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The Journal of Hugh Campbell, Part XII: Where’s the Beef?

Things are starting to look dire.  The Perseverance has been sailing for two months and they still haven’t seen land.  The crew is starting to encounter lousy weather, and worse, the ship is running short on food.


August 18th, 1818
W. Lon. 53, N. Lat. 40 Degrees 50’

We were now in the Gulf Stream and this current retarded our progress very much. This stream rises at the mouth of the river La Plata, South America, increases in rapidity passing through the Gulf of Mexico until it reaches the Gulf of Florida from which it takes its name. Here it runs at the rate of 8 miles an hour. From this it runs along the American coast below the Bank of Newfoundland and loses itself in the North Atlantic Ocean. We crossed it in Lat. 40 degrees where it runs 2-1/2 miles an hour, consequently our progress was slow.

Emigrant ship during a storm.

Great quantities of gulls were seen floating hereabouts. Here we experienced the greatest thunderstorms I ever witnessed. The rain fell in astonishing quantities and we took advantage of this to add to our supply of fresh water by collecting all that fell on deck. I suppose that the great evaporation from this stream warmed by a southern sun causes these uncommon and frequent rains.

24th Aug.
W. Lon. 60, N. Lat. 40 Degrees 50’

We had now been upwards of 60 days from land and no sign of approaching our destined harbour. Provisions began to get scarce. Water was nearly done and coal very scarce. The old proverb of “Empty mangers make biting horses,” was verified to a certainty. Some said that the Capt. was going to the Devil for all they knew as they were sure he had lost his reckoning and others swore that we would be obliged to eat our shoes before we seen land again. Our murmuring increased daily especially while the wind was contrary. But when it turned fair all was well as long as it continued so. Thus did our ignorant, ungrateful passengers annoy the Capt. by their idle and useless murmurs. To quiet them, I have often known him to divide his own cabin stores with them.


Next week: Almost there!

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