Marco Polo Project Saint John New Brunswick

Original Diary

The Great Voyage:
With Captain Forbes to Australia

W. 23.

    The Captain whent round last night at11 0 Clock to see things all right. He found one of the Stewards very tipsy and saucy with it. He took a Lamp from a pafsenger's Hand and Floor'd Him with it. He lookd quite a member of Eton College this morning. The wind has been contrary all day. In the Morning we were Steering East by North. At 12 0 Clock about Ship Steering W by 2 points North and Blowing very Hard and Pitching Heavy. The Gals all sick again and such a wet day and evening. We Have Had no music. Whist. Drafts and Chess with cribbage being the order of this wet day.

Th. 24.
   Going 10 Nots an Hour all day S.W. by W. A beautiful day quite a Summers one. The band played on Deck this afternoon. A little boy died this morning and I have just seen Him thrown over board. Its a very light night with a very large circle around the moon (I ever saw).

   Good Friday thought nothing of. Going well. All day 12 Nots. 2 points off South pafsd a Ship again today was 15 miles ahead and got up by Her in 3 Hours. The weather is getting much warmer. The wind Has been 1/2 gale High all day, carried away one of her Jibs - and shiftd a great many sprays which soaked some of the Pafsengers and caused fun for those who was lucky enough to escape.

S. 26th.
    Averaged 8 Nots all day Steering S.W. It has been very warm quite a Summers day. The pafsengers are all in white preparing for the Line. The Band playing and dancing this afternoon. All alive it would have been worth 100 £, to any one in bad Health to Have been on Board this vefsel, such a lovely day as we Have Had. I Have just been to the Hospital to see the Girl that was frightened about a week or so ago, which I spoke of at the time. She is a deal worse and it requires 3 to Hold Her. It's an awful sight and she cant be Here long as the Doctor tells me there is nothing pafsed through Her for the last 10 Days. Now for Blowing a Cloud.

Sun. 27.
    Steady Boys Steady. A lovely day as yesterday, on the right course but not going fast, 5 Nots. We Had Service this Morning on Deck at the Normal Hour and when we left off the [illegible] commenced & Singing - A great contrast between this and last Sunday. One cold enough for a great coat and Mackintosh and to day a thin pair of Trowsers and Wide awake being sufficient. A great many of the Pafsengers feel the Sudden change and I tell them by next Sunday a loose Sheet will be there Tog. It is laughable to see so many Hundreds drefsed all in a different style and all sorts of Colours. 2 fellows caused a deal of amusement this morning in appearing in a Scarlet Blouse with a Belt outside and Wide-awakes with a 2 feet hem to them.

M. 28th.
   We are now in the trade winds which are very steady as yet. Are Going about 6 Nots an Hour. A lovely day, Steering S.W. by W. The band on Deck this afternoon. There was a tremendous Row last night between the Irish Ladies and some of our Pafsengers. They came on Board as Widows of Officers and Gentlemans Daughters, But was surprised at Hearing the noise so late. I jumped out of my Bunk and to my surprise one of those Ladies was Swearing away and challenged to fight any man on Board the Marco Polo. It would puzzle even a Yankee to Pick out 6 such gals as we Have Here even in the Argyle Rooms in London. I am at a lofs to know what the result will be before our Landing at Melbourne. They are about all night long and some of the moonlight meets are queer ones to tell, I can assure you. The Captain Has, through the advice of His good Lady, for such she has advised him, put up a Notice on the Poop Cabin today that no ladies are to be on Deck after 10 0 Clock without being accompanied by their Husbands which of course no respectable Female would do, and Mrs Forbes declared she would not walke the deck if such Lounging about on the Poop was not stopd. The Captain whent on the top Royal of the main Mast this afternoon fancying He might be enabled to sight Cape Verd Islands. While doing so one of the Pafsengers followed Him. When He go so far as the Gallant we dispatched 2 Sailors after him to fasten Him to the Rigging. If they did it, a 2s fine would be His lot. He got acrofs the ropes and down the Gansel more than 120 feet High amidst rows of Laughter. As He came to the main mast, another sailor got on the rigging and made an attempt to stop Him, but of no service as He got clear of them all and on Deck while the Tars was looking down with astonishment, as much as to say the Bugar Hops about like a Monkey but said Monkey appears to be a perfect Gentleman and Has been on Board a Man of War this last 5 Years, which accounts for His being so expert in His exploits and offers to bet that all the Port Watch should not catch Him if He Had a fine start. A Watch was lost again last evening, which makes me look at mine a great many times a day.

Tues. 29.
The Captn whent below last evening rather late. He found two of the Cabin Pafsengers with the rest of the Gang Drinking their Wine and concockting there for plunder, I have no doubt. He took them by the scruf of the neck and sent them on Deck and after that He began with the Ladies. Swore if He caught either of them on the Poop Deck again He would throw them over Board, and if not quieter than last night He would land them all on the Cape Verd Islands in the morning (which we sighted about 4 0 Clock) which would be altogether about 23 of them. I Gave my Money and Watch and Weighbill Insurance etc., in the Captns Hand, as He said it was not safe in my Birth, so now I have not so much on my mind. One Pafsenger was lashed to the Rigging this afternoon for not paying His fine. There has been a fight just now in the 3rd Cabin between some of the Tipperary Boys, which are Cases. We Have been in Sight of the Verd Islands all day and very close they are, very mountainous and about 9000 feet above the level of the Sea and quite Barren. There was no Vegetation on the Side we saw not even not so much as a bit of Mofs. or even a stick. The scenery was Grand and it appeared more so to us in consequence of our not being enabled to for the fortnight previous. We have just past St Vincint But they appears not so lofty. Its a very curious Fact that the Marco Polo on Her previous Voyage made the same point to the Islands the same number of day s from Liverpool and about the same Hour as He proved to us today by His chart. He then made the Equator in 29 days. He fancies now He will save 3 days by Steering S.W. straight for Rio in S America. We Have a fine trade Wind this evening and going about 13 Nots. We have had 4 Sails Ahoy today I should emagine. Portuguese Traders as those people are the inhabitants of these Clouds. They are famous for Poultry and Eggs in the Shape of 'trade. The Paper is better this week than last. Now for Bed as I only Had 2 hours and a half this morning. Walkd the Deck all night being anxious to get a sight of Land. It is very Warm now. The young woman I spoke of being iII the other day or frightened Died a few minutes ago and a Happy release for the poor Creature and Her friends. A very nice Young fellow was took seriously ill last evening and Hes not expected to live. I Have playd many a Rubber of Whist with Him since on Board.

One of the Stern carvings of the Marco Polo

W. 30th.
The Young Woman was thrown over board about an Hour after her Decease. She did not Sink through Carelessness in not putting in enough Holy Stone. She was seen last floating on the Waves towards the Cost of Africa were if a shark should not swallow Her before the time might pofsibly be buried in the land. The Young Man is much better but a little out. We have gone very nicely all Day. Pafsed a Ship from Britaon to the same port as we are going. We Signald and Spoke Her. She has been 26 days out and we Have been only 15 and the point where we are both Now, the Yankee Has the decided advantage. At 10 0 Clock we could just see her Royal in front of us. This evening at 6 0 Clock she was the same distance of us. We gained about 30 miles on Her During the Day. We are now going at a Spanking rate 14 Nots, all sails set, while our Opponent is going under Close reef top Sail. It has been a long day but Warm with a Stiff Breeze. Mrs Janes Has Had a fufs to night in favour of Her Single Ladies. The Band Have been Playing some lively tunes on Deck.

Th. 31st.
Had the Tooth and Head Ache all night. Was oblidged to get up 2 or 3 times and Doctor cant stop it as Hes got no Tools. We have been very fast all night. We are Now Steering South with the wind in the East. We expect to crofs the Line about Monday or Tuesday. There are a great many Bets that we shall crofs before Monday at nine in the morning. A lovely day and very warm. They have been trying their Pistols this afternoon at marks in the water such as Bottles and ducks made of timber. A Mr Gardener was the Best Sport. Music.

F. April 1st.
A very warm Day, about 4 Nots an Hour all day. Very near a Calm. We are now 7 Degrees from the line. A 24 Hours good Breeze would nearly take us there. I shall be glad when we are as its so tedious that Band Playing and other amusements.

S. 2nd.
It being so warm slept on a Chair all night. Almost a calm. One vefsel in sight. Captn Lowerd a Boat and whent out to take a Bath, about 12 altogether. The Captain chuckd a Mr Heathcote over Board, and being a good swimmer got away from the Boat as fast as He could. I should think He was a mile off at one time and all on the Ship fancied He would be drowned but However He was laughing at them in His sleeve. They between them caught a Portuguese man of war. They all but 2 got stung nicely. Band on Deck. A regular Spree in the 1st Cabin.

Sun. 3rd.
Slept on Deck last night and very comfortable. When I awoke I had the cramp and my feet much Swoolen. Going about 5 nots steering South. We have just signald a French Homeward Bound Vefsel and now there is 2 more in sight a Head of us which appear to be becalmed. Different kinds of Religion as to day Had its Vent. Also this is our 4th Sunday on about a 3rd of our Voyage over or at least as I anticipate being 3 W Out.

M. 4th.
A complete Calm all day with rain in Torrents. Had a good shower Bath on the forecastle (Pafsenger on).

T. 5th.
Not being 5 Nots all day. Quite calm. Whent out in a Boat and Bathed the water. Rowd a good deal sometimes as warm and another so cold you could not bear it. We caught a Shark this afternoon and While I was taking the Hook from its mouth it bit my thumb - there was a great many Dolphins and Pilot fishes and a shark in Sight. My thumb was sore. I Have Had it Dressd. A Very Hot Day. The Band has been playing.

A wood carving from the Marco Polo

W. 6th.
Very warm all night with a squall in the morning at day light with rain in torrents. Good fun to see the People running down with their Beds that been on Deck all night. A Vefsel in sight from London. As we were both in a Calm We Lowerd a Boat and Boarded Her about 5 miles off. She Had a Dutch Crew with only 28 pafsengers Bound for Melbourne, and they made up a Party and came on Board the Marco Polo and Dined with us and stayed until 6 0 Clock and since it was such a treat to see so many Different faces and to Hear such a nice Band as ours was, they all got pretty tight before leaving and Had to pul Back in the Dark and many of our pafsengers got a little on. One Cabin pafsenger, Mr Gardener, Got put in Chains for the Night. He threatened to Shoot the Captain and insulted Mrs Forbes and several of the pafsengers. We are Nocking about in a Dead Calm.

Thurs. 7th.
Mr G got loosened this morning by an open appology to all but He Has not yet showed out. A Dead Calm all day. A Party Has been to the Vefsel again to day and bought a jug or two of Claret. Lots of fish Has been seen today. Another Man Has been put in Chains to night. A Dead Calm.

F. 8th.
Going pretty well all night — this Morning a Squall again accompanied with torrents of Rain. Good fun to see the People running below with their Beds that Had Slept on Deck all night. Continued going on well until 11 0 Clock when the Rain ceased and we immediately got becalmed. A Vessel was seen coming towards our Bows (on the Marco Polo alloy as little Maggy Forbes says) and the Captain fancied she was Homeward Bound. Ordered a Mail Bag to be put on the Poop directly for the reception of Letters which caused a deal of excitement. I did not write as no news is good news and when it was cleard I should say their was more than 500 letters and very likely on 1000 in it. The Chief Mate with a crew and a few pafsengers Puld out to Her at about 4 0 Clock She was Bound for London from Hong Kong when over the line Had a tremendous Hurricane which Shifted Her Main Mast while we was in a Calme. A very slow Sailer could not get more than 7 1/2 Nots an Hour out of her. Music on Board and very hot.

Sat. 9th.
Quite a Calm this morning but delightful. About 11 the sun was nearly over us and as hot as Fever. Experienced it Being 137 In the Sun on Deck and I should think ful 15 more in the Cabin Below. Just fancy 960 on Board And Sleeping all Below. Several Parties went out to Bathe in Boats 10 or 12 at a time. I went out with one Party a long way off. The Sea water was quite Milk Warm. But did not venture in Long being rather shy of the Sharks for there was 2 at Her Stem when we came on board. One of the Fellows got nearly drown but by the afsistance of [illegible] and a Hook we got Him in the Boat. So far so good. We got on Board safe But declaring I would never go out again with such a carelefs lot. We all but capsized 2 or 3 times in consequence of their all Clinging to one side of the Boat so. The next Boat goes out and something more serious to be told which was the Death of one of our Fellow Pafsengers as they pulld off He was very anxious to jump over Board being a good swimmer, which he Did before the Boat was Stop'd. He was no sooner over Board than He was Sun struck. And went down ' He was in 2 Minutes got in the Boat but not before He Had swallowed a lot of Salt Water. Heeved direct from the Ship and the Doctor pronounced Him Dead. Some said there was still life. Was rubd and taken every care off but was of no avail. He was a man between 40 and 50 and no relations nore neither can I find out His frends on Board. He Has 100£ worth on Board. I fear he had been Drinking a little in the Morning as any one Had need be very careful about their Drinking, particularly in these warrn Climates of the Tropical Sun as they term it. A jacket on Saturday evening or a Bampton Hunt would not suit on those Burning Decks. He is to be Thown over Board at 10 0 Clock this evening. Its now just gon 7 Bels and I am going on Deck to Smoke. There is a Breese springing up tonight which I think is coming on the right way to last as tis only steady.

Sun. 10th.
A Heady Breeze all night and a very wet Morning. Caught another shark about 7 0 Clock. Prayers on Board. A Calm in the Afternoon.

11th. M.
A Steady Breese all night and Day and we were all surprised to find we were still 2 Degrees from the Line as we fully expected to make it today. We Have been busy all Day taking Boxes from the Hold. I found on of Hampers of Brandy Had been opened and about a Doz gone which must have been done while in the Docks at Liverpool. Very warm in Deed. I shall be glad when it gets colder. A good Breeze Has Spring up this evening. A regular Bustle all day - we are 29 days out. He crofsed in that time on His last Voyage.

12th. T.
Going very nicely all day 6 miles North of the Equator at 12 0 Clock. Was on it at 1 - A very Hot Day as the Sun Shone on Most of the pafsengers. Spring Music and Shampagne and Wine was the order of the Day. Busy getting up the Boxes.

13th. W.
Going about 7 Nots all the morning as well as the night and we are now going 14 Steering strait South. We are now in the S.E. Trades. Very Hot and the Pafsengers likewise. Music and Getting up boxes and Rain is the order of the Day. The Marco Polo Has been well wetted with wine today. 90 per cent well Drunk and we are expecting a rough night. The Ship Has been inspected today by the Doctor and says we are now out of Danger of the Sun or Weather.

14th. Th.
Going very surely about 10 Nots all Night and day. Steering S. S.W. 5 Degrees South of the Line.

15th. F.
It Going first rate near the same as yesterday. A little excitement as usual on board. The Water Stinks this morning. It Has been very warm Here.