Sunday 3 July 1836

[, on board the wrote. | Read source notes.]

13 July 1836. I have now been on board nearly a fortnight almost a sufficient time to become tired of the sea, of watching the sailors at their employment, and of the general novelty of my situation. Partly by way of amusement, and partly to fulfil my promise to my relations & friends in England, I commence a journal of my voyage. And with what different feelings do I begin this my history to those which when on land I thought wd [would] reign over me! I had fancied that when surrounded by the ocean, when the land of my fathers had vanished from my sight, when my eye could rest alone upon the waste of waters, I should be thrilled into poetry, or at least experience some poetical sensations; but alas! my mind is much more interested in the numerous discussions which take place upon the relative merits of pork and beef, upon the diseases of fowls, ducks, & geese in overloaded coops and upon the various modes of assuaging their pains, than upon the sublimity of the vasty deep; it is true, I have not yet seen the sea ‘in a fury, & lashing itself with its waves’ (T.K. Hervey), but I much doubt whether if I had, sea sickness would have left me much power of admiration. But to my journal.

On Thursday, June 30th at four o’clock Harriet & I joined the Africaine at Gravesend which immediately afterwards moved down with the tide. To those who know my wife’s ardent attachment to her family and their unsurpassed love for her, a description of her anguish at parting and state on embarkation would be superfluous – they can imagine it all; if any others should ever perchance to see this paper, as they cannot be supposed to care much about her, they may just guess. I may however tell my friends that whatever I felt under similar circumstances, was considerably alleviated by the necessity of attention to my wife, who required all my consideration. Fortunately the weather was delightful; the light winds that blew gave hardly any perceptible motion to the ship, and were refreshing in the extreme. Sleep aided to restore her, and by Saturday afternoon when the Africaine anchored off Deal for the reception of the Captain & some of the party, she was in good health and spirits.

In the course of the afternoon Capn Duff and his wife came on board. They had been married but on the previous Thursday; a circumstance which had caused a little delay in the departure of the ship from London; with them Mr & Mrs Hallett arrived. On the following morning Mr & Mrs Brown were received on board, and with them the number of passengers was completed. I must here record an act of kindness which cannot be obliterated from the recollection of Harriet & myself while the faculty of memory remains. Knowing the great anxiety we felt respecting the effect Harriet’s departure would have upon her sisters as well as their aniety for her, our good friend Samuel Denton travelled all night to Deal that he might bring & take the last account of us and them. He remained but about ten minutes on board, and returned to London with a satisfactory account.

The vessel being in disorder in consequence of her this day commencing her voyage, prayers were not read; some books were however distributed among the passengers which had been supplied by my friend Mr Binney for the use of the ship during the voyage, afterwards to be given by me to some public religious institution. On conversing with some of the labouring emigrants, I find they are desirous of establishing a school on board for the instruction of some of the party who are unable to read. When the first trials of the passage are over, this will be a subject for attention. Letters were sent home from Deal to numerous members of our families.

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