The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part XI: Hugh gets a job

August 8th
W. Lon. 42, N. Lat. 41 Degrees 50’

Our chief mate, Mr. James La Deiu, was a native of New England (by the southern states called Yankees). He had been in the South American Patriot service* and lost (by smuggling slaves into Louisiana) all he possessed. By some means he got to New York where he was introduced to Capt. Gale just before he sailed. That he was desolate was a sufficient recommendation to our Capt. who was always the “friend of the friendless”. He took him in the capacity of confidential mate and had no cause to repent his choice during the voyage.  {Click on the image for a larger view.  Entry is continued below the map.}

Map of the Atlantic with some of Hugh's diary entries plotted.

He was a quiet, sober, cunning and shrewd young man well acquainted with the seafaring business from long experience. The Capt., who was always afraid of dispute arising on board, instructs him to keep a strict look out and prevent if possible any dispute from taking place lest something should induce one party or other to inform against him. In executing these orders he used too much rigor sometimes. One day for some trifling offense he beat in the most unmerciful manner the same Black sailor he punished on June 19th when leaving port.

This made him so unpopular that the Capt. was obliged to suspend him from all his offices and take upon himself the whole drudgery for the remainder of our voyage. This pacified every one. The sailor soon recovered from the effects of his beating and all went on as usual.

I had now the pleasure of assisting our Capt. in performing his part of the duty. The crew were divided into 2 equal parts (or watches) who sat up 4 hours alternately each night; one as commanded by the Capt., and the other by the 2nd mate, Mr. Ogden. In a few nights I learned the duty so well that I was able to command the watch as well in fair weather as any person. I had only to jump ship every half hour, heave the log** every hour, keep regularity and order amongst the sailors and call the other watch at the end of 4 hours. If a squall appeared I must go down and wake the Capt. as I did not know how to manage her then. Many a night have I sat listening to the incredible tales of the sailors about storms, ghosts, and shipwrecks. To be able in this manner to relieve the Capt. afforded me a most indescribable pleasure.

*****

* A South American Patriot was one who fought for America in support of the Spanish king during the Spanish American Wars of Independence between 1808 and 1829.
** “Heaving the log” is a method of determining the ship’s speed.

Next week: Food begins to run out…

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