Jaques, John, [Letter]. Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, 28 June 1856, p. 411-413.
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President F. [Franklin] D. Richards.
Dear Brother--After laboring in the office at Liverpool for upwards of four years and a quarter, with pleasure to myself, and, I suppose, with satisfaction to those presiding over me, it seemed good to the Lord and His servants that I should have the privilege of gathering to the land of Zion. Accordingly I embarked on the Horizon on the 22nd instant. The next morning she moved out of dock and cast anchor in the river. Soon after this we had a little belligerent display between the mates and some of the crew. I did not see the commencement of the affair, but I learned that some of the crew demurred to obeying orders, and that a regular fisticuffing took place between three or four. Two or three bloody faces figured in the scene. I was up on deck in time to witness a little-not very civil "jaw," between the first mate and one or two of the crew. The mate paced the deck, flourishing a Colt's revolver, [p.411] and swearing and threatening grandly. But he did not use his weapon. By the bye, I do not like to see much threatening with mortal weapons. My maxim is to keep them still till wanted, and, when necessary, use them, and over with it. That seems to me most consistent with "Mormonism." As for much threatening and bragging, that is the appropriate business of bullies. However, a number of the crew were sent ashore, and we had fresh men in their places. The mate complained of the refractory ones, that they were a set of "blacklegs," and said that they came on board to plunder the passengers and the rest of the crew. They charged him with being drunk, and "no man." Whatever may have been the merits of either party, I can now say that all goes on well. The captain and mate seem to study to protect the passengers and render them as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. The first mate appears to be a seaman that knows his business, and is determined to maintain proper discipline among the crew. On Monday, I believe, he drew them up on deck, divided them into watches, and gave them their charge. He told them they could have plenty of the best food on board, and that if they acted like men they would be treated as such. If they had anything to complain of concerning their food, or the conduct of the passengers towards them, they must not retaliate, but inform him, and he would fight matters. He expected obedience from them, and they must be at his service night and day. They must not go between decks among the passengers, without an officer, on pain of death. The crew pay us respect at all times when we are among them.
On Saturday, we cleared, and on Sunday about 9 a.m., the steam tug "Great Conquest", having brought the captain, yourself, and others on board, laid hold of our noble vessel, and took it out to sea with a will. Then came the lashing of boxes, barrels, and tin ware, in preparation for the freaks of winds and waves. I need not tell you of our trip with the tug, which was all pleasure. The addresses of yourself and Elder C. H. Wheelock are held in lively remembrance, while the brethren, in their meetings, talk of the blessings you left with them, and they seem determined to strive for a realization of them.
As early as possible the company was organized into nine wards, No. 7 being committed to my care.
After our three cheers on the tug leaving us, with yourself, and the elders who had honored us by accompanying us out to sea, the day continued fine and calm. The sun shone brightly upon the waters, giving them the appearance of a vast sheet of watered or embossed satin, while the reflection of his rays, in a line between the ship and him, seemed to lay upon the wide waste a band of burnished silver, which, as the faint breeze broke it into sparkling, ever and anon appeared like a galaxy of glittering gems. The brethren and sisters congregated upon the deck, and, forming into divers groups, made the air vocal with their songs of praise and joy to the Lord their God, for the deliverance vouchsafed to them from Babylon. As night approached, a stiff but contrary breeze sprung up. We went to bed. But what a change the next day! The breeze was rather strong, and still a-head of us. Seasickness changed our countenances to a pitiful, pallid hue. As a general thing songs were discarded, while the efforts of the few, who had the hardihood to strike up occasionally, seemed but a mockery of our woe. A soberer company of passengers than we were that day, you need scarcely wish to see. Such a worshiping of buckets and tins, and unmentionable pans, I shall not attempt to describe. For my part, I paid the most devoted attention to the slop-pail about every half hour. My little daughter, Flora, passed through it all with scarcely a serious look, having been all the time as lively as usual. She is continually wanting to go on "dat," as she calls the deck. My wife and her sister felt very bad over it, but are now nearly as right as ever.
We tacked about all that day, making little headway. The next day, Tuesday, the wind was still unfavorable, but decreasing. Many were very sick, but some were recovering.
But O! the awful siege of the cook's galley, the first day or two. Sebastopol! could that compare with it? The cooks had it hot inside and outside of their house. They had no comfortable sinecure I can assure you. On Monday and Tuesday they had easier times, especially Monday, the passengers that day renouncing, in great past, the pomps and vanities of cooking.
Wednesday morning we were all but becalmed, as bad as on Sunday afternoon and evening. The sick persons rapidly recovered. Songs and rejoicings began to prevail again, and in the evening a fiddle and a tambourine, in skillful hands, caused some "to trip the light fantastic toe." That day the cooks had another hard time of it. Appetites were returning with usual or rather increased power. There was a fearful amount of pies and cakes to be baked. Cooking for 800 hungry people at one galley is not a trifling affair, especially when each family or person has a private pot or dish. Too many pots or dishes at the fire seems as bad as too many irons in it. About midday a favorable but not very strong breeze sprung up, and we got up extra sails before the wind. That evening I was called into the captain's cabin to attend the ceremony of marriage between Brother Joseph Akers and Sister Ann Pugh, President Edward Martin officiated. This is the third marriage on board since we embarked. The first two I have not the particulars of just now.
Thursday morning. The wind is not very strong, neither is it very favorable. "Ould Ireland" is in sight. In fact we have seen land almost if not quite every day. The pilot is looking out for a tug to take him ashore. I shall send this letter by him. He kindly takes our letters ashore for sixpence each. I think we have few seasick people on board today. The sun shines beautifully, and young and old are assembled on deck, with light hearts and cheerful faces. We hope to be skimming across the broad Atlantic shortly. I hear no murmuring or grumbling. All is peace and harmony in our floating town. Sister Mary Ann Mellor is doing as well as can be expected.
On Tuesday, at 2 a.m., Sister Elizabeth Wilson, from Preston, was delivered of a daughter, which she calls Nancy. Both are doing very well.
We have had several heavy fogs. The crew occasionally, by way of variety, give us some of their characteristic songs, while at their work. The children make themselves happy, both above and below deck. Marbles, skipping ropes, and all the available paraphernalia of childhood's games are called into request. The older boys amuse themselves by tugging at the ropes with the sailors. So merrily we live together. We want but the stalls and gingerbread to give our deck the appearance of an English country fair, barring the drunkenness, quarreling, profanity, and obscenity which generally characterize such assemblies. Though I will admit that we do not appear in holiday attire exactly.
Presidents Martin, Haven, and Waugh are busy as bees. They are well, in good spirits, and quite pleased with their company of Saints. They desire to be remembered in love to you and all in the office, in which of course I join.
Yours in the gospel covenant,
P.S. 1 p.m. A packet heaves in sight, which we have hailed for the pilot.
J. J. [John Jaques]