The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part V: Hugh’s “Luxury” Accomodations

And.….…..Hugh’s off (final­ly).  But he’s not rid­ing in first class.…or even steer­age.  Read all about it here.  (If you missed Part IV, get caught up here.)

24th June

About 3 in the morn­ing I was awaked out of a com­fort­able sleep in the Capt.’s cot to go down to the place of con­ceal­ment in the bal­last until we got clear of dan­ger from port offi­cers cruis­ers. To avoid sus­pi­cion I was con­duct­ed through a small hatch­way in the cab­in floor to the hold. Here I beheld about 15 extra pas­sen­gers all prepar­ing to enter a cav­i­ty in the brick bal­last* through a small hole picked out for the pur­pose. My com­pan­ions were near­ly all inhab­i­tants of the most uncul­tured part of Inishown. Their appear­ance would have made a dis­in­ter­est­ed spec­ta­tor laugh though I was in too seri­ous a humour to enjoy the scene.

We entered with dif­fi­cul­ty and got fixed as well as our com­fort­less sit­u­a­tion would admit of just before the ship began to heave. To have an idea of this place, sup­pose a cav­i­ty con­struct­ed of brick 2–1/2 feet high and 3 feet wide across the ves­sel with­out seats or any oth­er con­ve­nience to sit or lay except the hard bricks. In this place 15 or 16 of us were con­fined for about 10 hours in total dark­ness until we got clear of the coast. At length we were lib­er­at­ed to the no small joy of the suf­fer­ers. Dur­ing our con­fine­ment we were most­ly all seized with sea­sick­ness and the scene that fol­lowed can be eas­i­ly imag­ined. Noth­ing was heard but moan­ing, swear­ing, vom­it­ing and beg­ging to get out.

The agi­ta­tion of mind kept the sick­ness away from me for the moment, and I exert­ed myself to keep silence and order amongst my uncouth com­pan­ions: from their uneasy and con­fined sit­u­a­tion they were con­stant­ly either crush­ing, lay­ing, or puk­ing on each oth­er and it required great exer­tion to keep them from quar­relling. Hav­ing at length got on deck we found our fel­low pas­sen­gers in a dis­agree­able enough state. Sick­ness and (its invari­able com­pan­ion) sor­row for hav­ing under­tak­en the voy­age seemed to be uni­ver­sal­ly felt by all. I have heard sev­er­al offer con­sid­er­able sums beside their pas­sage mon­ey to be set once more on their native land which was still in sight. The good-natured Capt. told them that he had been too long accus­tomed to such requests while in the pas­sen­ger trade before, to attend to them now and assured them that they would feel quite hap­py and rec­on­ciled in a few days which was actu­al­ly the case.

Though the wind was con­trary when we weighed anchor, the Capt. would wait no longer, on account of hav­ing read a let­ter from Mr. Buchanan stat­ing that infor­ma­tion relat­ing to our ille­gal­ly car­ry­ing out pas­sen­gers above the num­ber lim­it­ed by law, had been giv­en in to the Cus­tom House offi­cers in Der­ry. A search was feared and expect­ed by the Capt. every moment in con­se­quence and he accord­ing­ly con­clud­ed on slip­ping out dur­ing the night.

About 12 a.m. we were dri­ven back near Mugilli­gan and were for the most part of the evening in sight of both the Scotch and Irish coasts. But a fair breeze spring­ing up we soon lost sight of the much-loved land of our nativity.


* A ship’s bal­last is a com­part­ment in the bot­tom of a boat for tem­po­rary weight that is used to sta­bi­lize the ves­sel. The Phoenix used bricks, but improved boat design has elim­i­nat­ed the need for a bal­last tank in most mod­ern sail­ing ships.

One thought on “The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part V: Hugh’s “Luxury” Accomodations

  1. Pingback: The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part VI: Hugh’s on a Boat | Campbell House Museum's Blog

Comments are closed.