Death of E. Hunt -Gets the privilege to Work- Good Pay -Act of Parliament - Poetry - A Captain's Compliments -Wish granted - A Report - Paper - A Prize - Prayers on board - A Privilege - Reckoning- Critical Situation - Small-Pox - Visitors - Report from America - Small Pox prevails - Captain Rowe - Ship Nancy taken -Terrible Punishment - Carried to the Hospital - Treatment for Itch.
FFBRUARY 23. Sunday. We have an opportunity for reading.
24. Mr. Holland, the master-at-arms of the ship, has been on shore; he informs us of the death of one of our company - Ebenezer Hunt. He died on the 20th of this month, in the Royal Hospital; he was one of the nine that were sent on shore the 15th inst.
25. This morning Mr. Holland came into our apartment inquiring for a joiner. I offered myself, and went upon deck to work for him. He obtained the liberty of the carpenter's bench and tools, and I went to work, getting, also, permission for one of my acquaintances to come upon deck and work with me, We made him a table, for which he gave us a bag to put our clothes in, half of a salt fish, a quart of potatoes, six biscuits, and butter to eat with our fish, besides a good hot supper.
26. I had an opportunity of reading a newspaper wherein was a confirmation, in several different places, of General Lee's being taken. I saw, also, an Act that was moved in Parliament and passed in the affirmative, 112 to 35; according to which we are guilty of high treason, and are sentenced to prison, there to lay, without bail, until the first of January, 1778, and then to have a trial.
It's our misfortune sure
'Tis folly to be in a rage,
Though hardships we endure.
Once more our native place,
For to enjoy our liberty,
Before we've run our race.
27. Last night the Boyne came up to her mooring, having sprung a leak and carried away her fore-topmast. She is the second, out of the three which sailed on the 15th inst., that has returned in distress. This ship's guns and carriages were brought alongside, and there were not men enough to hoist them in; so the captain sent his compliments to us, to see if we would assist in getting them on board, which we willingly did, because he appears to be the best friend to us that we have met with since we have been taken.
28. We had a paper wherein is an account of the march and defeat of the King's troops towards Philadelphia, with the loss of fourteen or fifteen hundred men.
MARCH 1. Myself and one of my shipmates have again been upon deck to work. We made a chest for the master-at-arms, for which he gave us some biscuit. We mended also, a table for the ship's cook, for which he gave us a supper and some spare bread and meat. It is in the paper that the ship which brought Dr. Franklin from Philadelphia to France, as she was returning, took a brig laden with fish, three days out of port, belonging to the same gentleman that bought the Dolton.
2. Prayers were read on board this ship to-day, and we were allowed to go on deck to hear them. A frigate arrived, after a six months' cruise, as we know by her firing a salute - which they are not allowed to do unless they have been six months absent. Myself and another have the liberty from the carpenter of the ship to work every day when we can get work to do.
26. It is four months since we sailed from Portsmouth, having been in that time twenty-eight days on board the Dolton, twenty-seven days on board the Reasonable, nineteen on board the Bellisle, six on board the Tarbay, and forty-one on board the Burford, which is our present place of abode.
27. We are told that we are to go on shore tomorrow to prison. Our company, one after another, are daily dropping sick, and about forty of us have the itch - but our sick have as good care taken of them on board this ship as we could expect, and we are visited morning and evening by the doctor.
28. I have been poorly some days past, and having no appetite for my food I bought a quarter of a pound of sugar to sweeten some water gruel, which is the best that I can get here.
29. To-day two more were sent on shore to the Hospital, sick.
30. Sunday. But the time is badly spent for persons in our situation, who do not know how soon the gallows may be our doom.
31. I had sent to me, by the surgeon of the ship, about a pound of sugar and two ounces of tea, for some work which I did for him some time ago, and this morning I made some tea for my breakfast, which I drank with a good relish.
APRIL 1. To-day I took an emetic of the doctor. There is another one of our company attacked with the small-pox, and to all human appearances, it will go through the company. I do not know that I ever can have it better than now, as I am well dieted, and therefore do not try to escape it.
2. To-day the Admiral and his lady, with several other ladies, came on board this ship to dine. This afternoon the man with small-pox was sent on shore, to the hospital.
3. Windy, cold weather. We hear that three American privateers went into Ireland, victualed and watered, and went out again, before it was known who they were.
4. This ship is bending her sails; it is reported that she is bound to sea soon. I suppose she is bound to Spithead, where a number from this place have gone.
5. Last evening the master-at-arms told us that we were to go on shore to-day at ten o'clock, but we are not there yet. Today we had an opportunity of reading a newspaper, wherein is an account of the Americans taking nine hundred Hessian troops, on Christmas evening. As we are not allowed a paper, when we get one we are obliged to be very cautious how and when we read it.
6. Sunday. Again there has been prayers on board this ship, and a sermon preached. Another one of our company has broken out with the small-pox.
7. To-day the man with the small-pox was sent on shore.
8. There is another broken out with small-pox, and I expect every day to be attacked myself
9. Two more of our company are quite unwell, and we expect it is small-pox. A lad who stole, and was obliged to run the gauntlet twice before, stole again, and to-day was punished in the same manner.
10. To-day three more were sent on shore with the small-pox, and three returned from the Hospital well, who were carried on shore the 15th of February. They tell us that they were used well. We hear that Captain Joseph Rowe has been taken in the ship "Nancy," from Newbury, and has been brought in here. He has now his liberty on shore, but his men are on board the Ocean, which is the Admiral's ship.
11. To-day the same lad who has stolen and run the gauntlet three times before, stole again; and we took another method with him. We tied him up, and our boatswain's mate gave him two dozen with the cat, on his bare back. At the least computation, in the three times which he run the gauntlet, exclusive of the punishment be received today, he must have bad seven or eight hundred lashes, with hard nettles, on a bare back.
12. Pleasant weather. To-day eight more of our company were carried on shore to the Royal Hospital, with the itch, and myself amongst the number. Alas! little did I think, six months ago, that I should ever set my foot on this island. It is four months and seventeen days since I left Portsmouth, all of which time I have been on the water. There are now twenty-four of our company in these hospitals, some with the small-pox, and the rest with the itch.
13. Sunday. I have been taking sulphur, to prepare for anointing this evening.
14. The first day I came here I was put upon diet; I had only half a pound of bread and a quart of milk, but now I am put on full allowance, which is a pound of beef, a pound of potatoes, and three pints of beer, per day.
15. We take a large spoonful of sulphur mixed with honey and cream tartar, morning and evening, and in the evening also use the ointment.