Tag Archives: Moses Gale

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part XIII: Almost There!

The pas­sen­gers and crew get some more food and a dose of good news.


29th August
W. Lon. 68 Degrees, N. Lat. Degrees

At sea every­thing attracts atten­tion that varies the monot­o­ny of the sur­round­ing expanse. A shoal of por­pois­es, Gram­pus­es, fly­ing fish or a shark was sure to excite live­ly sen­sa­tions for the moment. But if a soli­tary sail was seen glid­ing along the edge of the hori­zon our deck would be crowd­ed with the pas­sen­gers. How inter­est­ing to them, this frag­ment of a world has­ten­ing to rejoin the great mass of exis­tence! And what a vari­ety of curi­ous sup­po­si­tions on the sub­ject!! Almost every day we came in sight of 2 or 3 ves­sels but spoke not more than 4.

The dis­con­tent­ment on board increased so much that the Capt. had resolved for 2 or 3 days past to go aboard the first ves­sel that approached near enough and pur­chase a sup­ply of tobac­co and oth­er nec­es­saries for the pas­sen­gers. This morn­ing a small ves­sel appeared in view bear­ing towards us under a light breeze. Our jol­ly boat was got out and the Capt. went on board of her. She proved to be a small schooner called the Mary bound from Bal­ti­more to Annapo­lis, Nova Sco­tia. The own­er and Capt. were both on board. After
remain­ing about 2 hours with them, our Capt. returned with a sup­ply of rum, lime juice, oranges, sug­ar, pork and biscuit.

Sandy Hook

Part of these he paid for and part were bestowed us. He brought also the joy­ful tid­ings that we were in Lon. 68 degrees and that the schooner was in sight of Sandy Hook* three days ago. This sup­ply, togeth­er with the cheer­ing news with which it was accom­pa­nied, pro­duced an excel­lent effect on the droop­ing spir­its of the pas­sen­gers and put a com­plete end to their griev­ances. The dis­con­tent of a tedious voy­age was for­got­ten in the joy­ful expectan­cy of short­ly land­ing on the shores of the great “land of promise.”


Sep­tem­ber 1st
W. Lon. 70 Degrees, N. Lat. 41 Degrees

As we approached the land the Capt. began to put things in a train for enter­ing port. He engaged me to set­tle his accounts with the sailors and make out man­i­fests and oth­er papers to be hand­ed in to the Cus­tom House on his arrival. I was thus employed every day until we came in sight of land and every­thing was in the best train I was capa­ble of putting it when we came to anchor. The Capt. was high­ly pleased with every­thing and the crew were very well con­tent­ed with the state of their accounts.


* Sandy Hook is a large land spit in New Jer­sey at the mouth of Low­er New York Bay.

Next week: Land!

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!

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…

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part X: Going fishing

This week, Cap­tain Gale smooths things over with the skep­ti­cal pas­sen­gers, and the crew goes fishing…sort of.


28th July
W. Lon. 32, N. Lat. 45 degrees 50’

The wind had been favor­able hereto­fore but some days it appeared to set­tle in the West. The pas­sen­gers began to get unhap­py and as is always the case, mur­mured against the

Emi­grants at dinner.

Capt. and offi­cers when they could blame noth­ing else. Sev­er­al ridicu­lous sto­ries were cir­cu­lat­ed and believed by most of them. Some said the Capt. had lost his reck­on­ing and was tak­ing us lord knows where, oth­ers that the ship had sprung a leak and that he was mak­ing for the near­est port to get ashore before she would sink and a third swore that the ship was such a clum­sy, slow sail­ing ves­sel that we might not get to New York before Christ­mas. It required all the influ­ence of the Capt. to rec­on­cile the fer­ments that such ridicu­lous sto­ries were cal­cu­lat­ed to pro­mote. He would sit in the steer­age and laugh half the day with pas­sen­gers and when any­thing nice was cooked for his own table he was sure to send the greater part to the female pas­sen­gers and old men. By these and many oth­er lit­tle atten­tions he grad­u­al­ly gained the good will of all and I ver­i­ly believe that they sup­port­ed their tedious voy­age with greater for­ti­tude than they would have done under any oth­er Capt.

August 1st
W. Lon. 34.50, N. Lat. 44


Fly­ing Fish

About this time we began to see the beau­ti­ful fish called the Dol­phin and their unfor­tu­nate prey the fly­ing fish. I caught one of the for­mer by a bait this day. Noth­ing can sur­pass them in beau­ty when tak­en out of the water. All the var­ied col­ors of the rain­bow seem to unite in their skin. When cooked with pork and pota­toes they make a dish called chow­der, which tastes mighty well on the sea though the fish itself is very dry and lit­tle more than palatable.


When they per­ceive a fly­ing fish they swim in pur­suit with uncom­mon swift­ness. As
soon as the fly­ing fish finds itself in dan­ger, it ris­es to the sur­face, expands its fins or wings and flies in a smooth rapid man­ner as long as it keeps moist. But its ene­my still watch­es its course, swims under it and fre­quent­ly receives it into its mouth as it falls.


Next week:  Sailor Hugh

The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part IX: O Captain! My Captain!

This week, Hugh learns a lit­tle more about the gen­er­ous Cap­tain Moses Gale.…

July 20th
W. Lon. 26, N. Lat. 52 Degrees 50’

Capt. Gale was very fond of polit­i­cal con­tro­ver­sy and would take great plea­sure in con­tend­ing in a fine evening with me on this sub­ject. I con­stant­ly sup­port­ed the British con­sti­tu­tion to him and most of my fel­low pas­sen­gers, who with­out know­ing any­thing about it, pre­tend to be great admir­ers of the Amer­i­can form of gov­ern­ment. In the course of my con­ver­sa­tion with him I got acquaint­ed with his history.

Roll call on deck of an emi­grant ship.

His father was an inhab­i­tant of Geor­gia and owned a hand­some plan­ta­tion in that state. He died at an ear­ly peri­od of the Capt.’s life and left him and two or three oth­er help­less chil­dren to the care of a Guardian. When they arrived at the age to get pos­ses­sion of their father’s estate they were told it had been expend­ed on their edu­ca­tion and were con­se­quent­ly thrown on the world. See­ing noth­ing bet­ter offer, he got one of the most menial offices before the mast in a ves­sel bound from Augus­ta to the West Indies and by degrees rose through every sta­tion until about 6 years ago, he was made Capt. by his present employ­er (Mr. Sul­li­van of New York) as a reward for good con­duct and long ser­vice. He is about forty and has been mar­ried some time to a ter­ma­gant* lady by whom he has two or three children.

To give a spec­i­men by his good nature and phil­an­thropy, I need only relate what he did for myself in tak­ing me on board friend­less and des­ti­tute. But his good offices did not end here. He gave up with­out any renu­mer­a­tion his own state room to Mr. Gray and fam­i­ly from Blan­ket­neuh and gave a free cab­in pas­sage to James Kerr of N.T. Stew­art. He after­wards took in a Miss Jane Camp­bell from Der­ry as an extra pas­sen­ger. This lady came off under very del­i­cate cir­cum­stances and was put under the Capt.’s care. In order to accom­mo­date her with a birth in the cab­in he gave his own cot to J. Kerr that she might use his cab­in berth, etc. Through­out the whole voy­age he slept in a ham­mock and suf­fered many incon­ve­niences for no ben­e­fit. One day while sit­ting with him on the Bowsprit** he per­ceived my melan­choly rather deep­er than usu­al and entered into con­ver­sa­tion on the sub­ject. “Don’t be dis­cour­aged my dear Camp­bell,” said he “for should that d—nd ras­cal Phillips be gone from New York with all you have, I will fur­nish you with mon­ey to car­ry you to any port in the U. States. Things will turn out bet­ter than you expect but I am d—nd if they can turn out worse. You can pay me some time if you live and if not I’ll for­give you.”

These unpar­al­leled offers of assis­tance which called forth my warmest thanks and grat­i­tude were after­wards renewed in New York. But thank God I nev­er required any assis­tance not with­stand­ing every unfor­tu­nate occur­rence that hap­pened me.


* Vio­lent, shrewlike.
** Pole extend­ing for­ward off the front of the ship.

Next week: Cap­tain Gale makes nice with the pas­sen­gers, and the crew goes sport fishing.