!! Connaught Journal; June 28, 1824 "Shipwreck"
- THE CONNAUGHT JOURNAL
Galway, Thursday, June 28, 1824
Extract of a Letter from Halifax, May 18, 1824
I shall now give you a short detail of what has occurred since I took my
departure form Quebec, in the Eliza, of Dublin, bound for Liverpool, Boswell,
master, which has been recently lost. We sailed on the 17th of November, had
fair winds until Saturday, the 23d, when at 7 P.M. the watch was called to reef
topsails; at 11 hauled all sails and lay to under bare polls. In the course of
that night the fore and fore-topsails broke adrift; Sunday very bad weather,
with much snow; at two P.m. stowed the sails for the third time, while drifting
to leeward; at one o'clock in the morning of the 25th, the ship struck on a
reef; all her masts were cut away; at two, her bottom separated from her upper
works, when we expected every instant to be dashed to pieces by the timber with
which the ship was laden; at four a boy was found dead, and about five the cook
died also- at day light saw the land distant about 400 yards, which proved to be
one of the Magdalen Islands; at seven two men jumped overboard, and with great
difficulty reached the shore, and very soon died; at eight A.M. we got into one
of the boats, and were driven on shore by the sea; at nine another seaman died.
We reached a hay-stack that was discovered at a little distance, when the
survivors all lay down, with the exception of Titus Lewis, a seaman, and myself.
We proceeded about six miles in search of houses, but unfortunately were obliged
to return to our fellow sufferers without the least hope of success. Three more
men died during our absence; a dreadful prospect for the survivors; no firing;
nothing to eat; no place of refuge or shelter, excepting the hay-stack;
completely exhausted and in want of clothing; with 12 or 18 inches of snow upon
the ground. At five P.M. a man was frozen to death, at nine another, and at one
A.M. a third, and about five a fourth. We were all in a most deplorable state;
some were found to have their feet frozen in a shocking manner; at six I
proposed making an effort to go in search of firing and provisions; two of us
succeeded in gaining the beach, but to no purpose; the only things we found were
some onions and raw tripe, which was equally divided between the remaining few.
The night was spent in prayer, and on the following morning it was again
proposed to make another effort to get fire and provisions, but it was soon
discovered that none were equal to it, excepting Mr. Browne, the mate, who,
with considerable difficulty, reached a small hill, and to the great joy of the
unfortunate party, made a signal that two men were coming towards us. No one can
describe our feelings at that moment, as we must evidently have perished in a
very short time. We were taken by the strangers to their homes, distant full
nine miles, where we received every kindness it was in their power to show us;
it was humble indeed, as the poor creatures live on the fish they procure during
the summer months. On our arrival we all lay down and remained in a torpid state
for several hours. On recovering, we drank great quantities of tea, made from
herbs. Our sufferings for the two succeeding nights exceeded any thing I had
ever imagined, from different parts of our bodies being very badly frozen, but
more too from the pain of our feet, both nights were passed without sleep.- We
remained in this state for nearly two months, when three of the men lost part of
their feet, and another lost his above the ancle joint, I was myself, from the
time of our being cast away, (about four months), until the first of last month,
confined to a straw bed alongside a fire, and afterwards about ten days on
crutches. My general appearance very much resembled that of a beggarman, as the
only articles I saved were a jacket, a pair of trowsers, one shirt and a night
cap. We left the island on the 9th instant, and after cutting our way through
the ice, in a fishing boat, we landed at Picton on the 13th, and arrived here on
the 16th. I have been very fortunate since my arrival here in finding an old
friend & school-fellow, who has been kind enough to give me clothes, and a bed
in his house. I am now, thank God, in tolerable health.
The distance through which we cut our way in the ice was 100 miles.
Names of the persons saved- Lieut. O'Brien, passenger; Boswell, master;
Browne, mate; Wm. Keightly, Titus Lewis, James Dinan, J. Davies, Daniel Robinson
and John Twigley, seamen.
Names of the persons who died from the inclemency of the weather- James
Lavey, Joseph Finucane, Edward Taylor, George Pearson, John Brown, Joseph
Hopper, G. Joseph and two persons whose names are unknown.
Cathy Joynt Labath
Ireland Old News