I think it was in the later end of July when Mr. Dawson, one of them English men I before mentioned that came from the County of Durham, came over to inform me that if I would go home there was a vessel that would be ready in the course of a week's time, and he was going to England. I thanked him and went to New York, and asked the advice of my friends. They all, as the voice of one man, said, `Surely this is the Lord's doing; go, the Lord will be with you. We believe that it will not be in the power of man to hurt you, but you must not think it strange if you receive strong trials from the Captain.'
The Captain was an English man that come there from the West Indies, and had been in town for, I suppose, six or seven weeks ; a man that did profess Religion, and did at times stand up in public as a preacher, but of Calvinist principles. And as I know him before, I went and asked him for a passage, then fully believing it was my duty, and I thought I could trust the Lord with my both soul and body. So he was quite agreeable, and then, as I was not acquainted with the man, opened all my mind unto him, notwithstanding for all the hints I had concerning him before.
So he asked me if I was a navigator, and if I could work, etc. I answered I had my quadrant and books with me. So I agreed with him to be landed in Mounts Bay, or close to the East of the Lizard Point, and then returned back to Long Island, and told my employer I was going at home. He desired me to stay a few days longer with him to finish the job, to which I consented. And I think about the 3 or 4 of August, when we settled our accounts, he paid me very handsomely. I returned to New York. I paid off all my debts and bought myself several little seafaring clothes for the voyage, and I think I had four pence in coppers left. Well, then, here was a change in deed from such hard labour to ease again.
So I stayed there with my dear friends, going from house to house as before. I think I was always rejoicing and praising of God, and still using the same self-denial by abstaining from food as before time, and not only then, but also when I was to my hardest labour. I staid there until the 13 August, when took breakfast with my old and first friend the glazier, and after breakfast he took a dollar out of his pocket and said, ' I insist on you to accept of it.' I thanked him, and I took it, so went on board, and that day got to an anchor in Sandyhook, and the next morning sailed for England with a fair wind and fair weather.
The vessel was a small sloop about 60 tons, bought by the Captain then in New York, but the papers drawn in the mate's name, under cover him being an American. The cargo was coopers' timber, and the whole crew was the Captain, mate, two boys, Mr. Dawson, and myself. I kept one watch with the biggest boy, I suppose about 16 or 17 years old ; and the mate kept the other watch with the other boy, I suppose about 13 or 14 year old.
We was not more then a day or two at sea until Satan begun to rage and roar. The Captain set his face against me. Try my best I could do nothing to please him. He pretended to know all things, but did hardly know anything of the sea or business.
Then I thought of what I was told by my friends in New York, so that I was not the least disappointed. I acted in the capacity of steward and as cabin boy, to bring all things to his hand as a gentleman, and if there were anything short I stayed without it ; so that I had plenty to do to try to please him, besides keep my regular watch on deck night and day.
We had a fair wind until we came upon the banks of Newfoundland. Then the wind took us ahead and blow fresh for a little time. The vessel made some water upon one tack; he said, ° We will bear up for Boston.' I think, for all he was a professor of Religion, I never saw a man more afraid of his life in all my life. I thought that if we put in to Boston I never should fetch home in that vessel. I opposed him, and said, ` There is no danger, I will engage to keep the pump in my watch.'
Mr. Dawson said, ` I will keep it in the other,' tho' he know nothing of the sea. The mate then joined us, and amongst us all gained our point, so that soon after we had a fair wind again.
We had most times public prayers in the morning, some times Mr. Dawson and some times him, but still continued with his face set against me, and poor Mr. Dawson dare not speak one word in my favour, as he was full so much afraid of him as I was. And the two poor boys, I think in the hardness of my times it never was in my power to treat two dogs as he treated them. So one day, after we come in to soundings, I said, `The Land's End bears so and so, it is time for you to alter your course if you land me there.' So as he pretended to keep a reckoning he said to the contrary, but never let us see his journal, the mate and me, within two or three miles of each other, (i.e., in their reckoning as to the position of the vessel.) so that I thought he had no mind to land me in the Mounts Bay, according to promise, the weather being fair. Saw a sail, and as it was not the first time by many, said to me, as I had the helm, `Bear down to speak with him.' I did so.
He said, `Keep her so and so.'
I said, `Sir, if you keep her so, you never will speak with him.'
He begun to belch out, `What is that to thee? I say keep her so.' So as I had given up all hope of being landed there, I thought it was time to take a little courage.
I left go the helm and said, `Keep her so your self, if you please,' and I immediately went below and turned in, in my cabin. In the course of a little time he came down and said some thing to me in a very surly manner.
I answered, `Sir, you have not behaved unto me as a man since I have been with you. I have answered every end I engaged with you for, and much more so, and now I see you are entirely off your word with me, as you know you was to land me in the Mounts Bay, or a little to the East of the Lizard.'
He begun to bale out, 'Thou dost profess the spirit of Christ, but thou haste the spirit of the devil,' and so on in a great rage, my poor friend Dawson present fearing and trembling but dare not speak one word ; and I have thought that good man suffered during the voyage much more on my account than I did myself. So I did not render railing for railing, said nothing, or very little more.
This was in the evening, and in the course of about half hour after, when he come to himself, he came to me and said in a very good humour, ` I should be glad if you would turn out and come on deck, I wants to speak with you.' So he took me forward on the bow out of the sight and hearing of any person, and said something to this purpose : ` I hope you'll think nothing of all that is past, and I am going to tell you why I cannot be to my word with you to land you in the Mounts Bay. I served my time to a hatter in London, and as there was a brig there laden with hats and other goods, I took her away under the pretence of being supercargo, etc., unknown to the owners. I sold the vessel and cargo in the West Indies, bought the sloop you see me come to New York in, sold that sloop there, and bought what we are in at present. I told you and others I was bound to London, but I meant to go to Dunkirk and send for my wife to London. I mean to sell my cargo and then to return to New York again, for if I am known in any part of England I shall be apprehended and hanged. So now let me beg you to keep it a secret. And I have the favour likewise, as you know there is no draft for the Channel on board, I knows nothing of the Channel,
and the mate quite unacquainted, let me beg you to do your best to get the vessel to Dunkirk.'
I answered, `I will do every thing in my power,' etc. These was the tenor of our discourse, etc. So that when he had finished, I thought I was almost lost in wonder and astonishment. I thought my case was bad, but his ten thousands times worse. So I turned to work again with a willing mind, knowing nothing should happen unto me against the knowledge of God, neither without his permission, and I believed all things should work together for my good, and so went on my way, rejoicing and praising of God.
The weather still very fair and a fair wind. The next morning saw the Start Point, and so made the best of our way up Channel. When came a little to the west of Folkestone Mr. Dawson was put onshore, to go to London in order to fetch the captain's wife to him to Dunkirk, and soon after fell in with a fleet of West Indiamen, with several cutters and frigates, with their boats out, bring them to, to press their men, as at that time there was a little quarrel between the Spaniards and English.
We passed through them all with our American colours set, expecting to be brought to every moment; and as I was the only Englishman onboard, the Captain advised me to hide myself in the bread locker. But I thought, if they had come on board and found me, I must be gone; so I thought if it was the will of Providence that I should be pressed, let his will be done; and I thought if they should come on board and ask me if I was an Englishman, I should say nothing to the contrary. That if I was stationed on the tops, or anywhere else, God would be with me, and all things should work together for my good.
The same day, about three or four o'clock, got close in to Calais, where we took a pilot for Dunkirk the same evening, on the 16 September in 1790. And as we went up the harbour I saw in a brig's stern, I think, the 'Bettsey, Truro.' I thought if there was any place called by that name out of Cornwall, but the next day, as the Captain and I was so great he could then not go onshore without me, neither eat nor drink without me, I was then with him as it were all and in all. It was a great change indeed, whether through fear or love I know not.
So the next day I, as a complement, asked him to go on board with me to see what the brig was. So it proved to be from Truro, from Petersborg laden with hemp and iron, there wind bound, and bound to Daniel's Point (on the Fal) the first fair wind and as I did not want to make myself known unto him as an Englishman, I thought I would let him know that I know some gentlemen at Falmouth, and after a little discourse some in Penzance; so after a while, he naming of one and another until he come home to our family, and added, `Poor fellows, they have had a great many and very great misfortunes of late years. Harry, poor fellow, lost a valuable lugger, with a valuable cargo, and was obliged to leave his Country, being taken with some man-of-war's boat. I saw him in Leghorn, dined and supped with him, and from there he went to America. I have not heard anything concerning him since; whether he is dead or alive, I know not, poor fellow.'
So at last I said, 'I am the man, and I desire the favour of you to give me a passage home.'
He stared like a man frightened, and said, 'I never saw such change on any man in my life, and I had no more knowledge of you no more then if I never saw you. Anything in my power I will gladly do for you. Do you want money, or anything else ? You'1 make free with me. I am sorry I cannot take you to sleep with me, as the cabin is full of hemp, etc. Be not afraid of being pressed, as all my men is protected, but you shall not be pressed unless they press me also.'
Here I was lost in wonder, love, and praise, seeing how I was preserved the day before from a man-of-war, and I looked upon this as if the Lord had worked a miracle t to send the brig there as if it was on purpose for me.
The Captain used that trade for some time, but never put into any harbour in France before, but now struck upon a sand bank, and put in there to be repaired, as he had received some damage, etc. Well, then, I could but only wonder and adore the goodness of God, surely his paths is in the deep and his ways past finding out. So then I returned again to my little sloop. I stayed in Dunkirk eleven days, then sailed for England, arrived at Daniel's Point on the 1 October. The same night, about nine o'clock, arrived home to Kenneggy, (near Prussia Cove) to Br. Charles's.