of April. I saw but little and did not go much out.
It is true that through the kindness of Mr. McNeill we got places to see the entrance of the Princess Alexandra into London. It was a Grand sight, but when I saw so many suffer from the dreadful crowd, I thought that most of my countrymen where mad to crush Women and children to death for the sake of seeing the princess.
RETURN TO JAVA
On the 2nd of April we took the train at Waterloo Bridge and started for Southampton where we found the Steamer Ripon ready to leave with the Mail. This being the Ship that Brought us home made it pleasant as we were known to the Captain and Officers who paid us every attention.
It is a pity that the P & O Company Ships are not all like the Ripon. She is without exception the most comfortable and best conducted ship I ever was on board. So easy in a gale of wind and being a paddle Steamer, the passengers have not the annoyance of the Screw. We had a fine passage to Alexandria and as soon as the vessel was fast to the Buoy in the Harbour, a small Steamer of the transit Company took us out and in an hour we were in the Train and off to Cairo. On our arrival, we took up our abode at Shepard Hotel and remained 24 hours; then into the Train for Suez where we arrived at 2 AM on the 20 of April. At 7 AM the Bengal left Suez for Aden. This also was the same Ship that took us home. All very different to the Ripon. We had a fine Breeze down the Red Sea which made it cool and pleasant.
We arrived at Aden the 26th of April. Took in Coals and started for Ceylon. The Hornet Man of War, was laying at Aden.
We had fine weather and smooth sea. On the 6th of May we arrived at Ceylon. The Steamer Emu was laying ready to take us to Singapore. We arrived at 6 AM at Ceylon and all was hurry to tranship the Mails and Cargo. At 2 PM we left Ceylon. This Steamer going much faster than the Bengal. At 6 AM on the 11th of May, arrived at Penang. Landed Mail. At 2 PM started for Singapore. On the 13th, at daylight arrived at New Harbour – 39 days from Southampton, thankful for all the blessings received. At 10 AM on the 14th of May, left in the Batavia Steamer for Java.
Sunday 17th. We arrived at Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] and was kindly received by our friends whose carriage was waiting to convey us to their hospitable home where we remained until the 22nd then left in the Steamer P. Orange for Surabaya. Some defect in the Boiler caused us to have a long passage. We did not arrive until 25th. On the 27th we stepped into our Carriage. At 4 PM, arrived home: found all well, also Master William Thomas D. Vogel, who had come into this World the 26th of March 1863.
Monday the 1st June. Gave the Natives feast and opened the Mill. The Gov. Authorities being present and found all in order. Now our voyage to Europe has passed as a dream. My eyesight is better but was not long enough under the hands of the Dr to have made a perfect cure. All has passed well. no accident, no Sickness during the long voyage. Praised be His holy Name for the numerous blessings conferred on us. In the Month of July we heard of the arrival of the Ships with our things we bought in England.
August began with such weather that we seldom see in Java at this time of the year. Thunder, Lightning and Rain so that we have had much loss in time and Money for we have had much trouble in getting in the cane. 2 Months and 10 days taking off 100 Bows. If we had had fine weather we might have been finished the first week in September but we must be content and thankful that all around are in good health.
This is the 15th of November and it rains as hard as it did in the Month of August. We have not had such a time since we first arrived in Java. Much Sugar will be lost through the Rain.
25 December. Will be a day remembered being the first time all the family met at our homely table: Mr. Mrs. Stavers, 3 daughters and one son and 8 grandchildren. Tommy van Vloten being the only one absent at School in Holland. Mr. Mrs. Thepass, Mr. Mrs. van Vloten, Mr. Mrs. De Vogel. Such a day may not come again where so many of one family meet to pass Christmas together. God be praised for his Mercyness.
April 17 1864 Received the sad tidings that little Nelly van Vloten departed this life. The cause, Hooping Cough and inflimation of the Lungs. Poor little Soul. She made the voyage to Europe with us and was loved by all who knew her. We all feel her loss very much. Gods will be done.
FINAL DEPARTURE FROM JAVA
1865. It is now nearly 12 months since could keep up my Journal having been blind most of the time. Now, this Month of March 1865, I can with heart-felt thanks to the Divine Disposer of events for all his Mercyness in blessing the means used for the recovery of my sight. Praised be his Holy Name. Having found it impossible to attend to my business at the Mill having lost my sight it was decided to go to Europe once more and endeavour by a longer stay to recover my eye sight.
On the 22nd October we left our home in a boat to await the Steamer that would pass about 4 PM. She stopped and took us up and Steamed on to Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia], where we remained until the Mail left on the 2nd of November 1864.
I must here mention that an affliction we did not expect met us after all was arranged to leave Java. A. van Vloten, my Daughter Kitty's husband departed this life after a few hours sickness leaving her a Widow with 4 children. Her last-born only a few Months old. I had only time to advise her to leave the fatal spot and join me by Ship.
In Europe it has caused us much anxiety to know how to act for the best that I hope we trust in the Divine Disposer of events he sees what is good for us and we must pray for patience and submit to his wise Decrees. About this time Kitty was confined with a Son. Poor little Anton. He is a tender plant to go through the toil of a Voyage round the Cape. Time will show.
To return to ourselves. We left Batavia [Jakarta, Indonesia] 2nd Nov. Myself very ill and did not get better the whole voyage. After a Boisterous Passage we landed at Southampton on the 21st of December 1864. After remaining same days to recover from our fatigue we went to London and took up our Quarters in Cecil Street. Myself very ill. I remained under the hands of the Doctors for some time. The weather very cold. Not being able to see made the time pass very heavily.
In the beginning of the Month of March we rented a house in the new Cross Road and began to put furniture into it so as to have a home for our daughter when she arrived with her small family. I also put myself under the hands of Mr. Chilchit for my eyes and although he had little hopes at first he throught the Divine Assistance relieved me so that I am able to see to write and Read a little. In the Month of April I went to Mr. Smith of the firm of Bayly Shaw, Benner street and added a Codicil to my will leaving all my property that may be in England at my death for the use of Mrs T. Stavers my dear wife.
15th of April. We heard of the safe arrival of our daughter Mrs van Vloten in Holland. All in good health and spirits with her three little ones. I hope and trust they be happy in the home I had prepared for them May 1865.
We have the sad tidings from Java that the Establishment belonging to my Brother William Stavers and afterwards written over to his Son F.D. Stavers was to be sold for debt this is bad news indeed.
Arrived my daughter with her four little ones all in good health.
Now we are all settled down. God grant us health and prosperity to enable us to live on quiet.
August 13 was baptised at St James Church by the Rect. Bushnell, Anton August, youngest Son of M.A.A. van Vloten and his wife C.E. van Vloten: Myself and Mr. W. McNiell sponsors. It for the Infant.
All went off well.
This is a transcription of an undated manuscript of Captain Thomas Reed Stavers' journal which was originally placed on the web by Mr. Albert Bos of the Netherlands:
In this version the editor has made the following changes: punctuation has been added to improve readability, obvious typographical errors have been corrected, chapter or secton headings have been added (not in brackets), and paragraph breaks have been inserted. Apart from capitalization at the begining of sentences, Stavers' use of capitals in his orignal manuscript has been retained. Spelling otherwise is presumed to be that used by Stavers himself. Current or customary place names have been added in italics in brackets as have very selected words to convey the likely meaning intended by Stavers.
Three sections of the journal appear to be lost and have been so marked in the transcription. The location of the orignal manuscript is not currently known.
My special thanks to Mr. Bos for giving permission for this transcription.
Tom Tyler, Denver, May 2004
Thomas Reed Stavers,
Thomas Reed Stavers was born September 19, 1798, in Deptford, Kent. He was the sixth of seven children born to Captain William Stavers (1765-1816) and Margareth Crowther (1765-1803).
Stavers first went to sea in 1811 serving as a boy. In his Journal * he fails to identify the vessel which was part of a convey to the Davis Straits whaling grounds. He next shipped on the Mary Ann as a boy on a whaling cruise to Australia in 1812.
After sailing as a crewman on the merchantman Concord and rising to the position of boat-steerer (harpooner or harpooneer) on board the Mary Ann to the Greenland fishery, he sailed as a boat-steerer on the Perseverance under the command of his father to the Brazil Banks in 1816. Early in the cruise his father was killed by a whale – the young son having to pull the body from the sea. The Perseverance returned from its voyage in the summer of 1818.
Whaling was a tradition in the Stavers family. Thomas Reed Stavers followed his father and three of his four brothers as masters of whaling vessels. His uncle and a cousin were also masters of whaling vessels. William Stavers, Thomas' father, was imprisioned two times when his ships were captured during wartime. First in 1803 when the Perseverance was taken by a French privateer and next in 1813 when Captain David Porter of the U.S. frigate Essex took Stavers' Seringapatam in the Galapagos islands. Two of Thomas Reed's brothers were also taken prisoner in this action.
Stavers is generally identified with the South Sea whale ship Tuscan which he commanded from 1824 until 1836. Prior to commanding the ship, he sailed as the Tuscan's first mate in 1821. His brother, Francis Stavers, was the ship's commander. Part of this voyage was documented in Daniel Tyerman and George Bennet's Journal of voyages and travels ... deputed from the London Missionary Society, to visit their various stations in the South Sea Islands, China, India, &c., between the years 1821 and 1829 (London, 1831, 3 volumes). The Tuscan's owner had arranged for these two men and an additonal three missionary couples to be carried to the Society Islands (Tahiti).
Stavers writes in his journal of the many difficulties of commanding a South Seas whaling vessel in the 1820's and 1830's. His ship was old, leaky and often needing repair. Political unrest in Chile during their war of independence caused Stavers a lengthy detention, loss of his ship's papers and the theft of needed stores from his ship. Unreliable officers, drunken surgeons and mutinous crew members were recurring problems. But generally, Thomas Reed Stavers was able to obtain sufficient oil to make voyages that would be considered successful at the time.
Stavers' last voyage on the Tuscan was documented by ship surgeon Frederick Debell Bennett's whaling classic Narrative of a whaling voyage round the globe, from the year 1833 to 1836. Comprising sketches of Polynesia, California, the Indian Archipelago, etc. with an account of southern whales, the sperm whale fishery, and the natural history of the climates visited. (London, 1840, 2 volumes).
The Tuscan was a frequent visitor to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) and the islands of Tahiti and Raiatea in the Society Islands (French Polynesia). Three of Stavers' four brothers were also masters of ships. Over the years he met John R. Stavers, master of the Offley and Francis Stavers, commander of the Partridge on Pacific whaling grounds or at the Sandwich Islands. He also met his third brother, Peter Mellish Stavers, commanding the Zephyr, in East Indian waters. This brother eventaully retired from whaling and became engaged in merchant shipping in the Australian, Indian and Chinese trade.
Thomas Beale, in his The natural history of the sperm whale . . . . (London, 1839), relates the story of a Captain Stavers, who, while commander of the English whaleship Coquette, was murdered in Guam by its Governor. This Stavers was John Stavers, a nephew of Thomas Reed's father, William Stavers. John Stavers had spent more than ten years as a prisoner of war in France, having been captured with his uncle William Stavers, master of the Perseverance, in 1803. In 1816 he was indicted and found guilty "for having committed different assaults (nine in number) on Thomas Benjamin Gibson, a boy on board" the whaleship Thames of which Stavers was master. The boy died of his injuries. Stavers was fined and sentenced to one year in Newgate prison.
After Thomas Reed left the Tuscan in 1836, he made one final whaling cruise in the Brig Onyx, a vessel in which he and his brother had acquired an interest.
Following the voyage of the Onyx, Stavers, with his wife Francis (Fanny), settled in Java in the Dutch East Indies. William Stavers, the oldest of the five brothers, was established there and encouraged Thomas Reed to join him. In 1840-41 William Stavers was made a knight of the Netherlands when he was awarded the Order of William for his services in the Java War (Diponegoro War) of 1825-1830. In Java, Thomas Reed held a number of positions over the next thirty years – blacksmith, engineer, sugar mill operator, and agent for shipping concerns. The Stavers had five children of which one, a daughter, died as a child. The surviving four received their schooling in England before joining their parents in Java.
In his final years, Thomas Reed Stavers suffered from blindness. In 1865 he and his wife made their final departure from Java and returned to England. Thomas Reed Stavers died at New Cross, Kent, on February 6, 1867.