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Poems and stories of a collier skipper - Captain JW Knillof the "Annandale"

POEMS AND STORIES BY CAPTAIN JW KNILL

MASTER OF THE COLLIER SAILING SHIP "ANNANDALE"

(Frequent visitor to Seaham Harbour)

 

These poems were transcribed by Linda Baker, Seaham Family History Group in 2007. Eleven years later in 2018

a descendant of Captain KNill deposited the actual manuscripts of these poems with Seaham Family History Group.

Where Linda was unable to decipher the manuscript the word was left blank.

(Note from Editor - In1938 Captain Knill was awarded the Albert Medal - the highest award possible in

the Merchant Service, (Return to menu to see this article)

 

1.

Leaves from the Log Book of a Collier Skipper

 

But says He do yo mind me

Let storms e’er so oft

Take the topsails of sailors aback

There is a sweet little cherube

That sits up aloft

Looking out for the life

Of poor Jack

 

 

2.

Introductory remarks

 

When the muse is pleased to shine

I take my pen and write a rhyme

The Prickle Jade is ill to please

Unless I humour her to ease

Her motions

 

The following rhymes were written at various times under ……………… circumstances at sea, and on shore when lying at anchor in ………………. In bad weather or sailing gaily along with a fine fair wind to the destined port, all hearts glad with the prospect of meeting with ………………. After an absence of a long and tedious voyage among rocks and sands and stormy weather and other incidents of seafaring nature. I write a good deal from memory as I have lost several leaves out of my log book and a long distance to look back. My perspective telescope gets obscured by fog and other causes and the vista of the past half century becomes almost as capricious as a dream, or fading vision but I hope any reader will not look at my defects either humorous or …………….but at the feelings and the emotions of the muse which prompted me at the times and seasons they were written in the sixty’s and seventy’s on board the “Annandale” Brig pitching and rolling and heaving sometimes on a lee shore and other times on a weather shore. My friends and relatives have often urged me to put my odds and ends together and now I comply with their request, hoping to please them, with sentiments or humour. I send my letter back upon the sea hoping she may have a pleasant voyage.

                                                J.W.Knill

 

 

3.

 

Through Dawdon Dene with Maggie                         June 1860

 

As I was walking through the dene

A little to the west of Seaham (se – am)

And musing on the lovely scene

Was startled from my musing dream

By meeting with my Maggie

 

Twas in the early Summer time

Between the hours of eight and nine

The evening clear, serene and fine

And wild flowers grew in virgin prime

To grace the walk of Maggie

 

The lark was singing up on high

Between the earth and azure sky

The sporting lambs did bleating cry

And flowers each other seemed to vie

To grace the walk of Maggie

 

4.

 

The trees were clad in foliage green

Their rustling leaves in ardour seem

To lend their music to the scene

And welcome bid the graceful queen

Or whisper love to Maggie

 

The hawthorn lends to sweet perfume

The primrose gay in natures bloom

The daisy’s modestly assume

And natures laid her carpet down

To greet the walk of Maggie

 

The feather’d songsters of the wood

Of various hue and varied hood

Join all their notes in gladsome mood

As if they her coming understood

To cheer the walk of Maggie

 

5.

 

The burn meandering runs along

Through meads and trees and flowers among

And joins the quorum in their song

A motley lively cheerful throng

And sing love songs for Maggie

 

The trees may bud, the birds may sing

The flowers may bloom and nature bring

And fill her pleasures to the brim

And at me all her treasures fling

Theres none so dear as Maggie.

 

 

6.

 

The River Wear the Editor of the times (from memory)

 

Dear Sir,

To me its very queer

Such things should happen on the Wear

We have to pay from year to year

To keep the river bottom clear

(Now) there is not water (e)nough to float

from side to side the ferry boat

the sand and mud have grown so high

when its low tide, the middles dry

from boat to boat we have to plank it

when in the middle we get to bank’et

poot things the lady’s shake with fear

and trembling cry “oh dear, oh dear”

lest they get dip’d into the wear

we hope to see and that right soon

a dredger working up an doon

dredging up the sand and mud

to make the ferrys passage good

then the lady’s will be pleas’d

to find their fears from danger eas’d

and thank the friendly corporation

for making needful alteration.

                        “Annandale”

                        Bridge …………….   ……………

 

 

7

 

 

in memory of those who perished in the disastrous gale of December 17th 1872. six ships with all hands belonging to Seaham Harbour.

 

NO MORE

 

No more their banks will sail along the coast

No more of braver deeds we’ll hear them boast

No more the deck they’ll pace with lightsome heart

Nor in the willing contest take a part

 

No more for them the tide will ebb or flow

No more for them the gentle Lephyss blow

No more for them the pilots watchful eye

Will scan the distance or their banks espy

 

No more, the Harbour make or furl the sail

Or friends “to gladly on the shore they’ll hail”

The place and port which oft before, they knew

No more, shall know them or their hapless crew

 

 

 

8

 

No more, the wife, her husband gladly meet

No more, the welcome home will kindly greet

No more, the loving kiss or fond embrace

No more, with smiles she’ll greet his smiling face

 

No more, she’ll list His welcome footstep near

Which oft had come her troubled heart to cheer

When pres’d with grief, at his long absence past

The latchet opens and he’s home at last

 

Expectant children now no more will see

Or infant prattle on its fathers knee

The promised toy or sweets he’ll being no more

Nor kiss his babe or sing to slumber ‘t’o’er

 

At eventide no more around his humble hearth

He’ll watch their gambles or enjoy they’r…………….

No more decide e when little feuds take place

Which right or wrong with all becoming grace

 

 

9

 

 

The board no more, o’er which he did preside

With his lov’d children seated near his side

No more, good nights or kisses in their cot

As laid asleep their little feuds forgot.

 

The arm on which they stay’d to win them bread

Beneath the wave is number’d with the dead

His kindly heart will beat for them no more

Farewell, farewell on earth to meet no more.

 

On the sloop of the “Dorothy Jobson of Blyth”

In that dread hour the battlegr of the sky

Pour out their ………….. and left the ……..on high

All tempest tost a prey to wind and sea

The …………. Bank drives fast into the sea.

 

In that dread hour brave Bergen takes his pen

And calmly writes farewell to home and then

His shipmates tell him say farewell for me

And bravely wait their burial in the sea

 

 

10

 

In that dread hour was Jesus present there

In answer to the seamens earnest prayer

Was he their comfort int hat dreadful hour

Unseen yet felt in his soul saving power.

 

In that dread hour was death robb’d of its sting

Did angels hover o’er with anxious wing

Waiting till Jesus the command had given

To waft their souls from ocean up to Heaven

 

In such an hour on Calvarys rude tree

A dying thief cried “Lord Remember Me”

His saviours love bids faith and hope arise

Today with me thou’lt be in paradise

11.

 

yes truly He was there in that dread …… and robbed death of its sting and damning power. Or how could they converse and calmly unit

with death terrific an eternity in sight

 

Note, particulars of the life was found the Scottish on those sealed up ion a bottle, written by Bergen and committed to the sea. The ship had lost her main mast and was unmanageable.

 

To a coal factor Coal Exchange London

Dear Sir

To you the “Annandales” consign’d

I hope you’ll kindly bear in mind

That she is long and slender

And sell her to discharge afloat

Or else I fear I’ll get her broke

If to ground you send her

 

12.

 

the times are rather hard you know

and to the ground I fear to go

her feelings are so tender

to disoblige you I am both

but should she break to tell the truth

I cant afford to mend her

 

Written while running up …………and sent along into the ………………to the above address. I got what I desired.

 

An acrostic on the village of Greenhithe

 

Greenhithe remembrance is busy with thee

Perle’d in beauty they woodlands are present with me e’en now can my fancy embrace they loved ………….opening upon the dewdrops (like nectar) has kiss’d they sweet flowers.

Not shall I forget (each) the kind friends I have seen.

How happy in your street village I have been

On thy fields and they woods and the cottage so neat

To where I am sent a few friends to meet

Heaven crown all their works in the field and the home

Cheer with plenty till thy kingdom shall come

 

Written in Lowestoff Roads Fe 9th 1871 on board the “Annandale”

 

13

                                    Greenhithe

 

an acrostic on the death of George Thoams Warner aged 5 years

 

gone to rest my darling boy

ended soon thy childish joy

over the rive of death thou art gone

rest in peace my arling son

God has taken thee away

Ever to live in endless day

 

Telling us thy parents here

Heaven has freed us of our care

Often still we think of thee

Memory brings you back ……….. see

All thy gambols …………. Our hearth

Still we hear they childish mirth

 

We hope to meet you on that shore

After our weeping on earth is o’er

Rest our boy until we come

Never to part with thee at home

Everlasting then the joy

Rich with thee our darling boy

 

15

 

the poor old crossing sweeper on Tower Hill London

 

with hollow cheer and sunken eye

on Tower Hill as I pass’d by

with broom in hand he sweeps the way

and never asks but thrusts for pay

the poor old crossing sweeper

 

his trembling limbs benum’d with cold

his tattered garments thin and old

he’s scarely glad and scarely fed

and yet he looks a man well bred

the poor old crossing sweeper

 

16

 

his crownless hat and soleless shoes

show plainly they’ve been long in use

his hair looks out, his toes the same

and all he wears not worth a name

the poor old crossing sweeper

 

at night where does he lay his head

I question much if on a bed

In some poor garret or a cell

His crumpled garments plainly tell

Where sleeps the crossing sweeper

 

His palled look and hollow voice

As he lifts up his hat apoise

To kindly thank for what I gave

Tell me that soon the greedy grave

Will claim the crossing sweeper

 

 

17

 

Consumption mark’d him for its prey

He seems much weaker every day

Of late I’ve miss’d him, from his stand

I cannot now put in his hand

A copper, poor old sweeper

 

Where is he now, has kindly death

Deprived him of his scanky breath

Has he pass’d o’er that friendly couche

“from whence no travellers return”

The poor old crossing sweeper

 

The king, the prince, the Duke, the Lord

Must meet indistinct at this ford

The country dress and glittering crown

Are here as useless both laid down

With the rags of the crossing sweeper

                       

                        London Dec 15th 1876

 

 

18

 

to the Harbour Master at Seaham Harbour Jan 2nd /70

 

Sir, with die respect I write to you

Not to inform as …………… you do

That my ship the Annandale

Has broke the will thrifts Mastingale

Her Master looks to me for pay

Which must be paid without delay

And which I think is very hard

As my ship was securely moor’d

……………. By your orders cast adrift

she went foul the …………… shift

My owner might think it rather queer

That I should do such damage here

I think the estate of Londonderry

Should pay the least to Bill & Jenny

 

On receipt of the above, he sent me to order a Mastingale, at the workshop, at the Harbour expense.

 

Sir        To the Hetton Coal Fitter, Seaham Harbour

I don’t inlend to write a song

Much less to write a sermon

As I unto a class belong

That cannot boast of learning

But first to say the long delay

I have in getting loaded

Has wearied me from day to day

My mind with promise graded

If promises could make the coal

Or words made into quineas

By this they would have filled my holds

To count them take dominis

 

An order was sent to the dock “put the Annanadale under the spout immediate, and load her right off”.

                                                Jan 2nd 1870

 

 

19

 

to Mr. P. J. Hutton coal fitter Sun Oct 8th 1875

 

You told me (sir) to trust you

And you’d fulfil your promise true

And load the “Annandale”

A week has nearly past and gone

Your promises fulfilled not one

Good cause my faith to rail

In faith (sir) of the charter sign’d

Ne’er doubting that it was your mind

To do as you had said

But here I am with empty hold

My sanguine hopes are growing cold

Not load this week apaid

With due respect (sir) for you station

I crave your head to this narration

Deeds not words ne’er fail

No more I hope to have occasion

To remind of your relation

To the “Annandale”

 

20

 

the following application was written at Lossiemouth in 1880 and the situation granted 2nd Jan 1882 (as follows)

 

Dear Sir, I beg to intimate to you

And hope you’ll entertain my view

That when a vacancy takes place

Among the fitters at the staiths

You will note my rhyming application

To fill the vacant situation

And place my name in your note book

In memory put me in a nook

Which ever place in book or thought

I hope my name won’t be forgot

And J Knill will ever pray

In his kind friend P J Reay

                        Lambton Office, Sunderland

(Note) I obtained and retained the situation nearly 18 years

 

 

 

21

 

Reminiscence of Mr John Hutchinson, Ship Builder

 

The “Annandale” was dock’d in one of his dry docks in Oct 1872 to undergo repairs and during the time he sent for me several times, to have what tailors call a yarn. Not a …….yain but a drawing room yarn and sometimes our yarns were drawn to considerable lengths until we found them twisting into a strong rope to bind us together, in sentiment and humour. In general and genial topics of the times, when the ship was finished he sent me as a present six volumes of Blairs Sermons for which I sent him the following letter of thanks.

Dear sir, I thank you most kindly for the present you sent. At first I did think they only were lent till your servant had told me they were sent as a gift for them to gift me or me them to gift. With pleasure and profit I hope in the …………….

The chaff from the wheat will cleanly believe

The doctor and sailor can only agree

So far as free grace in his sermons I see

And when on the ocean I’ll think of any pieces

Who as a free gift the sermons did send

 

22.

 

Note

At sea I have made a note (of the present of books) in first …………….one of Blairs works thus I had heard various reports concerning the characteristic eccentricities of the above named gentleman, and was glad when a messenger was sent to the ship to inform me that he desired to see me at his residence in Sunderland. He received me very kindly (and) be seated, and from what I heard and saw in his house I was both amused and edified and I feel pleased to say that I believe him to be a wise and good man and most energetic for his age then eight seven

 

                                    J W Knill

 

23

 

to the promotors of the Reading Rooms Seaham Docks

 

Ladys and Gentlemen

We thank you kindly for the boon

In giving us a Reading Room

Where we can pass out leisure time

Improving our best part the mind

The house adapted once for cooks

You’ve made it now a house for books

Where drunken cooks the dinners spoil’d

And wasted both the roast and boil’d

Where well cook’d food made stomachs fain

Theres something now to feed the brown

And as the wheels of rime roll round

Prove friends to sailors still are found

And you kind friends who e’er you be

We join to thank you heartily

We’d thank you more for something yet

A library if you would get

And we would help by contribution

to make it a greater institution

 

24

 

such a boon is wanted much

that we may have a choice in touch

For men with various moods of mind

Amongst the sailors you will find

Some for scripture some for song

Some for history hundreds long

Some for grammar some for diction

And others fonder still of fiction

Some like to climb up to the stars

And others polar regions far

Some like to soar up to the sun

And others like to quiz the moon

To see what kind of folk are there

If they are black or brown or fair

Some like to study politics

And other s plants and trees and tricks

 

 

25

 

And some the birds and beasts and fish

On wings or legs or in a dish

Some like to dig deep in a mine

For hope some treasure there to find

But fiends lest I should tire your patience

I’ll here wind up my long narrations

Yet say that still brave hearts and true

Beat underneath a jacket blue

And that if should ere break out

We could still give the foe a clout

But hope ere long the flag of peace

Will war proclaiming wars have ceas’d.

                        Seaham Nov 15th 1870

 

 

26

 

Capt Webbs Channel Swim

 

Hurrah for Captain Webb

Swam both flood and ebb

Across the channel

He’s beat Boyton ………….

Boyton couldn’t I much doubt

Without his flannel

Webb did it in his skin]from off the pier jump’d in

The Strait of Dove

His way to France was bent

Determined in the event

Till he got over

The fishes in the sea

Wonder’d who was he

With curious fin

A cruel jelly fish

That never grac’d a dish

Gave him a sting

But dauntless still of heart

Through keenly felt the smash

He’s not give in

 

27

 

He showed true British pluck

His colours never struck

He’d die or win

He hoisted ne’er a sail

His nat’ral fins avail

Without a paddle

No stars or stripes to tell

Nor crowd to cheer him well

Nor paper twaddle

But o’er the ocean bed

His stormy way he led

His path to glory

Let size tell to his ,…………..

As long as time shall run

The wondrous story

Hurrah for Captain Webb

As long as flood and ebb

Are kept in motions

Brittania still can boast

Of heroes on her coast

Less Yankee Notion

 

Shortly after the swim written at anchor in Yarmouth Wads

 

28

 

Sunset at Sea

 

Refulent orb who at thy makers nod

Has drop’d apparent into a golden bed

Like some rich child by some fair hand unrob’d

And to its curtain’d chamber gently led

            -----      ----       ---

Now darkness reigns around and o’er the sea

The seaman on the deck his mighty vigils keep

The compass points his port far on the lees

His gallant bank ploughs proudly through the deep

Till she arrives safe in her destin’d port

Whose winds and waves cannot with her sport

 

 

 

29

 

The Dirty Streets Seaham Harbour

To the Editor of “Seaham Observer” 1871

 

The wind: blown strongly from the east

And keenly felt by man and beast

The frost o been keen most all the week

And snows ………….. up about the street

But now the frost and snow are gone

And meeting both the rains come down

(Note) the streets almost are ankle deep

For want of men and brooms to sweep

The ladys have to walk tip toe

And ankles even legs they’ll show

They have to lift their gowns and skirt

To keep them out from ‘mong the dirt

For shames sake send the carts and shulls

With men to clear away the mulls

If camels should go down your street

They’d splash your windows with their feet

As they your dirty lanes go don (down)

The gypsys singing buy a broom

The ladys then with many thanks

Will cleanly walk along your banks

And when a shopping they have been

To home return both street and clean

No need to use the sponge and brush

The streets are clear’d of mud and slush

 

 

30

 

the above hint was taken by the authorities (timely) I would just say a sailor man who got the nickname of “bed weather Bill” as it almost always was bad weather when Bills ship was in the docks, very often the Double sea gates were shut and Bill was always blam’d for bringing bad weather wit him and often when teas’d about it he would say, do you think I carry a bag with bad weather init and let it out when I come here, I think he was at Seaham then.

 

31

 

The Storms

 

Oh the storm, the terrible storm

Wrecking the ships on the coast along

Splitting the sails and breaking the mast

By the terrible force of an easterly blast

Ho the storm, the pitiless storm

Wrecking the hipes of many a home

Causing the widows and orphans to weep

Drowning their bread winners under the deep

Of what a storm, a November storm

Looking and dashing in awful foam

And the sound of the wind like a toons roar

Chasing the wreaks to the rock bound there

And the storm toss’d bound become thier prey

All helpless as at their stroke she lay

Gone down under the foaming wave

In sight of brave men waiting to save

Memory and eyesight cannot forget

The scenes of the storm without deep regret

Time never can heal the wounds it has made

The scar on the heart will outlive the shade

Now is the time for the millionaire

With the widows and orphans his gold to share

Only a crumb from your golden store

To keep for a while the wolf from the door

How can you rest on your downy bed

How can you lay on your golden egg

Your rusting fold from the poor who beg

And the widow and orphan crying for bread.

Withhold not from the poor who cannot help themselves

 

32

 

“He that form’d me in the womb

He shall guide me to the tomb

All my times shall ever be

Ordered by His wise decree”

 

I thin it nice but out of place to inform my readers that I am looking back to a distance of 75 years and trying to connect some of the links pf the first 20 years of my eventful life. I was born on the 29th January 1818 at an obscure fishing village on the Northumberland Coast. My father was a coastguard man and my mother a fish agents daughter. On the night I was born a vessel laden with barley was wreck’d on the rocks at Newton and the old fisherman and fisherwomen had a good harvest of barleycorn, which was ground into meal to make bread for the bairns and after I grew to know language I heard them say it is so many years since the barley ship came ashore the night Johnny Knill was born.

 

33

 

“Where e’er I roam whatever lands I see

Home of my youth thou art still dear to me”

 

I can remember seeing the French fishing boats come ashore and my father assisting to save the crews for which he received a medal from the King of France. I also can remember the wreck of the Forfarshire , on the Farne Islands and my father bringing a pair of scissors to my mother which he had pick’d out of a hole in the rock. We could see her wreck from the watchhouse at Newton by the telescope, thee are more incidents I might mention which occurred in my youthful days but I pass them over and come to the time when my dear father was taken from us, a family of seven and widow’s mother, I was the eldest, fourteen yours of age. After my father serving his country for twenty seven years we were cast upon the world to do the best we could for ourselves. I have often thought if our case had been freely …………… and some kind acute friend had enquired into the circumstances my poor mother

 

 

 

 

34

 

would have got an annuity from Her Majesty’s Government. I went to the fishing for about two years, and then when a little over sixteen, I have the privilege of joining Her Majesty’s Revenue cutter “Mermaid” on the Berwick station and remained in the service until I was about twenty when I left it and joined the Merchant service. As related in the sequel of my narrative, serving the time I was on the Mermaid, a circumstance occur’d which I have never forgot and which never will as long memory keeps her seat and right reason holds the helm until the last Harbour is gain’d and the sails of my poor weather beaten bank is fined, to loos’d no more, until the three calls, all hands on deck, to meet and hail the great Captain of Heaven and earth and the ………. Of every vessel of mercy which appears in the registers of the Port of Eternal rest, no more to unmoor and put to sea. Where there shall be no more sea or storms.

 

35

 

On Devils or Johnny Grippgs

 

Some with masts last and sails all rivers

The port would never make

But by a gracious gale are driven

There for the owners take

 

Samson arrives but in a wreck

David with broken bones

Eli but with a broken neck

Stephen midst showers of stones

 

“Plagues and deaths around one fly

Till he bids I cannot die

And not a single shaft can hit

Till a God of love sees fit”

Permit me to say that I write from facts as they have recurred to my memory they are the experiences and hardships which has been my lot, infidelity may laugh at some of my writings. But they are true.

 

36

 

My First Shipwreck

 

As I write from memory, of the past fifty five years, I beg to ask my readers to pardon the omission of days and dates and read my narrative in its main incidents, as connected with the above headings. I was a young man when I ship’d in a “Berwick Smack” bound from Berwick to Casedale in the highlands of Scotland with a cargo of coals. Her name “Charlotte MacKenzie”. Her crew few in number including the Captain (named Constable) and a very good double C he was . we had a very rough and stormy passage down the scotch scrash and up the “Moray Firth” until we enter’d the Caledonia Canal, through which we were towed by horses, on the side of the same by a rope from the ship attach’d to them, from thence we pass’d into Loch Ness through which we had to make several tacks, sometimes almost blinded by more storms although it was in the month of May (extremely cold) eventually we arrived at Casedale, our port of discharge, after a tedious time, …………… navigating through sounds and locks and rocks, among which we had many a close shave, we got discharged of our coals and loaded a cargo of slates for Berwick on Tweed. We sail’d from Casedale through the Sound of Mull and had a fairly good passage until we reached Cape Wrath (ominous name) where we met with very bad weather. Our captain made up his mind to try and gain

 

 

 

37

 

an anchorage in Loch Laxford, and in doing so struck a sunken rock and holed her bottom …… of the rock and began to fill with water, we put our the boat ready to leave the ship, but seeing a small cove between two high rocks on the lee made for it, and just entering it, sank, leaving us standing on the deck up to our waists in the water. Looking at each other in wonder and amazement at our narrow escape, proving the words true that “safety consists not in escape from dangers those going ……. of a frightful shape, an earthquake may be bid to space, the man that’s strangled by hair” we landed in our ……… boat and were met by the farmers and fishermen and conducted to a farm house and were treated very kindly.

 

38

 

after being refreshed with milk and scones and had our clothes dried, we returned to the ship and found her free from water. We boarded her again to get our clothes which were all wet. My tea chest was full of water, my reference Bible and books all spoil’d also by best . those going …. All the provisions except the beef which was carried to the farm house, we stayed a few days with the famers family, consisting of wife, daughters, a and sons and cattle, our bed for three was separated from the cattle by a wooden partition and often during the night the cows, ….. the …………. By their lowing, in the next room, then we would give each other a …….. and say do you hear the watch call’d. well the time came when we must leave this happy family and the kind treatment and thank the distance seventy miles to Invergordon, a rough and rugged road with a drove of cattle and their drovers as guides, over hill and through glens winding round the base of mountains in …….. waters. Stopping at nights in a wayside shelter as printed for travellers shepherds and ………… menu, milk and scones, oat cakes (cakes) and whisky, oatmeal porridge with plenty of good milk of which I could take my share, in four days we arrived at our port of shipment and walk’d on board the big “Caledinia” cattle paddle, wooden steamer. After the cattle was put on board, steam’d away for Leith calling on the way at Banff and Aberdeen for goods, l passengers and more cat (cattle)

 

39

 

(catte)   tle, paddling away from the above named city, we arrived in due time at Leith, from there train’d it home to Berwick not bringing poor old “Charlotte” back with us, but leaving her wreck and poor old bones in Lock Loxford to be wash’d and bleach’d and whiten’d, with the black waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Now let me ascribe a song of Praise to Home “who holds the winds in his fist and the waves in the hollow of his hand”

“Rendered safe by His protection

We shall pass the watery waste

Trusting to His wise direction

We shall gain the port at last

And with wonder, think on toils and dangers past”

 

40

 

from there I must skip over a few years until I come to my second shipwreck which recur’d on Corton Beach Yarmouth ….) on board the “Bedale of Whitby” sailing from both anchors in a heavy gale from the Cartward and driving ashore, it was high water when she came to the ground and being a dark night and thick with rain we were not seen by the people on shore for two hours, during that time the tide had left her considerably above water. When we were rescued by the Lowestoff beachmen in one of their big yawls next flood tide. She broke up, we were sent home by the shipwreck society. I would add, the captain promised to send the wages due to the men, but we never received a penny. Whether the owners paid him or not is unknown to us. If not they are in our still. If this ever should meet their eye, I hope conscience will do its duty. No doubt the freight was insured with the ship to them a gain, to us a loss. My third shipwreck happen’d in Skinning Grove Bay in thick weather, we ……... ourselves in the open boat pouring oil into the sea as she came towards the broken water, this was in October 1881.

I cannot say with the author of the voyage in the coal trade when I became captain. I thought myself a king and very soon I did forget the fire mast man I’d been, but that I never knew I was a sailor until I became a captain. Nor selfishness, nor self conceit. I ne’er was wrapt in,

 

 

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and as our truthful poet expresses when self the wavering balance takes it seldom right adjusted” and again “mans inhumanity to man makes count less thousands mourn” I have often thought that if there is one mind more ……. Than another it is that man that mind, which is all for self, and cares not now much the oppresses and tyrannizes over his poor workmen, whether at sea, or on shore at the plough or at the helm, so long as he can grab all into his own bag. If there is one more than another I despise it is “Johnny Grippy” men, who are mean and ………... mind ……………….. Whatever they may profess to be

 

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as I am busy with recollections of the past, permit me to add a few more of my narrow escapes from a watery grave, about two years after my first shipwreck. I was wash’d overboard, from the deck of the “Radiant of Blyth” in the north sea, in mid winter, on a deark night, during a heavy gale from the S.E. and a heavy snowfall, fore reaching under two close roof’d topsails on the starboard tack, when a tremendous sea struck the ship on the starboard quarter varying away bulwarks, sky light, companion cabin funnels and me with them, the man at the wheel for entangled among the wheel chains, the mate, who was in the cabin at the time, speaking with the captain had some difficulty in regaining the deck. The helmsman told him I was overboard and looking about the lee quarter found me hanging by one arm round the timber head in the covering board (outside) he drag’d me to the deck quite exhausted. I found I had for hold of something and clung to it, what a wonderful deliverance.

“Chained to His thorns a volume cries

with all the fates of men

with every angels firm and size

drawn by the Eternal pen”

keep her away before it I heard the captain call and she was kept away for the Firth of Penth where we anchor’d at midnight under Inchkeith after being battered about for four days. Eventually we arrived at London and back to Warkworth after repairing damages said for Hamburg. Then from there up the Baltic, loaded a cargo of grain at Danzig for Leith. Where I left the Radiant and ship’d in the “Fanny” of Sunderland bound for Dover. Sailed from thence to Lanelly in Wales loaded coals from Lowestoff from there to Sunderland and again to the Baltic. Loaded at Danzig for Goole where I left the Fanny came to Hull and ship’d in the “Lady Seaham” by the …… to Seaham there to cast anchor in the harbour of matrimony, moored by a golden ring of the best gold to a finger post more precious than the ring. There two of us made our home, man and wife.