Martha Brown

A diary entry

Monday Afternoon Dec 20 - 1847

(In margin: "waves mountain high" "lost small boat")

Praysed be God that I have once more the opportunity of sitting down with pen in hand to scribble here the events of the past week. Nothing in particular occurd the first part of the week. We spoke an English Merchantman Tuesday. The Capt. sent a boat on board to get some papers he proposed to give him in hopes to learn something of the war,* but all to no purpose. He sent him a buckitt of potatoes, and some pumpkings. The English Capt. offered to return the compliment by way of sending a little rum, which the mate very politely declined accepting. Thursday it commenced blowing pretty strong from the westward. It continued to increase dureing Friday and Saturday, and Sunday morn it blew very hard. They were obliged to take in some sail before seven bells. It continued increseing gradualy untill noon, when it blew an almost perfect gale. Between one and two they close reefed the main topsail, took a reef in the forsail - the only sails there was on the ship, and it may with propiety be said the waves were running mountain high. It is astonishing to what hight the wind will cause the water to rise in heaps. I did not venture on deck all day but went several times and stood on top of the stairs to the companionway. Sometimes there would be a huge wave on either side of the ship, another ahead and astern, and the ship in a deep valley. The next moment we would be mounted on the top but to be plunged agane in the depth. Well has the Psalmest said they mount up to the heaven. They go down againe to the depth-their souls are melted because of trouble. They real to and frow and stagger like a drunken man. They at their wits end, then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he delivers them out of their distresses. Oh that men would praise the Lord always for his wonderfull works to the children of men. I felt to posess the spirit of drowning Peter and with Childelike confidence to exclame "Lord save or we perish." About two o'clock the spair boat lashed on the stern was carried away with a number of spare spars, a large oak plank. A dozen or 15 pumpkings and several other things went high and dry. It was a solemn time. I would think sometimes we are all here now-but where will we be the next hour? God only knows. At such a time without a firm reliance on that God who holds the winds and waves in the holow of his hand, what miserable creatures we are. It looks truly frightfull to see some 8 or 10 men laying on the yard furling sail, the waves a rowling, the ship a pitching to and frow, and the winds a howling. It appears evry moment as though they would certainly be thrown off. About 5 PM brought her to the wind, took in all sail except the foretopmast stay sail and foot of the close mizin, and we lay roaling in the trough of the sea untill morning.

* The war: Mexican-American war, 1846-1848