Tag Archives: James LaDeiu

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part XI: Hugh gets a job

August 8th
W. Lon. 42, N. Lat. 41 Degrees 50’

Our chief mate, Mr. James La Deiu, was a native of New Eng­land (by the south­ern states called Yan­kees). He had been in the South Amer­i­can Patri­ot ser­vice* and lost (by smug­gling slaves into Louisiana) all he pos­sessed. By some means he got to New York where he was intro­duced to Capt. Gale just before he sailed. That he was des­o­late was a suf­fi­cient rec­om­men­da­tion to our Capt. who was always the “friend of the friend­less”. He took him in the capac­i­ty of con­fi­den­tial mate and had no cause to repent his choice dur­ing the voy­age.  {Click on the image for a larg­er view.  Entry is con­tin­ued below the map.}

Map of the Atlantic with some of Hugh’s diary entries plotted.

He was a qui­et, sober, cun­ning and shrewd young man well acquaint­ed with the sea­far­ing busi­ness from long expe­ri­ence. The Capt., who was always afraid of dis­pute aris­ing on board, instructs him to keep a strict look out and pre­vent if pos­si­ble any dis­pute from tak­ing place lest some­thing should induce one par­ty or oth­er to inform against him. In exe­cut­ing these orders he used too much rig­or some­times. One day for some tri­fling offense he beat in the most unmer­ci­ful man­ner the same Black sailor he pun­ished on June 19th when leav­ing port.

This made him so unpop­u­lar that the Capt. was oblig­ed to sus­pend him from all his offices and take upon him­self the whole drudgery for the remain­der of our voy­age. This paci­fied every one. The sailor soon recov­ered from the effects of his beat­ing and all went on as usual.

I had now the plea­sure of assist­ing our Capt. in per­form­ing his part of the duty. The crew were divid­ed into 2 equal parts (or watch­es) who sat up 4 hours alter­nate­ly each night; one as com­mand­ed by the Capt., and the oth­er by the 2nd mate, Mr. Ogden. In a few nights I learned the duty so well that I was able to com­mand the watch as well in fair weath­er as any per­son. I had only to jump ship every half hour, heave the log** every hour, keep reg­u­lar­i­ty and order amongst the sailors and call the oth­er watch at the end of 4 hours. If a squall appeared I must go down and wake the Capt. as I did not know how to man­age her then. Many a night have I sat lis­ten­ing to the incred­i­ble tales of the sailors about storms, ghosts, and ship­wrecks. To be able in this man­ner to relieve the Capt. afford­ed me a most inde­scrib­able pleasure.


* A South Amer­i­can Patri­ot was one who fought for Amer­i­ca in sup­port of the Span­ish king dur­ing the Span­ish Amer­i­can Wars of Inde­pen­dence between 1808 and 1829.
** “Heav­ing the log” is a method of deter­min­ing the ship’s speed.

Next week: Food begins to run out…