Wednesday 6 April 1836

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

Letter Martin to Angas 6 April 1836

Dartmouth, April 6th 1836

To /

G.F. Angas Esqr


I have the pleasure to acknowledge receipt
of your letter, last evening, dated the 4th, when I wrote you on
last saturday, it was late, & having but just come to an Anchor,
being at the time much fatigued, not having been in a bed for
nearly ten days, you will pardon my not writing you at the time
all particulars, which by your leave I will now endeavour to do –
After having sailed from Falmouth, soon after passing the
Lizard the wind began to increase to a gale & variable from NWt
to SWt , taken every advantage of the wind changing to Tack,
in order to get to the westward, & had succeeded by the 26th of
March to get as far as 100–00′ West & 460–00′ North, the wind
still increasing, and nothing gale after gale, ancsiously looking
out for a change, each quartering of the moon, but to no effect;
On sunday 27th the wind at SWt, at 3 P.M the squalls
came on very fast & heavy, no appearance of a favourable
change, Bore up much against my will, in company with
several other Vessels, stowed all the fore & aft sails close reeft
the Fore Topsail, & endeavoured to set it, but by this time the
wind had increased to such a pitch, that with the assistance
of all the passengers I could not get the sheets more than half
home, nor could I take it in again, was glad it was so far set,
in order to keep the Vessel before the sea; the wind still
gradually increasing, with heavy squalls & very high sea; at
Midnight, thought it impossible that it the wind could continue
long with such violence, but of which I was mistaken, for the wind
& squalls became most terific, the sea rising to a dreadfull hight
& running very cross, from the wind veering from SWt to North; but
was obliged to keep her Dead before it, fearfull of heaving her too –
and as much as three or four men could do to steer her, to keep her
from broaching too, at 2 A.M (Monday Morning) a tremendous
sea broke on board of us, which complitely overwhelmd her in one
solid body of water, I then for some time gave up all hopes of ever
seeing her rise again, she being to all appearance at the time going
Down, in consequence of the great weight of water on her decks, the
long boat also being full of water, but having all hands on deck we
with bars & handspikes broke the Bulwark upon, by which means
the water got of the decks, & she rose her head again, set both Pumps
[to?], which to my great joy soon suck’t, the wind blowing now a most
dreadfull Hurrican, & the sea past all possible description, and in fact
past all belife, about 3 A.M. the fore yard came down in two pieces,
the Fore Topsail split in ribbands, the sea making a complete breach
over us fore & aft, & a most horrible sight, the Vessel appearing a
a complite wreck, not one on board ever expting to see daylight,
all the hatchways I had battend down, so no water could get below, by
this time, but the [seas?] had broken the sheep pens & washed the most of sheep
overboard – it had also broken the skylight & nearly fulld the cabin with
water, which damaged ever thing in my cabin, particularly my sextant,
quadrant, charts, cloths &c which with my stock of the desk, I should
not be able to replace for Thirty Pounds –, I had by this time thrown overboard
all the hay & every thing loose we could put our hands upon, in order
to lighten the weight of our Decks, I had one man washed overboard, but
fortunately succeeded in getting him in again, we were all now lashd
fast, two men to the Pumps, four men to the Helm & nothing but a
sight of Horror before us, passed a great quantety of wreck of
difrent description; at about noon the wind moderating a little and
the squalls less frequent; at 4 P.M. the wind Moderating fast & the
sea falling a little, though still very high & cross, hove her too under a
close reeft Main, cleared the decks as much as we could, but the crew
nearly wore out with fatigue, & two layd up intierly, I had now made
my mind up to run for the first port I could get to in France, so soon
as I could get the Fore yard fisht, saw several Vessels that had bore up
with us more or lessdistresed, & I am fearfull for some that I saw
on the comensment of the gale, they appearing to labour heavy when
I was making fine weather of it, & I must confes that the John Pirie
is without any exception the finest sea boat I ever was at sea in, or
els she would not now be in exsistance, on Wednesday got the Foreyard
fisht & across, bent a New Fore Topsail, the wind came from the
Southward, made all sail I could for England, on Thursday got good sights
for the Chronomiter, (which is a most excellent one) also a good
meridianal Altitude, shaped my course for the Lizard point, past
Ushant about 2 Oclock P.M –, light winds during the night, but in
the morning freshning again to a gale, & getting very thick, could not
see two miles ahead, run within a few miles of the Lizard, but could not
see it, hove too about 2 P.M & on the flood tide, about 6 P.M the wind
shifted round in a heavy squall to NNWt & cleared up when I found
myself not more than five miles off Falmouth Harbour, but blowing
so hard could not carry sail to get in, bore up for Plymouth, at daylight
was close in to Plymouth but again blown out, it blowing at the
time tremendously from the North, I then run close round the
Start point where I got a Pilot, and came safe to an Anchor at Dartmouth,
having the Carpenter & two men layd up, the Mate scearsly able to moove
myself not much better, & had I remaind two days longer at sea, I should
not had a man to stand the deck, I have not had two fine day all the month
of March,

Waiting you orders allow me most respectfully
to subscribe my self

Yours & the Company’s

Most Obt humbl servt

George Martin

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