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An Historical Journal of the Transactions at Port

But the scurvy was his principal malady


The

ship's company now began to show much disposition to the scurvy, and what made it more distressing, we had nothing in the ship with which we could hope to check the progress of that destructive disease, except a little essence of malt, that we continued to serve to the ship's company. We had only to hope for a speedy passage to the Cape of Good Hope, where we should, without a doubt, with the good things which were to be had there, be able to re-instate their health perfectly: I was so far from being surprised at this appearance of the scurvy amongst the company of the Sirius, so soon after leaving her port, that it was with me rather a matter of wonder that it had not shown itself sooner; and so it must be with every person who considers how they had lived since we left the Cape outward bound; during that time (about 13 or 14 months) they had not tasted a bit of fresh provisions of any kind, nor had they touched a single blade of vegetables.

We began now to be subject to hazy moist weather, with frequent very thick fogs; the latitude 55 deg. 30' south, and longitude 306 deg. 00' east; the weather was very cold, and very high islands of ice were seen in every quarter, some of a prodigious size: for fourteen days after we got to the eastward of Cape Horn, we were beating to the north-east, anxious to get so far to the northward as to feel the influence of the summer sun, by which it was to be hoped and expected our scorbutic patients might be

much relieved. In latitude 52 deg. 30' south, and longitude 318 deg. 20' east, the wind inclined to the southward of east, with hazy moist weather, and we steered to the north-east. We found many large whales here; they seemed to go in droves of from five and six to fifteen and twenty together, spouting within a cable's length of the ship, and sometimes so near that it would have been no difficult matter to harpoon them from the fore part of the ship as they passed under the bows.

On the 12th of December, Henry Fitz-Gerald, a feaman, departed this life; he was troubled with a disease in his lungs, but the scurvy was his principal malady.

On the 13th, in the morning, we passed one of the largest ice-islands we had seen; we judged it not less than three miles in length, and its perpendicular height we supposed to be 350 feet.

In latitude 51 deg. 33' south, and longitude 321 deg. 00' east, the wind seemed set in at south-west, and blew a fresh steady gale, frequently attended with showers of snow or hail; the variation of the compass decreased fast, as will appear in the table annexed. On the 16th the wind shifted suddenly to the north-west quarter, and blew a steady gale. On the 19th, it blew very strong from west-north-west, with hazy weather, and frequent showers of rain, which again changed the wind to the south-west quarter, and the weather, as usual upon those changes, became fair and pleasant.

We now seemed to have got out from among the ice-islands, with which, from South Georgia to the latitude of 46 deg. south, this ocean seems at this season of the year to be overspread. In latitude 44 deg. 00' south, we saw the last piece of ice, and in the whole, we had been twenty-eight days among the ice, and sailed a distance of 800 leagues. We had run for several days together, at the rate of from 50 to 60 leagues in the 24 hours, in a north-east direction; and had passed through a lane or street, if it may be so called, of ice-islands, the whole of that distance: in general they were from the size of a country church, to the magnitude of one, two and three miles in circumference, and proportionably high.


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