Heartman's Historical Series No. 3
THE VOYAGE OF
The First Hessian Army
FROM PORTSMOUTH TO NEW YORK 1776
One hundred and ten Copies printed for CHAS. FRED. HEARTMAN, New York City
The following Historical Sketch is a translation from the German of A. Pfister. It was published some fifty years ago in a German periodical and is interesting enough to be reprinted in English as it contains hitherto very little known details of this voyage. At the end will be found an Extract from the Diary of the German Poet and Adventurer, J. G. Seume, a Hessian Soldier and Participator on the Voyage.
January, 1915 CH. F. H.
Number _ of 110 copies printed. Also six printed on Japan Vellum.
The troops belonging to the first Hessian Division had as yet not all been assembled in the harbor of Portsmouth, for, on account of the lack of transport ships, General von Mirbach with his regiment and that of Commander Rall, a Knyphausen Company, and a part of the Commissariat still remained at Bremerlehe, when the fleet was ready and the wind often long in coming, was just then very favorable to leave the channel. Then a rather peculiar circumstance occurred to prevent the start. Heister, the Hessian Commander-in-Chief, refused to start, feeling bound by the land grave's express orders to keep all his divisions together. The king became exceedingly impatient, for the delay set an incalculable amount at stake—at last the Hessian minister at London, General von Schlieffen, took upon himself the responsibility of this urgent matter, and Heister, with a spirit of true faithfulness to service, went over with his Hessian troop ships to the remaining squadron at anchor at St. Hellens in the immediate vicinity.
The fleet as gathered here numbered 100 sailing vessels, among which were 2 men-of-war with 50 cannons, 4 frigates of 36 cannons, and 2 fire-ships for the protection of the transports and provision ships. These vessels carried in all about 12,500 land troops, of which the 7400 Hessians were distributed in 52 ships. William Hotham, their Commodore, was on the man-of-war Preston. When the ship captains had received from him the signaling directions and their sealed instructions (which may be opened only after a ship has sailed in order to learn its destination), he gave the signals to weigh anchor and to sail by means of a cannon shot and the displaying of a flag. This was on the evening of the 6th of May.
Very soon an adverse and violent storm arose, the sea became turbulent and there was much seasickness. No one could stand upright in the cabins, everything was tossed about pell-mell and sailors fell overboard and could not be saved; yet the fleet by the evening of the 9th was sailing with calmer weather through the dangerous region of the Scilly Islands, where, over a mass of rocks and reefs a warning lighthouse stood. After sunset the last land was seen to disappear under the horizon, the promontory, Landsend. On the next day the cables, which usually are on the capstan, were coiled on deck; still greater waves, and more violent motions of the ship indicated that the vessels had reached the great ocean. Who may be the master of the ocean was made evident during the very next few days to the astonished soldiers, when a Danish and later two Swedish East Indian ships were passing through the fleet; these then lowered their flags and a sail of the middle mast, as soon as they were within the distance of a shot. This was the mark of esteem which every foreign ship on meeting an English man-of-war or squadron in the Atlantic Ocean was to render to it, as indicating the recognition of Great Britain's sovereignty there.
A perfect calm had set in; the great waves rose to an astonishing height, and, although at a time of wind and full sail, the vibrations of the ships are lessened by the quick forward motion, yet in calm the opposite is true, for the ships were heaving and pitching, so that there seemed to be danger of complete capsizing, or at any rate of the loss of the masts. In the darkness of night the foam sparkled on the ships and at times the lightning flashed and quivered on the waves. Several ships had already met with accidents, in getting badly damaged by running against each other, and in some the constant pumping out of water was made necessary. The ship Good Intent ran with its prow into the stern of the Claudina, on which there was a company of the regiment von Knyphausen under Lieutenant Baum, and to the great anguish and cry of the crew and troops made a great hole over the cabin. The ship Speedwell, on which there was Lieutenant-Colonel Block with the Grenadier-Company of the Prince Karl regiment drew so much water that it seemed doomed to sink. Accordingly signals of distress were hoisted, the Commodore signaled the fleet to halt and by means of several boats had the ship thoroughly investigated. It became evident that there was no immediate danger, and that, with constant use of the pumps, the Speedwell could continue the voyage.
On the 20th of May a strong wind suddenly arose (simply good fresh air as the sailors said), but the water became rough, the waves struck over the decks, and all fires were ordered to be put out; porpoises made their appearance in great numbers, the sight of which was cheering especially to the officers who shot at them; little was it supposed by them then that these porpoises were but the forerunners of an approaching storm. On the 25th the whole sky became clouded over with dark and heavy clouds, the air became close and sultry, and the Commodore had shots fired frequently as a signal to prevent the scattering of the ships. The wind and waves became more violent from hour to hour during the night of the 25th to the 26th, and on Whitsunday the full force of the storm was felt. The Commodore gave the signal to draw in all sails except one and to remove the uppermost parts of the masts. The ships were being scattered far apart. In the cabins all articles, though tied fast, were broken loose and were thrown helter-skelter, the occupants likewise, many with bruised limbs, and there was no end to the spells of seasickness and of misery made ridiculous. The storm was ever growing worse. On the second day the last sail was drawn in, and the rudder bound fast, so that now the ship was left to its fate. The raging sea was playing with the gigantic structure of the ships as with a toy; sailors were swallowed up by the waters, others committed suicide and soldiers who ventured to go on deck fell down unconscious because of the force of the waves. Only one consolation remained, namely, the clarified atmosphere; but on the third day of Whitsuntide dark gloomy clouds and torrents of rain darkened the whole firmament, the winds seemed to be let loose, sounding like roaring thunder, all nature seemed to have united in bringing to young America a terrible funeral feast. While thousands are pleading here for the protection of Heaven a furious wrathful indignation rages in the American pulpit scattering its curses and, praying to God and the Savior, dedicates the fleet to destruction.
With a loud and deafening roar the huge waves wash over the ships; the decks and every port-hole had to be made extra tight. The soldiers were lying in the lower compartments as if buried alive in coffins, gasping in the darkness after air and water; from moment to moment the most of them, quiet and depressed, expected to go out of this dark night into the eternal day of heaven. Still on the next day the storm was raging and the heavy sea also continued, and this threatened to break the ships to pieces; but the clouds broke, the great downfall of rain ceased, the air became clear, the wind subsided, and in the evening at 10 o'clock the storm had stopped entirely—only the seething waters were still roaring and placed the ships in even greater danger. It was not until the morning of the 30th that this violent sea had spent its fury; sound sleep reinvigorated exhausted nature; and when the soldiers and sailors awoke to the beautiful day and looked out upon the glittering, smooth, quiet sea, and saw how little by little the ships drew closer together, they each and everyone felt as if they had awakened to a new day of creation. The kitchen fires were again glowing, the kettles were steaming, the provisions, clothing and bed linen, all so thoroughly wet through, were dried, everywhere repairs were undertaken, the masts were again properly set up, and the sails spread; on the decks praises to God were sung with fervent feelings of gratitude in devout meetings of prayer.
The religious, sympathetic feelings certainly prevail in the deeply rooted piety of our (Hessian) people. It was customary on all ships that as often as the weather and the motion of the vessel permitted it, a prayer meeting should be held every morning and every evening and a preaching service on Sundays. Though not obliged to attend, yet one could regularly see the soldierly religious congregation assembled, standing with uncovered heads and filled with devotion, drawn thither by the inner voice of conscience. If the sea were rough then one could hear the people from their resting places starting up religious hymns. Communion with God was necessary for the soul; more urgently did the present remind of eternity, and the very recent past give grounds for gratitude. The ordinary man had in lieu of other songs learned to sing his religious hymns at school, and he sang these even during his march against the enemy. It was not a book of epic poems that accompanied him on his expeditions, it was a small book of prayer, which even now is a chief constituent part of the small bookshops of the Hessian peasant-folk, so precious to him because of the divine power of its influence, to his mind a pure, old, genuine "Jesus wine." This was the well known "Habermaennchen," the epic poem and the private chapel of the warrior as well as of the serving man. And not alone with the exalted spectacle of divine omnipotence on the furious or rapturous sea—but even in the camps and quarters the masses of soldiers did not neglect public worship any more than they neglected a simple military duty. So with the ancient fear of God of the patriarchs in their hearts the Hessian people landed on the soil of America.
The dispersion of the fleet had obliged a halt of three days, during which time the frigates sailed in all directions, collecting the ships by means of cannon shots, yet this was not entirely successful; fifteen battered ships had opened their sealed orders and had sailed on ahead to Halifax, the goal designated therein. The contrary winds prevented the advance of the fleet. It appeared in great grandeur on the 4th of June; this was the birthday of King George III. In unusual splendor did the day shine, on all vessels the red English flag was waving, on all war ships and all frigates, twenty-one cannon shots resounded at noon and the transport ships were only too glad to follow with their joyful celebrations. But on the ship Unanimity an unfortunate pistol shot was fired in the morning. A captain of the life-guards, Count von der Lippe, offended one of his subordinates, Lieutenant Kleinschmidt, because he, though accidentally, had caused his dog to give a cry of pain, and with coarse words demanded an immediate pistol duel without witnesses. The lieutenant gave his opponent a mortal wound. The one was descended from a sovereign house, the other of humble civil origin, yet according to the ancient chivalrous views, which at all times prevail in the military profession, they were equals. The court-martial, also in consequence thereof, acquitted the lieutenant. This is the proceeding followed in accordance with all proper army regulations: the highest officer next to the count takes the lieutenant's sword, places a sentinel over him, made a request, by means of a speaking-trumpet, of the commodore, whose ship fortunately was quite near, for a clever English surgeon (as the Hessian Army generally had but few well qualified army surgeons) and then takes a boat to the ship Elizabeth to make a report to the Lieutenant-General. Immediately a court-martial is ordered, Lieutenant Kleinschmidt, under arrest, is taken to the ship of the staff of the regiment, and the staff-surgeon-major and the chief staff-chaplain were sent to the count. The former could do nothing except to leave the dying man to the services of the latter. In prayer with the chaplain, during which time a religious service was being held on deck, the count departed this life. Thereupon the adjutants of the general took an inventory of the effects of the deceased, an autopsy was held to determine the cause of death, then, dressed in his military suit, placed into a hammock weighted down with stone, and sewed in white canvas, without any further formality, his body was consigned to the sea.
Dense fogs had fallen; in order to keep the ships together frequent shots were fired from the commodore's ship; the danger of knocking against one another was unavoidable. The ships, Happy Jeanette and Henrietta, because of the carelessness on the part of the former, ran against each other at a time when the winds were strong and the sails were set full, so that the latter very nearly capsized, and, hard-pressed by the former, could not again right itself. On all faces there was the picture of death; and panic arose. The soldiers of the regiment von Ditfurth, driven to despair, endeavored to leap upon the Jeanette and those of the regiment Prince Karl tried to save their lives on the Happy, and only with difficulty were they prevented from doing an act of foolhardiness which would have cost the lives of many. After repeated knocks the two ships were finally parted; in the Henrietta a great hole had been made—only one foot lower down and in a few minutes nothing more would have been seen of the ship. There were on this ship Captain von Malsburg, the Lieutenants von Ditfurth, von Malsburg, von Bardeleben, and Ensign von Schachten.
A new drama took place soon after the 10th of June. A frigate brought the orders to set all ships and cannon in defensive condition; an East Indian ship had reported the proximity of many American privateers. One of these had even been captured. The Hessian officers thereupon set all cannon in order and arranged for the distribution of the men in the case of an attack. The commodore remained now in the middle of the fleet, a frigate had to stay at the head in his place, and the others had to be all the more active, everywhere in the fleet, as commodore's messengers, to keep up the order and to search every strange vessel. Even the transport vessels received orders in case they should discover a strange vessel to display a red flag at the stern of the ship until the commodore by means of a similar signal has indicated that he has taken cognizance of the information. Almost to the very tops of the masts the guards on watch could be seen. More frequently than ever the stragglers now received the usual warning (always with a fine of money imposed), namely, several sharp cannon shots which struck close to them. The same was the case with those ships which sailed too fast in advance of the others. As soon as the commodore had given the signal by means of the flag-language, one could see the marines and the sailors on the men-of-war practice fully armed and equipped and with such great zeal carry on a naval battle exercise as certainly cannot be shown any better in a real battle. By means of bags of sand the decks were protected against cannon shot from the side; back of these, men with muskets; at different places the auxiliary troops; at the middle mast the chief sentry; between the masts a sort of pile structure for defense was built up to accommodate smaller cannon and soldiers; with uncommon dexterity the artillery was managed; and at last the sailors with lances and other like weapons hurried on deck to drill for defense in order to prevent the enemy from mounting the ship.
With many a change of wind and weather, of calm and turbulent sea, of joyous or anxious feeling, the great sandbanks of New Foundland were reached on the 20th of June.
A mighty sea of breakers indicates the location of these sandbanks; upon their precipitous rocky walls covered forty fathoms high by the sea, the restless ocean waves are beating and are with a like force repelled. The winds go howling over them; dense, cold fogs always cover these regions. In order to warm the ships against colliding, the drums, foghorns and ship bells were resounding day and night on all ships. In order to prevent their being separated too far from one another a cannon shot was fired every half hour on the commodore's ship. Nevertheless many ships drifted from their course; fourteen of them were found by a fire ship and conducted to Halifax. For three or four days the ships remained in the vicinity of the sandbanks. The many phenomena seen there increased the astonishment of the ordinary man concerning the wonders of the sea, which had here appeared to him: the whale, swimming majestically; and the spongy mass polyps, scarcely with the organization of a living creature; multitudes of porpoises, which pursued with amusing leaps out of the water the course of the flying fish, and the latter then fell down upon the decks, where they found a more certain death; shoals of dolphins, which followed the ships with their glittering colors, and often were reached by the harpoon or other weapon thrown at them; in the dark night countless brilliant, fiery stripes, generated by a school of fishes swiftly passing through the waters; turtles, caught for the tables of the gentlemen; whole swarms of wild ducks; above all the enormous quantity of cod fish, which had caused several fleets of French, British and Norwegian fishing smacks to be gathered here, and now enriched the kitchens of the army fleet.
On the 25th of June the sandbanks were left behind and from the damp, biting cold, against which even the protection of a fur mantle was of no avail, the expedition experienced a warm, beautiful day and soon again many changes of weather. The great number of whales now to be seen indicated the proximity of the coast of Nova Scotia. A green fir tree, which was floating on the waters, brought still more joyful tidings. The ever diminishing depth of the sea on July 3rd gave rise to the hope that yet before evening land would come into sight, but as heavy fogs and strong winds set in it became necessary to avoid the probable dangers by returning to the deeper ocean. Ever following a course of approaching and then leaving the coast, and experiencing another heavy thunder storm, which tore the sails to pieces, it was with indescribable joy that the coast of Nova Scotia came to view on the 7th at break of day. As soon as the anchoring place of Halifax was reached the commodore signaled to the fleet to gather and sail before the wind. Now those ships came along and rejoined the fleet which had become lost in the fogs and had anchored several days previously in the harbor. They greeted the commodore with fifteen shots and he replied with eleven. From these ships much information was gained, and especially did they bring joyful news about the ship Malaga, which had become totally lost to all appearances in the Whitsuntide storm, and which with all on board, a company of the life-guards, under Captain Waldenberg, had already been given up as lost. Its bowsprit was gone and it had suffered considerable damage too, but it had had the good fortune to bring to Halifax a French ship which was carrying munitions of war to the Americans. A reward of 2,000 pounds sterling had been granted to the commander and his troops—but in course of time this was paid out to the commanders of the English men-of-war. Having joined the great British fleet it had followed the commander in chief, General Howe, to the new rendezvous of the squadron and of the army.
Howe had already begun his career with blunders and perplexities. He had been selected through an unfortunate vote conducted by his party and so was entrusted with an affair, the nature of which demanded, in the midst of the transactions of considerate love, the speediest progress of arms and the greatest decision of character. Instead of leaving Boston, the firebrand of the war, so important because of its location, either not at all, or at such an early time that the state of New York which was still chiefly loyal could be saved, he started for Halifax so inopportunely, that meanwhile the power of the Congress was made felt in New York, and prepared there the strongest defence; Howe finally made Rhode Island his destination, and changed his mind during the trip, and at last aimed for New York, when the commodore, William Hotham, collected before Halifax the previously given sealed orders from the several ship captains and had designated Rhode Island as the new destination, a frigate brought the again changed instruction to fix as rendezvous the lighthouse of Sandy Hook.
The joy of immediate landing after so long a voyage, which had even become highly disagreeable towards the close, was now gone. The various changes as to their destination, the unfavorable weather, poor sailing vessels, which oftentimes had to be taken in tow by the war vessels, and the difficulty to keep together such a fleet, always in danger of hostile attack, all combined to lengthen the voyage to 100 days, which was even at that time very rare, and now could be of incalculable advantage to the cause of the Americans. With an unfavorable wind the fleet started; the eyes of everybody were directed to the green coast and the undulating hilly background. During the night the sharp glow of the Halifax lighthouse accompanied the troops, until, like a star gradually fading away, it at last disappeared from view.
On the evening of the 8th of July the fleet halted. The ship Spring had, by means of a signal of distress and four cannon shots, indicated that it was in the greatest danger. All men-of-war approached it. They learned that the sailors had mutinied, whereupon these were arrested, and then exchanged for others. With a changeable wind the fleet continued, now tacking, now sailing. To one of the ships the threatening, gigantic cone of a water spout approached, yet it escaped the danger of being overcome by its great deluge of water; elsewhere the so-called St. Elmo's Fire appeared at the tops of the masts, feared as an apparition of a warning spirit; then on the night of the 11th to the 12th of July the sky and the ocean met, the spectacle of a most fearful thunder storm. The ships kept at a great distance from each other, drew in their sails, and while generally on the commodore's ship the light signal was burning, now on all ships the lanterns could be seen unlit, vibrating in the deepest darkness; the clouds at night gave forth a most violent hailstorm; the terrible waves roared and piled themselves up into great fiery-looking mountains, the lightning flashed and quivered in the air, now and then splintering the top of a mast. With thunder on all sides and fearful in the expectation of the approaching storm, the soldiers sank down in silent resignation and the crew remained during the whole night on deck in anxious agitation and work. In the morning there arose a strong wind which tore to pieces the sails on several ships, but it also dispersed the storm clouds. Then, on the 14th, a calm set in, and from the ships there resounded the hymns of the Sunday services, but dense fog and continuous rains occurred and the vibrations of the ship became in the calm ever greater. All at once there was a great outcry in the fleet: Two ships, the Hartley (with Knyphausen soldiers under Captain von Biesenrod) and Lord Sandwich (on board of which was Colonel von Wurmb and a part of the life guards) could be seen colliding because of the great waves, causing each other considerable damage, and, thereupon, the ship Henrietta, with the Union, (upon which there was Colonel von Herringen and a section of the regiment of Losberg) could be seen likewise driven against each other. Alternately heaving and sinking the upper ship always appeared as if threatening destruction to the lower one, until the Union hoisted out a boat which, then, by means of a rope thrown over the bowsprit, pulled the Henrietta away. After a few agreeable days there followed on the 19th of July very stormy weather, the sea was in a most furious rage, sails ripped apart, but the ever agile activity of the sailors at the time of such accidents, was always ready with instant relief and reparation. As a spider that moves about as swiftly as the arrow in her web, so the sailors were going up and down the rope ladders of the masts and through the rigging, hanging only at their feet, tieing the tackle and binding the sails. Then there followed days and nights too hot to be endured, with heavy thunder storms; sleepless and famishing for a little fresh air, the soldiers came even in the night time on deck; the longing for the land grew hour by hour.
This most tedious voyage had given full play to the development of diseases. The most careful cleanliness, the daily scrubbing of the decks, the frequent cleaning of the cabins and rooms, the washing and the disinfecting with steaming vinegar, the pumping in of fresh air, and the airing of the bedding on decks: all this belonged to the general health regimen, yet the effect of the restrained, often unnatural physical exercises, and improper food, was not to be suppressed. While to many a Hessian the ship became his first cradle, without granting unto him in its hasty course a place which he could call his birthplace, there were others, who, deceased, were buried at the bottom of the sea, the Ensign von Stedel of the Regiment von Donop, among the first victims. Scurvy was developed as a result of tainted humors, for which the drinking of sea water was used as a medicine, and also the chewing of tobacco, which the Hessians had learned from the sailors and later kept up as a habit in their own homes. The disease reigned supreme, however, and many individuals suffered for a long time yet after the disembarkation from paralyzed limbs, and some even died. There was a lack of the most necessary things. The food supplies provided for by the officers themselves were exhausted, even the rations of zwieback were cut down to only 17 loth (8-1/2 oz.) a day. The water, which in the whole fleet had been stored in new oaken casks, became undrinkable and finally putrid. The beds of the soldiers were broken up in the storms, camp kettles and canteens were smashed, tents, clothing apparel, even the cartridges had been destroyed by the rats, which finally had even gnawed through the water casks; all of these troubles more or less were suffered by most of the transport ships.
Meanwhile a much wished for wind filled the sails, and the ever more and more anxious, but daily disappointed hope, now at last to see New York, grew upon its wings; yet the wind on the 30th of July became so strong that the sails had to be drawn in, the rudders bound fast, and the ships left to the shattering blows of the waves, which roaringly dashed and resounded about the ships. As soon as the storm had subsided the commodore by means of the cannon shots gathered together the scattered fleet and gave instructions for a changed course in order to avoid being driven against the near coast, but, unfortunately, the ships came into a strong contrary current, the water again became high and turbulent, it rained and lightened incessantly, masts toppled over, as was the case on the Friendship which had on board 200 members of the Regiment Crown Prince, besides Colonel von Hachenberg. Sailors and ship carpenters found everywhere enough to do, until finally a favorable strong wind on the 4th of August fortunately blew the fleet out of the current. On the 10th of August the fleet offered an excellent and very hopeful appearance as it, in a most speedy wind, with high towering sails, was cutting its course through the little waves. On the 11th, at the hour of noon the happy signals indicating the sight of land were to be seen. Soon the charming coast of Long Island came into the view of all and great shouts of joy were wafted across the waters towards it from this swimming city. Carefully did the fleet tack during the night because the water was becoming ever more shallow. On the next morning, the 12th of August, an English squadron of 24 vessels was seen from the ocean and this, after a few hours, united with the fleet, following the mutual greeting by means of a definite number of shots. Among the new arrivals was also Major General von Mirbach with the troops which also belonged to the first Hessian Division, and which did not take to the transport ships at Bremerlehe until four weeks after the embarkation of Heister, and then had waited for a favorable wind.
Now the English flag was unfurled on all ships; Sandy Hook came into sight with its white lighthouse, immediately thereupon Staten Island, and a veritable painting spread itself out before the eyes of these newcomers, most charming after so many dangers had been encountered and after so long a denial of a glance on the beautiful smiling landscapes, teeming with inhabitants, exalted and majestic, the shores studded with troops, the tents of a friendly and a hostile camp, of a forest of masts of 500 ships, and the many hundred boats which so vigilantly were watching the hostile shores—here a belligerent power assembled, such as America had never seen before in order to have a combat, which in the destiny of the world gave its immeasurable decision.
Extract from the Diary of the German Poet and Adventurer, J. G. Seume, a Hessian Soldier and Participator on the Voyage
On the English transporter we were pressed and packed like salted herrings. To save room the deck, low as it was, had been partitioned off, and we lay instead of in hammocks, in these bunks, one row above the other. The deck was so low that a grown man could not stand upright, and the bunks not high enough to sit in. These bunks were intended to hold six men each but after four had entered, the remaining two could only find room by pressing in. The situation was, especially in warm weather, decidedly not cool: for one man to turn from one side to the other alone was absolutely impossible, and to lie on one's back was an equal impossibility. The straightest way and the hardest edge were necessary. After having roasted and sweated sufficiently on one side, the man who had the place to the extreme right would call: round about turn! and all would simultaneously turn to the other side, then having received quantum sabis on this one the man to the left would give the same signal. The maintainance was on an equal scale. Today bacon and peas—peas and bacon tomorrow. Once in a while this menu was broken by porridge or peeled barley, and as an occasional great feast by pudding. This pudding was made of musty flour, half salt and half sweet water and of very ancient mutton suet. The bacon could have been from four to five years old, was black at both outer edges, became yellow a little farther on and was white only in the very centre. The salted beef was in a very similar condition. The biscuits were often full of worms which we had to swallow in lieu of butter or dripping if we did not want to reduce our scanty rations still more. Besides this they were so hard that we were forced to use canon balls in breaking them into eatable pieces. Usually our hunger did not allow us to soak them, and often enough we had not the necessary water to do so. We were told (and not without some probability of truth) that these biscuits were French, and that the English, during the Seven Years' War had taken them from French ships. Since that time they had been stored in some magazine in Portsmouth and that they were now being used to feed the Germans who were to kill the French under Rochambeau and Lafayette in America—if God so wotted. But apparently God did not seem to fancy this idea much.
The heavily sulphured water lay in deep corruption. After a barrel had been hoisted up and opened, the deck was pervaded by a conglomeration of very evil odours indeed. It was full of worms as long as a finger and had to be filtered through a cloth before it could be drunken. And even then it was dangerous to breathe above it. Rum and sometimes a little strong beer helped to make it somewhat more drinkable.
Herded together in this manner, forced to breathe putrid air, to eat bad food and to drink foul water, these youths, old men, students, merchants and peasants, many of them but insufficiently clothed, were tossed about for months upon the Atlantic.
Many of the sufferings undergone by us on this voyage were no doubt unavoidable, and many of the recruits were used to a hard life—nevertheless, many of the things they endured were the result of an intentional deficiency of care taking and of a great greed.
What can be said of the British Quartermasters-Department which sent these people to sea without proper food and drink? What of the Duke of Brunswick who sent his subject to Canada without durable boots or stockings and without overcoats? Often enough have men borne a hard life cheerfully, because they knew the why and wherefore, but these poor fellows suffered on account of a quarrel which was not their own, suffered only that their masters might pay their debts or enjoy new pleasures.
[Transcriber's Note: The following correction was applied to the original text:
p. 15: Habermaenchen -> Habermaennchen ]