Christmas Pudding - Christmas Presents - Clothes served - Happy New Year - Friends appear - Presents - Friends increase - Large Donations reported - Donation from British Recruiting Parties - Private Donations - Exhortations to a civil, sober life - Large distribution of Clothing - Royal Salute - Regular Allowance from Donation Fund - Increasing Privilege.
DECEMBER 23. To-day we have new printed orders put up in prison, which are from the commissioners, to be strictly observed by us.
24. It is twelve months since I was taken, and as to-morrow is Christmas, and we have a little money, we are resolved to have something more than we had last Christmas; accordingly we sent out for five pounds of flour, one pound of suet, one pound of plums, half a pound of sugar, half an ounce of spice, and two quarts of milk, to mix the same for a pudding.
25. Christmas. To-day had our intended pudding, and as there was so much of it that we could not conveniently boil it all in one bag, we made two of it, and the largest was as much as seven of of us wanted to eat at one meal, with our other provisions; these seven were of our own mess, and three of our neighbors, whom we invited. To-day our baker, who supplies us with bread, instead of brown bread, sent us white, and our butcher, instead of beef, gave us mutton, and instead of cabbage we had turnips; and the butcher's wife gave us oatmeal to thicken our broth, and salt to salt it; so that on the whole, we had not so hungry a Christmas as the last. I must confess I have a very agreeable expectation, if my life is spared and the Lord pleases to permit me, to sit down at my father's table next Christmas.
26. To-day considerable bread was given in the yard, by gentlemen who visited us, besides a penny loaf to each mess, sent in by our friends outside.
27. For some days I have been unwell, and this morning I took a portion of salts.
28. Sunday. Warm weather, as it is natural in this country and different from what it is in America, at this season of the year.
29. For a month past, I send out every few days and buy half a pound of tobacco, and retail it out, so that I can afford to sell better measure than can be bought at public market at the gate, and thus oblige myself and my neighbors.
30. To-day we had clothes served out to us, and some who were almost naked received a jacket, breeches, and two shirts, two pairs of stockings, a pair of shoes, and a cap. I received only a pair of shoes. Although I have been a prisoner more than an twelve months, I have received only a pair of shoes from government: for we have reason to think that the clothes and bedding which were served to our company on board the Burford, were given us by the captain of the ship.
31. Those who did not receive clothes yesterday, had them to-day, except shoes, which they are to have in a few days; and those who petitioned the Board to go on board His Majesty's ships, received an answer from the Lord of the Admiralty, that all those who are legally committed to prison could not be bailed. However, our long-wished-for day draws near, for to-morrow the Act will expire, by which we were committed to prison. But we hear that it is likely to be renewed again; God forbid it should be so.
1778. January 1. I wish myself and all my brother fellow-sufferers a very happy new year. I do not know how to express my joy for so good a beginning, but by hoping that it will end better.
No sooner is this very impolitic Act out, than our friends make themselves known to us, which before they dared not do. To-day we had sent to us a plum pudding, and a sixpenny white loaf, to each mess, as a new year's gift, which, with our allowance, was sufficient for one day. Some gentlemen, also, who are friends, came to see us, and among the number was one Mr. Hancock, cousin of John Hancock, president of the Continental Congress. They inform us that upwards of £800 sterling have been raised in London for the relief of the prisoners here, and that they are daily raising more. They further told us, that we should not want for any thing, so long as we are prisoners in England. Transporting words! We have found friends in adversity. "Friends in need, are friends indeed."
2. To-day we received nothing but our usual allowance.
3. To-day we had sent to us a pound of soap to each man!
4. Sunday. We had sent to us a four pound loaf, and about six ounces of shag tobacco, to each mess, which we are told was given us by private gentlemen.
5. We had sent us a gallon of potatoes, to each mess, and oatmeal to thicken our broth.
6. To-day we had half a pint of peas instead of greens, to each mess; by order from the Board, we are to have peas four times a week, which we like very much. Again, also, we bad a white loaf sent us to each mess, and a small number of books. To-day two boys, in prison, were tied up and whipped, a dozen each, for making game of the provision, because it was not cooked well.
7. To-day one hundred and fifty blankets were sent us, to be given to those who need them most; and as there are two hundred and eighty-nine prisoners here, there is not one to each man; so those who have the best bedding receive none, and as I have sufficient, I want none.
8. We had a threepenny loaf to each mess, sent us to-day, and as four of our number, who came last to prison, have not had the small-pox, they went to the hospital to be inoculated.
9. This afternoon a number of gentlemen came, and read a letter to us, which gives an account of upwards of £200 sterling having been raised in Bristol, for the relief of the prisoners here; also, an account of £2,276 raised in London, for the same purpose. In Portsmouth, we hear that there are about one hundred and forty prisoners, so that the number here and there, amounts to four hundred and twenty-nine. What we have received hitherto, has no connection with these donations, but was given by private gentlemen.
10. We had sent us a threepenny loaf to each mess, and three hundred herring, to be divided amongst us. Also, it being a pleasant day, the prison was smoked with charcoal and brimstone, as is customary once in a few days.
11. We hear that Parliament is warned to meet six days sooner than it adjourned for.
12. To-day is the first that we have received any thing from the donation raised for us, and now we have a stated rule, which is a fourpenny loaf each day, out of the money raised in Bristol, except a few officers, who of choice, receive the money instead of bread. We hear no more as yet, of the money raised in London, but we suppose it is not come down.
13. We are told that ten recruiting parties are gone out into the country, from the regiment which guards us. Also, Captain Henry Johnston received a letter from his brother in London, wherein he desires him to make himself easy, for we shall all be exchanged in the spring.
14. To-day two ministers came to see us, and informed us of many good things preparing for us, which are too numerous to mention here; but if we receive them, I shall give an account of them hereafter.
15. It is fourteen months to-day, since we sailed from Newbury. Also, we had sent us to-day, a yard of tobacco to each mess, and we are told that we are to have a yard every other day, which is four inches and a half to each man, per day.
16. Those who did not receive shoes on the 30th or 31st of last month, received them to-day. Also, we hear that all the wearing apparel that we have received as yet, was given us by government, but we are told that each of us is to have a great coat and a suit of clothes out of the money raised for us. Also, to-day we have another fourpenny loaf to each mess, which makes eight pennyworth of bread to each mess, per day, besides our allowance by government. We are advised by all our friends without, to make ourselves contented for a little while, for they tell us that they have all the reason in the world to believe that we shall be out of prison in three months. We had sent us a number of printed exhortations, urging us to lead a civil sober life, and to leave off swearing and profaning the name of the Lord, for that is the last thing that many do before they sleep, and the first after they awake.
17. To-day we had clothes served out to us, out of the money raised for us; such as two shirts, two pairs of stockings, a pair of shoes, jacket and breeches, to those who needed them, and caps. The officers received white linen shirts instead of check, and hats instead of caps. They tell us we are all to have great coats in a few days; the clothes have not all come, so we are not all served. I was served to-day. I received two shirts, two pairs of stockings, a pair of shoes, a jacket and cap. We had also, a pound of pork to each mess, to eat with our peas; and we are told that we are to have it every Saturday. We had tobacco served again, and are told it is to be continued.
18. Sunday. We have an addition of about half a pound of beef to each mess.
Lord Cornwallis arrived yesterday in the Sound, from America. We hear that Howe has taken all the forts which command the Delaware.
19. Last night there was a heavy thundersquall, and if I mistake not, there has been but one thunder-shower since I have been in England. Yesterday was the Queen's birth-day, but on account of its being Sunday they did not fire; but to-day each ship in commission, the fort and garison, fired twenty-one guns as a royal salute.
20. To-day they have again been serving clothes, but have not finished.
21. The remainder in prison had clothes served to them, so that each man in prison has received a great coat, and a suit, or nearly a suit, of clothes, out of the donation fund. We have, also, had our broth thickened, and it is to be continued; besides a pound of beef to each mess more than our allowance by government.
22. We have now got into a settled rule of receiving our donation. The officers, such as captains and lieutenants, are allowed five shillings a week; sailing masters and prize masters, four shillings a week; boatswains, carpenters, and such like, three shillings per week, and privateers-men, two shillings per week, which is laid out in such provisions as we think proper. What we receive in provisions, besides the government allowance, is as follows: one pound and a quarter of bread to each mess, and a quarter of a pound of beef per day, except Saturday; we then receive a quarter of a pound of pork. We have thickening and leeks in our broth; tobacco we receive every other day; soap we receive as we want it; but the officers, what they do not receive in provisions receive in money. We have now every thing that we want as to provisions and clothing; but there is one thing yet lacking - a thankful heart.
23. As keeping ourselves clean is conducive to health, the agent has indulged us, for a few days past, with liberty for six of us per day, to go down into a separate yard to wash, where there is a pump and convenience for washing.
24. I have heard little or no news, for this week past, and indeed no news is the best news for us; for if there is any thing against us, they are ready enough to tell us.
25. Sunday. Cold, blustering, unsteady weather.
26. It is fourteen months to-day, since we sailed from Portsmouth. To-day I went down into the hospital yard to see one of my sick acquaintances, who is down with the small-pox, under an excuse to go to wash.