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The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part II: Hugh Gets Arrested

Here is the second installment of Hugh Campbell’s Journal.  If you missed The Setup in part one, read it here.  This week: Hugh Gets Arrested. (And that’s the least of his problems….)

12th June

A little after midnight I reached Culdaff very much exhausted and fatigued.  A young man that was standing at a door where there was a wake conducted me to a public house where I could get some refreshment.  The good-natured landlady (Mrs. McCausland) got out of bed and offered me some biscuit and butter; the only ready victuals the house afforded at this time.  But in order to detain her up as short time as possible, I took a little in my hand and was just stepping out when a constable met me and with the usual formality made me a prisoner!  The Barony, he said, was under the Insurrection Act* and it was a duty incumbent on every constable to apprehend every stranger found traveling at improper hours.

Resistance was vain and I was obliged to wait till morning and give an account of myself to a magistrate, or leave my watch as a pledge of my return that way from Malin.  In this unpleasant situation, I knew that if I remained with the constable and his drunken party the rest of the night, I would have no time to go farther for Phillips after justifying myself (as I hoped to do) before Mr. Young, the magistrate’s son.  I was resolved if possible to accomplish the business I set out on, before my return to the ship.

I therefore thought it prudent to leave my watch with the Landlady on condition that it would be forfeited if I did not deliver myself to the constable in the course of the day.  I then started for Malin Tower, got Phillips with some difficulty, and returned to Culdaff about 11 in the morning on my way to join the vessel.  The worthy Landlady, who was overjoyed to see me, informed me that the story of my apprehension was misrepresented by the drunken constable (Robt. McEllis), and that Mr. Geo. Young, the resident magistrate’s son, had written a note to her [Mrs. McCausland]  husband to send him the watch as he believed it belonged to a very suspicious character.  The watch however was delivered to me.  I surrendered myself to the constable.  This was rather worse than I expected but I was obliged to submit.



I sent word to Phillips (who was waiting at some distance for me) that he must go on and join the vessel as quick as possible and tell the Capt. that as I was compelled to go eight miles out of my way before a magistrate, I could not reach Moville sooner than 3 p.m.  His promise that “he would not sail without me” I depended on and set out with the constable’s son (his father being incapable from drinking) for Major D’Arcy’s with all the confidence of conscious innocence.  Mr. Geo. Young, Jr. had gone out there to consult on my case and was sitting with Major D’Arcy when I arrived there.  My story was plain and I related to them in a few words the circumstances that induced me to walk through the Barony at such an irregular hour.

I represented the danger I was in of losing my passage if detained longer, and the inquiry that was already done by improper conduct of the constable the night before.  My awkward situation excited their indignation against my persecutor. McEllis was turned out of his employments and Mr. Young rode off to Culdaff to procure a boat for me to meet the vessel coming ’round Innishowen Head.  I thanked Major D’Arcy for his polite attention and started out for the shore again.

When I arrived there the tide had ebbed from the boats a great distance and I was obliged (rather than wait for its return) to start off for Moville.  It was now 2 in the morning** but I hoped to reach the vessel before she weighed anchor.  My mortification and despair cannot be conceived when I came in sight of Moville Bay and found that the vessel had sailed at 11 in the morning.  In this dilemma I concluded instantly on returning to Mr. Young and following in one of his boats the Perseverance out to the Ocean if possible.

With this view I stript off my shoes, stockings and hired a guide to carry them and ran the near way across the mountains to the same unfortunate Culdaff where I arrived about 9 in the evening completely exhausted with anxiety, hunger and fatigue.  No time was lost, by my valuable friend, Mr. Geo. Young in procuring six trusty fellows, well acquainted with the management of a boat, to carry me out after the vessel.  Without waiting to clear the small boat of a fishing net that lay in it or even to put on their coats, shoes or stockings, they leaped into it and shoved off from the shore a little before sunset in a dark, lowering evening.  My fears on venturing myself in a small fishing boat so late were increased on perceiving my companions drop their oars and cross themselves when starting; but the desire of joining the vessel overcame every other consideration.

We had not even rowed far when it began to blow and rain and I became seasick.

Lighthouse Island (Inishtrahull)

My unfortunate situation seemed to act as a stimulus on the Boatmen to exert themselves.  We steered past Lighthouse Island*** out to the ocean in hopes to come across the Perseverance in her course west.  About twelve o’clock at night we spoke to a small vessel bound from Scotland to Londonderry and shortly after came up with another from the West Indies.  From the latter we learned that the vessel we were in pursuit of was far to the Westward and that when she met her, the studding sails were set by a fair breeze in her favour.  This intelligence set aside all hopes of overtaking her and we concluded on returning to Lighthouse Island where we arrived about 2 in the morning exhausted with want of sleep, fatigue, and sickness.


* In an effort to suppress growing religious and political discontent, the Irish government passed a series of Insurrection Acts between 1800-1802, 1807-1810, 1814-1818 and 1822-1824.  The Insurrection Acts stipulated that anyone found outside of their homes between sunset and sunrise would be subject to arrest.
** Daytime
*** A now-uninhibited island called Inishtrahull Island, it is located about 6 miles northeast of Malin Tower.

Next week — will Hugh be stuck in Ireland?  Find out in Part III.

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