[From Recollections of an old Manxman, 1906]
So now I am homeward bound. I leave Mr Kohr and the family all well, and take train to Dillersville for the city. When I arrived at the city I had to wait about three weeks before I could get a passage to Liverpool. There was a new ship loading for Liverpool. She had been at Liverpool, and from thence went on to New Orleans, and was now bound to Liverpool for the second time. She was 2,000 tons register, and drew 22 feet of water. She had 3,000 tons of cargo in her. She was the largest ship in the world in those days. I dont believe there is a man alive that was in her, excepting myself, that can say that he sailed in the biggest ship in the world.
The day came when she was ready to sail, and she was taken in tow by the ice boat, with eight or nine more. We were first, and we took the ground. There was an old black ship next to us, and she came up and hit us on the port quarter, and stove in the whole starboard shoulder. Our taffrail was also splintered a little, and our sails were loose. The men went up to furl the foresail, and the stirrup of the foot-rope broke, and one man fell down on the bulk of chain abaft the windlass, and was killed instantly. I went up on the mizen-top gallant-yard to furl the sail with another man. When the captain saw me coming down, he said, "Have you been at sea before ?" I said " Yes." He then said, " You go to work and you will get paid for it, and you will get your passage money back." So I worked my passage ; but I got neither money nor wages. We didnt get to Liverpool ; she went ashore on the great Burbo Bank.
But I must go back to Delaware River again. All the small vessels went on, except the damaged one, which was towed back. She was condemned, for she was not fit to go to sea.
Our vessel didnt float till the next days tide, and then we had to go 120 miles down the river before we got to the cape. The river was covered with ice, and the tugboats paddles were all sheet-iron. Our bows were all boarded to prevent her from being cut through.
When we got outside, the wind was from the westward, and blowing a whole gale. We went aloft to set the fore-top-sail, but we didnt get it set yet, for it went to rags, and a second one went in the same way. We got up a third one, and stayed it all with rope yarn, and we got it set without flapping, and this latter sail was on her all the time from when it was set until she went ashore on the Bank inside the North-west lightship, near the Bell Buoy. There is a lightship now where the Bell Buoy was. From the time that she floated until she was on the Bank was but 12 days. She was two tides on the ground, and she was hove to for 24 hours, which gives only 10 days on the passage.
We couldnt get a pilot at first, but at last one said, " I will run her up if she never comes down." And he did run her up, but she never came down. She struck the ground, and the hide wheel-rope broke. I was at the lee wheel at the time, but when she struck I let go, but the other man held on, and his two feet went up in the air, and he came down on deck. If he had lost his hold, he would have gone 20 yards over the side. He came down where I had been standing. It was a good job for me that I had shifted.
While she was laying to, the men were asking me if I knew of any place to run to for safety ; but I knew no more than themselves.
When she was aground, the carpenter got his axe and cut the mizzen-mast away, and the people in Liverpool thought she was a brig. She was then the biggest ship in the world.
The pumps were sounded, and she was found to be full of water, and the boats were ordered to be got out. The carpenter and I were lowering the lifeboat, when she got on her side. There was a long bag of ballast in her from forard to aft, which shifted, and we couldnt get it straightened. We had to let her go. She got full of water, and there was no time to empty her. We had to get into the other two boats. There were 28 of us altogether. There were five passengers beside the crew.
We had not gone far when we met a steam tug coming to help us. The other boat was first. The carpenter and I had to go back and fetch the captain. He wouldnt come with us. He was shouting to brace those yards round. We were in the boat, but we had to go up on deck again, and struggle with him and put him down in the boat. The water was just as high as the rail, and was above our knees. But we got away. There were two left behindthe dog and the bird. The dog was panting as if he had run a race; but we couldnt take him, as there were 14 in each boat.
The captain was in the horrors with drink. It was drink that lost that ship, too. I lost everything that I had. I filled my canvas bag out of the chest and threw it in the boat, but they threw it out again. They took my white shirt for a sail. I have never had a white shirt since, and that is 48 years since. I found one on the road the other day, but it has never been on me yet, and hardly ever will now.
When we got the captain in the boat, a woman passenger had a blanket, and we made a sail of that. I was holding one side of it, and when I came alongside the tug, my hand was so benumbed that I couldnt get in the boat. Everyone got in before me. The bag and another passengers portmanteau was left in the boat, and when she rounded to at the Landing Stage the boat capsized, and the bag sank and the portmanteau floated. The men went after the portmanteau, which contained £900, and the owner paid the sailors well for recovering it.
We were taken up to the office. The captain was there.
The ship broke up, and the flour barrels were ashore almost as soon as we were. The ships name was the Jonathan P. Whitney. She was an American vessel, and was laden with flour barrels and clover seed, and ground bark and Indian corn. I slept that night in Liverpool, and the next morning I got on board the old King Orry, of Douglas, and we got to Douglas about nine oclock at night. It was blowing very heavily still ; it hadnt ceased anything.
The coach was waiting for her, and I went to Ballasalla, and stayed there some days. My sweetheart was at home, and things were got ready. But that was the woeful day for me. It has been a fight from that day to this. I believe it will turn out for the best at last ; for I believe God had a hand in it all.
I couldnt stay any longer in the States of America. I had a longing for home.
We were married on the 2nd of March, 1850. I was just three weeks at home when we got married. It was a drunken wedding. It was after we came home they brought the drink to me. I did not want it, for I wasnt in the habit of taking it. It was themselves who were fond of it. We were back in the house again before anybody in the village knew anything about it. John Kneale began to batter against the door, but I didnt go outside any more on the night. There was neither horse nor trap employed at my wedding.
I lived in Ballasalla about three months, and then I removed to Derbyhaven, where I mended nets for Robert Turnbull. The old " Livelys" train had been cut that bad that we could only repair one fathom a day. Old lame Doctor was my mate.
When the nets were mended, I went to work on the farm. I worked there for about three years, until I put the cart over the pillar at the top of Ballagilley Road, and fell the big grey mare and broke the till in the cart. and then my time was up. It was a mercy I was not killed, too. I was going up to the field to take some mould off the headland to put on the dunghill. It was a cold morning, and I was walking and coaxing the horses along. When I came to the corner to turn into the field, I stretched out my hand to take the till-mare by the head, when the trace-mare gave one spring and drew the till-mare across on the pillar, before I had time to move. If I had gone one step further, I would have been under the cart, for the cart came down in the middle of the pillar, and one wheel went over the top of the pillar. The grey mare was in foal, but she was not hurt. I went home to Faraghers and got another cart, but I did not go near the house. When I went to tell them afterwards, I got a good scolding, but that did not mend things. I think that was the last day for me to be there.
I went to Faraghers for awhile, and by-and-bye Moores steward came round, and got me to go up to Billown, and I was put on the kiln bank. The wind was from the east, and it very nearly killed me. My wife came with my dinner that day, and I said to her that that was the last day for me to be there. And so it was.
I went to town the next day, and got a berth with old Dick-Tom in the old "Midsummer" to go to the herrings. We did very well, too. We shot one night aback of Langness, and the nets were all on top of the water, with their heads up. The nets were spread on the top of the water just as it it had been on a field. We had a good haul that Saturday. On that day I drank the first glass of whiskey I ever drank in the Isle of Man. It was in Bill Quayes, on the bank. Austin, the barber, lives in it now.
This occurred in the year 1845. In the year 1852 the brig "Lily" was blown up on Kitterland, in the Sound of the Calf, with a number of men from, Port St. Mary and two policemen from Castletown. One mans name was Wright, and I think the others name was Craige.
I was going from Derbyhaven to Sandick to get a load of wraick, and I was walking near the old kiln when the explosion went off. The very ground shook, as if it were an earthquake. It was blowing a whole gale. I had to go to Port St. Mary to get a load of timber. Just before that, William Turnbull (Roberts brother) died. I got over and got the timber on, and Davy was ordered to go with me. At the Big Cellar he found somebodys purse, and he went to town and got drunk with the money ; and I had neither help nor company. But I didnt know at the time anything about this, until he told me some time afterwards.
I think it was in 1852 that two vessels w4 went ashore aback of Langness on the same night, and all hands were lost.
I think it was in 1869 that the James Crossfield w5 went ashore aback of Langness, and all hands were lost, not one being left to tell the tale. In 1853 there was a Greek brig very nearly ashore at Santon, but the captain let go his anchor, and saved her. It was I that drove them to Natty Cannells, now the Rock House.
In the year 1850 the butter was sold for sixpence per pound and the barley meal was a shilling per stone.
At the time of the disaster to the brig "Lily" there was a vessel somewhere about laden with tallow. The force of the explosion must in some way have caused the ship to lose it, for big hogsheads of tallow, about the size of rum puncheons, and weighing about 12 hundredweight each, came ashore in Sandick, with no staves on them.
A few years later the " Talure" went ashore on Cambay Island, near Howth, in Ireland, and all the planks they had making the berths came ashore in Sandick.
The " Great Britain" went ashore in Dundrum Bay, but she was got off. They made a steamboat of her afterwards, and she ran for awhile after that.
In the winter of 1854 there was a heavy fall of snow. Before the snow came old Harry Quinney and I threshed all Cain (Ballahegins) grain. When the grain was threshed, I removed to Castletown, and big Billy Clague and I threshed beans for John Clague.
Then the snow came. Old Harry Quinney was coming home to the Fairy Houseit was there he lived at the time and on his way he became so exhausted that he could not get any further. It is supposed he lay by the hedge and died there.
After this the work got scarce, and bread was hard to get. I removed to old Clague-Swayes house. The Swayes wife was living in it downstairs at the time, and Bill Clague and I lived upstairs. Bobby-the-Gawe was alive then, and he was bellman afterwards. I think Tom-the-Dipper was bellman at the time, and after him Robby got it.
There was a farmer from the country coming to see Maggie, and she used to lighten his pockets whenever he came, and he came often. While living there I got up one morning, and there was nothing to eat in the house. The snow stopped everything. I had some copper and brass in the house, and I gathered it up and went up to Flinns with it, and I got as much for it as done that day. I dont remember being in the same way since.
But I am gone a little before my story. After the herring season with Dick Cain was over, I went with Dick Veeikem Corrin was his right name. We took potatoes in for Douglas for the starch mill. When we were ready we sailed. We went against the ebb tide, and the wind was south-west. We had the boat in tow, and when we were in the middle of the ebb tide the boat turned over, and the next sea that came turned her back again. Old Sam Quine was with us. We got to Douglas all right, and old Sam went home, but he didnt come back again. We got Johnny Lowe to come with us, and we went to Whitehaven to get coals. When we were coming out in tow with another schooner, Dick ran our boat into the schooners taff-rail, and broke our jib-boom. When we got. home I helped him to discharge her.
After that I dont recollect what I went to do next.
But, before all this, Dick and I were going to town from Derbyhavenfor the vessel that he was in belonged to Robert Turnbull. We were going to town with two big jars of rum. We walked too close, and the two jars hit each other, and my jar broke. I lifted the bottom up, and found there was about a quart left. We went back and told Catharine Cowan how it came to pass, and she filled another one; but we did not walk so close any more.
The next thing on the board is the old Kitty and Peggy an old lugger with a slip deck on. She carried nine waggons of coals, 22½ tons, and two men sailed her. The first cargo was one of wheat. for Douglas, consigned to Cowin. When she was laden, there was no one to go with me, only Tom Corrin, and he was sick with diarrhoea. I told him to get a pint of brandy and put some caout-chou in it, and he told me that be hadnt a penny to get it ; so I gave him a shilling and he got it, and I heard no more about it. He went with me that trip, and he went back to his own vessel, the "Greyhound," of Port St. Mary. He had had to leave her because of his illness.
Thomas Dinwoody got old Jimmy Lawson, from Ballasalla, and he became my downfall ; for he was the means of losing two vesselsthe " Village Girl" w6 and the "Britannia," for which I got the blame. I would have been the first man in Castletown but for him. When I put him away, he went pleading, and I was persuaded to take him back again.
We had to run one vessel ashore on Rhyl sands, for the ballast was slashing against the deck. We had to beach her to save ourselves.
We went together for some time, but the Kitty and Peggy got so bad, that Mr Dinwoody took her and put her down the beach, and got Thomas Comish to break her up. He gave me the " Village Girl" instead.
That was in the year 1855, and that winter I took my two brothers with me, and they were with me in 1856. During that year I fell over the quay, at the back of Castletown New Quay.
We came home from Whitehaven in the " Village Girl," and I remember there were no coals in the harbour at the time. We always unbent the sail and put it below, but on this occasion there was not time ; so old Bill Corkil said to put it in the cart and take it down to the New Quay, and spread it over the wall, and it would soon be dry and clean. We put it in the cart and went down the quay, and my brother and I went upon the wall. I happened to take hold of a reef-point to give it a pull, when the point came out, and when I found that I was going to fall, I gave a kick back and at the same time turned round, and went clear of the bottom a few inches. My two shoulders went down on my knees, and one of my ancles was all shattered and my back was disjointed. My brother came round and carried me on his back up to the cart, and I was taken home in the cart. The doctor was sent for and he examined me, and he said I was only shaken a bit, and ordered me to be rubbed with Goulard water.
That was done for a fortnight, and it wasnt a bit better. Mr Ferrier n22 came to visit me, and looked all round, and he said I looked very comfortable, and then he walked out of the house.
If it was a drunken wedding, it wasnt a drunken fall ; for I never touched any drink that day. The two boys had the boat ready, and I wasnt a bit. better ; so I said to my wife, " This work wont do at all."
I went to Willy Cubbin, the Difty, and asked him if he would go to the Strang with me, and he said he would. We started in the morning, and after getting there Mr. Clucas very soon put it to rights. He sank his fingers in it, and he put Willy alongside to hold me. " Never mind," I said, "Ill hold myself."
As soon as the boat was ready I went with them. We got to Whitehaven all right, but on the way back the hook of the throat-halliard block broke, and down came the sail. I got another hook and bent it to, and got the sail up again.
It wasnt long till we were back again, and I had still the crutch and stick. I think I went the third time before I could throw them away. It was a long time before it was strong.
We still lived in the same house. It was in this house that John Edward was born, in February, 1856. That was six years after I was married. I think that was the last time the boys were with me.
Old Jimmy Lawson came again, and I cannot remember how long we stayed after the boys left, but it wasnt very long.
Shortly after this, our vessel and the " Countess of Derby" were coming home together. It was very dark, and a dense fog came on it was so thick you could almost have cut. it. The boy and I were up in the bows looking out, and old Jimmy was at the helm. When we made Langness, we were so close to the rocks we could see the breakers, and I shouted to Jimmy to keep her up, but he wouldnt keep her up. The wind was south-east. She slipped over Dressick. I felt her striking, and then I got frightened and put her about, when we should not. It was a flood tide, and if there had been a right man at the helm, he wouldnt have stayed her, for if he had hauled her by the wind she would have gone out to sea like a gull, for the tide would have under-bowed her. But when she was stayed she wouldnt lead back. I didnt think on that until it was too late. After she was stayed, I ran aft to the compass, but I was too lateshe had struck, and was now fast on the rocks. Jimmy and the boy went after their clothes, but I stuck to the small-boat and threw her overboard myself. I had her in the water when they came up. They got their clothes, but I got none ; they didnt care for me, though I was thinking of them. When we were in the gullet, Jimmy said, "I am afraid to go home." I said to him, " Where will you go then but home ?". It was so dark that we couldnt find our way home, and we had to wait until daylight. Then we found the way.
The first news I got in the morning was that the "Countess of Derby"w7 was ashore on Santon Head, and the crew had lost all their clothes too. When the skippers daughter went out to the beach in the morning, the first thing she saw was the name of the boat. John Clarke got a petition to gather some money, which was divided, but I got none. Mr Ferrier put his name on the list for £2, and I was to get that ; but I have never seen it yet.
But I think I will try him now. I will want a lot of money to get this book printed, and I dont know where I am to get it from.
While I am writing this book, I am living in the Isle of Whithorn, in Scotland. I am by myself. I came here to fish lobsters specially, and now I am going to winter in the Isle, like the Apostle Paul when be was put ashore. But, thank God, I am not put ashore, but am staying here of my own accord.
I had for my dinner today a boiled turnip and two bits of cold fried meat. At four oclock I had my tea.
This is the second time that I have been here. I suppose when next I leave it I will not come back again, for I am now in my 69th year, which I will attain on the 16th of March, if God spares me. He has spared me and taken care of me many a time, when I didnt know Him, and He has heard my supplications when I didnt know Him.
I once caught a very bad cold, and couldnt get done with it. I was going about every day with a big coat on, and was apparently getting no better. One day Charlie Clague asked me to go to Whitehaven with him. I went, and on the passage was very near death. But we got in all right. When I went to bed I asked the Lord to take the cold away, and that night I dreamt that there was a sheet of frost passed over my face, and slowly passed down until it came to my feet, where it stayed. The next morning the cold was gone out of my body, but it fell to my legs for a short time. My legs were that stiff that I could hardly put them on the ground the next morning, but in a day or two it all went away. The evening before, Robby Cubbin asked me if I had come out to go to the Hospital, but I made no answer. I looked like a dying man. But I soon got all right, and from that day to this I have never mistrusted God. I didnt know him at that time, but I have came to know Him since, and now I can talk to Him like a child talks to its father, and I know He hears me, for He sends me the answer. My hearts desire is that every human being should give their hearts to God ; for there is no man wise except the man that puts his whole trust in God (He will not have any half-hearts, for he is jealous), and takes the Lord Jesus for his Saviour. Ever since I have done that I have not wanted bread.
But I could not give Him my heart as long as I was taking the accursed drink. Every day I thought I must do something great before He would receive me ; but the day I gave it up I was right. He received me that very day, and that is 26 years past now the 29th of September, 1895.
And now Ill tell you how it happened. I was taking the accursed drink, and one morning I had a glass of rum. The day the transaction was done was September 29th, 1869. Mr George Quayle was to be married that day, and Thomas Boyd, the blacksmith, wanted a couple of men to help him to rear a pole at the Brewery gate to hoist a flag on. Old Lowey and I were nearest at the time, and we went to help him to put up the pole. When we were finished, he said, " Go down to Brines n25 and get a pint of ale each," and we went down and got them. Directly afterwards Boyd came in, and he told -the landlady to give us another each, and we drank them also, and went out. By-and-bye we got dry, and we went down to Sarah to get a drop of the " allowance," for there were 15s. worth to be drunk in every public-house in the town, but we hadnt got any of that. When we got down she would not give us any, for she said we had got ours. I said, " No, we did some work for what we got." Still she wouldnt draw, so I began to call her all sorts of names, and I paid for a pint for old Johnny Lowey, but had none myself. We then went out.
That was the last time I was in that house for that purpose. I was once in over a dispute concerning the rent, for I lived in a house belonging to her and her brother.
We next went up to John Clarks and got a glass of rum each, and there wasnt a word about it. That was the last pint of ale or glass of rum I tasted, or ever shall as long as I live on this earth ; and when I go across the river I wont want it ; for I am persuaded that it is on record in heaven. I could say no to the Queen of our realmthe best woman in the world. The Lord has shown her how to do much good. I hope she will live long yet. She is but seven years older than I am, and she is all full of pains so that she is not able to walk ; while, thank God, I am able to walk and run like a young fellow.
I have a race with the young ones sometimes. I was one day at the Bridge, and George Quayle who is married, was there, as was also George Quayle, the lawyer. I came on to the Bridge and looked over the wall to see how the weather was outside. Mr. Kelly, the mason, was there talking to the two gentlemen. George Quayle, the brewer, said something about public-houses, which I overheard, and I turned round and looked at him, and said, " Every public-house is a gate to hell, and you are the father of them." John Kelly, the mason, said, " I never heard the like of that ." There was no more said at the time, and I walked away ; but afterwards the people had it to say that Mr. Quayle was going to take me up for libel ; but he couldnt, for he begun it himself, just to see what I would say.
I was another day at the same place, when one of our chief grocers went over the bridge. At the same time there were two men standing there, both of them the worse for drink. I said, " That man has cheated the devil a good while. All his chums are gone, and there are some not far off who wont be long if they go on the way they are going." One of them ground his teeth at what I said. Both men were sober for a long time afterwards, but one of them broke out again, and he is now in the eternal world. The other is now doing well, and is getting rich, and working hard among the coals. All the big grocers, and drapers, and watchmakers are gone, and this grocer I have referred to who went over the Bridge has got older and wiser. He was at deaths door many a time. He was not very clever at the best of times, but he is getting along very well now.
When I was in the old " James Holmes," we took a cargo of lime for old Dan Flinn to Dundrum. It came on to blow, and we couldnt reach Dundrum ; so we had to run for Carlingford and discharge her there. The water had got to the lime and damaged it. Smoothly Dan came sailing down to us and wanted so much money to assist us, and I, soft enough, gave it him. He then walked away, and we didnt see him any more. He had very nearly all, not leaving us enough to carry us home.
We got ballast in and put her down the Lough, and lay there till morning. That night I dreamt that I was at home.
We sailed the next morning, but didnt get far before we met with a north-east wind, and we had to run back till we came to the westerly wind again. We ran the second time and came to the north-east wind, but we didnt run back any more. We hung on. She began to make water, and the ballast was shifted up against the deck. We couldnt get a foot towards the Isle of Man, but we still hung her on, and the first place we found ourselves was on Rhyl sands. We could see the vessels mast, but could not see where to get in. At last we run in between two banks and ran her very nearly dry. Then we launched the small-boat and got into her, and as we came to the waters edge the people came to take us out of the surf. We had no water, for the cask had turned mouth under in the beckets ; and we had no breadnothing but some oatmeal.
We got ashore and got something to eat and had a good sleep. When we came out again she was in a thousand pieces. The men had gone on hoard and let. go her anchor. They then brought her head to, and when she began to strike she went to pieces, and the lifeboat had to be launched to save them. If they had left her alone, she would have come ashore herself, and wouldnt have sustained any damage.
We could do nothing but try to get home with empty pockets, for Dan Fiinn had our share and his own, too. There was a policeman there, and he gathered a few shillings that paid our passage home. The small boat belonged to Mr. Dinwoody, and the big one to Mr. Quirk, Knockaloe. He burned lime at the same time. There was nothing wrong with the small-boat.
I should have called an auction and sold everything for what they fetched ; but I was too green in the matter. I did that with another vessel after thatthe Britannia, of Whitehaven. Mr. Bragg sent me word to call an auction, and sell everything for what they brought.
My wife, who should have been my best friend, turned out to be my worst enemy. We lived in an old house in Mill-street, Castletown. We were seven years in it. I paid the rent myself to James Stowell, on the Crofts. I paid it every quarter ; and at noticing time Mr. Stowell and Willie Brine came and gave me notice, which I accepted. My wife, behind my back, went and re-rented the house. After that she lived seven years more in it. I wanted her many a time to leave it, but she always turned a deaf ear. I proposed first one house and then another, until I said at last I gave up asking. But the time came when I was ordered to give up possession, and I said I would as soon as I could get another house, but some time elapsed before I succeeded.
One day the chief of police came to the house asking for me. I was out at the time, and when I came in my wife told me. I said he was looking for me to put me in gaol, and so it turned out to be. But he should have taken her instead.
I went out again and went down the Quay, and that was the last sight. I saw of her for 17 weeks. She never came to see me, nor looked for any place to go into. They kept me when they ought to have arrested her. At. last I was ready to commit suicide. I could not sleep, nor eat, nor do anything, until Edward, my youngest son, came to my relief. He got her persuaded to leave the house and go in with John Kinvig, until he could get a place for her ; and there she stayed another year. There was no room in the house for me, and I had often to sleep in Edwards house.
One day she saw me coming towards her door, and she shut it and turned back ; and I didnt go near her door again for years, until latterly I have been going to see her for his sake and his childrens.
You talk about Dr. Barnardo, and Spurgeon, and Mr. George Muller, and how much good they have done for the fatherless and motherless. God and good people have been good to them, as He has been good to me ; but God has been better to me than the people.
Now I have another little tale to tell concerning a baby that my wife brought from Bill Cowells. She was nearer death than life, and for many years she was so delicate that we could not tell which way she would go. But now she is married, and the mother of four children. She receives 1s 6d per week for little Johnit gets clothes and shoes for him.
Her third son is a fine young manthe strongest and comeliest in the town. He is now in his 23rd year. He is earning more than 28s. per week, and he wont send her a penny, and I dont wonder at him, because she lives among that family. He wont give her any because she distributes it among them ; neither will I until she leaves them. He is married now.
There is the fourth son, and he is somewhere about his 20th year. She got between two and three for him. His father is a drunken father. His fathers name is Clucas, and his mothers Hall. She is a daughter of old Will Halls, in Ronague, and he is Mr. Clucass second son. When he was born the father was threatening the mother, and she ran away and left him, and came to Castletown and went to service to Pleigniers house. She first gave the child to Charlie Hudgens wife, and it was there about a month, when she found that the woman who had charge of the child did not give it justice. She then came to my house with it. I happened to be in the house when she came, and I told my wife that she was to have nothing to do with it, and took my hat and went out. When I came back the child was there, but the mother was gone.
I told my wife that the child should not sleep in the same bed as me, and that night she went to sleep with Emily. From that day she continued it, and her action has broken the peace of the house. I have begged her to send him home to his father and mother, but she wont.
I am now going to give you wives a few words of advice. That is not to do anything behind your husbands backs. My wife has caused me a deal of trouble with such work.
Now I am going to tell you another story about the first year I married. After the first three months I removed to Derbyhaven. My mother lived in the country, and she set a hen hatching for my wife. She put a dozen eggs under her, and the chickens all came out. When they were able to be removed, my sister Jane carried them down in a basket. When. they were able to be picked out, what do you think they were all cocks but one pullet. Next year she set another hen, and the chickens turned out the same. I told my wife that was all the pullets she would get ; and it was all the girls she did get. She had the girl the same time, and I didnt want any more. If I was to have the breed, one was plenty for me. I was half-starved all the time. I could not eat everything, but wanted this and that, and could eat but very little. But the morning the child was born I could have eaten raw meat. I didnt know what was the matter with me until the child was born ; then we all knew. She had six sons after that.
The girl lived 2½ years. One morning, as we were getting up, she took bad, and before six oclock in the evening she was between the sheets. She took convulsions and turned all black. The brother was born after that, and he lived. His next brother also lived, but there are four younger brothers in heaven and there are five in the happy land, and more than that, too.
I went, by the run, with Bobby McClain and Bob Caruist in the " Lady Gordon," an old smack carrying 37½ tons of coal. We went to Liverpool with potatoes, and when the potatoes were out we took in petroleum oil for Gibsons Yard at Ramsey. She was sharp down aft, and the barrels could not be stowed. She was down by the head like a pig. I was afraid to go to sea with her. Anyway we hauled out of the Kings Dock, and laid in the Queens Basin alongside a ship that had been ashore in the highlands, and had her rudder broken off. She was from America with timber, and they had to let the water out of the dock to get the timber out of her. There was a big bear in her, and he was as tame as a dog.
The wind was south-east, and it was so dark that we dare not venture down the river. However, we ventured out one morningit was winterand as we went down the river we met a steam tug and spoke him, asking how we ware doing. They replied that we were doing well. We got down clear and got across the Island all right. But we had to lie off the lightship until the next morning.
A south-east wind is the worse wind to go into Ramsey with. But we got in all right, and discharged the oil.
We then went to Whitehaven, and from that we were bound home to Castletown. The captain was complaining and was taking medicine ; but we did not think much about it. The day we sailed, however, he took very bad after we had left Ramsey. When we were out at the point he took a pain in his head while he was at the helm. He went down below, and, after a bit, Bob went down to see who he was, and come up again, and then I went down. I found him down in the ashpan, kicking, and I took hold of him and lifted him up and put him in his own bed up forard. It was enough work for two men, for he was little better than dead, and at that time he was a man of 14 or 15 stones weight. He spoke last to Bob, and after that no one dare go down in the forecastle. A little after I had put him to bed I went down again to see how he was, and I could not hear him breathe. I went up to him, still he did not seem to breathe so I put my mouth to his, and I felt the last breath. After that none of us dared go down in the forecastle any morewe were afraid of a dead man.
Before we reached the bay it came on to rain and the fire went out, and when the anchor was let go, we both went down to light the fire, and got warmed a bit. I forget it we had anything to eat or not.
We launched the boat and went ashore to tell his friends, and when I got ashore I was stopped ever so many times before I got home. After arriving home I got something to eat, and before I got down to the quay the boat was coming in. There were plenty of lads about, and they went out and saved us the trouble. The boat was berthed in the corner, and then the work was to get the captains body out of the forard bed. But he was eventually got out, and brought home to the Cross-Four-Ways, where he lived with his wife, who is alive still, for all I know.
The next day we had to go up to the house to be sworn. One was put out while the other was questioned. It seems t they couldnt find any fault with us. And that was the last of poor Bobby ; and my time was served in his vessel.
But I am not done with her. I repaired the mainsail some time before that, and as it was finished on the loft the " Catharine Ann" came into Derbyhaven with her mainsail torn, and they took the mainsail off the loft and brought her round to Castletown ; and Mr. Mugs told Molly that it was far too dear, and he kept seven shillings off me.
But that is not all about Molly. He and I went to the rag-store, and got a piece of canvas for a cart cover. I tallied it round and put eyelets in it, but never received a penny for it. At the same time I repaired the old one, but did not get paid for that either. I had the big jib, and I hid it in a barrel, to see if I could get my money. But they found it out, and took it away without giving me anything. That is the way the rich people treat the poor. There is no use in a poor man kicking his heels against the rich ; for the poor man must take what he gets.
I sailed in an old smack belonging to Thomas Anchors, called the " Refuge." She carried nearly 40 tons. We were in Derbyhaven, and we were bound for Port St. Mary to buy herrings. We were going aback of Langness, and in the Strugeally she made a dive, and hit the wave with the jib-boom, which was broke in two places even with the stem. The broken piece came round and landed on the cathead. We stripped it away and took away the stump, and put it out again and got the jib on. If her head had been in, in place of out, she would have been ashore.
But we got over it all right. The next day, I think, was Saturday. There were very little herrings amongst the fleet, but I bought all that I could, and Dan Flinn did the same. I had too little to go to Liverpool, so I bought Dans herrings from him. After getting them in the boat and settling everything, Dan wrote a letter of recommendation for me to the broker, and after he had read it to me he put something else in it and closed it, and gave it to me. I took it like a fool.
We did not sail that day. The wind was blowing from the west, and we held on till morning, when it was very little better. But we had to go, and we started at six oclock in the morning, it being high water at that hour. We made a very good passage, and got into dock that evening. The " Parrot" was in before us, and opened her hatches first. Her herrings were all dirty, as if they had been in muck, and the women would not take them. They came to us and looked at ours, and afterwards they bought ours. I, like a fool, went and gave the letter to the broker. If I had not given him the letter, I wouldnt have sold myself, because Flinn had said in the letter to give me my own money and £7 freightage, and to send the rest home to him. There was about £50 obtained for the herrings, and my share didnt pay for the salt itself. So that was the second time that Mr. Flinn put his Irish talons into me.
I was in Whitesides " Little Mary" for some timeI forget how long. I went to Drogheda in her one summer. When we were going on one occasion, we were off Dundalk Bay, and I was sitting on the weather quarter, looking over, and I saw a great fish with eyes like saucers, and he went across the keel and turned up his white eyes at me. I was afraid, and jumped off where I was sitting. I didnt see him any more. We got up to Drogheda all right.
I dont know whether that was the first time or the last we were there. We loaded with oatmeal, and we got halt a hundredweight for ourselves. We were not long out when I began to bake oatbread. While I baked, Shunny watched the pan. I made a good many, and when old Billy Kermode came down to his tea he said it was the best bread he had ever eaten. We arrived in Douglas all safe.
We were in Castletown, loaded, and we were bound for Douglas. It was a Saturday. Clague drove us out on that day, and I said the first berth I got I would leave. But while we were lying in the harbour there was a foreign vessel came in with wheat, and when they were about to discharge there was no man to put up gear to put the wheat ashore. I was in bed, when Shunny came shouting for me to get up, that I was wanted. I got up, and I had to go and reeve a guy-rope to swing the stuff ashore. I worked at her till she was empty, and Mr Shunny just came to relieve me to get my meals. When she was clear, he and I went for our money.
He got as much as I did, and he didnt work two hours in the day.
Just then the " Belt" came to the bay wanting a man, and when I heard that I went there. I think it was five months before we came back. We went to Lybster with the salt, and from there to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to look for a freight, and got one for Dublin. The day we got into Newcastle we got some money from the captain, and we went ashore and went into some place that kept the accursed drink, and I bad something to drink along with the others. I dont remember having anything but a pint of ale. I dont know what became of the others.
The first thing I recollect when I came to myself was finding myself out in the yard on the flags, and a woman hunting in my pocketsa big, old hussy. She must have put some drug in the ale for me. I managed to get on board after that. It was broad daylight, it being in the summer months. But that was the first and last time, as I didnt go ashore there any more that voyage.
We sailed for Dublin. After we had gone some miles, the wind came ahead on us, and we went to go east about ; but we had not gone far that way before the wind came ahead again. We then hoisted our square-sail and run her back again. After we got about 20 miles, it fell calm. It was my "trick" at the wheel. It was just 12 oclock. As soon as she stopped, the captain out line, and as soon as he found bottom there was a fish a cod. When I got from the wheel, I went and got my line. I had only 40 fathoms, and I could not find bottom. I fished big sighs, and the captain fished cod. We lay becalmed for about an hour, when the breeze came again, and our fishing was then done. We got a fair wind again, and we made a good passage to Dublin.
But I didnt tell you how much fish we got. All the quarter-deck was covered with them, and when we got home to Douglas I didnt get one of themthe captain carried them all home. There wasnt a married man in her excepting myself and him.
When we came to the Pentland, we had to wait for tide. I was on deck. It was calm, and I put my line out. The little cods were as thick as locusts in the days of old. That was my first and last voyage down there.
I fell in the muck in Dublin again. I didnt get drunk, but I got among the narrow lanes, and I did not get to the vessel until morning. I was pawned, and had to be released. That was also the first and last time ; for I never went inside one of their doors since, and that is more than 40 years ago.
We went from there to Runcorn with a cargo of bones and whole carcases, and when we got outside we put the hatches on, and I went down to light the lamp. But I couldnt get the lamp lighted. In a few moments the place was full of flies, and so thick with steam coming from the bones, that we could not stop down below, let alone sleep. We had to sleep in the foresail on deck up forrard. Down aft was not quite so bad, but it was bad enough. I said then that the next vessel that would take in bones while I was aboard, I. would take my bones out of her.
When we discharged the bones we took in coals for Douglas. On the passage every steamboat belonging to the Island was coming with us ; and, if the wind had stood, we would have reached the bay as soon as the old " King Orry. But we got in the next tide all right.
I would have left her then, but the owner was not at home, and we couldnt get settled ; so I went home to Castletown. The first night I came back I slept under the scuttle, and in the morning the side that was up was powerless, and I could do nothing at all. I had to get a crutch and a stick. The next night I slept with my wifes uncle, and the heat of his body brought life back to my poor side. But I was not able to do much work.
I went with the vessel to Troon for a cargo of coal for Peel, consigned to Foxdale Mines. When she was clear, I left her there. That nights cold will go with me to the grave. It has not left me yet, although it does not do me much harm.
I was on Derbyhaven Racecourse mending a great hole in the net, when a heavy shower of rain came on. I sat down throughout that shower, and the effects have not left me yet. They will go with me to the grave. It is 44 years since it was done. The lying under the scuttle was the worse. But, thank God, I am middling well now. Sitting on cold stones and wet grass is very bad for colds. The beast of the field knows how to take care of itself, but the poor man does not.
I went in the little " Nimrod" for a time. We came home from Whitehaven to Castletown laden with coals, and we got through the Bridge. We were folding up the sail, when two men came alongside in a boat. There was a great lump of sill alongside the companion, about a hundredweight, and they took it away, and not a man saw them. I happened to look down towards the Bridge, and the ore and the boat had gone down through the Bridge ; but I did not know that the lump of sill was gone. It was so heavy that we couldnt get it down in the cabin. They got the lump up on the quay, and put it in an old hamper of old John Kellys. It went through the hamper. But how they got it in the Castle I dont know. I believe it was very nearly three years after that before I got to know who done it and where it went. The men who took it are alive still. One is too old to go to sea now, but the other is going in the "XL" still. If I had known in time, I would have made them pay dear for it.
We had lime in the " Nimrod," and we were bound to Ramsey. It was a fine day, and we were waiting in the bay for the tide to come. When it did come, we started. As we were going, the wind came in from the south-east, and came on to blow strong. She got clear of the rocks, but we got scraped going into Douglas Bay. When we got there the wind changed to north-west, and saved us and the vessel. She made water, and the water found its way down at the butt of the jigger-boom, and it bursted her open, broke the knees, and slaked the lime.
I had to go home and see Mr. Jefferson, and we got discharged in Douglas. It took a board six inches wide to fill the hole up in the " Nimrod" again.
I think I went next in the " Little Lottery," belonging to Mr. Quirk. She carried only 30 tons, but she was the vessel that paid me best. I couldnt get any rest at all in her ; for, as soon as she was ready, the wind was fair. At last her owner took a notion to sell her, and he got me to take her down to Douglas to sell her. She was not sold, and she was left up at the top of the harbour.
I was once in Whitehaven in her. We were ready for sea, and I went down to the steps. There were a lot of Manxmen there. I saw the wind coming down the Firth, and I says to Big Dick,. " Are you going to sea ?" He said, " No, I am not going." So I went and left them, and when I got to the boat they were ready to take her away. The sails were set, and they pulled her out in the calm. When we got to the Old Pier, the wind filled the sails, and she was off.
I went then into the " Mary and Jessie," belonging to the same owner. This was in the year 1859. I was my own master. I was in the stone trade to Ramsey and coals to Castletown. She was a square-topsail sloop, bought from Dumfries. She was very hard to manage, but I got used to her, and I was doing very wellas well as any of them. She carried 40 tons in good trim.
We went out of Ramsey one night, with the wind south-east. We just got clear off the shore, when we carried one of our shrouds away. I went to old Brown and bought a brigs topmast back-stay, and it made two legs ; so I got old Cottier the Rigger to help me, and we had it on her that day ready for sea again. The wind was south-east, and we only fetched where she left, and not an inch further. I think we went to Maryport that time. I wanted to get to Workington, but the wind and the tide carried us too fast before there was water for us. We got coals, and went away to sea again, and we got home all right and got discharged.
We took in stones again for Ramsey, and we got there and discharged. We left Ramsey in the night, the same as before. But I allowed her more drift, and we got to Workington that time. It was neap tides, and she only drew six feet loaded.
As soon as she was loaded we went to sea again, and when we got within sight of the Bahama Lightship there came a heavy shower of rain, and it began to blow. The wind went to the north-west. The after-leech was blown out of the mainsail, and we had to run back to Whitehaven. I went up to Wilson and Kitchens and bought a bolt of canvas, and I got the sail-makers to work on deck and got the sail ready. We went to sea again, got home all right, and got discharged.
We took in stones again and went to Ramsey. When we were ready we went. to Whitehaven, and we were not long until we got coals. We. got home as soon as the others, but secretly. They were all lying in Whitehaven all this time, waiting for coals, while we had three cargoes of coals and three cargoes of stones in that time. We kept the place in coals. There were no coals coming in but ours all the time. Bill Killip used to talk about that often, as long as he lived. While we lay in Whitehaven, I went and bought 40 yards of calico, and made a squaresail to beat the " Laurel." But we couldnt, and I made her a new fore-topsail ; but it got blown away in the gale of the 9th of February, 1861.
I went to Liverpool with her. I bought a cargo of turnips, and we were a fortnight before we got away. There were a lot badtwo tons went bad, and stood light in the weight. I had to give Tommy Creetch a sovereign to go with us for the run, and as we went into Kings Dock the "Condor" was coming out, and Tommy went on board, and he was home the next morning. He took little Johnny from me, too. But before I got out of bed in the morning there was a man came and bought the turnips at 30s. per ton, with a £5 note deposit ; so that, if they had not been so bad, I would have done very well. But I couldnt complain, as I bought them for 15s. and sold them for 30s.
I had to deposit £5 in the Custom House before I got cleared out. When I got home, I went out to see about it, hut I could not get. a penny of it ; so I had to come back poorer than I went. If I had not gone, I would have saved 15s. But the Manxman is never wise until the day after the fair. So for me.
We went to Troon for a cargo of cannel coal for burning lime. We got loaded, and then we were three weeks waiting for a passage. At last the wind shifted, and we sailed very early on the Friday morning. It was the 9th of February, 1861. It was a fine morning and a fine day, until about seven oclock, and before nine oclock that night it was blowing a whole gale. Our topsail and topgallant-sail were lowered down. We were close in under the land, where the water was smooth, and we didnt feel it so bad. I was for letting go both anchors, and I wished afterwards I had done ; I would have saved a deal of trouble and loss of property. But when I spoke about it, Joe said, What are thou going to do, and the wind fair ?" I said to him, " Well, well, if thou can stand it, perhaps I can ; " and I let her go. However, when we came to the Mull of Galloway, the wind came aback of the sail, and the boom came over and broke it and carried the two new- breadths of canvas which were in the sail. The tiller was broke in the mortice, end the main sheet was broke ; and there was a shipwreck in a few minutes. The axe was brought to put a new end on the tiller ; it was never seen again. We had to run her before the wind. The boom was alongside, and Joe took a knife to cut the. boom away, but he took the back of the knife instead of the` edge, and cut his hand fearful. The blood was running from nine oclock that night until four oclock on Sunday evening.
When we got in we went to the doctor to get the bleeding stopped. While we were in the doctors, my two hands were swelled like loaves. There was a pan of water on the fire, and I put my hands in it., and they began to get painful, almost past bearing. They were frostbitten. They lost the skin twice, but the third skin stopped on.
Our sails were all torn and two of them blown away altogether, the boat was gonethe handspikes and winch handles were all in the boat, both gangways were gone, the jib was split up the middle, the tack of the sheet was gone out of the foresail, the topsail and the topgallant-sail were gone, the foreyard, the topsail-yard, and the topgallantsail-yard were all gone, and there were two breadths gone out of the mainsail.
I sold the cargo of coals to a man in Kingstown for burning lime, and wrote home to Mr. Quirk for money to repair the sails and to get a new mainsail, but I got no answer. Dan Flinn was at the bottom of that, too. He persuaded him not to, because she was not worth it. There I was in a fix. I sent home to my wife for £5. I could have paid for the vessels repairs myself and brought her home, but he might have put me out of her, and then I would not have received a penny at all. But I looked out for No.1.
We laid in Kingstown three weeks, and all those weeks I couldnt put a button in my clothes, my fingers were so sore. We were three weeks there.
We got things straightened, and went up to Dublin, and went to Liverpool by the cattle boat. We bad a very dirty passage. Before we got into Kingstown the captain and either three or four of the crew of the " Ajax" were drowned off the Pierhead, when trying to save the crew of another vessel. I dont know whether the crew of the other vessel were saved or not. When we went in we went over the body of another vesselthe old " Sovereign," of Ardglass. Tom Smith was master. I dont know whether he was saved or not. The pilot who took us in wanted £2 for doing so, but I got off with £1.
That was not all. There were three more sunk inside of the outer piers. I saw one of them lifted. Mr. Doyle, from Greystones, bought one schooner under water and lifted her. She formerly belonged to the Clyde. I was speaking to Mrs. Doyle in Kingstown, and she told me she was looking at Mr. Braggs " Dutchman" going down abreast of Greystones, about two miles from the shore.
When we left Troon three more Manx vessels left with us. On Friday morning one of them went ashore on Push Point, with only one man on her, the rest having been all washed overboard before they reached that far. I think they said it was the captain. He was washed ashore, too. His name was William Kermode, from Port. St. Mary. There was another named George Moore, also from Port St. Mary ; he was reared up the country near my old home. The other I did not know.
The " Refuge" was another of them. She. got on very well. she was very nearly ashore on Bradda Head, close to Port Erin, in the isle of Man. it was so thick that you could not see a stones throw. William Raisbeck was in the "Refuge," but I did not know the othersthey were from Port St. Mary.
The " Uncle Tom" was the third one they were in sight of us. They said that we were going to run into them, because we were running for them a little while. This was on Saturday. But it would have been death to touch one another.
There was a little schooner running after us for a time, but we saw her no more. She was not quarter of a mile from us. We made sure she had gone down. This happened 35 years on the 9th of February, 1896.
The " Uncle Tom" was in Kingstown about two hours before us on Sunday evening. We got in at four oclock. I saw the funeral of the men of the " Ajax," either on Monday or Tuesday. There is not one of the men who were in the other three vessels alive now ; but our crew is all alive.