1. Memoirs of the Late Captain Thos. Carter Fearon, of Lancaster
From: Sea Breezes Vol XIV No 139 Page 258-9 June 1931
My first voyage to sea.
"I first went to sea in January, 1871, at the age of 15, I was then living in Cockermouth, Cumberland. Of course, my parents tried all they could to hinder me going to sea, but when they saw I was determined to go they had me apprenticed to Mr. Peter Iredale, shipowner, of Liverpool, who sent me in his new iron ship Dovenby, 833 tons register. This was a full-rigged ship on her maiden voyage from Newport, Monmouthshire, with a cargo of steel rails to Portland, Oregon. So my first voyage was round Cape Horn, my chief recollection of which is a place of cold, wet and misery. Whilst there I wished I had not been such a fool as to go to sea, but with the advent of fine weather and sunshine such thoughts vanished. Looking back on that period now I am not sorry I chose a sea life. After all it is a manly calling, which teaches self-reliance, and it is no place for weaklings.
From Portland, Oregon, the ship returned to Liverpool with a wheat cargo. During the homeward passage I had my first experience of tragedy and the needless waste of human life. All through the fine weather of the Trade winds the heavy double sheets had been taken off the mainsail, and only the single clew rope used as a sheet. That was all right as long as the weather was fine, but before approaching stormy latitudes the double sheets ought to have been shackled on. I can only put it down to want of forethought, or carelessness; but this was not done until the ship was approaching the Azores, when during a stormy night it was evident the single clew rope on the mainsail was not strong enough to hold the sail.
The order was given to shackle on the double sheet, and whilst doing so the clew rope parted. The man who was shackling on the sheet suddenly lost his support, fell overboard and was drowned. There was no chance of saving him on a dark night and the ship racing through the water, with an increasing gale. His life was needlessly thrown away. I got a shock next clay when the man’s clothes were callously sold by auction. Life was evidently cheap in those days. At that time we had no Manila ropes, and no patent sheaves—nothing but tarred hemp rope, which got as hard as iron in cold weather, and made taking in and setting sail much harder work than it became later on with the advent of Manila rope.
My second voyage in the Dovenby was from Liverpool to Yokohama, Japan. I shall never forget our arrival at the Straits of Sunda, and my first introduction to the delights of tropical fruit. Never before had I tasted anything so (delicious, the pineapples in particular. But on the other side, I thought the captain was a very mean man when he gave us yams to eat for our dinner, and stopped our allowance of flour, in place of the yarns; and I still think so, after being a shipmaster myself for man y years. But they were the days of pound and pint, and nothing over. We made a long passage up the China Sea against the Northeast Monsoon, but eventually got to Yokohama. After discharging our cargo there we loaded a rice cargo in Yokohama and Koba for Amsterdam.
The ship could not get to. Amsterdam as the water in the canal was not deep enough, so we discharged at Nieudeep, at the entrance to the canal. From there the Dovenby went in ballast to London."
2. Recorded immigrant voyages UK to Australia