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Falmouth

Saturday 15th - exactly 14 weeks from our leaving England, we came to anchor in Falmouth Harbour at one P.M. much to the surprise of our acquaintances, who did not expect us for a fortnight at least. Several boats as usual came alongside, but they were immediately warned to keep off as we did not know whether we should be put into Quarantine or not in consequence of the death of poor Poulsom.

Visited by D.r Fox Quart.e Physician

At last the Falmouth Custom Boat came to as and as soon as M.r Hawkins knew that one of our crew had died, he asked a number of questions from a printed form, after which he went on shore to bring off D.r Fox, the Quarantine Physician. He was soon found and brought alongside, where he put a number of interrogatories, the answers to which excited some surprise in him. He demanded if Poulsom had had the black vomit or yellow skin – if any other of our crew had been attacked in a similar way – I replied in the negative. How long then had he been unwell said he – I answered “8 days before his death he complained to me – Was he able to move about after the attack? Yes for three or four days he was able to be up, tho’ he certainly complained of debility. D.r Fox seemed puzzled at my answers and after some cogitation said “Well Doctor I suppose we may call this a case of typhus, as there were none of the symptoms of yellow fever – to which of course I replied. “You may, an it please it you – All that I am convinced of is this, that the case of William Poulsom was an individual case of fever, induced by his own imprudence & intemperance – that it was owing neither to contagion nor infection. It would perhaps be wrong to call it a case of yellow fever, since the symptoms observed did not agree with those generally pointed as marking this fever. I would simply call it a case of West Indian fever, and I am inclined to believe that our going to the Northward produced a change in the usual train of the symptoms and prolonged our shipmates life by a few days longer.

D.r Fox depending as he did on my representations of the case, gave us pratique and was the first to mount our vessels side and shake hands with our Captain. He was followed by a host of others, pilots, boatmen. And the friends & acquaintances of our crew – and greetings and news were mutually exchanged. It was 8 oClock P.M. ere I could get on shore, and install myself comfortably in my old lodgings.

The same day, all our passengers disembarked, and of these, as I wish to remember them, I shall put down the following notabilia.

Frederick Crellin Surgeon R.N. was our only Cabin passenger. He was of the ordinary height, with dark hair intermixed with grey. He had been four years on the West India station & during that time had belonged to the Sloop Skipjack[10] When Admiral Colpoys was appointed to the West India station, he was the first Assistant Surgeon, who was promoted and his appointment was to be Surgeon of the Magnificent, a convalescent ship lying in Port Royal. He had not been Surgeon more than eight months when he felt a desire to get home, having now attained the height of his wishes. An excuse was not long awanting and in the vague plea of ill health he was invalided home, altho’ to confess the honest truth, I never saw a person with stronger appearances of being in the enjoyment of good health, than he was. We all found him to be a very agreeable, & social fellow – fond of a spree - and ready to join in a laugh. In short he was one of the few of whom our pleasing remembrances last longest – so few indeed have we met of this description that I can now and will for years be able to mention them every one. He was very clever in his profession, and as I found from his conversation, he had received and benefited by a classical education.

The next of whom I shall speak was a M.rs Chapman – her daughter Anne, aged 17 years – another daughter Harriot aged 11 years- and a son Richard of about 6 or 7. – The whole family higged together in my Cabin, whilst I slept in the double stateroom aft. M.rs Chapman was the wife of a Shipwright in the Dock Yard, Port Royal, and had come from England in a frigate 16 months ago – but soon finding that the climate did not agree with her, and being at the same time enciente, she was recommended to return to England – and accordingly she came with us. Preserve us all from such another passenger. She was never out of bed above three times during the whole voyage. She was always complaining – nothing pleased her - & do what you could to give her ease, or contribute to her comfort, and instead of the thanks you naturally expected, she gave you nothing but assurances of being at deaths door, and of being scarcely able to keep to keep soul and body together. And then she was such a scold – such an old harridan, that at last for her own peace the Captain was obliged to put an interdict upon the undue use of her tongue. Her eldest daughter had no peace night or day – The flame of her indignation was continually breaking forth, whilst as constantly if fresh fuel was added to it by her daughter Harriot a perfect firebrand and tale bearer. M.rs Chapman was too credulous, that our men played several tricks upon – gave her false information – and then laughed at her, when they saw the success of their stratagem. In short there was no event, which pleased me more – than her departure from our Packet, leaving us at last to welcome peace and quietness so long stranger to our society.

The only other passenger we brought to Falm.o was a young black man called Thomas May, because he had been captured in a slaver in the month of May, exactly as Robinson Crusoe named his man Friday. He was sent on board from the Hospital at Port Royal late on the night we started. Next day when I saw him, he told me, that they had neither given him medicine, dressings, proper food, nor bedding – which considering his state and that our Packet was not a man of war, was a great shame. I was informed, when it was too late, that the rule of the service was for me, to have demanded every thing necessary from the Hospital. But I had no time to do anything – he came on boars at 8 oClock P.M. & we sailed at 4 next morning, so that he had to be furnished dressings & medicines all the way home. This I should not have cared about, had - he been a poor man, wholly unable to do any thing for himself, but I was vexed when I found how the medicals at the Hospital had tricked me so nicely. His disease was said to be scrophula. The right inguinal glands were very much enlarged, and protruded like a bunch of grapes, thro’ the integuments. By the Powder of the Red Oxide of Mercury first and afterwards more effectually by the Hydrary-Oxymur: the party were destroyed and then removed by the knife. By the time we arrived at Falmouth a large mass had been destroyed – but the probability is, that as the glands are destroyed in one part, they will enlarge in another. What has become of the poor fellow, I know not. On our arrival I sent him on board of the Astrea [11] and from thence I suppose he has been sent to Plymouth Naval Hospital.