The Townsends Tale cont...
As a beginning of what they intended to do Mr. A was forbidden to come on the poop he was by this means prevented from attending to several valuable boxes of plants which stood there some belonging to the Company and the rest private property and these plants Mr. A had experienced great difficulty in collecting before he left England many of them were presented to him by the Horticultural Society and required the care and attention of an experienced Botanist. These plants were and still rea attended by the Servant who cleans Mr. DAWSON's Shoes Viz a man I (?) Day who never raised a Cabbage. Not satisfied with this they endeavoured to mortify and degrade him in every possible way.
Himself and family like the rest of the Passengers was allowed a certain quantity of spirit per day his share was taken off and soon after supposing he had some of what the rest of the family had it was all taken off. They had nothing but water to drink the Agent also laying strict injunctions on the Rest of the passengers not to sell or give any to Mr A or family on pain of having their allowance stopped and incurring his displeasure. Thus was a man his wife and large family who had always lived respectably in England compelled to drink only water in a Warm climate and Mrs. A upon the verge of 7 months pregnancy. I will mention one or two more circumstances to prove how far they were inclined to injure the party.
Mrs. ALLEN feeling one day very poorly and having unwisely salt beef for dinner / which is at times hardly edible / sent to the Captain and DAWSON who were at dinner and desired the favour of a small piece of their fresh meat - this was contemptuously refused. Another circumstance occurred which proved their extreme meanness - Mr ALLEN while at Cowes went to a friend and procured a quantity of vegetable mould he put this in some square boxes and sowed it with Mustard and Cress. He was allowed to reap the first of this for the use of the Agent and Captain, however he was surprised one morning upon going to water some salad to find somebody had been there before him and had cut it. Upon enquiry he found it had been cut by DAWSON's Servant orders having been given to the effect by his Master after this they took possession of the boxes and mould and actually sent to him to demand him to deliver up the Seed to sow them with.
Many other overbearing circumstances have occurred but I have mentioned sufficient to show their malice.
Mrs ALLEN is undoubtedly a sufferer as she is confined 2 months sooner than expected. I must say Mrs. A is a Woman I do not admire though I must say I have received many little attention from her and Mr. A. I have returned them as far as laid in my power. I fortunately had it in my power to give Mrs. A. A few bottles of wine which I assure you were highly prized for altho (sic) she in confined she does not receive a bit or a drop from the Agent or Captain fortunately she is a strong healthy person had it been otherwise she would have been in a pitiable Situation.
Mr A is a good hearted friendly man. I think but rather hasty he is undoubtedly a clever man in his profession he has received acknowledgements from the Society of Arts for his communications on Botanical Subjects he has also received the strongest recommendations from the DUKE OF CLARENCE whom he was Head Gardener and Botanist to for 11 years. The Company received many recommendations from several other eminent men. Mr. ALLEN is also a Freemason and holds the dignity of Knight Templar in the extensive society, he is also something of a mechanic and has made an improvement in BRAMAH's PATENT LOCK which has been acknowledged to have increased the value of that article greatly, he is certainly a man of ability but yet were I differently situated I should not choose him for an associate, it is true our intercourse is limited principly to playing a game of Chess now and then yet this has made Mr DAWSON an enemy of mine.
We have on board besides the above mentioned persons 11 Men 8 Women and 19 children principly Farming People and Mechanics. They are all dissatisfied and swear they have been deceived and had they known what was the Company's intentions with regard to them they would have done anything sooner than left England.
Mr ALLEN tells me he will leave the ship at RIO JANARIO where we are going to take in water and are within a few days sail. I expect there will be a piece of work about it he intends he tells me to prosecute the Captain and Mr DAWSON and the Company for the injuries himself and family have sustained on the board the vessel.
/August 15th / I am surprised to find the Sailors still hold out threats against me particularly after having accomplished their purpose with me on Shaving Day by beating and otherwise ill using me, but what seems more surprising is the cause they have now and that is they have taken it into their heads that I am here in the room of a Sailor and consequently ought to work as one, they take every possible method of insulting me and seem to say unless I work as they do, they will drive me out. I shall write to the Captain about it before we reach Rio where we expect to be in about a week.
/Tuesday 16th. August / This being Nancy's birthday I supped my last bottle to drink her and William's health.
/19th. August / Land in sight this day being some part of the Coast of BRAZILS.
/20th. August / All preparations are made for coming into port, Anchors hung on the bows, cables bent and everything ready for casting Anchor in RIO JANERIO, where we expect to be tomorrow or next day.
/ 22nd. August / On this day I sent a letter to the Captain MONCRIEFF / as per copy at the end of this letter page 48 / About 5 in the afternoon the Second Mate called to me below saying, "the Captain desires you will come up and help to put the Ship about / ie tack / this I determined not to do as I had declined working Ship in my letter to him in the morning, however I went on the Poop and asked him if he wanted me - he replied in a surly passionate manner - "I can't talk to you now don't you see I am putting Ship about" upon this I went below to my Cabin I have heard nothing more from him this day, though, I went on the Poop in the evening supposing he would speak to me but though every facility of opportunity offered he did not say a word - I feel anxious for an explanation I shall request it in the course of two or three says if he still remains silent upon it - he has endeavoured to lower me before the sailors many times and to that I ascribe a great deal of acrimony on their part against me - particularly in one instance which was some time since I stepped into a boat where some Partridges were in a Coop belonging to the A.A. Co. Even the boys of the Ship were in the habit of going into the boat to look at them, in fact any body went who chose - however the Captain seemed desirous of picking a quarrel with me for when he saw me in the boat he ordered me in a stern imperious manner to get out of the boat said I had no business their and in a very insulting manner desired me to go forward and assist in setting up the fore rigging - one of the Men was present who of course told the rest and I was most grossly insulted by three or four of them but I knew complaining to the Captain would be useless. I therefore took no notice but determined if I heard much more of it to complain to the Captain and request his interference - how it turned out I have before mentioned I mean as to the Shaving - I most assuredly do ascribe a great deal of their ill usage to the Captain's mortifying treatment of me for had he treated me like he does the rest of his officers they would not have presumed to molest me.
/Tuesday 23rd August / We entered the Harbour of RIO JANERIO this forenoon and a beautiful morning it was the views are grand in the extreme Mountains of amazing heigth (sic) covered with verdure hills dales and vallies (sic) most beautifully formed by nature in fact the sight was quite enchanting upon getting opposite the principal Fort called SANTA CRUIZ we laid to, furled sails and waited about an hour when the Captain of the Fort came on board and we were ordered to drop anchor which we did between the Fort and the Town. The Customs Officers came on board and I left an officer and 2 soldiers on board to prevent any one going on the shore till the proper forms of entering at Customs then are accomplished and product allowed - Some Captains and Lieutenants of the Men of War in this station boarded us and other official persons also came on board. We were allowed though under that inspection to purchase fruit which came out to us in Bum Boats - Oranges seem very plentiful here, they sold them at about 20 for 4 Vintons or in English money 6d. (Sixpence) - I understand you can purchase them as cheap again on shore - Cucumbers and Limes seem very plentiful as also a fruit called a Banana's this is a most delicious fruit in the shape of a Cucumber and growing in large bunches. As the evening precursed some Grog and what with that and smoking we soon became "half seas over" we began singing and continued some time when a little after ten o'clock the Captain called below "it was past ten and time to give over Sea Singing" The Carpenter answered him saying, "If we can't sing Sea Songs shall we wing anything else then" however we didn't leave off immediately and the Captain shortly afterwards ordered us to put out the light - this was immediately done but being in the midst of a Song I was pressed to finish it this I imprudently did and the Boatswain sing a Song afterwards we then went to bed.
/Wednesday 24th August / After Breakfast I went upon the Poop as usual when the following words took place between myself and the Captain -
Captain - "So Townsend you don't choose to obey my orders "
Answer - "In what way do you mean Sir"
Captain - "Why did you not desist singing when I ordered you last night"
Answer - "I must own Captain that I did not but I was not the only one however I am very sorry to have distracted you by it but we were all rather too merry and this is the only excuse I can make"
Captain - "You do not obey my orders in other respects in working Ship I ordered you to help put ship about but you did not do it"
Answer - "Truly Captain I did not but you received my petter previous to that and the letter explained my reasons I did not come here as a Sailor"
Captain - "You are not the fist Clerk I have had and I have had Clerks work Ship and do anything I desired them.
Answer - "Well Captain I don't mean to dispute it but I must beg leave to say that I consider what they did is no rule for me to act by"
Captain - "Well as you do not choose to obey my orders I shall not allow you to come any more on the Poop"
Answer - "Very well Captain" and went directly off the Poop - I have now only access to the same part of the vessell (sic) as the Sailors and am consequentially more exposed to their insult - I shall request of course to go on Shore but I suppose the Captain will refuse to allow me - for he seems determined to mortify me in every possible way and degrade me in the eyes of the whole ship's Company in fact nothing could be more so than ordering me off the Poop as that's the only place for the respectable persons on board to remain unmolested his treatment is most unaccountable for I never to my knowledge did any thing to displease him nor have I think disobeyed his orders altho (sic) his coolness to me has been remarkable.
/ Sunday 28th. August / We have had a great deal of dissatisfaction on Board since our arrival at Rio there has been all but mutiny on board and the Captain has been ever to blows with some, one man has left us, and volunteers on board a Man of War called the DIAMOND and several others seemed much inclined to follow his example their general complaint as "bad living" and if they complain how much more need have I to complain as I have exactly the same allowance as they do I have never been used to such living before as they have however their seems to be general dissatisfaction on board, not only among the Crew but also among the Passengers who are continually condemning themselves for having ventured into such a berth. Having previously mentioned Mr ALLEN's disagreement with DAWSON and the Captain I must now relate what has taken place between them.
The Captain has prevented any body from going on Shore except the Cabin Passengers did yesterday Mr Allen has of course been anxious to go on Shore to apply to the British Consul for redress and get released from the Ship but they would not allow him to leave the Ship however they went themselves to the Consul and laid some frivolous charges against him in consequence of which he went before the Consul yesterday but they were wholly disproved and Mr. Allen was allowed to state his case upon which he is allowed to leave the Ship and a Cabin passage to England for himself and family is to be found at DAWSON's expense. I find he intends to seek for redress in England as he says he may probably call on me as witness to come transactions that have taken place thus I cannot refuse and shall consequently trouble him with the carriage of this letter which will save some expense. I have within this last few weeks made a discovery about him which I not at all relish but yet as I have all along been social with him and himself and family have treated me well and also so we are to near parting I have taken no notice of it, what I mean is I find he is on friendly terms with WILLIAM YANDALL, their friendship commencing when YANDALL was in business at KINGSTON - ALLEN was also a Wine and Brandy Merchant of the same place and consequently they became acquainted. ALLEN speaks well of him and unfortunately as the discovery was made by my mentioning him first I have spoken casually of him but far from highly of his family quite the contrary. I said I had spoken in two or three instances to Mr. YANDALL I always found him a gentlemanly well behaved man but as to the mother and rest of the family I had heard various reports about them and I had also understood that YANDALL had become latterly a constant attendant at a Public house in his Vicinity. I believe this is the substance of the only conversation that ever took place about him between us. Knowing your antipathy to YANDALL's family had I been aware of Mr. Allen being in terms of friendship with any branch of them I should have studiously avoided any association with him but it is one of those unforseen (sic) evils when strangers become acquainted, very often a circumstance of the sort intervening and makes one party on the other regret ever having met.
This day the Captain has allowed part of the crew to on Shore the remainder are to go tomorrow and I expect as the Crew have permission I shall get leave tomorrow.
I believe I have not previously mentioned the Vessell (sic) which left England in Company with us called THE BROTHERS arrived here 2 days after us all well with the loss of 4 Sheep we have lost 3 - some of our Passengers have gone aboard THE BROTHERS today and others have gone on Shore. The Captain, Mr. DAWSON, his Clerk, Mr HALL and the Doctor spend most of their time on Shore and generally return to the Sip in the evening pretty merry.
There appears to be a great many Negroes here - in fact most of the boats here are worked by them. Canoes are also in general use amongst them. Thur/ 3 or 4 English / 74 Guns / Men of War here as also several Gun Brigs belonging to the English and a small number of English Merchant Vessells (sic) outward or homeward bound also a similar number of French Hurricane Vessells (sic). There are a great many vessells (sic) of war belonging to the Government some day hundreds of them, but we are not far enough in the Harbour to have a view of them. The Meat is not good for much here nor is the Bread which is made from Indian Corn but they have Plaintain here in abundance - Sugar is also very plentiful as is a very strong spirit called Casash which is more than three to four shillings a gallon English Money. Wine something of a pretty good port, wine at about 1/- a bottle English Money. The Rate of Exchange is here very high, you get for 1 shilling 8 Vintons each of which are about the weight and size of an English Halfpenny consequently all articles when purchased in the Coin of the country are very cheap. I understand all articles of Travelling are remarkably reasonable and of exquisite workmanship. I mean those trinkets manufactured of gold which is plentiful in some parts of this country - if my pocket stood high I should purchase some little articles of the description and send them to you but as it is you must take the Will for the deed.
We have 2 soldiers always on hand and a Customs Officer who examines seriously every thing that comes on board the Ship and leaves it and if any thing contraband should appear they would undoubtedly seize it.
We had nothing but quarrelling and fighting the whole of this evening. The sailors drunk and fighting amongst themselves one swearing he will murder another for Stealing and the Captain his adversary had stolen some cheese after a great disturbance between the Carpenter and the Steward with some heavy blows passing between them. The Steward using gross language and blackguarding the Captain Carpenter and whole Ship's Company. The Sailors coming foreward and laying heavy charges of Roguery against the Steward and the Captain intends to have him before the British Consul about it tomorrow.
Tuesday 30th. August / I must now bring my letter to a close as I must entrust it to Mr. ALLEN who leaves the Ship this day - he goes on board THE SISTERS a brig bound direct for England and will it is supposed sail tomorrow. I have the Captain's leave to go on Shore I went on Shore yesterday afternoon I was then 2 or 3 Hours and had some slight opportunity of noticing a little of the Portuguese who are the natives and Inhabitants of this place. Upon landing I was informed I was in the Palace Square and of all the dirty holes I ever saw I do not remember seeing its equal. I think the noted WEBB SQUARE in the vicinity of SHOREDITCH is about such another place the Palace standing on the left side as you enter is a building not half so good or grand as the Poor House School situated in the Back Road at ISLINGTON. There is also a large building opposite you as you land I do not know what it is called but there is a large Copper Bell in the centre of it painted green. I am told their Churches are grand and as I shall most likely be on Shore tomorrow I shall endeavour to get a sight of one. The Streets like the Square are miserable dirty places but so much alike that if you ever got in amongst them you will hardly find your way back again. They are swarming with slaves both Male and Female most of them employed fetching Water from a fountain in thew Palace Square you will also see 10 or 12 Slaves every here and there chained together carrying large buckets of water on their heads and guarded by a soldier. These men have committed crimes and are working this instead of transportation. The Portuguese Women dress without Stockings but have large folds of Black Cloth over their Head and Shoulders you will also see those of higher rank in kind of grand sedan or palanguean dressed in white. They seem fond of Jewellery and wear plenty of it. The Slaves wear neither shoes nor stockings and many of them are in a state of nudity and almost in fact some are quite so. There appears to be a great many soldiers about but their accoutrements are not very splendid - Officers excepted - but our Naval Captains, Lieutenants and Officers seem to make a grand appearance amongst them - it seems LORD COCHRAN has turned tail upon them for a short time ago he left with a large sum of their money in his possession and we understand he has arrived in England but they swear vengeance against him if he should fall into their hands but yet they acknowledge he has done much for them and had it not been for him they would not have gained their independence because as they did not pay him properly for his services he has taken the liberty of paying himself. I expect we shall not leave RIO this Week or 9 days as we have not taken in any Water yet and besides as there seems so much dissatisfaction among the Crew it would not be safe to sail with such a Set and we shall most likely have a new Ship's Company or partly so - Some have left already and others about going - The Boatswain will I think leave us and you may be sure I shall not be sorry for that as he messes with us and is a low drunken filthy Man and quite a disgrace to an Englishman. This place is very dangerous for an Englishman for as soon as it is dark and the Portuguese can do it conveniently they glory in whipping a knife into a Christian and if they do not choose to do it themselves - a Slave will do it for them for the value of 2 or 3 Vintons or 6d - Repeated instances of this continually occur and it is a Mercy our Boatswain did not get murdered. I have not time to read and correct this long letter as Mr. ALLEN has just told me to be quick,
Your affectionate Son
Henry Shepherd Townsend
I fear you will never be able to decipher the following-
Boatswain has left us and entered as volunteer on board THE BLANCH Man of War - The Steward is about to leave in consequence of charges of roguery brought against him - Another of the Men had left for fear of being murdered by his messmates for stating their (sic) having stolen cheese and other things. Mr. Allen is going on to NEW SOUTH WALES therefore this letter will reach you by post - Dissatisfaction still reigns on board but I hope all will be settled before we leave the place.
Copy of a Letter sent to Captain MONCRIEFF
August 21 1825
I beg leave to trouble you upon a subject which I supposed the "brutal treatment" I received upon crossing the line would have entirely set at rest. I mean the threats held out against me by the Sailors. These menaces have been renewed, and the cause is it seems, they have taken up the mistaken idea, that I am here in the room of another Sailor I ought consequently to work as they do.
I believe I need not state to you that Mr. MOATES did not put me on board his vessel as a "Sailor before the Mast" on the contrary he never hinted in the slightest degree, either to myself or friends, that I was to give the least assistance in way of working Ship - nor is it at all likely, that I should leave a home where I enjoyed the comforts of life and an improving mercantile situation to enter as a Sailor on board the YORK.
It is true hitherto I have given some assistance in working the vessell (sic), but it has been voluntary and not from a supposition that it was my duty.
I must now beg leave to decline giving any assistance in future in working Ship - My real capacity being that of Captain's Clerk, I am ready and willing to act up to it as far as I am able, but as to manual labour it is quite out of the question except for self preservation should the vessell (sic) be in danger.
I do not request any favour, but am desirous of remaining unmolested by the Crew - I therefore most respectfully beg you will desire them not to interfere with me in any way - I cannot conclude without mentioning another subject - I am extremely sorry to find I have from some unknown cause incurred your displeasure, your pointed silence to me upon all occasions and several combined circumstances make it apparent to others as well as myself - Several persons have said your displeasure is created by my associating with Mr. ALLEN - this I cannot credit, because I made a point of speaking to you about it in a conversation I had with you some time ago, when you told me you could have no objection to my associating with him whatever.
My intercourse with |Mr. ALLEN has been very limited and principly (sic) extends to playing a Game of Chess. I have always avoided as much as possible entering into any argument with him about his disagreement between Mr DAWSON and yourself, and though, I could not at times avoid hearing what he had to say upon the subject, yet I have been tenacious in not giving any opinion upon it.
I cannot help lamenting having given you cause for displeasure, but yet, I am at a loss to know what the real cause is.
I am aware I have no friend in Mr DAWSON, yet, I am sure you cannot be prejudiced by him against me, particularly, as I am not in any way concerned with him, but wholly under your protection.
The peculiar manner in which I am now situated has emboldened me to speak plainly but I fully rely upon your giving consideration to the above
and am Dr Sir
Yours Most Respectfully
H. S. Townsend
To Captain JOHN MONCRIEFF, delivered 22nd. August 1825
Dover, Kent, England, www.familytreemaker.com/users/c/o/u/Dione-M-Coumbe/ Cont......corrections of typos
REF: email to GENANZ@rootsweb by Dione Dover, Kent, England on 26 November 1998