The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part XII: Where’s the Beef?

Things are start­ing to look dire.  The Per­se­ver­ance has been sail­ing for two months and they still haven’t seen land.  The crew is start­ing to encounter lousy weath­er, and worse, the ship is run­ning short on food.


August 18th, 1818
W. Lon. 53, N. Lat. 40 Degrees 50’

We were now in the Gulf Stream and this cur­rent retard­ed our progress very much. This stream ris­es at the mouth of the riv­er La Pla­ta, South Amer­i­ca, increas­es in rapid­i­ty pass­ing through the Gulf of Mex­i­co until it reach­es the Gulf of Flori­da from which it takes its name. Here it runs at the rate of 8 miles an hour. From this it runs along the Amer­i­can coast below the Bank of New­found­land and los­es itself in the North Atlantic Ocean. We crossed it in Lat. 40 degrees where it runs 2–1/2 miles an hour, con­se­quent­ly our progress was slow.

Emi­grant ship dur­ing a storm.

Great quan­ti­ties of gulls were seen float­ing here­abouts. Here we expe­ri­enced the great­est thun­der­storms I ever wit­nessed. The rain fell in aston­ish­ing quan­ti­ties and we took advan­tage of this to add to our sup­ply of fresh water by col­lect­ing all that fell on deck. I sup­pose that the great evap­o­ra­tion from this stream warmed by a south­ern sun caus­es these uncom­mon and fre­quent rains.

24th Aug.
W. Lon. 60, N. Lat. 40 Degrees 50’

We had now been upwards of 60 days from land and no sign of approach­ing our des­tined har­bour. Pro­vi­sions began to get scarce. Water was near­ly done and coal very scarce. The old proverb of “Emp­ty mangers make bit­ing hors­es,” was ver­i­fied to a cer­tain­ty. Some said that the Capt. was going to the Dev­il for all they knew as they were sure he had lost his reck­on­ing and oth­ers swore that we would be oblig­ed to eat our shoes before we seen land again. Our mur­mur­ing increased dai­ly espe­cial­ly while the wind was con­trary. But when it turned fair all was well as long as it con­tin­ued so. Thus did our igno­rant, ungrate­ful pas­sen­gers annoy the Capt. by their idle and use­less mur­murs. To qui­et them, I have often known him to divide his own cab­in stores with them.


Next week: Almost there!