John H. W. Pettit letters to his family in England, illustrated with sketches by the writer, 1852-1868 - Page 14

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Let No 2
N.L. 38o   W.L. 14o
N.A. Ocean
Sunday Afternoon Sept 21 1852
My dr. Father

Let. No. 1 which I trust you received was forwarded by the Channel pilot {for post} who left us in the downs - all in high spirits the Vessel bounding merrily along. We of course saw the Coast of France - Cliffs of Dover - in evens Light of Calais during the night. We were tackg along the S Coast of old England with a smart breeze coming about every 6 hrs. Made about 8 miles direct on our course during Monday - rather tedious - considerable delay was feared - in the evening the Wellington an Emigrant vessel which left on the Sat before was some miles to leeward - Bucky's Head (?). Brighton Lights - Isle (?)  Wight was seen but it was not to be  discerned by me - not clear of the English Coast until Weds. Fromthat time our misery is to be dated - for the "Atrevida" then began to show what she could do at (?) & keeling it - from then until Sunday evening - throughout the period of crossing the Bay - the weather has been most  coarse. Close reefed topsails -   almost every body has been dreadfully ill the whole time - Robt stood it uncommonly well. I don't think he has been really what we here term sick - but as for myself - couldn't get on at all - could neither eat, drink or sleep - so keep below night or day. Used to sit or lay on a hen coop holdg. on to the poop ladder or a rope through a ring bolt - if you didn't hold on & tight too you would in a moment find yourself all in a heap on the leeward scuppers - almost drowned & yr head broken. I never saw such seas before. The vessel at times stood almost on end thrown up a terrific height - coming the next moment into a trough with fearful violence {water was fore & aft}   & (?) everything that was not lashed lost. Just fancy about 76 passengers cooped up close down below - the 1st night out was terrible (?) for  I as  often {in berth} stood on my head as any other position - then the smell - every now & then there would be a most terrible crash & quantities of the tin house keeping complements of materials would be racing all through tween decks - but not a soul of the passengers would look after them - the light bulk heads & fittings are a terrible nuisance for when there is heavy sea on they do work & creak  so much I can only  compare it to about 20 large crates turned deliberately around - that at times can hardly hear ourselves speak - when we were getting away from the old coast it was so pleasant that I stood quite high  in my  own estimation with respect to keeping right for about 1/2 an hour previous to our moving(?) into the weather. We were carryg. crowd(?) & every inch of canvass - No end of stun' sails & vessel looked all wings - the weather looked all right to me but the Capt quietly gave orders to get everything up  - which was soon  done & in about 10 minutes she was deck under to leeward

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