Thursday June 1st, 1871, one year from Boston
Now we are entering or trying to enter the Straits “Mindora”. The Island of Mindora with it’s lofty mountain are on one side and the Island, “Busuanga” on the other. But it is almost calm as usual with us. And it seems most impossible for us to get anywhere. How I long for a good cool day once more. “I expect it will cool enough when you get to Maine Pilgarlic.” Yes Deck Bucket, but the way is so long it seems as though it was a great way ahead, to get to Boston. Only think it is a year since we sailed from there, and we’ve been baking, roasting, and sweating nearly ever since, and shall be for some time to come. Well, Pilgarlic, if you was in Boston now, you would find it hot enough. That’s just t, when we get there- Oh dear, what’s the use in talking- I have been thinking often of that dreary day one year ago, as though my heart went out there. It seemed as though, I wanted to die. Oh, those dreadful separations. A most sad pale weary face has been haunting me ever since- a pretty little…
…at the railway car window comes between me and the other sometimes, and so my wife wears on, growing shorter, shorter. And thank God there is a land where there will be no more separations.
And now let us press on. Crack on the canvass old fellow. Watch her sharp- keep her on the right track you’ve no idea how quick you’ll be home, and the “Lord will lead you beside still waters.”
June 4th Trinity Sunday 5 days out, becalmed in Mindora straits.
“Creator, Savior, Strengthening Guide,
Now on thy mercy’s ocean wide,
Far out of sight we seem to slide,
Help us each hour, with steadier eye,
To search the deepening mystery,
The wonders of Thy Sea and Sky.
We have been becalmed now a week, sometimes a little breeze, but soon all gone again. Surrounded by dangerous shoals unseen, strong currents setting us hither and thither. It is anything but pleasant, but we are getting use to it. It is only a question of time.
If anything will send a man on his knee to his Maker, this will. Here we are consuming our provisions. Time is flying on. Winter will soon be coming again, and we are glued to this one spot as it were. And only a breath of air would see us all right. It can’t be otherwise. The pride is not all out of us yet.
And the vermin are awful. We can sweep up the ____ by the shovels full. When I wash in the morning, I wash them out of my hair and beard. They crawl all over us and bite worse than mosquitos. When it will stop, I can’t tell. Small spiders are nearly as thick as the ants. They weave their webs all over everything in a very short space of time. Monster cockroaches that fly through the air making a noise like hummingbirds. The cats mistake them for mice when they crawl on deck. Crickets are in every corner, and when we try to sleep they make a deafening noise. So “What’s a hungry poor Nigger to do?”
We are all well, if rather lame. We are safe so far, and what more can we ask. The hens lay eggs for us and Dick the little ____ rooster is in full figure.
Wednesday June, 7th. 18 days out from Hong Kong.
Here we are on the Eastern Arche Pelago, having as usual a tedious time of it. If we do get any wind it’s always ahead. We’re a long time getting through Mindora Straits. The sea is full of dangerous rocks, shoals, and Islands, and does not give much rest to the navigator, but I am getting pretty well drilled, having been constantly at it since last ist of October, when I passed through the straits of Lunda. I have got so I can take short cat naps as ____ used to it if not more than half an hour. They are better than nothing. The scenery here is very fine. On one hand there is the beautiful Isle of Panay on which is our port of ____ contiguous to this and forming the bay which we are now trying to enter is the Island of Grimamas. And we now have to beat P. between them to our anchorage, about forty five miles. Negoro Island is close too with it’s volcano of “Malasapina” and a little further on is Zebu, whose the immortal Magalhaes (Magellan)was killed, his tomb is there to this day. The ship he was in was the first to circumnavigate the globe, but he never liked to see it accomplished.
We have had two French ships in company these last two days. We were all close together yesterday when a terrific squall burst over us and we got separated. I never smelled the lightning before. It smelled exactly like brimstone.
The night was dark and gloomy, and we got along the best we could. At noon one of these ships has just ____ in sight, crawling up from leeward.
I got $80.00 worth of potatoes to Hong Kong to speculate, but they are all nothing. We have been out so long and the weather so hot, no wonder.
Thursday, June 8th
At anchor, 8 miles from Ilo-ilo today we have had a ____ wind and have been beating towards town. This morning we were close up under the land and at daylight the scenery appeared beautiful. Bold head lands jutting out one after another on one side, while beautiful smiling fields trembled away on the other. The white catholic churches peeping out among the trees adding to the charm of the scene. The American Bark “George Treat” of Boston from Manila for…
…Ilo-ilo, came up and passed us. Also the English Ship Assyrian from Hong Kong. At four o’clock we were up at the shoal and anchored glad enough to get one “Naval Hook’ down.
Friday morning the 9th, we were all under weigh again beating up, when a little steamer came down to tow us up after four hours hard work, she gave it up and went back and we anchored at very near where started from, bitterly disappointed.
Saturday morning at 11 o’clock we were all startled by a steamer whistling alongside. It was another steaner sent down by Messers Russell & Sturgis of Ilo-ilo to tow us up. She tries two hours and gave it up. Mr. Gardiner our agent and a number of friends had come down for a midnight excursion, and some fun. They went…
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…off chop fallen enough. So then was nothing left but for Capt. Deck Bucket to try it again himself.. At 9 we started again under full sail and in four hours beat up to our
landing berth off the town. It was hard work, as usual, dead ahead but we were not a minute too soon. Heavy clouds and a falling barometer, gave full proof of an approaching storm.
By Spanish law, all ships coming in have to be visited by an official boat from shore. They want to know about who you are, where you have come from, if anybody is sick, etc., then they want to know everything you have got on board, and you have to give them a list, then they leave two custom house officers called, Parbinesos, in full uniform with muskets, etc. to watch the ship…
.. and not until then is anyone allowed to go on shore. So this is all over with. Capt. D. packed his valise, and after it had been examined by the officer, started for the shore. We pulled past an old tumbled down fort, and up a winding river with low banks, and in a few moments landed at the door of Messers R & S office, and dwelling. It is a pretty place, and commands the road on one side and the river on the other. By the kind of invitation of the firm, we tookup our abode here, glad to be away from the toils of the ship for a few days. A heavy gale was brewing and the boat had just time to get back to the ship when the storm began. Our household consisted of Mr. Heron, one of the firm of R & S at Manila down here on a visit. Mr. Ernest one of the firm here, and myself and we whisked away the stormy night, with many a story of days gone by, for we had…
…been acquaintances years before. Sunday the 11th, we spent the morning listening to the service performed in the cathedral close by, by a full brass band, it was very
pretty, but strange for church service. The morning meal here is just one likes to order; coffee or tea, toast, eggs, fruit too, and is eaten at any time to suit the appetite. Breakfast is served at 12 o’clock and is served the same time as our dinner. We had on Sunday several guests drop in and it took a couple of hours to get through. There is no society here. No Ladies to speak of. The servants are all Indians and the cook, generally a Chinaman, so the few European residents there are, spend their time going from one house to another to breakfast or dinner. A wife here generally…
…considered a nuisance, and the married state not thought much of. Not a very nice thing, foe the morals of Ilo-ilo, but this is so all through the East. ____/____ his finer feelings here. On Sunday evening we were all invited out to dine at Mr. Latesinger’s, a Swiss merchant of the place. He is an exception to the rule, and has recently taken a wife, young Spanish girl of high family, the very pretty Senorita Marie. Dinner commenced at 7 ½ PM and lasted about two hours. Senora’s tongue ran like everything but it was all in Spanish, though it is a beautiful language, it was excessively stupid and tiresome to me.
All night the storm raged and the house shook to it’s very centre. I felt somewhat dubious about the ship, but I knew she was in good…
…hands. When I woke up Monday morning, the storm had broken and I could see at daylight from my window that the Franklin had dragged a little and had both anchors down. So after a bit Mr. Ernest, Mr. heron and myself got a boat and went off to the ship. We had a good breakfast and came back, calling on the English surveying ship, Maslan to get my charts corrected and report some dangers not known to them. I found them a splendid set of fellows, and had a nice time. They have a large room arranged on deck for a drawing room, filled with the best materials. There are artists, scientists men, and all sorts among them. Their business is to survey the seas abroad, to make drawings, and measure the heights of the land they see, and describe it all. They dredge the sea…
…for all sorts of animalea, and have apparatus for sounding and bringing up specimens of the bottom in many thousand fathoms of water. All of which is put under a powerful microscope and drawn. Commander Chimo, a Captain in the Royal Navy was very polite to me, showed me all his specimens and drawings and his turning apparatus for making all sorts of curios. He said he heard I was collecting for a cabinet and begged to know when he might come on board and see my collection. He is an Irish man, and a jolly fellow. I told him I would be on board in the afternoon, and be most happy to see him. Meantime, the navigating officer offered to give me the proper time for regulating my chronometer, so they both came together. They expressed themselves delighted with the ship, her appearance, etc. and we had a very pleasant time…
…together. Next day I was invited to go on an expedition to a neighboring Island for land shells and ferns, but ____ prevented, but I went to dine that night on board. And for my pains, was taken violently sick while on board and had to go on board my own ship at an early hour. Wednesday was our first pleasant day, and I went on board and I went on board the man o’ war again, and got a god supply of paper, pencils, etc. I found the artist on board, a young English nobleman and a very fine fellow. The Steamer from Manila arrived today- bringing the mail. The Capt. was an old acquaintance, and we had a jolly good time. And so it goes. We are weighing the sugar(cargo) on shore and I have two boys from the ship to attend the scales, and it gives me employment to lookout for it. Friday night I went to the British Consuls to dine, had rather a dry time, but I got dining enough.
Sketch of the bow of the Franklins done By Capt. Drew.