Saturday, June 15, 2019

Captain Cannon: Voyage of the Ship Iris - Part 7

             On March 3rd, the Iris “Hove too[,] the Commadore Being [astern].” At 8:00 a.m. they sailed with pleasant breezes under double reefed topsails[1].

            On March 4th there were steady breezes and light rain showers. At 2:00 p.m. the second reef of the main topsail was taken out. Three hours later, the main topsail was double reefed again. At 7:00 a.m. they took down the jib and staysails.

North America

            On March 5, 1799, the ship North America and its cargo were sold at auction, presumably at Lindo’s wharf. The black ebony was sold to “Paget” for £12+, the mahogany logs were sold to Thomas Aspinall for £4,152+, the braziletto wood was sold to Lindo Lake & Co. for £222 and the ship was sold to “Gabion” for £333+, for total sales proceeds of £4,721+. From this, William Dance was paid £520+ for his appraisal of the ship and cargo and AA Lindo,[2] acting as agents for Lindo Lake & Co. (perhaps because Lindo Lake & Co. was bidding at the auction) received a commission of £236+, resulting in net sales of £3,964+. Other expenses included £2+ for the cryer attending the sale, £105+ to James Herring and Son for wharfage, including the timber from the ship, £21+ to John Manby for measuring 65,752 feet of mahogany and £201+ to Ballard Beckford Nembhard for his proctor’s fee in the court case.  


            On March 6th the main topgallant sail was set at 1:00 p.m. Three hours later it was taken in. There were light breezes and some showers and they “Sett & took in Sail acationly”. At noon the Commodore was to their west one mile. Many entries note where the commodore was at noon or meridian. I assume that was a requirement for insurance or some other purpose.

            On March 7th they close reefed the fore and mizzen topsails at 2:00 p.m.

            On March 8th the Iris log noted letting out one reef of the main topsail, setting the mainsail, letting out a reef of the topsail and setting the main topgallant sail.

            On March 9th, they “Hove too” for two hours, then made sail. They did a single reef of the topsails and brought in all the small sails, which would be the royal sails and staysails. The crew were “Spinning Spinyarn [and] Making a New Mizzen”.

            On March 10th they double reefed the topsails. Later they had a “Gail with Heavey weather” and close reefed the topsails. It was noted that the “Ship [was] not So Leakey[; they were] Pumping Evry two hours”.[3] The Commodore was noted being northeast a half mile.

            Om March 11th there was a gale and dark gloomy weather. They “Hove too” for two hours and then made sail, at the same time reefing the foresail and bending[4] a “new foretop mast Staysail”. It was noted that the ship was taking on no more water than usual, an indication that the Iris had a constant leak. Unbeknownst to George, back at home in the Isle of Man, his third child, Ann Cannon was born. The Kirk German parish register reflects that "Ann daur of George Cannon & Leonora Callister" was baptized on March 12, 1800.

            On March 12th there were some squalls with rain, but it cleared up and the crew were “Painting the Boats [and] Making a Mizzen”.

            On March 13th they “Handed the Mainsail” then later close reefed the topsails. Then they “Sett the New Mizzen”. The Commodore was noted a mile distant.

            On March 14th it was “Dark Cloudy weather” and they were under double reefed topsails. At “Midnight [they] Hove too” and a half hour later made sail again. The Commodore came up to them. At 5:00 a.m. they noted “3 Strange Sails[:] 2 Ships and a Schoo[ner] Standing to the Northward.” Three hours later they noted a ship to the northward. They unbent the foresail and foretopsail and then bent new ones of each.

            On March 15th the “Commadore made a Signal for all Captains to Come on Bo[a]rd [look at log and see if can read this]. The crew were setting up the fore rigging.

            On March 16th they were sailing under double reefed topsails and foresails. The crew were “Stitching the Sails and Making Points”.

            On March 17th they sailed under double reefed topsails and the crew brought the “Bread up on Deck” to air. The Commodore was noted a mile away at noon.

            On March 18th they hauled “up the foresail” and the “Commadore [was] of[f] our Starbourd Beam”.[5] Later, they variously double reefed the topsail, “Handed the Mizzen topsail”, “Struck” the main topgallant mast, reefed the foresail and close reefed the topsails. At noon the commodore was a mile distant.

            On March 19th they had gales and it was cloudy. They sailed under close reefed topsails, and main and foretop mizzen staysails. Later, it was blowing a strong gale and they hauled up the foresail. At noon the Commodore was a half mile southeast by east.

            On March 20th, they hauled up the foresail and the commodore was a mile distant at noon.

            On March 21st it was “thick weather.” They “Hove too” for 30 minutes and then made sail. Later they had “Light wind with rain”. They “Stop[p]ed the Peoples Coffee” for some reason. Later, they hove too to the southeast for “4 ships in Sight Belon[g]ing to the Convoy.”

            On March 22nd, after light breezes and rain showers, they “H[a]uled Down the Staysail and Mizzen” and let “out all reefs to Dry the Sails”. The crew mended sails and made mats.

            On March 23rd, they “Sent up” the “Main Top Gallan[t] Mast and Yard”.

            On March 24th they close reefed the topsails, then “Handed the Mizzen topsails & Haul[e]d up the Foresail”. Later they “Sett the Foresail”.

            On March 25th at 1:00 p.m. they “Handed [down] the foretopsail” and “reef[ed] the foresail. Three hours later they close reefed the foretopsail and “Sent Down [the] Main Top Gallan[t] Yard”. At midnight they set the topgallant topsail and staysails.

            On March 26th the sailed “Under Do[u]ble Reef[ed] topsails and foresail”. The crew were “Mending Sails” and the Commodore was one mile to the northeast.

            On March 27th they brought down the _____[check photo of journal] and jib and the crew was again “Mending Sails”.

            On March 28th there were “Strong Gails and frequent Squalls of Heail [Hail]”. So at 4:00 p.m. they close reefed the topsails and handed down the mizzen sails. At 10:00 p.m. they “Handed [down the] main topsail and Foresail”  and at “Midnight” with a “Heavey Gail [they] Handed [down the] Foretopsail”.  At 6:00 a.m. they “Hove too” under “Main and Mizzen Staysail[s]”.

            On March 29th the “Stong Gails with heavey Squalls and Hailstone[s]” continued. At 7:00 a.m. they set the topgallant mast staysail and at 9:00 a.m. they took it in again. [look at original to read] Later they reefed the main stay and main mizzen sails.

            On March 30th, the log reports a heavy gale and hail showers. At 1:00 p.m. they brought in the “Spritsail yard”. Later they reefed the forsesail. They saw a frigate which “Hove out a Signal to Hove too”. The foresail was furled, perhaps as part of the hoving process. The log than notes a brig in sight. The weather later moderated but they still experienced  a “heavey Cross Sea”. After being stalled for some time, they “Made Sail” at 8:00 a.m. and noted the vessels in sight at noon. The frigate seems to have taken the place of the commodore as it is the vessel now frequently noted at noon.

            On March 31st with steady breezes and cloudy weather they sailed under double reefed topsails. “The frigate and 7 Sail [are] in Company”. It appears that the eight ships, in addition to the Iris, were the Lottery, the Louisa, the Alexander, the Earl of Liverpool, the Diana, the Brothers, the August and the Crescent, all traveling together as part of the convoy.[6]

            On April 1st it was cloudy and the sailed under double reefed topsails, later bringing in the staysails. The frigate was noted at noon as being distant two miles.

            On April 2nd they had steady breezes and heavy wather. The sailed under double reefed topsails. At 9:00 p.m. they brought in the mizzen topsail, then at 2:00 a.m. [….check the log the] Maintopsail”. Later they close reefed the foretopsail. The frigate dropped behind them, astern.

            An April 3rd they had rain squalls and strong breezes. The brought in the main topsail, then later brought down the “Main top Gallan[t] Mast”. The ship was noted to be laboring heavy. At noon the commodore was noted east-by-south one mile.

            On April 4th, at 3:00 p.m. they brought in the stayails and took out one reef of the topgallant and main topsail. At 5:00 a.m. they “Hove too” for two hours before sailing again. The crew were “Plassing [check log] the Cables.” The commodore was noted again at noon one mile east-south-east.

            On April 5th, at 3:00 p.m. a strange sail was noted to the northeast. The Iris was in “topsails” with strong winds and squalls. At noon the frigate was noted one mile away.

            On April 6th, more rain squalls. Later they took two reefs out of each topsail and the crew were employed getting ready for port: cleaning the main deck and painting the guns. [check log]

            On April 7th the crew were blacking the rails and gunwales (the top edge of the topsides of the ship). They got the small bower anchor, the anchor carried at the bow of the ship, up on the gunwhale and then cleaned the main deck. Later, a stiff gale arose and they took in the main and mizzen topsails.

            On April 8th there were “fresh gails and [it was] Squally”. They sailed under close reefed main topsails and foresails. At about 4:00 p.m. they communicated with one of the ships in their convoy, the Diana, likely with Captain John Ainsworth.[7]

            On April 9th there were strong breezes and squalls and they were sailing under a close reefed main topsail and a reefed foresail. At 2:00 p.m. the frigate signaled for them to “Mak[e] the Best of our way”. At 6:00 p.m. they hove too and cast the lead line. It sounded at 63 fathoms and they found “fine Sand and Shells”. The ship Diana was noted as in company. At 11:00 a.m. they saw land.

[1] To reef a sail is to reduce the area of it during winds. Reef points are short lengths of rope attached to the sail, hanging in successive rows or bands, by which parts of the sail are gathered in and tied around the yards. A single reef, or double reef, or close reef, describes how much sail area is being reduced. Close reef is a sail reduced to its maximum extent. To reef sails, men had to ascend the masts and stand upon lines attached to the yards. Topsails had three or four reef bands and each band was about one-seventh the depth of the sail, so if taken to the lowest or close reef, the sail was reduced about one-half. Royal sails (the highest on the mast) were usually brought in before a reef of the topsails. With the second reef of the topsails, the royal yards were brought down.
[2] A.A. Lindo & Co. was owned by Abraham Alexandre Lindo, the son of Alexandre Lindo. [Eli Faber, Jews, Slaves, and the Slave Trade: Setting the Record Straight (Reappraisals in Jewish Social and Intellectual History) (NYU Press: August 1, 1998), p. 121]
[3] Captain Hugh Crow noted a time when his ship “encountered a succession of gales, during which we were obliged to ply both pumps. My keeping the pump gear in order, were constantly called for…” (Crow Memoirs, p. 5) On another occasion, “We lost our mizzen-mast in a gale, and, the pumps being choked, had a dreadful time of it in bailing out the ship…by means of barrels.” (Crow memoirs, p. 11) This is the first time we learn that the Iris had a leak problem.
[4] Bend is the term for making the sail fast to the yard. Royal and topgallant sails were usually bent to the yard on deck and then sent up and down with the yard. Course and topsails were hoisted up and “brought to” the yard and bent. The head of the sail was made fast to the yard by robands.
[5] Starboard is the right side of the ship when facing forward. The beam is the width of the ship from the port side to the starboard side at its widest point.
[6] Seven ships arrived in close proximity of time together in Liverpool, all having traveled from Jamaica. In addition to the Iris, under Captain Cannon (identified in Lloyd’s List as “Connor”), there were the following ships: (a) The Lottery, under Captain John Whittle, which obtained slaves in Bonny, delivered 460 slaves to Kingston on December 9, 1798, left Kingston on February 13, 1799, and arrived in Liverpool on April 13, 1799, one day after the Iris. (b) The Louisa, under Captain William Brown, which obtained slaves in Malembo, delivered 455 slaves to Kingston on December 13, 1798, left Kingston on February 12, 1799, and arrived in Liverpool on April 12, 1799, the same date as the Iris. (c) The Alexander under Captain Coppinger is not listed on the Slave Trade CD and was likely not involved in the slave trade. (d) The Earl of Liverpool under Captain George Barnard, which obtained slaves in Bonny, delivered 347 slaves to Montego Bay, Jamaica on December 6, 1798, left Jamaica on February 6, 1799 and arrived in Liverpool the same date as the Iris; (e) The Diana under Captain John Ainsworth, obtained slaves in Bonny, delivered 394 slaves to Kingston on December 6, 1798, left Kingston on February 12, 1799 and arrived in Liverpool the same date as the Iris. (f) The Brothers under Captain Redmayne is not listed on the Slave Trade CD and was likely a vessel not involved in the slave trade. The August under Captain Smith and the Crescent, under Captain Huson, need to be looked at more closely. Is one of the above a frigate? Where did they go, are they slave ships, etc.? (Lloyd’s List, dated April 16, 1799 and Slave Trade CD).
[7] The next year, Captain Hugh Crow noted arriving in Bonny in December 1800 and, “There, the ship Diana, having been cast ashore and become a wreck, we received on board the captain and crew. After completing our cargo we sailed in company, all in good health, and arrived at Jamaica without losing a man.” (Crow Memoirs, p. 73)

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