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JOURNAL OF A VOYAGE TO INDIA.
shifted to nearly due north, answered our purpose extremely well. Our latitude this day at noon was 48° 9' long. W. 7° 21'. The weather fine, though cruelly cold for midsummer. I was this morning engaged by Scoresby's voyage to old Greenland, in 1822, but I find two circumstances for which, at sea, I was by no means prepared:--that, namely, we have no great time for study; and that for me, at least, there is so much which interests and occupies me, that I have no apprehensions of time hanging heavy on my hands.
June 22.- This day, being Sunday, the decks were all beautifully clean, having been well scrubbed on Saturday night. The awning was spread over the quarter-deck, and the capstan and sides of the vessel concealed and ornamented with flags of different nations. Chairs were set for the officers and passengers on the poop, and round the afterpart of the deck, and spars laid across the remainder as seats for the sailors, who attended church in clean shirts and trowsers, and well washed and shaved. In the space between the capstan and half-deck was a small table set for me and the purser, who acted as clerk, and I read prayers, and preached one of my Hodnet Sermons, slightly altered, to a very attentive and orderly congregation, of altogether, I should think, one hundred and forty persons. The awning made really a handsome church, and the sight was a very pleasing one.
June 24.-This morning we were roused, after a night of much vexatious rolling, by the intelligence that a sail was in sight by which we might send letters to England. I had some ready and finished others. She was pretty close with us at about eight; a small dark-sided brig, of very beautiful build, and with a British pendant, which made her pass for a man of war, though, on a nearer approach, the apparent slovenliness of her equipment, and a crowd of foreign and dirty-looking people on board, gave rise to various conjectures. Captain Manning hoisted out one of his cutters with ten oars, besides the quarter-master and the midshipman who commanded, a handsome boat, and making, from the appearance of the men, and their discipline, a show little inferior to that of a man of war. He sent our letters, together with two newspapers and two bottles of milk, a present which he said would fairly pay for the carriage of our despatches to England. She turned out to be a Falmouth packet, nine days out of Lisbon, crowded with different adventurers who had volunteered their services to the Spaniards and Portuguese, and were now returning dispirited and disappointed.
About noon several porpoises were seen, and a remarkable fish passed the ship, which some of the sailors called a devil-fish, others, I believe more correctly, a sun-fish. It was a very large and nearly circular flat fish, with, apparently, some rather vivid
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colours about it, like those tints which are found in the jelly-fish. It impelled itself forward by lashing the water with its tail, and swam exactly on a level with the surface. I at first thought that it was dead, but was soon satisfied to the contrary. The sailors seemed to regard it as a curiosity. The afternoon was cloudy, cold, and rainy, a bad summer's day in England, and what I should have still less expected in the parallel of Spain.
June 25.-We had this day a considerable swell with a foul wind, though not much of it. A grampus came close to the ship, and played round us for some time. In his apparent size he disappointed me, though every body said that if he had been on deck he would have measured fourteen or fifteen feet. He presented, as I should conceive, a complete miniature of a whale, blowing out water in the same manner. I find, indeed, that Captain Manning, and most persons on board, suppose that the grampus is only a young whale ; another, or the same grampus, in the course of the day, was seen chased by a group of porpoises, and a real (or full grown) whale was also seen, but I was not then on deck. The wind quite sunk again before evening; a number of little birds, like swallows, continued flying on the surface of the water and piping. The seamen called them“ mother Carey's chickens,” and said that a storm might be expected. Accordingly, on the wind rising a little after sun-set, all hands were called to take in the royal or upper top-gallant sails, and the company were told off with a reference to the duties expected from then with more than usual hurry. It blew hard about ten o'clock, and from two to three the storm was regarded as serious.
On the morning of the 26th nothing remained but a violent rolling and pitching sea.
June 30.—Two brigs were seen in the offing in the same course with ourselves, one of which gained on us fast, and overtook us about 3 p. m. She was the Christiana of Liverpool, in ballast, bound for Bahia, and to touch at Madeira by the way. An opportunity thus offered of sending our letters to the latter place, and thence to England.
The poop of the ship would be no bad place for air, study, or recreation, (it is indeed used as such by most of our young writers and cadets,) had it not the terrible drawback of a vile stench from the wretched imprisoned fowls, whose hen-coops cover it. These miserable birds suffer dreadfully for the gratification of our luxury. Though less crowded on board the Grenville than in inost vessels of the kind, they are even here packed like bottles in a rack, with hardly room to stir.
July 2.—During the night we made a somewhat better progress than we had done for a good while. The breeze continued to freshen from the N.E. and the day was pleasant. A vessel bound
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for London, three days from Funchal, passed us at dinner-time. We regretted bitterly that we had sent our packets by the Christiana, and that we had (now that so much better an opportunity occurred) nothing ready to despatch; but it was not to be helped. Captain Manning hailed the vessel, and asked her Master to report at Lloyd's that he had spoken the Thomas Grenville in such a latitude, all well," so that this, at least, our friends will have the satisfaction of seeing in the newspapers ere many days are over. My wife's eyes swam with tears as this vessel passed us, and there were one or two of the young men who looked wishfully after her. For my own part, I am but too well convinced that all my firmness would go if I allowed myself to look back even for a moment. Yet, as I did not leave home and its blessings without counting the cost, I do not, and I trust in God that I shall not, regret the choice that I have made. But knowing how much others have given up for my sake, should make me both more studious to make the loss less to them, and also, and above all, so to discharge my duty, as that they may never think that these sacrifices have been made in vain.
July 3.-We made an excellent progress during the night. At about five in the evening we saw Madeira on our larboard bow. The horizon was unfortunately hazy, and the night shut in with clouds, otherwise we should, about an hour after, have had a fine view of the land at about twenty miles distance on the beam. As it was, we could barely distinguish its outline through the mist; but the very sight of land, and the sense of progress which it communicated, were very exhilarating, and kept us all on deck till it was quite dark. During this evening the gale and the sea had continued to increase ; some of the cabins on the gun-deck had shipped water ; Mr. Burnet predicted uncomfortable weather; and the Captain, though he did not shorten sail, gave orders to have all the lower ports secured. We went to bed, therefore, not unprepared for a little tossing, though certainly not for all that followed. The wind was high during the night, and the swell more than commensurate; and our furniture, though we had secured it with unusual care, seemed alive. The moon, during the latter part of the night, was clear, and the view of the following surge from the cabin windows, was very majestic; but to enjoy it, it was necessary to hold hard with both hands.
July 4.-The gale and tossing continued all the forenoon; complaints of sleeplessness, broken heads and shins, were universal ; and we were only comforted by the assurance that we had seen, probably, the worst of the ship's rolling, and that, even off the Cape of Good Hope, nothing more than this was reasonably to be apprehended. Our progress too was very cheering. Our run
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during the last twenty-four hours was computed at two hundred miles, and our latitude at twelve was 31° 10'.
July 5.—Nothing very material occurred this day, excepting that some Aying fish began to be seen around us, but of so small a sort, that, though they were numerous, it was a long time before I could distinguish them from the spray among which they fluttered,
July 6.-We had divine service, and I read a sermon on the Epistle for the day.* I did not feel quite sure whether the subject were too difficult for the major part of my audience or no. But I thought its discussion might, at all events, be serviceable to the educated part of my hearers, and I did not despair of making myself understood by the crew. I am inclined to hope that I succeeded with many of them. All were very attentive, and the petty officers, more particularly, heard me with great apparent interest. I am, on the whole, more and more confirmed in the opinion which Horsley has expressed in one of his sermons, that a theological argument, clearly stated, and stated in terms derived from the ancient English language exclusively, will generally be both intelligible and interesting to the lower classes. They do not want acuteness, or the power of attending; it is their vocabulary only which is confined, and if we address them in such words as they understand, we may tell them what truths we please, and reason with them as subtilely as we can.
The flying fish to-day were more numerous and lively. They rose in whole flights to the right and left hand of the bow, flying off in different directions, as if the vast body of the ship alarmed and disturbed them. Others, however, at a greater distance, kept rising and falling without any visible cause, and, apparently, in the gladness of their hearts, and in order to enjoy the sunshine and the temporary change of element. Certainly there was no appearance or probability of any larger fish being in pursuit of even one hundredth part of those which we saw, nor were there any birds to endanger their flight; and those writers who describe the life of these animals as a constant succession of alarms, and rendered miserable by fear, have never, I conceive, seen them in their mirth, or considered those natural feelings of health and bilarity which seem to lead all creatures to exert, in mere lightness of heart, whatever bodily powers the Creator has given them. It would be just as reasonable to say that a lamb leaps in a meadow for fear of being bitten by serpents, or that a horse gallops round his pasture only because a wolf is at his heels, as to infer from the flight of these animals that they are always pursued by the bonito.
* Sixth Sunday after Trinity.
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July 8.—The sun was now fairly to the north of us, and our trade-wind, though light, was steady. One of the sailors, a lad of about seventeen, was accused of having, in wanton cruelty, stabbed and cut a sheep so severely that it bled to death. He had been cleaning knives near the sheep-pen, and the animal was found in this condition shortly after. He protested his innocence, and said the sheep had thrown down a board on which the knives were laid. The story was a lame one; but, with a very praiseworthy moderation, Captain Manning merely ordered him for the present into confinement, till the business could be more accurately inquired into. It is, he says, his general rule, and the rule of most captains in the Company's service, never to punish without a regular trial, or without some pause intervening between the accusation and the inquiry.
July 9.—The boy's trial came on, but he was discharged for want of sufficient evidence, with a suitable admonition. The day was fine. We were on deck the greater part of the morning, having transferred our Hindoostanee lecture thither. Our course continues south-west ; our latitude 20° 57', longitude 24° 32'. The favourable breeze almost became a gale towards night ; but we had less rolling than on former occasions.
July 11.—A flying fish fell on deck.this morning, and I examined it with much interest. The form and colours are not unlike a herring, with the addition of the two long filmy fins which support the animal in its short flights. This, however, was, as we were assured, a very small specimen, not exceeding the size of a small sparling or smelt.
July 13.-We had divine service on deck this morning. A large shoal of dolphins were playing round the ship, and I thought it right to interfere to check the barpoons and fishing-hooks of some of the crew. I am not strict in my notions of what is called the Christian Sabbath ; but the wanton destruction of animal life seems to be precisely one of those works by which the sanctity and charity of our weekly feast would be profaned. The seamen took my reproof in good part, and left the mizen chains where they had been previously watching for their prey. I trust that they will have other and better opportunities of amusement; this was a truly torrid day.
July 15.-A hot and close day, with much swell and little or no wind. The sails flapped dismally; the foretop-sail was split; and I saw with interest the dexterity of the sail-maker in repairing the damage without unbinding it from the yard. The evening was such as to portend both rain and wind, and one of the men at the helm said that “ he hoped it would blow its hardest,” so weary were the sailors of this dull and uninteresting weather. Lat. 9° 50'. In the course of this day some of the seamen went