Tag Archives: July 4th

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part VII: July 4th Party, Sailor-style

Bar­be­cue on the Per­se­ver­ance for the 4th of July!  Times real­ly haven’t changed much, have they?  This week, Hugh talks about the bit­ter­sweet cel­e­bra­tion and the food sit­u­a­tion in gen­er­al on-board.


July 4th
W. Lon. 17 N. Lat. 55 Degrees 30

Capt. Gale is a warm repub­li­can and com­mem­o­rat­ed this day, the anniver­sary of Amer­i­can Inde­pen­dence, with all the cer­e­mo­ny and pomp our sit­u­a­tion admit­ted of. A half grown hog (the Amer­i­cans called “a skoat”) was killed for the occa­sion and boiled up with salt pork, beef and pota­toes cut in small slices. This was sent into the steer­age and if we may judge from the quan­ti­ty devoured, the Irish repub­li­cans on board cel­e­brat­ed the birth­day of inde­pen­dence with as much fer­vour as any Demo­c­rat in the U. States. The day was spent in the great­est hilar­i­ty and this evening (like many oth­ers) closed with a turn at the “Sit­ting Brogue*” and “Jump the Bulock” and sev­er­al pas­times prac­ticed at Irish wakes. These amuse­ments tend­ed very much to rec­on­cile us to our soli­tary float­ing prison.

Salt pork was a com­mon sta­ple on Transat­lantic trips. It’s sim­i­lar to bacon, but it is not smoked, and it is very salty.

Though a cab­in pas­sage has many con­ve­niences, yet I can­not rec­om­mend it to a per­son that is either fond of a veg­etable diet or has been brought up in the coun­try. The food is very good in itself but is not suit­ed to a lub­ber­ly palate as the sailors say. It con­sists prin­ci­pal­ly of salt beef (by them called junk), salt pork, a few pota­toes, hard bis­cuit, and once in a while, a fowl. For my part I could live no longer on it. My con­sti­tu­tion had been affect­ed by the fatigue before I came on board and the sea­sick­ness, etc. had togeth­er with the salt pro­vi­sions reduced me to a skele­ton. With some dif­fi­cul­ty I per­suad­ed the Capt. and my good friend Wm. Reed to make arrange­ments to take me into steerage.

I accord­ing­ly joined Wm. Reed’s mess and he took my place in the cab­in. My com­pan­ions or mess­mates now were Alex. Rowl­ston from near Fin­tona, Dan’l. Arm­strong from Irvinestown, Coun­ty Fer­managh, nephew to Grager Irvine of N.T. Stew­art** and John Woods a decent mar­ried man from Ard­strau com­ing out to his broth­er, a respectable whole­sale mer­chant in Philadel­phia. With these asso­ciates I lived pret­ty com­fort­able the remain­der of the voy­age. The change of food made a rapid alter­ation in my health. In a few days I was as well and hap­py as my sit­u­a­tion admit­ted of. In fact I think a pas­sen­ger who lays in some live fowl, bar­ley, flour and some oth­er nec­es­saries and lives with econ­o­my, can feel more at ease in the steer­age than in the cab­in with all its varieties.

I had now an oppor­tu­ni­ty of see­ing the mode of cook­ery prac­ticed by our male com­pan­ions. At first it con­sist­ed of such a dis­gust­ing vari­ety of ingre­di­ents that one would sup­pose they had copied some Receipt like Dean Swift’s*** “Man Wal­lop”. But by degrees the sys­tem improved great­ly amongst them. Every­thing was pro­fuse­ly wast­ed at the com­mence­ment of the voy­age and of course became of tre­ble val­ue before we got to land. I have heard 10 s.  or 1/8 lb. of tobac­co, 8 s. for 1 qt. Whiskey and 5 per peck for oat­meal. This ought to be a  salu­tary warn­ing to others.


* “Sit­ting Brogue” is a game in which play­ers sit on the floor and pass a brogue (a shoe) under their knees and, after the shoe has made it around the cir­cle, the last play­er toss­es it to the “shoe­mak­er” stand­ing in the mid­dle of the ring.  If the shoe­mak­er catch­es the shoe, the shoe toss­er takes the shoe­mak­er’s place in the ring.

** N.T. Stew­art is an abbre­vi­a­tion of New­town­stew­art, a town in Coun­ty Tyrone near Hugh Camp­bel­l’s fam­i­ly home.

*** Dean Swift is Jonathan Swift, the Irish essay­ist who penned Gul­liv­er’s Trav­els.

Next Week: Blackmail