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TO BE USED BY THOSE WHO ARE ABOUT TO
UNDERTAKE A SEA VOYAGE.
When you intend to take a long voyage, nothing is better than to keep it a secret till the moment of your departure. Without this, you will be continually interrupted and tormented by visits from friends and acquaintances, who not only inake you lose your valuable time, but make you forget a thousi,nd things which you wish to remember; so that when you are embarked and fairly at sea, you recollect, with much uneasiness, attairs, which you have not terminated, accounts that you have not settled, and a number of things which yon proposed to carry with you, and which you find the want of every moment. Would it not be attended with the best consequences to reform such a custom, and to suffer & traveller, with. out'deranging him, to make his preparations in quiet. ness, to set apart a few days, when these are finish. ed, to take leave of his friends, and to receive their goed wishes for his happy return.
It is not always in one's power to choose a cap. tain ; though great part of the pleasure and happi. ness of the passage depends upon this choice, and though one must for a time be confined to his company, and be in some measure under his comnapi. If he is a social sensible man, obliging and of a good disposition, you will be so much the happier. One sometimes meets with people of this description, but they are not common; however, if your's be not of this number, if he be a good seaman, attentive, careful, and active in the inanagement of his vessel, you must dispense with the rest, for these are the most essential qualities.
Whatever right you may have by your agreement with him to the provisions he has taken on board for the use of the passengers, it is always proper to have some private store, which you may make use of occasionally. You ought therefore to provide good wa. ter, that of the ship being often bad; but you mus!
put into bottles, without which you cannot expect to preserve it sweet. You ought also to carry with you good tea, ground coffee, chocolate, wine of that surt which you like best, cider, dried raisins, al. monds, sugar, capilaire, citrons, rum, eggs dipped in oil, portable soup, bread twice baked. With regard to poultry, it is almost useless to carry any with you unless you resolve to undertake the office of feeding and fattening them yourself. With the little care which is taken of them on board a ship, they are almost all sickly, and their flesh is as tough as leather.
All sailors entertain an opinion, which undoubt. eilly originated formerly from a want of water, and when it has been fuiind necessary to be sparing of in, that poultry never knew when they had drank enough, and that when water is given them at discretion, they generally kill themselves by drinking beyond measure. In consequence of this opinion, they give them water only once in two days, and even then in small quantities; but as they pour this water into troughs inclining on one side, which occasions it to run to the lower part, it thence happens that they are obliged to mount one upon the back of another in order to reach it; and there are some which cannot even dip their beaks in it.
Thus con: tinually tantalized and tormented by thirst, they are unable to digest their food, which is very dry, and they soon fall sick and die. Some of them are found thus every morning, and are thrown into the sea ; while those which are killed for the table are scarcely fit to be eaten. To remedy this inconvenience, it will be necessary to divide their troughs into small com. partments, in such a manner that each of them may be capable of containing water; but this is seldom or never done. On this account, sheep and hogs are to be considered as the best fresh provisions that one can have at sea ; mutton there, being in general very good, and pork excellent.
It may happen that some of the provisions and stores, which I have recommended, may become almost useless, by the care which the captain has taken to lay in a proper stock; but in such a case you may dispose of it to relieve the poor passengers,
who paying less for their passage, are stowed among the common sailors, and have no right to the cap. tain's provisions, except such part of them as is used for feeding the crew. These passengers are sometimes sick, melancholy, and dejected; and there are often women and children among them, neither of whom have any opportunity of procuring those things which I have mentioned, and of which perhaps they have the greatest need. By distributing amongst them a part of your superfluity, you may be of the greatest asistance to them. You may restore their health, save their lives, and in short render them happy; which always affords the liveliest sensation to a feeling mind.
The most disagreeable thing at sea is the cookery ; there is not properly speaking, any professed cook un board, the worst sailor is generally chosen for that purpose, who for the most part is equally dirty. llence comes the proverb used among English sailors, that God sends meat, and the devil sends cooks. Those, however, who have a better opinion of Providence, will think otherwise. Knowing that sea air, and the exercise or motion which they receive from the rolling of the ship, have a wonderful effect in whetting the appetite, they will say, that Providence has given sailors bad cooks to prevent them from eating too much ; or that, knowing they would have bad cooks, he has given them a good appetite to prevent them from dying with hunger. However, if you have no confia dence, in these succours of Providence, you may yourself, with a lamp and a boiler, by the help of a little spirits of wine, prepare some food, such as soup, hash, &c. A small oven made of tin-plate is not a bad piece of furniture : Your servant nay roast in it a piece of mutton or pork. If you are ever tempted to eat salt beef, which is often very good, you will find that cider is the best liquor to quench the thirst generally caused by salt meat or salt fish, Sea-bissuit, which is too hard for the teeth of some people, may be softened by steeping it; but bread double baked is best ; for being made of good loaf-bread cut into slices, and baked a second time, it reauily iinbibes water, becomes soft, and is easily digested: it
consequently forms excellent nourishment, much superior to that of biscuit, which has not been fermented.
I must here observe, that this double-baked bread was originally the real buiscuit prepared to keep at sea; for the word biscuit, in French, signifies twice baked.* Peas often boil badly, and do not become soft; in such a case, by putting a two.pound shot into the kettle, the rolling of the vessel, by means of this bullet, will convert the peas into a porridge, like mustard.
Having often seen soup, when put upon the table at sea in broad flat dishes, thrown out on every side by the rolling of the vessel, I have wished that our tin-inen would make our soup-basins with divisions or compartments; forming small plates, proper for containing soup for one person only. By this disposition, the soup, in an extraordinary roll, would not be thrown out of the plate, and would not fali into the breasts of those who are at table, and scald them. Having entertained you with these things oi' little importance, permit nie now to conclude with some general reflections upon navigation.
When navigation is employed only for transport. ing necessary provisions from one country, where they abound, to another where they are wanting : when by this it prevents famines, which were so frequent and so fatal before it was invented and became so common; we cannot help considering it us one of those arts which contribute most to the happiness of mankind. But when it is employed io iransport things of no utility, or articles of luxury, it is then uncertain whether the advantages resulting from it are sufficient to counterbalance the misfora tunes it occasioned by exposing the lives of so many individuals upon the vast ocean. And when it is used to plunder vessels and transport slaves, it is evidently only the dreadful means of increasing those calamities which afflict human nature,
One is astonished to think on the number of ves. sels and men who are daily exposed in going to bring * It is derived from “ bis" again, "cuit" baked.
tea from China, coffee from Arabia, and sugar and tobacco from America; all commodities which our ancestors lived very well without. The sugar trade employs nearly a thousand vessels; and that of tobacco almost the same number. With regard to the utility of tobacco, little can be said; and, with regard to sugar, how much more meritorious would it be to sacrifice the momentary pleasure which we receive from drinking it once or twice a day in our tea, than to encourage the numberless cruelties that are continually exercised in order to procure it for
A celebrated French moralist said, that, when he considered the wars which we foment in Africa to get negroes, the great number who of course perish in these wars; the multitude of those wretches who die in their passage, by disease, bad air, and bad provisions; and, lastly, how many perish by the cruel treatment they meet with in a state of slavery; when he saw a bit of sugar, he could not help ima. gining it covered with spots of human blood. But, had he added to these considerations the wars which we carry on against one another, to take and retake the islands that produce this commodity, he would not have seen the sugar simply spotted with blood, he would have beheld it entirely tinged with it.
These wars make the maritime powers of Europe, and the inhabitants of Paris and London, pay much dearer for their sugar than those of Vienna, though they are almost three hundred leagues distant from the sea.
A pound of sugar, indeed, costs the former not only the price which they give for it, but also what they pay in taxes, necessary to support the fleets and armies which serve to defend and protect the countries that produce it.
Your most obedient and
Very humble servant,