Tag Archives: Culdaff

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part III: Stuck in Ireland…maybe

Will Hugh be forced to return to Augh­a­lane with his tail between his legs, or will he catch anoth­er ship head­ed to Amer­i­ca?  Let’s find out…   (If you missed Part II, read it here.)

13th June

In the course of the pre­ced­ing 30 hours I had walked upwards of 60 miles with­out either eat­ing or drink­ing or sleep­ing any­thing of con­se­quence.  With­out rest­ing I then got into an open boat where I had suf­fered much from the rain, cold and sick­ness.  When I reflect­ed that I had now lost my pas­sage — that my clothes, mon­ey and pro­vi­sions were on board and that I was left in a strange part of the coun­try with­out the means of car­ry­ing me home again — my state of mind can be bet­ter con­ceived than described.

Cap­tain Moses Gale’s ship, the “Phoenix.”

When day­light appeared, we put off from the Island and arrived at Culdaff in morn­ing.  As soon as my wor­thy and good-natured friend, Mrs. McCaus­land got my clothes washed and dried, Mr. Young gave me a horse to ride up to Der­ry (a dis­tance of about 18 miles) and a ser­vant to bring him back.  I took an affec­tion­ate farewell of my acquain­tances and set off from this cursed place for Lon­don­der­ry.  My very unex­pect­ed return sur­prised my friends great­ly and my mis­for­tune affect­ed them exceed­ing­ly.  The first step I took was to apply to Mr. Geo. Buchanan* for a pas­sage in the ship Phoenix bound for New York and to sail in a few days.  Both ves­sels [the Per­se­ver­ance and the Phoenix] were con­signed to him and I expect­ed by some means to induce him to allow me pas­sage in her that I might have an oppor­tu­ni­ty of recov­er­ing the arti­cles I owned in the Per­se­ver­ance.

He assured me that the lim­it­ed num­ber of pas­sen­gers were then in town, and that it was out of his pow­er to give me an extra pas­sage as it would undoubt­ed­ly for­feit the ves­sel if known.  Notwith­stand­ing this dis­cour­ag­ing reply, I was resolved not to return home with­out accom­plish­ing the object I set out on, should the con­se­quence be as it may.  I slept this night and the suc­ceed­ing ones at Mr. Cal­houn’s.  The kind atten­tion of whose fam­i­ly con­tributed mate­ri­al­ly to alle­vi­ate my dis­tress.  In this state of uncer­tain­ty I remained until the


Mr. Cald­well (clerk to Mr. Buchanan) intro­duced me to Capt. Moses Gale, Com­man­der of the ship Phoenix and rec­om­mend­ed me to him in terms I shall nev­er for­get.  After relat­ing my unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion to this Gen­tle­man he told me that the quo­ta of pas­sen­gers which the law allowed were on board but that he pitied the state the treach­ery of Capt. Elkins had left me in, and that at all haz­ards he would take me along.  I dined this very day on board with him.  After intro­duc­ing me to his two mates he assured me that “he would take me along in spite of all their Damned laws and stow me away in the Bal­last where the Dev­il him­self could not find me.”  This dec­la­ra­tion from a Gen­tle­man on so slight an acquain­tance made the impres­sions that its frank­ness deserved from me.


* All of the Buchanans men­tioned in this jour­nal are relat­ed to Hugh; his moth­er was Sarah Buchanan Camp­bell.  Hugh is also a dis­tant rel­a­tive of 15th U.S. Pres­i­dent James Buchanan.

Next week: The Voy­age Begins

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part II: Hugh Gets Arrested

Here is the sec­ond install­ment of Hugh Camp­bel­l’s Jour­nal.  If you missed The Set­up in part one, read it here.  This week: Hugh Gets Arrest­ed. (And that’s the least of his problems.…)

12th June

A lit­tle after mid­night I reached Culdaff very much exhaust­ed and fatigued.  A young man that was stand­ing at a door where there was a wake con­duct­ed me to a pub­lic house where I could get some refresh­ment.  The good-natured land­la­dy (Mrs. McCaus­land) got out of bed and offered me some bis­cuit and but­ter; the only ready vict­uals the house afford­ed at this time.  But in order to detain her up as short time as pos­si­ble, I took a lit­tle in my hand and was just step­ping out when a con­sta­ble met me and with the usu­al for­mal­i­ty made me a pris­on­er!  The Barony, he said, was under the Insur­rec­tion Act* and it was a duty incum­bent on every con­sta­ble to appre­hend every stranger found trav­el­ing at improp­er hours.

Resis­tance was vain and I was oblig­ed to wait till morn­ing and give an account of myself to a mag­is­trate, or leave my watch as a pledge of my return that way from Malin.  In this unpleas­ant sit­u­a­tion, I knew that if I remained with the con­sta­ble and his drunk­en par­ty the rest of the night, I would have no time to go far­ther for Phillips after jus­ti­fy­ing myself (as I hoped to do) before Mr. Young, the mag­is­trate’s son.  I was resolved if pos­si­ble to accom­plish the busi­ness I set out on, before my return to the ship.

I there­fore thought it pru­dent to leave my watch with the Land­la­dy on con­di­tion that it would be for­feit­ed if I did not deliv­er myself to the con­sta­ble in the course of the day.  I then start­ed for Malin Tow­er, got Phillips with some dif­fi­cul­ty, and returned to Culdaff about 11 in the morn­ing on my way to join the ves­sel.  The wor­thy Land­la­dy, who was over­joyed to see me, informed me that the sto­ry of my appre­hen­sion was mis­rep­re­sent­ed by the drunk­en con­sta­ble (Robt. McEl­lis), and that Mr. Geo. Young, the res­i­dent mag­is­trate’s son, had writ­ten a note to her [Mrs. McCaus­land]  hus­band to send him the watch as he believed it belonged to a very sus­pi­cious char­ac­ter.  The watch how­ev­er was deliv­ered to me.  I sur­ren­dered myself to the con­sta­ble.  This was rather worse than I expect­ed but I was oblig­ed to submit.



I sent word to Phillips (who was wait­ing at some dis­tance for me) that he must go on and join the ves­sel as quick as pos­si­ble and tell the Capt. that as I was com­pelled to go eight miles out of my way before a mag­is­trate, I could not reach Moville soon­er than 3 p.m.  His promise that “he would not sail with­out me” I depend­ed on and set out with the con­sta­ble’s son (his father being inca­pable from drink­ing) for Major D’Ar­cy’s with all the con­fi­dence of con­scious inno­cence.  Mr. Geo. Young, Jr. had gone out there to con­sult on my case and was sit­ting with Major D’Ar­cy when I arrived there.  My sto­ry was plain and I relat­ed to them in a few words the cir­cum­stances that induced me to walk through the Barony at such an irreg­u­lar hour.

I rep­re­sent­ed the dan­ger I was in of los­ing my pas­sage if detained longer, and the inquiry that was already done by improp­er con­duct of the con­sta­ble the night before.  My awk­ward sit­u­a­tion excit­ed their indig­na­tion against my per­se­cu­tor. McEl­lis was turned out of his employ­ments and Mr. Young rode off to Culdaff to pro­cure a boat for me to meet the ves­sel com­ing ’round Innishowen Head.  I thanked Major D’Ar­cy for his polite atten­tion and start­ed out for the shore again.

When I arrived there the tide had ebbed from the boats a great dis­tance and I was oblig­ed (rather than wait for its return) to start off for Moville.  It was now 2 in the morn­ing** but I hoped to reach the ves­sel before she weighed anchor.  My mor­ti­fi­ca­tion and despair can­not be con­ceived when I came in sight of Moville Bay and found that the ves­sel had sailed at 11 in the morn­ing.  In this dilem­ma I con­clud­ed instant­ly on return­ing to Mr. Young and fol­low­ing in one of his boats the Per­se­ver­ance out to the Ocean if possible.

With this view I stript off my shoes, stock­ings and hired a guide to car­ry them and ran the near way across the moun­tains to the same unfor­tu­nate Culdaff where I arrived about 9 in the evening com­plete­ly exhaust­ed with anx­i­ety, hunger and fatigue.  No time was lost, by my valu­able friend, Mr. Geo. Young in procur­ing six trusty fel­lows, well acquaint­ed with the man­age­ment of a boat, to car­ry me out after the ves­sel.  With­out wait­ing to clear the small boat of a fish­ing net that lay in it or even to put on their coats, shoes or stock­ings, they leaped into it and shoved off from the shore a lit­tle before sun­set in a dark, low­er­ing evening.  My fears on ven­tur­ing myself in a small fish­ing boat so late were increased on per­ceiv­ing my com­pan­ions drop their oars and cross them­selves when start­ing; but the desire of join­ing the ves­sel over­came every oth­er consideration.

We had not even rowed far when it began to blow and rain and I became seasick.

Light­house Island (Inish­trahull)

My unfor­tu­nate sit­u­a­tion seemed to act as a stim­u­lus on the Boat­men to exert them­selves.  We steered past Light­house Island*** out to the ocean in hopes to come across the Per­se­ver­ance in her course west.  About twelve o’clock at night we spoke to a small ves­sel bound from Scot­land to Lon­don­der­ry and short­ly after came up with anoth­er from the West Indies.  From the lat­ter we learned that the ves­sel we were in pur­suit of was far to the West­ward and that when she met her, the stud­ding sails were set by a fair breeze in her favour.  This intel­li­gence set aside all hopes of over­tak­ing her and we con­clud­ed on return­ing to Light­house Island where we arrived about 2 in the morn­ing exhaust­ed with want of sleep, fatigue, and sickness.


* In an effort to sup­press grow­ing reli­gious and polit­i­cal dis­con­tent, the Irish gov­ern­ment passed a series of Insur­rec­tion Acts between 1800–1802, 1807–1810, 1814–1818 and 1822–1824.  The Insur­rec­tion Acts stip­u­lat­ed that any­one found out­side of their homes between sun­set and sun­rise would be sub­ject to arrest.
** Daytime
*** A now-unin­hib­it­ed island called Inish­trahull Island, it is locat­ed about 6 miles north­east of Malin Tower.

Next week — will Hugh be stuck in Ire­land?  Find out in Part III.