The Journal of Frederick Peter Norton!

Selections from the Journal of Frederick P. Norton.

Thursday, October 26, 1843 Left Charlottetown, P.E.I. on board the Brig William, Wm. Griffiths, Master, bound to Cork, Ireland, got as far as Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, wind coming ahead, put back to ChTown harbour, lay off the Block house until Monday 30th again got under way and proceeded down the Gulf.

Nov. 10th 12m Gale 2P.M. A compleat Hurricane, Brig could not be hove to, scudded under single reefed fore square sail and close reefed to fore top sail at the rate of 11 knots per hour. 4 P.M. Still continued to blow tremendous. 6 P.M. Stronger, if possible, put preventive Braces to the yards to keep Brig from broaching to. 7 P.M. While at tea, skylight broken by the sea water coming down, swept the table clear.

Sat. 11th Wind favorable, about halfway across the Atlantic. The gulls still followed the Brig in great numbers. Brig still continues to leak a considerable quantity, and has done so from the Banks of Newfoundland.

Sun. 12th Compleat calm. Not a breath of wind to ruffle the water. Brig rolls a great deal.

Sat, 7 P.M. Got up to Cape Clear light. Midnight just passed the head of old Hinsdale. 4 A.M. Pilot came on board.

Sun 18th. Daylight - Just entered the harbour of Cove Town. Mr. I. M. Tuckre, Mr. Brown and myself went ashore and stayed in the town until Monday morning.

Mon. 19th. Went to Cork, 11 miles from Cove Town....up the river Lee in a steam boat....excellent view of the country, the aspect of which was truly delightful. I was well pleased with the appearance of the city. I was received by the right Rev. Gentle with the warmth worthy of an Irishman. He presented me with two medals and a number of papers about Temperance.

Thurs. 22nd. Covetown, on board Brig, bound for Liverpool, on getting nearly out of harbour wind fell, were obliged to be towed by boats to prevent her getting on rocks with the tide. Spent the night at the Rob Roy Hotel.

Fri. 23rd. At daylight went on Brig, which we found outside harbour. Pilot came with us and was surprised at the captain taking the liberty. Captain said he ran the risk of his life while he waited, there had been a boat full of ruffians from the shore sometime before daylight who had an ill will against him and thought to take captain and crew by surprise, but Watch on deck observed the coming and gave warning to all hands who were on deck in a moment and prevented the boat's crew from getting on board. 8 A.M. Brig proceeded on her way to Liverpool, sailing along the South East coast of Ireland.

Sat. 24th 10 A.M. passed Carnarvon harbour, saw a windmill at work, got a sight of the mountains of North Wales, passed Holy Head close by South Stack house and Telegraphing Station from which ships are reported to all parts of the Kingdom in a few minutes. 10 P.M. A strong gale and very dark. Nothing to be seen but ships' lights passing and crossing our Brig in all directions. Midnight one large steamer ran so close amidships that she was obliged to back her paddles to clear our vessel. 4 A.M. Sun. pilot boarded. 1 P.M. got into the dock. Called on Mr. Demaresque and spent the evening with him.

Monday 27 * Spent all day at the Custom House in consequence of the Patrick Henry passengers having got there before Mr. Tuckre, Brown and myself. This was the third time our leggage had to undergo a regular ransacking.
* At the Custom House I found that I have been a day behind with the date.

Tues. 28th Went with Mr. Tuckre and Brown to the Zoological Gardens and spent the day among the many curiosities there. Wednesday visited various parts of the town and public buildings, many of which were truly the evening we went to the theatre where we were much amused.

Thurs. 30th. Clarence Dock, on board the Achilles Steam Boat bound for Glasgow. Arrived at Greendock Friday noon, went on shore to railway office. Took dinner at Mr. Bruce's Inn, got into train, arrived in Paisley at 4 P.M. and stayed at my cousin John MacDonald's, No. 6 Abbey Street.

Dec. 1st. Went into Glasgow with Mr. MacDonald and called upon Hugh Rankin, Esq. for whom I had brought a case of Indian boxes from Mr. Bremner. Visits to the Abbey, Johnstone cotton manufacturies, Renfrew, coal mines, copper works, Gleniffe, Stanely Castle, and Burn's cottage.

Jan 4th Commenced to learn to play the violin.

Tues. 16th. Paisley. Crockston Castle. Stately and noble edifice. Hard by is the Yew Tree of Crockston, so large that it can be seen at several miles distance. The most romantic spot I have ever stood on. It was in the evening, and it was delightful to watch the Hares running about and the pheasants flying like partridges from tree to tree.

Thurs. 18th. Edinburgh. I found it to be justly styled by historians, the city of Palaces. Went with Mr. Brown to see Arthur's Seat, 850 ft. above the seas. Wrong road, never in such a dangerous place, desparate encounter with craggy rocks, high wind, held on by tufts of grass!

Wed. 24th. Trade now about Paisley begins to revive, it has been very dull. Starvation, misery, and wretchedness are yet to be seen in all shapes and forms walking down the streets. A person has but to cast his eye into some of the wretched hovels, thousands of which can be seen in Glasgow and Paisley, the inmates of which have not so much as a bed to lie on, much less furniture of any description, and what is worse, the women there are full as bad as the men. That demon Intemperance is still raising and exersizing his baneful influences over the poorer classes in Paisley. I frequently stand for a moment going along the streets to to see miserable looking objects in the shape of human beings male and female walking along with baskets of coal, and others who have not even a halfpenny's worth in their aprons. On the whole I think they have need of Father Matthew among them for a short time.

Fri. 26th. Attended Sherriff's court with J. MacDonald. Instead of 12 on the jury, 15 is the number. There were six cases, all theft and housebreaking. Five pleaded guilty and were sentenced by the Sherrif to from 4 to 6 months in jail. One prisoner pleaded not guilty, the Jury on hearing nine different witnesses examined and cross examined almost immediately returned a verdict of Guilty. The sentence was six months.

Mon. 29th. Raining. Stayed in the house reading Rollins' Ancient History of the Egyptians, Carthoginians, and the Assyrians, which I found to be very interesting. In the evening,, spent some time listening to Miss Baxter from Greenock singing in the Sounding Aisle. It is truly an astonishing place. The voice of one person sounds as if it were a hundred, and the shot of a pistol as loud as a cannon in the open air.

Tues. 30th. Spent of the day reading Rollins' history, part in practising the violin, the remainder in taking a walk and viewing with pleasure the surrounding beauties of Nature, and could not but admire the language of the poet Campbell, when he asks:

Why to you, yon mountain turns the musing eye?
Whose sun bright summit mingles with the sky
Why do those cliffs of shadowy tint appear
More sweet than all the landscape smiling near?
and answers thus;
Tis distance lends enchantment to the view
And robes the mountain in its azure view.

(The above poem by Campbell is in the Pleasures of Hope)

Jan. 31st. The numerous murders and attempts to murder in this and other parts of Britain and Ireland is truly alarming in a country that can boast of so many advantages, and under the blaze of the Gospel Light; instead of seeing, as one might expect in a country boasting of so much freedom, comfort, contentment,, and happiness prevail among all ranks, quite the opposite presents itself to the eyes of a discerning stranger; squalidity, wretchedness, and misery are all too frequently to be seen going to and fro at all hours of the day. In short, if a person wishes to see beggars in reality, he need only take a stroll through some of the large manufacturing towns of this country.

Feb. 1st. The following epitaph on the tomb of Marjory Scott of Dunkeld was handed to me by my cousin John MacDonald and I have thought proper to make a copy of it.

Stop, passenger, while my life you read;
The living may get knowledge from the dead.
Five times five years I lived a virgin life,
Five times five years I was a virtuous wife,
Ten times five years I was a widow grave and chaste;
Tired of the elements I am now at rest.
Betwixt my cradle and my grave were seen
Eight mighty Kings of Scotland and a Queen,
Three Commonwealths successively I saw
Ten times the subjects rise against the law;
And, which is worse than any civil war,
A King arrained before the subject's bar
Swarms of sectarians, hot with Hellish rage,
Cut off his Royal head on open stage!
Twice did I see old Prelacy pulled down,
And twice the Cloak did sink beneath the gown.
I saw the Stuart race thrust out, nay more,
I saw our country sold for British ore,
Our numerous Nobles who have famous been,
Sunk to the lowly number of Sixteen.
Such Desolations many days have been,
I have an end to all perfection seen.

Feb. 2nd. Visit to an old worthy of Bishoptown.

Feb. 5th Spent this day reading, writing and practising on the violin. I can now play three tunes pretty well, the Blue Bells of Scotland, Buy a Broom, and the White Cockade. Trade begins to revive, weavers are at present very busy in the Paisley and when that is the case all goes well.

Feb. 7th. Went with my cousin to see a very extensive shawl finishing establishment - was much pleased with my view of the machinery - everything is done with steam in this country, a person is apt to say.

Visit to Bishopstown, Friday 2nd February, 1844

This morning began remarkably clear and pleasant with about an inch of snow covering the ground, to add to the brightness of the blazing sun, just put me in mind of the American winter, and having had a warm invitation from an old worthy in Bishoptown, and for whom I had brought a letter from his relatives in Charlottetown, embracing the opportunity of a beautiful day, I set out on my journey and arrived in Bishoptown which I found to be just six miles from Paisley and within one mile of Lord Blantyne's place.

Upon reaching my Host's house, I found only a little boy about ten years of age who told me that his father was at work on Lord Blantyne's estate, but if I could wait, he would go and try to find him. I amused myself for an hour reading a newspaper I found on a large chest, which is an indispensible piece of furniture in a Scotch peasant's house.

On the boy's return, he said he could not find them - however, upon my rising to go, the boy pressed me strongly to stay, saying that if I went his father was sure not to be pleased, and that his father, mother and sister were sure to be home by five o'clock. I was persuaded, and upon my sitting down, the little fellow handed me a book, The Adventures of Roderick Random, and I read some part of it with much pleasure, so that five o'clock came much sooner than I had expected.

The old man was so glad that I had stayed that he did not know how to express his gratitude, and before he finished, the old lady and daughter came in loaded with packages. When the old lady got herself disengaged, she shook hands with me and gave me a thousand welcomes and introduced her daughter, who appeared to be a nice, modest looking girl about seventeen years of age, and from the conversation afterwards, seemed to have read a good deal and posessed a considerable share of general information for a country girl in her situation.

The old lady and her daughter then set to, and in a few minutes, a nice supper was on the table, and after drinking a tumbler of Whiskey toddy made by the old lady, I was told to sit in to the table. I very readily complied, having by that time a sharp appetite. The supper was composed of oatbread, butter and tea, and a large plate set in the middle of the table, full of fried bacon swimming in gravy.

I waited a minute, thinking there would be a knife, fork, and plate served round to each person, but the old lady told me to begin; then the old man checked her and said perhaps I liked to say a few words to myself, (meaning Grace). Upon this being said, I soon made shift to commence, seeing there was no help but to take a piece of bacon in my fingers and lay it on a piece of the oatcake, which I found was the mode adopted by the family. However, after setting to in this manner, I made a hearty supper.

After supper was over, I was again presented with a tumbler of toddy, and in vain I did try to persuade my host and his good wife not to compel me to drink it, as I had not drunk so much spirits since I came to the country as I had drunk in their house. I was obliged to drink their good health once more., then getting a comfortable smoke, the old man produced a number of books and telling me how much they had cost him, wished my opinion whether or not they were very good books. I accordingly was obliged to glance over a number of them, as if examining the style of the author and so on, and pronounced them good, as far as I was capable of judging. He told me that he had ruined himself giving his children education, and that his daughter whom I saw there, had too much education for a woman; he had no learning himself, he said, and was determined to give his family as much as possible.

After hearing his son read a portion of several works, and commending his ability as a reader, the old woman brought me a large tub of warm water to wash my feet, according to the old custom, after which I retired to a very comfortable bed.

Feb. 8th. I spent this day in reading the adventures of Captain Robert Boyle, which formed a very entertaining book, but bordering rather much on romance.

Feb. 9th. I hear of watches being so often stolen in this part of the world that I would deem it advisable to enter the watchmakers name, Robert Turnbull, Greenock, No. 404, gold and cap'd; also my Mother's name, on the cap; Eleanor Norton.

Feb. 10th. The Sun rose this morning in all his Splendour, quickly dispelling all lingering shades of departing darkness, and giving all Nature a cheerful aspect, and continued to shine gorgeously all day, which is something extraordinary to me. as this has been my first day, I may safely say, since I have been resident in this country that continued so clear during the whole of it.

Feb. 11th. This day I went to the English Church and heard a very excellent sermon, text from Samuel, 3 Chapter, 9th Verse. There is perhaps no part in the world where the places of worship are so well attended as in Paisley, and by all classes of society. It is truly surprising to behold the multitudes of people passing and repassing to the different churches, all elegantly dressed; it is difficult to distinguish the poor factory girls from the wealthy manufacturer's wives and daughters. Everything is sacrificed by the poorer classes to get a splendid fit-out for Sunday.

Feb. 12, Glasgow. - I next saw Bridewell, which I thought well worth seeing - capable of giving separate rooms to about 300 people, the greater part of the number I saw were females, who seemed stout, hearty pieces. It was wonderful to see how comfortable they all appeared each in a room by herself, weaving, knitting, spinning, or otherwise well employed; while I was going through with Mr. Rankin, I saw one of the unfortunate girls taken out of the room she had previously been working in and out in the Black Hole for some misdemeanor; she cried out piteously but all to no purpose, in she went, and continued roaring out the time we remained. I returned with Mr. Rankin to his house. On entering I was introduced to Miss Rankin, a beautiful young lady about 18 years of age; we had dinner at four thirty and tea at seven. I remained until eight during which time I enjoyed myself very much.

Feb. 13th. In the evening I attended a party, where I was much amused. I have found the Scotch on every occasion uncommonly free and kind - I have been frequently surprised to hear a few of the Paisley ladies conversing about things in general about things in general with as much fluency as if they were so many lawyers who had made it their whole study to arrive at perfection in the art of oratory.

Feb. 14th. This day I spent doing little or nothing, sometimes reading, other times taking up the violin and playing a tune or two to pass the time; I took a stroll to see what I could; the most remarkable object that struck my eye was the Steam boat yard in which I saw no less than four Iron Steam vessels a-building - I observed the boys' work was to heat the rivets in the fire several of which were around the vessel where they were required. The sheets which are used instead of planks appeared about five feet long, by about 15 inches wide, while the holes are about 1 inch apart, and a person looking at the sheer number of them would suppose that they would take a very long time in filling up, each rivet being obliged to be made red hot, when it is placed in the hole by one man and held, while two others lay on the end which comes through and flatten it down in an instant. I have today got my eigth lesson on the fiddle from Mr. MacHutchinson. I can now play five tunes.

Feb. 21st. This morning I received a letter from Geo. F. Coopre dated 9th January, 1844, in which he requests me to purchase a Breast pin, long, with a diamond set round with rubies value from three to four pounds Sterling, also a stock to be worn with the pin, very low in the neck part, price nor description not mentioned. The people say that wintre is nearly over, although I have not seen anything worthy of being called wintre since I came to this country.

Feb. 22nd. In the evening went out with Mr. MacDonald to hear a discussion on Purgatory by a Roman Catholic, Mr. Lynch on one side, and a Protestant, Mr. Pinkerton on the other. Mr. P. without a doubt was the most profound orator.

Feb. 26th. This day went up to Glasgow and called upon Mr. Hugh Rankin, Esq. to ascertain if he knew of any situation that I could obtain, and upon several enquiries made by that gentleman, he found that nothing was vacant just then, but if I could wait for a short time that I could likely get a situation. Upon my return to Paisley, I called upon Mr. John Paton, Draper; he said that if I had been a very short time sooner I should have gotten into his establishment, but he had just engaged a young man.

Feb.27th. I have this day made up my mind to go out to the Island as I understand there is a vessel to sail from Glasgow bound for Pictou, N.S. which I think will suit me well. Every appearence of summer - gardens in a high state of cultivation. Scotland really is a most beautiful country enjoying a most salubricus climate. I have seen some of the best plowing that I ever had the opportunity of beholding and the people are uncommonly kind and hospitable towards strangers.

Feb. 28th. Having little or nothing to do, spent this day reading the history of Renfrewshire, which I found very interesting.

Feb. 29th. This I think worthy of insertion; The genuineness of friendship is tested by Misfortune. And why is a man leaving a scene of noise and confusion like a fashionable lady? because a bustle is behind him.

Sun. 31st, 10 A.M. Went with Mr. Humphry and family to the low Church of Paisley, 2 P.M. Attended the same church and heard the Rev. John MacNaughton preach from Hebrews II chapter and the 3rd verse - (By faith the walls of Jerico fell down after they were compassed about seven days). This preacher, Mr. MacNaughton, is the most celebrated Free Church man in the town of Paisley.

April 2nd. This day arrived in Glasgow by train at 1/2 past II and the barque had left. Was towed down the Clyde as far as Bowline, where, after walking a mile, got on board the barque. She was then taking on some tons of gunpowder for the Albion Mines.

April 6th. Wind very favorable; nearly lost sight of Ireland, spent all day reading and playing drafts with Mr. Hammikle of Pictou, owner of the Barque.

April 9th. Strong gales and hazy weather at 4 P.M. Wind N.W. by N., single reefed topsails. 6 P.M. Blows still harder, double reefed the topsails, stowed jib, and reefed Spankre to Mainsail and hauled the Foresail up. Barque makes a great deal of water. Wind N.S.W. course N.W. by N. making 6 knots per hour. 4 A.M. wind moderated out reefs and set the Jib and Main Top Gallantsail at 8 A.M. set Fore Gallant Sail, wind N.S.W. Noon strong gails. Lat by observation now 49.16.

April 12th. Midnight still blowing hard and Barque still makes a large quantity of water; pumps duly attended. Lat by obs. 55.37.

April 17th. Weather still remarkably stormy. Barque continues to leak badly, pumps duly attended by passengers and all hands. Lat. 54.55, Long. 22.15.

April 18th. Pumps going constantly; no hopes of making less than a seven week passage.

April 29th. 2 P.M. Wind N.W. Blew a compleat hurricane. Ship now hove on her beam ends, the sea breaking over on her beam ends, the sea breaking over in a few broken waves and foam at 3 P.M., found water to be washing a considerable way above the ceiling. Tried pumps but could not get them to draw. Spankre broke out from the brail ropes and found it impossible to stow it; cut it from Garf and got it on deck; sea continued to come on deck from all sides so thick that one man could not see another close to him; split both the topsails and carried away the truss of the fore yard expecting every moment gear to fall on deck and mast to be cut away. 5 P.M. more moderate, got the pumps to draw and pumped vessel as dry as possible but still expect much of the cargo to be damaged. 10 P.M. still blows a tremendous gale, Ship rolling badly. 8 A.M. saw a ship to the leeward with main and mizzen top G Masts gone, also mizzen Topsail carried away.

May 2nd, 1844.Vessel still leaks about ten inches per hour, and Fitzgerald still off duty.

May 4th. Heavy cross sea, vessel still as leaky and laboring heavily. Sun obscure.

May 12th. A number of Iceburgs in sight and ice all around. Spoke the Milton of London, five weeks out. 12 M. Fog Lat 45.41, got clear of the ice and saw the Lady Falkland of Glasgow from Savanna bound to Liverpool. Came in contact with the ice on the banks of Newfoundland at 10 P.M., shortened sail, and lay low till daylight.

May 14th. Sound and found the ground in 35 fathoms of water. Very Cold. Lat 45.00.

May 18th. We expect to make the land about six o'clock tomorrow morning.

May 19th 2 P.M. Calm. 10 P.M. strong breezes, rain and snow. 4 A.M. tremendous snow storm, could not see a mile ahead; at 7 A.M. lookout saw a breaker right off the weather bow. Tacked ship out to sea; at 1/4 after seven snow cleared up, could see the land. 6 P.M. pilot from Pictou boarded the Barque 8 miles below the entrance to the Straights of Canso.

May 20th. This day got through Canso and up to Pictou.

May 21st. Tuesday. At 8 A.M. got on board boat St. George and arrived at Charlottetown, P.E.I. at 5 P.M.

- End of Journal -

Dave Hunter and The Island Register Graphics and Source Code: © 1997

Return to The Island Register Ships Page!
Return to The Island Register Home Page!
Last Updated: 03/02/97 11:09