The Journals of Philip C. Van Buskirk

VAN BUSKIRK’S JOURNAL

1852

 

Page 3

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal & Remark Book.

August, 1852.

Sunday, 22

AT SEA, BOUND FOR HONG KONG.

A

THIS IS A CONTINUATION OF MY PRIVATE JOURNAL UPON A METHOD ADOPTED ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE PRESENT YEAR, AND PERSEVERED IN UNTILL AUGUST 21, WHEN THE BOOK CONTAINING MY ACCUMULATED REMARKS WAS SECRETLY DESTROYED. _____ Untill the end of the present year, I’ll pursue the same method of keeping my journal as was followed in the lost volume. I have left space in the forepart of this book to be filled by a ‘List of Officers & Crew’, and an abstract ‘Journal of the Cruize’ (from it’s commencement & untill Aug. 21). When the pages of this appropriated space are properly ruled off, I will gradually fill them by copying from Mr. Morrison’s journal __ that gentleman permiting.

B

The ‘Big Journal’ _ I. SIZE _ The late journal was a Ledger & I think it’s size was not less than 18 inches long by 12 wide. It contained nearly 400 pages, of which, about 99 were filled with remarks. It’s great bulk attracted notice, and procured it the name which heads this remark. II. History. Near the end of last year, I bought it of one of the crew at the price of 3 dollars, &, on the 1rst of Jan., commenced to use it for the purpose which it’s name (B.J.) indicates.

During the first few weeks of it’s service as a journal, Mr. Page allowed me to keep it in his room. After a time, I transferred it to Mr. Blackford’s room where it remained to his inconvenience untill (if I remember aright) the ship reached Hong-Kong, when it was finally expelled the sailmaker’s dominions. The Captain’s steward now kindly undertook to take care of it for me, but, observing the gradual accumulation of grease and pismires without & within the volume, I took it under my own care, & managed to preserve it by various shifts untill near the middle of June when the sailmaker’s mate made a canvas bag to fit it, and from that time I always kept it hung abaft the Mainmast on the Main Deck.

A spirit of hostility arose against the book among several of the less enlightened of the crew, who immagined, or pretended to believe, that it was a record of their evil doings. These characters frequently threatened to throw the book overboard, notwithstanding which I did not seek a secure & more secret place than the Mainmast whereat to hide it at nights __ thus my own carlessness hath lost it.             Shortly before it’s departure, an injury had been inflicted upon me by one of the Foretopmen, which was resented on my part, and finally caused us both to be punished for disorderly conduct. His punishment was much severer than mine, and this circumstance gave great dissatisfaction to his topmates and others of the unthinking crew, which, with several other considerations, leads me to suppose that I owe my loss partly to the difficulty before mentioned. But who the perpetrators were, I do not know _ nor do I wish to know.

 

Page 4

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

AUGUST, 1852.

(Sunday, 22.)

A

III. Contents __ Besides a diary of my own actions, &c, kept with comparative accuracy during the             days preceding the 21 August, it contained several verbatum et literatim transcripts of notes & friendly epistles received from my Compeers of other ships; copies of letters from Home; and any variety of heterogenous remarks, which might be classed: Discriptive __ Moral _ Physical _ Nonsensical. And perhaps would admit of other classification. There were also notes here & there, elicited by passing events, which exibited the course of relations, friendly & unfriendly, existing between my peers and my self. The book containing those remarks being thrown overboard, they now belong to the literature of the fishes and may rest in Neptune’s library, unless some concurrent circumstance happens to renew hostility on the part of my Old enemies, in which case it will perhaps be necessary to revive the drowned remarks.

ROUTINE. Unperfformed: I. R.A. violated: 4; 7; 8, by asking steel pen & ink of the Yeoman; 10; 17; 19; 20; 21; 26; 27.

(Monday, 23.)

B

A storm & heavy swell prevailing throughout the day, I found no opportunity to write. __

ROUTINE. Unp. I, II, III. R.A.?

(Tuesday, 24.)

C

Storm continued throughout, attended, with almost incessant rain. The storm heightening near 2, A.M., ‘all hands’ were called to take in sail. During that operation I got thoroughly drenched.

D

Death of Mr. Little. Act. Mid. Little, a promising young officer, universally esteemed, departed this life after a sickness of more than    days. (It is singularly the fact that no one remembers aught against Mr. Little. His gentlemanly conduct, in most respects the opposite of that of his compeers, had long secured him the love of his superiors, and the respect of his inferiors.)

 

ROUTINE, unperformed: I, II, III. R.A. 7; 8; 10; 17?; 19; 20; 24? 26; 27.

(Wensday, 25.)

E

My watch was out from 12 untill 4, A.M. During that period I watched at the side of the cot which contained the ‘mortal coil’ of our deceased officer, as requested by Mr. H. It rained heavily on deck, but the storm had ceased. _ I turned in at 4 O’clock, &, when hammocks were piped up at 7, turned out & found that our craft had resumed her canvas _ light airs & a clear sky had succeeded the storm of yesterday & the day before.

Routine about as yesterday, if I remember aright.

 

Page 5

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal & Remark Book.

August, 1852.

Thursday, 26.

A

Bad Cold. _ Find myself troubled with slight cold. _ Reading. Since the 22, my reading is restricted to an edition of Tytler’s Elements of General History, the property of Mr. Morrison. ______ Change of Mess. I now belong to ‘Marine Mess No. 2’, being transferred from No. 3 to remedy some inconvenience consequent upon my ineligibility to cook in my turn. Note. Non-commissioned Officers, Musicians, Orderlies, & Crazy fellows (in this instance) are, by the nature of their duties, incapacitated for cooking; all others, except in case of one agreeing to be ‘standing cook’ for a monthly stipend, are required to cook for the mess by turns. No. 3 mess having more non-cooks than was just, a revolution restored a ballance by causing the O. Sergeant to transfer myself & a semi-crazy man to No. 2, & to transfer from that mess to fill our places, two privates capable of ‘cooking their week’. Lengthy remark upon a little affair.

[Symbol]

ROUTINE and R.A., about as yesterday, if I remember aright.

Friday, 27.

B

Good Bread. I have frequently remarked the uncleaness [populativeness] of the biscuits served out for our use since we left Hong-Kong. A biscuit seemed the seat of a tiny empire _ a dense population of weavils constituting the nation, little squadrons of pismires coursing here & there, seemed to represent a knighthood, while the majesty of government seemed to belong to some one or two solitary worms generally found stowed away in crevasses of the biscuit __. The population of these little empires have varied considerably __ somtimes our supply of biscuits resembled a heap of teeming kingdoms (perhaps republics) whoes square barleycorn could dispute numerical superiority with the happiest Square mile of China, _ at other times, our little empires were as spare of population as the Deserts, having neither knights nor commonalty represented; but I have seldom broke up one of our best biscuits without finding more or less representation of iron-crowned royalty _ the spirit of emigration, however, is too prevailent among our biscuit to allow these Majesties to be long without subjects. These remarks apply to our past supplies of bread. I come now to remark the appearance in the messes of a supply of clean & wholesome biscuit, such being served out this afternoon to the mess-cooks, a circumstance happening greatly to our satisfactions. I fear our new supply will not long remain uninhabited, considering it’s proximity to some lively remains of our old supply.

C
ROUT. & R.A: about as yesterday, as near as I can remember.

(Saturday, 28.)

D

Employed during the greater part of my leisure in sewing.

ROUT. Unperformed: I; II; III (partially). R.A: about as yesterday, to the best of my memory.

Sunday, 29.

E

Employed in the afternoon writing in my journal & otherwise.

ROUTINE. unperformed: I; III partially. R.A. violated: 7; 8; 10; 12; 17; 20; 21; 24; 26; 27.

 

Page 6

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

AUGUST, 1852.

Monday, 30.

A

Of the six boys in the ship (white boys), only one has a reputation that is free of dirty imorality. At the other extremity stands a living personification of the dirtiest phases of vice.   The bad character last mentioned, has always harbored deep hatred & envy of the good character before mentioned.             Lately this evil genius devised a method of destroying the envied reputation by discovering some alleged dirty transactions of the envied to the officers. His plan was revealed to me yesterday _ it was was neither cunning nor complex but curious. He was to write a dozen notes, each implicating the envied in that offense the dirtiest upon record. One of these was to be dropped so as to fall into the hands of the Officer of the Deck, after which the boy would acknowledge having written it, & would offer to prove the truth of his assertion.

When this plan was unfolded to me I endeavored to dissuade the imp from prosecuting it, &, an hour afterwards, I enquired of the intended victim concerning the truth of the charge embodied in the said notes, my object in this enquiry being to ascertain if possible whether the genius of mischief really had it in his power to injure his hated shipmate. I had intended to use all my influence to cause the imp to forsake his schemes, if I found that he could prove things against the hated as he said he would, _ if otherwise, I intended to not repeat my first advice but let the hater proceed to his own ruin. Having failed to obtain a satisfactory answer from the intended sacrafice, I wrote a small note explaining fully the circumstances which induced me to enquire into his secrets, taking the precaution to write ‘Private & Confidential’ at the top.

I will now explain the relations existing at this juncture between us three worthies. I was a friend of both the imp and the angel. To both of them I may say I was a true friend, using my mite of influence to discourage immorality in the one case, & to encourage comparative innocence in the other. The bad case I had long perceived to be beyond redemption, &, in a spirit of true but perhaps singular friendship, secretly wished that he might bring some very severe adversity upon himself which like a strong medicine might happily purge his moral system.

The bad boy & the better were enemies. The bad boy placed almost unlimited confidence in my discretion & good will, disclosing his past life & present schemes in conversation. The better boy awarded me a limited confidence & manifested some friendship. Such were the relations existing at the time I gave Joseph the note referred to above, & I am now to record the singular changes of affairs which ensued. Joseph was grateful for the information given, & immediately set about publishing it’s contents. The evil genius surmised that it contained something relating to him but could find no opportunity to assure himself; when he enquired of me I told him it’s contents no ways concerned him. Last night he found an opportunity of extracting the note from Joseph’s Cap, while the latter slept, &, this morning, taxed me with treachery. I used arguments which succeeded in making him believe that, after all, the note was not intended to, nor capable of, injuring his schemes _ it seemed like convincing him that black was white.             This evening, the two boys came to a quarrel, in the course of which Joseph became acquainted with some of the arguments I had used with the imp, & this very naturally led him to believe that my friendship was feigned. Weary of deceiving, I have not tried to regain his confidence, so that, at this moment the boy who really possesses my good will has declared himself distrustful of my friendship, while he who has

 

Page 7

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

August, 1852.

good cause to be distrustful has returned me his confidence. It is a curious case this, & I will give it some little consideration yet awhile before I dismiss it from my attention.

ROUTINE, &c.: about as yesterday excepting 8.

Tuesday, 31.

A

Case of the two contraries (6, A) I have considered this affair anew. Notwithstanding that Imp is in all appearance beyond recovery, I will try the experiment of bringing him to a change of manners. If I cannot, after applying all means, induce him to regulate his conduct by some principles of honesty, decency, & justice, I will severe the web of acquaintanceship that exists between us. My project of changing the current of this bad boy’s genius has as much an appearance of feasability as a project of erecting Hell into a place of divine worship would have _ if any difference exists, my next remark of this case will show it.

MEMORANDA.

ROUTINE. I revoke, in this place, the 5th Requirement of my ‘Routine’, and the IX Section of the 39th precept of my ‘Rule of Action’, with this provise _ In case of any section of Rule 39 being violated (excepting IX), the circumstances of the case must be remarked in full.

B

Indication of approaching Manhood. The appearance of an infant whisker on each side of my face is a warning of the near approach of manhood.

Philip Clayton van Buskirk.

Buskirk.

(Woo) Drummer. Kumsing moon.

American War Ship Plymouth.

See 32, E.

 

Page 8

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Wensday, 1.

EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES. [HONG KONG HARBOUR]

A

FINANCE. At the commencement of this month, my finances may be slated thus:

Amount of pay accredited to my accounts on the Purser’s books…$.19 59 cents.

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermasters books……….. 55 51

B

Cash on hand…1 00

C

Private Debt… 4 78

D

HEALTH. The machinery of my system is in good repair. One of my left jaw teeth is falling into decay & I judge the time to be near when the pains of toothache will rendivous there. I have entertained such guests before &^ another assembly may have been invited by my mismanagement of the dentals, but their reappearance will be most unwelcome.

E

FOREIGN RELATIONS. I am unprepared at present to determine the nature of relations existing between the different acquaintances my equals in naval rank & me. I may remark however that, among the soldiery & the Crew, I am not generally liked. The following distinguished individuals, namely: Sergt. Grant, Steward Gwatney, & bailiff Loper, are old enemies of mine, whose animosities, like the fires of Etna, now rest & seem extinguished, & then blaze forth in all the rancor of malice. I am particularly odious to one of the steerage officers _ owe several chagrins to a savage deportment of the passed-midshipman nicknamed Black Jack. Several of the higher powers have bestowed kindness upon me above my merits.

F

PERSONAL APPEARANCE. My ‘personal appearance’ is precisely the opposite of being prepossessing. The charm of cleanliness if wanting _ No taste is exibited in my fatigue dress _ My whole appearance is that of a sloven _ My motions are slow. Perhaps the eyes of an enemy or a true friend would discover a dozen other faults which tend to lower one in the estimation those around. This subject of personal appearance shall be considered.

I

BOOKS OPEN TO MY PERUSAL. An ‘Elements of General History’, the property of Mr. Morrison; A French & English Dictionary, property of Mr. Doran; French Grammar, Mr. Balch; Nugent’s French Dictionary, property of Carpenters mate Gilfoy; A Physiology, Dr. Gambril; French Reader, Mr. Legaré; Dick’s Astronomy, Billy Dew; Walker’s Dictionary, Mr. Doran; Walker’s Dictionary improved by Davis, Sergt. Grant; Smith’s Arithmetic, Quart.m. Jamesson; Chinese Repository Vol. IV, partly my own; Easy Lessons in English Grammar by Comly _ Latin Grammar _ Historia Sacrae with vocabulary — ditto with interlinear translation, my own; and a whole library of Sunday School books, the property of the ship.

Thursday, 2.

G

Employed variously during my leisures of to day.

H

Charlotte E. Shipey. A seaman belonging to an American ship in port, was aboard, to day, on business. He was in the navy in 1850, & was in service at Pensacola Navy Yard as late as September, two years ago. From this person I learn, among a heap of other particulars, that C.E.S. is yet (Sept. 1850) a healthy and happy actor in life within her juvenile sphere.

 

Page 9

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Friday, 3.

A

Letter from Home. A pack of letters came from the Mail Steamer this morning, among which appeared one from my Honored Mother. Postmarked Charlestown, Va, June 29. _ Contents:

Charlestown, Jefferson Cty. Virginia, Sat. June 26, 1852.

Dear Clayton,

We received your letters of Date 1rst & 27th of Jan. & I take the first opportunity to send you a few lines, according to the directions which you sent me in your letter. I hope you will receive this but I fear you will not get our letters one from me & one from your Aunt L. the Postage on both which I paid, 50 cents on each. Yo will have to excuse a short letter, as my time for writing is very scarce: I still have every thing to do, & no help except what the old man gives me for out door work. I am not through with my troubles yet Mr. Starry disputes paying the last 6 month’s rent upon my land, & only for your half-pay (which I receive regularly by writing to the Navy Agent for it: ) we should perish.

I have made nothing of my fowls yet, but work & trouble: but every ten dollars worth of chickens I loose gives me 10 $ worth of experience: I think after this I shall be able to do more at the business. I am much pleased indeed, to hear of your good health: keep yourself sober, & by industry & good management, I hope we shall be able to rise to independence & a comfortable living. Send me a letter whenever you can, I only have 7 cts. Postage to pay on your letters, that is the postage from New York to Charlestown. When I have any thing agreable to write I will try & do so: & Pray God to bless you, & keep you in all your ways. Your affectionate mother,

Ora M. Van Buskirk

*60 cents postage is marked as paid on the back of the letter. Trans.

B

Employed variously during my leisures of to day.
C

Case of the two Contraries (7, A). I have proposed to Imp, a project greater than which he never executed, although he has accomplished some grand exploits in the line of roguery. In fact, the proposed project is calculated to ‘confound the devil, & surprise the rest of Creation’. Imp guessed precisely the nature of the proposition from the preamble. It was simply this _ to change the line of his conduct & henceforth sail only in the channel of honesty & decency. Imp’s own good sense convinced him how much to his advantage a good line of conduct would be. He would like to change _ but an endless string of stumbling blocks barricade that good pathway. First, he is a slave of habit; and when Vice has labored so successfully from his very infancy to enthrall his soul, freedom from her chains & a return to rectitude seems beyond accomplishment __ they, only, know the power of habit who are, or have been, it’s slaves (victims). Imp will try the strenght of his mind against that of habit, by binding himself, for a limited period, to cease the use of blackguard expressions. The habit of using the nastiest expressions within the blackguard’s vocabulary is almost as old as himself & seems to be much stronger. Neverless, his good sense will battle against it. He has also agreed to smother his animosity against Joseph insomuch as to forsake a bad intention of slandering him to the boys of the flagship, among whom are several who now esteem Joseph, but who might, by a course of ingenous falsehood, be brought to despise him.     [I will here add that, since Monday, confidence & frienship has been restored between Joseph & me]

 

Page 10

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852

Saturday, 4.

A

Personal appearance (8, F.). The Want of cleanliness which contributes largely to render my appearance dispossessing arises from no particular affection of mine for dirt, but from the difficulties which intervene, & these difficulties are: the scarcity of pantaloons and jacket to which I am reduced [no other article of clothing being, in my case, subject to dirtiness]. The grey soldier’s-pants are of all kinds the most susceptible of acquiring a dirty appearance, &, of this species of clothing, the most generally wore, I am proprietor of only two pair. The one pair I keep to wear on parade occasions _ the other, I wear constantly, (except when white pants is the order.) The one are my dress pants, the other, my working pants. Now the greater part of my time is neither employed in parade nor in ‘dirty’ work _ & for this intervening period I should have a third pair of pants. This pair for ordinary use, are beyond my reach, &, saving appearances, it is more prudent to devote my old, patched, & painted up, working clothes to ordinary wear than my Sunday_go_to meetings. It is this ordinary wear which is noticed. If it was possible for me to raise funds for the purpose, I would remedy this defect of appearance. These remarks apply with more force to the particular of jacket. At the present moment I have no clean blue jacket _ having but one, & that being painted & stained beyond recovery. The expense of having another jacket made to fit me would exceed my means by 50 cents. The small sum of these dollars [18 days virtual pay] would cover the expense of providing myself with good clothes for ordinary wear. But it is impossible to get any money from the Purser, however much is due. I speak of ‘requisition money’. ‘Grogmoney’ has been frequently served out _ as has ‘Liberty money’; & such money is appropriated to other uses than that of defraying the expenses of my clothing line. During these days, the marines dress in white pants _ in which I can preserve a respectable appearance, having three good pair.

Sunday, 5.

B

Occupied variously, to day, in my little affairs. ___ ‘Dinner-drum’. Mr. Gillis has directed that the ‘dinner call’ be beat everyday at the hour when the officers are to dine. At the officer’s dinner hour to day, we played the usual ‘double drag’: since then, Mr. G. has ordered that the dinner call be beat in the tune ‘Dan Tucker’.

Monday, 6.

C.

Bread. Yesterday or the day before (if I mistake not) the different Mess cooks declined receiving such bread as was about to be served out. Our mess being destitute of that article to day, I supplied myself with a loaf from the bomboat _ buying it on credit. The bread in the ship has been brought under survey, to day, & condemned.

D

Ferdinand Count Fathom, I am reading that production of Smollette’s.

E

Politics is a favorite topic of conversation with my shipmates. The citizens of the sea seem mightlity concerned in the coming presidential campaign.

Tuesday, 7.

F

Case of the Contraries (9,C). The disposition of Imp proves to be unalterable. The only check which his vicious propensities sustain is furnished by the principal fear. To alter his present line of conduct does not appear so politic as I would make him believe, insomuch as an alteration of conduct for the better would allienate his friends in crime, & no way recompense that immaginary loss by securing favor of good men & officers, since a bad reputation once

 

Page 11

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal & Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

acquired on board a man of war is never altered, however conduct may change. Since the 30 Aug., I had allowed an intimacy to spring up & flourish between us even to the prejudice of my own character. I employed this intimacy to suppress Impsanimosity against Josep _ & I used my influence to dispel Joseph’s anger against Imp. I wished to restore civility between them, & banish ilwill from both sides; besides which I have endeavored to reform the criminal. The last, as I said before, proves chimerical. The former, too successful, insomuch as the civility which I contributed to establish between these two boys, is at this moment fast ripening into intimacy _ which, when reached, can not but be prejudicial to Joseph’s good fame to a greater extent than any aspersions of Imp could be. I could not prevent this approaching intimacy but by distributing a few seeds of dissention between them _ & this I fear to do, as the consequent plants of dislike would demand too much of my time & attention for their cultivation, & without check they would grow to great stalks of malignity, & bear fruit the most dangerous.           As the intimacy existing between Imp & me, proves to be no of advantage to the former, I put and end to it. The web of acquaintanceship, however, shall remain unparted untill Imp’s conduct becomes inconvenient in some openly flagrant immorality, after which it shall be cut forever asunder by the sharp scissors of expressed contempt. I will remark the history & characters of Imp & Joseph, after which the case will be dissolved.

A

Liberty & Money. Some petty officers asked for liberty, to day, & were answered that the Commodore had left instructions for the next general liberty to be given at Macao, for which place we would sail after the elapse of a week _ & that, at present, the purser was not possessed of the proper funds wherefrom to pay out either liberty money or grogmoney to the men.

B

Am reading with profit, I hope, the ‘Adventures of Count Fathom’.

Wensday, 8

C

Mr. Legaré, to whom I am indebted for many kindnesses, has resigned his appointment in the U.S.N., and is now at Victoria awaiting a favorable opportunity of returning to the U. States. He has several times honored his late associates with visits. His exit from our brave navy is no doubt regretted by the officers of his acquaintance.

D

Ferdinand Count Fathom. Ended the reading of that admirable production.

E

Case of the Contraries. (10, F.) IMP is the son of a respectable citizen of Philadelphia. His infancy knew no want of good care, excepting the article of correct moral training, as a natural consequence of which, he distinguished his boyhood in all the glories of immoral notoriety. Repeated thefts from his father, & the inefficacy of severe floggings to cure his morals, induced that goodman to commit the dear boy to the care & protection of Uncle Sam __ an alternative preferred to the penitentiary.

If Imp swam in vice before joining the naval herd, I may say that he has been drownded in it since, & that he is now dead to all sense of decency or integrity. Among officers & men aboard here, he has acquired a very unprofitable notoriety, having, since the commencement of this his first cruize, been twice convicted of & punished for theft, besides being frequently confined for disorderly conduct. His appearance is unprepossessing; age, about 17; intellectual faculties, unimproved but in good order; fund of information, large in comparison with his fellows; disposition seems to be cruel & timid. He hates with a hearty bad will, is often tortued by envy; worships a trinity comprising three substances _ rum_*_ & tobacco. His future plan of life is not determined on, but I judge him to be on the high road to ‘Galway’. Of all the boys in the ship, Imp is the most immoral.

 

Page 12

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Thursday, 9.

A

Case of the Contraries. (11, E.) JOSEPH came into the world during a passage of his parents from Scotland to the island of Jamaica. His early years were undistinguished by juvenile thefts & rowdyisms; & I may say that he was religiously trained, insomuch as he regularly attended the services of the Episcopal church established at Jamaica.   At the age of 12, he shipped as boy on board an *English merchantman. Being at Kingston in 1849, while an Amercan steamer of war was at anchor there, he joined our navy. Subsequently, on board the Pennsylvania, he acquired the habit of using the weed, to which, he joined that of cursing & swearing, & then followed the habitual use of those compliments & sublime expressions comprised in the forecastle & gangway smalltalk. I think his virtue & pride were proof against the usual nets which are spread by old & young s—ts for the chastity (pardon!) of juvenile reinforcements to the navy, at first; but afterwards fell a transient victim to well plied guile. From those paths of immorality which may be styled the dirtiest, I think he has happily emerged. His appearance is prepossessing; age, about 16; intellect not bright; fund of information, small in comparison with that of Imp; disposition kind and timid; __ I do’nt see that the passion of hatred ever much influences him. __ As yet, he is no disciple of Bacchus; but is decidedly a lover of the other sex, whose favors he never fails to buy whenever a ‘liberty-day’ furnishes opportunity.

Of all the white boys, Joseph is the least immoral.

And now I dismiss this case from the carpet of my attention. Of the two opposites who form this case _ May the one at last discover his true interest, & be induced to gradually wear around & steer the course of virtue __ May the other continue to keep Pride & Integrity aboard _ may he finally intrust his helm to them _ & be guided over these quicksands of vice to the pure waters of Virtue, where, may he accept the services of Virtue’s own pilots to guide him to, and bring him to anchor in, the godlocked harbor of felicity.

B

Particularly disturbed today by a combination of laziness & restlessness. I had got out my Latin Grammar but could not bind my mind _ I essayed to read a letter of Smollette’s ‘Travels through France & Italy’, & here I surrendered miserably to sleep.

C

Clothes (10, A.) At the solicitation of Sergeant Grant in behalf of myself & a little corporal, the Captain has consented that the Corporal & I may send our fatigue jackets ashore to be made to fit us, & that the expense thereof will be defrayed by the purser & charged to our accounts, good!

D

__ A Loss. A favorite cap of my own make was stolen & (I doubt not) sent after my journal, this morning; bad!

Friday, 10.

E

Found. The cap mentioned at D as lost has been recovered. Instead of being thrown overboard, it was secreted in the boy Wilson’s box. Wilson I suppose did’nt intend theft, _ only ‘deviltry’. He denies having intended either, & protests that he found it after the time when he heared me enquiring for it.

F

Idled away the kernel of my leisure.

* American vessel.

 

Page 13

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark.

SEPTEMBER, 1852

Saturday, 11.

A

EMPLOYED, during the greater part of my leisure in ‘cleaning’ my bells & brasses. The blade of my cutlass remains very rusty in consequence of my not possessing the necessary ‘oil stone’ _ I might borrow one, of my fellow-sodgers, but that’s contrary to rule.

B

____ Corporal McGregor. Four years ago I was sent from the Marine Barracks at Norfolk to the Frigate Cumberland, then preparing for a cruize. Previous to joining the ship, I was presented with a fine sett of hammack clues & a fund of wholesome advice by private (now corp.) McGregor, then doing duty in the Barracks. McG. cautioned me against the wiles of shipboard, &, though I cannot say that my escapes from those wiles were owing entirely to McG.’s cautions, I have reason to regard him as an early benefactor. I was surprized & pleased yesterday to learn that Corp. McG. is now on board the Saratoga.

Sunday, 12.

C

Visit to the Saratoga _ Drummer Schulz & Fifer Minty __ Corpl. McGregor __ Smith.

Having obtained permission for the fifer & me to go on board the Plymo Saratoga, I borrowed a black silk neckerchief from a quartermaster, and a good marine jacket from a German of the guard, with which I put myself in quite respectable trim for the visit. At one, P.M., a boat was called away and ‘all the liberty men’ (or those who were to visit their friends in the Saratoga) were transported to the other sloop. The drummer & fifer of the S., were on the spot and received us quite cavalierly. Of these two music I have already remarked, but as those remarks have gone to pot, I will say again: _ the fifer is quite an intelligent young man of twenty four summers, _ married &, I may say per evidence of my ears & reason, cuckolded, _ of good build & a lenght approaching to six feet, _ glories in the cognomen of Minty; _ the drummer is quite a genius of a young boy of twelve summers, good build, and size not exceeding four feet. The little drummer entertained me with an account of his cruizings, which proved quite interresting, &, besides that, he had a fund of news of still more interest.

I delivered a message to a Corp. O’Connor from Corpl. Farran of our ship, after which, I found my old friend, McGregor, just awaking from a nap, and enjoyed a good long conversation with him. The old gentleman seems somewhat the worse for four years wear, and will not, in all probability, serve out many more enlistments.       The object of my visit to the Saratoga being to find, among her crew, some on who had served with me in the Frigate Cumberland; I inquired for such , but was unsuccessfull untill near four O’clock, when it was too late to converse with him. I wish to find some Gulf of Mexico shipmates, that my memory may be refreshed in regard to some particulars of the cruize in 1847-8. A Smith ‘thought he knew my countenance’, and I ‘thought I recognized him’, which led to a renewal of an acquaintanceship which had existed between us at Pensacola Navy Yard _ 1849. Returned to the Plymouth, quite satisfied with my visit.

Monday, 13.

D

The ‘Middle Kingdom’. I was preparing an ‘Order of Study’ when Mr. Balch gave into my hands the excelent work bearing the title which heads this remark. I must suspend my ‘plans of Study untill the book is perused.

E

Drummer Schulz came aboard to see us, & remained untill near sundown. We entertained the little fellow suitably to his juvenile disposition.

 

Page 14

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Tuesday, 14.

A

Visit to the Saratoga. The fifer had got permission, last night, from Mr. Gillis, for him & me to go on board the Saratoga. This morning the officer of the deck allowed us to take passage in a cutter carrying Mr. Guest to the other ship. As before, little Schultze was on the qui vive for us, and all that could be said of my Sunday visit might apply to the one of today, except that my passage to the vessel & into it did not call my humility into so much exercise as the former visit did, while my return passage was equivilent to a pleasant sail. I do’nt know that I had any ostensible object in view in going on board.

At five bells in the evening, Shutze, at McF.’s request, asked the Officer of the Deck’s permission for us (the fifer & me) to go aboard the Plymouth in the first ship’s boat going that way. No ship’s boat was going at the time, and, shortly afterwards, we got into a Chinese fast-boat which in due time brought us alongside the good old Plymouth.

Wensday, 15.

B

Money. The Purser had served out two dollars to each of the Crew and Marines, yesterday. Not being present at the time to receive ours, the fifer and me got our pieces to day.

C

My Brother (or perhaps rather cousin, being a fifer) of the Saratoga came to see us to day. Bill entertained him satisfactorily with conversation, &c. untill near supper time, when he absented himself. I made shift to provide a collation (I think they term it) of soft bread, egged tea, cakes and bannanas for the fifer’s discussion.

D

Passed Midshipman Joseph Fry. It is due in this period of my journal to remark the circumstance of there being a cock-pit officer whose conduct renders him an eyesore to me, & is fuel for hatred for a great proportion of the Crew, who, from the fact of the unpleasant expression of his countenance, have named him Black Jack. It is yet a question with me whether his conduct to me is influenced by personal dislike, or proceeds from ideas of duty peculiar to himself. His contemptuous treatment of his inferiors keeps a settled hatred in their hearts, but from that source accrues but little annoyance to me whose mind is seldom disturbed by the assumed haughtiness of [present] superiors whose parts or virtues are not estimable. Were I to remark all the little annoyances which he inflicts upon me, as they occur, my daily notes would swell to nearly twice their present size. These little annoyances consist of orders, &c., which he frequently fabricates for my inconvenience. I speak of Mr. Fry, now master’s mate of the Main Deck.

Thursday, 16.

E.

The ‘Middle Kingdom’. This morning I finished reading the first volume of the ‘M.K.’ and will return it to Mr. Balch. Upon examining this book, I find that the map of China is completely separated from the book _ an act which has been performed by some one of the miserable fellows who are always cruizing about my drum in search of pilfer. I cannot express how much concern the circumstance occasions me.

F

Return to my Studies. Having returned the Middle Kingdom in a damaged condition, propriety forbid that I should ask for the continuance of the good officer’s kindness. Instead therefore of applying for the second volume, I quelmed the disagreable sensations of my mind proceeding from a conciousness of how my carelessness rendered Mr. B.’s kindness so unprofitable to himself, and directed my attention and study first to a lesson in the French Reader, after which I formally commenced the study of the

Latin Language.

 

Page 15

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Friday, 17.

A

In the Forenoon Leisure I directed my attention and study to Etymology (English Grammar _‘Comly’s Easy Lessons’).

In the Afternoon leisure I essayed to direct my attention to the ‘2nd Declension of Substantives’ (Russell Adam’s Latin Grammar).

Yesterday I had quite thoroughly acquainted myself with the inflexion of the first declension, and now can can readily decline Penna, Via, Aula, Tuba, Musa, &c. But was not successful today in mastering Ager, Dominus, and other examples of the 3nd D. Two skylarking boys and a certain mania to which I am subject effectually drove all Latin out of my head.

B

_ An Old Reprobate on the wrong side of fifty seven, came to me yesterday at breakfast time with a present of fruit which I accepted as a kind of just due for services I had often rendered him, _ and I thought they were offered as such.   At dinner time I was waited upon with another present, which I also accepted; and at suppertime was again urged to partake of the old fellow’s liberality, but declined. Beginning to think of what might be the motive of the old Main-mast man’s sudden liberality, I soon perceived myself to be in that condition which is attached to all boys upon first entering the service – the being the object of a S__ te’s desires. Thinking of this fact mortified me a little; I considered the man’s age – my own age – and the fact that my past conduct had been studied & so regulated by decency as to leave no ground for disesteem, and this consideration led me to doubt whether the old fellow really did harbour such horrible thoughts & attach them to the idea drummer.

After tattoo I betook myself to rest, occupying a space of the Gun Deck immediately a-port of the Main mast & between the pumps and Main Hatch _ my usual place of resort, in the day for reading or sewing, & at night for sleeping. My pallet consists of the Marine’s great-coat-bag and a watch coat, with my fatigue jacket for pillow.             As before said, I laid down yesterday after tattoo, and very soon fell asleep. In the night I was awakened _ some one tugged at my arm _ I thought of the old main mast man, & guessed correctly that it was he, but betrayed no symptoms of having been awaked.

He tugged again & edged upon my pallet __ Another tug and another edging, and he stretched out his unoccupied hand and rested it on my head. Considering the game as played long enough, I coughed and made other symptoms of awaking, freed my hand, altered my position, and very gently kicked the fellow away. As he did not leave the place at the instance of my kicking, I set up, and roughly _ contemptuously _ told him to ‘clear out’.         The old hell-dog actually groaned _ (what elicited it I cannot surmize), but quickly took himself off.

C

Chinese Repository. Bought for two bars of soap, the ‘Chinese Repository’ ‘vol. IV. 1835-6’.

D

Case of Joe and Imp. Joe and Imp are the two boys remarked at 12, A, as the subjects of a case called the Contraries. Since the 9th, some revolutions have taken place in the relations existing between the two boys, who can no longer be denominated Contraries. An intimacy took place and thickened to an extent at one prejudicial to Joe’s last remnants of moral principle and painful to me, his only friend. I did not interfere to check the little fool’s course, because I knew that interference on my part would avail nothing. I observed his course. He gradually dulled (not to say lost) all sense of shame, and seemed to remodel his character and conduct upon that of Imp. Last night those two worthies smoked their segars and enjoyed a tête à tête in the closet amity; since then, another rupture has occurred between them. Today, a mutual enmity is cherished between them. It is no longer a matter of interest to me whether they are friends or foes to each other. They are both like rotten eggs, and, as such, are both destined for the common sink whether they roll separately or together.

Saturday, 18.

E

Employed cleaning up my brasses. Hired an oilstone to use on my swordblade

 

Page 16

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

(Sunday, 19..)                          [AT SEA]

A

(Eventfull.) Case of Joe and Imp. (15, D.) Imp received, at Hong Kong, aletter from his father. Among other matter, it contained some exhortation to virtue, which Imp got copied out and shewed to divers persons, being prompted thereto by a species of vanity. The boy laughs at his father’s ‘ghostly admonitions’. I transcribe the extract to show that this hard case is of intelligent parentage.

Now Washington, listen again to the advice of your father who still hopes you will make a respectable man. What wrong you have done will be forgiven (and, as far as the world is concerned, forgotten,) if you hearafter do well. Now you have only to determine that you will not do wrong, and, with the help of the Lord, you may yet be as respectable as any of your friends could wish. If you only knew how much trouble and anxiety you have caused us by your former conduct, and also how much pleasure you would give your friends by a different course, a course of virtue and true pleasure to yourself, I am sure you would make the effort. Think of this, Washington, and let me hear of your well doing. Every situation in life has it’s trials and temptations, but he who determines to do right at all hazards will ultimately triumph over all difficulties. That you may be able so to conduct yourself on ship or ashore as to gain the approbation of all with whom you are in any way connected, is my most earnest desire’.

B.

POOR BUSKIRK-DRUMMER withers under the contempt of those pure and highminded humans [dignitaries], the First Sergeant, the Master-at-Arms, and the Purser’s Steward; he writhes under the lash of their wrath, administered through that most efficient whip-cord, the F. Sergeant’s tongue.

Circumstances made it incumbent upon me to request Mr. Gillis’ permission to rejoin the Orderly Mess, to which I, in right, should belong. Mr. G. consulted the Sergeant upon the subject, and was told by that worthy that every member of the mess objected to my coming into it. When I became aware of the sergeant’s having made such a statement to the first lieutenant, I applied myself to each member of the mess, and ascertained that the statement was false insomuch as *six of the members had never offered objection or were ever opposed to having me at their table; but not so the other four, three of them proclaimed violently against me, and, I may say, the +fourth blackballed me in acquiescen e to the will of the controlling trio.             Besides misinforming the first lieutenant in this affair of the Orderly Mess, the Sergeant has made other recent statements concerning me which are equally hurtful, and much more false than the one just remarked.               Considering the mess as having unanimously rejected me, the F.Lt.’s will is that I remain in Mess No. 2, and conform to the Cooking Routine (5, X), when at sea.            At this juncture the enmity of the orderly sergeant seems unchangeable; I shall consider it in connection with that of the Purser’s Steward and Master-at-Arms, resolving the whole into a case.

Monday, 20.                            KUMSING MOON

C

Walker’s Dictionary. (8, F.) Sweet and sour mixed in judicious proportion constitutes something pleasant to the taste __ I do’nt know that such is the case of bitter and sweet draughts. I did not altogether disrelish the Sergeant’s kindness in allowing me the use of his fine Dictionary, while his disposition showed only in trivial instances a tinge of sourness. Yesterday, that disposition some how or other got stirred and any amount of ground wormwood came to the surface. The sugar of his kindness lost at once it’s sweetness, and I availed myself of the first opportunity to yield the pleasure of enjoying it. i.e. I returned the good Sergeant’s Dictionary & thanked him sincerely for his kindness.     I also returned to Mr. Doran the Dictionary marked Stephen Giwatney.

*No. 1 Marine Mess (Orderly Mess) consists of: the Sergeant of Marines, another Sergeant, the Purser’s Steward, Yeoman, Master-at-Arms, Surgeon’s Steward, two Corporals of Marines, fifer, a private, and another private, as cook. In all (excluding the cook) ten persons.

+ Surgeon’s Steward.

 

Page 17

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Tuesday, 21.

A.

A Circular from the Secretary of the Navy regulating the ‘Dress for Petty Officers and Crew’, was received on board today and a copy thereof given to the Master-at-Arms to be placed conspicously for the information of ‘all concerned’.                   Considering it no impropriety, I ventured to look at the placard, but the ‘lord of the Berth Deck’ singled poor I from a trio at the spot and drove me away. Since then, I have, I may say, by stealth, examined the ‘Sacred Edict’.

B

It would approach near the truth to say of my leisure hours, they have been whiled away in idleness. In some spareminutes of today I learned how to decline the Latin nouns Gener, Ager, Dominus, & Regnum; beyond which I have accomplished nothing.

C.

Music Hibbs. I sent a friendly note to the Drummer & Fifer of the flagship. They are brothers, the one bearing the given name *John Emery, and the other John W. Their dispositions are happily not alike, nor do they in feature assimulate; but they are both intelligent, they love each other, &, in all appearance, conform to moral principle, considering which, I love them both equally. As the idea of one always suggests the idea of the other, I regard the two as a unity, and, in my notes, comprehend them both under the designation ‘Music J.E. J.W. Hibbs’.

Wensday, 22.

D

Not being able to concentrate my attention & direct it to study, I nobly sheered clear of idleness by ruling & heading & otherwise preparing those pages of the space left for my abstract ‘Journal of the Cruize, &c.’, employing both leisures.

E

Suspicious Conduct. Since the 17th of this month, I have every night shared my pallet with the Joe of 15 D., and this conduct is food for scandal. A Quartermaster, quick to criminate, attacked me the other day with _ ‘Well! You lays alongside o’ boys now o’ nights, do you’, upon which ensued the following dialogue: Æ. ‘Of late days I rate a chicken _ to be sure! _ what next?’ Q. ‘Why aint you ashamed of yourself to have a boy alongside of you all night’. Æ. ‘Not exactly, considering who the boy is, and that nothing bad results from our sleeping together _ Q. Who the boy is! why that boy would …. a jackass’ _ Æ. ‘I do’nt care if he would …. a jackass _ I know that he do’nt …. me. Every night passed with me by the boy is a night spent in innocence _ when he sleeps with me, he is out of harm’s way; if he did’nt sleep with me, he’d certainly sleep with somebody else, &, in that case, bad consequences might indeed result. Q. Oh Hell! now do you mean to say that you sleeps alongside o’ boys o’ nights and do’nt do nothing? Æ. Well now you may as well drop the subject _ I see you are a little more interested than you ought to be _ you are jealous.’ &c.

Joe does’nt any longer sleep with me; he deserted me yesterday to take up his residence with a Main-topman. I have now lost patience with the youngster, and must of necessity express less friendship in manner towards him, that he may feel the odium which guilt is calculated to excite.

Thursday, 23.

F

The greatest part of my Leisure was employed in extracting a knowledge of ‘Celestial’ things from the pages of the Chinese Repository. The pilot I-Shing had, in answer to my questions, told me that this Kumsing moon was situated in Heängshan heën, a district of Kwangchow foo. These little mites of information led me to examine that part of the Repository which relates to the Government and Political divisions of Quantung province.

*Mistake: James Emery.

 

Page 18.

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Friday, 24.

A

Affected during the day with a troublesome cold. I employed part of the Morning leisure in copying some things into the ‘J. of C.’ space from Mr. Beardslee’s Log-book. In the evening leisure I essayed to study English Grammar, but soon abandoned that subject to amuse myself in light reading.

B

Case of Joe and Myself (17, E). At 6 bells yesternight, I, as usual, spread out my pallet; after tattoo, when about to spread out myself for the night, I found Joe in occupation of the best half of my nest. Far from being inclined to dislodge him, I was glad of his presence, and we passed the night together. But it will be the last night that we rest together this winter (coming), as the coolness of the night effectually persuaded me to abandon my present way of sleeping and return to the warmer convenience of hammock, mattrass, & thick blanket.

Saturday, 25.

C

Afflicted bodilly and mentally. A cold, just malignant enough to be exceedingly disagreable & inconvenient, has fastened itself upon me. I have applied to the Asst. Surgeon, and expect relief in the efficiency of the steward’s cough drops. But this distress of the head and chest is insignificant in comparison with the evil which causes distress to my mind _ and for this last evil there seems to be no remedy. It seems as if a demon from hell comes in the night and perpetrates upon me that horrible crime which my waking hours would abhor. Last night and the night before, those evils befell me; I dread the state of sleep, lest the thing befalls me again. Night-before-last the evil was consummated in a short dream, and I remember that my will expressed horror & repugnance __ that I tried to escape, but was powerless. No dream caused the evil of last night.        The surgeons, who understand how the human machinery is worked, might possibly know a means of preventing the occurrence of such horrible nightly evils, ___ but I am ashamed to lay my case before them. But this must be false shame, and it shall not deter me from seeking protection at the doctor’s hands, if the evil occurs again.           I never have had much faith in the efficacy of prayer, but I will now resort to it, and, ever before trusting myself to slumber, will supplicate even the power of the High to save me from the dangers of the night.

D

Employed in the affairs of my clothing. In the forenoon, marked my name on eight pieces of clothing, & hemmed a sweat-rag. In the afternoon, polished the brasses about my sword and scabbard, and whipped the ends of six clothestops which I had laid up last S-dy.

Sunday, 26.

E

Opium ships. Between us and the shore are anchored in a line, five vessels; all of them housed over, their sails unbent and their topmast rigging sent down.

These vessels, I suppose, will always remain where they are, & are probably unfit for sea service. They are receiving ships for opium in the course of being smuggled into the Empire. European smugglers consign their cargoes of poison to these stationary ships, whence it passes into the hands of the Chinese smugglers who effect a landing of the precious stuff. I do not think that the provincial officers are ignorant of the presence of such ships, nor that all entrusted with the execution of the laws connive at the smuggling of opium, but am lead to believe that the Imperial war junks stationed about these coasts (if there are any naval stations near this vicinity) are wanting strenght to enforce the maritime regulations.      The five stationary ships, mentioned above, hoisted their colors today, I presume, in honor of the sabbath.      At four of the gaff ends are displayed the red

 

Page 19

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

banner of St. George & St. Patrick; I am quite ashamed to see our own ‘star spangled banner’ unfolded from the other opium ship. It seems as if fair Columbia is beggining to follow in the footsteps of her wicked old mother.  There is an opium ship stationed in Lautae harbor (I. of Lewkan), and, while we were at that place, I noticed the great cordiality that exists between smugglers and Naval officers. The captain of the opium ship visited our vessel in company with his lady, and were entertained in great honor. If I mistake not, a missionary [minister of our holy religion] formed one of the honorable company.

A

Burkirks. In an old religious magazine (1847), I find ‘Cornelius Van Buskirk’ mentioned as ‘Treasurer of the American Indian Mission Association; Louisville, Ky’. Yesterday, in one of Dr. Townsend Sarsaparilla advertisements of about the same date, I met with with ‘R. Van Buskirk Esq., one of the most respectable druggists of Newark, N.J. &c.’

B

Visit to the Susquehanna _ John Hibbs _ Emery _ The Japanese _ John Pons

I had determined to devote the leisure of today to making lengthy remarks in my journal, but, after writing the two preceding notes, I changed my mind and asked permission for the fifer and me to go with the liberty-men on board the flagship. In our passage to the steamer, we were somewhat disapointed to see our friend Emery on his way to the Plymouth; we were widening the distance between us, in mutually endeavoring to meet each other. But it luckilly happened that John did’nt take passage to the Sloop, so that Bill and me were not left to roam in solitude about the decks of the flagship, but found entertainment in the company of the flagship’s drummer. Upon arriving on board, the fifer went down into the lower regions of the Susquehanna in search of John, and I journeyed into the vicinity of about five Japanese, the first of the nation I had ever seen. One of them sewed, two were asleep, and the other two played at backgammon. They all seemed to be perfectly happy. Complexioned like their neighbors of China, but differing widely in their manner of shaving the head & in the arrangement of the hair. _ After observing the above mentioned sleepers & players for a while, I went down on the Berth Deck, and my attention was arrested by another squad of Japanese, and particularly drawn to one of them engaged writing over the leaves of an English book. When I first noticed him, he had half completed a line the commencement of a page, and now seemed posed in his composition, ever now & then dipping his hair pencil in to his india ink & holding it over the paper but making no mark; he was evidently at loss for an idea, or was full with his idea and wanted a character to express it; not thinking that my presence would much assist him to the attainment of either idea or it’s mark, I left this native of the forbidden empire to his labors and set out for vicinity of Johnny Hibbs and my own dear Billy. Found John engaged between the discussion of a pictorial and a conversation with my compeer; John was as cheerful and healthy as ever. Soon after I joined the company, Pictorial was laid aside, and we talked about music, officers, liberty ashore, rum, Japan, horses, Emery, &c., most strangely forgetting to debate the merits & demerits of American & Foreign household stuff, a subject seldom or never left undiscussed when us connoiseurs meet in conversation.

Afterwards I returned to the spot where I had left the Japanese at work over his book; he had completed that first line and was engaged upon a fourth. [Japanese, like Chinese, begin at the right & write downwards _ they commce their books where our writers would end, &, of course, end where we would begin] To me, the characters resembled those used by Chinamen. Not one of these natives had yet learned to speak English. __ __ __ __ __ I was sorry to find a little friend of mine & Bill’s confined by sickness to his cot; the little fellow, John Pons, a native of Mahon, was very badly affected with a dicease of the heart, _ when the fifer & me went to see him, he could’nt speak, but cried.

Next, in the order of time, occurred quite a pleasant talk between John & me upon almost every subject immediately within the ken of such minds as ours. This last conversation was uninterupted untill the ‘Plymouth’s Liberty men’ were ‘called away’. Many other things occurred, as much worthy of remark as the preceding, but this note is already too long.

 

Page 20

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Monday, 27.

A

In the forenoon leisure, Employed writing in my journal & otherwise. In the afternoon, the purser served ‘grog money’ out to every one having it due, afterwhich I found my hands full in settling up accounts with my various Creditors; however, I sought each one before any commenced to seek me, & ‘squared off’ with all to their satisfaction. My ‘private debt’ (8, C) is now discharged altogether with the exception of forty-four cents to be paid in purser’s stores, and one dollar and twenty cents which cannot possibly be paid to day because of the Creditor’s not being in the vicinity of Kumsing moon.

B

Saturday Altercation. Many days ago, a private Fitzgerald answered a very civil and proper enquiry of mine by requesting me to ‘kiss his … [hinder-parts]’; whereupon I determined to drop all intercourse with him, & accordingly made no retort to his very unreasonable request at the time, &, ever afterwards, avoided all intercourse by word or otherwise. At this state of affairs, Fitz became cook of the mess and, one day when a couple of dollars had been served out to each of the ship’s company, levied a just contribution of about six cents upon each member, the sum of which contribution was to pay off an old debt of the mess. When he called for my contribution, his calling was unanswered, and though he repeated my name very loudly and often, I pursued my meal as if unconcious of being spoken to. Fitzgerald got very angry, & I gradually got through with my meal, and walked away from the mess apparantly unconcious of Fitz’s rage. This was sport to some & surprise to others. Fitz appealed to the Orderly Sergeant (who was then at supper) saying in substance ‘Here is this Buskirk, sir, — he wo’nt speak a word and I’ve been asking him a dozen times to help to pay for the mess kettle mended’.          ‘Why do’nt you answer Fitzgeral _ do’nt you hear him speaking to you?’ says the Sergeant to me. I answered ‘Yes I hear the fellow, but I do’nt intend to speak to him. I pay the dues of the mess to any honest man in the mess that undertakes to collect them. I can’nt pay any money to Fitzgerald because he’s notoriously dishonest’. I did’nt wait a response to this speech but went on the other deck, &, afterwards, arranged with a private Gacki that he would pay my contributions as they were called for.            From the day of that altercation untill now Fitz has behaved remarkably courteous; and I determined to day to not treat him contemptuously any more, but express in my conduct as much politeness & consideration as characterized it before the day of the unreasonable request.

Tuesday, 28.

C

IN THE FORENOON, wrote some in my journal, stated my ‘accounts financial’ on a piece of paper ready for insertion at the begining of next month, and (shame!) idled away a great part of the leisure. IN THE AFTERNOON, Read some of Lord Chesterfield’s letters & was otherwise employed.

D

Teeth. Last night I attended on the Forecastle with a paper and obtained a good supply of ashes from the cigar smokers there assembled. I have since used these ashes in cleaning my teeth, but cannot say whether they were effective or not in removing dirt.

E

Badly beaten tattoo. Through too great a desire to please Martial the acting ship’s drummer, I have always allowed him to ‘lead off’ in tattoes & other beats, &, in consequence, found it difficult to beat alone the tattoo of the night. I beat the tunes awkwardly, and the occasion was made more disagreable by annoyance thrown purposely in the way by the fifer.

 

Page 21

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

SEPTEMBER, 1852.

Wensday, 29.

A

­– Punishment. I was put on post at the cabin door at 8, A.M., & was relieved at 12, when I ascertained that I am to go on post again at 4, P.M. The Sergeant now tells me that ‘the first lieutenant orders that I be put on double duty untill further orders’, and adds ‘that if I want to know why I am punished, I may ask the first lieutenant, who will tell me’.

B

Fruits of Complaisance. I most generally set aside my own will and consult only the pleasure of those with whom I have intercourse. I lend my mathematical instruments and a number of scrolls of parchment to a young gentleman, and am rewarded by having the instruments disordered and one of the scrolls, whereon I had laborously & patiently transcribed the principle rules and tables of Arithmetic, lost. I discommode myself to satisfy the ship’s drummer’s desire to use my own good sticks; they are now broken. There’re other instances; and, in all of them, I find myself inconvenienced.

Thursday, 30.

– Punishment. (A). The ‘punishment’ commenced yesterday at 8, A.M. continues yet. It consists in being alternately four hours on post & four hours off, throughout the day and night. I have not yet ascertained the nature of guilt which causes this manifestation of justice.

Memoranda General.

C

Receipts and Expenditure:

Received, on the 13th, from the purser… $1.00

_ “ _ , “        “ 15th, “           “          “ … 2.00

_ “ _ , “        “ 27,    “          “          “ (‘grogmoney’) … 3.75

Total … 6.75 _

Expended, on the 13th, for having a jacket altered in Hong Kong … 1.00

_______ , _ _ _ , for cakes, persimmons, & bananas … 25

_______, _ _ 15th, – bread, eggs, and bananas… 17

_______, _ _ _ , in payment of a Mess debt… 6

_______, ,, _ _ 27, in __ _ my Private Debt … 2.10

_______ , _ _ _, _ subscription to the Mess Fund … 38

_______ , _ _ 29, for bananas … 5 _

Total expended … 4.01.

 

Page 22

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Friday, 1.

EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES.

A

FINANCES. The condition of finances may be stated thus:

Pay, &c., accredited to my accounts on the Purser’s books… 17.65

Amount debited to my accounts on the Quartermaster’s books… 54.53

Private Debt… 1.60

Cash in reserve… 1.82

B

HEALTH. I imagine that my left jaw tooth is proceeding rapidly to decay; as yet, I have suffered no pain, but anticipate any amount. Excepting that tooth in decay, and an annoying cold, I am in good general health.

C

CIRCLE OF ACQUAINTANCE. I have not time now to remark properly the precise relations existing between my acquaintances in the ship & me; I can only say in general that I have more enemies than friends, and particularly mention that my own brother in music proves himself to be secretely but devoutly an ill wisher of mine.

D

PERSONAL APPEARANCE. I am enabled now to present a tolerable fair exterior.

E

BOOKS OPEN TO MY PERUSAL. Any amount of Religious matter contained in volumes of sunday school books, property of the ship & under the care of the Sergeant of Marines; ‘Elements of Universal History, Mr. Morrison; French & English Dictionary, Mr. Doran; Levizac’s Grammar, Mr. Balch; Nugent’s Dictionary, Gilfoy; A Physiology, Dr. Cambril; French Reader, Mr. Legaré; Chinese Repository, altogether my own; Easy Lessons [Eng. Grammar] _ Latin Grammar _ Historiæ Sacræ with vocabulary _ Historiæ Sacræ with interlinear translation _ A ‘Series of Chronological & Regal Tables’, the remnant of a volume of Whelpley’s Compend, _ my own property.

F

Released from ‘Double Duty’. Supposing the first lieutenant to have forgotten the trifling circumstance of his having ordered me to ‘double duty’ as mentioned 21, A, and further that the duration of my punishment might extend ad infinitum unless his memory was jogged, I availed myself of the first opportunity to approach the officer and respectfully remind him that I had now served thirty-one hours of extra post duty. Mr. Gillis asked me if I thought I could behave myself in future, and wished to know why the fifer and me could not agree with one another. (The fifer had complained on the night of the 28 September to the Officer of the Deck against me, rendering his complaint in such a manner as led that officer & the first lieutenant to believe that I shortened a tune in tattoo contrary to the fifer’s will and mangled another all out of sheer malice & a disposition to vex the fifer. So I am informed by one or two of the marines; & the tenor of Mr. G.’s speech confirms it.)

Instead of multiplying words by declaring myself unconcious of having lately misbehaved in any manner, I doggedly promised good behavior in future, and Mr. Gillis withdrew his order of punishment.

On the night of the 28 Sept. I certainly did murder music in the most barbarous manner, but this was not done in cold blood and with malicious intent _ it was an error of the ear & hand, and not of the heart.

G.

Mistake somewhere. During the last month I received as much as $6.75 (21, C) from the purser, and, in that time, do not remember to have expended more than $4.01. Besides having received 675 c from the purser, I already had 100 c; now 401 c subtracted from 775c there remains 374 c.; but I find my ready cash to amount only to 182 c. (A).

 

Page 23

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Saturday, 2.

A

In the morning, cleaned my accoutrements. In the evening, employed myself writing and otherwise.

B

John Hibbs. I anticipate with pleasure a visit, tomorrow, from my little friend of the flagship. And yet I fear to displease him in the very outset. John’s curiosity has determined to make a meal of these very writings _ and, were they two or three years old, or were I in opposite circumstances to what I am in now, _ his curiosity might devour them without restriction, and I would be happy at this means of affording him amusement. I, like everybody else, have secrets which must be kept from the cognizance of my dearest friends; but my secrets are only of the hour; such as they are, a principle of vanity with some regard to prudence demand imperiously that they be kept. John, then, in reading this book, must be restricted to such notes and remarks as do not embody any of ‘them great secrets’ of mine _ for many of them are exposed promiscously in these pages.                    Minor secrets and such as are not guarded by vanity or prudence, shall not be kept from his cognizance, and these, I hope, together with all those miscelaneous remarks not embodying things of the most secret nature, will satisfy his curiosity. John and Emery and one other in the squadron are the only persons in this world (excepting my Mother) who I could permit under any conditions to examine my journal of this period.

Sunday, 3.

C

Expectations, Preparations, & Disappointment __ Visit to the Susquehanna _ The Japanese

John & Emery _  John & Emery having promised, last sunday, to come on board today, I thought I had excellent grounds whereon to build some pleasing anticipations of a visit from those two boys, and accordingly made great preparation for receiving and entertaining them pleasantly. Bill seemed doubtful whether the boys would come or not, and was half inclined to have his name put on the list of those who were to be permitted to visit the Susquehanna, but I would have bet a month’s pay on their coming; so we neglected having our names put on the ‘libertymen’s list.’ and awaited the coming of John & Emery.

In due time a boat load of ‘Susquehanna’s libertymen’ arrived and were mustered over the side, and the fifer and me were on the qui vive to welcome our expected ‘guests’. But we waited only to be disappointed – John & Emery were not there.

I was determined to use all means to obtain an interview with John _ I wished to have him for a companion in the ‘liberty’ which I expect next tuesday, and now was the day to arrange ‘preliminaries’ ___ Accordingly I beset the first lieutenant for permission to go on board the flagship. He yielded tacit consent _ that is, he neither assented to my going nor refused me positively. As silence implies consent, & no time was to be lost & my case was rather desperate, I awaited at the gangway and followed Mr. G. into the boat which was to carry him to the flagship.

Arrived on board the Susquehanna, I found John hard at his devotions in one of the bottomless pits of the mighty steamship. I left him to his pious labors, & passed the afternoon with Emery.    I found the Japanese at their games & their sleep; I did not find the scribe (19, B.) at work.                         Arranged preliminaries for a ‘run ashore’.

 Returned with the ‘liberty men’ at 4 P.M.

 

Page 24

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Monday, 4.)

A

LIBERTY AT KUMSING MOON _ Visit to Keoh _ Transactions at Kumsing _ Second Journey to Keo and back _ Return.           Did’nt expect to go on liberty to day, though I had requested permission to go ashore at the same time the fifer would go. The Orderly sergeant opposed any amount of objections to my request, from which, I was confident of being kept on board today and sent on liberty to morrow. I was surprized then to hear my name called at 9 O’clock as being on the list of those who were going ashore. The Sergeant had not given me the least intimation of my name being on the list, but, on the contrary, led me to suppose that I was not going; it seems that the ‘rule of contraries’ is his guide in all such matters.   Our party consisted of a corporal, two music, and four privates. After mustering on the quarterdeck, we were sent into Sally’s boat and were soon en route for Kumsing shore.   On our passage from the ship we came unanimously to the determination of going out to see that celebrated walled town, yelept city, so much talked about by divers of the crew who had been on liberty.   Arriving as near the shore as Sally’s fast-boat could get, we accomplished the remaining distance in a small boat manned by three Chinese girls.

After reaching the shore I endeavored to persuade the party to strike a line of march for the Chinese town (supposed to be five miles distant), and this they readily consented to do, but the preliminary of Samshute was to be settled first. They all went into the nearest grogshop, and I awaited a while at the door, in hopes that they might make their purchase, and commence the journey upon which we had resolved. But a debate and what not arose amongst them concerning the way of paying for the bottle of liquor _ it seemed to me that this discussion would have no end _ my patience gave way _ and I, accordingly, run away myself, directing my footsteps to a public house which I understood to be owned by an opium captain. I expected to find there some one who could inform me of the route to the ‘Chinese town’, and I thought I might there provide myself with pencil and paper, as I intended to copy some of the ‘Joss house’ and tombstone inscriptions that I might meet with in the neighborhood of the above mentioned town.   Arrived at the opium captain’s house, & found not a soul that could speak English. I had been followed to the house by a Chinaman who, every five minutes, had offered his services to procure either liquors or girls for me __ he might have been a guide in my projected journey _ but I abhor dumb attendants, and, so, after some trouble, prevailed upon him to leave me. I was about to leave the house & commence a forced march over hill & dale, when the company who I had left in Samshute discussion, made their appearance.  They had a great bottle of Samshute and were now prepared for the expedition. None of us knew the way to the town; I presumed it lied somewhere beyond the hills and recommended that we immediately put the hills between us and the ships, by which means we could hardly fail reaching O’Keo (I understood the Chinamen in the house to call the place by that name). My proposition was agreed to and the journey commenced. A small path led us to the top of the first hill, and here I separated from the company again: the path forked _ Company followed a trail around the mountain, and I pushed ahead, down this hill and up the next.        When I had reached the next peak I took a farewell view of my late companions _ too spiritless for such an expedition. They were on a mountaintop beyond another hill & seemed to be holding a council of war. I uncovered and waved my cap in the air and shouted to the extent of my lung’s abilities in

 

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Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

parting salute to my ex-comrades. In vieuw from this eminence were several large patches of Tara and other vegetable, situated in marshy grounds between these hills. Within the scope of my view were no signs of a town, nor of a single house, cot, or cabin. Having devested myself of jacket and tied my purse around the key of my suspenders somewhat a la Chincis, I set out anew and afresh.   A small path led me down the hill side and lost itself in the midst of Tara patches. I crossed these and ascended the next hillside, reached the top and looked in vain for some signs of O’Keo, decended on the other side; found a Chinaman at work in his patch, & stopped to ascertain the direction of O’Keoh. The Chinaman pointed to a path on the other side of his patch which led around the next hill. I followed this path, but afterwards forsook it as it seemed to lead to the sea coast or Cumsing rather than to the place where I supposed O’Keo to be.   I pursued my way, around hills, over hills, and through cultivated spots, sometimes following pathways but forsaking them when ever they seemed to lead in the wrong direction. I frequently met with females carrying great bundles of hay. Sometimes I would meet women carrying hay in company with children, the boys would always be in front and they walked in single file; on every occasion of my meeting such a procession, the children would precipitately perform a countermarch & ensconce themselves in the rear of their mammas.

I finally arrived on a hill side which looked upon the seacoast, and here, at the mention of ‘O’Keoh’, an old woman pointed to a small pine forest or a pathway leading through it __, I pursued the pathway, crossed the forest, and soon found myself in a wide and well beaten trail which I judged to be the right road to O’Keoh.

And I judged aright, for I had not pursued it long before Keoh in all it’s comeliness, broke upon my sight. I advanced around a hill side and my ears were greeted with the hoop and hurra of such juvenile fun as they have never been greeted with since the days of my own childhood. My heart too enjoyed the sight of about two dozen boys all engaged in sport under the boughs of a tree immediatly without the town gate. But all games were at an end when I appeared amongst them, a great proportion took to their heels and disappeared within the town wall, the remaining crowded around me at a distance, and only one or two would venture near me. These little fellows seemed full of fun and joy _ I do’nt suppose the oldest one on the spot had seen 13 summers _ their ages, I think, would average 9.   There being cakes, &c, offered for sale, I purchased a little vender’s entire stock and gave them to be scrambled for by the surrounding children, and, after that, they did not exibit such fear and distrust as characterized their conduct in the commencement.   The sounds of music, like those of an accordeon, now, for the first time, attracted my attention; they proceeded from the tail of a handsome kite, flying above our heads.      I left this spot and entered the gateway of the town; an old man seemed to welcome me by a smile, a nod of the head, and the usual Chin Chin!, all of which I returned. I proceeded leisurely along Main street, stopping only to examine the pictures and ornaments usually displayed over the doorways of Joss houses.     Main street might compare favorably with the crooked alleys of our own towns. The other streets of Keoh were narrow passages generally begining at Main St. and terminating at the yards & doors of habitations.

Along this principle passage (M.St.) were several very respectable stores

 

Page 26

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

the interiors of which bearing some resemblance to those of our own shops and little groceries.

The houses, in general, were well built of brick and tiled over. With the exception of tiles, and the profusion of carving and picturing about the door ways and roofs, I see no difference in the style and manner of building here and that followed in the U.S. I saw no chimneys nor glass used in windows. In this neighborhood, not even the joss houses were built in the fantastic style represented in our common Geography books. Neither did I meet with any hut, house, or monument rigged out in bells.     Upon first entering this town, I remarked the scarcity of men and the great abundance of boys. There were a goodly proportion of old men and women, and in turning every street (alley) I would have a glimpse of some fair specimens of female youth __ but only a glimpse, as my presence, except in one instance, never failed to frighten them into their retreats. That instance happened by my having turned suddenly into an alley, and passed in front of a dwelling door before the girls could all escape into it __ those who were left out betook themselves to other parts of the alley, but an old man happened to be present, who dispelled their fears and induced them to return. The boys who accompanied me, I suppose, convinced them that the fan kwei was not ferocious, and I am sure I endeavored to banish all appearance of ferocity from my countenance.

Several of the houses were built in part of oyster shells and plastered over. About the middle of the town were five or six men engaged making brick (I suppose) to build a house on the spot, and these were the only I saw engaged in labor within the precincts of the town.   All persons with whom I met were very courteous.

I suppose it was near one O’clock when I arrived at the other end of Main St. and passed through the town gateway into a small forest, the ground of which seeming to be a resting place for the dead, as a goodly number of inscribed stones, &c, were planted and erected here and there among the trees. I examined attentively several of these structures, and others which could hardly be erected for tombs, these last being places built of stone as if to accommodate the public with seats (they mostly resembled great stone chairs), some of them had images affixed, all of them had plenty of writings attached, and on nearly all of them were stone bowls containing incense sticks. Sailors believe that these last structures are dedicated to ‘Josh’, or the Chinese devil, but of this I will say more anon.     I now felt peculiarly the want of pencil and paper; here were any amount of inscriptions, on stone, on boards, & on slits of paper, and they, no doubt, explained fully the intents and purposes of the structures on which they were placed.

I had not long been in these confines of the town, when music struck upon my ear and a little procession sallied out of the gateway and wended it’s way in quick time along a stonepaved path. I watched it in some little amazement untill it receded from my view. In the procession: first, came four men bearing by poles across their shoulders a great & curiously made box, then came five musicians in double file playing quick but in doleful

 

[Editor’s note: page 27 and/or 28 is missing or was blank. There is a full page illustration, which Van Buskirk describes in detail on pages 31 and 32, to be added to the image library.]

 

Page 29

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

strains; then run along, two little children, hand in hand; and, lastly, followed a female habited in white mourning trimmed with black & carrying a great fan to protect her countenance from public gaze.     All but the curious boxing seemed to indicate a funeral. The quick and wailing strains, and even the rapid march of the procession seemed appropriate to the occasion.  It was a funeral. The ceremonies of grief, though altogether opposite to those observed in Maryland upon such occasions, were affecting to me.   I pursued leisurely the road taken by the above mentioned procession, and, in passing through a building erected over the road, was accosted in gestures, &c. by two well dressed young men who invited me to accompany them to a Joss house away down on the sea coast: I accompanied them to the place and they politely signalized for me to seat myself on a long bench just within the entry, instead of which I commenced an examination of the various images. &c.

On the left hand, appeared, well carved in wood and painted to represent life, the statue of some great man holding his horse by the reins. On the right, and snugly ensconced in a fanciful box, sat the laughing image of some jolly old Kwan of the Ancient times. Alters and incense sticks were before both the warrior on the left and the good old sage on the right.   I now passed beyond the partition, which, in all Joss houses, separates the entry (or ante-room) from the interior, and found myself in the presence of any amount of alters, images, and ornaments.

About to leave, after having examined things to my heart’s content, the two men whom I had accompanied to the place, produced a bottle of Samshoo which they pressed me to buy; I gave them to understand that they had better give it to the ground, that I did’nt belong to the the class of Samshoo drinkers not-withstanding that my uniform proclaimed me such. Here, in the midst of inscriptions and placards, I again felt the want of writing materials, and I mentally damned the Orderly Sergeant for having packed me off without any forewarning.   Leaving this joss house, I rapidly remeasured the distance between it and O’Keoh, and once more wended along Mainstreet. I deviated to follow a little alley leading to a back yard whence I had a good view of the bay of O’Keoh (I suppose) and of the small boats laying about it’s banks.

In Main St. again, I entered one of the Stores. I could get the storekeepers to understand my requests about as well as so many trees would have been brought to understand. However, in another store, I succeed in having a silver piece changed into cash with part of which I bought a bunch of bananas, &, after reserving one for myself, gave the rest to be scrambled for by the Children. This one I had reserved was snatched out of my hand by an old dame who was acting for a little child at her back.

Turned my steps to the gateway wherein I had first came. Arrived there, I walked about without the wall quite undetermined whether to return immediately to Kumsing, or await the coming of my late brave companions, I having, unacountably, some expectation of seeing them here.   Counted the little heads which surrounded me; they numbered 36. This crowd of children had accompanied me in all my walks about and beyond the town _ When I first appeared, the boldest was too fearful to approach me, now, the most timid would come under my hand.     Decided to return to Kumsing, and accordingly went into Keo again and had another quarter turned into cash with which and another bundle of cash I intended to give the boys a parting scramble.

 

Page 30

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Arrived again under the Old village tree on the road to Kumsing with all the boys around me, I opened the fun by throwing a handful in their midst, and then another, &c. Part of the third bundle of cash was wrested from my hand by little fellows whose strenght, I could see, placed them to disadvantage in the scramble. [Many little incidents of fun belong to this narrative, but I have not time nor inclination to record them] Having thrown my last handful of cash, I took and pursued rapidly the great pathway to Kumsing, soon leaving Keoh, it’s fair maidens, serene old men, and innocent and happy Children, far behind.

Arrived in Kumsing near two O’clock. I had walked fast. I had eaten nothing as yet, and therefore felt hungry. Preparatory to having a dinner got ready at the opium captain’s house, I sent a note to Hibbs, requesting him to ask Mr. Slack’s consent and come ashore. Awaited untill the boat returned; Hibbs was not in it.   The marines now appeared and I was quite surprized to find them all sober. Hunger being somewhat importunate, I procure two bundles of cakes, some lemons, some sugar, water, and a large jar. Mixed the juice of the lemons with water, & sweetened the mixture, which, with three cakes, satisfied my hunger. The fifer assisted in the consumption of the lemonade, but I could not prevail upon him to help consume the cakes. The marines had left the fifer and me together, & gone on board one of the boats of ill fame.   I afterwards went also on board one of these boats in company with my brother music. Found my fellow-sodgers dallying with six of those females who gain a miserable livelihood by sale of their favors. Independent of moral considerations, there was not the least danger attendant upon my visit. I will say, to the credit of my own taste, that no amorous propensities were excited in me. After remarking the interior arrangements of the boat and the general appearance of it’s inmates, I, in company with private Fitzgerald, got into a small boat & went ashore.

I proposed to Fitzgerald to accompany me out to Keoh again. He agreed. The journey was commenced, prosecuted with rapidity, & accomplished. I showed Fitz nearly all that I had seen, and we set out on our return, travelling as rapidly as possible, and for the sun seemed to have doubled his speed. The Sun was shedding his last ray upon Kumsing when we reached that place.

Fitzgerald and me supped on board Sally’s boat, after which, we took passage in a small boat, and returned to the Plymouth.

The fifer and Corporal had returned before us in the ‘Sundown boat’. The three remaining marines returned intoxicated an hour after us.

I have left many incidents untold. My expenses on this occasion amounted to about a dollar and fifty or sixty cents.

 

Page 31

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Tuesday, 5.)

A.

Employed writing up my journal and otherwise ___ Having broke the snare head of the ship’s drum, I applied to the Sergeant (as a matter of duty) for another head to put on. The Sergeant refused. I applied to the first lieutenant. Mr. Gillis ‘will see about it’. The marine drum is both new and weak and withal sounds badly, therefore should not be kept in common use. I cannot use the ship’s drum because the Sergeant, though he has heads to make muster-rolls of and to give away to other music, will not give me a drum head. Well! the sergeant do’nt care – the first lieutenant do’nt care, _ neither will I care. The drums and music may go to pot. Under such rule as this, I’ll attend only to my own litte affairs.

Wensday, 6.

B

Employed writing up my journal and otherwise _ Am reading an account of the Chinese & English war _ Have been suffering all this evening leisure under the exquisite torture of a bad pen.

Thursday, 7.

C

Early in the morning, During the Morning leisure, and during a great part of the Evening leisure, I read aloud to some attentive listeners the narrative of British operations in the Chinese war of 1842, &c. (Written by Lieut. Oughterlony^, F.G.S; Madras Engineers.)

D

= Operations in Painting and Drawing. Having left page 27 unruled, &, consequently, skipped it in my account of the Kumsing moon liberty, it opportunely presents itself as a field whereon to display my abilities for drawing and painting. I sketched, this evening, with a lead pencil, the funeral procession which I had seen at Keoh town _ Copying, but not truly and exact, from my memory’s picture of that scene.   Underneath I made a desperate effort at a Chinese boy, a pig, and one of the many honorary structures usually seen along Chinese roads. My pencil has failed entirely in the boy & the structure. These figures pencilled, I applied for Mr. Beardslee’s paints that they might be collored. Obtaining the paints, I commenced building a blue sky about the uppermost figures, but failed and nearly dabbed my drawing out of sight. It now remains for me to extricate myself from this difficulty by levelling my rugged skies and making town walls of them^, though the real procession had not in my sight passed with such walls on their left.

Friday, 8.

E.

=Operations in Painting & Drawing (D) In the morning leisure I finished the caricaturing of page 27. The upper figures, nearly lost in the dabbing of blue, I rescued with a pencil, and finally inked them. I washed away some of the sky with a wet rag, &, out of the remainder, constructed the great wall (second in point of curiosity to that around China), above which I have raised the town roofs to view. I inked the middle figures. In the lower figures I happilly succeeded in changing the penciled old-man’s countenance into the visage of a boy,

 

Page 32

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

[Friday, 8]

and I have disregarded the pencil marked shrine, and fashioned one, more approaching to truth, with the pen.  The upper and middle figures are intended to represent the funeral at Keoh, and the Chinese characters underneath (written there in pencilmark by I-Kan’) signify literally ‘Ke-oh, a man buried [there] who had died’*, the two first characters expressing ‘Ke-oh’.

A

Excepting the inkstone, I have now the ‘three sacred things of the library’, having purchased from the bomboat a Chinese hair pencil and a quantity of India ink.

B

Actually slept away the Evening leisure.

Saturday, 9.

C

In the forenoon leisure, cut up a pair of old linnen pants and made a pair of swimming drawers, also made a marked a sweatrag. In the afternoon leisure, Whiteleaded my belts, cleaned my brasses, and blackened my shoes; mended a pair of white pants. ____ In this period, sore lips prevent me from using the brush properly in cleansing my teeth. The decay (22, B.) is progressing apace. Annoyance from Nature’s own hand is near. Long years of neglect have prepared these teeth for seats of desease.

D

Theater ashore. I listened untill a late hour last night to sounds of Chinese music & to the racket of fire crackers or muskety proceeding from the newly established theatre of Kumsing moon.

E

Chinese Writing on page 7. Some days ago, I-Kan’ had written my name in Chinese characters in the blank space of page 7. He wrote from left to right, though I protested against such proceeding. I imagine that names written in Chinese from left to right & horizontally have a ridiculous appearance.   Yesterday, he wrote the character expressing ‘drummer’ & that representing ‘Kimsing mun’.   To day he was surprised when I asked him to write ‘Kwantung san’ _ Kwangchow foo _ Heängshan heën’, the names of the province, department, & district wherein lays Kumsing moon. He asked ‘who tell you dat? How you learn dat?   He is little accustomed to meet with foreigners of my rank who either possess or seek correct information concerning the ‘Central Flowery Land’.

Sunday, 10.

F

According to rule, this should be my ‘writing day’. I, however, employed on the greater part of the Morning Leisure in idle conversation and in reading some articles of the Chinese Repository. In the Evening I listened to a reading of a biographical account of Napoleon from the pages of ‘Harper’s Magazine, October, 1851.’, afterwhich I cursorily examined the book and read the article headed ‘Book worms’. I cannot express the stirring and spurring effects which such reading has upon me _ I mean upon my mind _ nobody can see that my body is affected. I expected to see Hibbs, to day, but have since learned from visiters from the Susquehanna that Hibbs are ashore at the theatre. To please the fifer, I accompanied him to the first lieutenant and asked permission for us to go ashore also to the theatre; of course, we received a refusal.   I have just asked the purser if he can, consistently, buy some books at Hong Kong for me, (he had, on the passage from Rio Janeiro to Batavia, kindly intimated that he would get for me such books as I might require) he wishes to know what books I want __ Tomorrow, I will make out a list. I must adopt some more expeditious mode of writing than this. I preserve a cheerfull exterior. I laugh at every joke made to be laughed at, and, in night leisure, I crack jokes myself and say blackguard things when circumstances of conversation require it. And a man even of tollerable judgement would, after conning all my behavior, pronounce me a happy dog. But I am unhappy and miserable whenever I consider a certain ramification of my present fix; and the ‘drawer’ of these thoughts cannot be closed until the evil which excites them is past.

* See page 43, D.

 

Page 33

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Monday, 11.)

A

Wrote on a piece of paper the names of books which I wish to procure from Hong Kong. The ship will go to that place this week & Mr. Doran will get the books for me which I have named. Untill then, I give myself a general holyday.

B

Economy of Cleanliness: Lesson at Cumsing moon.   Methought that, during my liberty day, I had used great tact to keep my white pants clean and in good appearance, and, on the next day I got out the same pantaloons to wear again, but was greatly surprised and quite ashamed to find two large, conspicous spots of dirt on the seat. I had paid all my attention to preserve a good appearance in front & disregarded my rear. I had then strutted about with these two great distinctions behind every bit as conspicous to view as epaulettes on an Officer’s shoulder.

     I am now remarkably careful in protecting the rear from dirt. I never sit down before spreading out a sweatrag or clean piece of stuff, kept for sitting on.   This is a commencement of a habit of strict regard to exterior appearance, and dates from my liberty day at Cumsing moon.

C

Visit to the flagship: John & Emery (23, C.) _ John Pons. After dinner the fifer asked the first lieutenant’s permission for him and me to visit the Susquehanna, _ at least the fifer tells me that he asked for both of us, & perhaps he did, but Mr. G. understood him to ask only for himself and accordingly sent word to the Officer of the Deck ‘to let the drummer go aboard the Susquehanna’, meaning to ‘let the fifer go’ but using the word ‘drummer’ in absence of mind. Being present at this mistake, I corrected it by saying ‘Sir, the fifer asked permission for both of us to go’. ‘Ah did he? Well do you want to go’ says the first lieutenant and immediately he told the messenger boy ‘let the drummer & fifer go’.   At two o’clock we got into Sally’s bomboat which soon carried us to the steamer. We reported ourselves to the officer of the deck, and then set about finding the two music who were unconcious of the honor about to be paid to them. Found Emery in occupation of a caskhead reading ‘The Naval Officer’, and John shortly afterwards made his appearance. I was now quite surprized to learn that John had abused his liberty yesterday by drinking far too freely of eau de vie [mort] especially as John had said, in Macao Roads, to the effect that he had freed himself from all immortalities. But in this instance John only followed the example set by the sergeant sent to take care of him, and our own chief sergeant who, in spite of masonical respect which he should have for himself, was decidedly groggy on this occasion. John says he will never get drunk any more _ may he hold to his resolution _ indeed I am confident that John’s good sense & genius will finally prevail over the rule of animal propensaties and raise him high above the influence of destructive immorality. His career bears a strong resemblance to mine _ at his age (16) I too got drunk, and perhaps wallowed as deep in vice as John ever did, perhaps deeper _ I resolved against sinning only to break my resolutions _ I read good books in the morning in the morning and strived to imbibe sentiments which would protect me from vice; _ in the evening I damned all sanctified notions, and there are but few crimes in the calendar which I would scruple to commit _ I thought my own case hopeless. _ Now, the battle is ended _ I have bravely emerged from the mire of vice. That John will also clear the ditch, I am confident. Emery (good on his head!) had given strong drink a wide berth.   Though I went aboard the flagship merely to please the fifer, I was not sorry for having made this use of my time. John’s conversation proved entertaining and I acquired several choice items of knowledge which I have stored away in my memory for future consideration.   I had occasion to observe, for the first time, what store houses for scandal are the memories of little music boys, and how mercillessly they spread each other’s ilfame. The subject of Boom cover trade being on the carpet, I advanced the story of a certain little drummer boy, now returned from sea, who had sold cigars at a price

 

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Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

of 30 or 40 cents a piece with the understanding that something else would be given after tattoo, and found that every particular of this little trader’s mal career at sea was known. He was called the ‘little Cigar boy’.

I found little John Pons upon his feet. He had bravely weathered the sickness I have mentioned at 19, B. We returned at sundown.

Tuesday, 12.

A

I employed the forenoon leisure in writing &c. In that way I would also have employed the afternoon leisure, had not the Imp of 15, D distracted my attention by skylarking in the vicinity of ‘Carpenters pumps’. __ A few minutes ago I got from Mr. B. my mathematical instruments, they were all in the same order I had given them to him in except that two of the instruments were rustied & the points of one pair of compasses were broken off. This is about as much as I can endure ___

B

Case of Joe (15, D).  “My poor boy _ the meaness of your present line of conduct, showing your contemptible disposition, makes it not right for me any longer to have intimate intercourse with you.   You will please, therefore, to drop all familliarity with me:_ never ask any questions or speak to me except in the line of duty, or when it would be proper for one stranger to speak to another. Respect this, and, notwithstanding your mean course of life, I will continue to treat you kindly and civilly _ But there must be no jokes _ no more familliarity. AE’   I scribbled that for Joe to read to day. I think we will never ‘speak’ again.

C

–alamity. _ What greater calamity than to be pressed by a friendly corporal to write long espistles for him to his friends at home? And the full weight of such calamity I now bear. The good corporal wants full details made out of nearly 5 years career (it having been that long since he saw or heard from his friend), and I have promised a dozen times to write his letters for him. If he only knew what a hatefull task it is to me to write letters, I am sure he would absolve me from the performance of my promises. And besides this epistolary calamnity, there is a good quartermaster who, a week ago, extorted from me a promise that I would write a set of tables &c on sheepskin for him, and now every day comes and asks ‘is that done yet?’.

D

Command of the countenance _ Physique _ Nonchalance is a quality which I do not possess. When I grieve, joy, or fear, connoiseurs, I am sure, can read it in my face. Perfect indifference _ a genuine and perpetual sang froid, I am now striving to attain. I cannot command the nerves of my countenance sufficiently to prevent myself from laughing when the visibility of my disposition is excited.

Wensday, 13.

E

In the forenoon, I read some pages in ‘Copland’s De Lys’ Richerand’s Elements of Physiology’, _ I would have employed the time in writing but it was too hot. In the evening I mustered a formidable array of books (nearly my whole available force) on my drumhead _ a body would think I was going to storm the hill of science. I essayed to read some of Voltaire’s poetry; say this was storming the sacred mount at the head of a French detachment. Did I carry any point? No _ but, in the very onset, surrendered my faculties, ignonimously, to sleep who held them in bondage throughout the afternoon.

Will this way of campaigning ever bring me to the temple on science hill?

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Wensday, 13.

A

Henry Hammond and me were classmates in St. John’s college at Annapolis eight years ago. If there was any difference in our ages, he was my senior. Our dispositions were alike and I always preferred to play out the college recreations with Henry. In our class we rivalled each other in stupidness, and, between us, monopolised the station at the foot of the class. Mrs. Hammond pursued the humble avocation of arranging and sewing together the printed ‘Bills’ and ‘Reports’ &c. of the legislature. She was a widow, and a lady of refined education. The hours which I have passed in this lady’s company are comparatively few. I feel, now, my gratitude excited when I think of the lessons which Mrs. H would give me upon the subjects right and wrong.

Thursday, 14.

B

Yesterday the heat was oppressive _, to day we have a strong breeze from the N and fair but cool weather.

C

George Taylor, the mulatoe steward of Gov. Thomas, was a living personification of fun. Jackson says that Taylor is now the property of Hope Slattern Esq. residing in Pratt St., opposite the Depot, Baltimore.

For the many hours of amusement afforded me by Taylor in bygone days, may it be in my destiny to return him solid benefit.

D

Benjamin Jackson, mullatoe, now barber in this ship, was born in Annapolis, Md. In 1842-3 he lived at Mrs. Hollands. He remembers to have done many little services for my father, at that time, member of the Legislature, and boarding at Mrs. Holland’s. He remembers many other members of the Legislature and citizens of Annapolis. Jackson’s home is now in Baltimore.

E

Charles Thomas was a pious young gentleman, nephew to the governor, with whom he resided whilst prosecuting his studies (I think) at St. John’s College.   When I slept in the same room with Charles, I never got into bed without first kneeling by it’s side and devoutly imitating the hum of prayer. At all times, in Charles’ presence, my behavior was so guarded, I am sure he believed me to be a pious little boy. I was as consummate a little hypocrite as could be found in a day’s journey.

F

Employed variously in the Forenoon & Evening Leisures.

Friday, 15.

G

In the Forenoon, Employed variously. In the afternoon, would have read in the ‘Physiology’, but it was too cold to read on the Main Deck, &, on the Berth Dec, it was too dark; besides, my mind was in no condition to receive new ideas. As I can always go to sleep when I can’t do any thing else, I deposited myself on Peabody’s mat, and found that happiness in dream which is now denied me in my waking hours.

H

Sin _ At 33, C, I have said to the effect that I am now emerged from the “mire of vice”. I believed I was writing the truth. So many days had elapsed since Commission of crime, & so many temptations to vice had perished before my own sentiments of virtue, that I was beginnig proudly to regard my soul as high above pollution. It was delusion.

Hell reminded me, in the dead of last night, that I am yet it’s own __ moral faculties and intelligence seemed laid asleep or drowned in the hour when depraved animal sense governed vice-roy from Hell. I have perpetrated upon myself, against nature, that horrid crime, and the thought of what I’ve done racks my mind in a manner & to an extent which words cannot express. The keen edge of concience smites my innermost soul. I am completely humbled. Before to-day, if I thought myself superior (ha!) in moral worth to the herd around me, I now feel myself on a level with the meanest.     Good men need only know me to despise me.      That innocence

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

A

and purity which I love in others, could but fly the pollution of my presence. 

And there is another thought which harrows my soul _ Oh God! the shades of my Father _ of my brothers _ they cannot but view my abominable course. 

I feel keenly my degradation.

Saturday, 16.

B

Employed the Forenoon Leisure in writing. In the afternoon, repaired my working pantaloons by sewing two patches on their seat (This seat now presents the phenomena of five conspicous patches), besides which, I hemmed another Sweatrag for use this week, having lost the one made last Saturday. ____ In the forepart of last night, I read by lamplight several sections of that division of ‘Richerand’s Physiology’ treating on the “Functions which tend to the preservation of the Individual by establishing his Relations with the Beings that surround him.

Sunday, 17.

C

In the Forenoon Leisure, Got out my journal, but was in no spirit to make remarks of any kind, _ I laid by the journal, and read most inatentively what Irving has written in his ‘New York’ about the renowned Wouter Van Twiller and William the Testy. I had recieved this book from Mr. Arnold’s boy, last night, and, this morning, felt much inclined to send it to the fifer Hibbs, it being a book which could not fail to amuse and instruct my little friend, but it belonged to one of our mess cooks who never had seen it &, doubtless, never expected to see it, I, therefore, promptly set aside my strong inclination to amuse and benefit Hibbs and handed the book to it’s lawful owner pursuant to the dictates of honesty.

No distraction of my own mind can ever prevent me from being temporarilly happy when the means of affording some degree of pleasure to those I like are within my reach, for, emphatically, their joys are mine.   At this moment and throughout the day my thoughts ran in unhappy channels, but even today the conciousness of having done something to please and benefit a little friend would have conferred some little cheer.

D

In the afternoon Leisure, I succeeded, for awhile, in directing my attention to Richerand’s Physiology, but when about to read the section explaining the causes of sleep, I surrendered myself to it’s embrace, to sleep’s embrace, not the Section’s.

Monday, 18.

E

I had negociated, last night, with Sergeant Walsh for the purchase of his ‘Cooper’s Naval History’ (two volumes) and a large edition of ‘Willard’s Hist. U. States’, and partially arranged it with him that I should have the three books for three dollars, payable in purser’s small stores. The sergeant altered his terms, this morning, insomuch as to require the price ($3.00) to be paid in quarterly instalments of one dollar each. Circumstances compelled me to take the books upon these last terms, though I would rather have given six dollars in small stores than three in cash, but, now I think of it, I may yet manage to pay off the greater part of the debt in small stores.

 

Page 37

 Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Monday, 18.

A (Copy)

Pride of the Squadron, Cumsing moon, Oct. 18, 1852.

Good evening, John!

I would fain address you and your brother as ‘one’, but your dispositions are so unlike that I am constrained to regard you separately in my notes and in my thoughts _ hence two notes are now requisite where one would have sufficed before. Your brother rejects that species of shortlived pleasure to which you are so prone to act scuttlebut, and you, I suppose, cannot relish the little means of litterary enjoyment which Emery adopts.

I always cherish an inclination to afford you both pleasure, but, as it is impossible for me to ever send you Samshoo and Chinese you know what, I suppose my inclination, as far as you are concerned, cannot be indulged in.   But I have not given up hopes of going on liberty with you, not withstanding the Commodore’s double iron threats, and perhaps I may afford you pleasure, such as you may keenly relish, and yet such as will exclude both Samshoo and teezy weezy.   I suppose, my dear scuttlebut, that while I am writing this, you are quite ashamed of yourself for having so unwarrantably headed your past notes with ‘Pride of the Navy’, since to day has made a laughingstock of your ship, it’s officers, and all that’s in it (except the drummer & fifer). Bill seemed under the apprehension this morning that a party of our men would have to go on board to teach and assist you in the work of getting up your topgallant masts. As it is, I think our ship deserves to be considered the ‘pride of the Station’, while yours has clumsily earned the epithet of ‘laughingstock.’

But though yours is a clumsy ship, commanded by a rum old Commodore, and manned by a clumsy crew, it ought to be proud of the bright genius it’s drummer. It’s drummer is, emphatically, a boy of spirit [s] and of genius _ Dear Scuttle, of this more anon.

You cannot overrate the friendship I bear you   Buskirk

B

Dear Emery _                                    U.S. Ship Plymouth, Cumsing moon, Oct. 18, 1852.

Accompanying this, is Cooper’s Naval History, accept it as a token of my regard and esteem. Sergt. Doras will give you the second volume. I do’nt know what these books contain, but trust that you will find amusement in reading them. __ If any more authentic sea stories or good books of other kinds come into my possession, they shall be yours.

I am yours, with affection and esteem, Buskirk

P.S. I enclose the ‘deed of hand’ of Sergt. Walsh, late owner of ‘Vol. II’, which you will in due formality present to sergt. Doras, that the property may be transferred to you. V.B.

C

During the first part of the Forenoon I was in momentary expectation of our having to get underway for Hong Hong, &, consequently, did nothing but walk about and assist with zest in some ship’s work (preparations for sea). In the Afternoon, I hastily scratched two notes to my little friends in the flagship and hastily copied them on this page, other than which I have not performed any overt acts of remark during the afternoon leisure.

 

Page 38

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Tuesday, 19. [PASSAGE FROM CUMSING M. TO HONG KONG]

A

I cannot, to day, speak of Leisures, as ship’s duty required my presence on the Spar Deck nearly the whole time. During the morning and evening spare minutes, which were numerous, I profitably and pleasantly employed myself in reading an incomplete volume entitled ‘A Voice from the Main Deck’. The titlepage and nearly the whole of Chap. I, & II, are missing. It is a narrative of the adventures of Mr. Samuel Leech, a ward-room boy in H.B.M.S. Macedonion when captured by the U.S.S. United States, now a respectable gentleman. I had got it into my hands for the special entertainment of my little friend in the flagship, & resolved to examine into the nature of it’s contents previous to sending it on board, as I would not, on any account, send books of such doubtful character as ‘Voices from Maindecks’, ‘Forecastle Yarns’, &c, without first making sure that nothing calculated to undermine morality is contained in their pages. But this book appeared to be pure in it morals, written in a concise and simple style, and containing many interesting and amusing incidents; consequently it is every way a fit book for my little friend, and he shall accordingly have it.

(Wensday, 20.)

B

Employed the greater part of my Spare minutes in reading an account of the American & British War of 1812 from the pages of Mrs. Willard’s U.S. History. Upon examination, this book presents a most dilapidated condition, minus its titlepage. It’s appearance bears evidence of hard usage. In purchasing the book at it’s original price, I committed a great error in economy, since I might have bought it at half the price demanded. But I did’nt examine the article at the time of purchase, being confident that the honest looking sergeant would not overvalue an article of sale.

C.

Boy Joe and me. (34, B). This afternoon, Joe took down from my drum Mrs. Willard’s History which I allowed him to read untill I wished to resume it myself, when I dispossessed him of it but at the same time put into his hands Richerand’s Physiology and directed his attention to the section on ‘Habit’ and the narrative therein contained of the wretched shepherd boy.

   After Joe had read awhile, he stopped and asked ‘Buskirk, why do you give me such as this to read? To which I answered ‘because you are not fit to read any thing else’, and this ‘good boy’ (?) unhesitatingly followed my answer with _ ‘Buskirk, you are mistaken in me, indeed you are, I like *… too well to do that to myself _ I acknowledge doing it for other men, but, ’pon my word, I hav’nt done it to myself since I been in the ship, except once’.   ‘Silence! Silence!’, said I, I know already the whole extent of your iniquity, but I’d rather hear you deny your crimes than confess so shamelessly, so, shut up.’

   Joe’s declaration of never having defiled himself ‘but once’ was a lie. Boys who carry this horrible game on among themselves seldom keep their secrets in impenetrable cavities of their own breasts, and consequently it proved noways difficult for me to acquire certain knowledge of Joe’s having assisted in mutual polution at least seven times since the 1rst of September.

   It is puzzling to me whether this boy was really well principled at the commencement and has gradually become mean and wicked, or whether he was originally a very bad boy and profound hypocrite and I have gradually come to know his real character.   I have witnessed him commit petty theft, and listened to many a string of lies smoothly delivered and well supported by oaths.

   In my intercourse now with Joe I treat him superciliously; and I see that this treatment has bred a feeling of respect and deference for me which was never exibited in the time when my treatment was kind and familliar.

*Equivalent to ‘women’.

 

Page 39

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Thursday, 21. [HARBOR OF HONG KONG]

A

Did not make the most of my leisure hours; in the morning I wrote; and in the evening read about the British & American war (38) to it’s termination, and continued the course of history to the termination of the Nulifying fuss so ably righted by president Jackson.

B

But instead of reading the history of the Republic, I might have been better engaged in fulfilling the promises mentioned at 34, C. Corpl. Farran pushed me hard to finish his letter, concerning which I have lied in telling him I had made a beginning, when, in truth, I have not written a word for him but used up his sheet of paper in writing two notes, being pressed by emergency, which, however, does not justify my want of honesty. Being resolved to perform my promises, today, and thus ease myself of the bondage imposed by the promisces, I used endeavors to procure a sheet of paper and after failing to get one from Mr. Morrison, applied to the generosity of ‘Mr. McQuinsey’ the Surgeon’s steward, who promised to give me one at the first convenient time in the day. Before this time arrived, the corporal pressed me again to the task of immediately fulfilling my promise. I wished, myself, to do so, but could not for reasons which I dared not explain; another lie was therefore necessary, so I declared myself to be destitute of pens and said ‘the doctor’s steward promised to give me a pen to day _ _ as soon as I get it, your letter shall be written’. The corporal immediately procured a pen, an excellent one for manuscript writing, but which I pronounced to be unfit, and I was oblidged to tell another little falsehood before he would be persuaded to keep his patience untill ‘I could get a good pen from the steward’. This little incident shows that lies are more prolific than rats.

After beating the Officer’s dinner call, I looked down the hatchway to ascertain whether the steward was yet at leisure. He was not. So, despairing of getting a sheet of paper this evening, I got down my U.S. History and stowed myself away where I thought the Corporal would not look for me.   When suppertime came, I despatched that meal, &, imediately afterwards, as in my custom, got out my journal that it might recieve these remarks. While writing the 6th line of this remark, the Corporal came into my vicinity, and, on finding his ‘bad pen’ in use, at once suspected that I had deceived him in the affair of his letter. My laughter uncontrolled partly confirmed his suspicion. He went to the doctor’s steward to ascertain whether he had promised to give me a pen, and the whole mystery of my proceedings became unravled ­­__ my falsehoods exposed.

C

In the morning I asked the purser (33, A) if he would now have this list of books which he has promised to procure for me at this place.   He said he would take it at ten O’clock when he went ashore. Ten O’clock came, and the purser went ashore, but the little trifling affair of my list escaped his memory. The late pleasing anticipations of soon being able to extract the ore of knowledge from a good Geography, a Grammar, an Arithmetic, a Dictionary, and an ‘Easy Lessons in Chinese’ are now dispelled.   But although I am addicted to making incincere promise to my equals, when pressed by them, it is peculiarly mortifying to find myself trifled with. The matter, having entirely escaped Mr. Doran’s memory, may remain at large. I will not annoy him any more; I would have never have preferred such a request had not the purser, months ago, intimated his desire that I should do so.   But Mr. Doran has been very kind to me _ he has loaned me books to read, gave me paper to use, corrected errors of my composition in the remarks of my old journal, & afforded me advice and encouragement; among the acts of kindness to me is the gift of this very book.   I will always cherish a gratitude towards Mr. D.

 

Page 40

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Thursday, 21)

A

and I will never forget the little mortification he has caused me, and, if I ever arrive at rank and power, this little ‘solemncholly’ reminiscence may prevent me from wantonly trifling with the feelings of my inferiors.

Friday, 22.

B

In the Forenoon, after scrubbing in conjunction with the fifer the marine’s musket rack, I employed myself writing. In the Afternoon, I got a sheet of paper from the doctor’s steward, but was too unconquerably disinclined to writing to finish [commence] the corporal’s letter, though there is a circumstance now belonging to the letter which is calculated to make my task a pleasant one. It is this, _ Farran has put into my hands a dozen pretty Chinese pictures representing men, women, & girls in holyday costume, which are to be sent home for the amusement of half as many little American Children _ any task or toil, even that of writing a long letter with a bad pen, is pleasure to me when I think my toils or tasks will result in causing happiness, however momontary, to little children, who alone can enjoy it without alloy.   As I said before; my disinclination to writing was unconquerable. I read to the conclusion of my edition of Mrs. Willard’s History, and glanced at the annexed ‘Constitution of the U.S.’, after which I went to sleep and continued asleep untill seven bells.

C

___ Sally brought to me, the Insktone I had requested a week or so ago; this most necessary implement of a Chinese writing kit will cost me fifteen cents.

D

Sin __. I would most willingly spare myself this remark.   Towards the close of last night, I awoke from a sleep and found myself on the point of involuntary pollution; consciousness returned just before the moment of consumnation, which took place without any opposition of my Will, though I believe it come into play.

Saturday, 23.

E

In the Forenoon, Employed cleaning my accoutrements.   In the Afternoon, Employed mending a pair of white pants and a blue flannel shirt. In the Spare minutes of the day, Employed walking, talking, listening and thinking.

F

I did Mr. Doran injustice, at 39, C, in supposing him capable of trifling with me insomuch as to raise expectations with no intention to satisfy them. I “measured Mr. D.’s capabilities with my own bushel” as the saying is. He called me to day and asked for the list, thus showing that the matter had not escaped his memory. I right joyfully handed it to him, and the superstructure of pleasing anticipations so shockingly pulled down a day ago was at once restored.

G

Corporal Farran’s countenance and actions testify that he is right well angry with me to-day; and right good reason he has to be; but I will finish his letter to morrow. I understand that the Mail leaves here on the 29th, against which time I must finish the Corporal’s letter & it is incumbent upon me to have some letters prepared for home.

H

I’D THINK NATURE had cursed me at my birth __ that I am damned __ that I am rapidly going down the stream of perdition __ destined to misery here and Hell hereafter; but, no; to think so would be to meet Hell half way. Between me and the grave are yet years, and there is yet hope. I was led on last night by a series of evil thoughts to the perpetration of that damning crime _ the bane of my soul. Oh! I am a miserable dog _ I am Hell’s own _ a favorite child _ unless the devils themselves abhor my conduct.

Angels abhor me; and so would men, if they only knew me. I abhor myself _ would fly my own polluting presence.

 

Page 41

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Sunday, 24.

A

Corp. Farran’s letter­ __ Visit to the Storeship. Notwithstanding my resolve of yesterday to write the Corpl.’s letter, I did not do so to day. In the Forenoon, I drew and marked on a piece of drum head the points of a compass and gave the result of my labors to a promisee. I also prepared a ‘Pythagoras’ Multiplication Table’ for another promisee. I intended to write F.’s letter in the evening, but, when evening came, an inclination seized me to accompany the fifer on board the ‘Supply’, he having requested permission to go with the ‘liberty men’. I had no acquaintance in the storeship; Bill said he had _ when we got aboard, Bill’s claims to acquaintanceship proved unfounded, but he soon manufactured an acquaintance who treated him with bananas, offered me segars, and made the occasion interesting to us both by appropriate conversation.

I reaped some instruction in this visit.                   Returned at four o’clock.

[I should not finish this remark without mentioning this incident: In the Supply’s Forecastle, I picked up a book, written by a lady & entitled ‘____* Recollections of my life in the West’ or something similar, and read the article (if I may so call it) ‘Peter Harris’ ___ I could not read any more. I was affected.]

B

Monday, 25.

In the Forenoon, Finished the corporal’s letter, and did some writing for myself. While writing this letter, I heard the word passed: “All you that have any letters to send by the overland mail, give them to the purser tomorrow”; I then had finished F.’s letter just in the knack of time. It might be presumed that I’d avail myself of the Evening Leisure to prepare a letter for my honored mother and aunt. I did not, however, and the Evening Leisure passed away. But in the Spare minutes between supper time today and 9 O’clock to morrow I must write the letter destined for home.

C

__ Mr. Doran came aboard this morning, and told me respecting my list of books that the one entitled ‘William’s Easy Lessons in Chinese’ would cost eight dollars (!). At first, I thought of resigning my hopes of getting the book; but then upon second consideration I determined to continue my efforts to get it. I accordingly asked the purser whether or not it would be reasonable proper for me to ask the captain’s permission to get the book and have it’s price charged to my accounts. Oh no; it would not be improper; but then he advised me not to get so expensive a book, saying ‘you can’t learn Chinese _ there are men here of ten years residence who have tried but failed to learn the language.’ I wished the book for a ‘curiosity’, and, besides that, I wished to acquire from it some correct notions of the Chinese Language. Mr. D. said there were books adapted to that purpose of less expense than the one in question, and he promised to enquire if such could be obtained.

D

I COME BEFORE YOU AGAIN, MERCIFUL READER, in the shrouds of GUILT, a vile reprobate, unworthy of your scorn, worthy of only his own. O that the strong horror which Nature plants in every breast had interposed last night in the hour of weakness to save me __  My thoughts turning upon the dreadfull iniquity caused me to shudder at the retrospect of my guilty carreer, and whispered “O I’ll never do that again”.

But my thoughts once in this channel, could not be extricated, and soon ceased to be “thoughts”; when hellish ideas, and fancies, and imaginations succeeded, clouded my moral vision, and were only dispelled when they had done their work. __ induced the commission of onanism. I have offended God, Nature, and You __ GOD is merciful __ Nature is implacable __ You?

*‘Clovernook’

 

Page 42

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Tuesday, 26.

A

U.S. Ship Plymouth, Hong Kong, Oct. 26, 1852.

My Dear Mother,

   Your kind and affectionate letter dated June 26 came to hand on the 3rd of last month. The letter which you mention as having been sent by my aunt did not arrive. I am sorry to learn that you have yet trouble in collecting your dues and from other sources. Would it not be well to give the management of your fowls to old Isaac? I should think the old man has already that experience which you are now attaining at so much cost.   I am glad there proves to be so little difficulty in your getting my half pay __ I had feared that you would derive more trouble than benefit from the ticket.

Since we have been on this station I have had several opportunities of going ashore, and upon such occasions I have adopted every means to inform myself of the manners and peculiarities of the people in this part of China [Kwan-tung province]. My health is good.

You promised in a previous letter, to have some Charlestown newspaper sent out to me __ the performance of your promise will be most satisfactory to me. I might fill up these sheets with long accounts of things as they are here, but such, without interesting you, would only rob you of your time & divest your attention from more important subjects. You will then excuse the shortness of my letter.

I am with respect and affection

Your unworthy son,

Philip Clayton

B

Before breackfast, Wrote the above note. In the Forenoon, wrote a letter for one of the negroes, did some miscellaneous writing for Corpl. Farran; and employed the residue of the Forenoon in reading a New Orleans Picayune of date the 22 March, 1852. It awakened in me the most profound regret to learn from that paper the death of Mrs. Shippey at the Navy Yard, Pensacola.

C

In the Afternoon Leisure, continued to read the Picayune, afterwhich I fell into sleep and thus consumed the latter part of the Leisure. Throughout the evening I felt dull and stupid.

Wensday, 27.

D

In the Forenoon, Fixed my marine drum _ and read some in the New York Herald of date in Jan. I believe. In the Evening, get out Mrs. Willard’s History and read a few pages, but went to sleep and so remained untill suppertime.

E

After getting supper I went into the Gunner’s room to get my journal, and found it under the examination of Mr.—, a young gentleman of the most puntillious honor. The young gentleman had more than once ago read many of the notes herein contained by my permission after first giving his word to skip over without reading such notes as I would designate on a piece of paper.   I had made in my big journal some record of a transaction which did not reflect great credit upon the little gentleman, for which he brought me to account and, though I would not scratch out the obnoxious remark, I promised to never write about him again. Mr.—, in overstepping the bounds of honor and propriety as above mentioned, has absolved me from my promise of not writing about him. Accordingly, posterity shall have an account of all the relations that have existed or will exist between me and acting midshipman Lester A. Beardslee __ and the remarks embodying such accounts will not be the least interesting of the many scattered through my journall. If this book meets the same fate which befell it’s predecessor, I will buy a small book for the express purpose of writing at length upon the relations mentioned above, and I will not confine myself to relations pertaining exclusively to Mr. B. & me.

 

Page 43

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Thursday, 28.

B

In the spare minutes intervening between yesterday at sundown and to day at dinnertime, I read the Rev. Walter Colton’s very interesting work entitled Three Years in California. It belongs to a quartergunner; all the sailors who have read it pronounce Mr. Colton to be ‘a smart man’, ‘a first-rate fellow, &c’; his work gives great satisfaction to the ‘gentle readers’ above mentioned; it is worthy of the favor of ‘gentler’ readers, which, I suppose, it meets.

C

Employed the Afternoon writing, reading, &c.; one hour of the three was consumed in sleep. ______ In my walks at night nights and other times when I am in a reflective mood, I think seriously of that strange horrid dream _ the past. I retrace my wild, rapid, downward career, and these thoughts are of humilliation; I then go on to the future and I dream of happiness to come __ happiness to follow the possession of power and it’s employment in benefiting society and in restoring respect and honor to the now degraded name of ‘Buskirk’.   But I neglect the present; I must reform and effect a thorough change of my habits, otherwise instead of arriving at rank and power in this world I will terminate my career under circumstances of even greater misery and degradation than that which now envellopes me. Upon the present depends the future.

Friday, 29.

Success at copying Chinese writing _ Correction of mistake made at E, 31.

D

Within these few days past I have copied off all the Chinese writings made by Ikan’ in the preceding pages of this book, and it is peculiarly satisfactory to me to find my transcripts readily intelligible to most of the natives who see them. In transcribing I use the Chinese brush or hair pencil and India ink ground upon a fine round inkstone. My transcriptions are made in the blank pages of an old bible. I have no doubts now but that I can transcribe common style Chinese legibly enough to be read by the natives and translated by those understanding some English. Doubts removed, I promise myself an evening of patient and assiduous labor when the next liberty day gives me an opportunity of visiting the entombed spots where are deposited the mortal remains of Celestials now “gone to ramble with the immortals on the celestial hills”, and the shrines of forefathers, sages, and gods.   A Chinaman to-day read the inscription of page 27 in such a manner as proves the translation at 31 E to be an error. The first line reads litterally “[At] Keoh a man died”; the Chinaman read the other line thus: “Chee-hee shoo ming”, __ in English, “Chee hee, [his] book name”. According to the Chinese Repository the shoo ming is the name conferred at school; it is sometimes used to the exclusion of the joo ming (milk name) bestowed upon the infant.

E

Encouragement to learn the fife and flute. After learning to beat the drum, I resolved to learn how to play on the fife, and accordingly commenced to practise; but my mind changed about the time I had learned to finger slowly the first part of the ‘doctor’s call’ and before I had learned the gamut. I laid aside the fife.   A month or so ago* I was on a visit to M. Hibbs when, there happening to be a fife near me, I thought to try my clumsiness on the instrument and found that I had not forgot how to make the notes which I had learned five years ago at Washington.

*Five months ago

 

Page 44

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

Saturday, 30.

A

Employed in the Forenoon Leisure cleaning up my sword, belts, and brasses. I also cut open the bag containing my last year’s journal and put with it some little ‘subjournals’ and other papers which I had kept in the bottom of my bag, sewing up the whole together.

  Took three pieces of cotton stuff and sewed them into a cover for this book.

In the Afternoon Leisure, I employed myself mending clothes.

B

We have in our guard an individual from Massachusetts whose eccentricities have      distinguished him above his compeers. This is private Peabody. After we sailed from the U.S., Peabody for a short period feigned insanity as a means of getting excused from duty, and these means in part availed him as the first lieutenant exempted him from the performance of some parts of his duty; he continued to counterfeit craziness untill at last the first lieutenant caused him to undergo the painful ordeal of being tied up in the rigging by the hands and feet, this, though an ordinary punishment for ward room boys and others, was too much for Peaboy ___ he resumed his reason. While affecting lunacy as I have mentioned, the Crew most generally believed him to be really crazy, a great many pronouncing him to be a very learned man and one who had got crazy by studying too much. I, however, knew him to be a very ignorant man and believed him to be a great rogue withal.   Peabody is a great joker. Mirth predominates in his disposition; the least thing excites him to laughter; it is a favorite amusement with him to say funny things and then laugh immoderately at his own wit.

Peabody never gets drunk, but stands unrivalled in the ability of stowing ripe fruit away in his belly when on liberty. The economy of his expenditures is close and regulated: When ashore, he denies himself the luxury of a female bedfellow, not because of any voice from the concience, but be-cause a voice from the pocket says it is too expensive.  I do not believe that Peabody is at all troubled with the inconveniency of a concience or moral susceptibility, he is an atheist and obeys human laws because he dreads the penalties which humans inflict when they are infringed; I had thought that this fear of consequences would also deter him from violating Nature’s laws, especially as he seemed to have some knowledge of Physics.   Peabody’s reputation or apparaent moral character has always been so good to our eyes that I do’nt believe one of the ship’s boys ever questioned in his mind the impossibility of establishing a Sodomical intercourse with him, or, as it is nautically expressed, “coming chicken over him”. I have always regarded Peabody as quite a laughing philosopher on a small scale; he never swears except upon occasions of excitement, very seldom uses obscene language; the only habit which he holds in common with his compeers is that of playing chequeurs, a game of which he is very fond. He professes to be a phrenologist, and, as such, has in times past examined several of our officers and seamen’s heads; he examined my head, once, and prounounced me to have firmness large, caution predominating, great self-esteem, amativeness very large, &c. &c..  The ‘Doctor’, as we sometimes call him, is the first atheist I ever conversed with, he has read just a sufficient number of pages in Natural Philosophy to lead him into atheism, he needs to read and understand just as many more, now, to be led out again. But this will never be, as the doctor believes himself to know already every thing that’s worth knowing.

 

Page 45

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Saturday, 30)

A

One evening the sailmakers at work on the Main Deck piled up their canvass right in the place where my hammock swings and left it there for the night. As I could not hang up my hammock that night, I asked Peabody for the use of half of his mat (he sleeping on a mat instead of using his hammock), and from then untill today I have passed my nights on his mat. But last night occurred a musty transaction, which banishes me from his mat and dissolves forever all ties of acquaintanceship that ever existed between him and me.

I came down at ten o’clock, stretched out alongside of the doctor, and at once fell into sleep. About midnight I awoke and was surprized to some measure to find the ‘venerable Peabody’ engaged slyly in the attempt to unbutton the fly of my breeches. I betrayed no symptoms of being awake.   The doctor, it appeared, had just made a commencement. So light and cautious were his proceedings that they, I do’nt believe, were the least cause of my awaking.

After contemplating for half a minute the fellow and his proceedings, I turned on my side with my back towards him, but made no indication of being wide awake and concious of what was going on. A few minutes now elapsed and the fellow resumed his operations. He thought I was sound asleep; but I surprized him by pronouncing ‘stop; go ‘way’ with such tone as showed him at once that I was in a state of conciousness, knew his doings, and appreciated them.

Peabody no doubt felt chapfallen at this turn of affairs. His feelings, however hardened his soul may be, were unenviable.   As he desisted with promptness and moved off to himself, I left him to his workings of his own mind, and sought sleep again.

After this I will show the doctor by my treatment of him how little and disgustfull he is. The treatment will contrast with the deference I formerly paid him as a petit philosopher and jolly rogue. It will be a wet blanket thrown over that warm risibility of his.   I hesitate to kill a musquitoe, and it pains me to see a worm or animal of any kind wounded or killed, but were I an autocrat and keeper of the public morals no sympathy for human life should deter me from inflicting upon every such an offender as Peabody the punishment of DEATH.

(Sunday, 31.)

B

I asked the captain’s permission to read ‘the library books’;   “yes, I told you so before, I told Mr. Norris to let you have them” said the captain.

C

     EVENING LIBERTY ASHORE: Permission __ China Town __ Walk on the Queen’s road; No. 31, Police Force;      Cows ___ The Market; Urchins at Play ___ Supper in Sally’s boat __ A drunken man; Brutallity and Cowardice __ Return to the Ship; A Race.

The fifer asked Mr. Gillis this morning for permission to spend the evening ashore. Mr. G. told him he might go some other time and objected to his going to day. Bill then came to me, informed me of the reception his request had met with, and insisted upon my going also to the first lieutenant and trying to get the permission which Bill had already nearly obtained.   I accordingly presented myself at the door of the first lieutenant’s room and respectfully laid my request before the premier, saying the fifer and me wished to go ashore to-day, that we wished to accompany Sergt. Grant who was going to church, for which reason we would rather go today than any other time. Mr. Gillis said “this ‘going to church’ is all an excuse”. I, however, continued to urge my request and promised that if we were permitted to go ashore this time I would not ask ask for another special liberty while we remained in this harbour. Mr. G. consented. “You can go this time”, he said, “but you must not make a practice of it __ be off at sundown”

 

Page 46

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

(Sunday, 31)

[EVENING LIBERTY]

a

Permission obtained it now remained for the fifer and me to get ourselves ready to go ashore in Sally’s bomboat at one o’clock.   My preparations were completed when I had got out my best blue jacket, which by the way is a neat and becoming article of the kind, borrowed a black silk neckerchief, and purchased a pair of new suspenders. Wishing to expend about 25 cents in the way that pleased me most, I endeavored to borrow that amount notwithstanding my rule to the contrary and succeeded in effecting a loan of ten cents all in East India copper.     When one O clock drew near, I reported to the officer of the deck that the fifer and me had permission to go ashore in the bomboat, and went over to the gangway where Sergt. Grant and the fifer were awaiting the time of departure.   Having told the sergeant that it wanted but a few minutes of One, he sent me below to tell Coombs, who was also going on liberty, to hurry up.   When Coombs came up we all got into Sally’s boat and in due time this boat cast loose from the ship and steered shoreward.

b

Sally’s passengers consisted of the orderly sergeant, who was ashore last Sunday and perhaps will have liberty every Sunday to come; Private Coombs, who had liberty to-day in consequence of having been prevented by very bad health from participating in the general liberty given at Kumsing moon; and the fifer and me.   On the passage I displayed the great weight of money which I was carrying ashore to cover my expenses; Sally said that these coins would not pass ashore and accordingly gave me a hundred Chinese cash in exchange for them.

c

Sally landed us at the marketplace whence we proceeded through Victoria, the Sergeant and fifer leading, Coombs following, and I bringing up the rear.   After two or three minutes walk, we met (if I remember aright) the purser’s and surgeon’s stewards and the sailmaker. The sergeant stopped and plunged into a conversation. I took this occasion to ask the fifer where he intended to spend the evening. “I’m going to follow the crowd” said Bill.   “Well, I’m a going to leave the crowd”, says I, “stick to the sergeant __ I hope to see you again at sundown in good order”

d

Whereupon I sallied forth alone. I have since learned that the ‘crowd’ bore the loss of my company with great resignation _ I mean infinite satisfaction.

Now, to use most advantageously my evening’s liberty, I directed my course to that part of the town inhabited by Chinese _ bound on an expedition of observation. I did not however go directly to “China Town” but walked in some of those streets right back of and paralell with the Main thoroughfare. One of these backstreets was altogether inhabited by natives of India. I think that quarter was called “Lascar Rue”; of it’s denizens whom I saw, some were as lightly clothed as the laboring T’lings at Singapore, but the greater number wore plentifully the different costumes of the East. I met several heads set off with turbans, a head dress, I believe, worn only by followers of the Prophet.

Leaving Lascar Rue, I went down into China Town and, after peering a few minutes of most uninteresting observation there, left the place and ascended the hill side to reach the Queen’s road.   Having reached this highway, I walked leisurely in the direction of the British military quarters, enjoying the while a fine view of the harbor and of the town below whence came the din of bustle and business __ but this was soft music compared with the noise of a Western city, we have no rattling coaches and drays in Hong Kong, no shouting street pedlars, nor steam factories.   I now met a corporal of police. He was a very pleasant looking man, a native of Madras. These Indians present a fine appearance in their police uniform; they make excellent policemen.

 

Page 47

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

a

Before I came ashore, a corporal of our marines had gave me a verbal message to transmit to a Corporal Murphy at the Royal Light Infantry.   After returning a very polite salutation of the policeman before mentioned, I asked him to point out the barracks of the light infantry; he shewed me Her Majesty’s light infantry barracks, but they appeared so far in the distance that I abandoned the project of carrying our corporal’s message to it’s destination.  I thanked the policeman for his information and continued leisurely to pursue my way. When three or four minutes had elapsed, I met a Chinese woman and two little children carrying great bundles of hay; I turned around and followed behind them; it seemed as if they did’nt auger much good from my presence for they perceptably quickened their pase. Coming up with the policeman again, I accompanied him in his walk, and an interesting conversation sprung up between us. He was a man of very pleasing demeanor and honest dignified appearance; he was married; had been nine years in the police force; and spoke tolerable good English besides several Indian tongues.

I told the corporal that I expected to come on liberty again when general liberty would be given to the crew of our ship, whereupon he offered his services to get me a “good” girl; I declined this piece of service, but told him I would thank him if he’d get me a good horse to use on the occasion of my next liberty at the price of hire less than two dollars. This, he said, he could do. I then ascertained his address, that I might give him notice on the day before that of the next general liberty. His address is simply this: “No. 31. Police Force”. Our walk together terminated at a large rock which, he said, was the one extremity of his patrol. I determined to continue my walk some two or three miles further on the road; but this, he said, was dangerous as a great many ‘tieves’ infested the road who might knock me down and rob me.   I believed him to exaggerate the probability of danger, and accordingly thanked him for his friendly warnings, took leave, and set out along the road.

I left my friend far behind and accomplished a distance of at least three miles, rounding many turns, crossing one bridge of stone, and meeting one or two little incidents of interest.

I had several fine views of the sea, it’s islets, and of fishermen’s establishments below on the beach, from different points on the road. When I commenced my return, the herdsmen were collecting their cattle on the road preparatory to driving them home. These cattle were so tame that I approached and stroked one of their number which seemed totally unconcious of the act.     Arrived again in town, I went down to the marketplace, and, after passing a few minutes in the stalls where live eels and fish crabs and turtles are kept for sale, sallied out of that building by the outlet leading upon the bay. Here, by the side of some small boats hauled up on the shore, were five or six urchins at play. After witnessing for a while their sport, I returned into the market and exchanged my bunch of cash for oranges and bananas, and these, excepting a banana resolved for myself, I distributed among the juveniles.

I next went down into Sally’s boat, which lay amongst others at the landing, and requested to have a supper got ready. Tea was produced after some elapse of time and then a paper of cakes with which I commenced supper.   At this juncture, the sergeant made his appearance, and commenced with Sally some business transactions relating to cooked fish, beefsteak and bread which he had purchased and designed to consume when he returned on shipboard. I enquired what had become of Bill and Coombs, whereupon he answered to the effect that he was not Bill’s and Coombs’ keeper. He had hardly answered when Coombs and the fifer made their appearance.

 

Page 48

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

a

Coombs seated himself and preserved silence while the sergeant went on with his arrangement; Bill was also seated and ever an anon requested to know if the sergeant included supper in his arrangements, but his requests were unheeded; I the while continued in the goodly work of sacraficing sweet-cakes and tea to my appetite. This was the position of affairs, when Coombs drew a shilling from his pocket and threw it at my feet, saying “there, boy, you sha’nt want money while I have any”, since which, two minutes had not elapsed before Coombs got out of the boat, to the apparent vexation of Bill and the sergeant who followed with intention to bring him back. Observing Coomb’s difficulty in getting up the landing, I for the first time perceived him to be very slightly intoxicated; supposing the fifer and sergeant to be sufficient to take care of a tipsy man, I did not discontinue my supper to follow them, and soon the three disappeared within the market entrance.   I had pocketed Coombs’ coin, intending to return it again on the morrow unless some unforeseen emergency would require me to expend it today.

b

Having drank two bowls of tea and eaten three sweetcakes, I considered my appeased, and accordingly set out in search of the fifer. Not, however, before telling Sally’s man to charge fifteen cents against me for my supper, and securing two sweet cakes for the first little boy I would meet. Arriving at the other end of the market, I found the sergeant who could not tell me which direction the fifer and Coombs had taken.

c

I left the sergeant behind and commenced search for his late companions.

After traversing some distances I found the two in front of a Chinese haberdashery with the addition of a British soldier. To this soldier I comunicated the message I had received from Corp. Gilchrest as beforementioned, and he promised to deliver it to Corp. Murphy.

d

I urged Bill and Coombs to go at once on board the ship as the sun was taking his last peeps over the mountains; but Coombs had some purchases to make, and the fifer seemed to be in no hurry to end his talk with the British son of Mars. However, after the elapse of some long minutes, the fifer did draw his conference to an end, and assisted Coombs to finish his purchases. We then struck out a line of march, which, I flattered myself, would terminate at the whalf where the Plymouth’s sundown boat comes to take on board those officers and others whose liberties expire at the going down of the sun. But our line of march was to have no such termination.

e

Arriving opposite the National Hotel, Coombs asserted his intention to have one more glass of spirits before he would go on board. Bill resolved also to have a parting glass of ale, and, with the Briton, who had persevered in our company, lead the way to a back entrance of Mr. Carr’s establishment. Mr. Carr however could not be persuaded to sell wines on the sabbath; therefore we retired in disappointment, and I again flattered myself that our next stopping place would be the landing whence we might go on board.   But when we reached the entrance of an alley having a whalf at the other extremity, Coombs stopped suddenly and offered sixpence to any Chinaman who would conduct us to a house where ale could be purchased. A Chinaman undertook the performance and brought us before a liquor store into which there was no access, the house being closed; we accordingly commenced anew our walk to the landing.   On the way, Bill, furnishing the money, requested me to buy a pomme l’eau and some bananas. Leaving Bill and Coombs to pursue their course, which I hoped would meet no more interruption, I sought a fruit stall and got the required fruit. A little boy, belonging to the fast boat which afterwards carried us to the ship, offered to the purchase which I had made; I gave him the pommeleau (shaddock)

 

Page 49

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

a

to carry for me, and we returned to the landing. But Bill and Coombs were not there; I left the fruit in care of the little China boy and set out again in search of them. I had not proceeded many places before I met our sailmaker, more than three sheets in the wind, and jogging along under the guidance of the fifer. As soon as I came up, Bill asked me to conduct the inebriate to a landing while he went back to bring Coombs. I attended Mr. B. to a landing, and returned immediately to the place whence I had come. Bill nor Coombs were neither to be seen. I commenced another anxious search, which seemed at first to prove fruitless, and I accordingly turned back & directed my course towards the landing, intending to find a boat and go at once on board the Plymouth.     On nearing the whalf this time I discovered again the objects of my search. Bill was proceeding to the landing and forcing Coombs along ahead of him. When I reached the pair they were about to round a corner of the landing alley.     Perhaps Coombs was now being forced along against his will; he was not so intoxicated as to be deprived of reason, but proved to be nearly altogether without strenght, the effect of his present slight intoxication and of a severe malady from which he has not yet wholly recovered.     I found Bill taking advantage of Coomb’s extreme weakness to inflict some brutal outrages upon him; he pushed and jerked the helpless Coombs in a manner shockingly demonstrative of deep rooted malice.

When I arrived on the spot, I took Coomb’s arm under mine and proceeded to one of the boats with him, aboard which I persuaded him to go; then I cast loose the boat’s fastenings and hauled in the gang board; Coombs the while calling us many hard names and promising to report us for our outrageous conduct. When the boat containing Coombs had pushed off from shore we prepared to leave the shore ourselves.     I got Bill’s fruit from the little Tong yuen beforementioned, and gave him the shilling I had received from Coombs.

Bill and me got into a fast boat and pushed off. When clear of the landing and boats we fell in with Coombs again and a race ensued between the two boats.

b

Coombs, anxious to get first on board, urged the coolies to pull away and speed the boat along; those who worked our boat pulled strong and lustilly without being urged, and the victory in this race was ours by two or three seconds. I went over the side; Bill paid the boat hire (25 cents), and followed; then Coombs came over and proved perfectly sober. It was a fact that a liberal use of strong drink, not two hours before, had raised Coombs’ spirits far above reason, and that the fifer’s violence had restored him to reason again through the powerful agency of fear and anger.

 

Page 50

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

OCTOBER, 1852.

MEMORANDA GENERAL: FINANCES.

RECEIPTS THIS MONTH.                                                            EXPENDITURES THIS MONTH.

Borrowed, Oct.       , from private Fitzgerald…12½ Expended, Oct. 1, for cake and bananas………………….. 11
Received,     “     25, for services rendered…….5 “                           “     3, cakes, fried eggs, &c. &c………………29
Borrowed,    “     31, from private Coombs…..12½ “                  “     “ 3 pieces of clothes washed………………8
“                   “       “      “         “      Ferguson…..10 “                   “    4, on occasion of liberty at C. moon……1.58
“                   “    8, Chinese pencil & Indian ink……………7
“                   “    “  coins set apart for curios………………..3
“                   “    “  payment for a debt for coffee……………6
“                   “    “  bananas………………………………….3
“                   “    9  washing of two pieces…………………..4
“                   “    “  bananas………………………………….2
“                   “  26  “      “  ………………………………….4
“                   “  31  occasion of liberty at Hongk………..22½

 

Page 51

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

NOVEMBER, 1852.

(Monday, 1.)

EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES.

A

FINANCES: Pay, &c, accredited to my account on the purser’s books…21 64

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books…   53 53

Private Debt…6 26

B

HEALH: altered a little for the worse since the last statement.   SOCIAL RELATIONS: not, on the whole, so damned unsocial as formerly. Grant, Gwatney, & Loper as illdisposed as ever.

PERSONAL APPEARANCE: decidedly improved.   BOOKS OPEN TO MY PERUSAL: all those mentioned under the last statement and a great many more as you will see in the preceding and succeeding pages.

C

Ramsay’s History. I applied, this morning to the Captain’s clerk, Mr. Norris, and got the 3rd volume of Ramsay’s History. In reading this volume I employ the greater proportion of my leisure and spare minutes.

D

Cold. I am affected by a bad cold, a result of my Sunday liberty.

(Tuesday, 2.)

E

Wrote a very little in my journal and read Ramsays History.

(Wensday, 3)

F

Some time before day I awoke and found myself on the point of involuntary emission of semen; though conciousness returned and every faculty of my mind went at once into play, my will did not stay the dire calamity, the evil was consummated.

G

FORENOON: Read some in a book called “Tales of the Ocean”. AFTERNOON: Wrote.

(Thursday, 4)

H

They washed clothes in the morning. Laziness prevented me from taking this opportunity to wash my new hammock which I lately received from the sailmaker in place of my old one, it being tore. This new hammock cannot be used untill it is scrubbed.

I

Read Ramsay’s History in the fore noon and evening, &, at times, wrote notes e, 48 & a, 49.

(Friday, 5)

J

FORENOON: Read in Ramsay’s 3rd volume and slept away one hour.

K

AFTERNOON: Read as before, and wrote 49 b preceding. = Mr. Doran came aboard. In partial performance of his promise to get me some books, he gave into my hands a fine little new Mitchel’s Geography only twelve years old, for which relic of antiquity I am, however, gratefull, and I will use it to my best advantage.     Since 1839 great alterterations have taken place in Political Geography, but I may study this little book and bear in mind that affairs were as therein described when I was six years old.

(Saturday, 6)

L

Forenoon: Cleaned up my accoutrements & got them in readiness for inspection to morrow.

Afternoon: Put the third patch on a pair of white pants of mine.

I might have scrubbed my hammock in the Morning, but did not.

Read Ramsay’s History in the spare minutes.

 

Page 52

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book

NOVEMBER, 1852.

(Sunday, 7)

A

Yesterday near sundown the purser came aboard with these news “the duke of Wellington is dead _ Commodore Aulick is ordered home _ Captain Rousseau *** [too indistinct to be heard]” These news, spreading forward, are become happy subjects to engage our attention and talk for a week. It is a question whether our captain, the senior officer if the Commodore goes home, will hoist a broad pennant or not. It is seriously debated what changes in Hell should necessarilly ensue upon the death of Wellington. All unanimously concur in the opinion that Bonaparte & Wellington will resume hostillities as soon as they meet in the regions of Pluto.

B

Dr. Gambrill called me, to day, and asked “was that you that coughed so, last night?” I said, “yes sir, I coughed last night”. “Then, said the doctor, you must not write any more in that journal, but take exercise, or you will die of consumption”

I will observe the surgeon’s advice.

C

A Misunderstanding arose between the fifer and me while playing the tattoo, last night, which lead that brother of mine to complain against me to the officer of the deck.

This morning at day break, the fifer abused and threatened to take vengeance upon the quartermaster who called him up to beat reveille, and the quartermaster complained against the fifer to the officer of the deck.

After breakfast, the fifer and me were summoned to the mast. Mr. Gillis declared that “we boys gave him more trouble than the whole ship’s company, &c.”, and then enquired into the difference between the fifer and me. He seemed satified that I was not to blame in the affair of the tattoo, but, in dismissing us, said to the fifer ‘do you in the future play as is usual on tattoo’, and to me ‘I’ll put you on double duty _ Sergeant, [turning to Grant] put him on double duty untill further orders’.  At this, I could not help saying, ‘Sir, I do’nt deserve any punishment”. To which, Mr. Gillis exclaimed “Silence! I know what you deserve _ you give insolence to an officer that sends for you _ go away”

We were all dismissed.   It was obvious that Mr. G. did not understand rightly the case upon which he had just decided. I was chagrined to a moistening of the eyes to think of being punished for the fifer’s offences, & expressed my determination to square up the affair with the cause of my misfortune.     The quartermaster who had been abused as aforesaid now came up and enquired how the affair at the mast had terminated.   Says I, that thick-head of a first lieutenant has punished me for ‘insolence to an officer that sent for me this morning’ _ he has done nothing to the fifer _ and wou’nt listen to any explanation.     “Why, says the quartermaster, it is the fifer that abused me”; and he went on deck and informed the first lieutenant of his mistake. Whereupon Mr. G. ordered that the fifer should be also put on duty.     The fifer being now associated with me in punishment, I might expect that the orderly sergeant, as much a friend of Bill as an enemy of me, would use his influence to shorten the period of our double duty.

I then thought the calamity not enough to unsettle my forbearance and accordingly made peace with the fifer and resumed friendly intercource.

Our punishment is to stand post at the cabin door, relieving each other every four hours, untill further orders.

 

Page 53

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

NOVEMBER, 1852.

(Monday, 8.)

A

Mr. Norris the captain’s clerk is decidedly no amiable man to me. Others, however, speak highly of his gentlemanly and kind disposition. It was an easy matter for me to get the captain’s permission to read the library books, but it proves a matter of difficulty to avail myself of that permission. I succeeded this morning in obtaining the 3rd volume of Ramsay’s U. History from him of quills, but not upon the first application nor without trouble.

B

__ As I expected, the sergeant procured a pardon for us offenders which releases us from further punishment. So much for the fifer’s being associated with me in punishment: were I alone, the period of my punishment might have extended ad infinitum and the sergeant would not have said a word in my favor.

(Tuesday, 9)

C

Forenoon: Read Ramsay’s 3rd volume. Correction of Mistake _ I got the 3rd volume this morning, and not yesterday morning as I have erroneously marked at A.

Afternoon: Read about the Greeks as before, and was otherwise employed.

(Wensday, 10.)

D

Fore and Afternoon. Read about the Greeks. Wrote notes in my journal. Sent a note to Drummer Hibbs requesting him to ascertain for me whether Sergt. Lorente had any old box belt to spare from which I might make a drum carriage.     Received from Lynch the loan of his Greenleaf’s Arithmetic; I cannot persuade Lynch to sell me the book at any price, but he does not hesitate to lend it to me and others.

(Thursday, 11)

E

Forenoon: Read about Greeks.   Occupied my attention awhile with my Geography & Arith-c.

Afternoon: Read of Ancient Greece.

(Friday, 12)

F

MY PEN would refuse it’s office _ I am humiliated _ Posterity will bestow contempt (merited! merited!) and abhorrence on my memory _ But I must record a gross, a horrible violation of Nature’s Law. Last night, in an evil hour, I perpetrated upon myself that crime for the like of which, they say, Sodom was destroyed.

G

Before breakfast, finished a ‘Hand Book’ for Geo. Kew. Forenoon:- Read about the Greeks. Afternoon:- Wrote a letter for Peter Anderson, for which service he has given me previously a fine set of hammock clues. _ Read in the 4th vol. of Ramsay’s History. __ Received two dollars from the purser. _ Sent the following:

                                                U.S. Ship Plymouth, Nov. 12.

H

   Will you favor me so far as to enquire whether or not Sergt. Larry has any old belts to give away suitable for to make drumbelts of, and let me know by the earliest opportunity the result of your enquires.

I have made this request to the drummer, but he, perhaps, has good reasons of his own for not complying.

Respectfully    

Rolly, Marine Guard, Sesquehanna             P.C. Van Buskirk, drummer.

(Saturday, 13.)

I

Cleaned my belts. Received a note from Hibbs; filed. Finished reading the 4th vol. of Ramsay’s History.

 

Page 54

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal & Remark Book.

NOVEMBER, 1852.

(Sunday, 14.)

A

Bill induced me to go with him to ask Mr. Gillis’ permission to go ashore; Mr. G. dismissed us most disrespectfully, because Bill had already been refused.

I may say I idled away my morning and evening leisures.

B

(Monday, 15.)

Before breakfast, I prepared a note for Hibbs wherein I acknowledged having received his kind favor of the 13th, desired to express my thanks through him to Rolly for the part Rolly had taken to cause my request of the 10th to be re-considered and complied with, informed him that we were watering ship which circumstance however threw no great difficulty in the way of my writing the note, informed him of the impossibility of my getting the sergeant to make out a requisition, requested that he would express my thanks to Sergt. Lorente for the kindness he had shewn in wishing to accommodate me, expressed my sorrow that Emery did not succeed in extricating himself from the Cumsing moon Sing Song scrape, sent my respect to Emery with assurance of unchangeable friendship, and subscribed myself ‘Yours with friendship and esteem. P.C. Van Buskirk

C

Forenoon:   Says I to the O. Sergeant “you have no objections, have you? to my asking Mr. Gillis’ leave to go aboard the Susquehanna for the purpose of getting my old drumbelt exchanged for another”.   “O! no, said the sergeant, provided it does’nt intefere with your duty”, and then after a few minutes elapse he resumed “try your best to get one from Lorry, but if you can’t get one any other way I will give you a drumhead to exchange for one, I know Lorry is short of drumheads.”   Then, upon the first opportunity, I asked Mr. G. for leave to go aboard the flagship for the purposes aforementioned, and was denied the permission. ____ Wrote in my journal.

D

Afternoon: The fifer got permission from Mr. Fitzgerald (Senior officer in the abscence of Mssrs. Gillis, Balch, and Matthews) to go on board the Saratoga, whereupon I asked permission to go on board the flagship, but my request was not granted. The fifer then asked for the loan of my new jacket to wear on this occasion of his visit, which request I granted most unwillingly. ____ Wrote in my journal.

E

Near four o’clock, little John Pons came on board from the Susquehanna and brought a note from Hibbs. My note to Hibbs mentioned at B had not been sent yet, so I gave it to Pons who will carry it to it’s destination. When the bomboat came alongside I got a supply of bananas and oranges and a jar of jelly or preserves for Pons, but he would not be persuaded to eat any of them. Bill, arriving from his visit at this time, however awarded ample justice to the bananas, and with the assistance of a boatswain’s mate rendered complete justice to the oranges. I sent the jelly to Hibbs ____

F

I perceive that we have a passenger in the cabin whoes dress is almost precisely the same as that worn by the president, prefects, and teachers of Georgetown College. ___ Read, to-day, about     pages in vol. VII R.U. History.

Tuesday, 16                   [AT SEA]

G

Forenoon: Mostly employed in ship’s work, as we go to sea today; however, found time to write up my journal while my watch was below.

Afternoon: Read, in the course of the day, about        pages in vol. VII, Ramsay’s U. History.

 

Page 55

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

November, 1852.

Wensday, 17.                      [MACAO ROADS]

A

Forenoon: Mostly employed about decks until half past ten, between which time and dinner I read in the 7th. vol. of Ramsay’s History.

Afternoon: Had intended to employ the afternoon in study, but changed my mind and divided the time between reading and sleep.

B

Before breakfast, became involved in a quarrel with Browning. At breakfast time I neglected, in dressing myself, to put on my white cap cover, and Grant has noticed the abscence of that unnecessary appendage, and declares he will report me for ‘disobedience of orders’. Grant has said to the fifer “if I do’nt stop that fellow’s liberty it will be because I can’t.” Grant can stop my liberty. He has only to trump up some little charge against me, drew from the vast resources of his imagination, and magnified or metamorphosed into a case of ‘disobedience’ or ‘insolence’, and my doom is fixed.

But I am inclined to hope that my “inveterate” will not go to the extreem of having my liberty stopped as a means of visiting his wrath upon my devoted head.

C

The cold which I contracted on the 31 of last month is gone away and, as it were, left a remnant of itself to blockade my nasal channels. My speech is affected by it. Every sound of my voice, though seeking egress from my mouth, finds difficulty in having to run the blockade established upon my nose. My very ideas are clogged.

D

I touched the nerve of my decaying tooth to day. May it’s decay be accelerated and when it is gone I will make it a principle of duty to take the greatest care of the remainder.

E

P.S.   Having been led to curse old Browning in public this morning; I, this evening after sunset, yieled to a sense of justice and apologized in public, saying “I am sorry for having spoken insolently to you this morning __ forgive me this time and I will be carefull to not offend in future.”

Thursday, 18.

F

My bed now consists of the Marine’s great coat bag and my jacket for a pillow. I get right into the bag and sleep. My hammock is slung, but I do’nt use it. It being cold last night I covered myself entirely with the bag; and, happening to awake before daylight this morning, I became concious of the close proximity of a man who seemed to shiver and shake as if from the effect of cold. But a horrible design was at the bottom of these maneures, and I uncovered my head and took measures to ascertain beyond doubt, first, whether it was a man or one of the ship’s boys, and second, what man or boy it was.

It proved to be an old man, but he traversed my measures to find him out by covering his face and then moving to a distance from me. I noticed where he deposited himself, after which I withdrew wholly within my bag again, intending to take a special look at the fellow when daylight came. But when daylight arrived my brute had gone.

G

Forenoon: Read in Ramsay’s History, VII vol.     Dr. Otis very kindly loaned me “Stille’s Elements of General Pathology.”   Afternoon: Read in Stille Pathology. It abounds in words as unintelligible to me as Arabic, but withal I eke out knowledge which may in a small degree enable me to guard against disease.

H

I am in a disagreeable predicament. Some thief has made a prize of the Arithmetic I had borrowed from Lynch. It is doubtfull whether the book will ever be recovered. If not, Lynch will think no compensation adequate to the loss.

 

Page 56

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

November, 1852

Friday, 19.

A

Read in the Pathology. Let boy Milne read the following notes, viz. 6, A; 10, F; 10, E; 12, A; 15, B; 17, E. Milne is the ‘Joe’ of those remarks. Also let him read 44, B; & 45, A.

B

In the preceding night, I suffered an involuntary seminal emission. (Such records as this will kindle disgust that will drown all respect that my memory might attain. Neverless, it must be.)

C

Having had my blanket washed, I lashed it and my matrass up together and kept out my only matrass-cover.   To-day I cut the cover into pieces, and of a part presenting no signs of defilement I made two sweatrags and marked them appropriately with paint. Of a part defiled in several places I made a towel to be used in washing my body, and marked it as follows: in one corner “ *Buskirk* ”; in another corner “A. ‘Foot rag’. ‘(R. A.)’ ‘Nov.19, 1852.” The initials in curves will always remind me that the piece is a Rag of Abomination. The date is erroneous, as I perceive since opening my journal. Other than making and marking these sweatrags (which, in the usual order of things, will be stolen before next Saturday) and marking my new uniform pants, I did nothing worthy of remark.

Sunday, 21.

D

Wished to employ my leisures in writing my journal, but the rocking of the ship rendering the task of making Romans disagreable, I employed the best part of my time in reading Dr. Stille’s Pathology.   Notwithstanding that my ignorance of Anatomy and of the meaning of medical phrases and words presented quite an insurmountable barrier to my properly understanding the beforementioned treatise, I have derived considerable and usefull knowledge from the cursory perusal I have given it.

E

Litterary Embarassment.   Since having lost Greenleaf’s Arithmetic I have ascertained that Lynch is not the owner but had borrowed it from Baker who prized the volume as a keepsake. Considering the book as irrecoverably lost, I communicated the disagreable intelligence to Baker and requested him fix upon any sum of money or purser’s stores within my power of attaining and I would cheerfully pay it in indemnification of the loss. But Baker will set no price upon it, and hopes it may yet be found. However when time proves this hope to be fallacious, he will of course allow himself to be indemnified. __________

F

Mr. Morison asked me to let him have his Universal History. This places me in another unenviable predicament. Mr. M. is quite positive that I have not returned the History since the last time he loaned it to me. I on the contrary do’nt recollect of having borrowed it again since the last time I returned it. Either my memory or Mr. M.’s is deranged. But Mr. M. is positive; whence the predicament.

Monday, 22.

G

Felt peculiarly dull and miserable throughout the day.

Forenoon: After breakfast, mustered a formidable array of books upon my drum, and essayed first to study Geography, but abandoned altogether the present prosecution of that study because my Geography book is antiquated; then I essayed to to study English Grammar, but laid it aside, and gave as much of my attention as I could command for the day to Ramsay’s History

H

Returned the Pathological treatise to Dr. Otis.  

 

Page 57

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

NOVEMBER, 1852

Tuesday, 23.

A

From an old sheet of log paper which I had obtained of the yeoman, I made a small book and inscribed within it the names of all the tunes with which my brother musician is acquainted. I am very deficient in musical lore _ am in fact a very bad drummer and need considerable practice. Bill knows a great many good tunes for which I cannot conceive proper beats. My plan then is to make a list of the tunes and learn them one by one.

B

Employed part of the evening leisure, reading in vol. vii of Ramsay’s Universal History.

C

The space between ‘hammocks down’ and tattoo (8, P.M.) is the time which I appropriate to practising tunes.

Wensday, 24.

D

Before 7 bells in the morning I read in Ramsay’s History.   At breakfast time I went down to our mess and set down before a quart of tea and a panful of bread scouce with the accompaniment of hard clean biscuit. Before commencing operations, I enquired of an intelligent Pole on my left whether or not “fasting cleared the intellect”. Being answered in the affirmative, I dissented from that opinion on the grounds “that fasting brings about debility” and “debility is unfavorable to intellectual devellopment”. An Anglo-Irishman on my right remarked to the effect that I was no disciple of Graham. “Oh no, I said, I could never agree to live on sawdust”, and commenced to administer ample justice to the tea, biscuit, and scouce, but with great partiality to the latter.   My pan becoming exausted first, I got the cook to replenish it again from his capacious scouce kettle, and renewed my operations untill my belly seemed to remonstrate in pain against my voracious proceedings; notwithstanding, I emptied the quart pot of it’s tea and the pan of it’s scouce.

I mention this circumstance in full, as it is very unusual with me to eat heavy breakfasts, and the one recorded was a very heavy one, and would, if repeated, materially affect my health.

E

Ramsay’s seventh volume occupied my attention untill I read the last page, when I availed myself of an opportunity to return this volume and request the favor of the next in order. He of quills received the volume and granted my request with a very bad grace, muttering his displeasure the while, or, as a sailor would say, growling like a bear with a sore head. It is really afflicting to me to see what affliction I bring upon Mr. Norris by the exercise of my little privilege, derived from the Captain’s permission, of reading the Starboard Library books.   But it is due the knight of quills for me to observe that he might at once destroy my little privilege by simply or with only a mite of exaggeration representing to the captain the trouble which his permission occasions; but Mr. M., doubtless, would rather remain under his present affliction than pursue a measure not in the strictest accordance with honor.

Thursday, 25.

F

Read Ramsay’s History Vol. VIII.     Forenoon: Wrote a note in my journal (E) an’ then headed and ruled the eight succeeding pages.     Afternoon: Read about the Russians.

G

Lucky Relief from embarrassment. In assisting to remove and replace some cots, I happened to dislodge a great coat from a pocket of which peeped the lost Greenleaf’s Arithmetic.   The coat belonged to a sweeper of the deck, an elderly pious-mannered individual, of whom I had enquired about the lost book. It was clearly a case of theft, but I accepted the man’s excuse, and the affair may not rest where it is. I returned the book to Lynch, and informed Baker of it’s recovery.

 

Page 58

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

NOVEMBER.

Friday, 26.

A

Before breakfast, had washed a flannel shirt and exercised myself by assisting the foretopmen in scrubbing down their part of the Spar deck.

Forenoon: Employed copying the minimum & maximum rates of heat, lattitude & longitude, and some miscelaneaus remarks into my “journal of the Cruize”, from Aug. 22 to Nov. 6, out of Mr. Beardslee’s Logbook.

   Afternoon: Read about the Russians in Ramsay’s Vol. viii, after which I made a gamut in my little music book, & went to Supper.

After Supper, when about to write this note I found my pen deranged, and accordingly threw it away; but not being able to get another one at once, I must use my pencil & I will ink this writing over when I can buy another pen to-morrow.

Saturday, 27.

B

Sewed in the forepart of the day, and cleaned up my accoutrements in the latter.     My right nostrill is the seat of a sore which has swelled and reddened one side of the tip of my nose.

C

To-day I terminate a very foolish habit to which I had for a short period given myself: that of getting coffee every morning from the fifer at the price of from 3 to 6 cents a cup, and of making unnecessary purchases of fruits from the bomboat.

At this closing of accounts with the bomboat and ‘Café’, I owe Sally no less than $1,65, and Bill is my creditor to 55 cents.

I’ll observe that in my transactions with Sally, I alone have kept the run of my debts; Sally having so much confidence in my integrity and punctuality in accounts as to not introduce my name into his books.

D

   This is a summary of my debts to Sally: For Eggs, 2; Suppers, 37; Ink, 10; Washing clothes, 28; Bananas, 36; Suspenders, 25; Sponge, 5; Steel pens, 5; Other things, 17 _ Total, 1 65.

Sunday, 28.

E

Before breakfast I incurred the displeasure of Corp. Gilchest by assisting the Foretopmen in washing down their part of the Spar Deck. This is healthy exercise for me, but the corporal pretends to believe that it will lead the officers to employ the marines as well as the sailors at scrubbing in the morning.

F

To please the fifer I went to Mr. Gillis and asked leave for the fifer and me to go ashore.

G

The officers are begining to assume their new uniforms.

H

I employed my leisures in Reading Ramsay’s accounts of Sweden, Norway, & Switzerland.

Monday, 29.

I

Read, in Ramsay’s Hist. vol. 8., about Austria and the German States.   Got a blank book from Sally which is to answer for a transcript book for Chinese inscriptions and autographs.

Tuesday, 30.

J

Contention in the Mess. This revival of an old privilege by which one or two men’s rations in a mess may be commuted to money is now a source of contention to the members of our little belly republic. There are nine of us, and we wrangle about ‘whether there shall be a steady cook’ and then ‘who shall be the cook?’ Things upon which all the other messes have decided. I, myself, am in the vortex of these commotions.

K

Greenleaf’s Arithmetic. I have just bought this good arithmetic from Baker upon these terms, viz, I give him now my Hist. of United States (36, E) and my School Geography (51, K), and in addition thereto will pay him by instalments in cash and purser’s stores to the amount of two dollars. It’s cost is thus equivalent to $3,25.

L

The civil war mentioned at J is ended, but not before a battle was fought between the heads of two opposing factions which resulted in the confinement of both the pugilists.   The Mess could not agree upon ‘who shall be cook? but now unanimously determine that there shall be no steady cook; and quiet is restored.

 

Page 59

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

Wensday, 1.

EXISTING CIRCUMSTANCES.

A

FINANCES: Pay, &c. accredited to my account on the purser’s books … 23.21

b

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books … 54.18

c

Whole Private Debt … 10.73

d

Cash on hand [A fund sacred to the purpose of buying a strong box and porcelain tablets] … 2.00

e

Remarks. Detail of my private debt. _ Creditors, Sergt. Walsh by balance due for books, 2,32,  _ privt. Fitzgerald by cash, 12 ½, _ pvt. Ferguson, by cash, 10, _ Corp. Farran by bananas, 5, _ Sally the bumboatman by fruit, suppers, pens, &c., 196, _ Sam the bomboatman by an inkstone & fruit, 28, _ pvt. Coombs by cash and work done in altering a pair of pants, 62 ½, _ Pseudo Sally by fruits, &c., 1 20, _ fifer McFarland by coffee and cash, 64, _ to be paid in money; John Baker Idsman by balance due for a book, 2 00, _ payable partly in money; pvt. Gacki, by the ‘Chinese Repository’ (balance due) 22, _ Miltun Griffiths, sailor, by indemnification due upon the loss of a Dictionary which I occasioned, 22, _ payable in purser’s stores.

f

Ration Money. This day is an era in my financial history insomuch as henceforth the expenses of my mess relationship can be met without recourse to my grogmony. Heretofore all mess bills were to be paid out of our grogmoney, but now a mess is allowed to have two or three of it’s rations commuted to money, from which arises a fund sufficient to cover all expences incurred for potatoes, taras, cooking, &c.

B

SOCIAL RELATIONS: On the whole more perhaps are friendly than inimical to me. Grant behaves civilly. I do’nt know that Gwatney has lately demonstrated any enmity. The fifer hates me heartily and wears the appearance of friendship. Every endeavor of mine to gain his friendship and good will has failed. He has kept up this hypocrisy with quite consummate cunning and perhaps has always regarded me in the light of a dupe. It now remains for me to dissimulate and keep up this ostensible friendship untill I will have learned by his assistance those beats as mentioned at 57, A, after which, policy will no longer require me to humor and flatter this bad boy as I do, and justice will appoint him to recieve at my hands the contempt due an ungrateful spirit full of malice and feigned friendship.

C

HEALTH: Altered much for the better since last statement. I am just relieved of some little disagreable sores. I may here observe that I believe my temperament to be the lymphatic.

D

PERSONAL APPEARANCE: I have every means of presenting a fair exterior on parade.

E

      In the preceding night, I suffered an involluntary seminal emission.

F

Employed variously.   Presented myself before Mr. N. with the request to have the 8th Vol. of Ramsay’s History exchanged for the 9th. In granting my request, Mr. Norris said “if the other man pester me again for books, I’ll stop the whole concern _ I do’nt see that you have any more right to the books than the rest.”

Thursday, 2.

G

I suffered, in the night, an involluntary emission of semen. I would gladly refrain from remarks which present me to general contempt; but I cannot escape it. P.S. I mistake it was not involuntary, but voluntary _ the result of a train of lascivous thoughts.

H

Read in Ramsay’s vol. IX about Egypt, and Carthage. Near suppertime I was annoyed by the boy Coleman and almost sufficiently provoked to hurt him.

I

 

Page 60

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

Friday, 3.

A

Forenoon: Was undecided what to do. Got up my Latin books and tried to read attentively in the grammar, but my thoughts wandered away and, I might say, traversed dirty regions. They were tinged with the lascivous. My animal propensities were excited and the presence of people around me alone saved me from onanism. These thoughts and misery were distracting my mind while everybody supposed me engaged in the mysteries of Latin grammar. Now that those excited propensities have subsided __ that the devil has loosed his gripe __ I feel grateful for my narrow escape from the commission of that soul killing species of immorality.

B

Afternoon: I tried to read about the Carthaginians, but could not. I found tranquility in a few minutes sleep.     I am a miserable dog. I am here a solitary being. My pleasures are few; they are shortlived and far between. I suffer misery and commit sin in secret. My outward appearance is rather that of a happy dog than otherwise and my reputation for morality is above reproach. However I may sin, my outward conduct shall be exemplary. Whatever gloom may envelope my soul, there shall nought but cheerfullness appear in my countenance and conversation.

Saturday, 4.

C

Read about Mauritania, Numidia, the African Islands and America, in Ramsay’s Hist. vol. IX.     Yesterday, Gilfoy the carpenter’s mate loaned me a fine little compendium of Arithmetic.     Sewed two buttons on my jacket. Cleaned up my sword and belts.     The purser came aboard to-day, and, a few minutes ago, I begged to know the cost of my Geography (51, K). Mr. D. answered ‘nothing’ and afterwards said that some one ashore had given it to him. I expressed my grattitude for the gift.     We are experiencing some of the severities of winter. I especially, being unprovided with winter clothing, have been lashed these three or four preceding days by the cold north wind, from the effects [reach] of which there seems to be no retreat.

Sunday, 5.          [AT SEA]

D

Sin. I come again to record the commission of a crime against all nature. Last night, a train of evil thoughts possessed my brain, and led me to perpetrate on myself that dreadfullest of crimes.

E

Had but very little leisure to day, and did not employ that to any advantage.

Monday, 6.

F

Finished reading the IX vol. of Ramsay’s History.   Got a peajacket from the purser.

Tuesday, 7.

Sin. I present myself again an object worthy of abhorrence. In the obscurity of last night at a time when my watch was on deck, one of the ship’s boys placed himself by my side and persevered to no avail in some of his best endeavors to induce me to permit him to perform for me the horrible crime which I have so often inflicted upon myself. But I could not humble myself in his eyes _ and I dread the weight of guilty example, so he found me, as he found me in previous attempts and ever will find me, invulnerable.     The boy doubtless departed with an humble opinion of himself and a high respect for my inaccessible virtue: he had no sooner gone than I inflicted upon myself the dreadful evil.

H

Read in Ramsay’s Hist. U. States. Vol. I.

Wensday, 8.

I

Various occurrences. Read in Ramsay’s Hist. of United States. Vol. I.

 

Page 61

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book

DECEMBER, 1852.

Thursday, 9.

A

Read in Ramsay’s Hist. U. States. Vol. I.     Occurrences of importance, but I hav’nt inclination to remark ’em.

Friday, 10.

B

Sin! Sin! I had at midnight perpetrated onanism.   When I turned out at four o’clock it happened that I encountered the boy Daley, a most hardened and inveterate sodomite, under the boom-cover. After awhile the boy insisted upon performing onanism for me; I objected to the crime, but permitted the most indecent familiarity which I would only check at times when there would appear danger of it’s terminating in crime.   But at the last of these times, I strived but was powerless to check the evil; the boy had me completely in his power; my struggle to free myself from his grasp only hastened the consummation of the evil.   Thus be-devilled, I did not hesitate in the least to do for Daley what he had done for me, and ere daylight came I had committed three different abominations either of which deserve death at the hands of the civil magistrate and are sufficient for my damnation.

In an evil hour during our passage from Rio to Batavia this boy Daley had succeeded in inducing me to join him in an act of this abomination. He and the yeoman are the only men in the ship before whose eyes I have humbled myself. That yeoman is a monster of iniquity _ it is a dreadful thought, to think of his destiny, _ and mine!

C

Read, during part of my watch below, in Ramsay’s History U.S. Vol. I. Read, in the spare minutes of my watch on deck, in Mr. Waterton’s fine little work the “Wanderings in South America”. I read this little book over and over again for the fine sentiments it breathes.

(Saturday, 11.)

D

Various occurrences.     Returned the first volume of Ramsay’s Hist. U. States and, in consequence of the second volume not being in the book-case, got “Botta’s History of the War of Independence of the United States of America. Vol. I.” Mr. Norris on this occasion behaved with great kindness, as was also his behavior on the preceding occasion of this kind.     Though I got out Botta’s History I did’nt read any in it today of account. I do’nt think I will read it at all, but keep it awhile for it’s use as a means of instructing one of my shipmates in the History of his country’s fight for liberty. Some remarks in a preface to Ramsay’s Hist. have prejudiced me against the Italian’s work insomuch as I can find no pleasure in reading it.

Sunday, 12.

E

Let Geo. Reever have Botta’s History to read.     Would like to have made some lengthy remarks in my journal. _

F

We arrived in a small bay on the coast of Formosa and dropped anchor. When sails were furled and everything put to rights on board, a number of natives came alongside on their bamboo rafts, bringing vegetables, fish, and eggs, in exchange for which they preferred brass buttons. These men were of fiercer and more hardened aspect than the inhabitants of Heängshan heën. They are a noisy set, and their behavior leads some of us to believe them guiltless of ever having seen a European ship before. I showed one of them my “Chinese Note Book” and he read the Chinese writing with facility.

Monday, 13.

G

The First Lieutenant’s visit to the town. Disappointment. After breakfast, the gig & a cutter was called away, and their crews armed with cutlasses and pistols. The sergeant also and four marines armed themselves for service. These warlike preparations led me to believe that a military visit was intended the town. Not desirous of being left behind on such an occasion, I begged Mr. Gillis for permission to put on my belts (myself & the fifer) and accompany the expedition.

 

Page 62

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book

DECEMBER, 1852.

Permission being granted I communicated the glad news to the fifer and we got ourselves in readiness. After some time the first lieutenant and Mr. Matthews got into the gig, and the marines into the cutter, which boats being manned, pushed off and pulled for the town, the gig leading and cutter following in her wake.

The distance to be accomplished I should suppose to be three miles. On approaching the shore we found ourselves surrounded by fishermen on their rafts, who, as the crews were ordered to lay on their oars, exibited a lively curiosity in examining the different fixings of our boats and the trappings of the crew as far as they were allowed. We found no semblance of a wharf; the surge rolled heavilly on the beach, suffiently perhaps to make it appear inconvenient to land our boats, though nothing was more easy than to debark from the natives’ light bamboo rafts. Four or five small white junks were laying at anchor, from one of which was displayed a Dutch flag. Men and boys collected in a great crowd on the beach, eager to get a sight of the strangers who, they expected, were about to land. The boys expressed their joy and excitement by continued shouts.

Mr. Gillis endeavored for awhile to interrogate the natives about him, but not succeeding in reaching their understandings, he determined to go ashore, and accordingly called our boat alongside the gig. We were instructed to maintain silence in the abscence of Mr. G., who would signalize for us to land if any emergency would demand our presence. Mr. Gillis and Mr. Matthews, accompanied by the sergeant and two sailors, then got upon rafts and were landed upon the beach. The dense crowd envelloped them and the whole moved away from our sight into the recesses of the town. The gig and cutter alternately laid on their oars and rowed against the current, untill at lenght the two boats were made fast to a junk, where we remained awaiting the turn of events. The natives as before, surrounded us and exercised their inquisitiveness. They were harmless, and the midshipman of the cutter took care that no rudeness should be offered to them. I observed these natives to be of talkative dispositions and merrily inclined. They were distinguished by the tail, mostly wrapped about their head; wore the Chinese upper garments, and breeches so short as to leave the legs bare to some distance above the knee. Some were not incommoded with upper clothing. Their teeth were black from the effects of chewing the betel nut, and almost every one seemed provided with a long stemmed pipe and opium* pouch attached. One of the natives brought us off some confectionaries which the midshipman recieved for us as presents, though they were, as afterwards appeared, evidently intended for sale.

My hopes of going ashore were strong, but doomed to be blasted. The great crowd which had moved away from the beach in escort of our chief officer reäppeared again. The Officers, sergeant, and sailors returned to the boats again and we steered for the Plymouth, where we arrived just in time for dinner. And thus ended our expedition to the town of Ponglew on the South West coast of Formosa.

*tobacco

 

Page 63

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

Tuesday, 14.

B

Employed variously. In the afternoon, I received the “Middle Kingdom, vol. II.” from Mr. Balch. I had requested to look at volume first again. We are at sea and the duty of ship in combination with it’s rolling rather decreases the facility of writing.

C

Deserved! The first lieutenant owns a little slut which exercises the freedom of the Main Deck. To-day, upon finding the boy Milne (better known of late on the Main Deck abaft as Miss Milne) and the aforesaid animal near each other, I approached the boy and, pointing to the brute, said “Artificial, see the little natural bitch”. This reflection, as I desired, irritated him. I increased his vexation out of wantoness untill he was so exasperated as to apply the epithet of ‘son of a b—h’ to me. This affront was deserved. Notwithstanding which, the occasion seemed to demand some show of punishing or resenting it, and I accordingly frightened him a little by assuming an appearance of sudden anger and making a movement as if to strike him; instead of doing so, I slightly stroked each side of his face in a manner rather than expressing endearment than anger, but at the same time promised him condign punishment in these words: “The next time I meet you on the forecastle, I’ll pinch your ears untill they can no longer feel pain”. To execute this threat will be unjust and rather a piece of cowardice as the victim is a weak, timid little creature having every characteristic of a girl and more anti-pugilistic than a quaker.

I must however make a show of abiding by my threat by “pinching his ears untill he will say they no longer pain”. And I may never err like this again.

(Wensday, 15.)

D

Read, at times in “The Middle Kingdom, vol. II.”       Various occurrences.

(Thursday, 16.)

E

Employed as yesterday and otherwise.

Friday, 17.

F

Employed the better part of my leisure in reading the “Middle Kingdom”.

G

Importunity to sin. At nights while my watch may be on deck I usually in common with others seek shelter under the boom cover. On several such occasions I have happened to get alongside of boys from whose importunities to sin I have found it difficult to escape. An incident of the kind happened last night.

Saturday, 18.

H

Received “Bottas History” from Geo. Reever and exchanged it at the library for a “Life of De Witt Clinton”. Mr. Norris behaving with urbanity. It proves impracticable to lend books. I observed that Reever was carefull in using Botta’s History, but the rough handling which he could not prevent his topmates from bestowing upon it caused serious damage to the volume. Foretopmen do’nt understand the art of using a book with a view to it’s preservation _ It is with dismay I see a book go into their hands. ___________

I

Middle Kingdom” I finished reading this volume and read over again some parts of it. I have read aloud to auditors possessing the most absurd notions of the Celestial Empire. I do’nt know that my reading contributes any to dispel their ignorance. Too many ‘high flown’ or ‘Dictionary’ words proof against their comprehension occur in books.

 

Page 64

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

(Sunday, 19).

A

In the forenoon while my watch was on deck I employed myself arranging on pages 4 & 5 of My Chinese Note Book a “Table of battles occurring in the Opium War of 1842, waged against China”, deriving my data from “The Middle Kingdom” Vol. 2. Chap. xxiii. But I believe my arrangement of the table to be imperfect and the data to be as erroneous as scanty.

B

In the afternoon while my watch was below I had a fine opportunity to write in my journal, which I wished to do, but I could neither write nor read, in lieu of which I deposited myself on a mat & there in joint occupation with the boy Milne, lazed away the afternoon leisure __ I wished things to be otherwise, but Indolence governed.

And yet I cannot say that this evening leisure was lost in toto. A seaman happened to alight in my vicinity with a copy of Little’s Living Age and therefrom read in my hearing an article criticising some publication entitled (if I remember aright) a “History of the Captivity of Napoleon Bonaparte”. From hearing this article read I acquired some new notions respecting the great conqueror’s private and early life and that of the abbe Sieyes.

Monday, 20.

C

Mr. Norris in the kindest manner possible allowed me to replace the “Life of DeWitt Clinton” in the library, and to take out “Gibbon’s Decline & Fall of the Roman Empire. Vol. 3.” _______      A few minutes ago I attended the burial ceremony requisite upon consigning the body of a deseased shipmate to the deep. The ceremony is impressive enough; but the hearts of those who assist in it are not open to impression. They accept no warning from the heaving sepulchre.

D

In the evening during my watch on deck I employed my leisure in reading aloud.

(Tuesday, 21)

E

We are working up the bay of Manilla.       I employ my short but frequent leisures of today in reading the 3rd vol. of that most excellent work Gibbon’s Rome.

F

P.S. Near ½ past 8, P.M. we arrived and anchored off Manilla.

Wensday, 22.

G

I suffered, last night, an involluntary seminal emission.

H

I employed the greater part of my leisure reading in Gibbon’s Rome.

Thursday, 23.

I

Curiosity box. A day or so ago, I purchased at the price of one dollar and fifty cents payable on grogmoney-day after next, a Chinese box. The Captain’s steward, who sells me this box, will in accordance with our bargain, keep it for me.

This box is perhaps a dressing-case. I will call it my curiosity box and will store away in it whatever small curiosities, mementoes, &c. I may collect in the East. The drawers are loose as also are some other parts, but with a little glue the whole may be put in good repair.

J

Pair of Nautulus Shells. Of a Manila man who brought them for sale I bought a pair of carved Nautulus shells, paying seventy five cents. I have carefully stuffed them with flannel, and, after covering them with the same article, stowed them away in my curiosity box.

K

“THE LONDON MAGAZINE: OR, GENTLEMEN’S Monthly Intelligencer.” MDCCXXXIV.’, is the title of a volume which I bought on the 18 of January from Sergeant Grant. Cost, sixty cents. I had offered the old fellow two dollars for it, as I valued it’s antiquity, but he had the honesty or generosity to not demand more than the price I have mentioned.

 

Page 65

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

A

“MAGNA BRITANNIA ET HIBERNIA, ANTIQUA & NOVA. OR, A New Survey of Great Brittain, wherein, to the Topographical Account given by Mr. Cambden, and the late Editors of his Britannia, is added a more large History, not only of the Cities, Boroughs, Towns, and Parishes mentioned by them, but also of many other places of Note and Antiquities since discovered.

Together with ___ The CHRONOLOGY of the most remarkable Actions of the Britains, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans. The Lives and Constitutions of the Bishops of all our Sees, Founders, and Benefactors to our Universities and Monasteries, the Sufferings of Martyrs, and many other Ecclesiastical Matters. The Acts and Laws of our Parliaments, with the Place of their Meeting. A Character of such eminent Statesmen and Churchmen, as have signalized themselves by their wise Conduct and Writings. And the Pedigrees of all our noble Families and Gentry, both Antient and Modern, according to the best Relations extant.

Collected and composed by an impartial Hand.

VOL. VI.

Containing the Counties of Westmorland, Wiltshire, Worcestershire, and Yorkshire.

In the SAVOY: Printed by E. And R. NUTT; and Sold by T. COX, at the b­­amb under the Royal Exchange, Cornhill. M. DCC. XXXI.”

Such is the title and pretensions of a volume which I purchased some months ago from a Richard Gormly at a cost of purser’s stores to the value of one dollar & twenty cents.

It contains 702 pages and 5 maps. It is not much damaged. I carefully preserve it.

B

“THE CHINESE REPOSITORY. VOL. IV.” which I received in exchange for two bars of soap, I also preserve with a view to have it rebound in the U. States and placed in my library. It contains rare information. I value it highly. It’s pages may be a source of pleasure to me in aftertimes. As yet it is entire, but it’s covering has been damaged considerably by the rough usage which my fellow barbarians never fail to bestow on such unlucky books as happen to fall into their paws. Mr. Page, the gunner, kindly allows me to keep these books on his bureau, where they are safe from disturbance, if I except the occasional inroads of a middy who I might say is unsparing in his devastations.

C

Cocao wood stick, a present from John Pons. One day when I was on board the flagship, a little Port Mahon boy testified his good will to me by the present of a cocao wood cane. I value the gift more than if I had received it from the grand pangendrum. It is a token of friendship from a boy of the navy; in aftertimes it a mementoe of these days will serve to keep alive the friendship I bear the boys of our navy. The captain’s steward keeps it for me.

D

Grogmoney served out. In consideration of approaching christmas our captain had requested the purser to serve out grog and ration money to the crew, although neither were due by 9 days, and accordingly we have all been called to recieve the aforesaid money.        Our cook recieved the ration money of the mess ($5,00) which is now the occasion of deliberations and debates between His Grease and two or three factious and leading members; but with this, I have nothing to do.

That which I recieved, my grogmoney, amounted to $3,50, two dollars & thirty five of which I expended in liquidation of my Private Debt.

 

Page 66

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

Friday, 24.

A

The lines which I am about to transcribe are clipt from an old paper. Though they are not addressed to me who am of the “erring”, I yesterday inscribed them upon the tablet of my memory.

SPEAK GENTLY TO THE ERRING—                                        Speak kindly to the erring—

Ye know not all the pow’r                                                               For it is not enough

With which the dark temptation came                                             That innocence and peace are gone,

In some unguarded hour:                                                                 Without thy censure rough?

You may not know how earnestly                                                   It surely is a weary lot,

They struggled, or how well,                                                           That sin-crushed heart to bear;

Untill the hour of weakness came,                                                   And they who share a happier fate

And sadly thus they fell!                                                                  Their chidings well may spare.

Speak gently of the erring—                                                             Speak kindly to the erring—

Oh! do not thou forget,                                                                    Thou yet mayst lead him back,

However darkly stain’d by sin,                                                        With holy words and tones of love,

He is thy brother yet.                                                                        From mis’ry’s thorny track;

Heir of the self-same heritage,                                                          Forget not thou hast often sin’d,

Child of the self-same God,                                                             And sinful yet must be;

He hath but stumbled in the path,                                                     Deal kindly with the erring one,

Thou hast in weakness trod.                                                             As God hath dealt with thee!

 

B

Transient embarrassment. The mess-bills were served out to-day, upon which occasion my creditors, Sergt. Walsh, Baker, and private Gacki embaressed me not a little by requesting as much as four bars of soap _ just two bars more than I could draw upon one mess-bill.     To relieve myself from this dilemna I applied successively to five or six of my nearest friends, explaining my difficulty and requesting the favor of two bars this month, assuring them that next month I would reimburse them. My friends could apprehend no loss, but they could percieve no gain and accordingly had no favor to bestow. I then chuse to purchase from the selfishness what I could not obtain from the friendship of my most intimate acquaintance, & agreed to draw on this mess-bill articles to the value of a dollar and fifteen cents, & give them in exchange for two bars of soap, by which my friend will gain .71 cents.

C

Gambling. I sat down to witness his the course of a game of chance where a party were betting on the contingency of the dice throws, when one of my friends who had denied me favor in the affair of soap, lost all his ready money and strived to borrow a quarter wherewith to push his luck again; as no one else would lend him, I advanced him the desired quarter __ “thus showing great magnanimity”.

But this was destined to be an unlucky hour for me. I joined the game myself, bet high, met success at first, and then lost all the cash I had in my possession. Thus ended my “box and slate fund” (page 59. A,d.) it having been already reduced to $1,25 by the purchase of Nautulus shells.

 

Page 67

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

Christmas-day.

A

Liberty ashore: _ Ride into the country: _ &c.

The different messes, excepting my own and one or two others, had ensured themselves a happy Christmas dinner of roast pigs and turkeys. It would to me be as hapless as any other day of the year unless I could obtain the indulgence of a ramble ashore. The fifer was as anxious as me to visit the shore, and promised to lend me fifty cents and a clean shirt to wear on the occasion if I would obtain the evening’s liberty.   Immediately after beating troop at 9 O’clock, I prefered respectfully my request for liberty untill sundown for the fifer & me, which the captain kindly granted; and I left the cabin with a lighter heart than I had brought in with me. I dissolved Bill’s suspense with the happy news, and we set about preparing to enjoy our liberty. I requested Bill to let me have the promised shirt and found as another instance of his faithlessness that he had or professed to have no shirt to lend. Without stopping to be chagrined at this, I held up a pair of new socks and offered to give them to any one who would lend me a clean shirt, upon which a private advanced the desired article with the addition of a silk neckerchief.

Having dressed myself very properly in every other way, I perceived the necessity of getting a good pair of shoes to wear in lieu of my big pair of conspicously ill shaped goverment shoes, and accordingly bought a pair from the yeoman, to pay for which I will appropriate 75 cents of my next grogmoney. Fully dressed and equipped and armed with seventy five cents and a dollar*, I in common with Bill and the orderly sergeant awaited the departure of the ten O’clock boat.

At length this ten O’clock boat was called away. After touching my cap to the officer of the deck, I followed the sergeant, fifer, doctor’s steward, & boatswain into the boat. The midshipman took his seat, gave the word to push off, “let fall”, &c and the crew pulled so strong and with such effect that we well nigh overtook the gig which preceded us by some time. We debarked at the landing place; a short distance up the canal, whence the sergeant sallied into the suburbs of the Philipine metropolis. Bill followed the sergeant and like a fool I followed Bill the distance of two or three streets, when I turned about and retraced my steps, intending to seek some one of the English housekeepers near the landing & obtain some information concerning the place, & if possible, ascertain where I might hire a horse. I had not proceeded many paces before I heard Bill’s voice behind me; he joined my company, bringing valorous tale of the circumstances connected with his separation from the sergeant. I bore with the calamnity of Bill’s company very patiently untill he fell in with one of the boat’s crew to whom he transferred the unenviable honor. Having found an Englishman at the “Sailor’s Delight” I obtained some information, and at

*Having in addition to Bill’s loan, accepted a dollar from Deviny and recovered the loan I have mentioned at 66, C.

 

Page 68

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

A

this juncture I met with Peter Deviny from whom I accepted the loan of another dollar. I here had to refuse a demand of one of the boat’s-crew for liquor. Afterwards I was stopped in the street by three of them who demanded a quarter to get something to drink; but I could not supply them. My first efforts to obtain a horse were unsuccessful, because of my inability to understand or be understood; but having returned again to the neighborhood of the landing, a landlord there, in accordance with my request, directed a Manila boy to show me the way to a livery stable, which service the boy performed in consideration of a real. The proprietor of the horses, who was a European, was too apprehensive that danger and injury would result to his animals if he trusted them to the discretion and tender mercies of a foreigner of my rank, for which apprehension his past experience afforded him ground. He could not therefore let me have a single horse, but offered to hire a carriage for the evening.

This carriage, the other horse, and coachman, I said, would all be so much and incumbrance to me. He then proposed, for ten reals, to furnish me with a horse to ride, and one of his coachmen to attend for the double purpose, he said, of showing me the best way into the country & city and seeing that no mishap befel the horses. I agreed to this proposal, and by half past one the animals were in readiness. Mounting one of them I directed my course to the country. To conciliate the Manila man’s good will I gave him two reals, and afterwards gratified his desires for cigars and wine, which last I should not have done. The high road leading into the country presented on either side a succession of sheds and huts from the dog kennel size and appearance to that of the clean and comfortable cow shed, which were all family domicils. Stalls of fruits and cakes were frequent on the road side. Every countenance I met with seemed to wear an expression of happiness. My ride on this road terminated at a very respectable cathedral, having the revered images of St. Antonina and some other saint in niches of the wall (if I mistake not). The building seemed old and solid; immediately opposite the church and across the road stood an ornamented fruit stall at which I purchased some oranges for the children near me. Upon arriving in the place, I had, at the persuasion of my companion, bought a bottle of Malaga wine (price 3 reals), and drank half of it, which had the effect of sickening me so much that I could not enjoy properly the remaining term of my liberty. Remounting the pony I rode leisurely back in the direction of the city, stopping once to witness a game of marbles played by children whoes infancy strikingly contrasted with their happy activity and inteligence.   Arriving at the city, I followed John over a drawbridge and through an entrance, well guarded by soldiers, into the capital. John led the way through the town to an office or room in the Calle Real around the walls of which were suspended long lists of names, foreign, provincial, & Espaniola, the object of all which I could not understand. In the Calle de Palacio I stopped at the printing office of the “Boletin Oficial de las Filipinas”, and purchased a copy of the Saturday issue. Leaving this place, I directed my course to

 

Page 69

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

A

to the landing-place again, where, I hoped, by finding the purser, to replenish my purse. I had expended my last real at the printing office.

I met with several officers (of the Plymouth) in the vicinity of the Landing and Hotel, but it was luckilly my misfortune to not encounter the purser.

Finding Bill in the vicinity of “Jack’s Delight” I, as a last recourse, requested him to let me have fifty cents. Bill protested that he had not a cent.

It remained now for me to terminate my ride, which I did at the door whence I had started. Returning again to the landing, I procured a supper and a glass of wine at the house of our bomboatman, Joe, and sat down to patiently await the arrival of the Plymouth’s sundown boat.

The boat arrived when I was not aware of it. Long afterwards, I happened to ascertain the fact from one of her crew in search of another; and, repairing to the landing, found her awaiting the return of some of her crew.

The sun had gone down. The Boatswain, Surgeon’s steward, and fifer were in the sternsheets.      I Joined the party. I have two remarks here to make.

After being seated awhile, the fifer asked me “how much money do you bring off”? I come off 3 reals in debt. “I manage to bring off a dollar with me.” Habitual liars require good memories. I was astonished in a small degree to hear the fifer carry on an obscene conversation in the presence of the midshipman of the boat. It was so repugnant to my established notions. But they were founded in error, I suppose.

At lenght the absentees retuned and the boast was pushed off.

Arriving on board the Plymouth again, my liberty terminated.

(B)

The following is a detail of my expenses on this occasion:

Glass of Muscatel … __ 1 medio.

Boy’s service … 1 real.

Horse hire… 10   “

Donative to a beggar woman …1   “

“       “         the horse-proprietor’s man … 2   “

Expended in bananas for a little boy … ___ 1 medio.

“       “          Oranges  “   some    “  s (in the country) … __ 1 …

“       “          Segars    “   the P—r’s man … __ 1 …

Paid for a bottle of Malaga wine … 3 reals.

“       “          copy of the day’s paper (in the city) … 1 _ _ 2 cents.

Cash expended and unaccounted for … 2    “

Supper & glass of wine (to be paid on board) … 3    “

Total expenditure … 3 pesos 1   “  (or $3,72 ½)

 

(Sunday, 26.)

C

Sold my peajacket for $3, and my mathematical instruments for, $1. The former cost me $7, and for the latter I paid in cash and purser’s stores, six dollars.

Read Gibbon’s Rome.

(Monday, 27.)

D

As far as conquering indolence would permit I enjoyed the writings of Gibbon. __

 

Page 70

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book

DECEMBER, 1852.

(Tuesday, 28.)

A.

Wrote in my journal. Read in Gibbon’s Rome. Attended to some pecuniary affairs.

B

Asst. Surgeon & my journal. Some days ago I had, at the asst. Surgeon’s request, submitted every part of this journal to his examination except the six pages immediately following page 54. Having enveloped these pages in order to shield remarks 56, C, & 60, A & B. from view.   This evening I happened to make an enquiry of the young doctor, when he took occasion to say in reference to my journal that “there are some things [recorded in it] which had better be forgotten than remembered; things which, if true, are humiliating to human nature”      I am thankful to the young doctor for his suggestion and will accord the consideration it deserves.

C

General liberty. As far as I understand the captain has excused himself from giving general liberty in this port, on the plea that “a knowledge of recent difficulties in Cuba have given rise to (the inhabitants of Manila) an animosity against Americans.” The crew regard this excuse as hollow. How justly I may not say.

(Wensday, 29.)

D

Pecuniary. Expended for bananas, 6 ¼ cents; for having three shirts washed, 12 cts.

E

Gibbon’s Rome. Instead of reading in that excelent work, I employed the evening in examination of a book entitled “Secret Habits of the Female Sex”, and written with the object of detering females from the practice of solitary vice. I admire the piety and morality of it’s discourse, but I deprecate the exciting tendency of the accompanying pictures which seemed strangely misplaced.

Thursday, 30.

F.

Commodore’s illness _ Suspension of music. The drummer of the flagship beat no tattoo last night nor reveille nor troop this morning. Our music here is suspended too, as we follow the flagship. This is in consequence of the Commodore’s illness, which they say is severe. May God restore him to health. ______ Read in a book entitled “White Jacket: or the World in a Man-of-War”.

Friday, 31.

G

Pecuniary. Paid the fifer 50 cents in liquidation of his claim to that amount, and loaned him 50 cents. _ Borrowed 25 cents in an emergency from Cooley. __ Paid bomboatman for passage from flagship to the Plymouth, 25 cents ___ Sold my pair of suspenders for 25 cents and repaid Cooley. ______

H

Music on board of us is not suspended after all _ we do’nt follow the commodore-ship so implicitly as I imagined.

I

Visit to the Flagship. Mr. Gillis’ permission having been obtained for me to visit the flagship, I found a passage in a boat going for the young doctor and arrived there a few minutes after one, P.M. I passed this afternoon in conversation with John; I might derive great pleasure from my little friend’s converse if confidence could exist between us. Emery performed a little service for me.

 

Page 71

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

DECEMBER, 1852.

General concluding Remarks.

I DETERMINE to make a vigorous effort to terminate with the dying year my servitude to:

  1. The habit of familiarity, to which as regards several joking equals I am addicted.
  2. The habit of telling lies which finds it’s excitement in that of familiarity.
  3. All habits of indolence to which my constitution peculiarly predisposes me.
  4. The habit of smiling or otherwise approving obscene jests.
  5. The habit of making obscene remarks or jests, into which I myself have most disgracefully fallen myself. As an instance: A man asks me just as I come from liberty (the invariable query) “Well! did you get a girl? To which I have almost as invariably answered “No; I am not forward to pay three dollars for, ashore, what only costs twenty-five cents aboard ship.” This is a villainous remark, especially when made in the presence of boys. It gathers it’s salt and peculiarly it’s iniquity from the fact of it’s coming from the mouth of a young man of unimpeached morality. God forgive me that I have ever so far publickly subscribed to vice as to utter such a sentence.

 

 

VAN BUSKIRK’S

JOURNAL

1853

 

Page 77

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila harbor)

JANUARY, A.D. 1853: Year of my Age 20.

Saturday, 1.

STATE OF AFFAIRS:—

A

Finances: Amount of pay, &c, accredited to my account on the purser’s books … 15.41

b

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books … 51.68

c

Whole Private Debt … 9.11

d

Amount Due me … 45

e

Debt of Honor, Principal … 43.50

f

… Interest …

g

REMARKS __ Detail of Private Debts and Due. Pseudo Sally, by fruits &c. 1,20; Steward Morris, by a curiosity box & mirror, 175; Sam, by fruit &c, 28; Yeoman Atkinson, by a pair of shoes, 175; No.2. Marine Mess, by expenses incurred, 159; __ payable in cash. Sergt. Walsh; by books, 132; Baker, by balance due for an arithmetic, 2.00; payable partly in stores. Private Gacki, by a book & cash, 22; payable in purser’s stores. Mus. McFarland, Dr. to cash, 45.

h

Ration money does not suffice as I expected for my expenses in the mess since my share of the mess-debt amounts to a dollar & fifty nine cents.

I

General Remarks: Excepting my rapidly decaying tooth, I cannot but say that I enjoy good health. If there is such a temperament as the lymphatico – bilious, I suspect my-self endowed with it; I must ascertain this point.   Socially I am an out-cast and stand alone in a push-a-head, jeering world. I stand at the foot of society’s ladder, despised by my superiors, and strongly tempted to despise my equals.

I am more solitary than China’s emperor (“the solitary man”); he might find associates and perhaps equals worthy of his friendship and confidence. The pleasures of intelligent converse and the happiness of friendship (properly speaking) are denied me; my surrounding equals (“the noble, generous sailor”?) are so many brutes, and I may not presume to converse with officers. I love indeed, and a ray of high happiness illumines my soul from the resting place in my heart of that passion; a ray, thinned, but not dispelled, by the consciousness that no one loves me. No one loves me! Can I except my Mother? Doubtfull, for, though maternal affection is strong, filial ingratitude must be keen. And besides, the disorders of our unhappy house seem to preclude any sentiments of affection. My noble aunt in Cumberland and the generous miss Baker [Eckhart] in Philadelphia have only proved that there are no bounds to their charity. They cannot love me.
I am then alone and unbeloved.

But what matters it to me if I am not loved? If no sympathy may ever be extended to me? Only spare me hatred and contempt, and let me cherish the affection which my own heart generates and know where my gratitude is due.

To live to benefit those I love is a powerful spring in my ambition. That sentiment absent and I fear the poor lymphatic will remain and die in degradation (and misery?). Morally I am a reprobate on the reform. It is an arduous combat __ that of right reason & conscience against old habits and ever occurring temptation.

 

Page 78

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila harbor)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

A

Pecuniary Transactions. Privt. McMahon, Cr, by 22 buttons, 33 cts payable in kind. ditto ditto, by 1 doz button-rings, 25 cts.

B

Transactions of the day. Sent some buttons and rings to the drummer of the Susquehanna and the following note.

                        U.S.S. Plymouth, Jan. 1. 1853.

A happy Newyear’s!

   I regret that the buttons accompanying this are not all of a kind.

Our purser has buttons, and if you had notified your wish to me a day or more ago I might have drawn buttons for you of which every one would be like the other.

Perhaps you are going on liberty today: liberty is a blessing, and a moderate use of it will enhance its value: I’ll be sorry if you change it into a calamnity.

Consider how unlovely is a boy three sheets in the wind, and spare me the mortification of ever having to witness you a victim of the lady’s fever.

Your conscience, if it is not very elastic, will preserve you from the Scylla and Charybdis of your liberty day. Emery can guide himself by prudence; he therefore needs less counsel than me who am often at variance with right reason.

I esteem Emery; but I can only extend you my love, with the assurance that

I am ever at your service

P.S. I send rings also; you may require them.   Van Buskirk

 

C

Cleaned up my belts and brasses. Sewed two big patches in the seat of my fatigue breeches (36, B).   Obtained from Mr. Page, a remnant of a book entitled “White Jacket: or the World in a Man- of-War. Part II”

D

Received the following note from the Susquehanna.

Friend Buskirk

   I received today the favour which I asked of you and would be happy if I could do you a favor in return, the buttons not being all of one kind the d d old fool said he did not want them, but, I have a good use for them myself and am very much indebted to you for your kindness to me . I was disappointed about going on liberty today being as no one was going. I am satisfied that I will not be afflicted with the trouble you mentioned, Our respects to Bill.   Yours, &e cc

   John W. Hibbs

Sunday, 2.

E
Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr., by 1 cup of coffee, 3 cents. Note. Instead of keeping a separate “Day Book” as during last year, I will regularly enter my Debits & Credits here under the head of “Pecuniary.”

F

Except when reading in that admirable book, “White Jacket” __ or during the prolonged disturbance occasioned by a visit of a company of Spanish gentleman and ladies __ I employed my time writing up this journal.   I asked the purser if he would buy for me a blank book half as large as this one.  Mr. D. will see about it.

Sent a shirt to be washed.

 

Page 79

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

Monday, 3.

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 cup of coffee, 3 cents. __ Purser, Cr. by 1 clothes brush, 22; 2 bars of soap, 40; 1 knife, 26; 1 piece of ribbon, 93; 2 spoons, 4. __ Exchanged the knife and ribbon for two bars of soap. __ Pvt Gacki, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 20. __ Sergt. Walsh, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 20. __ Baker (landsman) Dr. to 2 bars of soap, 40.

B

Studies. I had determined commence with this year a vigorous and unremitting pursuit of Arithmetical and Grammatical knowledge. I accordingly got up my “Greenleaf” today, but laid it aside again upon experiencing the want of a slate. The want of a porcelain slate suspends any prosecution of the study of French; I turned my attention therefore to the admirable “Gibbon’s Rome”, reading therein Chapters XLIV – V.

C

I must record that in the last night I suffered an involuntary seminal emission.

D

Liberty! Hark! “Lay aft there to the mainmast, _ all the petty officers!” Away goes every petty officer and a goodly number not of that dignity. The first lieutenant is there. Now hark again! “As we will remain here a few days longer than we expected, the captain has determined to give you liberty; you will have 24 hours, and it is expected that you will behave yourselves and come off when your liberty is up. You will go by divisions, and when the first one is gone, no one of the others can go untill every man of the first has returned. If any of you are kept back therefore you must blame it on your shipmates. Are you satisfied?” One or two of the petty officers answered “yes, sir,” and need I say that every plebian countenance around beamed satisfaction. Shortly afterwards the purser prepared himself with his bags of silver on the Main-Deck and this call “Lay down on the Gun Deck, all the fourth Division, and draw your liberty – money!” strikes our ears in joyful confirmation of our liberty hopes. The Fourth Division goes to morrow. Then the Third. And so on.

Tuesday, 4.

E

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 cents.

F

Got my arithmetic again to-day and obtained the use of a slate, but I could not steady my mind to work in numbers. I will try again to-morrow.

G

Our sailing master the racy-minded Mr. Arnold surprised me with a request to see my journal. I could not help complying, but not before exacting from him a promise to skip without reading those preceding remarks of the humiliating tendency. This is the first and, I hope, the last violation of my resolution to keep this journal in the strictest privacy.

H

After dinner, I went to sleep over Chap. XLVI of Gibbon’s admirable “Decline & Downfall.”

I

Swedish man of war, a fine sloop*, the first I ever saw, arrived & exchanged national courtesies.

Wenesday, 5.

J

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 cup of coffee, 3; ditto ditto by cash12 ½ cts. Paid for 1 piece of wasched-clothes, 7 cts; (Note. The price of washing is 4 cents a piece).

K

I made a feeble commencement of Arithmetic by ciphering a while in compound and simple addition. In the afternoon I was diverted from study by the Swedish Captain’s visit. But afterwards I managed to fall asleep over Chap. XLVI, Vol. 3 of Gibbon’s Rome.

*A frigate.

 

Page 80

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila harbor)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

Thursday, 6.

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 cents. __ Pvt. Coombs, Cr. by a cap-cover, 12 ½ cents. __ Paid, at breakfast-time, for sausages, 5 cents.

B

Arithmetic, History and Sleep. In conformity to a newly fabricated order, we soldiers dressed ourselves in uniform coats (jackets in my case) and white pants, with our uniform caps and belts in readiness to assume at any moment. I suppose this will be our daily practice while we remain in harbor. It flatters my vanity to wear every day from breakfast time to suppertime my laced red jacket, but my brother musician growls in his obedience to the new order.   I ciphered a little more in compound addition today __ indeed, to the extent of two or three sums. But abstract science is a bitter pill for my digestion. I remarked truly to the sailmaker “Arithmetic is physic to me; I take it in small and moderate does; fifteen minutes application makes my head ache.”

After dinner I borrowed Fitzgerald’s mat, upon which I deposited myself with the very admirable “Gibbon’s Rome.” In the midst of Chap. XLVII I dropped asleep. A party of subordinate officers belonging to the Swedish frigate came on board in the evening, and it was the barbarous hum of their voices which first greeted my ears upon awakening from my literary nap.

Friday, 7.

C

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 cents.­ —Purser, Cr. by cash, $3,00.

D

Discomfort vs. Vanity. The discomfort of wearing my jacket to perspiration in a temperature of 85° overbalanced whatever gratification the red cloth and yellow lace would yield to my vanity, and I solicited Mr. Gillis’ permission to divest myself of it __ to lay it on my drum, whence I might resume it again in any emergency. But the first lieutenant would not listen to my request. Sergeant Grant display’s the plentitude of his power in keeping the drummer and fifer in uniform with a Corporal’s guard __ an absurdity, since music are never required to a less guard than that of a Sergeant.

How I envy the two sergeants, the corporal, & the tailor who may enjoy the luxury of stalking about in their shirt-sleeves. How I envy my brothers of the Susquehanna and the Saratoga who live under the mild reign of intelligent sergeants.

E

Liberty money was doled out to us marines today. We expect, if nothing extraordinary happens, to have our liberty next monday, by which time the sailors’ will all have enjoyed theirs.

F

I divided my time most unproportionally between “Gibbon’s Rome”, Christ’s Discourses in the New Testement, and Arithmetic; besides which, I practiced music, and read at different times the Speeches before receiving sentence of death of the divine Socrates and the villainous Eugene Aram.

Saturday, 8.

G

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 cup of coffee, 3 cents.

H

Nocturnal. I did not sleep in my hammock last night, but on the spar-deck gratings, the heat below-decks being excessive. Before day I was surprised by an involuntary seminal discharge. Say I do’nt suffer for my long-past crimes.

I

___ Employed myself, in the forenoon, cleaning up my brasses, &c, and in sewing.  Having to wear my red jacket in the afternoon, I divided that time between sleep and Chap. XLVIII of Gibbon’s Rome.

At suppertime, the Swedish consul was received on board with the usual honors.

 

Page 81

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

(Sunday, 9).

A

LIBERTY ASHORE. Preparation __ Journey in search of a bathing place __Night; Bewildermont; Procession of the Cross; At Peter’s. __ Day; Walk; soldiers; Return. __ Remarks.

a

A draft of marines were instructed to prepare themselves to go ashore on liberty at one o’clock P.M. The fifer’s and my name were on the list; we accordingly prepared ourselves, that is, we clothed ourselves in white cap covers, blue jackets, and white pantaloons; the latter I was necessitated to borrow from one of the privates and give a pair of socks for the loan.

b

When we got into the boat at one o’clock, the first lieutenant appeared at the gangway, and after bidding us “behave” ourselves, ordered us to return by nine o’clock tomorrow. This aroused our indignation and one after the other of us said “I’m not coming off before the expiration of twenty-four hours __ not before one o’clock”, and some seasoned this declaration with choice oaths and rounded off with invectives against the captain who would curtail our period of liberty. Thinks I, not half of us will comply with that last order.

c

I had determined to find a private place on the coast where I might bathe, and accordingly, when the boat entered the canal and landed us, I left my companions behind me and directed my steps through the city to the water edge on the other side. This water in the vicinity of the city walls presented every conveniency for bathing __ with this obstacle, the want of privacy.

d

I had not hurried to this place, but walked leisurely __ stopped to gaze upon the Magellan Monument whose summit, they say, has been toppled over by a recent earthquake, and the black statue in a square of the city erected to Charles VI, a tribute of gratitude from his Philipine subjects. I had walked leisurely upon and enjoyed some fine views from the battery of St. Domingo. I stopped too in an obscure corner of the city to observe a gang of prisoners chained to each other and at hard labour under the guard of a sentry and the superintendence of a driver. These criminals were mostly middle aged. Their countenances wore no peculiar expressions of crime or misery.

It being the holy Sabbath, the stores in general were closed; the Printing- Office of the “Boletin Oficial de las Filipinas” must have been closed too and the sign-board taken down, as I could not identify the place, though I explored the Calle de Palacio and several streets contiguous thereto, such as the Calle de Cabildo, de Magaillanes, &e.

e

To return again to the water’s edge: the publicity of the place mentioned, though not enough to deter a native from stripping himself and enjoying the luxury of a wash, strongly spoke the impropriety of a white-skinned American’s undressing to bathe.

All along the water’s edge as far as my eye could reach were boats and solitary individuals appearing at intervals of space and time, and a village closed the view.

Thinks I, beyond that village I may surely find a secluded swimming place. To the village then I directed my steps, following a road along which I had just seen two or three companies of Her Catholic Majesty’s Infantry march preceded by bands of music. I reached the sea-coast on the other side of the village and met with disappointment in my expectations of finding privacy or seclusion.

But as the road ran nearly paralel with the beach I resolved to journey on, strong yet in my hopes of finding a bathing place far removed from habitations and frequented paths or roads.

 

Page 82

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

A

These hopes were destined to blasted; I finally resigned them, after reaching the extreme of a third village and performing a journey of at least five miles.

Setting out on my return and walking briskly I reached the confines of Manila long after our king of the day had gone down in his western horizon.

A multitude of carriages were rattling over the road, entering and emerging from the city. A carriage ride after sundown is one of the fashionable pleasures of Manila.

b

As night advanced I became quite bewildered and lost, but I did not pause to consider which way to pursue in order to reach the vicinity of our landing place; the sound of marital music proceeding from a distant quarter of the suburbs induced me to bend my foot-steps in that direction.   After passing over a suspension bridge where a little incident of Spanish honesty displayed it’self, and perambulating the length of a street, I arrived before an illuminated cathedral, and in the midst of a pious crowd and numbers of fruit-stalls in full business. Observing one direction from the cathedral square more pursued than any other, I conceived that some point of attraction must exist in the favored direction, and accordingly pursued it myself. I arrived at the extremity of the street just in time to witness the tail end of a procession which would it’s way in solemn pump through kneeling crowds. All heads were uncovered. I worked my way through the crowd and obtained quite an advantageous position whence I enjoyed the scene.

When the procession had passed I determined to follow it; with some exertion I reached the leading image (the vicinity) and from that time until the close of the ceremonies I marched by the side of a Spanish soldier, except when the crowd pressed me into the file. My imperfect memory presents this diagram of the parade.

[Editor’s note: see scans page 82 for diagram]

In every street were dense crowds that lined the pavements and dropped on their knees

 

Page 83

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

A

in devout adoration as the sacred images passed. Mothers bent their little innocents into the genuflexion of worship, and withered old age by the side of tender infancy paid homage to “HIM in his IMAGES”.   I noticed that a short-hand, easy, and expeditious way of performing the ceremony of “Crossing” seemed in general practice. The devout ceremony of moving the hand to the forehead and thence to either shoulder while repeating “In the Father, the Son, and the Holy ghost”, seemed abridged to a hasty rap on the forehead or breast and the ejaculation of a word.   *Kew, a private of our marines, a native of Erin and a good Roman Catholic, being on liberty and having lost himself, was overjoyed to find me. “It’s the best thing that’s happened me that I found ye; sure I’m lost in this place. I came here with Lord George and faith he no sooner got here than down he went on his knees — Pshaw! It’s all idolatry. What the devil else is it?” Such was the substance of Kew’s discourse. His actions showing him to be intoxicated, I was necessitated to leave him in his bewilderment by escaping from his company. In speaking of “lord” George, he alluded to a fellow marine who had accompanied him on his liberty. Lord George, it appears, was more devout than his companion; I have since ascertained that he improved the opportunity of this liberty to enjoy the pleasures both of the brothel and the chapel.

The procession at length terminated at the cathedral beforementioned, whence, I suppose, it had first proceeded. The lights carried by the soldiers were all extinguished; the carriers stood in squads; were formed into files and marched away to their respective barracks. I lingered yet in the square. Two bands of music were yet on the spot. I longed to tender the gift of a bottle of muscatel or even a dollar to a little drummer or fifer in one of the bands __ but I could not command language to explain the nature of such a gift __ a rude tender could hardly have been accepted, certainly not understood.   Six men dressed magnificently in personification (I suppose) of Eastern kings, the same who had guarded with drawn swords the altar of the Cross, now formed themselves into double file and marched away to a lively tune of the band which preceded them. I followed. When the barracks were reached and the music and parade was no more, I turned my thoughts towards the way of finding a house where I might lodge for the night after awarding a supper to my hunger.

b

I endeavored unsuccessfully to make one or two of the surrounding mezticoes understand that I would pay and thank any boy that would conduct me to an English house. Suddenly, three gentlemen appeared at the Barrack entrance and the “English voice divine” reached me from their midst. Approaching one of them I said “I ask your pardon, Sir: will you direct one of these boys to conduct me to some house in the city where English is spoken”. The gentleman in the kindest manner put himself to some trouble and found a boy whom he directed as I requested and who accomplished his mission at the entrance of Signor Demi’s Hotel, situated in the vicinity of the Landing and captain of the Port’s office. This hotel was a resort of gentlemen and officers, wherefore I might not presume to harbour the unnatural idea of seeking a night’s shelter and accommodation under it’s roof, though my purse were adequate to the expense.

 

*Kew does not belong to the Catholic persuasion __ March 20.

 

Page 84

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Manila.)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

A

How gladly would I have taken shelter here, tonight __ discussed a light strengthening supper, and retired to the privacy of a furnished room, where, as my tired legs and aching feet found repose, my mind might yet wander through pages of some choice book until the hour when even my soul would demand the benefits of invigorating sleep. But this could not be. The second caliph may have slept in the midst of beggars on the door-steps of a mosque; but I question whether a navy-officer employed on a foreign station could possibly suffer so monstrous an indignity as that of resting quietly under a hotel-roof which would also shelter a common sailor or private soldier. But this is perhaps mete; the sailor and soldier carries infamy on his back; the intemperate and gross immorality of the class deservedly excludes it from society of the stamp respectable. I might seek other lodgings then of less respectability. Before leaving this hotel, I obtained a glass of pure and sparkling agua, (such as, methinks, is seldom to be met with in resorts of sailors), but could not get a dollar changed into quarters by which I might pay my conductor for his services, whoes continuation I no longer required. The maître d’hotel was absent and it appeared that none of the domestics of the establishment could speak English.   Telling my guide to follow, I turned my steps toward the lodging houses down on the canal. Arrived at a house which I shall call “Peter’s”, I found all of our marines-on-liberty, except Kew and lord George, quietly talking and resting themselves. Getting a dollar changed, I paid and dismissed the good mezticoe lad who had extricated me from the mazes of a strange quarter of the city. I then regaled myself with a glass of pop and afterwards, a glass of wine, to which succeeded a supper.

After supper I asked our landlord for some information concerning the place and it’s peculiarities. Mine host and his two assistants averred their ignorance of the city’s characteristics, saying that they had seldom penetrated further from the house than the market place. I could find only one book in the house, but it was of the most pious character, being a prayer-book. By it’s side was a pack of cards and a little Spanish “Ave Maria”.

I only exchanged a pleasant word or so with my fellow soldiers and afterawhile the landlord conducted us to the apartment where we were to lodge. The room contained no furniture other than an old greasy kitchen table and a bench; six or ten old and dirty mats were spread in a corner, and upon these we were huddled together like pigs to weather out the night. I, being oppressed by fatigue, soon crept into the embraces of Morpheus; doubtless to the great satisfaction of a host of mosquitoes who might enjoy my blood without disturbance.

On an old dirty mat, fast asleep, in an old unfurnished room of a sailor’s lodging house in Manila I terminated this Sunday the 9th.

 

Page 85

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Manila.)

JANUARY, 1853; 20.

[(Monday, 10.)]

A

___ At three or half-past three in the morning my sleep ceased. The musquitoes perhaps contributed to the return of conciousness. Determined to lose as little as possible of my liberty time however I might sleep away whole hours of more precious time on board the ship, I got up and paced about the room, an adjoining one, and a passage way, in search of an outlet and passage down stairs. These rooms were lighted by tapers; seizing one of them, I explored by the dim ray which it shed, a passage leading through several doorways, down pairs of stairs, through a kitchen or entry-room into the street.

How I employed myself from now until daylight cannot be related here in detail. But there is an incident worthy of recollection; standing on a bank of the canal I was accosted by a young mezticoe soldier, who, as afterwards appeared, was sentinel in the vicinity at the time. Every action show’d his goodness and gentleness, and, besides, his intelligence. To meet with intelligence and goodness in a being moving in the undercurrent of military life is refreshing and pleasant to the mind. This young soldier found a place where he invited me to seat myself, and from then untill the expiration of his watch, he taxed both his own and my ingenuity for expedients wherewith to converse. Of the thoughts which he did render intelligible, I will two which explain his moral standing. He gave me to understand that English and American “marineros” were much addicted to drunkeness, and then asked if I were thus addicted. As I answered in the negative, he expressed his approval of my conduct and added with emphasis that liquor was “mucho malo.” Then he as much as said “Do you frequent houses of ill-fame __ how do you like the Margaritas? Upon my answering with a negative again and expressing my dislike for prostitutes, he once more applied the epithet “bueno” to my conduct and doubly emphasised the “mucho malo” which he applied to licenciousness. ___ As the hour of five approached, life began to be visible along the bank of the canal; fires sprung up in their accustomed places; voices mingled there and here with the air; the city began to show symtoms of awakening from it slumbers. At or near five, as a great cathedral bell tolled the music of the reveille sounded in all the barracks of the city, and life and soldiers began to display themselves in every street. Companies of foot _ troops of Taneers were to be met in different quarters, pursuing different errands. From the return of daylight untill near eight o’clock I rambled through the streets, revisited every place where I had been the previous night except the Military Quarters mentioned at 83, b which I could not find. Perhaps it was a strange and Quixotic notion which led me to seek again that place. I wished to ascertain the name of the street and barracks that I might know where to direct an anonymous present to the drummer boy whose appearance had excited my affection. The little incidents of my ramble are too numerous for recital. Suffice it to say that after some pleasant walks, including some pleasant scenes, I returned to Peter’s, got my breakfast, and prepared to go on board ship in the nine o’clock boat.

The “nine o’clock boat” came, and after a long delay, returned to the ship with every marine in our liberty.

Summary of Expenditure 

Total Expended: about 2 pesos [$2.00]

Expended for services of a mezticoe … 1 real 1 medio

ib ib drinks at Peters including pop and wine … 2 ib 1 ib

ib ib supper and breakfast at Peters … 4 ib

ib ib Glass of soda water (pop) … 1 ib

ib ib a Chinese push-lock… 3 ib

ib ib treats to three of the boat’s crew… about 1 ib

ib ib something that has escaped my memory … 3 ib ib

 

Page 86

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, harbor of Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

(Tuesday, 11.)

A

(Pecuniary.?) Summary. Yesterday and today Bill and me take Coombs’ turn at the cabin door; Coombs was on liberty yesterday and he over-stays it to-day.

(Wensday, 12.)

B

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by a cup of coffee … 8 cents.

C

Summary. Wrote a little in my journal. Read in chap. XLIX & L, Gibbon’s Rome.

Had suffered, in the night, an involuntary seminal emission.

Am annoyed from some sore in my eye.   Slept in the afternoon.

(Thursday, 13)

D

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 2 cups of coffee … 6 cents.

E

Summary. Eat, drank, walked, read and slept. Discovered that some one had, yesterday, taken advantage of one of my naps to clip my right whisker.

(Friday, 14.)

F

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

G

His Excellency the lieut. Governor, accompanied by a party of ladies and a host of military officers, was received on board with the usual honors. An entertainment (I can’t say sumptous) yelept “breakfast” had been prepared on the port side of the half-deck for the distinguished company. Flowers seemed more abundant than choice dishes, but wine circulated freely: a long cavalry officer waxed extreemly merry and slightly ridiculous under it’s effects.

The uniforms of the officers were gay and appropriate. Of the numerous company, all were Castillians but one, whose dark visage indicated the mesticoe.

(Saturday, 15)

H

Pecunitary. Mus McFarland, Cr by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

I

Summary. The spirit of laziness restrained my activity to-day; however, some part of the afternoon was rescued; I cleaned up my accoutrements for Sunday; I also finished reading vol. iii of Gibbon’s Rome.   But to-day is an era; the barber shaved me to-day; and this little ceremony is the visible termination of the SPRING TIME of my Life and the commencement of physical SUMMER. I am no longer a beardless youth but have reached the fourth step in the ladder of life. As I am wont to compare my life to a liberty-day, I may now say that the “morning of my liberty” is passed. Noon and evening have now to terminate and I have to return whence I came.

(Sunday, 16.)

J

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

K

Palsy! As I have used to do these several nights past, I slept on the port gratings under the boomcover. A coat answering me for a bed, and a sailor’s ditty bag performing the office of pillow at the same time for the boy Reever and myself, the former occupying a bed just forward of mine. Last night my friend Reever had a bed fellow forced upon him in the person of Coleman (the arch-reprobate of whom I’ve written under name of “Imp”) and I am now about to violate perhaps reason and decency to describe an event of the night which has in itself (perhaps) every claim to oblivion. Awhile after talk had ceased between us, I thought I could perceive a slight trembling of Reever’s head, upon which, disguising my suspicious, I laid my hand on his forehead and asked “what’s the matter — have you the fever-&-ague?” – The trembling ceased __ the boy affirmed that a palsy in his right hand had caused the motion __ Coleman perhaps could hardly suppress a laugh __ and I flattered myself that my presence and interposition had stayed the commission of a dreadful crime.

Coleman shortly afterwards decamped for some other quarters and the night passed away, leaving me still in the false but pleasing reflection that no sin had been perpetrated.

Now for the sequel. Since then Coleman has unravelled the deception. The boy unbuttoned his trousers to show me some equivocal stains, “see, said he, the effects of that palsy!”

 

Page 87

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea, bay of Manila)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

(Monday, 17.)

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

B

Summary. All hands scrubbed hammacks in the morning [Except a few who did’nt and were successful in their evasion of the order]

__ At or near 4 P.M., the Ship was got underweigh and put to sea.

The Asst. Surgeon very kindly put into my hands a Guide Book or Directory of the Philipines, in Spanish, but intelligible enough for my instruction. __ I am proprietor of a most inconvenient and disagreable cold, induced by a bath to which I subjected myself last night.

(Tuesday, 18) At Sea, Pacific Ocean.)

C

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee … 8 cents.

D

Summary. Continue afflicted by a bad cold and sore eyes, from the disagreable sensations of which, I endeavor to escape in sleep.

(Wensday, 19.)

E

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

F

Summary. Slightly but most disagreably I experience at once, a head-ache, weakness of the eyes, the inconvenience of an incessant call to discharge matter from my nose, and the pain of a rising sore on my neck; notwithstanding, I employed some of my time reading the fourth volume of Gibbon’s Rome.

(Thursday, 20.)

G

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

H

Summary. — In the Forenoon we went to General Quarters. In the afternoon I managed to read some in Gibbon’s Rome chap. LVI & VII in spite of my bad cold & laziness.

(Friday, 21.)

J

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee … 5 cents.

K

Summary. Quite sea-sick; however, employed some of my time reading, but more, sleeping.

(Saturday, 22.)

L

Summary. Almost wholly abandoned to laziness: I slept when I well could; when I could’nt sleep, I was too lazy to read to any effect.

(Sunday, 23.)

M

Pecuniary. Paid Old Billy Dhu the main-mast-man for 2 pots of coffee … 25 cents.

N

Having washed and dried a shirt in the night, I arrayed myself in it to-day, and shook off my laziness of yesterday. While my watch was below, I wrote diligently in my journal; while on deck, I read cursorilly in different books.

Monday, 24.

O

Summary. To-day’s fleeting hours were employed creditably and satisfactorilly.

(Tuesday, 25.)

P

Summary. Employed quite creditably in the forenoon; In the afternoon, my watch being on deck, I had but scanty leisure for thinking and none for other employment.

Shortly after five, we had arrived at our anchorage opposite Victoria, having reached the harbor through the Lantou passage; a few light airs had employed the whole day in moving us in.   I forgot to mention that we had came to anchor in the night.   The news in waiting for us, now our topic of talk, is: Dan. Webster is dead     — Gen. Pierce is President elect; and then by private intelligence, for us marines,

 

Page 88

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, harbor of Hong Kong)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

A

Sergt. major Pulitzi and drummer Cushley have both gone the long journey. Pulitzi, had long filled at Washington the honorable station of sergeant-major of Marines to which he had risen from the humbler rank of drummer. He was respected by all who knew him, and leaves a family to regret the loss of an indulgent husband, a careful and excellent father. He dies, full of age and honor, and goes to only meet reward and approbation from the hands Him whose law has been his guide in life.   Cushley, however, goes down into a premature grave; habitual and excessive intemperance hurried this young man into the presence of a God whose holy law he has violated in almost every day of his life; it is a dreadfull thought! Would that the instances were few of my brother-drummers whose graves were prepared by Alchohal, a powerfull and inveterate enemy and yet (fools that we are!) the first object of our affection.   Cushley had been ordered to this ship, and perhaps would be here now, had I not returned to head-quarters before the Plymouth went into commission.

Wensday, 26.

B

Pecuniary. Sally, the Chinese bomboatman, Cr. by 9 oranges, 6 cents.; bananas, 3 cts.

C

Summary. In the forenoon and afternoon leisures I employed myself advantageously writing in the blank spaces left for that purpose in pages 51, 53, 59, 60, & 61 those humiliating remarks, the insertion of which closes altogether this book against the curiosity of my contemporaries, not excepting the purser and asst. Surgeon. I was also employed arranging the table on page 72. After supper I read in some “Illustrated London News” which the kindness of Mr. Beardslee had furnished me with.

D

(P.S.) — In glancing over the “News” it was my happiness to meet with a picture and Biographical sketch of C. Watterton, Esq., a remnant of whose “Wanderings” I am the fortunate owner. The spirit of humanity and piety which is breathed in every page of that little book had long since excited my love and admiration. That such a man as Waterton should never die —  but should live and forever enjoy the respect of mankind — and the brute Creation to have reason & to know him! Unless God gives him to the respect and love of angels. Mr. Beardslee must allow me to possess to that Biog. Sketch.

E

JEALOUSY, WAR AND COWARDICE. After tattoo I witnessed on the Forecastle & in the Foretopmen’s Gangway scenes of such arrant poltroonery as beggars description, and which, as I reflect on it, ought to purge me of the last drop of cowardly blood that runs in my veins.

The dramatis persona was a captain of the Foretop, a boy belonging to the Foretop, an Afterguardsman, and a Mizzentopman.   The first of these was a man not overstocked with indiscreet animal courage, but considerably afflicted by a tender solicitude for the moral and temporal welfare of a boy in his watch who despised him.   The second, the boy in question, about one of the “most common prostitutes on the town”, bearing the Purser’s name of Reever, was the cause of the quarrels.   The third, a hardened villain, lately a thief of Baltimore, sustained most admirably on this occasion the character of a poltroon.   The fourth, the stage manager and principal actor in this scene, would doubtless not have been found in such a company had not a slight inebriation excited his pugilism and rendered him careless of what stamp he met in combat. His inebriation and arrival were opportune to afford us an amusing spectacle.

No. 1 happening to say in company that No. 3 would steal or was a thief, No. 2 carried the intelligence to No. 3; whereupon No. 3 immediately repaired to No. 1 to inquire if such was the fact, and a tremendous war of words ensued which did not terminate before the belligerents had performed several flourishes before each other with a knife and belaying-pin (God knows, neither of them intended any harm!), __ nor before No. 1 inflected a blow upon No. 2 (who happened to be present but least expected such a favor) and had the compliment acknowledged across his own nose; here the affair would have ended, but at this juncture No. 4 appeared on the stage and proclaimed the cowardice of “striking a boy”; this and a long series of insults failed to draw fight from No. 1. Afterwards the scenes were shifted and No. 3 unluckilly reäppeared; No. 1 approached to strike him; No. 3 run, but returned again to receive a sound kicking and any amount and quality of opprobrios epithets from No. 4 — all amidst the laughter of a crowd.

 

Page 89

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Macao Roads.)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

Thursday, 27.

A

WE left Hong Kong at half past seven in the morning, and arrived at Macao Roads at half past one in the evening.   After getting underweigh, we at first had a very light breeze, but fair; when out to sea, a most favorable breeze attended us. We happened, this time, to have a good Chinese pilot whose every movement seemed to show that he understood his business.

B

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 cents__ Sally, Cr, by 3 oranges, 2 cents.

C

Summary. Idled away no hours today  __ Can’t say for the minutes. ___ Them mandarin oranges of Sally’s are dilicious; the best I ever met with; the rind peels right off, and we separate and eat the fruit without getting our hands a bit wet with juice. ___ Billy Dhu’s coffee goes well in morning ___ I regret the loss of these two luxuries, but give them up I must, __ Prudence is imperative. So a long farewell to fruits and coffees __ to every luxury __ to every sent^ that is expensive. ______ I feel the change of temperature consequent on our change of locality; and I experience the discomfort consequent upon the sale of my peajacket which was a natural or unnatural consequence of my pleasures in Manila. Thus some little imprudent pleasure in Manila is balanced by some considerable discomfort here in Macao Roads. ___ In the afternoon I copied with but little amendment the Remark at 35, H.

Friday, 28.

D

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 cents; Dr. to cash, 12 ½ cents. __ Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5 cents. __ Sally, Cr. by 3 oranges, 2 cts, __ 2 lead pencils, 5 cts, __ fruits, &c, 15 cts. __ Prvt. McMahon, Dr. to fruits, &c, 15 cents.

E

Summary. Indeed, this cold morning while every limb trembled and my very soul seemed about to congeal, I could not resist the temptation to quaff a cup of Billy Dhu’s warm, generous coffee, though I had pledged myself against it yesterday. But there’s no shadow of an excuse for my purchase of oranges to-day; I had occasion for a couple of lead pencils, when I went into the bomboat to get them, I could not resist a sudden desire to carry off an orange.

How weak am I! or How strong is habit! But I resolve again against unnecessary expence.

F

War with Spain. Our crew have newspapers which describe the insults which the U. States are receiving from Spain through her government in Cuba. As Justice is foreign to this planet __ God not ruling in person (in politics he may rule in Nature) __ a war should be inevitable. The U.S. should slay a few thousand Spaniards and Cubans, sacrifice a few thousand of her own citizens (or rather of own rable), burn and destroy a few hundred of the enemy’s towns and ships, a take permanent possession of Cuba __ then that old captain-general would perceive and regret his insolence, and our flag would be vindicated. I’d volunteer myself for the invasion of Cuba.

G

“Vive la Napoleon III” They say that Prince Louis has “assumed the purple”.

H

AT 2,30, P.M. “all hands” were called to “up anchor” __ at 3 precisely we had got underweigh and made sail to top gallantsails. Precisely at midnight we arrived at Hong Kong. __ Before leaving Macao Roads I had observed the thermometer to be at 51° between decks. It was my watch from 8 to 12; In those four hours I experienced, on the Spar Deck, without warm clothing, a keen malice of cold which seemed to make fiddle strings of every nerve and to play upon them with a hundred icy bows.

 

Page 90

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, harbour of Hong Kong)

JANUARY, 1853: 20.

Saturday, 29.

A

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1/ pot of coffee, 12 ½ cents.; Dr, to cash, 12 ½ cents. Sally, Cr. by 2 papers of cakes, 10. = Pvt. McMahon, Dr, to 2 papers of cakes, 10.

B

Summary. I passed a sleepless night: After we had came to anchor, the boatswain piped “all hands splice the main brace”, by which the rumsuckers met their reward for extra exertion. I depositied myself on our mess chest to undergoe untill return of day a series of exquisite torture produced by the joint influence of a hard board and piercing temperature. I may say this season of cold weather contains a severe chastizement for former folly; I will however endeavor to weather it out. Billy Dhu’s coffee and Sally’s fruits are the Scylla and Charybdis of my present life: I could not escape a pot of the former, this morning. ____ Generally idle in the day, except when I read about Bajazet and Timour Beg in Gibbon’s Rome, vol. IV.

Sunday, 30.

C

Pecuniary. Sally, Cr. by 3 papers of cakes, 15. Pvt. Gacki, Dr. to 1 paper of cakes, cents.

D

Summary. I congratulated myself this morning upon a narrow escape from Scylla, and, before the breakfast hour expired, I fell a victim to Charybdis.

The thermometer is at 49°; too cold to write, read, or do anything in my leisure, but walk up and down on the Berth Deck and eat cakes, though a little Chinese boy comes on board every morning, bare-footed, bare-headed, and with no appearance of discomfort.

E

Privilege of Running in Debt to a limited extent is accorded to us all in an order which the Master-at-arms has received from the Captain to allow the men to buy on credit in the bomboat to the amount of three dollars and no more. Jemmy Legs or his lieutenant the Ship’s Corporal always attend in the bomboat to keep Sally’s accounts and enforce all orders relating to the boat. The three meal hours are Sally’s three business hours. As he is the only* bomboatman allowed to trade with the ship, he can command an excellent price for all of his commodities; a fact, which, I perceive, he does not neglect to take advantage of.

F

The Sergeant inspected the Guard in full uniform this morning; he very justly found fault with the condition of my scales and eagle-and-anchor, brass-work attached to my camp which I had neglected to clean yesterday.

Monday, 31.

G

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6; Dr. to cash, 6. __ Pvt. Gacki, Cr, by bananas, 5. __ Sally, Cr. by a parchment-bound blank book, 40.

H

The mercury in the thermometer has risen five degrees; my fingers no longer benumned found honorable employment to-day, first, transcribing the humilliating remarks on pages 40 & 41 (which I dared not to have inserted there before) and then preparing the title-page and ruling and heading several pages of the nice little blank book which is to contain “Part II” of my “Journal of the Cruize.”

I

The Flagship arrived in the evening and anchored within a few yards of us.

*Mistake: “Old Sam” is also allowed to trade.

 

Page 91

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, harbour of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Tuesday, 1.

STATE OF AFFAIRS:

A

FINANCES: Amount of pay, &c. accreditted to my account on the Purser’s books… 15.56.

B

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books… 49.18

C

Private Debt… 10.29

D

Debt of Honor (or the DOMBAFT Debt) Principle… 43.50

Interest…

E

REMARK. I will take this occasion to remark the history and nature of the obligations which I have summed up under the title of “Debt of Honor” because my honesty is interested in their payment, (in fact depends upon their liquidation) which honor imperatively demands with the legal interest.

Hereafter I will more properly call it the Dombaft Debt, deriving that appellation from a union of the sir-name initials of my seven creditors, viz: Dorr, O’Donohue, McElrath, Bellue, the “Alleghanian”, Fitzgerald, and Thorn.

(F)

The following table exhibits the names, addresses, & claims of my several creditors.

Names. Date of contracting. Legal interest. The Debts. Address.
Private Fitzgerald, U.S.M. June, 1849. 8 per cent. $1.50 U.S. Ship Plymouth
Mr. Dorr. ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, ,, 24.00 Pensacola, Florida.
Editor of “the Cumb. Alleghanian.” April, 1850. 6 ,, 2.00 Cumberland, Md.
Dr. J.J. McElrath, M.D. July, ,, ,, ,, 5.00 Camden, Washita Co. Ark.
C.H. Thorn Esqr. Aug., ,, ,, ,, 5.00 ,, ,, , ,,
Mr. Bellue or the Carpenter. Sept, ,, ,, ,, 2.00 ,, ,, , ,,
Mrs. O’Donohue. Oct, ,, ,, ,, 4.00 Memphis, Tennn.
      $43.50  

((G))

George Fitzgerald. A few days before I absconded from the Navy Yard near Pensacola, I communicated my design to private Fitgerald, then a fellow marine in the Barracks, now, luckilly, a shipmate. Learning that I wanted funds to aid my escape, he generously presented me with a dollar and deplored his inability to supply me with more. On the day of my desertion, when I carried a “mail” up to Pensacola, my benefactor, expecting that I would return again, entrusted me with a half-dollar with instructions to buy for him a Catholic prayer book; I appropriated the money to my own use. Hence the claims of Fitzgerald.

((H))

Mr. Dorr. Mr. Dorr was Suttler of the Marines near Pensacola. At the time of my desertion, my debt in the Suttler’s store amounted to twenty four dollars.

((I))

Editor Alleghanian. I think it was nearly two monts before my desertion that I wrote to the “Editor of the Cumberland Alleghanian” requesting him to put my name in his list of subscribers, and promising, as soon as possible, to forward a year’s subscription money. The editor complied with my request; I received several of the papers; but, in the following June, I deserted from the Barracks without having forwarded any subscription money.   Supposing the editor continued my name on the subscription list during a year (he could not have done so longer without advice)I would owe him two dollars when that time expired. Hence the claim of the “Alleghanian”.

((J))

Dr. J.J. McElrath. In July, 1850, when I had fled to Camdem from the interior and suffered under a severe and dangerous fever, Dr. McElrath, I might say, rescued me from the jaws of death. He administered physic, and provided every comfort for me with the tenderest care.   Seeing my destitution, he never ex-

 

Page 92

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

pected any remuneration, but to spare me afterwards the least humilliation, he disguised this purest of charity by naming a fee. I will discharge the “doctor’s bill”, the pecuniary obligation; the claim upon my gratitude I never can.

((A))

C.H. Thorn, Esq. When Dr. McElrath restored me to health, I began to feel, in my new situation in the “Washita House, the want of decent clothing. Mrs. Robinson represented my case to Mr. Thorn, and that gentlemam left orders at a neighboring store to supply me with any articles I might require to the amount of five dollars.

((B))

Mr. Bellue or the Carpenter. Installed barkeeper of the Ouachita House, I determined to avail myself of the opportunity to make a few dollars by selling cigars and tobacco. I had no wages nor any capital wherewith to commence the business, but my new situation and my appearance established a credit for me; at my order, a carpenter whose shop was adjacent to the hotel, made a suitable case with a glass lid, and a cigar-dealer, boarding at the hotel, supplied me with a box of cigars. Hence the claim of the Carpenter.   Soon afterwards I abandoned the situation of barkeeper in Camden for the more honorable one of Clerk of the Alexander Military Institute in Tulip.

In the following month, I was dismissed from the Institute (really for incapacity and misconduct) after receiving an arrear of five dollars from the Superintendent. Instead of returning to Camden I took passage with a waggoner, a Mr. Bellue, to the Mississippi river. During this journey of five or six days, I most unnecessarilly squandered away three dollars of my five; and thus, at the end of my journey, I was unable to pay for my passage with the oxen team. (I walked the whole distance; the real expense of the passage consisted in the fare, __ coffee, pork, and corn bread). _ Mr. Bellue was satisfied with a letter which I gave him, directed to Mrs. Robinson and requesting that lady to give up my glass case and all other property of mine in her possession to Mr. Bellue. It is very probable that Mr. Bellue never got the glass-case, and thereupon depends the question whether Mr. Bellue or the Carpenter is my Creditor.

((C))

Mrs. O’Donohue. At the same time or before I got work in the new Memphis Navy Yard, I got board at the public house of Mrs. O’Donohue. Mrs. O’Donohue did not usually board strangers without receiving some advance, but perceiving honesty in the expression of my countenance, she departed from her rule, to be disappointed at the expiration of two weeks when I absconded without paying my bill, though I carried seven or eight dollars (wages of my work in the Navy Yard) with me.

D

HEALTH. No perceptible alteration in my general good health has taken place since the first of last month. Regarding my temperament, the old Doctor says that it is the lymphatic; that there is no such temperament as the lymphatico-billious.

E

SOCIAL. I hope I’ve incurred no new enmities in the ship; I’m sure I’ve contracted no friendships since the first of December to change the social relations then existing.   I have reason to believe that my carriage and habits of reserve, which the sailor’s, marines, and the old sergeant himself, imputed to pride and a contempt of their persons, was a principal circumstance that prejucedied them against me and excited their enmity. But a better acquaintance with my true disposition has allayed their enmity. Among a few exceptions, is my brother Cain, who will always hate me.

 

Page 93
Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S. Ship Plymouth, harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

(Tuesday1)

A

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1/2 pot of coffee, 6Dr. to cash, 6. = Sally, Cr. by oranges, 5. Purser, Cr. 2 plugs of tobacco, 34, __ 2 bars of soap, 40, __ 3 doz. Navy Vest Buttons, 111. 1 cake of wax, 7, __ 1 paper of needles, 3, __ 1 knife, 26 = Pt. McMahon, Dr. to 2 doz. buttons, $7 ½^. Baker, (landsman) Dr. to 2 plugs of tobacco & 2 bars soap, 74. = Walsh, Dr. to needles & way, 10.

B

Summary. In the forenoon employed myself ruling and preparing for use the first twelve pages of my new Journal of the Cruize, &c. In the afternoon, I wrote in my journal.   Sally has humbugged me so repeatedly that I have stopped all dealings with him, and will transfer my custom to Old Sam; Sam, I always believed to be a great old rogue, but Sally out-Herods him. I put a dozen new buttons in an envellope with a note directed to Drummer Hibbs; but no opportunity for sending it has presented itself yet.   Before the ship sailed from Hong Kong in November last Sally promised to have a fine, strong ditty-box made for me at the price of two dollars. On our return in January, he had not performed his old promise, but met me with an abundance of new, all of which he has disregarded. After a series of very painful disappointments and long delays, I have applied to Old Sam and accepted his promise to get for me the long desired box. Sam will doubtless keep his word.

Wensday, 2.

C

Summary. Throughout the fore and afternoon leisures I employed myself writing in my journal. Now, in the morning before breakfast I usually read Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by lamplight on the Berth Deck; there was a time when the Master-at-arms would drive me away from the lamps; I recollect one night when I had the intollerable presumption to post myself at a respectful distance & read by a ray from our Orderly Sergeant’s candle __ but that doubty commander lowered my presumption __ he drove me away in a manner expressive of his wrath and contempt (Alas! my due, though he does not know it). But they were days of enmity and misunderstanding; I may now read at the lamps, and even sit on the sergeant’s mess-chest to enjoy a ray from his light without fear of molestation at the hands of either him or the master-at-arms.   At dinner-time to-day, Old Sam gave me a fine white-handled, two-bladed penknife in exchange for my big purser’s-knife; taking care to tell me that, as he got me a good one, there is a difference of ten cents in the value of the two knives, by which, I suppose, I am to give him credit for ten cents.

Thursday, 3.

D

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee, 12. = Paid Old Sam, for a knife, 10, __ for oranges, 2.

E

Summary. EMPLOYED industriously in my leisures: – In the Forenoon I ruled off fiftyseven pages of the blank book intended for my “Journal &c.”; I ruled off as many more pages in the Afternoon together with the succeeding forty-two pages of my journal.

F

___I reviewed, last night, the mal-career of my early youth and watered the edge of my hammock with tears of repentance. The water will ever flow freely from my eyes when I reflect upon the fate of my honored Sire, who sunk under the double misfortune of a perverse wife, who embittered his days, and a son who dishonored his name. __   I read, this morning, about Scanderbeg and John Hunniades. Does sir William Temple find only seven characters in History who have deserved, without wearing, a crown?

Friday, 4.

G

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee, 12 ½ cts. =Paid Old Sam, for a slate 15, __ Cakes, &c, 10.

H

Summary. Temptations to drink warming draughts of coffee however costly are easier sneered at  at mid-day than resisted in the morning before reveille while every limb shivers in the cold. Unfortunately, this morning, I toppled over and spilt my potfull as I was in the act of seizing upon the tin to quaff the precious stuff.

 

Page 94

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, harbor of Hong Kong.)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

(Friday, 4)

A

Summary. At sundown the Susquehanna’s Dingey came alongside and I took advantage of the opportunity to send aboard the envellope & buttons (93, B.) The dingey, a little iron boat, has two boys for it’s coxswain and crew. One of these, Hurdle, is a refutation of the notion that beauty and virtue are almost inseparable. Pope or some other English poet has affirmed that beauty is an evidence of moral excellence; I thought so too; it is indeed a natural idea; but a notion which repeated contradiction has driven from my mind. The first contradiction I met in the Frigate Cumberland in the career of a little gentleman, at once young, educated, lively, intelligent and beautiful. Since then, though I have met with many; I have met with but one* good-looking boy in the Service who was not at the same time a pæderast.

Saturday, 5.

B
Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee, 12 ½; Dr. to cash, 50. = Purser, Cr. by cash, 4.00. Sally, Dr. to cash, 1.00. = Mess No. 2, Dr. to accounts, 51. = Pvt. Braconnier, Cr. by cooking in mess, 51.

C

Summary. — In Trouble again. Marshal requested me to let him beat tattoo last night; I had allowed him to do so the two preceding nights; I complied. While Marshal was dispensing music to the winds on the Spar Deck, I was marching to the martlal tunes to and fro on the Gun Deck when unluckilly I encountered Misfortune as it is embodied in the person of the old sergeant who evinced a determination to annoy me in the following absurd question “why aint you up on tattoo?” “Marshall is beating-off for me” said I, “But that aint the question ­__ I say, why aint you up there beating off?” rejoined the inquisitor. “Well, said I, Marshal is beating-off now and you know that we can’t both beat-off together as there is but one pair of drumsticks __ Very frequently, continued I, (though this had nothing to do with the case) Mr. Arnold has sent for Marshal and ordered him to beat off.” “Yes, but you should be on tattoo yourself __ why aint you there?” “Well __ Do you want me to go up and stand alongside of Marshal untill he’s done beating-off?” said I, my patience fast running out. “I’ll have to report you “absent from tattoo” to the first lieutenant”, and the old bear commenced to descend the Berth Deck ladder. He never intended to make so absurd a report. I knew this; but his last remark had exhausted my patience and I foolishly rejoined “Thank you — I’m much obliged to you”. This speech of mine, foolish and senseless in itself, really became impertinant when addressed under such circumstances to a superior. Accordingly, this morning, I find myself arraigned at the dread tribunal of the “mast” before the first lieutenant to receive sentence of punishment for “impertinance to the Orderly Sergeant.” “Eh! So you can’t behave yourself; you can’t keep quiet; you must be impertenant to the Sergeant, Eh! Disobey Orders! Put him on double duty.”  Such were the words and substance of my sentence, but it was not delivered all at once as I have inscribed it; I was permitted to say a word for myself, which went for nothing, as indeed it should, because what I said was a slight but unmanly equivocation; I pretended to regard my act of being “absent from tattoo” as the only offence of which I was conscious, when I knew that the old Sergeant had reported me for “impertinence.”

My term of “double duty” is “untill further orders”; a term which my imagination stretches far into futurity, for Bill is not with me in this difficulty; yet, if the Old Sergt.’s night-cap is his thinking-cap, I may hope that the concience which it contains will intercede in my behalf, and then, perhaps, the proprietor of the cap and concience will

*That one is Music E.L. Rodgers, son of Sergt. R. of Portsmouth, N.H.

 

Page 95

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

A

try to undo, to-morrow, his injustice of today. I go on post at the Cabin door at 12 (Mer) & I will remain four hours; then go on again at 8, P.M, and remain four more, after which I may taste the sweets of repose; then I go on at 4, A.M, and continue, excepting a short respite at daylight, untill eight. And if the term of my punishment does not terminate here, I may conclude that the sergeant’s concience accomplished nothing in my behalf, and may resign myself to a long experience of the sergeant’s vengeance. In the day-time, while orderly at the door, I am habitted in my best blue pants, my best jacket, a good pair of shoes, and a waist-belt, all of the most respectable appearance, with a fatigue cap of an appearance quite discreditable.

(Sunday, 6.)

B

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by a pot of bad coffee, 12 cents; Dr. to cash, 12. = Mus. McFarland, by coffee, 5; Dr, to cash, 5. = *Old Sam, Cr. by 6 “mandarin” oranges, 5. = Expended, by setting apart 20 “cash” for curios, 2 cents.

C

Summary. __ In my watch of four hours last night I found excellent employment in reading and thinking. I find for myself a telling reproach in Gibbon’s Rome. Four hundred years ago precisely, the only son of the Secretary Phranza, fell into the hands of Mahomet II and preferred death to the imfamy of consummating with a king what I, the only son of a Secretary of State, have successively consummated with a vagrant, a soldier, a sailor-boy, a petty-officer of a ship, and (over and over again) myself. Ah! Phranza, you were doubly blessed in the birth of that heroic little boy of fifteen years who went so gloriously to his peerage in the realm of God! My title is to a cell or crevice in the bowels of Hell. Buskirk, you were doubly cursed in me!

D

___ My term of “double duty” does not expire at 8 to-day, as I expected; I underrated the sergt.’s vindictiveness. I go on again at meridian, and then again at 8, P.M. = My tour of duty from twelve to four was relieved of all tediousness by the presence of little John Ponce who came on a visit from the Flagship. Seeing Bill give a note to Ponce for Hibbs and suspecting that it contained a ebulition of bad feeling occasioned in my brother’s breast by a sense of neglect on the part of Hibbs, it suggested itself to me to write a humorous note on the subject of Neglect to the innocent cause of Bill’s distress. This I accomplished on sundry slits of paper which Pons will convey to their destination. I will explain why Bill is distressed, though it will cost more labor and ink than the subject is worth. My brother Cain is as fond of Johnny’s society as he is vain of himself. This fondness he has gratified in repeated visits to the flag-ship, but alas! Johnny inflicts a deadly wound upon the vanity by neglecting to return these favors; Hence Bill’s distress. It is amusing to witness how awkwardly Bill endeavors to dissemble his fondness and counterfeit indifference on a Sunday when his heart is overflowing with anxiety. “Are you going a visiting__I am not” he will say in the morning. As the hour approaches when boats with visitors from the different ships may be expected, he paces with restlessness about the Main Deck every now and then stopping to look anxiously through a port hole opening upon the flag-ship. He seldom neglects to ask my opinion as to whether or not “they will come to-day”; “In that event, he will in substance say, I am going to stow myself away and go to sleep __ Do’nt you tell  ‘em where I am __ I do’nt want to see them.” At the critical moment when the boats arrive, he is anywhere than “stowed away”, and he does not conceal his disappointment and chagrin as his last hope of seeing Johnny is sunk.   This fondness, which Bill tries to dissemble, is honorable to him; indeed, the only redeeming feature which I can see in his moral constitution; that is, if his affection springs form the same sentiments which generate my esteem and regard for Hibbs, __ but here a doubt forces it’self on my mind.

*Mistake, see 96, E.

 

Page 96

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

A

Pseudo-Sally. When we first in these regions (May, 1852) arrived, three bomboats tended the ship; I got acquainted with the name of Sally as that belonging to one of the bomboatmen and resolved to deal exclusively on credit with the proprietor of that name; to prevent mistakes, I bought a little red covered blank book, drew the picture of drummer on the first page, wrote at the top of the second “Account between drummer Buskirk and Sally”, and deposited the book in the hands __ not of Sally __ but of a man who called himself Sally to gain my custom. Whenever I got anything, I wrote down the amount in the book and my debts soon run up to 1.20, at which juncture my creditor was ordered away from the ship. His bills were given to the master-at-arms who endeavored to get them paid. I however did’nt pay my debt, nor have I done so yet, but will settle them the next opportunity, Pseudo-Sally had deceived me, which will excuse my tardiness in paying up. I was reminded of all the above by Pseudo-Sally himself who came in Old Sam’s boat to-day for the express purpose of reminding me of my debt.

C

Old Sam has not brought off my box yet, my patience finds exercise in a daily disappointment.

(Monday, 7.)

D

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by a pot of bad coffee, 8; Dr. to cash, 8. = Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee, 5; Dr, to cash, 5.= Old Sam, Cr. by 6 “mandarin oranges, 5.

(E)

NOTE. I made a mistake, committed an anachronism or rather a diachronism, in my Pecuniary Remark of yesterday. The charges over which I have placed a star belong under this date as I have placed them, & in the particular of Sam’s charge, instead of reading Cr. by oranges, read “Paid, for oranges, 10”.

F

Summary. The old sergeant caught me napping in my watch __ I had ensconced myself in an arm chair and Morpheus had placed his finger over my eyes __ time glided along and the quartermaster marveled that the eleventh hour was not reported __ our sergt. of the Guard guessed the cause of the irregularity, &, on coming below, his guess was confirmed by the reality: the watcher was at his post, but his soul was the in the land of dreams. The vigilant sergeant recovered the soul of the sleeper back to it’s proper sphere __ bestowed some reproaches upon the dilinquent orderly __ and obtained a short answer from the object of his reproaches. In the morning: these things were all duly communicated to the senior sergeant and that dignitary will protect the dignity of his junior-self by prolonging my term of double-duty. “I was going to get him off double-duty, this morning, said the First Sergeant, but now [since his last night’s work] I’ll keep him on for a while longer __ you can’t speak to that fellow without getting impertinence.”   I confess the leniency of this sentence, for my dilinquency might have been made the subject of another report to the First Lieutenant; I deny the truth of the assertion made in the last part of the sentence. I am not habitually impertinent, but extremely deferential in my manners; in my intercourse with the sergeants I have always been as respectful as I would to be to midshipman; indeed; the old fellow and his second edition might perceive some lurking “impertinence” of irony in respect which neither their military rank, their virtues, nor any moral excellence gives them right to expect.

G

=My hammock this morning was drenched with water and fastened on the gantlines to dry by one of the orderlies, I being on post. Says I “Gacki, just throw a couple of buckets of water on it, and hang it up __ do’nt trouble yourself to scrub it.” This is the first skulk of a wash I have ever afforded to my hammock, on a morning when the “word” is passed for “all hands” to “scrub hammocks.”

H

=As some of the officers keep books at the Cabin-door, there are frequently a number of good books on hand with which the orderly may beguile the passage. I have not lost the advantage arising from this circumstance.

 

Page 97

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

A

=Court Martial. My tour of duty from 12 to 4 in the evening, is rendered a tour of pleasure, almost, from the circumstance of a Court Martial in session. I can’t explain how it is that the being near and among “brass-mounted” officers __ mingling, in my errands, among them as a hound would mingle with parties of private soldiers __ yet it is a fact that the sight and proximity of gold epaulettes is “congenial to my feelings”. Lieut. Guest of the Flagship is the delinquent upon whose misconduct the Honorable Court is engaged; I understand the charges preferred are “drunkeness & ungentlemanly conduct”. I think Captain Kelly is President of the Court; among the members, I perceive Capt. Walker of the Saratoga, Capt. Sinclair of the Supply, Lieut. Randolph, and-so-fourth. The “prisoner” and his judges indulge the most friendly familiarity with each other, from which I prognosticate a most favorable termination of the case __ a termination desirable to me, for Mr. Guest has the honor to be a son-in-law to Judge Semmes of Cumberland.

B

=Released from Extra-Duty. I went at 8, P.M, to go on post at the cabin door when I received the very welcome intelligence that “further orders” had terminated my term of punishment.

(Tuesday, 8.)

C

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5; Dr. to cash, 10. = Old Sam, Cr. by 6 oranges, 5, a pot of peach jelly, 10; Dr. to cash, 15.

D

This is NEW YEAR’S DAY throughout the length and breadth of the CELESTIAL EMPIRE __ Every ceremony of noise and parade are here enacted to celebrate the exit of the Old Year and to usher in the New. Throughout the night incessant voleys of fire crackers have sent there reports over the water to us __ and from every quarter came the music of gongs and another nameless instrument. O! Doubtless, Joy and happiness roll through the “valley” of the sun”! As the Celestials keep this day “religiously”, we might not expect the accustomed bomboat, but Sally & Sam, who “love their dollar better than their Jesus”, did not fail to be here at the dinner hour.  If I understand I-Kan aright, he told me yesterday that today would be (in the Chinese way of dating) “Hamfoo, 3rd Year, 1st day of the first moon”.

During a good part of the morning, the British steamer-of-war exercised her big guns at target, and, doubtless, the Chinese residents consider the Lion to have thundered only in celebration of this greatest of the Dragon’s holydays.

(Wensday, 9).

E

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ cup of coffee, 5; Dr. to cash, 5. = Sally, Cr. by 7 pens, 3. Old Sam, Cr, by Oranges, 9. = No. 2 Mess, Dr. to accounts, 53.

F

Summary. Old Sam and his competitor Sally brought off new-year’s gifts at the dinner hour for each of their respective customers = By far the most interesting incident of to-day was a visit from my little compeer of the Saratoga. At the officer’s dinner hour he beat the Call (Dan Tucker) so lively and well that every body applauded his performance and I testified my satisfaction in a present of some nice mandarin oranges. I showed the little rascal my “Register of Tunes” which excited at once his desire, to which I yielded the book upon first obtaining a solemn promise from him to perform these two things, viz: learn to read and learn to write.

I have remarked little Schultze at 13 C.

G

Good beginning, but a bad termination. To-day at the wardroom dinner table, three officers paid me the following highly flattering compliment “That drummer of ours could beat a good drum if he would, — but he is too lazy.”

 

Page 98

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal. (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Thursday, 10.

A

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6. = Sally, Cr, by 6 Oranges, 5.

B

Summary. I may say I have narrowly escaped from another term of punishment: I gratified Marshal’s wish, last night, to beat tattoo; and to elude the sergeant’s anger as it might find vent in a report of “absence from tattoo”, I took up my marine drum to assist with one stick at tattoo. Marshal broke in the head of the ship’s drum and the pause which ensued brought the old sergeant to the scene of action. The old fellow rated me soundly for what I had done and promised vengeance, but I preserved throughout an air of the utmost deference, and this has preserved me from the promised vengeance. This morning I prepared to fix up the damaged drum when an altercation occurred which separates, perhaps for ever, Marshal from our musical corps; the fifer brought the question up for agitation whether “I had any right to use the ship’s drum” and proclaimed that I had not. I asserted my right to the article as the only rated drummer in the ship, and my intention to use it exclusively henceforward. Marshal, upon the subject’s being got up, defended a right of his own to the exclusive use of the drum; became angry and (he was assisting in fixing up the drum) suddenly abdicated his sovereignty over the instrument by flinging the old broken parchment in my face and taking himself away.   I got a new head from the yeoman, by Mr. Gillis’ order, and, having soaked it in the forenoon, fixed it to the drum in the afternoon.

C

I have sustained a very serious loss in loosing my “Chronological & Regal Tables”! Almost every day I feel the inconvenience of their absence.

Friday, 11.

D

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by 1 pot coffee, 12. __ Expended (in Hong Kong) for being shaved, 50, __ for mand. oranges, 25, __ for boat hire, 25.

E

Visit to the Susquehanna and to the town. The idea of getting ashore by anny other means than lawful was suggested to me this morning by Bill; “we might get ashore’, said he, by getting Mr. Gillis’ permission to go on board the Susquehanna __ and, instead of going aboard the steamer, we may go ashore in Sam’s boat; stay long enough to get something to drink, and then come off to the steamer before anybody will know anything about it.” I agreed. Bill got the desired permission, and when the dinner-hour was passed we reported our permission to the officer of the deck and got into Sam’s boat. Mr. Blackford the sailmaker happened to be going ashore in Sam’s boat and this circumstance perhaps contributed a little to shake Bill’s daring resolution of the morning. The courage which prompted him to conceive our plan of getting on shore in violation of the law evaporated when the plan came to be executed. “A’nt you going aboard the Susquehanna?” said Bill when Sam pushed away from the ship. “I am going ashore first” said I. “Have you got permission to go ashore? asked Mr. Blackford. “I’ve got permission, sir,” said I. “O! Why do’nt you tell the truth” said Bill to me; and then to Mr. Blackford “we’ve both got permission to go aboard the Susquehanna, Sir.”

 

Page 99

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

A

“Then you had better not go ashore” said Mr. Blackford. “Who go bard the steamer? __ I go see Mr.—,” said Sam. “There! Said Bill, Sam’s going alongside the steamer anyhow, __ they’ll see you in the boat, __ I tell you, you had better go aboard the steamer”

Sam intended to stop at the steamer and leave his boat a few minutes. Mr. Blackford also intended to pass a few moments in the steamer. Bill had completely abandoned his plan of stealing liberty, and tried to dissuade me from performing my part of the plan. Mr. Blackford, from purer motives, also tried to dissuade me from the enterprise.

It was a critical moment, that of our arrival at the Susquehanna; __ Mr. Blackford and Sam went up, __ then followed Bill, looking behind and continuing to dissuade; __ my courage failed, I seized on to the “manropes” and in ascending the gang-way my plan for the moment was abandoned. Hibbs (John) soon appeared, and after a little preliminary civility, I asked “Have you a bag to lend us?” “We want, said I, to put our heads in it, __ Bill and me formed a plan to get ashore, this morning, and here in the commencement of it’s execution our hearts have failed us.” I laughed, and, turning to Bill, said “But we may retrieve our honor or whatever you may call it __ there is time yet __ we need only get into the boat again when Mr. Blackford and Sam comes back.” “Oh no! By G-d, is it too late now,” said Bill, do you suppose the sergeant will let you go into the boat again?”

“I’ll risk it” said I, and shortly afterwards the sailmaker and Old Sam came to the gangway and went to the boat. I followed; __ “Hey! said sergeant Doras, did you get permission to go ashore?” “I got leave to go ashore __ and Bill to come aboard the steamer” said I, tremulously, and got into the boat.

When we arrived at the Market Place I jumped ashore, and, after reaching the street, turned to my right and went down into Bamboo or China town; I would have liked to go up into Victoria proper, the only place where I could attain the two objects of my coming ashore, viz: the buying of a good box and some good books, but every lamp-post in Victoria looked like an officer of the Plymouth, and though this was a delusion, I had good reason to fear that some disagreable reality would encounter me if I trusted my-self in Victoria.

Everything seemed changed in Bamboo-town since my last visit to the place __ changed for the better __ I cannot pretend to describle wherein the change consisted.

I had but a few minutes to stay ashore. To make the most of them, I hurriedly visited some places contigous to Cat-street in search of Carpenter’s shop __ and though I found a shop of that description, I could not find the prime object of my wishes __ a ditty-box of suitable size and strenght. From a motive of vanity, I stopped in a Barber’s shop and got shaved. Half of the operation, viz: the using of cold water on an old brush (resembling a tooth-brush) to wet my chin, &c and then the rubbing of a piece of soap over the soused parts, was a la Chinois, __ and half, viz: the using of a razor, was a la European. When the whole was performed I presented the operator with a dollar which he quietly dropped into his drawer. After some difficulty I got him to understand that I expected the favor of some change, upon which he withdrew to a store and returned with a half dollar piece, which I accepted, and then cried quits with so exorbitant a barber.

 

[Editor’s note: page 100 is a large table “Containing Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s ACCOUNT With the PURSER; A.D. 1853.”]

 

Page 101

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

A

After leaving the Barber’s shop, I found in the vicinity of the water, a crowd of Chinese assembled around what I might call “a strolling theatre”. Everything was conducted to tune of music which five or six were extracting from the Chinese drum, the cymbals, and some nondescript instruments. A great battle of the olden time was underweigh__in Chinese theatrical style__no legions covered the stage, but every hero of the represented battle fought without any visible comrades against enemies equally invisible. When I first came upon the spot, a boy with a little wooden sword and a grass shield, played the part of some ancient worthy who had charged, killed, fenced, fell to the ground, rolled over and under the shield, jumped up, and returned to charge and kill again, in battle.

I witnessed two others succeed the little swordsman on the stage, i.e. the ground, and play their parts with other instruments of war, but their performance was not as interesting as the music which regulated their motions.

Leaving the theatre, I found and engaged a boatman to bring me off to the “steamer”, and procured a handkerchief full of mandarin oranges to carry on board.   Arrived at the steamer again, Sergeant Doras was yet on guard and on the spot to perform the duty of searching me for concealed liquor; I relieved the transient ceremony of it’s disagreeableness by the good grace with which I underwent the search and with which I tendered him some of the oranges.   Bill and my little friend John were forward on the Spar Deck.

I passed the remainder of the evening in company and converse with John, not always edified by the presence and conversation of Bill. I did not see Emery untill a few moments before supper—and then again a few moments before I was about to leave, when it pained me to perceive that a coldness existed between the two brothers.   I met with Private Rolly, who understands the Spanish language, and promised to lend him Dr. Otis’ “Guide Book of the Philipines”__provided the doctor would consent.

After supper, I applied to Mr. Guest, the officer of the Deck, for permission to go in the “dingy” to the Plymouth. “Ahem! said Mr. G., how came you to be left here?__is there no boat coming for you?” “We came at dinner-time in the bomboat, sir,__I might now go aboard in the [Susquehanna’s] bomboat, but the bomboatman seems dissatisfied to take me to the Plymouth__it is so much out of his way.” We had been in the frigate’s bomboat, and I had returned on deck again, as her preparations for leaving promised to consume some five or ten minutes, when I thought of asking for the dingy. “Ahem! said the lieutenant to the coxswain of the Dingy, who accompanied me, “Livingston! you belong to the Dingy__do’nt you” Well! get your boat alongside and take these two boys aboard the Plymouth.”   We arrived on board the Plymouth before five, P.M. and thus terminated our visit to the Susquehanna.

 

Page 102

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

(Saturday, 12.)

A

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6.=Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot coffee, 5. Old Sam, Cr. by mess accounts, 56.

B

The “ditty box”. Mr Gillis making his appearance on the Gun Deck this morning before breakfast while I was writing a note to Hibbs, I respectfully asked “Sir, will you please allow me to get a small ditty box out of the bomboat?” “No.”

C

Sent the following letter to Hibbs:

[Private, serious, and confidential]

     U.S.Ship Plymouth, Feb. 12, 1853.

I had, yesterday, only one thing to say, worthy of my telling or of your listening to,__and that, I forgot to mention:—It is more than probable that you and me will never see each other again under seven or eight years, (however undesirable that may be to me); unless, indeed, you find more “ice” to break before the winter has passed.

Having paid you my last visit, and being about to write you the last note you will ever receive under the superscription of “drummer”, I must intimate the relations which I hope you will consider to exist between us__and consider them of a texture which neither time, contempt, or even ingratitude can dissolve;__Regard me as a friend__in the most confined sense of the term__and in every future period of your career, recollect that you have a claim upon my services__I mean a command of my services.   What service the “drummer” could render you now is small__it is lucky that your emergencies are trifling;—

Perseverance and hard labor will strengthen my ability to serve, and I am confident that you can never, in any future time, experience such misfortune as I cannot in a great degree alleviate;—unless, indeed, Old Raw Bones claps a stopper on the whole.

Clayton Van Buskirk, Dixon’s Hill, Charlestown, Va.

John & Emery Hibbs.

D

I have not mentioned that a Court Martial or of Inquiry is in session over Capt. Walker of the Saratoga__yet such is the fact. The presence of the Am. Minister being desired in Court to-day, His Excellency the Hon. Humphrey Marshal came on board this morning and was received with the customary honors. He was accompanied by the great Dr. Parker and the Am. Consul.

E

I’ve been Reading in Gibbon’s Rome about Pope John XXIII, and though I have mentioned the circumstance of his trial and condemnation more than a dozen times in my conversations, my own belief is staggered.

F

At sundown, the fifer remarked to me “Do you know that Johnny [Hibbs] has got a chicken now,__well he has,__yes, he sleeps every night with Hodge,__Emery do’nt like him for it,__Emery would’nt do it, or he does it on the sly.”

I cannot express what concern it gives me to think of what Bill’s words suggest. They are indeed too-true. But I would have no apprehension if Bill’s word were the only evidence against my F.,__for Bill’s veracity is on a par with his chastity.

 

Page 103

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Hong Kong)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

(Sunday, 13.)

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5.—O. Sam, Cr. by washcloths, 8.

B

Sumary. I commenced, this morning, a letter to Emery Hibbs and had about half finished it at dinnertime when John came on a visit from the Susquehanna. Throwing aside my writing, I accompanied my little friend to the different parts of the ship, from the Libraries, aft the Main Deck, to the Yeoman’s Storeroom [Sodomy Den], forward on the Berth Deck. Afterwards, leaving him with Bill and Coombs, I returned to finish my letter, John having promised to carry it aboard. I had finished the epistle in everything but the subscription of my name, and had obtained a copy of nearly the whole for insertion here, when John reappeared, and I again laid aside the note (which for the world I would not have John to see);—I opened my journal on my drum, which I had rigged into a temporary desk of just convenient height for John to read off and me to write on, and permitted my little friend to read successively the following notes, viz: 5, B; 6, A; 7, A; 9, C; 10, F; 11, E; 12, A, C, D; 13, C; 16, B; 17, C, E; 19, B. He hardly had done reading the last of these notes when the boatswain’s mate called away “all the Susquehanna’s libertymen”, and my little friend was forced to go;—I hurriedly folded up my letter to Emery and gave it to John, after first exacting a promise that he would not open it, but convey it safely to his brother.

C

Buskirk to Emery Hibbs.

[Strictly private and Confidential:—

Not even to be shown to your brother.]       U.S. Sloop Plymouth, Feb. 13, 1853.

You must forgive me, Emery, for this letter,—but I could never forgive myself if I did not throw open my mind to you. I shall not tell you how the information has reached me­—I can only hope that it is false—but it is certainly brought to my knowledge that your brother is in a fair way—of—of—acquiring an unenviable reputation. Even Commo Report begins to handle his character roughly. Can’t this be averted? Have you not influence enough over him to to check his deviations from virtue? Your brother’s fortunes are not entwined with yours—scandal that affects him affects you, —How could you ever be honorable and happy and know that your brother is sunk in dishonor and misery?

And you know the inevitable consequences of an indulgence in the vice to which I refer—infamy, loss of character, of health, and of happiness.

Under any circumstances at all, hatred between brothers is inexcusable; under the present peculiar circumstances, I wonder that you can find it in your heart to maintain quarrel or bad understanding unlike your brother. Will you consider that while you wear the appearance of enmity your influence for good over your brother has ceased—your contempt of his faults can only provoke hatred. I would not presume to give advice, for you are my equal in wisdom as well as in mil. rank, but let me offer to your con

 

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sideration: 1. that your bother has every claim upon your love, 2. that he may be conquered to love you by undeviating kindness on your part, 3. that you can recover influence over him only by getting back his affection and esteem.

Ain’t it easy for you to forbear using reproachfull words in conversation with your brother? Can’t you remember to never call him any hard names?

Can’t you revive and cherish a brother’s love in your heart, and show it in your countenance—ever meet him with a smile, whatever betide—never with a frown? If you do this, though he may not know it himself, he will be brought to love you again;—he will be sorry that he ever done aught to hurt your feelings;—then you may mildly remonstrate on his conduct, and your remonstrances, enforced by your excellent example, will have the effect of bringing him back to virtue. If you are indifferent or inimical now, your brother cannot but curse you in his old age,—if on the contrary you strive now to rescue him from sin, his old age will bless you. Think, Emery, of what I say—consider every circumstance connected with this subject—and do not hate your brother for his faults, but love him the more, and devise and resolve plans to reclaim him.

If I were his companion, though I were not his natural brother, I would strain every nerve and exhaust means to save such intelligence—such a soul—so fine a boy, inferior to yourself only in having a temperament which exposes him to temptation, from perdition. I could never hate him—never speak unkindly to him.

A

I may be grateful that I escaped, last night, a recurrence of the evil to which I have had, too often, to refer in preceding pages.

B

The Mail-Steamer arrived in the morning. After sundown, the assortment of letters belonging to the Plymouth came on board and I was happy to receive one postmarked Charlestown, Nov. 30., which upon opening, proved to be from my Honored Mother, and read as follows:

Charlestown, Jefferson Cty, Virginia.

Nov. 24, 1852.

My beloved child

I received your letter of the 2nd of June date, yesterday, which seems has been about 6 months getting here: your letters all seem to come safe, and I have no Postage to Pay except from New York, 7 cts. but I have a very severe Postage to Pay upon all the letters I send you, and for that reason will not be able to send you so many & indeed my time for writing is very scarce, I have so many different things to follow. You are very much missing here, for I have to be after my own work and business that you might be after if you were here. We make but slow Progress in anything, and have a great many hopes as we go along; I shall be truly rejoiced when you can return to us. But it would be the height of ingratitude for me to say that I do not enjoy very many comforts, & my health is better than when you were with me: And I am still trying to make Progress toward living in some comfort & respectability. My affairs are much in the same way as when you left: It is impossible to bring Mr. Worthington to any thing:

 

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‘I have drawn a little money once or twice since you left which he seems to have no objection to: But I am strongly inclined to think that he wants to suck in my estate. I shall be truly glad when you can come home, & have a settlement with him. I have no trouble with your half Pay, which I have received since the 1st of Dec. last. I sent a letter to Gen. H. which letter he sent to the Navy Agent Lathrop, who sent me on the receipts for your Pay, which receipts I have to sign & send to him, as I wish to draw it. This is all we have to look to now, for a support, with what we can make off the Place, which is very precarious as yet.

The Old man keeps tollerably well, and is very faithfull doing all he can: I hope he will hold out untill you return & we may be able to keep him alive and usefull, for a good many years yet. I am pleased to hear of your health, & other advantages, and hope that you will Profit by them: & do bring home as much money as you possibly can, for you know not what uses we may have for it.

You did not tell me how long you would be in China, but I shall direct this letter according as yours is dated.

Farewell

  1. M. V. Buskirk

(Monday, 14.)

A

Pecuniary. Old Sam, Cr. by a basket of taras, 25,—3 sheets of paper, 3. = Paid, for a ditty box, 1,00. = Boy Barnetz, Cr, by trouble of getting a box for me, 40. = The Tinker, Cr. by making a brass to go in front of my cap, 25.

B

Summary. During the Fore and Afternoon leisures I employed myself writing up my Journal. To-day is an era in the History of my Journal and in the History of myself. Having at last procured a ditty-box (though not the one of my earnest desire, mentioned in the preceding remarks), I may now keep my Journal and books-of-study under the faithful custody of lock and key, and limits to the freedom with which I may write are removed. I have no longer to trust the inviolability of my private writings to the honor of gunners and midshipmen; and my books and slate, I can always have them at hand, and at the same time always have them safe from the rough hands of my shipmates. On the first of next month I will make arrangements to begin my studies again.

Tuesday, 15.

C

Pecuniary. Old Sam, Cr. by Oranges, 5.

D

Summary. The evil which I escaped by a lucky turn of my dream on the night of the 13th, I suffered in the night which has just passed. Oh! God, Am I bound forever in the shackles of polution! Will these consequences of my SIN never cease to affect my system! I must enquire whether the use of coffee, tea, & animal food does not aggravate the debility of the generative organs,­—if so, I must abandon them. But I fear that I am lost—that I perceived my error when it was too late—that the indiscretions of my early age will ever tell upon my system—that the holy appelations of “father”, “husband”, will never be mine—that the line of Buskirk, commenced in glory, continued in honor, will find an ignominious termination in me. These are dreadful thoughts; —they invade my mind, but I strive to repel them;—I will not despair while a ray of hope remains.

 

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FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Wenesday, 16.          At Sea.

A
Pecuniary. O. Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5.= O. Sam, Cr. by a bowl, 8,—2 eggs, 2.

B

Summary. I mustered in my place this morning to salute, by two rolls of the drum, the COMMODORE, on his arrival aboard. The old gentleman has determined to proceed in this ship to Whampoa, but he does not transfer his flag from the Susquehanna. The Commodore is in a very feeble, but, we hope, not a declining state of health. He comes attented by an assistant-surgeon and one domestic.—Immediately after the Commodore’s arrival, we got underweigh and made sail.—A report circulates amongst us that the Commodore, on account of his bad health, intends to return home without waiting to be relieved by Com. Perry;—the crew of the Susquehanna, to whom Aulick has ever been kind and fatherly, will deprecate the event.

Thursday, 17.           Blenheim Reach, near Whampoa.

C

Pecuniary. Old Sam, Cr. by 3 Oranges, 2.

D

Summary. All night we had sailed up the river with a fair and pleasant breeze, and at meridian we arrived and dropped anchor here in Blenheim Reach, an anchorage immediately below Whampoa. The COMMODORE and suite departed almost before our anchor reached bottom, and several of our officers, after an early dinner, have set out for Canton.

(E)

—Last night in the midwatch, while our ship glided past the Bogue Forts and numerous other fortifications which guard the Hiang Kiang, I thought over my future prospects and turned over and over again the strange idea that I might rise to rank in the Navy. I’ve considered that it is possible for me to attain, in the opportunities of my present situation, every qualification necessary to the office of Purser’s Steward, which office is  of easy attainment to well qualified applicants,—that, in the opportunities of a Steward, I might qualify myself for the duties of Purser’s or Captain’s Clerk, offices also accessible to merit, and which confer a naval respectability upon their holders,—and, finally, that it is an easy and natural step from a Clerkship to a Secretary-ship, and thence to the rank of Purser in the Navy. An easy and plain handwriting, a thorough knowledge of Arithmetic and Accounts, a practical acquaintance with French and Spanish, and a good reputation for honesty, sobriety, and steadiness are qualifications which I may attain, and which are sufficient to ensure me the rate of Purser’s-steward. Heretofore my Ambition, influenced by family pride, has considered no other goal than political eminence in the State of Maryland. Oh! But my heart heaves to sensation when this last thought fills my mind!

Maryland is the land of my Father’s honor and of my ignominy—the scene of my family’s glory and of my family’s disgrace;—every sentiment of duty urges me to recover in Maryland the honor of a name which I have disgraced—to expiate the iniquities of my infancy on the spot of their perpetration. Oh! It is a goal of a holy ambition, to occupy a father’s chair in the Legislature and Council Chamber of Annapolis—to retrieve the honor and credit of his name in Allegheny. I might then

 

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repair to his grave, upon which now I would not dare to lower my eyes, and, after kneeling and brushing away my tears of remorse, Say Oh! Father the son who brought thee here has rescued thy name again from dishonor; And I might pray from the depths of my soul and with the fervor of remorse for the peace of his soul;—And my prayers—long, fervent, incessant—might reach and move the Throne of Mercy,—this truth is immutable, unless mercy is extended to my immortal sire, felicity is never, never for me.

Friday, 18.

A

Pecuniary. Old Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6.

B

Letter to My Mother.

U.S. Ship Plymouth, Blenheim’s Reach, near Whampoa, China.

Feb. 18, 1853.

My Dear Mother,

Your affectionate letter of the 24th inst. (I mean of Nov. last) I received a few days ago. You cannot conceive how happy I am to learn that you are beginning to enjoy some comfort, and that your health is improved.

I am especially glad to hear of Old Isaac’s health and faithfulness—We indeed may be able to keep him alive and comfortable for a good many years yet.

Since June 2nd, which you say is the date of my last letter, the Plymouth has visited successively the following ports, viz: Amoy, Tongsha Island, Shangae, Lewkon Island, and (after returning to Hong Kong) Cumsing moon, Macao, Formosa, and Manilla; all of which places you will find upon the map of China and the East Indies. You ask me when do I expect to leave China. As regards the directing of a letter, Hong Kong is always the address, whether the ship is there or not, as Hong Kong may be considered the Head Quarters of this Station, called the East India and China Station. If you refer to the return of the ship to the U.S., I cannot venture on opinion—As far as I can understand, this squadron, now consisting of a steamer and three ships, is to be increased into a powerful fleet and to be sent to Japan. (You know that the Empire of Japan is a realm sealed to the Christian world.) I understand that the President is preparing this fleet for the purpose of opening Japan to the commerce of All Nations.

It is hoped that by the friendly mediation of the King of Holland this may be done without having to resort to hostility, for which, however, we are prepared, and Com. Perry who commanded in Mexico is en route to command in Japan.

You mention that Mr. Worthington cannot be brought to an understanding, and that once or twice you have drawn money from him, and that you are inclined to think he has some design upon your estate.

I cannot conceive why you can’t bring Mr. Worthington to account. You certainly can confer a power of attorney upon Mr. White, and that gentleman is willing to accept the trust, and I am sure he is capable of investigating your affairs and giving you a correct statement of their condition. If Mr. Worthington really has designs upon

 

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your property it is not consistent with prudence to continue him in the management of it for so long a time as three years to come. In drawing money from him, you are doubtless very circumspect in the manner of receipt which you give him.

But I hope that the produce of your land and live stock and my half-pay will enable you to live comfortably, without having to draw money from Mr. Worthington.

I presume that you have not leased out the “Starry Field” again; If you could not cultivate it yourself, you doubtless have considered it best to let it rest, or have rented it by the year or season. In your letter you mentioned nothing about the sow, the cow, or about my fruit trees, and yet you know that I have a great interest in every living animal of the premises. As you know what pleasure it will give me, you, I hope, will remember when you next write to mention how many cocks and how many hens, how many sows and pigs, how many ducks, & what fruit trees you have. Neither have you mentioned anything of Mrs. Buckmaster—I hope that kind and good lady enjoys happiness, the accompaniment of a righteous life, and health, which attends upon prudent living and freedom from distracting cares. Before you write again, I think it would be well to walk down to Mrs. Buckmaster’s, show this letter to her, and have a social chat over things and affairs. I would even suggest that you write your next letter at Mrs. Buckmaster’s—she will furnish you with a whole sheet of paper and steel pen, besides suggesting many little things to mention about Charlestown which will delight me to hear. You cannot conceive what mortification a little short letter is calculated to give—Especially one whose fly-tracks seem to have been sketched out in the dark with an old goose quill. I will not reiterate my requests for some of the Charlestown newspapers, one or two, for I have learned from a long experience that petitioning you from a distance is productive of no more effect than a like petitioning of the famous man in the moon.

[Other side] I do’nt know that I can better fill up this side of the sheet than by descanting upon some of the principal great circumstances under which I live; and though these things of the sea may be of not the least interest to you, Mrs. Buckmaster may find an instant of amusement in reading of them.

The “East-India Squadron” is at present composed of only four ships, viz: The steamer Susquehanna, carrying nine cannons and a crew of three hundred and twenty men; she is the flagship of the Squadron, that is, she carries the broad pennant or “flag” of the Commodore, who lives on board of her;—the sloops of war Plymouth and Saratoga, each of which carry twenty-two cannons and a crew of nearly one hundred and eighty men;—the store-ship Supply, carrying six guns and a small crew. All officers and captains pay implicit obedience to the Old Commodore. The internal government of the Plymouth is exercised by the “First Lieutenant” assisted in their departments by lieutenants and Passed-midshipmen. A “Purser” superintends the Finances of the ship.

A “Surgeon” and an “Asst. Surgeon” controll the Medical Depart. and govern the sick to kill or cure. The “Master” attends to the ship’s Navigation and everything relating thereto. The Captain, lieutenants, Purser, Surgeons, and Master are officers of the first water; they wear huge gold epaulets, a cocked-hat and any amount of gold lace about their every-day caps and coats;

 

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FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

when they leave the ship, the Boatswain or a boatswain’s-mate stands in the gangway to whistle long and shrill notes through this silver pipe, and boys stand on either side to uncover as the great man passes between them. The ceremonial is always observed in the going or coming of an officer, and the number of “side boys” is proportioned according to the rank of the officer—the Commodore has six, Captains four, and lieutenants two. Passed Midshipmen, the Captain’s clerk, and Midshipmen are officers of the second water; they have no huge “swabs” to support on their shoulders; they go and come without the benefit of being “piped” over the gangway. But the Regulations liberally deck their caps and coats with gold lace, and their importance is displayed in privilege of wearing cocked hats and swords. Next are the Boatswain, the Gunner, the Sailmaker, and the Carpenter, officers of the third water, whose caps and coats partake sparingly of the golden liberality of the Regulations, and though they are not indulged in cocked hats and swords, a great degree of respectability is attached to their office. Lastly and leastly is the Yeoman, the Purser’s-Steward, the Surgeon’s-Steward, and the Master-at-arms, who are an amphibious race, neither officers nor men. They are altogether unencumbered with gold lace, and little or no respectability is attached to their Office. But they enjoy the inestimable privilege of wearing “tong tags” and of going often on liberty.

For no other end in the world than to fill up or lengthen out my letter I have written the above, but I know that even rank nonsense is acceptable from a distance of twelve thousand miles, wherefore an apology is needless, and I submit the whole to the merciful consideration of you & Mrs. Buckmaster.

I am

My Dear Mother

Your Unworthy Son

P. Clayton Van Buskirk

A

At the dinner-hour to-day a numerous crowd of Chinese vendors thronged the Quarter-Deck with wares of almost every description for sale.

Going through the lines I met with every variety of silks, fancy articles, and obscene pictures. Every day at the dinner hour our quarterdeck will present the scene of a thronged bazaar.

B

After tattoo (8, P.M.) and as the hour of nine approached, I set out on the Port Gangboard and listened to the sweet music of the tattoo on board Her Majesty’s Steamer Semiramis lying up at Whampoa, and reflected, but not satisfactorilly, upon the question whether immortality could possibly linger in an atmosphere which frequently resounded with good music, and whether a good musician could be a bad man. I humbly, perhaps erroneously, opine that the Chinese gong is the best calculated of instruments for the office of martial music, which is to inspire animal courage by quickening the flow of animal spirits, and that the music produced by Bill and me is the second in it’s effects only to that of the gong, but the drummer & especially the fifer of the Semiramis discourse music which reaches the soul.

 

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Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal, (U.S.S. Plymouth, Blenheim Reach, near W.)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Saturday, 19.

A

Pecuniary. Rodgers the sailmaker’s mate, Cr. by making a canvas cover for my box, 34. = Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 cup of coffee, 3.

B

Summary. As is my custom, I cleaned up my accoutrements and did some sewing to-day. In addition to my own accoutrements, I have undertaken to keep Mr. Morrison’s exercising sword clean, in return for which service, I may expect the indulgence of reading his books, and the use of the sword itself when I wish to learn swordsmanship — The thought of John and Emery as connected with the subject of 102, F is ever uppermost in my mind. As Faust in the story sold himself for power and riches, just so I would exchange my soul for the boon of persuasive and dissuasive eloquence guaranteed to be irresistible. To guard, to protect, to benefit such specimens of God’s workmanship as Hibbs is the Grand Prime Attraction which would direct my efforts to the attainment of rank in the Navy. And would not that be glorious expiation of my early iniquity!

Sunday, 20.

C

Summary. It is only on Sundays and extraordinary occasions that I dress myself neat and trim, have my hair nicely combed, and my teeth washed. Like the rest of my tribe I am vain and would like to be ever seen in a close-fitting bran new jacket with bright buttons—with a shirt to rival the snow in whiteness—and with cap, pants, and glossy silk neckerchief of corresponding respectability. But the low ebb of my finances deny me the pleasure of appearing every day in the new and neat habiliments, and restrict my vanity to Sundays and great occasions. But of this be assured, As my resources increase, the respectability of my appearance shall meet with the attention it deserves. My usual appearance at sea, and in port between supper one day and breakfast the next, presents every evidence that discoloration and patches can afford to convince an observer that I am totally devoid of “pride” [that is, vanity]. — I have not spoken to the doctor upon the subject of 105, D. I am afraid. He might ask questions. But it seems evident to me that coffee, tea, and frequent use of animal food do aggravate generative debility, wherefore the WILL OF HEAVEN demands of me the total abandonment of those luxuries.

Monday, 21.

D

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by Oranges, 2. = Quartermaster U.S.M. Cr. by a Fatigue Cap, 145.

E

Summary. I have joyful news and bad tidings. A long lost English Dictionary of mine have come to light. I breakfasted on a pot of coffee—took a nap in the afternoon on the yeoman’s mat after a hearty dinner on beef—and supped on a pot of tea. It would seem that I could not possibly help doing these things—so strong is habit and so weak in one hour are the resolutions of another. But I resolve again against Coffee, Tea, Meat, Sleep in the daytime, and association with such personifications of iniquity as Tom Atkinson.

I can mention with pleasure that I employed the forenoon advantageously reading in the first vol. of Harpers & Bro.’s Lives of Distinguished Men.

 

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Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal, (U.S.S. Plymouth, Blenheim Reach, near Whampoa)

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Tuesday, 22.

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 cup of coffee, 3. = Pvt. Tegethoff, Cr. by a book, 22. Old Sam, Cr. by 2 doz. envellopes, 16,—a paper of cakes, 5,—Oranges, 2.

B

Summary. I succumed again to coffee, tea, and animal food; But again I resolve against them. Lord! what a difference there appears to be between Buskirk under one influence and Buskirk under another. Yesterday after supper in the full knowledge of how pernicious is the use of coffee &c. to his constitution, he resolved solemnly to abandon them. This morning after reveille he goes to expense for an extra cup of the stuff and at breakfast time introduces a whole potfull into his bowels, which at suppertime he augments by a potfull of tea, not, however, without asserting within himself, as he hath asserted a hundred times before, that “this shall be the last.” Jehoshophat! Can’t I release myself from this habit? Or am I spell-bound to coffee like a hopeless drunkard is to whiskey.

But I’ll make a desperate attempt to abstain from the drink throughout to-morrow.

(C)

—Hist. Rome. I’ve obtained from private Tegethoff an excellent little abridgment of Goldsmith’s Roman History for Schools.

(D)

—I employed the greater part of the fore and afternoon leisures in writing some “General Preliminary Remarks” to my Journal of the Cruise Part. II.

The smaller journals and books which occupy portions of my time and labor are the following, viz. the Journal of the Cruise above mentioned, a nice little volume always at hand because it fits so conveniently in the top of my escritoire-box (lately my “ditty box”),—my Rule of Action, also small, but much neglected now,—and my Chinese Note Book. — I had not space to mention, yesterday, that I exchanged Gibbon’s Rome for “Harper & Bro.’s Distinguished Men, Vol. I.” It being the “twenty second of Feb.” I asked the first lieutenant to give Bill and me a liberty ashore untill sundown. Mr. G. declined.

Wensday, 23.

E

I could not abstain from coffee and tea and meat to-day; But I resolve again, and may Heaven release me from the iron grasp of pernicious habit.

I begin to despair of ever enjoying the shadow of felicity in this world & it would seem the shades of my fathers frown upon me. I suffered in the preceding night a recurrence of involuntary emission. If this foul decease adheres much longer to me I must forever abandon all idea of marriage, and resign myself to the decree of Fate which terminates in me a family doubly accursed in my birth.

This morning I respectfully asked the Captain, who has just returned from Canton, for permission to go ashore untill sundown. The captain objected saying that he did not like to give more privilege to one than to others in the ship, but I respectfully mentioned to him that the music of the Susquehanna and Saratoga frequently received such indulgences from their captains, and he kindly promised to consider my request before to-morrow, remarking that, anyhow, the weather of to-day is too unfavorable for going ashore.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (Blenheim Reach, near Whampoa)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Thursday, 24.

A

I have given up the contest against coffee during the continuance of a cold season which has just set. This is a truce between us. The Susquehanna came up to the Reach, and anchored near us—This affects me in that now I’ll be called up earlier in the morning to shiver and shake in the cold atmosphere awaiting to beat reveille when the daylight gun of the flagship is fixed, And I may here mention that God and the commodore do not by any means always make daylight at the same time, nor does the latter observe regularity of time, firing his gun on some mornings earlier and on some mornings later than on others. And my music is affected by the near neighborhood of a ship possessing a drummer of skill.—By way of beguiling the time I committed to memory the piece of poetry in Mr. Morrison’s “American Speaker” entitled “Dest. Of Sennacherib”.

“The Assyrian came down like a wolf on the fold, &c.”

—I have recovered the benefit of having a Chronology to use. Mr. Morrison puts at my disposal his Tytler’s U. History which has an excellent chronological table appended to it.

(Friday, 25.)

B

Pecun. Billy McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot coffee, 5,—by cash 12.—Sam, Cr. by cash, 50,—by boat hire paid for me, 50. = Expended fruits & cumshaws, 62 ½.

C

Liberty Ashore and Visit to the Steamer. It proving to be an excellent but cool day I respectfully reminded the Captain of that fact and obtained his permission for Bill and me to go on liberty ‘till sundown. (Previous to my obtaining this permission a flareup had taken place between the commander of marines and his “impudent, mutinous, refractory, sealogical apprentice-boy”, wherein the old fellow provoked me to insolence (if my retorts deserve that name) and then most affectionately promised, first, to squash my projected liberty, and, second, to furnish accommodation for me in the “brig” or “up-and-down” where I might reflect in fasting, solitude, and irons upon the question whether he or I were “orderly Sergeant of the ship”­—but to accomplish all this dreadful vengeance it was indispensably necessary for our great commander to prefer charges against me to another commander who happens to be more infinitly above the sergeant than the sergeant is above me, and while the old rat awaited an opportunity to speak to the Captain against me, Bill interposed, because his interest was engaged, and prevailed upon the offended dignitary to extend me his gracious pardon. Thus Bill and me are necessary to each other—Bill’s resplendent virtues and fairest fame, acquiring and holding the pious old sergeant’s high esteem, give Bill an influence over him which he often uses to protect poor abominable me from punishment.) We hired a boat between us, and visited successively Bamboo-town, Whampoa, & New-town. At Bambooville our boatman, who on shore was also our guide, showed us some gardens, a pagoda, & some fields. In one place I witnessed while shivering with cold myself some little girls of a tender age wading up to their knees in an irrigated field. At Whampao we were admitted within the walls and what little of the place I saw presented on an enlarged scale the appearance I met with Keoh.

At New-town my companion became exceedingly troublesome, having

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Blenheim Reach)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

waxed drunk and pugilistic from the effects of half a bottle of brandy courage. I pass over the incidents we met with at New-town: suffice it to say that we took dinner in a house of ill-fame, —that Bill’s pugilism incited him to bluster and make a great noise in intimidation of a host of invisible enemies to whom he incessantly proclaimed his ability to “take his own part” in any company, —that Bill found in this house a jovial, wretched prototype and each offered to fight the other’s battles, —and that I had my hands full in saving Bill from the consequences of irritating once or twice an Englishman at the house. Leaving New-town, we directed Acheow, our boatman, to proceed to the Steamer. Bill, after disgorging his dinner and committing it to the deep, gave his soul to Morpheus and his money and body into my charge, directing me to rouse the latter to consciousness as soon as the boat would come alongside the Steamer. I will take this occasion to say a word about Atcheow and his fast-boat. His boat I would like to describe, but here my descriptive powers fail. His good character is vouched in a dozen testimonials from Naval Officers. His crew consists of his wife and a bright little son not possibly older than seven years. Two infants occupied places near their mamma in the after-part of the boat, and I remarked that the forementioned little boy, who plied an oar with his father, and his infant brother swallowed like veterans some brandy to which Bill, in the overflowing generosity of his heart, treated them. Atcheow has a house ashore. His price of service for the day is one dollar. When we arrived at the flagship, I endeavored to recover my brother dear to his senses, but it seeming difficult, I ceased my endeavors and left him in the fumes of his liquor to the care of Atcheow, and went on board the flagship.

John appeared in his usual good health and spirits, but Emery’s appearance bespoke the reverse. While John enquired after my fumy (spiritual) brother, that hero in the boat where I left him was slowly returning to consciousness; and when fully returned to a sense of his situation and a sense of wrong from a real or pretended belief that I had with malicious purpose left him asleep, he lost no time in confronting me, proclaiming my treachery, hurling defiance at my teeth, and chalenging me to instant and single combat. I doubtless mortified my valiant peer exceedingly by letting his gauntlet lay undisturbed where he had thrown it; —though my conduct deprived Bill of enjoying the happiness of a pugilistic encounter, it spared me the misfortune which is usually the consequence of such encounters, and spared my cousins a tragical scene which perhaps they would rather not witness. To return to John, he exibited a great anxiety to see this journal and read it without restriction; but however much his will is my law, it would never, never do to open these pages unrestrictedly to being of the human species, —he spoke much and favorably of Private Rolly, whence I am interested to know the nature of Rolly’s private sentiments as they are calculated to affect perniciously or advantageously his young admirer. We returned to our ship in time to beat “sundown” and thus terminated our liberty.

(Saturday, 36)

A

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6 = Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5.

B

Summary. Employed variously to-day. Prepared a note in the morning for Hibbs and sent it to the steamer; no answer forthcoming, I prepared another in the evening but could not send it.

 

Page 114

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Blenheim Reach, near Whampoa.)

FEBUARY, 1853: 20.

Sunday, 27.

A

Pecuniary. O. Billy Dhu, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 6. = Sam, Cr. by washing 3 pieces clothes, 6.

B

Summary. I went with the “liberty-men” to the Flagship and passed the evening quite pleasantly with John, and overlooked altogether the two principle objects of my visit, namely, to pass away an hour with Emery, and to inform myself, in a little private conversation with Rolly, upon the matter of sentiment mentioned on the preceding page.

Monday, 28.

C

Buskirk to John Hibbs

U.S.S. Plymouth, Feb. 28. 1853.

My dear John, —Let me remind your of the “Scorpion” which you promised me, and do’nt forget to accompany the little animal with a letter of your own from the hands of Emery. If you should happen accidentally to ever fall into conversation with White of Annapolis, will you recollect to ascertain from him directly or indirectly 1. Whether he was at Annapolis in ’43 ’4 ’5 or ’6 or during all those years, & 2. What was his business at Annapolis. And when you ascertain these two things, will you communicate the information to me by note or personally upon the first opportunity possible. Give my best respects to el señor the Don*, to Emery & to yourself. And do’nt forget the “Scorpion”, and give my respects to Ponce, 666 and know that of all things in God’s creation, there is only one thing which I hate execrably and that is Procrastination, and ever believe me

Yours Van Buskirk

Tell me if it is true that my unhappy gait nd habit of perpetual motion has acquired for me the soubriquet of “Luny Jack” —and explain to me why you thought it is so desirable to make me acquainted with a racy-minded man, Did you think you’d have a pair of us? —and know that I have a great anxiety to see some specimens of the poetry we were talking about. P.C.V.B.

D

In my conversation with John, yesterday evening, I was a little too fond of my own story. I am not often guilty of this fault, but I must abjure it altogether. I must remember to speak of everything but myself. I desire John’s esteem, because by it I may maintain a beneficial influence over him, but much recurrence of the fault I have just mentioned would weaken the respect even of a mind much less intelligent than John’s.

E

Employed mostly in examining into my pecuniary affairs and in writing up my journal. Edgar, the boatswain’s mate of the Main Deck, carried my note to the flagship for Hibbs, and returned with the “scorpion” or the answer I so much desire—John is dilatory in spite of my “hatred” of it.

F

The Effort which I determined to make in the begining of this year to abandon the habits of lying, jesting obscenely, and approving obscene jests, was unsuccessful. But, though I cannot account for it, my intercourse with the drummer of the steamer has contributed to relieve me of those habits.

*Geo. Rolly

 

Page 115

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Blenheim Reach, near Whampoa.)

MARCH, 1853: 20.

STATE OF AFFAIRS: —

A

FINANCES: Amount of pay, &c. accredited to my account on the Purser’s Books…$14.29.

b Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s Books…48.13.

c Total amount of my prvt. debts in the ship…11.77.

d “Dombaft Debt” Principal…43.50.

e Interest…10,44.

f Cash at Hand…__ _ _

g Remarks. It will be seen that I am up to my ears in debt with but blessed little prospect of a speedy deliverance. Respecting my Private Debt I only regret that more than a dollar of it is incurred for extra coffee in the mornings. In the above statement I am satisfied of the precise correctness of every item of account except that of a Quartermaster (b) and that of the Bombaft Interest 666 (e), and in these two instances I am doubtless not that far removed from the precision. The following table will exibit in detail the monthly interest which JUSTICE assigns to my Bomdaft 666 Creditors for the use of their money:

Prvt. Fitzgerald, 1 cent.

Mr. Dorr, 16 “”

Mrs. O’Donohue, 2 “”

Mrs. O’Donohue, 2 “”

Mr. Thorn, 2 ½  “”

Mr. Bellue, 1 cent.

Ed. Alleghanian, 1  “”

H

HEALTH:— My general health is excellent. I am not free from a nervous sensibility, aggravated, I think, by too much use of tea and coffee, and I suffer foul and frequent consequences of generative debility (instance the remarks of Jan. & Feb.).

I
SOCIAL RELATIONS: One after the other of those few in the ship who possessed my esteem in the beginning, have forfeited their claims upon my respect, untill there is not one acquaintance left whose name in my mind is not associated with the idea of pæderasty. They have all unmasked, and there they stand—pæderasts! Not only in their past life—I care nothing for the past—but now they are pæderasts, and advocates of the vice. I do not speak of boys—they do’nt wear masks—but of old men. Thus I am alone, for I cannot bear the company, conversation, or friendship of old pæderasts, —nor of young ones either where there is no hope of reform. I shun the company of my late acquaintances, and have no social chats, but occupy in walking solitude the spare minutes which I formerly gave to conversation with my peers.

Tuesday, 1.

A.

Pecuniary. Sergt. Walsh, Cr. by a bonus which I give him for agreeing to take payment of his debt in a purser’s tobacco, 36.

B

Employed variously to-day:— Read a speech in the Am. Speaker on “Future Punishment” with intent to commit it to memory.—Wrote a letter for the Gunner’s mate, (a hateful task—that of writing letters).—Read about Hampden of Charles I.’s time, and of Hugo Grotius.—Am unhappy to-day.—No word from my little Susquehannæ-tympanista, but I’m not angry, though I “hate procrastination” and we expect to go to sea tomorrow.—I think of the approaching day—the 4th—when my studies, now long laid aside, are to be resumed.—And it is distressing to think of the obligation I am under to write to my Aunt, to Miss Eckhart, & to Col. Hopkins, when my capacity wo’nt admit it.

 

Page 116

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, __________  ___________)

MARCH, 1853: 20.

Wensday, 2. [PASSAGE DOWN CANTON RIVER]

A

We got underweigh before 9, A.M, and drifted down from the Reach; but there happening an unfavorable tide and no wind after dinner, the anchor was let go again; and thus the pilot waits, with his light sails cleared 666 up, for the return of the tide when we will get underweigh again.

B

I employed my spare minutes in drafting a letter, first on my slate, and then upon a sheet of paper in italics, for Col. Hopkins. All prepared and ready for posting, it thus reads:

My Honored and Dear Sir—I have ill requited your exceeding kindness to me, by delaying so long this letter,—it is now more than twenty months since that memorable morning, when, after supplying my necessities, you kindly bid me farewell and bid me write you as soon as I reached home.—I reached the home of my fathers and bent again (this time nearly into the dust) under a severe attack of the malady which you relieved at Brownsville,—but my sickness did not incapacitate me from writing, so that I have no excuse—there is nothing to palliate my base neglect of performing what you intimated as your desire—and I am heartilly ashamed of conduct which savors so strongly of ingratitude. But God is my witness that my conduct belies the feelings of my heart.

I am the architect of my own misfortunes—but this reflection would have no peculiar poignancy were it not sharpened by another, ever in my mind, that I ‘ve builded dire misfortune for others than myself to suffer. I am ashamed, sir, but must confess that from my childhood to the very present time, I have been a bad boy; and misfortune, the inevitable consequence of wickedness and folly, has ever attended my footsteps. The circumstances under which you found me were a lesson, salutary and severe; but in an evil hour since then, I have strided again from virtue and from home. You, doubtless, did not know that I was, when you met with me, a deserter from our country’s service. I joined the Marine Corps in 1846—in my 13th year—and, after serving in Mexico and Florida, deserted in 1849.

Instead of returning at once to the Head Quarters of the Corps, I directed my course to Texas and then to Arkansas where my good luck advanced me to the most excellent circumstances, whence my unwise conduct precipitated me into the most adverse; and in my calamitous journey from the West, I had reached a climax of adversity, when your Heaven-born charity relieved my distress and restored me to my home.

After recovering from the severe attack of sickness before mentioned, I left home and returned to Head Quarters for the purpose of getting my discharge from the Corps; but having mispent in Washington [D.C.] a considerable sum entrusted to me by my mother, I durst not accept my discharge, instead of which, I requested to remain in the service and be sent to sea. Accordingly I am attached to the sloop of war whence this letter is dated. In conclusion, sir, I am happy to say, and you who have done so much for me will be pleased to know, that morally as well as physically I am growing to be a better man than I was a boy. And that yet there is much promise of my living to expiate in a great measure the errors of my youth.

Your name ever inspires a lively sentiment of gratitude and veneration in my breast; and if God advances me to any degree of moral excellence, I can never forget to supplicate daily for God’s blessing to accompany the footsteps of my benefactor.

I am, sir,

Gratefully

Yours,

P. Clayton Van Buskirk, Drummer, U.S.M.

 

Page 117

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, – –)
MARCH, 1853. –

Thursday, 3. [PASSAGE DOWN CANTON RIVER]

A

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs of tobacco, 34; 2 bars soap, 40; – 1 piece of tape, 3; – 1 razor, 33, 1 shaving brush, 14; 1 razor strop, 27; 1 pair scissors, 22. = Sergt. Walsh, Dr, to 1 plug tobacco, 17. = Privt. Tegethoff, Dr. to 1 pair scissors, 22. = Rodgers the sailmaker’s mate, Dr. to 1 plug tobacco, 17. = Boy Barnetze, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 20. = No. 2 Mess, by Peabody, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 20. = No. 2 Mess by Magerstat, Dr. to old accounts, 12 ½.

B

Summary. (The ship got underweigh yesterday evening at 7 o’clock, and dropped anchor again at about ½ past nine. The anchor was weighed early this morning and again let go at 1 ,P.M.) – I’ve been translating some inscriptions of mine into French, and reckoning up the number of my early benefactors and friends, a list of whom I will insert in my “Rule of Action”. – I have almost fully committed to memory the speech of Lamont on “Future Punishment” – My fifer has given me some considerable anxiety. Through an indiscretion of mine, he has come to know of my remarks respecting him on page 113, and this has caused him exceeding anger and indignation against me, in which he has declared a dozen times to my face his intention of throwing my journal overboard. And this conduct of his has finally compelled me to throw off my character of extreme inoffenciveness, and assume that of violence and enmity; I await now one more disrespectful word from him, and I will, by a heavy blow in the face, commence a warfare in which he will experience Buskirk in his phase of enmity. Bill has enjoyed the benefit of my Articles of Peace, the 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, & 13th of which I have relaxed in his favor, and one more provocation from him will terminate a long – long forbearance. I may remark that I never use opprobrous epithets, nor inflict slight injuries, and that even in war I will be gently mannered to my enemy. –

Friday, 4. Year of my Age the 21.

C

Summary. True to my resolution I have Recommmenced my studies. In FRENCH, I have an excellent Dictionary which I hold from the kindness of Mr. Doran, and a “French Reader”, left me by Mr. Legaré, and a “Levizae’s French Grammar”, the property of Mr. Balch. In ENGLISH, I have a “Walker’s Dictionary”, and a grammar, nearly complete, called “Comly’s Easy Lessons”, and, besides, I have Mr. Morrison’s “American Speaker”. In ARITHMETIC, I have a complete and excellent treatise. In HISTORY, I have a “Goldsmith’s Roman History”, Mr. Morrison’s “Tytler’s History”, and a great many other Historial treatises for the use of which I am indebted to the Captain’s kindness. And I have the privilege of preferring my difficulties to the Asst. Surgeon who kindly solves them for me. Thus I have excellent advantages of leisure and books and encouragement from my superiors; if there exists any detrement to my progress in knowledge, it exists in my own mind. I will note at large the progress and nature of my studies when I have more time and a better pen. – I exchanged the first vol. of “Distinguished Men” for vol. ii of “Harpers & Bro’s Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties” – My Chronology, mentioned as lost, has come to light again. – In a recreation from study, I commenced a letter, writing on my slate, to Miss Eckhart, in the following words, to wit: “I hope you will not be displeased that I break upon your attention again as it were unprovoked. But your recent and excessive kindness to me is yet fresh upon my

 

Page 118

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (– – – – –)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

“memory, and I am bound to believe that my welfare temporal and eternal, however undeservedly, is a matter of interest to you. If I am rightly informed, my birth happened on this day twenty years ago, so that I now enter upon my third decade. It is a salutary chastisement to my soul (prone as it is to excessive cheerfulness) to reflect on the folly of my first ten years, and on the folly, guilt, and misfortunes of my second. And this reflection, salutary to curb the overweening levity of my constitution, is, united with other considerations, powerful to hold me to my resolution of living to expiate the guilt and follow which gave it birth.

A

The ship got underweigh yesterday at 7 ,P.M. and drifted until 12 P.M. when, I suppose the tide turning, she was brought to anchor. This morning near 7, A.M. she got underweigh, and then at 4 ,P.M. came to anchor again. On these occasions the heavin sails (topsails) are left set.

B

P.S. After dark I was creditably informed that some men in this ship schemed to throw this book overboard; these persons being persuaded that my book is a repository of their bad actions. Fred. Cunningham, who mentioned this to me, would not tell me who were the designing men, but I suspected strongly that Bill had a hand in fomenting this opposition, and accordingly waited until a fair opportunity of darkness and solitude presented itself and questioned him upon the subject with the determination to begin war if he did not observe a strict nicety with his answers. Luckilly for him and me, he did preserve gentleness in his answers and disavowed having any hand in the fomention alluded to. I will take precautionary measures to thwart the designs so kindly made known to me.

Saturday, 5. [PASSAGE TO HONG KONG]

C

Pecuniary: Purser, Cr. by money paid on my account for the benefit of boy Lewis, disabled, 1,00.

D

Summary. Employed sewing, and cleaning my accoutrements, except in some spare minutes when I wrote “An Apology for my Put. Journal” & inserted it in my “Journal of a Cruize”.

E

Concerning the ship: We had come to anchor in the night. We got underweigh this morning at 9. And we dropped anchor again near 4 P.M.

Sunday, 6. [PASSAGE TO HONG KONG]

F

Pecuniary. Mus. M’Farland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5.

G

Sunday being a day which I now devote to the work of writing in my “Journal of the Cruize” I accordingly employed myself transcribing and writing things into that book while my watch was below; afterwhich I added the following to the letter I am preparing for Miss Eckhart (117, D.) “Throughout the coming ten years I will be devoted to hard labor and close application to study. Then three more decades are to elapse, when Buskirk will, in all probability, have terminated his earthly carreer; And whether it be terminated in a chair of state or in a madhouse—naturally or violently—a line or a column in the Newspaper will tell. But I have fair and cheering prospects for the future a father’s name is to be rescued from obloquy, and to “be handed down to the resepct and commiseration of grand children – [Here my eyes water I cannot help it But whenever, in any of my writings, I “come to these thoughts, my tears start as fresh as on the first day when my misfortune was made known to me.] Appropos to this subject, is a passage in my “Private Journal which I will extract: [Here follows the whole of note E on page 106.]”

H

A day or so ago I met with a copy of Dr [Editor’s note: this line ends without completion.]

 

Page 119

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

Monday, 7.

A

Pecuniary. Mus. M’Farland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5. = Sam, Cr. by cash paid for boathire for me, 10.

B

Arrival of Hong Kong. Yesterday throughout we were becalmed. At night the anchor was weighed, afterwhich the Starboard watch were piped below. Near ½ past 11, P.M. “all hands!” were called to “bring ship to anchor”. Turned out and found a stiff breeze whisthing through the shrouds. We had arrived in the Harbor of Hong Kong.

C

Obtained the “Pocket Esculapius” and inclosed it in an envelope addressed to Hibbs with the following note:

“My Little Eternal Procrastinator,

I send you a book which contains, in the latter part, a treatize well calculated to afford you a quarter-of-an-hour’s entertainment. I met with a book of this description many years ago, & it is very probable that if I had not, my present picture would be a facsimile of the one in the book representing a man just entering upon “general debility”. The diagrams contained in the first part were never intended for a youth of your good moral and physical condition; therefore you will, one chance to ten, skip them over and read only the treatize to which I refer. I wished to send you the treatize separated from the part containing the pictures, but the whole book belongs to a Steerage Officer who will on no account allow me to divide it’s pages, and my efforts were unavailing to have the property of it transferred to me – Read it, Reflect upon it’s contents, Take great care of it, and return it to me under cover of an envellope when you have finished. But first you might let Emery read it, if you think it contains anything more than he knows already.

Believe me your Friend

P.C. Van Buskirk

P.S. Upon second thought, I must request you to not show on any account that part of the book containing the drawings (damn them!) to your brother.”

D

My Studies were neglected to-day. In the Forenoon I had not much leisure, and I employed my spareminutes reading the “Pursuit of Knowledge”. In the afternoon an anxiety filled (and yet fills) my mind so as to totally unfit me for study. When I first met with Dr. Young’s Esculapius, I concieved the project, or rather I felt the obligation of sending it to Hibbs; and from then until this morning a feeling of impatience has more or less distracted my mind. Now I have dispatched the book—but not by the ordinary channel of communication by boats going to the steamer;—my impatience led me to send the book by a Chinese fastboat, and now the idea haunts me that John Chinaman has not carried my package to it’s destination.

Tuesday, 8.

E

Forenoon: Undistracted by any anxiety, I pursued my study of French.

Afternoon: Employed reading in a book called “Elements of Drawing”. Recieved the Aesculapius from Hibbs. Hibbs, in his note accompanying the book, reiterates his request to see my “journal”. To please the little *Rascal, I have defferred my Afternoon studies until night that I may employ the hours of daylight in writing up my “Journal of a Cruize” for him to read.

* Employed not as a term of reproach, – but of affection.

 

Page 120

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbor)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

Wensday, 9.

A

Pecuniary. Sergt. Per Quartermaster, Gr. By 1 pair of shoes, 1,50. = Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

B

Summary. I suspended my studies and employed myself assidously writing up my “Journal of a Cruize”. In the night I had suffered an involluntary emission. Only when I am employed, and hardly then, am I free from an anguish of mind * * * * *

Thursday, 10.

C

My Studies: I resumed them again, employing the forenoon in learning French; and the afternoon in reading the “Pursuit of Knowledge” and a number of “Chinese Repository” – After supper I will study my Arithmetic and English grammar. I must pursue my studies unremittingly – upon my success in them, John, depends my advancement in this world – and thereon is appended your interest and my hap-ppiness. Do not then interrupt my studies – I will give the Sundays towards writing up the “Journal of A Cruize” for your amusement, but every other day, except Saturday, is devoted to my studies. – Posted a letter to my Mother (107, B.), one to Col. Hopkins (116, B), and one to Miss Eckhart (118, G). – If I could say how unhappy I am.

D

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by postage-paid on three letters to U.S., 1,20.

Friday, 11.

E

Summary. At 9, (or thereabouts A.M., all hands were called to muster on the quarter-deck, and a “General Order” was read from the Commodore. It was to the effect that a feeble state of health compelled the Commodore to resign his command of the Squadron and proceed to the U.S., – that as soon as the broad pennant would be hauled down, the command of the Squadron would devolve upon Commander John Kelly of the Plymouth. And it contained “a timely adieu to all”.

F

On this occasion I wrote the following note to John:

“U.S.S. Plymouth, flagship pro tem.

My dear Friend: I sympathize with you in the loss which you are about to sustain; But “Old Buck” will be as good a friend to you as the Commodore has been Especially if you recollect to never betray his confidence, nor abuse his favors. May health and it’s best accompaniments attend your late Commander in his journey to the U. States. I make no mention of Emery, because Emery has sustained no loss in the departure of the Commodore; his steady and invariably good behavior can not but secure him the favor of any captain, so that it is a matter of indifferance to him what commander he may be under.”

G

Near about 1 ,P.M., the Commodore departed from the Susquehanna and went on board of the British Mail Steamer under salutes from the Susquehanna, the Plymouth, and the Saratoga, in the begining of which the broad pennant was hauled down from the mainmast of the Steamer.

H

My Studies. Yesterday, after supper, I so successfully committed to memory a rule in the Arithmetic, and some defenitions and rules of English Syntax, that I would have knelt in thanksgi-ving to Almighty GOD, had not the ever present reflection of my extreme pollutiveness restrained me. How can I—polluted wretch that I am!—presume to address the Deity? I am separated from God, and from his children—Mine is a bitter lot! Hell, it would seem, has marked me for it’s own, and sends periodically a messenger of the night to renew upon me the regalia of abhorrent crime (B).—I prosecute with assiduity my studies of French, Arithmetic, & English Grammar.

Saturday, 12.

I

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by washed clothes, 4, orange, 1. = Atkinson, yeo. Dr. to a razor, 33, – razor-strop, 21.

J

Summary. After cleaning up my accoutrements in the morning, I was employed sewing during the remainder of the day. The fifer received a letter, last night, from Washington containing some items of news which I communicated by note to Hibbs. I divided the remainder of my late mattrass-cover into equal parts and threw overboard every part having a stain upon it, together with the foot-rag mentioned at 56, C.

 

Page 121

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Har.)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

Sunday, 13.

A

Pecuniary. T. Atkinson, Dr. to a showing brush, 14. = Sam, Cr. by oranges, 10. = Fifer, Cr., by coffee, 10; – Dr, 10.

B

Summary. Employed in the leisure (scanty to-day) of the forenoon writing up my “Journal of the C.” In the Afternoon, the fifer and me went with the “libertymen” to visit the Steamer. I cannot describe the satisfaction I felt upon percieving in this visit that a complete reconcialiation existed between these two brothers, so lately (and so unnaturally) at variance with each other. John had some poetical effusions to show me which came from the pen of one of his friends in the ship, and some prose, from the same source, which was not without ingenuity. I have requested John to preserve these writings, that I may transcribe them in some future period of the Cruize, and my little friend, with his usual readiness to promise, avows his intention to comply with my request. John alleged some plausible excuse for not performing his promise relating to the “scorpion” [A title given to some prose compositions] – and his bad memory takes the blame of his neglect of my request regarding White. I think I might take lessons from John in the art of promising, but I would have to pursue the department of performing under some other instructer. Emery requested me to procure for him a book, now on board this ship, entitled “Life in London”. Respecting John’s levity or disposition to trifle, that has no depreciating influence upon my friendship – I love the two brothers for their sake, not my sake. Be happy, be cheerful – be good – my little friends, and I will love you whether you regard me or not, and your cheer will be a source of happiness to me; But if you are cheerless and bad, I will still love you and your affliction will be doubly mine.

Monday, 14.

C

Pecuniary. Chas. Jackson, Cr. by a book entitled “Life in London, &c,” 1,00.

D

Summary. The book which Emery desired me to obtain for him happens to be in the hands of a foretopman belonging to the Steamer; but I have obtained the property of it and transferred it to Emery by note. I would be better satisfied with myself, if I were sure of the exact moral tendency of the book which I am putting into his hands; – but the boy Coleman, who has read it, tells me that it’s heroes are wicked and terminate most unfavorably, from which I hope that the work is without bad tendency. – I forgot to mention yesterday that I gave Em, by Mr. Page’s permission, the Remnant of “White Jacket: or the World in a Man-of-War”. What few chapters that remain of that work, are nearly complete in themselves, interesting, and (I have the greatest satisfaction in thinking of it) of good moral tendency.

E

My Studies. I did not pursue my study of French as unremittingly in the morning as I should have done. And in the evening I neglected altogether my Arithmetic and Grammar. But time lost in the day must be redeemed in the night.

Tuesday, 15.

F

Pecuniary. Fifer, Dr. to arrangement, 25. – T. Atkinson, Cr. by arrangemt, 12.

G

Summary. Expressed in a note to Emery my commendation of his good conduct and happy reconciliation with his brother. – If my pen was not one of the patience-exercising description I would remark some incidents of the hour connected collaterally with my history; but which I must, as it is, postpone untill some future leisure. [Turn over]

 

Page 122

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

Tuesday, 15, Continued.

A

My Studies. I can commit things to memory, now, with a little more facility than I could a few days ago; – but yet my studies are tasks, and it is with the greatest difficulty that I can concentrate my mind upon them at certain periods of the day. My mind, unaccustomed to restriction, will wander, and my thoughts are almost every where than in the antechamber of Knowledge.

The little drummer of the Susquehanna occupies a much greater space in my mind than I’ve been able to find for “Principles of Grammar and Arithmetic” – but I must expell this little despot, and take from him his monopoloy of my thoughts; – He, with his brother, possesses the affections of my heart, which are inalienable, but I must banish him from my hourly thoughts, and give these to study of books, or else my friendship will never avail him anything. It will be “sympathy without power”, an almost despicable species of friendship.

Wensday, 16.

B

Pecuniary. The Fifer, Dr. to arrangment, 8. = Morris, Capt.’s steward, Dr. to a mirror, 25.

C

Summary. The note which I wrote, yesterday, for Emery, never reached it’s destination; I had given it, after sealing it, to Coleman; and he lost it, instead of send-ng it off in the first boat. I will not write another, but will avail myself of the next opportunity to verbally express my applause of Emery’s conduct.

D

My Studies. In my studies, and in the government of my mind, I have done better to-day than I could do yesterday.

E

P.S. Emery sent me word by a man coming from the Steamer, that the “Life in London” was not the book he wanted, but the “Mysteries of the Court of London”. After some enquiry, I’ve ascertained that the “Mysteries” originally belonged to somebody in the British ship Cleopatra, to whom it has been returned again. I accordingly this information transmitted to Emery in the following note (as near as I can remember), “The “Mysteries of the Court of London” is on board of H.M.S. Cleopatra. If you had mentioned your desire before that ship left this station, I might have gratified it. – I hope you can find some use for the “Life”. If you have not read it, I can recommend it to you, on the authority of some veteran novel readers aboard here (or I never read them myself), as a better “book in every way than the “Mysteries”. – And when you have any more commands to give me, be so kind as to “mind your Ps and Qs”, for you to told me distinctly the ”Life”, and not the “Mysteries”. In conclusion let me impress upon your mind that written messages are infinitely more satisfactory to me than verbal. My esteem to your brother. – I have the Honor and Happiness to be Yours, &c.”

Thursday, 17.

F

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr, by oranges, 3: =

G

My Studies. I applied myself to study with not less success than yesterday –. But my application msut be closer and more availing, else I am undone.

Friday, 18.

H

Pecuniary. Sam, cr. by oranges, 3.

I

Summary. As usual, I applied myself to study; but with no spirit; no industry; and of course, no success. The day was not without incident; but I am without inclination to lengthen this remark. I am distressed in my mind – I am unhappy.

 

Page 123

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

Saturday, 19.

A

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by a paper of cakes, 5. = The Tinker, Dr. to a paper of cakes, 5.

B

Summary. Cleaned up my accoutrements and sewed. –Received the following:

U.S. Steamer Susquehanna, Hong Kong

Friend Buskirk

I wrote 3 notes to send you concerning the book and I gave them to the messenger boy (President Hurdle) to send and he missed every boat and I saw one of your Gigsmen just as the boat was called away and I had not time to write a note so I told him what to tell you, I gave the note that was enclosed in the one directed to me to Henry Bruce and he said the book did not belong to Chas. Jackson and he had no right to send such a note to him. I have heard the Life in London read, I am very sorry I have caused you so much trouble. I hope I can be able to do you a favour before long your brother drummer sends his respects believe me to remain your friend, &c.

James Emery Hibbs

The above transcript is verbatim et litteralim. I have made it in full because this is the first favor epistolary I have ever received from Emery. It was evidently written in Haste (and with a lead pencil). The handwriting is excellent; and the only fault I can find lays in my little friend’s neglect of punctuation.

Regarding the import of his note, I am surprised! I showed it to Jackson, and he is at a loss to account for Bruce’s conduct. He said he would see Bruce about it when he next visited the Steamer. I told him to never mind now, since Hibbs’ note seemed to imply no wish for the book. And I have now just dis-patched a note to Emery, requesting to know immediately whether he does or does not wish to possess the “Life”. If he does, I will renew my bargain with Jackson; if not, I will release myself from my obligation to Jackson, (that is, I will get Jackson to release me); and the dollar saved by this, will come opportunely to enable me to buy a Bible keepsake for John and Emery.

Sunday, 20.

C

Pecuniary. Atkinson, Dr. to having relinquished his claim of balance due, 19.

D

Sailing of the Steamer. The Susquehanna went to sea this morning. I received no word from E.H.

E

Jackson’s claim. I do’nt think Jackson can be satisfied with my backing out of a bargain (co-nsummated), merely because a borrower thinks proper to deny his right of property; where-fore I will tender him payment for the book tomorrow or next day when I get my liberty money.

F

– I employed myself principally writing up my “Journal of the Cruize”. – Fred. Cunningham let a slip of the tongue, yesterday evening, which pained me (though he least of any one could be aware of it ) ** – I dont like any one on board the Steamer, said Fred, but that fellow who ***** Hibbs”. What fellow is that?” “Why that Hodges.” “Well why do you like him!”, said I, and continued, “Is he intelligent?” “No.” “Good looking?” “No; but I like him because he is a townee of mine, and because he is a good fighter – that’s the quality [pugilism] most admired in a man-of-war”.

(Monday, 21)

G

Pecun. Purser, Cr. by cash, 5,00. = Fifer McFarland, Dr. to cash, 75. = Billy Dhu, Dr. to cash, 55. Expended (on liberty), for 2 common lead pencils, 5, – 2 Farber’s 1. pencils, 12. – a large sized Society’s bible, 84, – a small sized do, 16, – Dinner (including a glass of ale and a bottle of porter), 95, – loaned to a marine, 2, –

 

Page 124

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)
MARCH, 1853: 21.

(G, 123 contiued.)

Oranges (at different times) 18, – Gift-to-please to a little child of Mr. Carr, 20. = C. Jackson, Dr. to cash, 1.00. [Note. The item of account against Jackson should have been inserted immediately after that against McFarland, & not last.]

A

Summary. The sailors having had their twenty four hours liberty, it came now our turn, and accordingly a liberty list of marines was made out this morning, and the happy devils whose names embraced the list were, by ten’o’clock, paid their libertymoney and transported to the goal of their desires, the shore.

My name and that of the fifer were on this list. Our liberty money was to be four dollars, but my peculiar circumstances urged me to ask for more. I accordingly asked the captain to let the fifer and me have as much liberty money as the corporal would receive – five dollars. “Why do you want to waste your money!” exclaimed the Captain. But I assured him that I had some excellent purposes for my money, and the Captain consented that we should have five. “Thank you sir” I said, but that did’nt half express the gratitude of my heart. I owe much to the Captain’s benignity, and though he now were to persecute me during the remainder of his rule, I do’nt think he could erase from my heart the gratitude with which I regard his name. Before going on liberty, I had resolved to make no purchases whatever but a finely guilt bible with the names “John” and “Emery” inscribed on the clasps (probable cost, 1,25) a porcelain tablet, (probable cost ,25) and one or two lead pencils of the finest quality (probable cost 12 cents). Upon arriving ashore I sought out the establishment of Mr. Carr, and here the marines had arrived before me and by another route. They had all engaged dinner, and not to be niggardly, I engaged dinner too, or rather authorized the fifer to do it for me. Sallying from Mr. Carr’s alone, I, after a long search and much perambulation, found the Depository of the Military and Naval Bible Society. This Depository is established in a gallery corner of “St. Paul’s College”; and St. Paul’s College occupies a wing of the “Bishop’s Palace”. No book of the kind which I wanted could be found in the Depository; I however purchased a large sized bible and a small one. The Rev. J. Holderness, who superintends the Depository, behaved with a very Christian amenity. Having mentioned my object of buying a finely guilt Bible, and that I intended to have two names engraved on the clasps, he wrote those two names on a card, all proper, for the engraver to copy. He gave me some tracts for distribution. Leaving the Bishop’s palace, I repaired to Mr. Carr’s again, and afterwards dined in company with the marines, only one of who by this time was drunk, but his drunkeness was opportune to give mirth to the occasion. And now a train of incidents clamor to be recorded here, but none of them are “thrilling” nor of the least importance so that I must deny them admission. And I’ll conclude the remark by this summary of my liberty: I went ashore in the morning. Bought two bibles. Endeavored unsuccessfully to get a porcelain slate. Succeeded in getting two excellent pencils of Farber’s manufacture. Walked about to observe life and things. But was without enjoyment the whole day, because I was alone. Noted some books in an Auction room, and requested Mr. Carr to purchase them for me on the day appointed for their sale. Returned to the ship in the sundown boat. And disposed of the big Bible, not sufficiently ornamented for my purpose, to a quartermaster, and the little Bible to a marine.

Tuesday, 22.

B

Pecuniary. Isa Bliss, quartermaster, Dr. to a large Bible, 84. = Pvt. Pomere, Dr. to a small Bible, 16. Sam, Cr. by oranges, 3.

C

Summary. I wrote up my journal and employed my remaining leisure in miscellaneous reading.

Wensday, 23.

D

Summary. Resumed my studies – I was thinking last night about getting a large blank book wherein I may inscribe, transcribe, &c at my ease – I thought too about mon cher ami dans la Susquehanna (I always think of him) – I will explain in my Inscript Book how it turns out that Hibbs is a real blessing to me. – And I thought of my early history and was sad.

 

Page 125

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

MARCH, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 24.

A

Pecuniary. Sally, Dr. to cash, 15. = Expended for oranges, 2, – bananas, 3. = Sam, Dr. to cash, 10.

B

Summary. In the Forenoon I attended to my studies as usual, and quite felicitously contracted an acquaintance with the French Reciprocal and Reflected pronouns of the Third Person, and renewed an acquaintance, made yesterday, with messieurs the personal pronouns of the first, second, and third persons. Also acquired an idea of the Relatives En and Y. In one or two instances, Dr. Otis kindly relieved me of difficulties occurring in this study. But this was only a repetition of oft repeated kindnesses of the kind. I am grateful.

In the Afternoon, I suspended my studies and employed my leisure examining an excellent Catholic prayer-book entitled “Prayers and Instructions for Catholics serving in the Armies and Fleetes of Great Britain”, &c. Numerous Spare Minutes of the day I have employed in reading miscellaneous matter. In the mid hour of the day (an hour of relaxation) I gave myself great pleasure in examining, assorting, and marking the original letters which I have, belonging to the past correspondence between mon ami (ou mes amis) de la Susquehanna. and me. I had painted my box-cover white some days ago: to-day I covered it with it’s proper black coat of paint, and some time will be required for it to try, from which circumstance (I leave you to guess how) you derive this full remark of to-day’s proceedings.

Friday, 25.

Pecuniary. The Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5; Dr. to oranges, 5. = Sam, Cr. by oranges, 5.

D

Summary. [Written in haste] I suspended my studies today. But then I employed part of the Forenoon and part of the Afternoon leisure in doing an excellent deed, wherefore I have no need to censure myself severely for having lost a day to my studies. I got the “Esculapius” (118, H.) and, without leave or license, separated the “Treatize on Onanism” from the other part of the work, and sewed covers on each part thus separated. The Esculapius part, I indifferently covered and returned to it’s pseudo owner. The “Onanism and its Consequences”, which I retain for myself, I covered carefully, and bound with it some blank pages wherein I may insert remarks of my own and transcripts from other books on the subject. I also got my India ink and carefully covered some leaves containing diagrams and reading, not good for the eyesight, which I could not well separate from the treatise.

Saturday, 26.

E

Summary. Got my new drum into excellent condition by cleansing it, repairing it, relapping it’s snare head, and making an addition to it’s snares. [I believe this is the first time I ever went about a professional work with a will – I feel a new spirit within me, an ambition to excel in the qualities belonging to my present state. I aspire now to the reputation of “a good drummer and a clean, tidy soldier.” And according to it’s strength, my new ambition will command my conduct] – Made some clothes-stops. Cleaned up my accoutrements. Under a spirit of diligence and by a strict economy of time I have accomplished so much work of my duties to-day, that, upon reviewing them, I am quite supprized and gratified. I will cherish this spirit of diligence (novel though it be to my sluggish nature), and I will study more this Economy of Time. Excelsior! God & those I love!

 

Page 126

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

MARCH, 1853: 21.

A

Saturday.

First attempt at Rhyme. As I perambulated the Main Deck, last night before tattoo, and thought about how I could avail myself of the blank leaves of my “Onanism” (125, D.) to enhance it’s efficiency, the muses favored me in these two verses, viz:

Wretched fool! and reprobate, I charge thee, Ignorance, with my ruin –
That I have been so long; O Had I known before,
Winding, tightening round my soul, How grievous – crying – was the sin,
Hell’s vice compounded throng. I’d never it’s guilt have bore.

The “Muses” doubtless would have enabled me to complete the piece, had not the gruff voice of a boatswain’s mate driven them away. My walking disturbed his rest, and he, in expressing his displeasure, effectually broke up my train of thought. I will court the favor of the Muses again to-night, and so continue to court them untill I’ve spun a web of Rhyme which will promise effect in the good purpose to which I’ll lend every faculty of mine and apply every exertion. I may regard this as my first attempt at Rhyme; (Overlooking a transient spirit of nonsensical verse making which attacked me once in Washington in 1847.); It will, perhaps, be my last, if I do’nt succeed in my composition, and my composition do’nt prove satisfactorally to answer my purpose. I enter no arena of Poetry but I am in an arena of Love, & I turn away every faculty of mine to it’s service.

Sunday, 27.

B

Pecun. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5. = Sam, Cr. by washed clothes, 6, oranges, 2.

C

Summary. Instead of “courting the muses” in my hours of walking and meditation last night, I had to bear with the company of Gacki, a marine who suffers in his mind and body, to which he has made me a confidant, but which he conceals from everybody else, except the surgeon. Poor Gacki! I pity him from my heart. His nights are sleepless – His days drag slowly, painfully along, leaving him, as they find him, a prey to anxiety & physical torture. Palpitation of the heart is his companion of the night, and this fearful desease is the result of onanism practised many years ago in the wilds of Hungary. Gacki’s story is piteous. I sympathize with him, and will do all I can to comfort him in his affliction. Gacki confides in me – he has a high esteem for me. He does not know that I ever strayed like him from the path of virtue – He never dreams that I like him am reaping the fruits of vice, but then my inflictions sink to insignificance when compared to the load he has purchased for himself. Poor Gacki! Remnant of a fine, noble boy, built upon the model of an angel! I pity you from the bottom of my heart. ___I respectfully asked the first lieutenant to allow the fifer and me two or three hours liberty ashore every day for the purpose of practising quick marches, &c. (I am a very bad drummer and it is incumbent upon me to practise and improve myself before Commodore’s Perry fleet arrives.) Mr. Gillis does’nt exactly approve of my request, but he will see about it

D

___Marshal (98, B) I expect will soon join me again. Whenever he wishes to do so, he is welcome to his drum. But he will have to give me the lead in music, now; before, when we beat together, I yielded him the precedence only through courtesy.

E

___I must remark, en passent, that I have adopted an excellent method of saving the spare minutes which intervene between points of time – I have Mr. Page’s little polyglot Bible always at hand and I give these minutes towards reading it__Wrote in my “Jour. of the Cruize.”

 

Page 127

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbour of Hong Kong)

MARCH, 1853: 21.

A

Pecuniary. Quartermaster, U.S.M. Cr. by 2 white shirts, 1.52. [Note. I am not sure that 76 cents apiece is the government price for the cotton shirts issued out to us.]

B

About John & Emery. In the hours (yesterday evening) between sundown and tattoo, I occupied myself in conversation with a marine who belongs to the Susquehanna and is attached to our Guard only untill we fall in with the Steamer again. I elicited some information from him regarding the habits and life of my little friend John, and also of Emery. He affirms of John, that he is much of a reader, but that his reading is light, and of Emery he affirms the same. He never knew them to quarrel, but believes that a most cordial and brotherly love exists between them. Emery is very reserved in his manners, but John is very free – a little too free. He thinks that John is by far the most intelligent boy. The reputation of the two boys, as respects chickenship, is not without blemish, but it is by many degrees fairer that what belongs to any one of the ship’s-boys. And of these latter, the boy Hurdle is not, after all, the leading bad character of the ship.

C

Practice of Music. I reminded Mr. Gillis of his promise to consider my request for permission to practise the drum on shore. He had’nt “considered upon it yet,” and thought anyhow that “to-day was too windy for it” [which was rather a lame excuse]

D

My Studies. In the Forenoon, I advanced a step further into the mysteries of French grammar. In the Afternoon I forsook my studies and gave myself to the perusal of Nos. 99, 126, 127, 128, 129, 111, 70, 82, & 76 of “The Rambler,” which volume I got from the library in exchange for the “Pursuit of Knowledge”.

E

Encouragement. The notice taken of my exertions to improve myself is certainly of some influence to bind me to application. I mean the favorable notice of Dr. Otis and the Purser – My compeers see only to censure.

Tuesday, 29.

F

Pecuniary. Isa Bliss, quarterm. Cr. by cash, 84 = Pvt. Pomire, Cr. by cash, 16. = Sam, Cr, 2. Purser, Cr. by cash, 3.60. = Morris the capt’s steward, Dr. to cash, 1.52.

No. 2 Mess by Peabody, Dr. to cash, 24. = Sam the bomboatman, Dr. to cash, 2.84.

G

Summary. I pursued my study of French in the morning, after reiterating my request for permission to practise music ashore. “The drummer is getting spry, said Mr. Gillis yesterday in the Ward room, he wants to go ashore now to practise music and marching.” What else was said, I could not ascertain; my informant was sparing of his report. Everybody can perceive a sudden and complete alteration in the drummer, and I have been highly flattered by some who have remarked what they perceived. The drummer, under a new spirit, pays the strictest regard now to cleanliness and comeliness of person, and to the good appearance and proper adjustment of everything which covers his person. He never sleeps in the daytime now, but is always employed from daylight till dark, and this so contrasts with what is remembered of his former habits, that surprize is more or less awakened in every breast, and an increased show of respect from some is evidence that my reformed appearance has planted esteem where only contempt was grown before.                  In the Spareminutes, read Nos. 104, 105, 87, 71, 69, 72 of the Rambler.

 

Page 128

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong)

MARCH, 1853: 21.

Wensday, 30.

A

Pecuniary. P. Deviny, Cr. by cash, 25. = Sam, Dr. to cash, 15. = Expend. for coffee, 10.

B

Coleman. Before tattoo last night I talked to Coleman about his present habits and his future prospects. I’ve established it as a condition of my conversing with him that he will refrain from oaths and obscene expressions in my presence, and I give this inveterate blackguard and swearer credit for the success with which he has kept to the rule. I perceive that want of employment has been his bane; and perceiving further that he has partly acquired the habit of reading, which, through his imprudence, he has not the means to gratify, I have obtained Sir. Walter Scott’s Works from Dr. Otis for him to read. There is some promise in the lad yet. But O! it’s faint.

C

Practice of Music. I respectfully asked the first lieutenant’s permission to speak to the Captain about the matter of going ashore to practise music. Mr. Gillis dismissed me peremptorilly, and with the most ungratifying contempt, from his presence – “No! he exclaimed, Clear out,” and then added, as I was precipitaledy obeying his behest, “you can’t perform your duties, but you bother me about your practice.” I would have been more chagrined and hurt at this insolence, were I not concious of my own superiority over the lieutenant, who in the dispositions of Providence may yet have to acknowledge acts of forgiveness, mercy, and kindness from me. I feel myself physically, morally, & intellectualy, his superior – and I am confident of my ability to reach more importance in our Republic than my officer ever dreams of. But Mr. Gillis has been kind to me, and I could not harbour thoughts of revenge without ingratitude.

Thursday, 31.

D

Pecuniary. Billy Dhu, Cr. by coffee, 6. = Sam, Cr. by oranges, 5, – cakes, 5, – bananas, 5.

Mus. McFarland, Dr. to cakes and bananas, 10. = Note. Upon signing my accounts to-day, I find that seven dollars and fifty five cents remains accredited to me on the Purser’s books.

E

Nocturnal emission – I was visited last night with an involuntary emission, and, as a consequence, to-day has been cheerless and gloomy, and I came near relapsing into the habits of sloth from which I have just emerged. My studies of to-day, I could prosecute but feebly; and I am brought to another consciousness, contrary to the one which yesterday took away the sting of contumely, which is that I am physically inferior to Mr. Gillis. I flattered myself yesterday that my dreadful indisposition was eradicated, which was delusion. O! how long am I to suffer! To waste away under this wrath of Nature! My distress aggravated by the consideration that with my strenght of body goes my intellect. But I will not be cast down – I’m determined not to despair – I’ll still cling to home – and while I trust my case to the mercy of God, I lose no opportunities of using my influence to deter others from pursuing the track which has brought such misery upon me. Looking back, I perceive that within the present yet (1853) I have suffered five of these foul recurrences. [Vide 79, C; 80, H; 86, C; 105, D; & 128, E.]

 

Page 129

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.Ship Plymouth, Hong Kong)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

SUMMARY:—

A

FINANCES. Amount of pay, andsoforth, accreditted to me on the Purser’s books…$7.55

b

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books…48.65

c

Total amount of my private debts in the ship…4.65

d

Dombaft Debt” (115, A; 91, E.) Principal…43.50

e

“ “ Interest…10.70

f

Cash at Hand…——

g

Remarks. Considered in the Private Debt (c) is the claim of Psuedo Sally (96, A).

h

HEALTH. My decaying tooth is yet without pain. At the present moment I experience the inconvenience of a cold, occasioned by a recent change of temperature. But these were hardly evils. I am under the withering hand of desease—horrid and foul desease—desease which kills in secret and without pain—which spreads it’s withering breath even over the inteelect (128, E). “Physicians of all ages have been unanimously of opinion, that the loss of one ounce of this fluid [semen], by the unnatural act of self-polution, or in nocturnal emissions, weakens the system more completely than the abstraction of forty ounces of blood.” DR. YOUNG. To those whom Fate would lead in my footsteps, I wish a speedy and happy death—the kind stroke of prevention, by which alone a world of misery will be spared them.

I

SOCIAL RELATIONS. I reduce my friendships and acquaintanceships to system, and have, first, Superiors, and second, Equals. In the class of Superiors are comprehended the Purser, the Surgeon, the Asst. Surgeon, Mr. Balch, Mr. Beardslee, and Mr. Morrison, to all of whom I owe gratitude for acts of kindness and condesension. The Class of Equals, I subdivide into the following species, 1. My bosom friends; which admits of two genera, the first comprising Those whom I love, and the second Those who love me. Comprehended in the Species Ami & first genera are the drummer and fifer of the Susquehanna. 2. My Friends Ordinary; which admits of several ranks, the first comprising Those whoes talents, intelligence, or morality I respect, the second comprising The who are abandoned to vice, but who, having intelligence left, are susceptible of good impressions, from kindness, conversation, and example, the third comprising Those who by circumstances have become more or less intimate with me, and with whom I sometimes can crack a joke or spin a yarn for want of better employment, and the fourth comprises Everybody of goodwill not comprized in the foregoing ranks. Comprehended in this species are W. Williams, Quartermaster, (a bona fide poet), J. Morris, Captain’s steward (a bona fide Christian), and one or two others, of the first rank; Geo.W. Coleman, boy (a bona fide reprobate), and one or two others, of the second rank; Chas. Berry, Capt. of the Afterguard, &c., of the third rank; Black Jim, &c., of the fourth rank.

J.

My Enemies; which admits of three divisions, first They whom I hate, second They who hate me openly, third They who hate me heartily all the time, but disavow it. Comprehended in this species are Gwatney of the Purser’s Steward, Jimmy Legs the master at arms, &c., of the second division; Corporal Gilchrest and Music McFarland, of the third division. I have now reduced to order the existing relations of friendship, acquaintance, and enmity, between the Drummer and his shipmates. These relations are ever on the change; but whether or no, they will all, except those relating to J.E.H, terminate with the Cruize. These relations affect the Drummer of the Plymouth only, and form no part of that concatenation of friendships and aversions partly inherited and partly acquired by Van Buskirk.

 

Page 130

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbour of Hong Kong)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Friday, 1.

A

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by a slate, 18,—a blank book, 25,—3 sheets of paper, 6,—oranges, 3. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34,—2 bars soap, 40,—1 knife, 26,—1 pair scissors, 22,—1 silk handkerchief, 68. = Exchanged for a plug tobacco, 1 pair of scissors =

Sergt. Walsh, Dr. to 1 plug tobacco, 17. = Pvt. McMahon, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 20. = Pvt. Braconier, Dr. to 1 plug tobacco, 17. = Baker, Idsman, Dr. to 1 silk handkerchief, 68,—1 bar of soap, 20,—1 knife, 17.

B

Summary. It being the first of the month, I suspended my studies and was mostly employed in making up the summary on preceding page. One slate not being enough for the multifarious purposes to which I apply it’s use, I have procured another, and I would have drafted a letter for my aunt on one of them today, had not I caused their frames to be painted.

Saturday, 2.

C

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by oranges, 3.

D

Summary. I did not perform my Saturday duties with so much diligence as I might have done. I, however, left no pressing duty unperformed, and am not altogether unsatisfied with myself. Instead of reading the Bible as indicated at 126, E, I give my spare minutes to the Rambler, from the perusal of which I derive perceptible advantage and much pleasure.

Sunday, 3.

E

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5; Dr. to bread, 5. = Sam, Cr. by bread, 5,—oranges, 3,—eggs, 2.

F

Summary. Employed between writing up my “Journal of the Cruize, Part II,” and reading the Rambler.

G

My conversation last night with Gacki, commenced in Poland and ended on little Johnny Hibbs.

Monday, 4.

H

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5; Dr. to bread, 5.—Sam, Cr. by bread, 5,—cakes, 5.

I

Summary. Attended to my studies.

Tuesday, 5.

J

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by ½ doz. eggs, 5. = Purser, Cr. by cash, 5.00. = Sergt. Walsh, Dr. to cash, 1.00.

K

Summary. Pursued; with no decrease of ardor, my studies,—Arithmetic and French in the morning; English Grammar in the evening.—Reflected, last night, upon my being, considered morally, physically, and intellectually; and though as regards the soul and mind considered as distinct and independent of each other, my reflections were anything than clear and satisfactory, I upon the whole learned something from the hidden tome within, and am brought to know this fact that within myself is a boundless subject of study, to pursue which with profit and pleasure I have only to learn the art of thinking.—Midshipman Stockton of the Saratoga drew my attention and thoughts upon him to-day. He is everything that I could wish to have been at his age—healthy, handsome, graceful, and proud of merit and birth, in all of which he is a reproach to me; not less so than Phranza’s son. This little gentleman, hale and intelligente, will add now honors to his House—In seeing his excellence, I see also by contrast my own depravity.—Unexpected good fortune has befel me—nothing less than an acquisition of five dollars. Bill importuned me in the morning to join him in a requisition for money, expecting that my name would give the requisition a probability of success which it would not otherwise have. I suffered my name to be associated with Bill’s on the requisition for money, but did’nt entertain the most distant hope that the captain would sign the paper;—but it proves that the captain did sign it –and now, to sweep my roll of debtsto never, never get in debt again—and to never, never forget the Captain’s kindness, which makes this so happy an hour of my life.

 

Page 131

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Harbour of Hong Kong)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Wensday, 6.

A

Pecuniary. Sam, Dr. to cash, 91. = Sally, Dr. to cash, 15. = Billy Dhu, Dr. to cash, 7. =                                                             P. Deviny, Dr. to cash, 25.

B

Summary. The first thing of the day presenting itself for record is unexpected bad-fortune, a blow produced, it would seem, by Fate to counterbalance the effects of my good fortune of yesterday. Being in haste to comply with an order of the sergeant to have my hair trimmed, I submitted my head to the operations of a young man, whose judgement and charity I thought at least adequate to the performance which he undertook. Trusting implicitly in him, I did not mind the operator untill the work was finished, and then the laughter of everybody who saw me, brought it forcibly to my consciousness that my head of hair had undergone (as the first lieutenant afterwards styled it) a Penitentiary cut. I have experienced some very considerable annoyance in this new predicament which exposes me to irresistible and universal ridicule. I’ve not punished this amateur barber yet, because I am not satisfied whether the wrong has proceeded from bad motives, or want of judgment. Of course I did not attend with assiduity to my studies; I however read the Rambler.

Thursday, 7.

C

Pecuniary. Expended, for bananas, 3,—oranges, 2,—set apart for curios [English coins], 2.

D

Fund-in-Trust. Considered last night what can be best done with the sixpence which I have belonging to Private Coombs, lately invalided from this ship to the U.S. The debt is too trifling to be kept in remembrance for formal payment, and yet beyond my power of cancelling. I think Coombs, when he left this Station, was in some debt to the drummer of the Susquehanna, and if this is the case, I have an excellent opportunity of transfering the debt from my books by transfering Coomb’s sixpence to the pocket of his creditor. Now that I am solicitous to sweep my roll of debts, with a determination to have such another document(never), I am impatient of the least pecuniary obligation, and must therefore transfer Coomb’s claim to some one else that I may erase his name from my roll, upon which he and Pseudo Sally are the last remaining creditors.

E

My Studies. In the morning I translated, as I usualy do, some lines from the French Grammar (in pursuance of my design of compiling an Abstrait de la Grammaire Francaise for my use), and Dr. Otis corrected my translations, as he usually does, before I copy them into the blank book which is to contain my Abstrait. In the evening I finished my “Compendium of English Grammar”, which now remains to be committed to memory. The studies which I neglected to-day are Arithmetic & History.

F

[P.S.] ARRIVAL OF COMMODORE PERRY; The U.S. steamer Mississippi, bearing the broad pennant of Matthew C. Perry, Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Squadrons in the Seas of China and Japan, arrived in the harbor shortly before sundown. After being saluted by the Plymouth and Saratoga, the great Commodore anchored very near us and fired seven guns. Everything teems with excitement, and I’ll excuse my pen from attempting descriptions which it cannot accomplish—*   *   *

Friday, 8.

G.

Pecuniary. Expended, by the courtesy of giving two desired coins to Atkinson, 4,—by orange, 1.

H

Summary. The face of my affairs are changed. Imperial Event has infused a new spirit into my system and commands a change of conduct. I suspend my studies. Knowing now that the long projected expedition to Japan is no hoax, and considering that the approaching events of that Expedition will take frome me the long and luxurious leisures, which I have hitherto rather enjoyed than taken advantage of, I am in haste now to write up my “Journal of the Cruize” that I may continue that little volume during the Expedition, while this will be closed by the “general orders” of the Commodore.

*Expunging.

 

Page 132

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea.)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Saturday, 9.

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.=Note. I am a fool. This makes ten cents misexpenditure since the 5th. inst.

B

Summary. Employed throughout (except when busy at ship’s work consequent upon our getting to sea) in cleaning up for Sunday, marking my clothes, and mending.

Sunday, 10.

C

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5, = IN THE NAME OF GOD this shall be my last expenditure for coffee!

D

Summary. Mr. Doran gave me six sheets of paper. __ Wrote part of a long letter intended for my dear little friend (Peer of my Left) Louis E. Rodgers. __ Leisure scanty.

Monday, 11.

E

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 10. = (!!!).

F

Summary. I should have mentioned before the fact of my exchanging the RAMBLER for vol. I. of the SPECTATOR, several numbers of which I have re-read within these two or three days with great relish and advantage. __ Continued the letter which I design for Ned. __ Think about writing to Roderick Masson __ Obtained RICHERAND’S PHYSIOLOGY from Dr. Gambril __At Quarters this morning, all clothing was inspected (for the first time within my recollection), upon which occasion the sergeant was a little severe in his remarks upon my want of socks, white jackets, and a watch coat__The sergeant afterwards drilled the marines; I asked permission to join the ranks with a night musket, –refused. __ Thought my heart palpitated this evening, and felt some consequent fear _all transient, however. _ Seymour the Quartergunner afforded me the treat of “The China Mail” of the 7th. inst.

Tuesday, 12.

G

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

H

Summary. Finished my letter for Ned __ Committed a great fault in submitting the aforesaid letter to Mr. Beardslee’s inspection. Must alter my habit; be more reserved in my manners,_more puntiliously respectful, less depending, and not all familiar in my intercourse with midshipmen. Yes, from this out shall such be the distinguishing feature of my manner. __ The sergeant reported my want of clothing to Mr. Gillis (and mentioned the circumstance of my having sold some parts of my clothing (socks) but forgot to mention the sale of my pea-jacket; most luckilly for me). Mr. G. reprehended my conduct and ordered the sergeant to furnishe me with the required clothing, and to see that I do’nt sell them. ___ Discover myself addicted of lately to occasional fits of that kind of loquacity which delights in reading aloud to persons of no comprehension. This is a levelling habit: I renounce it. In my silence and reserve they reproached me with pride and conceit; and they may so consider me again, for that repute is infinitely more desirable than the reproach of folly.– I was provoked, just before supper, to apply a few very opprobrious epithets to a marine, which answered, I would have struck the man, and then serious inconvenience would have resulted. I see that even the most distant familliarity exposes me to quarrels, &c. So reserve and laciturnity shall distinguish me hereafter. It is only since our coming to sea that I admitted this familliarity of which I speak.

Wensday, 13.

I

Summary. I had dreamed in the night of my Sire.  In the night watches I feel acutely my want of a watch coat.  Employed variously to-day.

 

Page 133

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea.)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 14.

A

Pecuniary. Expended, in liquidation in full of Privt. Fitzgerald’s claim against me, 1.00. Fifer, Cr. by 1 ½ pots of coffee, 15.

B

Fitzgerald Claim. (G, 91.) In the morning before breakfast I summed up Fitzgerald’s claim, and finding it to amount in all to one dollar and ninety eight cents, tendered him two dollars in full payment. Fitzgerald would not accept more than one dollar, though I urged him to accept his due; and he releases me from all pecuniary obligation.

(Friday, 15.)

C

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee, 5.

D

Summary. Given to thought and divers little employments. My Studies suspended.

Saturday, 16.

E

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

F

Summary. The wind and sea being boisterous ever since yesterday evening, I could not employ myself as I wished. Studies (of course) suspended.

Sunday, 17.

G

Excuse. For the same reason that I could ‘nt write yesterday, neither can I to-day.

Monday, 18.

H

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee, 10.

I

Summary. The wind continues strong and dead ahead, and we are visited with occasional showers of rain. In the night watches, and in the day-time, I have the use of private Gacki’s watchcoat.  Every hour of the day do’nt slip away unimproved, but my regular studies are suspended.  Yesterday, the Purser gave me a number of newspaper slits, all relating to the lamented Hon. Dan. Webster __ I would thank Mr. Doran the more for this favor unasked if he had bestowed it in a more condescending manner than he did. Instead of giving them into my hands, he threw them upon the deck for me to pick up, which I did with all humility.  I have still this breach of punctillio at heart, but so lightly at heart that I have since asked a favor of the haughty gentleman. __ An Afterguardsman put a slit of paper into my hands containing an account of the Hon. Edw. A. Mennagen.

Tuesday, 19.

J

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 flannel shirts, 1.78.

K

Summary. My studies, excepting History, wholy suspended.  Deprived of the use of private Gacki’s watch-coat, he having returned to duty again from the sick list.

Hav’nt much other thoughts or feelings than what cold weather and inclemency begets.

Wensday, 20.

L

Summary. Pleasant weather has returned again. In the Forenoon: Cleaned up my accountrements and got my things generally in order; marked my name and the date on a piece of white linnen to be sewed upon my two new flannel shirts, &c. &c. _ Mr. Doran loaned me the first volume of Blackstone’s Commentaries (Bell’s Edition, 1813.).

In the Afternoon: Returned The Spectator vol. 1 & 2; and obtained vols. 3 & 4 from the Library. Read in the Introductory to Blackstone, in a Magazin, and in the Spectator, and employed myself otherwise. Think of resuming my studies __ of Home __ of Hibbs __ of my future prospects __ of my present misery __ of things about me __ of my incapability to discharge the obligation which I am under to write to my Aunt and Miss Baker __ of the predictability of governing all my minuter actions by the rules of Morality __ and of what not.

 

Page 134

Drumm. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 21.

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

B

Summary. Employed variously. Stood the brunt of an altercation with the Sergeant, who reported to the first lieutenant the insolence which he drew from me.

Friday, 22.

C

Summary. I neither absolutely idled aw’y every hour of the day nor employed one properly to my advantage.   I’ve attended to History, but my other departments of study lie neglected. __ I think I’ve achieved a victory over my habit of coffee-drinking as far as regards the going to extra expence for it. I do’nt think I’ll ever trouble Bill any more for warming draughts of the morning. __

Saturday, 23.

D

Pecun. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

E

Summary. In the Afternoon: Sewed a little, and read some in Blackstone; &c. &c.

Sunday, 24.

F

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

G

Summary. In the Forenoon (my watch below): Transcribed some items of information from Tytler’s History into appropriate blank pages of a book (Reminiscences of Spain. By Caleb Cushing.) which I have in store for Emery Hibbs. I got this book on the 7th, from Gacki. He offered it to me as a present. I told him I would accept it for my little friends in the Susquehanna. It consists of two volumes; I entered the following note of gift on the fire page of vol. I.

Private Gacki, U.S.M.

Exile of Poland.

(not of Erin)

In making a present of this volume to J.E.Hibbs, avails himself of the occasion to signify the high esteem which he bears to the little fifer, at once an ornament to his station, and an example of modest virtue which is exposed in ineffectual endeavers to escape the eye of observation, and is therefore the more eminently laudable.”

And then, on page 47: “U.S.Ship Plymouth, April 7th, &c. __ This dilapidated volume, being destined by its owner, Adolphus Gacki, for the fifer of the Susquehanna, I who am Chief Librarian to the aforesaid Gacki, have determined to fill up every blank leaf in it with scribblings and effusions of my own sublime genius and transcripts of less importance from books which I may be reading, &c. &c. &c. Enough for heaven’s sake about the book. _ In the Afternoon: Read in Blackstone.

P.S. And in the Afternoon, the purser came to know of my remark of punctilio! (133, I), whereupon he did me the honor to say I had misinterpreted his action of the 17th. It is certainly very satisfactory to my own pride to have a gentleman respect it so much; but, lord! this satisfaction accruing to one mean sentiment, is lost in the mortification of my better feelings: what can the purser think of my conduct? If I without reason remarked pride in his behavior, he has good reason to suspect me of ingratitude. And I think I would rather have all the seven sins laid to my charge, than be suspected of ingratitude!

 

Page 135

Drum. P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, — — — )

APRIL, 1853: 21.

Monday, 25. [AT ANCHOR OFF THE SADDLE Is.]

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.=

B

Summary. Employed nearly the whole day in transcribing notes into the volume in store for Emery. The ship had been brought to anchor in the begining of the preceding night, just in time, they say, to save her from grounding. It was a fact that we run very close to an island-rock, then kept from view by impenetrable fog; the captain discovering it’s vicinity by sound I sound I suppose.

We find ourselves this morning still envelloped in mist and surrounded by islets.

I practised the drum in the morning for a while on the Forecastle, and then again in the evening, by order of the first lieutenant.

Tuesday, 26. [UNDERWAY.—OFF GUTZLAF 666 I.]

C

Summary. I neither conformed to my rule in appropriating my leisure of today, nor let the day slip away without Something done to advantage.

Wensday, 27. [UNDERWAY.—AT ANCHOR.]

D

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

E

Summary. What leisure that has accrued to me to-day, I have given altogether to my work of filling the margins of Emery’s book with transcriptions.   Mr. Doran very kindly gave me some steel pens, and enquired of the nature and extent of my studies __ recommending another method of studying French than that which I pursue; and remarking that perhaps I had too many studies underway at a time.  I am only studying 1. English Grammar, 2. Arithmetic, 3. History, and 4. French. Since reading Mr. Doran’s Blackstone Vol. I, I am convinced of the necessity of a knowledge of, Latin, which, therefore, will form a 5th subject of my study. I have long resolved to study Law _ being urged thereto from motives of duty, my own father, my mother’s father, and her grandfather being all lawyers of repute __; but I fear, I fear it’s not in me to tread in the footsteps of my father.

Thursday, 28. [UNDERWAY.–AT ANCHOR OFF WUSUNG.]

F

Summary. We got underway in the morning, and arrived off Wusung a little before suppertime. The purser and a lieutenant went immediately up to Shanghae; and Weaver (the marine mentioned at 127, B) was sent to rejoin the Steamer, of which I was not informed untill supper, when the news of his departure nearly took away my appetite: I had depended upon him for the carriage of my respects and the gift of Gacki to Hibbs.

Friday, 29. [WUSUNG RIVER]

G

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

H

Summary. We’got underway in the morning and were enabled to proceed a little way up the river. __ Wrote two letters for Corporal Farran. He, in return, gives me a “Dollar Newspaper” of 12. Jan ’53, which I think will be acceptable to drummer Hibbs. __ Read the story of the “Procrastinator”, in Wilson’s Tales of the Borders, and I will take warning, for “procrastination” is, emphatically, my prevailing sin. __

Saturday, 30.

I

Summary. Except that I read a little in Tyller’s History, and perused the story of “Ebenezer, or, The Disowned” and that of “The Poor Scholar” in Wilson’s Tales, I did nothing for myself, nor for anybody else. In one part of the day, when time hung heavily on my hands, and I could find no pleasure in thought, I sought repose of mind and body (though, by the way, I had fatigued neither of them) in the arms of Death’s half brother. __ The ship met with an accident in the forenoon. And English propeller got afoul of our flying jib-boom, and carried it away; in which operation the propeller lost her own maintop-gallant mast and sustained other damage.

P.S. We got underway in the evening, after supper, and arrived up at Shanghae near about 8, P.M. Sent the two volumes and “Dollar Newspaper”, beforementioned, to Hibbs.

 

Page 136

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirks Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae)

MAY, 1853: 21.

STATE OF AFFAIRS:—

A

FINANCES. Amount of pay, etc, accreditted to my account on the Purser’s Books: 3, 87.

b

Amount of debit to my account on the Quartermaster’s Books: 46, 15.

c

Private Debt: 2, 74.

d

Dombat Debt (133, B; &c.) Principal: 42, 00.

e

Interest: 9, 22.

f

Cash at Hand: 1, 50.

G

HEALTH. Within the preceding month I have suffered one recurrence of nocturnal emission. This took place on the night of the 7th. inst. No change in my general health.

H

SOCIAL STATE. I alter the arrangement of the class I call “Equals.” Instead of having species and genera, I will divide the whole into ranks; as is here shown:

The First Rank comprehends all whom I love. The 2nd Rank comprehends all who love me. The 3rd Rank comprehends all who have lost my respect. The 4th R. comprehends all those with whom I sometimes associate, because, though vicious, they have some remnant of intelligence, and are susceptible of impression from kindness and example. The 5th Rank comprehends all those with whom I cannot better employ myself. The 6th Rank comprehends everybody of goodwill not comprized in the foregoing ranks. The 7th Rank comprehends all to whom I bear enmity. The 8th rank comprehends all my avowed enemies. The 9th rank comprehends all my secret enimies. Now my social condition may be thus stated:

1rst. Rank. J.W. & J.E. Hibbs.

2nd Rank. [unfilled]

3rd Rank. [Filled as stated in preceding Summary.]

4th Rank. [Unfilled; (Coleman proves incorrigible).]

5th Rank. [Filled as stated in preceding Summary]

6th Rank. [,,    ,,          ,,          ,,          ,,          ,,          ,,]

7th Rank. [Unfilled]

8th Rank. Sergt. Grant, and the Master-at-Arms (from Envy I believe); Steward Gwatney (from supposed wrong.)

9th Rank. Mus. McFarland and Corpl. Gilchirst (principally from Envy I believe).

Note. This classification does not differ materially from that of April, and it must be recollected, applies only to the social relations of the Drummer*.

*Excepting always J.W.J.E.H.

Sunday, 1.

I

Pecuniary. Music McF. Cr. by coffee, 5.=Expended, for Oranges. &c. 25.

J

Summary. I forgot myself (or rather never knew myself) so far as to pass and repass a midshipman several times in walking to and fro on the Main Deck, whereupon Lieut. Matthews publicly and severly reprehended my intolerable presumption—Collected all the several books (excepting the Spectator) which I hold from the different officers and returned them to their owners, with my thanks, which, by the way; are heartfelt, for the favors shown me were, signal as undeserved. Sent my “Journal of a Cruize” to Hibbs, with a note, and a present of oranges, &c.

(Monday, 2.)

K

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.=Expended, for cakes, eggs, persimons, &c. 25.

L

Sum. John and Emery came to visit us in the afternoon. It is almost the acme of happiness for me to have John’s company and conversation. Of this, more anon.

 

Page 137

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China)

MAY, 1853: 21.

Tuesday, 3.

A

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34,. 2 bars soap, 40, _1 knife, 26,_ 1 p.needles 3, _2 1/2 doz. Navy buttons, 98, _. =Braconier (privt.) Dr. to 2 plgs. tobacco, 34=Barnetz, Dr. to soap, 20. Expended, for figs, 8 1/3.

B

Summary. Wrote a little supplementary letter and enclosed it with the one mentioned at 132, H. now sealed and ready for posting.—Employed, in the forenoon, sewing.

(Wensday 4.)

C

Pecuniary. Sam, Cr. by 4 pieces wash clothes (shirts), 6; Dr. to cash, 7.=Fifer, Dr. to 25.

D

John and James Hibbs. In the afternoon, Mr. Gillis gave the fifer and me permission to visit the Susquehanna. While I was on board the steamer, the U.S. Steam Frigate Mississippi arrived from Hong Kong, and the usual salutes were exchanged between the Commodore and the ships of war in the harbor. The Mississippi brought the mail with her, and among the letters coming to the Susquehanna, came one addressed to “John or James Hibbs,” double, and bearing a large lack seal. John had long anticipated bad tidings from home—He had to fear the demise of no less an object of his love and respect than his mother—And this black seal confirmed his fears. But the little fellow and his brother bore this shadow of the descending stroke stocially—I speak of the seal when I say shadow.—It was too much for John to break. That the two brothers had some hope of this letter’s being other than it’s appearance indicated, I do not doubt; nor that they will cling to this delusion as long as it will hold; but I fear, though I have hope myself, that it will not last longer than the seal remains unbroken. God grand the little fellows courage to sustain the trial. This grieves my own heart.

Thursday, 5.

E

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by cash, 1,00.= Expended, lost overboard, 7, —Chinese cash selected, 3

F

Geo. Rolly (112, C). During my visit to the steamer yesterday, this man thought to entertain me with a device, obscene and demoralizing, which he carried in his pocket. The design of the drawing far exceeded in obscenity anything of the kind I had seen before. It was shown to me in the presence of Emery, and this conduct of Rolly gives me an insight into his character as far as I could wish to see. And for John to think favorably of such a man!

G

Recieved the following:

May the 5, A.D. 1853.

Friend van Buskirk according to Promise I transmit to you an account of the Effects of the Boys’ letter it Disclosed to them the painful news off the Death of their Most Beloved mother the affect it produced on them was painful To them that was present at the opening of the letter Suffice they took it very hard Remember me to my friends on board the Plymouth             Yours in haste van Buskirk

                                                                        Jacob A. Rose; Susquehanna

 Sent the following:

U.S.S. Plymouth, May 5. 1853.

I thank you, Rose, for the promptness with which you have fulfilled your  promise of yesterday. Tell John, in my name, (and Emery too) to bear manfully the stroke which could in no human probability be arrested—But enough. Tell him I will try to come aboard next Saturday,   I am your humble and obliged servant, &c.

 

Page 138

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirks Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai

MAY, 1853: 21.

Friday, 6.

I CAN THINK of nothing else than the infliction my little friend must be under. It extends to me, and leaves me no peace of mind. Throughout yesterday it was uppermost in my mind, and weighed down every other thought. It possessed me when I sunk into sleep at night—it manifested itself in dream—and its image was first to greet me with return of day. It completely incapacitates my mind from any employment. I resolved to see John and James tomorrow, and have therefore accomplished today the duties which my Routine allots to Saturday, they being merely mechanical, and requiring no effort or attention of the mind. If I can go ashore tomorrow, I will; that will divert my mind. When John and James cease to be unhappy, my equanamity may be restored.—Such is sympathy.

Saturday, 7.

Duress! Disappointment!! All the instigation of Bill, the Orderly Sergeant preferred an equivocal report against me to the first lieutenant, and came off with an order for me to go on “double duty”. I hastened to the Executive Officer and recounted the circumstances of the dereliction (?) reported; but Mr. G would not alter his decision. In a few minutes I returned to the officer and tried to tell him that “to put me on ‘double duty’ now, and thereby deprive me of the liberty of going on board the Susquehanna tomorrow, would be worse punishment to me than 6 months solitary confinement under any other circumstances”; whereupon Mr. G dismissed me and threatened to put me in the Up-and-Down. Angered, I left the quarter-deck, and going to the fifer, reproached his meaness; I did not strike him—I respected too much the principle of discipline and the proximity of the Quarter-Deck—but my anger only wanted a little immediate provocation to set it beyond the control of reason. Mr. G, perceiving the bent of my mind, called me to the mast, and, sending for the Master-at-Arms, ordered me to be confined to the Berth Deck; not, however, under any sentry’s charge, but, as it were, under arrest. My duress began at 8, P.M. When will it end? Can I hope to see J-E tomorrow?

I cannot forgive Bill this time—He must flam me, or else I’ll flam him well for this, the next time a good opportunity presents itself. The old sergeant deserves to be flammed.—Sent a note to John & Emery.—P.S. Note didn’t go.

(Sunday, 8.)

IN ACCORDANCE with my expectations, (for I hoped for the best.) I was released this morning from duress—Thanks to Mr. Gillis for his leniency.

In the evening a gigsman brought me word that the drummer and fifer of the Susquehanna were going ashore, and expected to see us (Bill and me) on liberty. I lost no time in asking permission to go ashore, including Bill in my request, which the captain kindly granted. The happiness coming in this permission precluded any though of malice or revenge and tuned me to kindness; I therefore

 

Page 139

A

forgave Bill unconditionally for the injury he had caused me, completely overlooking it, as I had already overlooked a long string of injuries from this source.

I met with John and Emery at a public house, in company with a party of the band on liberty. I cannot tell how it relieved my own mind of depressing uneasiness, to find these two brothers cheerful, and emerging from the infliction of grief, after having sustained it like little philosophers. Nor can I tell how much happy satisfaction of mind comes in learning from John’s own lips that his recent misfortune, an era, leaves in its traces on his mind a holy and controlling influences over his actions. And of this, I do’nt know but that I have demonstrative evidence; I pressed him to drink a glass of wine, but he firmly persisted in refusal, alleging as a paramount reason that he had resolved agaisnt it since the inauspicious (?) 4th.—God preserve him faithful to his resolution, and as nobly, may he emancipate himself from every defect. But I am satisfied on this point as regards the future. John, complaining first of weakness, afterwards found his strength, and waas my ciceroni during the remainder of the day. He showed me the Race Course, pointed out objects of interest in the neighborhood, and conducted me within the walls of Shanghae; but these things perhaps I will particularize in my other book. On more than one occasion John exhib-ited quite a consummate knowledge of Celestialism, and spoke the “pure Canton English” “like a native”. He has many opportunities, and those of the best kind, for acquanting himself with the manners and peculiaries of the country, and I am peculiarly happy to observe that he does not throw these advantages away.

John came off with me to the Plymouth; Before coming on board, I reminded him of his good resolutions of the 4th, —which, by the way, I had tempted him to violate but a few hours before! God forgive me.

Monday, 9.

B

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by postage (double) on a letter to U.S., 96. =Expended for boathire,&c. yest, 75.

C

McFarland. I’ll record in as few words as possible a case of violence, etc, just terminated. Yesterday Bill came off from liberty in time for sundown, and was a little intoxicated, but seemed friendly at retreat. About two hours afterwards, he appear- suddenly near me, and by a well directed blow in the temple, stunned me completely. (The first operation of the kind I ever underwent.) When my senses returned, a crowd surrounded me, and Bill in the distance was arraigned at the mast before the captain. I did not appear against him, but possessing myself, behaved with calmness and indifferance, as if nothing had happened me, and Bill was removed to the Brig and confined in double irons for drunkeness. So far, so good;—so much for yesterday, which I did not record under that date because it would not be seemly in my mind’s eye to approximate remarks of such extreme depravity, debased by their substance, to so close a neighborhood with a memorandum deriving, as it were, sanctity from its subject.—

Bill was released this morning, and I took the first occasion to remind him privately of the wrong he had done me; asking if it was intentional. It was. “Then what were your reasons for doing so?” “For talking about me ashore” (!) answered Bill. “Very well’, I rejoined, ‘I’ll give you an opportunity to do it over again on the Forecaastle.” “What time?” asked Bill in an air of defiance. “Before tattoo and after hammocks are piped down”, said I; thus appointing a time and place to settle our differances.

I did not this from either a desire of revenge or any promptings of malice, but for the sole consideration of its necessity as a measure of prudence.

 

Page 140

A

It soon became known that Bill and me were to have a “set to” on the Forecastle at night, and some looked forward to the event as a matter of great entertainment.—They were destined to be disappointed. A little before sundown, Bill, who had breathed such defiance in the morning, came with great meekness to seek an accomodation. Open to kindness, I required him only to confess that he was in fault on the preceding day, and to promise solemnly that he would never drink any more liquor (strong, intoxicating) while he and me officiated together. I then recapitulated the many signal kindnesses I had done him since his acquaintanceship with me, contrasted some few returns he had made me, and requested him to name one overt act of injury I had ever done him. He named as a great standing injury That I had put him in my Journal, and I said further, That he had always felt himself slighted by me, judging from my conduct that I considered myself “above him”. That I do, there is no mistake, for, reprobate as I am, Bill is daily and undisguised an object of contempt and aversion which I cannot suppress in my mind; but which has never influenced my will, and which I have been careful to never show in my manners. Bill has therefore not been slighted by me; and by my conscience and reason, he stands to me in the relation of an enemy unprovoked and of an ingrat, however disconsonant these sounds may be. But I forgive everything (my forbearance will stretch another inch)—and accept Bill again on the fooling maintained before this event. I have never subscribed myself his “friend”, in the confined and holy application I make of that word: God have mercy on him if he compels me to once subscribe myself his “enemy.” Such is forbearance dictated by the principle “That brothers should be friends, and drummers and fifers, paired on a Cruize, should be brothers”, with a little modification of the last expression in the case of Bill and me, for there is in my memory a name which I ought not to insult with any thought of recognizing Bill as a “brother” in whatever sense the word might be taken.

Tuesday, 10.

B

Pecuniary.Corpl. Gilchrist, Dr. to cash loaned him to spend on liberty, 50.

C

[After supper I had made my usual remark on a slate, but, since I have inadvertently rubbed it out, so that I must trust to my memory as to what is my note of this date] Lost the forenoon; –It “went by the run”. In the afternoon, employed examining some numbers of the “Chinese Repository” which I design placing at John’s disposal.

(Wensday, 11.)

D

THE only important incident of today is my visit to the Susquehanna and interview with John. Prefering to give the Repositories aforementioned, and also a little blank book for him to use as a Chinese Note Book, personally, than to send them, I obtained Mr. G’s permission to go on board the Susquehanna. I also got permission for Bill to accompany me. After giving over to John the “Chinese NoteBook”, and recommending a method for keeping it, I passed the rest of the evening more or less in his conversation. I was pleased with everything new, John had to tell me, except That he had, at a Ball ashore, got “gloriously in for it” [drunk] only fourteen days before the memorable 4th of this month! His good resolutions, broached to me at Cumsing moon, had all gone by the board! “But,’ said he, ‘I know I’ll never drink liquor again—Before the 4th. I could not suppress my desire for liquor when within my reach: Now I can

That he can, I have the best evidence, —and the whole tenor of his discourse gives me the best assurace that he has not proscribed drunkeness alone, but every indulgence and habit running counter to Reason and good principle,—though upon this subject in detail I forbear inquiry. I Trust to God’s providence and John’s inherent good sense and genius.

 

Page 141

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China.)

MAY, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 12.

A

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. By cash, 1.00 = Corpl. Gilchrest, Cr. By cash, 50.

B

Summary. Early in the day, the guard were got in full uniform in readiness to receive the Tautae of Shanghae who was expected on board. In the evening the Tautae came off to the flagship, where he was received under a salute of 7 guns, &c. Shortly afterwards a boat came alongside bringing some presents to the “U.S. Ship Plymouth” [i.e. the captain and Officers] which the Tau-tae requested to be accepted. But after leaving the steamer, the mandarin returned to Shanghae without visiting us.

C

Note, By “flagship” I mean the “Susquehanna”, Commodore Perry having hoisted his flag there on the 9th inst. He inspected this ship on the same day.

D

Right of Hibbs to first examine this book. John has been so much the subject of unrestrained remark in the preceding pages of this book, that in reason and justice it is his right (for himself and Emery) to know every thing in it before it passes from my hands, or is ever submitted to anyone’s curiosity whatever. In view of this right, I have promised John that no person whatever shall read, or be permitted to examine this book, or any parts thereof relating to him, until he shall have first examined the whole, and have given his consent to its being read. In view also of this right, I have provided that in the event of my death by accident or otherwise within the period of this cruize, the property and possession of this volume be transferred to John, under certain conditions.

Friday, 13.

E

Pecuniary. McFarland, Dr. to cash, 75.

Saturday, 14.

F

Summary. I had done yesterday all that my Routine appoints to Saturday; and of today I can only say it “went by the run”, leaving me, morally speaking, just where it found me twenty hours before.

To kill time, and for no other purpose, I overhauled the preceding pages of my journal to systematize and properly state under appropriate heads, in a Table on page 100, all my expenditure directly or indirectly incurred within the present year. But there was too much difficulty in the plan, which, as regards the past, I accordingly abandoned. However, in Future, I will keep carefully a memorandum of every expenditure, and at the end of every quarter I will sum up under general heads the whole expenditure of that period.

Sunday, 15.

H

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 5 ½, —for preserved persimmons, etc. 9.

I

I HAD REQUESTED a visit from John and Emery today, and doubtless would have been so favored, but that it rained at noon and in the evening. I wished to see Emery especially. By all accounts he deviated, last Sunday, in accompanying Bill to a nameless place, from the strict propriety of conduct which I wish him to preserve. I must protest against this.

J

—I cannot over-estimate the benefit that has accrued to me through the sentiment of affection and respect which I can so easily cherish towards the persons of these two boys—To say nothing of the happiness constantly reflected upon me through the consciousness of their happiness, for emphatically, their joys are mine—and their pains too, when I can know of them.

Connected with this sentiment is naught unholy, so that whenever thought of Hibbs occupies my mind, it is to the exclusion of everything impure. This is a subject I like to dwell upon. I will do so at large, in future pages of this book, when I will have learned more of myself—more of John—more of that sentiment of the mind and soul called aff-

 

Page 142

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China.)

MAY, 1853: 21.

A

-ection. Before closing this remark I will observe that my friendship for J & E does not arise from any false estimate of virtue in the object. I never regarded E as a peer of my left hand, by which designation I understand such a one, an equal of mine in this service, whos fame is free—entirely free—from that withering blemish which will eventually consign me to infamy. The past has much in store for John’s keenest repentance. I do not love him then for moral excellence, and when I think of him as a moral-agent, I tremble x x x x x x x x x I’ll conclude with another observation. This affection of mine is spontaneous, and never knew the fanning breath of reciprocation.

Monday, 16.

B

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 5. = Da, for a fan dropped accidentally overboard, 25.

C

I could not resume my studies today, though that was long my intention. I procrastinate.

Tuesday, 17.

D

James Emery Hibbs. (141, I.) Prepared the following note to send in case I do not see the little sinner before we go to sea again.                    “U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, May 17, 1853.

[Private and Confidential]

            I fear I will not see you before you leave this place. It’s lucky I can do up my words in a piece of paper and send them to you. Attend—They are: Will Emery allow me to recal to his memory the liberty we enjoyed ashore Sunday before last? This done, the next question is, Are those recollections pleasant? On an average they may be. I hope they are. But I have to remind you of one reminiscenc carrying shame in its nature. I am mistaken if Emery did not visit a nameless boat that evening, —and more, stood eye-witness to a scene from which a veriest reprobate might have turned away in disgust! Where could have been his pride? Stowed away in the bottom of his bag I suppose. But shame—shame on him that could divest himself for a moment of this feeling, or retaining it, would not submit to its impulse to avoid what would degrade an intelligent brute. This communication is dictated by a most sincere and affectionate concern for Emery’s welfare. I desire to see every excellence united in this person; and can bear to see no fault or blemish. His morals must be pure and spotless, not that they have ever been unstained, nor that they may ever be, but that these stains must be holystoned out, and the same spots never permitted to recur. There is no question as to Emery’s comeliness of person, his intelligence, nor his ability as a fifer; but this is no excellence at all if nobleness of soul is wanting. I’d rather not be mentioned at all than in such a conditional encomium as this, “He is a good looking boy—an intelligent boy too—and he plays a good fife, —but he is a G— d— rascal, —&c.”

Let me assure you Emery of my high esteem & of my Lasting, Sincere affection.

                                                                        P.C. Van Buskirk

J.E.H.

Sent the foregoing.—The flagship left this harbour in the evening.

Wensday, 18.

F

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 5,—Eggs, 4,—Persimmons, 4,—44 Cash selected for curios, 4 ½.

G

Summary. I employed the forenoon and afternoon writing in what was heretofore my “Journal of the Cruize”, but which, after this, bears the name of “Private Journal and Remark Book”.

H

Letter to my Mother. After supper, I hastily scratched a letter out, and, directing it to my mother, placed it in the Letter Bag.—Resumed my study of English Grammar!

Thursday, 19.

I

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 8.

 

Page 143

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China.)

MAY, 1853: 21.

Friday, 20.

A

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 5. = cakes, &c, 6,6—76 Chinese cash selected for keeping, 7 ½.

B

Employed writing up the Remark Book (designed for Hibbs’ amusement). Returned the 2nd Vol. of the “Spectator” to the Captain’s clerk, and obtained Vol. I of Gibbon’s Rome, (Jone’s Edition, 1826). In consequence of the Guard being temporally shorthanded the fifer and I are appointed to orderly’s duty on the Cabin door.

Saturday, 21.

C

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 8.

Sunday, 22.

D

The captain kindly listened to a request I made for liberty this evening, but refused me, because, he said, I had come off drunk the last time, I and the fifer, & had got to fighting. This he imputes to me “drunkeness and abuse of his kindness”. I can suppress my desire for liberty, but the imputation sits heavily on my mind.

Monday, 23.

E

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee, 8,—for dates, 16.

Tuesday, 24.

F

Mem. Employed writing up my Remark Book and Private Journal. I complied with Mr. Beardsley’s & Dr. Otis’ request to let them examine it at this juncture. —How rightly, I am yet to determine.

(Wensday, 25.)

G

Mem. Employed throughout the morning and evening leisures writing up my Remark Book, which, it must be understood, now forms a component part of my Journal of this period, though the volume is separate from this one. My most secret thoughts I commit to these pages—and I hesitate to record nothing here (to which I give thought) with that candor and unbiassed freedom which may be considered essential to perfect transcripts of the mind,—and it is not surprising that I can do this, for (with one exception) I consider that no human eyes will ever see these pages within the term of my life—And “this period” will have to long—long elapse, before that exception can be allowed; were it otherwise, there would be restraint upon that candor and freedom so essential to transcripts of the mind. I must have nothing to fear—nothing to hope; else these cannot be perfect transcripts.

(Thursday, 26.)

H

Summary. Mostly occupied in reading Goldsmith’s Rome.

(Friday, 27).

I

Summary. The captain kindly permitted me to speak to him on the subject of my imputed guilt (D) and is pleased to exonerate me from blame.

Saturday, 28.

J

Pecuniary. Belen (seaman) Cr. By cash, 20. = Received for ¼ lb. thread, 16. = Expended, for ½ yard of cotton stuff, 8,—for persimmons, 2 ½, = Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

K

Summary. Occupied in sewing, marking, &c. Drew a pair of shoes from the sergeant.

Sunday, 29.

L

Summary. Through the kindness of the Purser I was enabled to get a Shanghae newspaper of yesterday’s date, which contained much matter relating to the Civil War now raging in China. I rejoice in having this paper to put before my little friend, who is now perhaps in Loo Choo, where may I soon see him again. To preserve this paper from destruction by ill usage was a matter of some difficulty today, as everybody wished to read it, & a few of our “readers” even handle a paper with a view to its preservation.

 

Page 144

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China.)

May, 1853: 21

Monday, 30.

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5. = Expended, for 20 Chinese cash selected for preservation, 2. = Received, from Chas. Berry, 8,—from G. W. Coleman, 8.

Note. The 16 cents received today is accepted ostensibly as a return for allowing the givers the  privilege of reading the “North China Herald” of the 28 inst. I however realy hold it in trust to buy the next Saturday’s issue with, when the donors may read that paper in the order of time they observe in paying in what I am pleased to call “subscriptions”. I intend to bear my part in paying for these papers, & when the “subscribers” have read them, to retain them for H. H. and myself. If any money remain on my hands, more than is required to pay for the papers, I will return it whence it came, as I am unwilling to speculate in little affairs since the gain of lucre, or the satisfaction of cunning would not compensate for the loss of self-respect, which these little dealings would destroy.

B

I have been quite unhappy today, not absolutely doing nothing, yet hardly doing any thing in the way of progressing in knowledge.

Tuesday, 31.

C

Pecuniary. Expended, for preserved persimmons, 4,—cakes, 4. = Note. Returned Coleman’s “contribution” because we expect the ship will sail next Thursday, which precludes any possibility of my getting the Newspaper, for which alone I accepted the money. I wish I had returned Berry’s “contribution” too; which, as my treasury is now exhausted, I will have to post-pone until “grogmoney day.”

D

I have no words to express what were my feelings today. There was no tincture of satisfactions about them. There was a gloom and moroseness. Added to a dissatisfaction with myself, is a sadness yet reflected upon my soul from the grief of one realy more dear to me than I am to myself—one, upon whom is concentrated all that Love which God has planted in my breast to be the ruling sentiment; of the intensity of which no one can judge. In the Forenoon, I prepared and inserted the “Summary” on the succeeding page. In the Afternoon, I rather gave way to my sadness.

The hours of wakefulness were too heavy. I sought sleep—which I can ever find—and dream was happier than reality, though I do not remember what my dreams were.

I cannot blame myself for this delinquency (sleeping in daytime). This day terminates a period of mourning. Let me see by what rites the sadness of my soul was testified. I drew the lines of mourning on every page of my journal of the unhappy period. I suspended my studies. In the beginning of this period—while in duress on the Berth Deck—sympathy exacted tears, which, as it were, came up bitterly from the heart, and which, doubtless, those who saw, ascribed to anger at my little misfortune. And the heaviness of my soul chastened my thoughts so that they are purer since. But this thing I could not do even in testimony of my grief. I could not emancipate myself from those habits of extravagance, and of immorality which have fastened an iron grasp upon me. I could not do myself what I urge my friend to do. But this night, I will reflect in solitude and sadness on the events of this month; I know it will bring water from my eyes; and I will pray (I dared not before); and I will swear my the Love of my better—E. H. to renounce vice, and all that is not holy, as I urge him to do. These lines may be unintelligible.

 

Page 145

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghai, China.)

JUNE, 1853: 21.

SUMMARY:—

A

FINANCES: Amount of Pay, &c. accredited to my account on the Purser’s Books 3.86
b Amount debited to my accounts on the Quartermaster’s Books 45.65
c Dombat Debt (91, E) Principal 42.00
d Interest 9.71
e Private Debt 1.70 ½
f Cash at Hand _

G

HEALTH. Suffered no interruption of health, except on the night of the 15 May, when I experienced an involuntary seminal emisson, unaccompanied by dream. (The 7th foul recurrence of this year).

H

SOCIAL RELATIONS. In general, I have perhaps more friends than enemies as far as courtesy or professions go. I myself stand in relation of enemy to no one—not even to the fifer, though I am obliged of late to retrench some of my usual kindnesses to him from knowing now beyond doubt that kindness is thrown away on him, —that distance and indifference alone secures his respect. To the sergeant I have had opportunities of showing kindness, thus conforming to the Divine Precept “Return good for evil.” Regarding every one as my “neighbor”—and never giving any consideration to things of the moment—but keeping an eye fixed on the end of all our destinies—and not “respecting persons”—I have by lending books judiciously, and by conversation whenever it can avail, contributed my mite towards civilizing and humanizing the rough members of my Acquaintance who are more immediately intimate with me. Hereafter, I shall cease to consider either the Officers, whose kindness has attached my gratitude, or the Music Hibbs, who possess my warmest friendship, in my monthly Social Summary; The relations which I would sum up every month are of the hour, but gratitude, and such love as I give to Hibbs, is of eternity.

I

CULTURE OF MY MIND. Out of the pure respect for the memory of the good who have gone from us, and to testify the grief reflected upon my soul from the immediate sorrow of my little friend, I had consecrated the twenty seven latter days of May as a period of mourning, thereby suspending my studies within that time. In my Remark Book I will detail the conveniencies, circumstances, and measures, belonging to my return to study; I will here remark the three powerful considerations which hold me to the purpose of cultivating my mind as a means of attaining to future power. First, the inciting duty of re-establishing the honor of my name, always in mind. Second, the duty of striving to not disappoint the hopes of my father’s friends. Third, the love I bear my little friend, who I would have about my person.

Wensday, 1.

J

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5. = Put. Morrison, Cr. by “Knickerbocker’s Hist. New York”, 40.

K

Summary. I did not pursue throughout the scheme of “diligent study” which I had laid for today. At noon I asked for permission to go ashore, but was refused; however, with kindness. I have to reproach myself with having slept away an hour or more of the evening. I could not escape from my habit of drinking coffee in the morning; my case is almost hopeless.

 

Page 146

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea)

JUNE, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 2.

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. y coffee, 5.

B

Summary. As might be expected, I was ill at ease all day; I did not employ my moments of leisure (scanty now) in prosecuting my plan of study, though I read some chapters in my “Treatise on Self-Knowledge” and employed an hour examining, pencil in hand, the first chapters of “Irving’s History of New York” which I bought expressly for the amusement (and more especially the improvement) of G. &. E. Hibbs.

I have recorded the principle ‘events’ of today in my Remark Book; Notwithstanding which, I will remark here that we got underway in the morning at 8, and dropping apace down the river, came to anchor at 10, A.M. or about. And that we got underway again in the evening and “backed and filled” further down yet.

Friday, 3.

C

I refer to my Remark Book for today’s remark.

(Saturday, 4.)

D

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

E

Had dreamed in the night of Louis Edward Rodgers. Employed variously.

Sunday, 5.

F

I was hardly employed in anything today, except in the forenoon when I transcribed a part of my “Rule of Action” and “Articles of Peace” into my Remark Book. I frequently think over my existing relations with the fifer and apprehend the necessity of having yet to go to war with him, than which nothing is more undesirable to me. I can’t banish it from my mind that my long forbearance towards the fifer was far beyond the point where forbearance ceases to be a virtue. The fifer is heavier and stronger and more practised in the art of pugilism. than me, but with all these advantages on his side, I think I can oppose myself against him even in the vulgar chances of fistfighting with some reasonable hope of success. But practice on my port is imperiously necessary, wherefore, in view of future war, I have determined to addict myself to athletic and pugilistic exercise under the instruction of my friend Fred. Cunningham who is well qualified to initiate me into the pugilistic mysteries and to accustom me to the receiving and dealing of hard blows. I will speak to Fred about this tonight.

Monday, 6.

H

Summary. Did’nt speak to Fred Cunningham as I had resolved, but procrastinated.

I

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5.

J

Tuesday, 7.

Summary. Fell into error today (as usual). 1rst. Did not conform to the Requirements of My Routines, insomuch as Mr. Gibbs found occasion to remark a want of tidiness in my dress; especially a want of polish on my clumsy shoes. I’ll be more carefull in future—even at sea. 2nd Omitted a little necessary work through sheer laziness. 3rd Run into the folly of reading some chapters out of Irvings “New York” aloud to Jackanapes who would as well have understood a Hebrew version of the same book. This lowers me in the estimation without contributing anything to the edification of my auditors. Must be careful to avoid this folly in future. Not to mention my foolish extravagance in the matter of coffee.

 

Page 147

Wensday, 8.

A

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee, 5. =  Purser, Cr. by 6 yards of shooting, 150.

B

Summary. Erred again today as yesterday, though not in the same particulars. I did almost anything else than study my books, and consequently am anything else than happy. Yesterday in the “dog watch” I exercised myself at single sticks with the fifer, who though comparatively unskilled in fencing is yet my Superior in the art. I expect to thus exercise myself in every “dog watch” untill I am something of an adept in the play.

(Thursday, 9.)

C

Not wholly unemployed, nor yet occupied in any part of the day as I should be.

(Friday, 10.)

D

I have naught to remark of to-day, except that at its close I feel unsatisfied with conduct during it.

(Saturday, 11).

E

I can only refer to my little “Journal” for today’s remark. I am beginning to get very negligent in the duty of this “Journal.” The little one engrosses my care, to the prejudice of this.

(Sunday, 12).

F

I am guilty of wasting away in sloth nearly the whole of my leisure of to-day. No happy reflection.

(Monday, 13.)

G

We arrived today at our destined post, Napa Kiang Reads in the island of Loo Choo. The Susquehanna was not in port; having left a few days ago.

Tuesday, 14.

H

Pecuniary. Nat. Smith, Cr. by mending my penknife, 17. = Borrowed from Seymour, quarter gunner, 1 skein of sewing silk.

I

Summary. Having, some days ago, come to hear much good of a boy in the Str. “Mississippi”, aged about 15 or less, and bearing the name of Geo. Base, I have since made very diligent and discrete enquiring as to his habits and character, and the former are so proper and the latter so seemly in my eyes, that I feel an interested in his welfare and will accordingly take measures to the extent of my means to encourage his virtue (if I may use that term) and promote his advancement in knowledge.

Like me, he is much addicted to reading. His reputation is free from reproach. He is not given to skylarking, nor impropriety of behavior; in all of which, and in many other things, he is unlike those around him. Wherefore he is an object of interest to me.

Wensday, 15

J ——— ———

 

Page 148

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo)

Thursday, 16.

A

Be humble—even to the dust! I will not mention his name: A quarter-gunner, so gentle, so softly spoken, and whithal so invariably exemplary in his outward conduct that ever precluded suspicion of the depth of the iniquity—the hidden iniquity—of his soul, and gained him, about the rest, my respect.

I did’nt hesitate to pass the night on the same mat in the open air with this man. Now for circumstances which I can only regret—which I must record—which finally settles my opinion and esteem of my contemporaries in My Walk of Life; “There are none among them that are good—no, not one”.

Before midnight I awoke from a sleep, and became at once sensible of sly and indecent liberties being taken with my —! My astonishment was great—and my indignation; but mute. I did not move. At length when the evil designed by this devil was near consummation, I turned away from his reach. But it was too late. An involuntary emission succeeded, the knowledge of which I alone possess. This happened me in secret: In secret and from the depths of my soul, and in pain, I regret the occurrence. My conduct in future will attest my regret, as my subsequent conduct has. I have wept over this frailty. And this will be to me, as were the Mede and Persian laws, unalterable and sacred,

Despise Man; shun the poison of his contact; his name is Abomination.

I am humbled—humbled to the dust! But for one in the species I love, I would fly the world; I’d retire to some solitary spot and end my days in repentance and sorrow. I am humbled.

Friday, 17.

C

I may as well remark here my Religious opinions. In the present stage of my knowledge and in the present disposition of my mind I unwillingly doubt the justice of Moses’ claim to a Divine commission; am unable to give the visions or pretensions of the Prophets any more respect or to consider them of any more weight than the dreams of now-a-days or the pretensions now being urged in various parts of the world to Divine inspiration; and while everything in the life of CHRIST conspires to command my love and respect—I cannot bring myself to believe that he was the “Son of God”, as the Church interpret that term, nor that he, the Lord Jesus, so announced himself to the Jews and Gentiles; I mistrust the Evangelists and the Apostles—they were men and may have erred. I respect Mahomet, Numa, Zoraster, and Confucius for the good they have done in their respective ages and countries, and consider myself incompetent to judge of the justifiableness of the means these worthies adopted in accomplishing good.

I am practilly a deist, with a turn to piety. I find no difficulty in disbelieving the Indian and other revelations that are anti-christian; I cannot totally reject the Mosaic Dispensation, nor totally disbelieve the claims of Our Lord to Divinity as set forth in the Gospels and Epistles, nor yet can I, on my life, give these things my implicit beliefe. I do’nt disbelieve, but doubt.

Such are my Religious opinions in the matter of Revelation. Perhaps they will not hold when I will have given myself to diligent enquiry into the evidences, whatever they may be, by which Christian truth is proved to the satisfaction of the learned of the persuasion. May my doubts be removed! Christ, believed and imitated, is, I know, such happiness as “surpasseth all understanding”.

 

(Saturday, 18.)
D

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by cash transferred on my account to the ship’s barber, 1,00. =

Henry Johnson, Cr. by some old duck wherewith to make 2 sweatrage, 17..

E

Geo. Base. (147, I). Further enquiry into the character and habits of the boy Base have forced the unwelcome conviction upon me that he is or was as bad a boy in respect to paederasty as any other boy in the Mississippi. In other respects he is a better boy. What I have to take advantage of is his invincible habit of reading. I will supply him with good books, and they  may make him a good boy.

 

Page 149

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo).

JUNE, 1853: 21.

Sunday, 19.

A

. . . In the evening I went on board the Mississippi. Presented to Geo. Base without any ceremony or preface, two books, viz. “History of Rome”, and “Onanism, and its Consequences”, which I had brought for him to read. I told him to take care of these two books and to always let me know when he would be in want of reading matter. Mr. Base was occupied with a novel entitled the “Robber” when I met him.

I passed the first part of my visit very pleasantly in conversation with some musicians of the Band whose acquaintance I had made on board the Susquehanna. I was told of some plays that had been got up and acted in the Susquehanna and in the Mississippi by the crews of those ships. I was not pleased to learn that John W. Hibbs sustained in one of those plays the character of a female—and I, believe too, of a heroine. I introduced myself to the drummer, whose name I have not ascertained, as I do not consider him in the list of my personal acquaintances. He is from the Army. He does’nt like the Marine Corps. “Have you seen the drummer and fifer of the Susquehanna since you have been here?” I asked, on an occasion. “O! yes; they have been a-board of us twice.” “How do you like that little fellow?” “Well, I’ll tell you; That drummer is too stiff-necked, too proud; but I like the fifer well enough.” “Oh!, says I, you will like him better when you know him more.”

Monday, 20.

B

I am ill at ease in my mind, and have been these many days past, because I cannot give myself to those studios, in the pursuit of which I can alone hope to extricate myself from poverty and raise myself in the world.

Tuesday, 21.

C

I do’not recollect that I employed my lime to any advantage. I may have read indiscriminately and cursorilly.

Wensday, 22.

D

After supper I enjoyed the opportunity of refreshing exercise afforded in the drilling of two boat’s crews on shore.

Thursday, 23.

E

Through the kindness of Mr. Gillis and the Captain. I was permitted to go ashore in the morning to wash clothes. The boat, carrying casks to be filled with water, in which I had came ashore, remained untill late in the evening, so that I had plenty of time to enjoy a lengthy and leisurely ramble in the island. The fifer had came ashore with me, but did not accompany me in my ramble. The natives were extremely polite and friendly: There appears to be a dense population, considerably advanced in civilization—not European civilization, however. Susquehanna & Saratoga arrived.

Friday, 24.

F

Geo. Base returned the two books I had loaned him, with a note to Thomas, conceived in the following terms:

U.S Steam Frigate Mississippi

Friend Yesterday as I was seting by the foremast readin a  Book a marine came up to me and gave me two Books and said that when I wanted Books to send to you I read them last night  in toto and now send them Back. If you have got some Novels send them but if not send what you have got                                                                       Yours

GEORGE BASE.

I forget whether this came last monday (as the note would imply) or later. Last monday I reckon,

G

Sent “Knickerbocker’s New York” and the “N. China Herald” to John and James Hibbs.

 

Page 150

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Lew Chew).

JUNE, 1853: 21.

Saturday, 25.

A

Pecuniary. Fred. Cunningham, Cr. by making a pair of white pants for me, 50.

B

Given to the most culpable laziness.

Sunday, 26.

C

Went in the evening with the Libertyman to visit the Susquehanna. If I may believe my little friend Hibbs, he is depressed in mind, “home-sick”, suffering under a “ravenous fever” and a “palpitation of the heart”. These are his words, but his joyful visage disprove them. Emery was on a visit to the Mississippi when I arrived on board the flagship. John gave me a full account of his connection with the “Susquehanna Amateur Theatre Company”. Previous to our arrival at Lew Choo, he had appeared on the stage and gained great applause. He had sustained the character of Lusia in the “Dead Shot”, and was Mrs. Bounoe in the farce of “Box and Cox”. He will next appear in the “Golden Farmer”. — [alas!]

Monday, 27.

D

Mostly employed in miscellaneous reading.

E

“Theatre” on board the Mississippi. Early in the evening, an invitation came from the theatre company to the Crew of the Plymouth to be present [as many as could be] at their performances. Twenty or more could avail themselves of this invitation. I not being able to get my name down in time would have been denied the pleasure of attending, but that Mr. Gillis kindly granted my request to allow the fifer and me to go anyhow. The theatre opened at 8, P.M., and the curtain dropped for the last time at or near 11, P.M. The tragedy of “The Idiot Witness”, the farce or comedy of the “Irish Tutor”, a song and some recitations from Billy Nuts the poet, and an Ethiopian serenade were all performed with great success. EH had told me yesterday that he would be present on this occasion. I did not see him during the play, but after the affair had closed, I sought and found him among the crow, and lord! what icy affection my little friend displayed in this recognition. — A frigidity appalling—paralyzing! Not deigning to return my salutation, and hardly permitting me to grasp the only hand in this quarter of the world whoe’s touch can stir up the affections of my soul, he vanished from my presence. I had brought my little journal, intending to give it into his possession, for I wished him to know its contents. How could I give it to this little frozen soul? No how. Thus John recieved me or rather rejected me with cold indifference. Not so Emery: there was warmth of friendship in his reception; —so I am disposed to believe. John shall now not see my journal at all within the period of this Cruize, —But angels guard him! And for all his frigidity, I will not love him the less.

Tuesday, 28.

F

Employed nearly all day writing up this journal.

Wensday, 29.

G

Pecuniary. Fred. Cunningham, Cr. by making a pair of white pants, 50.

H

Rather given to sloth in the Forenoon—To active but useless employment (copying a play for the Plymouth Amateur Theatre Company yet in embryo) in the evening—And to my usual unhappy meditations after sundown. I consumed part of the forenoon in debating what to do. I unsuccessfully endeavored to return to my studies. I’ve determined to send my Little Journal to EH, before I write any more in it.

Thursday, 30.

I

Sent my little journal, by the coxswain of the gig, to J.W. Hibbs, with a note respecting it. Read in Chap. III of Gibbon’s Rome. Requested (I am) to be a member of the new Theatre Company. I’ll attend the meeting of organization tonight and perhaps I’ll accept of membership. The Captain approves of the enterprize, but I am afraid “for a’ that” it will prove abortive.

 

Page 151

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo I.).

JUNE, 1853: 21.

SUNNARY

A

FINANCES:- Amount of Pay, &c. accreditted to my account on the Purser’s books . . . 7.18

b Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books . . .    43.16

c Dombat Debt (91,E.) Prncipal. …                                                42.00

d                                  Interest. …                                              9.86

e Private Debt …                                                                          3.87

f Cash at Hand …

 

G

  1. Respecting my Physical Condition. I perceive no symtoms of sickness, nor disorder in any part of my system except in the generative, which is yet the seat of that loathsome disease. On the nights of the 1rst and 9th of June I suffered involluntary emissions; and in this summary I must instance again the humilliating occurrence of June 15. These making ten foul recurrences within this year.

H

  1. Respecting my Moral Condition. Two much of the preceding month has been consumed in sloth. Almost every night I have reviewed with dissatisfaction my unworthy conduct of the day, and have always resolved for the better. But in the next day, Indolence of mind and body would resume the mastery, and paralyze my feeble efforts to study. Connected with Morality is Religion. I have thought much and (if I may use the expression) with fear and trembling of soul on this subject. And well may I! I am inclined to have faith in the efficacy of prayer, but I have not yet been able to fall down in soul rending sorrow to implore the mercy of the Most High. And inseperably connected with my religion is the soul chastening memory of my Father.

I

III. Respecting my Social Condition. I have no avowed enemies in the ship. Where animosity raged against me only a few months ago, a specious and hollow friendship is now professed. None seems to be less a friend of mine than the Fifer; who cannot but hate me as cordially as he professes to like me. I must remark that I no longer behave to McF. with the extreme kindness and disinterestedness which characterized my first conduct toward him. While I am writing this, I’m thinking my “temple of Janus” will have to be thrown open again before long. My reprobate friend Coleman, after having enticed the Captain’s Chinese servant boy to sodomy (I learn from his own confession) has now laid siege to the chastity of Kong, a Ward-room boy, and particular friend of mine. He must drop all intercourse with Kong, or my enmity shall be levalled against him. It will not be amiss to pursue this subject in some subsequent remark: Coleman conceals nothing from me and I will withhold nothing from these pages; though I will never betray that former confidence reposed in my honor, by disclosing the secrets confided to me. No; I will never betray that confidence, though I may take every lawful means to distress him if he provoked it by an obstinate adherence to the design against Kong.

J

IIII. Respecting my Intellectual Condition. I do not sufficiently know myself to advance anything on this subject—the most important connected with my identity. I have, however, confidence in my memory. I hope to obtain the government of my attention. I distrust my judgement; and fear my faculty of perception is obtuse. On the whole my powers of intellect (I fear) are at distressing mediocrity.

K

  1. Respecting my Reputation in the Ship. I am reputed to be a young man of much learning, exemplary sobriety, tolerable uprightness, and invincible chastity. I am respected for the purity of my morals. My wisdom, which says nothing, is admired; and my friends have learned to tolerate my reserve, which, without hauteur, subdues familliarity. My natural disposition is shown to be kind, approaching to timidity; neither of which qualities command respect.

 

[Editor’s note: page 152 is missing from our scan. This needs to be checked.]

 

Page 153

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, …)

JULY, 1853: 21.

Friday, 1.

A

Dramatic! The enterprizing geniuses who had united, as is indicated in my remark 150, I, to get on foot a little theatrical establishment amongst us, held their first meeting last night in the Starboard Gangway on the After-part of the Spar Deck Gratings. Nine (if I do’nt mistake the number) of these geniuses, constituting the visible “DRAMATIC CLUB OF THE U.S.S. PLYMOUTH”, whoe’s motto is “Excelsior”, proceeded to elect a Manager, a Treasurer-&-Secretary, and a Prompter, together with a Keeper of the Club’s Property, and to deliberate upon the best measures of carrying the designs of the Club into execution. Mr. Gillis’ approval of the concern had been obtained; and Mid. Morrison had signified his intention of assisting the work as far as lay in his power. A series of measures regarding the scenery and stage apparatus, &c, were proposed and adopted in the Club, and the Secretary was directed to start a subscription at once to raise the necessary funds.

I subscribed two dollars. The club have chosen “The Idiot Witness”, a tragedy, for their first performance, in which I have consented to play the part of Hans Gerthold.

I’ll conclude by mentioning that I am the responsible prompter of this Club. I give my support to it from a principle of aiding whatever is good, however lately in the day it is get on foot, but, unlike it’s more active and stage struck members, I have no hope of it’s success.

Saturday, 2.

B

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34, — 2 bars soap, 75, — 1 piece tape, 8, —, 1 box blacking, 5. –N. Smith, Dr. to 1 plug of tobacco, 17. = H. Johnson, Dr. to do, 17. = Private Morrison, Dr. to 2 bars of soap, 40.

C

Sailing of the Squadron for Japan. At an early hour this morning the two steam-frigates and the two sloops of war, the whole available force (excepting the storeship) here at the Commodore’s command, got underway for Japan! After getting out to sea, the Mississippi took us in tow, and the Susquehanna performed the same office for the Saratoga. Our square-sails all furled. Thus we will jog along together over the ocean’s depths to that land of mystery, —of terror to some, —of pleasant anticipation to others, —of intense interest to us all.

Sunday, 3.

D

Pecuniary. Private Gacki, Cr. by a penknife, 25. N. Smith, Cr. by mending a penknife, 17.

E

Penknife for E.H. This day one week ago my little friend complained of the loss of his penknife; “I loaned it to a Japanee’, said he, ‘and he forgot to return it.” There are no cutlery stores here, where to loser might at once replace his loss, before feeling any inconvenience from the want of so necessary an article. I who delight in administering to John’s pleasure and profit, have not let this opportunity escape of indulging in my delight; I obtained a suitable penknife to-day at a very low price; our Bezaleel has put it in prime order; and when I next meet with John, in Jeddo Bay or in Nangasacki Harbour, the little idol of my soul will not refuse me the immensurate happiness of replacing a trifling loss.

Monday, 4.

F

Alas! I have in effect lost the day. Though I had purposed it, I did not return to my studies; but I will to-morrow—I will—I will—I will. The fate of Alexander Severus and the reign of Maximin instructed me to-day.

 

Page 154

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, _ _ _ _ _ _)

JULY, 1853: 21.

Tuesday, 5.

A

Begun the day rather heavily oppressed by indolence, from which I was happily relieved by the activity required on my part in the setting of the Courses and Topsails and sending yards aloft; all done before breakfast.

After Breakfast I read in the “Decline and Fall”, and read over (with as much attention as I could command to the subject) my Compendium of English Grammar.

After Dinner I first read in Gibbon’s Rome, and then in the “London Punch”.

Wensday, 6.

B

Did very little in the forenoon. Consumed the whole afternoon (4 hours) in wretched sloth.

Thursday, 7.

C

My happiness in this world depends entirely upon my success in Scholarship—I mean in the attainment of learning—; since scholarship, and that alone, will save me from poverty and obscurity. Acquainted with the sciences, my path to respectability is obvious. I may gratify the innermost passions of my soul. Virtue my guide, happiness—transcendant happiness—will be my portion. The State will acknowledge my services; Friendship will drop a tear over the mound that covers me when I’m gone; and my posterity will respect the memory their progenitor.

D

In the forenoon, I pursued the study of Roman History with great diligence and in my usual method. During a part of the afternoon I likewise gave my attention to this history, which, however, I soon relinquished for sleep; and here I don’t blame myself; the intolerable heat induced lethargy or laziness which it were vain to resist. I can naturally and without effort give myself to the study of past events, as to contemplation (for want of a proper expression) of the future, but for the life of me I cannot master the rudiments of Grammar and Arithmetic, a consummate knowledge of which is indispensable to my future prosperity. I can tell you many secrets of the Roman, the Grecian, and even of the Chinese history, unknown to the vulgar herd in whose bosom I live, but I cannot possibly repeat one rule in the Arithmetic, and am actually ignorant of the Multiplication Table.

(Friday, 8.)

E

Arrived on the Coast of Japan, as I have more amply remarked in my little journal. Sent the penknife designed for Hibbs (153, E) by the coxswain of the gig. Hibbs returned my Little Journal without deigning a reply to my note. He treats me with withering indifference.

(Saturday, 9.)

F

I was given to cheerful activity in the morning; but wretched indolence oppressed me in the evening.

Sunday, 10.

G

Pecuniary. Mc Lane, Qu. gunner, Cr. by a pair of shoes, 1,50.

H

I was creditably employed during both parts of the day: In the forenoon, business of the drummer engaged my attention; —In the afternoon I found employment here and in my little book, and then some duties of the office of Dramatic Prompter! were to be discharged.

(Monday,11).

I

From Hibbs: Word by the coxswain of the gig “that I might show my little journal to whom I like.” See Remark Book.

 

Page 155

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, _ _ _             _ _ _                _ _ _)

JULY, 1853: 21.

Tuesday, 12.

A

Dramatic, & Personal. Resigned my office of prompter to the Club, and am succeeded by the veritable Geo. Washington Coleman. G.W., by the way, is an invaluable member of the Club.

B

My Studies. I’ve been unable to employ my mind upon any subject in the line of Science but Roman History; to which I give some portions of my leisure. For further remark, see Remark Book; I have now to carefully abstain from all remark in these pages which might relate to the proceedings of our Squadron, since I profess this book to contain no such notes.

(Wensday, 13.)

C

Pecuniary. Pvt. Geo Kew, Cr. by an old pair of brass scales (used on uniform caps), 18.

D

I met John and Emery ashore to-day on an occasion noted in my Remark Book. They were in good spirits; but John is but lately relieved of a painful tooth-ache, of which I knew nothing untill to-day.

(Thursday, 14.)

E

Employed chiefly writing to-day.

(Friday, 15.)

F

Employed chiefly cleaning up my accoutrements.

(Saturday, 16.)

G

Wrote in my Remark Book; being a day or so behind hand.

Sunday, 17.

H

My RULE and PRACTICE. My Rules of Conduct will be found in pages 119-129, Remark Book. My practice, I am obliged to confess, has never yet accorded strictly with the letter of that Rule.

I

Pecuniary. Mc.Farland (fifer) Cr. by ½ pot of coffee……………………………………………………………..5.

(Monday, 18.)

J

Pecuniary. Mc.Farland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee……………………………………………………………………….5.

K

It is not in accordance with my rule nor my principles to expend money in so foolish a way as is exhibited in my pecuniary memorandum, but reason will not avail against the inclination which I always find about me in the mornings to indulge in a “half pot of the fifer’s coffee”,—the fifer who I know despises this weakness of mine.

M

GOD BE PRAISED! I applied myself in the morning to the study of Latin Grammar (Russel’s Adam’s Latin Grammar) and Arithmetic. I commenced at “Othography” in the one, and at “Numeration” in the other: I have fairly resumed my studies. I will follow them up. God help me. My mornings shall be to Grammar and Arithmetic. I frequently inspect my Rules of Action and I am making effort to adapt my conduct to them. But I have much in my mind and constitution to combat.

(Wensday, 20)

N

Pecuniary, Fifer, Cr. by coffee…………………………………………………………………………………………………5.

(Thursday, 21.)

O

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee…………………………………………………………………………………………………5.

(Friday, 22.)

P

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr. by coffee…………………………………………………………………………………………………5.

Q

We are at sea. From the 20th to the 23rd, tempestous weather prevailed, in consequence of which I had to lay aside my studies (which I had just resumed). See Remark Book, p. 146.

 

Page 156

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth,, _ _ _       _ _ _    _ _ _)

JULY, 1853: 21.

(Saturday, 23.)

A

Mostly occupied in reading Mrs. Willard’s U.S. History (large edition).

(Sunday, 24)

B

I wrote up my little journal to-day.

(Monday, 25.)

C

I had chosen to-day to resume my studies, but I found writing to do in the morning which I might as well (perhaps) have left undone, and in the evening some necessary work of another kind interfered. But after supper I strived to retrieve some part of the time lost to my studies.

Tuesday, 26.

D

Pecuniary. Privt.Nolan, Cr. by a pair of scissors……………………………………………………………………17c.

(Wensday, 27.)

E

Pecuniary. Mus.McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee……………………………………………………………………5.

F

See Remark Book.

(Thursday, 28.)

G

Pecuniary, McFarland, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee…………………………………………………………………………10.

H
See Remark Book.

(Friday, 29.)

I

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee……………………………………………………………………………10.

(Saturday, 30)

J

Pecuniary. Music McFarland, Cr. by coffee………………………………………………………………………………5.

K

Sent a note to Emery requesting a certain favor of him. —Sent a dozen black buttons to John; having heared that Philip Dogherty of the “Susquehanna” was in want of such things, and wishing to oblige him through John. Private Magerstat gave me the buttons, gratis,

Sunday, 31.

L

Geo. Base came with the Mississippi’s “visiters” in the evening. I saw him. He is young (14). I listened to some very intelligent things he had to say, and advised him to his benefit in some particulars. I loaned him “Mrs. Pilkinson’s Goldsmith’s Nat. History.”

M

Antonio Joaquim Carvalho is an interesting little fellow. He was shipped in the Mississippi at Madeira. Age I suppose 14. He comes frequently to see a countryman of his, our armorer, who had also shipped in the “Mississippi” at Madeira. Little Joaquim can’t speak English. I showed him my “Historia Sacra”, and he read the Latin with great ease and quite astonishing rapidity. He asked my name; I explained it on a slate “Felipe de Buskirk.” The boys, his shipmates, do’nt like him, because he is above joining in their crying iniquities, and generally holds himself aloof from them. I am much pleased with him, and will cultivate the little fellow’s good will.

O

xxx SILVER SUSPENDER BUCKLES, weighing 820 grains Troy. Paid Sergeant Walsh $3 for Them, can’t say when, at the time of making this entry; have forgotten the Time, but surely the transaction is entered somewhere in this Book, under its proper date.

 

Page 157

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

AUGUST, 1853: 21.

SUMMARY, &c, &c.

A

FINANCES: —Amount of Pay, etc. accredited to my account on the purser’s books……$11, 01

b

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books (U.S.M.)……………………..40, 66

c

“Dombat Debt” (91, E.) Principal………………………………………………………………………………….42, 00

d

Interest……………………………………………………………………………………..10, 21

e

Whole amount of Private debts in the ship…………………………………………………………………..6, 10

f

Remark. Of the Private Debt at e, four dollars and twenty six cents is to be paid in cash; the remainder is payable in purser’s stores. —One dollar and five cents of the debt has been incurred in buying pots of coffee from the fifer. An item of which I am ashamed. —Twelve & a half cents is owing to Coombs, now in Washington (I hope) —One dollar and twenty cents is owing to Pseudo Sally (perhaps in Hong Kong). —

G

HEALTH. In the night of July 3 I suffered an invol. em., and again in the night of July 27, —this making twelve of those distressing occurrences within the current year. —All of my teeth are not in a healthy condition, but as yet I suffer no pain on their account. —In all other respects I enjoy good health. During a period of two years up to the present time I have subsisted and grown fat upon tea, saltbeef, pork, beans, rice, and bread, at sea, with fresh provisions in port, and sometimes coffee, as converted into food by the simple processes practised by our cooks. Of late I have lost all relish for saltbeef and pork, but at breakfast, in my pan of scouce, and at supper, upon my baked beans or bread, I have been unsparing of grease—porkfat in the one and butter on the other—, to which circumstance I perhaps owe several pimples distinguishable upon my countenance. Two and frequently three quart-pots of tea each day has been the measure of my drink. Persons remark to me my healthy appearance and rapid growth, but notwithstanding, I will, after this, totally abandon the use of tea and coffee, and exclude grease as much as possible from my diet. In lieu of tea I will use (when I can get it) a drink composed of molasses, vinegar, and water; and my food shall be drawn principally from vegetable. I will be very sparing of animal food, and will not use butter. Pepper in any kind of food is my detestation; I never use mustard. And we’ll see what effects my new regimen will. I wear flannel next to my skin, and am regardful of personal cleanliness. I never have much labour to do. My height is 5 ft. 7 1/6 in. Circumferance at my waist, 2 ft, 2 ½ inches. Weight     lb.

H

  1. Respecting my Moral Condition. I refer to my daily remarks in this book and in my Remark Book. They will illustrate tolerably the sad state of my morals within the preceding month. But reflection has done much for me; I was morally a better man in July than I had been in any preceding month, and I flatter myself that I am strengthening every day in principles, and may yet attain to the courage to “do right in every little thing” in spite of all hell.

I

III. My Social Relations are about on the same footing as in the begining of July. Coleman relinquished his designs upon Kong, and holding himself aloof from him, has spared himself and me the vexations of active enmity.

J

  1. IV. My Intellect. I have not yet got into the merits of Greenleaf’s Arithmetic as a book calculated to discipline the mind—but expect such benefit if my mind is capable of discipline. We’ll see in Time,

K

  1. My Reputation, amongst the officers, is damned. See Remark Book.

 

Page 158

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal and Remark Book.

AUGUST, 1853.

Monday, 1.

A
Pecuniary. Mc.Farland, Cr, by ½ pot of coffee………………………………………………………………………..5.

B

See Remark Book.

(Tuesday, 2.)

D

See Remark Book.

(Wensday, 3.)

E

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34, —1 piece tape, 3, —1 fine comb, 10,—1 doz. buttons, 39.

F

Liberty in Loo Choo. I will mention in my Remark Book how I was permitted to go ashore, together with the leading particulars of my ramble. Here I’ll remark an incident or so whose nature excludes it from a book liable to public inspection. IN the course of my walk I met with easy politeness on all sides, but on two occasions I in vain attempted to persuade a native to transcribe some inscriptions on stone slabs, though I believe my request was fully understood. At the Rev. Dr. Bittlehamer’s I did’nt meet with either politeness or the least consideration—the reverend doctor was reposing himself when I called; —his lady was in the porch of the house with two fine little children, (a boy and a girl). — I left the name of J.W.Hibbs in two places, with the date Aug. 3, as mementoes of my visit; first, scratched on a stone figure guarding a gateway of the royal residence in Shu-te; second, written with a lead pencil on the smooth surface of a Chinese vault or tomb in the neighborhood of Napa.

(Thursday, 4.)

G

Pecuniary. Fifer, Cr by coffee………………………………………………………………………………………………….5.

(Friday, 5.)

H

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee……………………………………………………………………………….5.

 

(Saturday, 6.)

I

Pecuniary. Sergt. per Quartermaster, U.S.M Cr. by 1 pair of shoes………………………………………1,50.

Robt McLane, Dr. to 1 pair of marine shoes…………………………………………………………………….1,50.

Sunday, 7.

J

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee……………………………………………………………………………….5.

K

“Mr. Gillis, if you consider two or more weeks’ double duty and to live on bread and water during that time to be punishment anyways adequate to my offence, may I ask for such punishment, instead of endless restriction to the ship, and to have my offence always stand against me,” I wished to say to the first lieutenant. “Sir,’ said I, tremulously, ‘if two or more week’s double-duty and to live on bread and water during that time is adequate—“ He turned his back upon me and waved his hand contemptuously for me to be gone! Restricted to the ship! Proscribed!! Denied liberty when I might otherwise expect it!!! And then contempt—galling contempt—heaved upon all this!!!! For a moment and the keenest wretchedness was mine. Contempt of me on the part of those I respect is cruelty. Mean, miserable as I am, Mr. Gillis under-rates me; undeserving as I am of favor, he even too little regards me. I am deserving of punishment—I am hardly fit for the world, —but I am not—I know I cannot be deserving of entire, hopeless proscription.

However I suffer in my mind—though I may even feel wronged by—.

L

I had hardly written the last word of the above when I was called to beat retreat, and while bracing my drum taut for that purpose, Mr. G accosted me kindly and said “If you can get Mr. Matthews to intercede for you, perhaps I may excuse your offense; —but mind, do’nt tell him I told you.”

 

Page 159

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

AUGUST, 1853: 21.

Monday, 8.

A

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Cr. by coffee……………………………………………………………………………….5.

Tuesday, 9.

B

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee………………………………………………………………….5.

C

Mid.Beardslee promised me, last night, his endeavors to obtain Mr. Matthew’s intercession with the first lieutenant for the remittinge of my punishment. Mr. B. has spoken to lieut. M. upon the subject, and I am filled with anxiety to know the result—and depressed with apprehension that the result is unfavorable.

Wensday, 10.

D

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee………………………………………………………………….5.

E

I applied personally to Mr. Matthews, and, with no counterfeit diffidence, solicited his favorable intercession with Mr. Gillis. Mr. Matthews treated my application with more kindness than I expected, and has since spoken to the first lieutenant in my behalf.

F

—The mail arrived to-day and I was rather cruelly disappointed in not getting my letters.

Thursday, 11.

G

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee………………………………………………………………….5.

H

“Thos. J. Van Buskirk committed suicide at Zanesville, Ohio, on Saturday night last.”

Balt. Sun, Saturday, Jan. 22, 1853.

I

Mr. Gillis spoke to me this morning upon the subject occupying so large a space in my mind. He sent me for a chair, and upon my return, said to this effect: “you had to go to Mr. Beardslee, who had nothing to do with the matter—and you told him what I had said to you (This was too true. I had stated my whole case to Mr. B, in mistaken confidence of his discretion] —Instead of bettering the matter, you have made the matter worse”

I attempted some extenuation—

You should have done as you were told” said Mr. Gillis, and I answered not another word, but retired from his presence, under the keen reproach of conscious untrustworthiness. My desire of liberty is stifled; I do not feel deserving of it now.

Friday, 12.

J

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…………………………………………………………………5.

K

See Remark Book.

Saturday, 13.

L

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee…………………………………………………………………10.

 

Sunday, 14.

M

Pecuniary. T. Atkinson, yeo. Cr. by 1 pair of socks………………………………………………………………….33.

N

Last night’s thoughts. A daguerreotype of John Wesley Hibbs in military costume I may get taken in Hong Kong for five dollars, — and an oil painting from the daguerreotype, executed in Canton, will cost twelve dollars; —total, Seventeen dollars. Ah! that’s too big a sum to be available; I can not have a painting which I would almost worship—but then the daguerreotype; it is certainly within my reach now, and I might get the painting done in any future time. I must certainly have the daguerreotype. Now to devise ways and means. —“My best and dearest friend!” —

 

Page 160

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

AUGUST, 1853: 21.

Sunday, 14.

A

I think much —often—of Hibbs; yet not as much nor as often as I ought. I propose to myself so many schemes of future enjoyment for these two objects of my affection, and yet I take no measures to realize my happy schemes. I am too improvident to accomplish anything in this world; if I continue so, what magic will realize my Orchard, my Farm and live-stock, my Garden and my Bachelor’s Hall and its furniture. Let me think oftener of Hibbs and I will not be improvident.

(Monday, 15.)

B

Liberty ashore in Loo Choo. With a kindness that calls forth my warmest gratitude, Mr. Gillis had forgiven my faults, and to-day I was permitted to go ashore. In my Remark Book I will detail the leading incidents of my ramble. Let me observe here that I carried my R.B. with me to Mr. Bethelheim’s (I have erroneously spelled it Bittlehamer) for the purpose of getting translations of My Chinese inscriptions, and that Mr. B. not being at home I left the journal in care of Mrs. B, explaining to her the object of my visit. This was in the morning, and in the evening when I returned to the Mission, Mrs. B. (I am sure she had been reading a page in my journal) treated me with marked kindness and consideration, but Mr. B had not yet returned. The lady with a kindness and affability that inspires gratitude entered into conversation with me, through which I acquired considerable insight into the Manners and Customs of this little Kingdom. I made myself acquainted with Mrs. B’s three little children—three interesting little beings, especially Miss Loo Choo, a little septagenarian—and promised little master Bethelheim to send him two doz. bright eagle buttons for his next coat. When it was near towards sundown I departed from the Mission, leaving my R.B. in the kind lady’s care, who promised to obtain the desired translations, and to keep the volume in safety untill I call again at her dwelling. What a sensibly beneficient influence upon my darkened soul does intercourse with, and the sight of, innocence (childhood innocence) exert? It is refreshing—it is healthy. I am a happier man—I am a better man. I am further removed from Vice; my love of virtue is strengthened. O! Holy Sprit, possess my soul!

My affection for Hibbs is ever active; I display it in the mementoes which I always leave behind me in places I visit. I never write my own name, but leave mementoes after this manner:

John W. Hibbs,

U.S.M

Aug. 15, 1853.

Tuesday, 16.

C

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee (Which Shall be the last)……………………………10.

D

I see an apothecary’s advertisement in a Newark paper of 1853, subscribed “Roswel Van Buskirk, North west corner of Broad and Market streets, Newark (19, A.).

E

I did’n apply myself as unremittingly to my studies to-day as I should have done.

Wensday, 17.

F

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…………………………………………………………………..5.

C

Was lazy in the early dawn. Afterwards attentive to my studies with effort to release myself from thought of the Past and Future—of Home and Friendship.

 

Page 161

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

AUGUST, 1853: 21.

Thursday, 18.

A

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Cr. by coffee….[The last! the last, so help me God]…………………………..5

B

[My Remark Book being at Dr. Bethelheim’s, I observe here what is otherwise appropriate only to that Division of my Diary] I pursued my studies to-day with my usual habits of methodization, but with little dilligence, little energy of mind; and with consequent success.

Friday, 19.

C

Pecuniary. Wm. McFarland, Cr. by coffee…………………………………….(!)…………………………………………5

D

Conversation, last night, with an old sailor on the subject of manual-polution.

_ Æ. Well, White, what’s your opinion of those men who have to do with boys? If you were King, would’nt you kill every one of ‘em?

_WHITE. Yes; —Every feller that lives ashore and does that, I’d shoot him—yaas, by—I’d shoot him.

_ Æ. And if you had a navy, would’nt you kill every man in it found guilty of that?

_WH. No; —what can a feller do? —three years at sea—and hardly any chance to have a woman. I tell you, drummer, a feller must do so. Biles and pimples and corruption will come out all over his body if he don’t.

_ Æ. White, you have given me your opinion candidly and openly. I’ll be equally as candid with you: If I were King, I would kill every man at sea or ashore found guilty of this dreadful practice, and I would never have mercy. —See here, have you ever read any books on this subject?

_W. No.

_ Æ. Well you are most damnably mistaken about this practice “being healthy!” I’ll lend you a little book to-morrow that tells all about it.

_W. Thankee—I’ll read it.

Saturday, 20.

E

Pecuniary. Music William McFarland, Cr. by coffee………………………………………………………………….5.

F

Read and wrote, instead of sewing as I ought to have done. —Sent two dozen buttons to Mrs. Bittleheim (as I had promised) by Old White, the seaman referred to in D.

G

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee, 5. = Expended in appropriation of buttons, 78.

H

-ibbs—Bill exerts himself with such undiminished zeal in demolishing the fair fame of my dearest little friend, that I find it necessary to remonstrate. Last night in a private interview out on the port Gang-board, I sounded and reached the bottom of his feelings towards Hibbs. He hates his person from envy of his superiority—and he is an enemy—a mortal enemy—to his fame. This is my first conference with Bill upon this subject. My next and next will be to remonstrate upon his conduct and to reason with him upon the error.*I will content myself now with vindicating by words the fair fame which Bill has impugned by words, and I will try reason and artifice to shut up his mouth; but if these will not avail, I will will declare against him, and if it is Hibbs’ pleasure, exert all my physical strength and energies to put him down and keep him down, and crush the lie and treachery in his heart. This Bill is a monster of perfidy, and John looks upon him as a friend!

*of it

 

Page 162

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

AUGUST, 1853: 21.

(Monday, 22.)

A

  1. GILLIS kindly granted me permission to go ashore to-day. REV. DR. BETTELHEIM engaged my lasting gratitude by the extreme kindness and affability of his conduct towards me. I will not mention here the detail of his kindnesses, nor estimate their extent otherwise than to say they claim my Eternal Gratitude—And Mrs. Bettelheim: God bless her! And little Bernard, Rose, and Loo Choo: Angels guard them! Rem. Book.

Tuesday, 23.

B

Employed nearly all day writing up my Remark Book, now a week behind hand.

Wensday, 24.

C

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 6 yards sheeting, 1,50.=Pvt. Bracconier, Dr. to 6 yds sheeting, _ _ 1,50.

D

I can’t say what are my feelings. They are anything than enviable. In the morning and evening my energies were smothered in sloth. I feel desolate—wretched—miserable.

Thursday, 25.

E

Pecuniary. Private Bracconier, Cr. by cash…………………………………………………………………………..1,00.

F

Employed mostly writing. Not happy because I did not give my proper studies that time and attention which is their due. I, however, was not idle.

Friday, 26.

G

Not very happy today.

Saturday, 27.

H

Case of McFarland (161, H) Since the 21rst. I have heard Bill use no pernicious insinuations against the character of JEH. I have thought it best to say nothing to him on the subject while so profound a calm exists as the present. I will caution John to have as little intercourse with Bill as possible, and if necessary I will fully inform him on the real state of Bill’s feelings towards him. Thinking of the line of conduct to be pursued in the case of Bill’s relapsing into his habit of slandering, I have the conclusion forced upon me, that words will be thrown away him, because he is not open to reason, and there is no good feeling in his nature that can be acted upon. And I have came to the determination to not allow him by any means to speak slander in my presence against JEH.

Sunday, 28.

I

Pecuniary. Pvt. Morrison, Cr. by a copy of “The Races of Man; and their Geographical Distribution. “By Charles Pickering, M.D., Member of the United States Exploring Expedition. New Edition. “To which it is prefixed, an Analytical Synopsis of the Natural History of Man. By Charles Hall, M.D. &c. “London: H. G. Bohn, York Street, Covent Garden. MDCCCL.”………..37 ½

Boy Coleman, Cr. by a pair of Manilla fancy shoes……………………………………………………………….75.

(Monday, 29.)

J

Went on liberty. See Remark Book. God bless that Dr. Bettelheim!

Tuesday, 30.

K

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffe (4 pots got a different times)….21.

Wensday, 31.

M

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee……………………5

N

Purser returned me Ainsworth’s Latin Dictionary.

 

Page 163

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21.

REVIEW.

A

FINANCES: —Amount of Pay, &c. accredited to my account on the Purser’s Books…………..13, 65

b

Amount debited to my account on the Quartermaster’s books…39, 66

c

“Dombat Debt” —Principal………………………42,00

d

“        “        —Interest………………………………10, 46

e

Amount of my private debts in the ship…………6, 76

f

Private Due………………………………50

g

Cash at hand…………………………………..1,00

h

“Valuation (cost) of my “Chinese curiosities”, and other things in store……………………………..3, 13

k

Remarks. Of the Private Debt (e), as much as $1,68 c. was necessarilly incurred; 33 cents is owing for money borrowed and expended on liberty or otherwise in Shanghae; 107 cents is owing for things purchased for presents respectively to J.W.H, my dearest friend, and to Rose, Bernard, and Lucy Loo Choo, children of my benefactor, the Rev. Dr. Bettelheim; 120 cents is owing to Pseudo Sally (96, A); and 210 cents is owing to the fifer for coffee. = The following is a list of the “articles in store” (distinguished from “articles in use”) which are appraised at h: 1. A Chinese Dressing Case (without the mirror) —cost, 150c, 2. “Friend of China”, a newspaper, —cost, 25c, —3. A string of 214 Chinese cash—value, 21c, —4. Chinese pushlock and key (bought in Manila) —cost, 37 ½ c, —Chinese inkstone—cost, 10c, —5. “Map of Madeira” —cost (if I remember aright), 25, — ½ doz. Navy buttons—cost, 19 ½ c, —7. A jack-knife—cost, 26.

J

My Health. At this present moment methinks I am in good general health and long to live. I have no physical pain to experience (nor have I had), and every organ seems unimpaired, except those of the Generative System. I suffered nocturnal emissions four times within the preceding month—these taking place respectively in the nights of the 7th, 19th, 24th, and in the morning of the 24th; which now make sixteen occurrences of the kind within the current year. Those which happened in the nights of Aug. 19 & 24, were caused or accompanied by dreams. I made this note after the occurrence of the latter, “In the morning of Aug. 24, an involuntary emission occurred; —caused by a dream—Happy, “innocent in the beginning: woeful in the end. I met a little Lew Chewan (or he met me) in the land of dream, and I kissed him with warmth of affection, and the illusion broke—with these horrible consequences.”

K

My Morals. I am respected for the “purity of my morals.” It is thought of me that I am too proud—too highminded—to do any mean, grovelling thing. One—and one only—can gainsay my reputation, —can say that he knows me to have done mean and detestable things. But my reputation could not be injured by that man (the yeo-man) though he spoke all he knew, because his word is worth nothing. [It was in Singapore that that incarnate fiend led me into guilt which he shared himself. He took me in an hour of weakness, and after violating Nature in my own person, found it easy then to have me violate Nature in his person. In my outward conduct I am not less complaisant and civil to that man than to any one else, but in my heart I hate that man, and this is a question upon which I often think, Have I a right before God, to kill him? Not as an enemy of mine who is capable of doing me any injury in future, but as an enemy of society who lives only to vitiate every youthful mind that comes within his influence—and what powers of temptation has not the Yeoman of a ship? I wish him no trifling injury—I wish no harm to his soul—but it seems to me that God would bless the hand that would remove him from among the living.] But this is not the question. It is not my reputation so much as my true character which I have here to enquire into. I am not given to, nor do I ever indulge in drunkeness, the prevailing vice of sailors; but there is nothing in the “sparkling glass” that is tempting to me. I will not sodomize, because my soul abhors it: I love even sensual pleasure, but

 

Page 164

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21.

(A)

I dread the wrath of God! I love Virtue—I do all I can to promote the cause of virtue; my conversation and public example is all on the side of virtue; —I know that mine is a standing example of decency, honesty, truthfulness, politeness, indiscriminate affability, and humility, subordination, and even piety; but Virtue is not rooted in my heart. I am habitually honest, decent, polite, & humble. My actions are always chaste, but my thoughts are not always so. I sometimes feel that opportunity is alone needed to overthrow even the chastity of my actions.

Every circumstance connected with my path of life conspires to demoralize my soul, —but here is one influence that counteracts every evil tendency: the influence of my love for Hibbs! It is a powerful lever in the workings of my soul and heart. Know its power, when if I can but think of Hibbs, no moral evil can reach me: —I love Hibbs, and I spare no pains to instill virtue into his heart; he does not love me, but it only concerns me to be not unworthy of his love. The depths of my affection for Hibbs is perhaps unfathomable. My he be worthy of the love of God—and may I not be unworthy of his affections!

B

My Intellect. Within the preceding month I have acquired some additional knowledge of Language and Numbers—I have learned something of Latin substantives and of Arithmetical rules. I have read also in the Bible and in profane writings. I begin to have more confidence in the strength of my faculties.

C

My Social Relations. I am considered eccentric—and sometimes looked upon as “conceited”; but for all, I believe I have more friends than foes. I am not open, but reserved.

Thursday, 1.

D

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by coffee, 5; —Dr. to tobacco, 17. = Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34 = Boy Wilson, Dr. to 1 p. tobacco, 17.

Friday, 2.

E

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…………5. Bolen, seaman, Cr. by a tooth brush….25.

F

I am accursed! I am unworthy of thy love—thou whom I wouldst call “my dearest friend! I am accursed of God! —A fit object of thy contempt! How couldst thou but abhor me, O thou cherished friend of my soul! —I am despisable! I am detestable!! How I should quail, for I know that the vengeance of Heaven is suspended over my guilty soul! —I dare not cry to Heaven—I dare not—I dare not!

Last night I sat out on the Port Gang Board, and evil imaginations possessed me and led me on from the simple thought to the perpetration of—self-polution! I have no right to live—I have not: and to thy holy love to thy “friendship” I have no right. Thou art pure—thou art blessed of Heaven: I am polluted—I am accursed! Let me sink into Hell if it is my due; —But thou, be thy soul destined to endless bliss. O God—I will implore thy mercy—save me, save me! save my soul to thy kingdom! Rescue me from the jaws of death! Or I am lost—I am lost!!

Saturday, 3.

G

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by 1.2 pot of coffee….5.

H

Employed pretty near all day; —holding myself humbled in spirit and in manner.

(Sunday, 4.)

I

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by 1.2 pot of coffee…………5.

J

In the evening, in the midst of men who respect my virtue—and unknown to them (I am an adept in the arts of secret iniquity) —I perpetrated self-polution! None dreams it here, —but it is seen above! —Have mercy on my soul!!

 

Page 165

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Roads, Loo Choo)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21.

Monday, 5

A

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…5

Tuesday, 6.

B

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…5.

(Wensday, 7.)

C

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffe…5. =Prvt. Braconnier, Cr. by cash…15

D

Obtained permission to go ashore, and visited Shuidi the fifth time, after first calling at Dr. Bettelheim’s. Made a present of my two Nautalus shells to Rose, an interesting little daughter of the missionary; I had before given a pair of Manila fancy slippers to Lucy Loo Choo, the youngest daughter of the missionary, and the most interesting little innocent I have ever yet met with. At Shuidi, Dr. Gambril offered me the refreshment of some nicely cooked fowl, etc, and Lieut. Matthews asked me to drink a glass of brandy. They were on a picnic, and at this time encampted (as one of their servants termed it) in front of the Heaven’s Virtue Mountain (temple). I declined availing myself of this kindness, representing to the doctor my custom of never eating on liberty, and excusing myself to Mr. Matthew’s on the plea of brandy not agreeing with my constitution. The kindness itself sinks into my mind, and has the effect of making me a happier man, (as it shows that I am not altogether sunken in the opinion of those officers), besides having a good moral influence. The Purser and Lieut. Cooper saluted me by name when I met them in the neighborhood of Dr. Bettelheim’s, after my return from Shuidi. All this goes to augment one’s confidence in himself, and to remove the dread of contempt than which there can hardly be any greater obstruction to happiness and ease of mind. In the yard of the “Mountain of Heaven’s Virtue”, where I and Lee Chee had intruded, the officiating mandarine trembled with fear occasioned by my intrusion; it was his duty to expel me, nolens volens, which he lacked the moral and physical courage to do; he and me were extremely polite to each other—he trembled at the thought of allowing me to stay, and was afraid to expel me; I was in dread of some violence on the part of the Budhist officers, and therefore shortened my visit, but showed no signs of my fear. The little shaven-headed intendedded priests crowded around me, and were very merry.

Thursday, 8.

E

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…5.

Friday, 9.

F

Pecuniary. Mus. William McFarland, Cr. by ½ pot of coffee…5

G

Mem. Last night at tattoo, passed midshipman Gray who was Officer of the Deck, and not a little inspirited from the effects of whisky, came to the music and said “lay out! Lay out, drummer! whereupon I beat with redoubled vigor, and; after tattoo, was rewarded with a glass of whiskey, which I pretended to drink, but conveyed secretly to the Corporal of the Guard (Gilchrest). The night, dark and rainy, was very favorable to such transactions.

Saturday, 10.

H

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee…7.

I

Flying Incidents. Old Browning the Boatswain’s mate ordered me below in the morning to assist at “clearing hause”, when no marines are required at such work; he was acting under the influence of particular spite. As I refused the old fellow pointedly, (not impudently) he reported me to the Officer of the Deck, who happened to be Mr. Cooper. The Officer, maintaining the spirit of undeviating discipline, reprimanded me with great severity, and sent me below, where I had to remain a greater part of the morning, and where to ease the perturbation of my mind, I applied to Dr. Johnson’s Life of Milton. Browning’s “order” was unjust and unauthorized, but however much it was so, my refusal of compliance was insubordinate, and Mr. Cooper’s reprimand was perfectly right and consistent with military principles.

 

Page 166

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21.

Sunday,11.

A

Pecuniary. Music William McFarland, Cr. by coffee, 10; Dr. to cash, 10.

B

I’ve perused hurriedly the poem of The Bramin by James Montgomery. I fills my soul with something of the sublime. It turns my thoughts into the Channel whence Man’s thoughts ought most to flow. It would lead me at once to adoration; but the shackes of vice, and the robe of guilt enshrouding my heart, and the moral and physical filth in which I wallow, forbid me seek the presence of by raising my voice in prayer to “that Power, all other powers, “Whose name is Goodness, and his nature Love.” But this very night I will put off this defiled clothing; I will wash my body all over; and I will venture a prayer to that Mercy Seat. —I was not a little affected by a poem styled the “Suicide’s Grave”.

C

Peabody has taken to his old tricks again, (—), medling this time with the fifer. I had loaned him so many good books and got him to read so much of the Bible as to give me reason to believe I had I had turned him from evil practices of this horrid nature, if not converted him to Christianity of the belief of a God. I will speak to him strongly upon his conduct, when the nex favorable opportunity presents itself.

Monday, 12.

D

I Cleansed my body last night as I had resolved, and then washed out those pants which are mentioned as “defiled”. But I could not afterwards pray, though I read books of prayer untill nearly nine, and tried to bring my mind to a lively sense of contrition. I could however meditate in my rest after tattoo, and I promise myself yet to make my peace with an injured Heaven. — The reproof which I intended for Peabody, I expressed in strong and plain terms in a note concluding thus “Be warned by One that knows you, and who alone of all this Ship’s Company, cares a straw for you”. The not was short and comprehensive but he spent a long time reading it, during which his countenance showed that it was not without effect.

E

I design to compose a short Satyre, or other composition, with this motive, viz. To reclaim John W. Hibbs and Emery, his brother, from the habits of drunkeness, licenciousness, lying, and swearing, and especially from habits of procrastination. (I do’nt know positively that Emery is a drunkard or that either of them are liars). I have begun this work. If I succeed in my labor, it shall be printed and bound into a History of this Expedition which I purpose buying for John and Emery when we return to the U. States.

Paper 1. (From my state). [—! I discover upon looking at my slates that some evil genius has rubbed out those precious lines which I expected to transcribe here. I must suspend my design. And let me here remark that I’ve misused the word “Satyre” insomuch as I never intended “poem” but prose.]

 

Tuesday, 13.

F

Pecuniary. Pvt. Braconier, Cr. by cash, 21. =Expended, for coffee, …21.

(Wensday, 14.)

G

Occupied principally reading—Ramsey in the morning, and a work on Japan in the evening. Think of Hibbs.

Thursday, 15.

H

Summary. In the forenoon, employed in ship’s work going on. Employed all the afternoon in transcribing from Watts’ “Japan” into my Remark Book. Told a great many lies today—a practice I am cowardly enough to resort to as a means of escaping the importunities of my friends without incurring their displeasure. Thus when I am asked for such and such a book (which I do’nt intend to lend), I must say, “I have not got it”, or “I’ve just loaned it.”

Friday, 16.

I

Summary. Employed writing and reading.

 

Page 167

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Roads, Loo Choo)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21

Saturday, 17.

A

Summary.  Cleaned up my accouterments and sewed in the forepart; in the latterpart, Read and afterwards slept.  Borrowed a pair of shoes to wear at inspection to-morrow, having lost my shoes a day or so ago.  Gave Sergt. Grant the book entitled “Japan and the Japanese” to read.  I know it will do him good, which I am glad to return for evil.  Told a great many lies, or one lie a great many times.

(Sunday, 18.)

B

Quite flattered the condescension and politeness of Dr. Bettelheim, who bowed to me, as I was taking my place on the Quarter-deck, just before the commencement of divine service.

Monday, 19.

C

The fifer has injured me and I will be his enemy when he returns from confinement; not before.  I consumed the day in sloth.

Tuesday, 20.

D

Sent a letter to Dr. Bettelheim, explaining the new restriction imposed upon me which left me no hope of ever visiting the Island again; commended to his kindness my little friend Hibbs who will visit the Island next April if the steamer lies here, and probably prosecute the little plans of research which I must foregoe; and expressed my gratitude for the kindness shown me by the doctor and his lady.  Also sent my Remark Book for the doctor’s inspection.

In the evening I received a beautiful present of Loo Choo articles, viz: a Chow-chow box and four japanned bowls, accompanies by the following note.

Napa. 20 Sept. 1853.

my dear sir

my children hearing of your possibly leaving this without giving us the pleasure of another visit beg to thank you for your kind attentions to then, and send you hereby some Loo Chooan articles by way of returning your Kindness.

unable to see the relevant use of your collecting such uninteresting inscriptions as Loo Chooan public buildings exhibit, I will still endeavor to please you in the way you wish when your friend arrives, seeing that your intentions are good, & that your prominent inclinations after the rare may by providence be turned some to some useful account.

Sympathizing with you in your privations & praying for your welfare both spiritual and temporal I remain

yours faithfully

Mr. P. Clayton van Buskirk

U.S.S. Plymouth

B.J. Bettelheim

[Those words which are underscored were of doubtful legibility in the original. V.B]

Wednesday, 24.

E

Pecuniary.  Old White per Billy Dhu, Cr. by 4 parts of coffee … 25.

F

Summary.  Resumed and pursued my study of Latin Grammar in the forenoon. Consumed the evening in sloth.  Dr. Bettelheim’s kind note reconciles me to the restriction imposed upon me.  To be worthy of such kindness, —to be worthy of Hibb’s affection (whom I dreamed of last night), —to be strong of arm to benefit my friend in future, — and to be pure of spirit that my friendship may not dishonor him, I will make one more vigorous effort to join the ranks of the good and thriving.  I will pray — I feel contemptible, powerless in myself!

 

Page 168

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Roads, Loo Choo.)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21

Thursday, 22.

A

Employed nearly all day making a cover for Lew Chewan articles received from the children of Dr. Bettelheim. —Meditated, last night, on the depravity of my morals.  Was almost moved to tears—to contrition in my heart— to prayer.  Will think of it again tonight.—Conversed, last night upon different topics with the Quartermaster Wm. Williams, a man of intelligence, of integrity, and of worth.

Friday, 23.

B

Employed all morning preparing my “Memento Manuscript.”  Think often and fondly of Hibbs.  Employed nearly all evening packing the following books, viz: “Dr. Watts’ Hymns,” “The Newgate Calender,” a “French Reader,” and “Ainsworth’s Latin Dictionary (Abridged)” with the view of preserving them for the library of my retreat.—Conversed, last night, with Mr. Beardslee on different topics.  Mr. Beardslee is a midshipman and I am a drummer, and in public, or ostensibly, the requirements of discipline giving him the superiority over me are observed, but in private this midshipman acknowledges me his superior.  He has loved and despised the fifer and in return has been despised and betrayed by that bad little man.  In my conversation with Mr. B. I use no flattery, though I do not lose sight of the respect due to his rank, and I give him sound counsel.  Mr. B. likes to read my little journal—this desire in him is very strong, and I will take advantage of it to flatter the vanity of my little friend.  I will get my little temulentus to taboe the book.  Mr. B will then have to solicit the privilege of reading from said temutentus, whose pride I doubt will be a little flattered in the cir-stance of having a midshipman dependent on his caprice for one source of his enjoyment.

But Mr. B. has some redeeming qualities, and I sincerely hope that he raise his mind above such childishness.  He knows what fondness is and his friendship would be getting for Hibbs, if he was not a dissipated youth.  Corollary. The friendship of a dissipated youth though he may be an officer, is not worth seeking; valueless even to a drummer. But if Mr. B regards my counsels he will be a worth man.

C

[P.S]  At night, Called the boy Andrew Milne aside and conversed with him on the subject of his personal interests and his personal reputation.  I wished to point out a practice which promised fair in him to injure the one and damn the other— the habit of drinking liquor.  My words had effect.  I counselled him to improve his mind, and gave the freedom of my Books.

Saturday, 24.

D

In the forenoon, Cleaned up my accouterments and did some sewing.  In the afternoon, Examined quite a valuable little book called the “Art of Good Behavior.”  Purpose to make som extracts for the eye of Hibbs.

E

Good News! Geo. W. Coleman, up to the present day, the vilest blackguard amongst the boys, has began a reform of character.  I will encourage him in his new resolutions, as I have always discouraged him in his practices adverse to decency and honesty.

F

In conversation with Mid. Beardsley, told him that my father was Secretary of the State of Maryland.  He is much surprised and respects me more for this circumstance.

(Sunday, 25.)

G

The fifer who has injured me now beyond forbearrance was this morning released from the Brig.  I can behave to him only distant and reserved, a medium betwixt my usual kindness and absolute unkindness; a severity of manner that shows him I am not longer his friend though not his enemy,—this conduct, I see, gives him pain—it pains me too, but is demanded imperatively by justice to myself and to my friend.

H

Rev. Dr. Bettelheim’s sermon visibly affects my whole moral system.

Monday, 26.

I

Variously employed.

 

Page 169

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Roads, Loo Choo)

SEPTEMBER, 1853: 21

Tuesday, 27.

A

Began this day with prayer!  I went to bed (i.e. I turned in) late and I did not sleep again after reveille this morning.  I was employed all day long.—Last night I set up untill a late hour and reasoned with the fifer upon his bad conduct.  He promises reform and testifies sorrow.  I will even give him another trial.—P.S. Midshipman Gray, who is to remain in command of a party of men to be left in Loo Choo while we are departed to the Bonins, promised to employ some portions of his leisure in having Inscriptions transcribed for me from the stones in and about Napa.  That he might thoroughly understand that nature of my desires, I have given him my “Lew Chewan Inscriptionary” to look at, and my “Remark Book” to read.

Wednesday, 28.

B

I staid up till a late hour last night; began this day without prayer; went to sleep again after reveille, and slept again after dinner.  Read a little in English Grammar; thought more on different things; had unpleasant transactions with my fellows; and on the whole was unhappy.  Returned the book entitled “Japan and the Japanese” to Mr. Balch.  I derived benefit from the book and I am not ungrateful for the kindness of Mr. B in letting me have it.

Thursday, 29.

C

Consumed this day in almost absolute idleness.

Friday, 30.

D

Many circumstances conspired to prevent me employing myself as I ought to have done.  The business of drawing up my monthly summary was my proper employment.  I could do this but very imperfectly.  One thing distressed me in the morning, and in the evening, another.  Of course I read but little, and passed the day unhappily.

E

—Received 15 Chinese books from Dr. Bettelheim though Mr. Doran, and, in accordance with the doctor’s desire, transmitted them to the most intelligent man among those Chinese of our Crew who are to be left on this Island under command of Passed Mid. Gray.

F

Received also from Mr. Doran, two beautiful Lew Chewan pins,—such as the Litterati use in doing up their hair. I had given the purser a Spanish dollar of 1818, out of which, Dr. Bettelheim at the purser’s request ordered the pins to be made.  The cost of making them is 18 cents.  They are fair specimens of Lew Chewan workmanship.

I have then this to remark as a money transaction:

Pecuniary.  Expended in appropriating a coin for certain uses … 1.00 = Mr. Doran, Cr. by having a coin converted in the pins of a Lew Chewan head dress … 18.

C

We expect to go to see tomorrow. I employ myself often in couselling those who are younger than me to do right.  I am wicked.  My heart is impure.  But that is all within myself.  I add nothing to the contagion of vice.  I give my voice and whole outward example to the cause of decency and honesty, and piety.  O! that for the peace of my could say of this of my inward thoughts.

D

—After night, Mr. Doran sent for me and delivered a copy of the Pentateuch in Chinese and a card of Dr. Bettelheim, containing his “parting compliments.”

 

Page 170

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

OCTOBER, 1853: 21

SUMMARY.

A

FINANCES: Amount of Pay, &c. accredited to my account on the Purser’s Books … $18.50

b

Amount debited to my accounts on the Quartermaster’s books … 37.16

c

Dombat Debt (91, E.) Principal … 42.00

d

— ” ” ”  Interest … 10.78

e

Amount of Private Debt in the ship … 7.20

f

— ” ” ”  Dues  ” ” ” … .29

g

Estimate of the value of my “Curiosities” and things in store … 3.71

h

Remarks.  I find, in signing accounts to-day that $18.50c is accredited to my name.  By my own computation I would have supposed 20 dollars and upwards to have been the amount.  I find by looking over a piece of paper between these, leaves, that since May 15, I have bought coffee in the morning to the amount of $2.60.  Before that time I kept no other memorandum of my expenses in this line than what will be found in each day’s remark under the head of Pecuniary.

I

  1. HEALTH. I think that in every respect but two, I enjoy excellent health. One of my teeth decays and I still suffer under that loathsome desease, nocturnal emission. In the night of the 12th Sept, and again, in the night of Sept. 14, I suffered emissions consequent upon licentious dream.

J

III. MORALS.  I deplore the depravity of my morals.  Twice within the preceding month I fell before temptation.  I wish not to recur to those things.  I feel myself wretched—contemptible.

K

  1. INTELLECT. I can only refer to my preceding remarks.

L

  1. SOCIAL RELATIONS. I must look upon Dr. Bettelheim as a personal friend. Mr. Doran is kind. God bless the master of my affections, by which I mean the drummer of the flagship, God bless him.  But I am unworthy of his affection in return, whence I esteem him my superior.  He is noble and pure; I am vile and abominable;—O! may angels guard him, and God’s wrath be yet awhile averted from me.

Saturday, 1.

M

A little distressed in my mind, and greatly distracted in my thoughts. Gave my teeth a scrubbing in the morning, and will, after this keep them clean.  Before, they were vile.

(Sunday, 2.)

N

See Remark Book.

D

Monday, 3.

O

Pecuniary.  Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34,—1 doz. Navy buttons, 39.= Amos Mann, Capt. of the Hold, Dr. by 2 plugs of tobacco, 34.= J. Anderson (seaman.), Dr. to a lock and ketch (damaged), 10.

P

Studied English Grammar in the forenoon.  Would in the evening, have applied my-self to Arithmetic, but false shame of exposing my ignorance of numbers deterred me.

Tuesday, 4.

Q

Conversed frequently this week with Charley Berry, Captain of the Afterguard, an intelligent and very acute observer of human actions.  For my knowledge of things around me I owe much to the keen observation and sound judgment of Charley. I have suddenly, and for what cause I will not at present say, terminated forever all personal intercourse and intimacy with Mid. Beardsley.

 

Page 171

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirks Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, at Sea.)

OCTOBER, 1853: 21.

Wensday, 5.

A

History of any Intimacy with Midshipman Bearsdslee, from it’s begining to it’s final dissolution. Midshipman Lester A. Beardslee, if I remember aright, first particularly noticed me in the Harbour of Rio de Janeiro, where in the room of the gunner, Mr. Harcourt, he met with the journal I kept at that time. By reading this journal himself and praising me for its contents he very highly flattered my vanity, which flattery was afterwards augmented in the circumstance of his often inviting me to converse with him to pass away the dull hours of a night watch. To talk with him pleased me at first because he was an officer, but the uniform vileness of the subjects which he loved to discuss soon gave me secret disgust of both himself and his conversation, which secret feeling however I took care not to show. From our departure from Rio to our arrival in Hong Kong the fourth or fifth time no intimacy, properly speaking, had taken place between us, but earlier than this later period a very close and suspicious intimacy had sprung up between him and the fifer. I date my intimacy with him (or rather his intimacy with me) from the time when he began to call me in private conversations for the purpose of throwing open to me his little heart, and forcing upon my attention the whole history of his youthful debauches and feats of juvenile ingenuity and skill, &c … When the fifer was confined this last time, Mr. B. told me he would never having anything more to do with him; but Bill is now released and Mr. B. is as thickly intimate with him as ever. Night before last, Mr. Beardslee interupted a talk that was going on between the fifer and me, for the express purpose of “plagueing the fifer”, a motive which he was not wise enough to keep to himself. That same night, the fifer requested me to tell Mr. Beardslee “that he (the fifer) knew one thing that he (Mr. Beardslee) did not know-which was Politeness”. This message I conveyed, and Mr. B. became greatly offended, and styled me “insolent”. At once I apologized and terminated forever this personal intercoursse that we had maintained so long between us. The fifer loves to talk about Bearslee—to vilify his name,—but next day I forbid the fifer to ever say a word to me about the midshipman. And since, when he has tried to introduce the subject. I have stopped him—as I ever shall.

Thursday, 6.

B

Pecuniary. Sergeant per Quartermaster, U.S.M., Cr. by 1 pair of shoes … 1.50.

(Friday, 7.)

C

[Boisterous weather].

Saturday, 8.

D

Often think of Hibbs, of Home, and of my wretched state._ Employed sewing, part of the day.

(Sunday, 9.)

E

I made no note here on this day, as the brackets [parenthesis] enclosing the date sheweth

(Monday, 10.)

F

See Remark Book.

(Tuesday, 11.)

G

See Remark Book.

(Wensday, 12.)

H

See Remark Book.

(Thursday, 13.)

I

Pecuniary. Sam Slansbury, Gunner’s mate, Cr. by a “South-Wester” … 50.

J

A “South-Wester” is a cap made on board ship, of canvas, and painted to be impenetrable to water. Worn on rainy days.

 

Page 172

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, at Sea in the N. Pacific)

OCTOBER, 1853: 21.

(Friday, 14.)

A

See Remark Book.

(Saturday, 15.)

B

See Remark Book.

(Sunday, 16.)

C

Lost my “sou’wester” overboard.

(Monday, 17.)

D

See Remark Book.

(Tuesday, 18.)

E

See Remark Book.

(Wensday, 19.)

F

James Keenan, or “Jimmy”, has been an object of interest to me from the first time of my seeing him. He joined us from the Mississippi, and had not passed a night in his new home before Coleman tried every art to engage him in mutual self-polution (or not self-polution, but paederasty, or, as it is learned in the technical language of iniquity, “the act of going ‘chaw for chaw”), but Coleman did not succeed. And several men likewise failed who tried to draw him into their practice of polution. BERRY the Captain of the Afterguard, who has argus eyes, and from whom very little of our practical iniquity can be concealed, who emphatically, “knows all the moves, and besides that, the movers”, told me of Keenan, in answer to my enquiry, “He is one of the right sort—one of your sort—, he wo’nt do any thing of that kind; O! By Hokee, he has been tried”. In the night watches of our passage from Loo Choo here I have availed myself of oportunity to ascertain the leading points of his history, and to investigate the condition of his mind and morals. Accomplishing this by the instrumentality of private and free conversation. I had long ago caused him to have respect for me and confidence in the friendliness of my feelings towards him. I had slept under the same coats with him and forbore (I doubt not to his surprise) taking any criminal liberties with his person. After strict enquiry and a laborious examination of evidence, I can say of Keenan what cannot be said of any other boy in the ship, that he IS NOT ADDICTED TO THE PRACTICE OF PAEDERASTY. But I have one sentence to write unfavorably to the brave little fellow, and that I regret to do, but I must, and it shall be in his own words: “Buskirk, I don’t deny but that I have done it [committed paederasty]; I wo’nt deny it—; I got entrapped into it once;—I will never do it again though!” And these last words were spoken with earnestness. I venture to say, or rather to repeat and indorse the common saying, “That no boy can ever remain a year on board of an American man-of-war without being led or forced to commit this crime” (which by the way is not regarded as a Crime in a man-of-war). I cheerfully accept Keenan on the list of those who have my friendly esteem.

G

PAEDERASTY_SODOMY. To prevent confusion of meaning which might in future ensue upon a wrong use of the terms paederasty and sodomy in these Notes, I will now as clearly as possible define the meaning I have thought belonging to them. I first met with “paederasty” in Gibbon’s Rome where the crime is charged upon the Bishops of Rhodes and Diospolis. I understand the word to mean the practice of sodomy between two males where the hand of each is used to pollute the other, or where one performs with the hand this horrid office for another. On board of ships, paederasty (called “shaking”) is not looked upon as a form of sodomy, but considered innocent and undeserving of reproach. I extend the signification of Sodomy to embrace every horrid unnatural use of the organs of generation: and as such, embracing Paederasty, where one must act for another, Onanism, where one acts for himself, and lastly the laying down of a male to act as a woman to another male, which form alone sailors call “sodomy”.

 

Page 173

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Port Lloyd, Bonin Islands)

OCTOBER, 1853: 21.

(Thursday, 20.)

A

Kept pretty busy in the morning and evening. At night, talked with Coleman about Religion.

Friday, 27.

B

Occupied nearly all morning writing up this journal. And nearly all evening ruling the 13 succeeding pages.

Saturday, 22.

C

Pecuniary. Sergt. Walsh, Cr. by a brass piece used in front of the fatigue cap [USN] … 25.

D

At the mess, a minute [an hour] ago, I silenced a big burly Irishman by threatening to knock him down. He had cursed me and was about to go on in a series of vulgar abuse. And by irony and ludicrous answers I turned the laugh of the Berth Deck upon a little German who thought to begin on me where the other left off. The latter was the Cook of our Mess._ I am not elated at this vicotry. I am not pleased.

(Sunday, 23.)

E

No remark here.

Monday, 24.

F

Pecuniary. Amos Mann, Capt. of the Hold, Cr. by cash, 1,00. = E.C. Dornan, Esquire, Dr. to cash  … 25.

Expended in payment to Andrew, a Pelew man dining at Savoury’s, for services rendered … 25.

G

Sent a new jacknife to Andrew as I had promised. Asked permission to go ashore; am refused.

Tuesday, 25.

H

To the Chief Magistrate of Port Lloyd.

Sir,

            I request your advice upon an important concern. I have formed the design of settling in this island, or in one of the groups, and rearing a home. I have reason to believe that on request of the Commodore, the Hon. Secretary of the Navy will grant me permission to work my passage in a man-of-war to Hong-Kong, or to this Island, after I will have been paid off in the U. States, and will have represented to him my intention of settling. If you will tell me that you desire an accession of members to your little community, and especially that I may expect to be welcome, no consideration shall interfere with the execution of my design. You will find me industrious, honest, and law-abiding; abandoning a country that I love, only because too much pride and contumely in my own relatives, and too much depravity in the public morals, renders existence there undesireable while prospect of lawful independency and happiness is held out in regions remote from civilization.

            My circumstances in the States would be midling, but I desire to be where I can on one hand escape the daily sight of squalid misery which only distresses, and which I am unable to relieve,- and on the other hand to be where no pompous display of wealth and power

 

Page 174

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Port Lloyd, Bonin Islands.

OCTOBER, 1853: 21

A

can insult my humble condition.

As I can acquire no possession in Pitcairns by first occupation, Port Lloyd seems on several accounts my only choice.

I respectfully submit this communication and request your opinion-if convenient-in writing.

Respectfullly

  1. Clayton Van Buskirk

(Drummer, U.S.M.)

One tie—my affection for Hibbs-binds me to the soil of America. He will live there: and shall I live in Bonin? No; but this I may do: I may try my island home, and if out of a waste, I can in five years rear a paradise, perhaps Hibbs will come and live with me. But if not; and JEH will not come, I must leave the East—though the home I reared would be a perfect transcript of the first paradise—and abide in America. In the meantime I need not sell anything of my patrimony in Virginia. Another consideration—the desire of exalting my father’s  name again in Maryland—would restrain me. But I may do that by riches—and I may acquire riches in Bonin.

—I drew up the above letter-but upon second thought, I will not send it. I cannot live so far from those and the land I love.

(Wensday, 26.)

B

See Remark Book.

(Thursday, 28.)

C

Was in the afternoon ashore on service. I had been sent with orders to go up on certain high peaks to look beyond the island for some signs of our boat and its crew which we fear was destroyed in the storm. I ascended several peaks and would not let danger nor difficulty retard my progress. I went a long way on the beach of the opposite side, but could find nothing. Oh I hope they that crew, and especially that officer—Mr. Matthews—is not lost?- Mr. Doran, at my solicitation, drew up a Compact of Government, which I am to present for the adoption of these islanders instead of the badly written document they have already.

(Friday, 28.)

D

Gave Andrew Perry 1½ dozen Naval buttons. Read the New Compact to Mr. Savory. He and Mr. Webb are so much pleased with it that they offer me pecuniary recompence. I decline, positively, receiving any pecuniary reward, saying, “In the first place, it is not my work-in the second, if it was, I would not accept money for such services”. —Our last hopes for the safety of our absent boat expired. In my heart I deplore the loss of Mr. Matthews-he was a good officer, and I loved him involuntarilly.

 

Page 175

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, North Pacific Ocean)

October, 1853: 21.

(Saturday, 29.)

A

Pecuniary. Expended for Coffee [like a damned fool] … 25.

B

Received a present of 73 lemons from Mr. Savory. Offered them to Mr. Doran, who bids me keep them for myself. Will keep the choicest of them for Hibbs, and sell the rest. Mr. Gillis directs me to copy a form of colonial government for the use of the inhabitants of Hillsborough island. That cannot be done: these are only two men on the island.

(Sunday, 30.)

C

Pecuniary. W.Mc Farland , Dr. to 2 doz. Lemons, … 50.= Received for 1 doz. lemons sold ….. 25.

D

Because these lemons were too ripe to keep, I sold three dozen, and distributed, gratis, the remainder in the name of Hibbs.

Monday, 31.

E

Pecuniary [and Peculiarly foolish], Expended for coffee … 25.

F

Retrospect. I preserved my general health. But suffered twice in this month the recurrence of involuntary emission; once in the night of the 6th, consequent upon a dream, and once in the night of the 25th. This making the twentieth recurrence within the present year. Early in the morning of the 6th, and while on past at the Cabin door, I was led by lascivious thoughts to commit self-polution. I have not done much in the improvement of my intellect; I have not read much; I have been idle and wasted my time. I have had much trouble in my mess. Those who eat with me are mean, perverse, dirty, and inconsiderate. But only in my mess has unkindness been shown me. The purser has been very kind to me, and the other officers were not unkind.  I often think of My Superior the Virtuous and Good John Hibbs. I think of my vileness and feel that I have no right to love him, because I have no rights to expect his love in return.

G

(176, L) James “Keenan” is not the right name of my good—proudly—behaved young man, but ”Kirkman”. I possess his confidence and respect which are circumstances I endeavor to turn to his benefit. He throws open to me his history and his thoughts! I command and praise his adherence to honor—I tell him that I am proud of him—proud of one in my species and rank that scorns to do a mean thing. But Jimmy has his faults, which I contemn.

He will not be persuaded by me to renounce altogether and forever the use of strong drink. He will swear like a trooper or like those boys in New York from whom he learned the practice—the “Wharf-rats”, an appropriate style by which they know themselves, and are known.  He will also visit Chinese whores, and will not even for my sake renounce the company of bad men.

Like me, he is an undutiful son. His parents turned him out of doors, and have not yet forgiven the faults that provoked them to this measure.

He is young, brave, and active, and can maintain himself honorably without parental assistance, but despite of all this, I urge it upon him to make humble submission to his father and crave his pardon.   I have half persuaded him to reform in to-to.

 

Page 176

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth,

November, 1953:21

A

SUMMARY

A

FINANCES : Amount of Pay, andc., accredited to my Account on the Purser’s Books … $22.77.

b

Amount debited to my Account on the Quatermaster’s Books … 36.16.

c

Dombat Debt (91, E.) Principal … 42.00.

d

Interest … 10.96.

e

Amount of Private Debts in the ship … 8.22.

f

Dues … 39.

g

Cash at my hand … 25.

[See p. 175 for Summary]

Tuesday, 1.

H

Pecuniary. R.Mc Lane, Cr. by a pair of shoes … 75. = Purser, Cr. by 2 pair of stockings …88., 2 flannel drawers, 196, 1 Silk neckerchief, 99, 2 plugs tobacco … 34, 1 bar of soap, 34 ½.

Wensday, 2.

I

Pecuniary. Pvt. Fitzgerald, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco… 34. = A. Mann Dr to 4 plugs Tobacco… 68. Pvt. Morrison, Dr. to 1 bar of soap, 39.

(Thursday, 3.)

J

Pecuniary. Taylor Quarter gunner, Dr. to 2 flannel drawers

(Friday, 4.)

K

See Remark Book.

Saturday, 5.

L

In the afternoon, Wrote up my journal in pencil mark. We are going into port, where I will ink over these letters. See preceding page, letter G.

 

[Editor’s note: Page 177 is missing in our scan, if not in the original. This needs to be checked.]

 

Page 178

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads)

November, 1853:21

Sunday, 6.

A

The Store ship “Southampton” arrived in Loo Choo and brought a large mail. I received the following:

Address. Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk, U.S.M. – U.S. Ship Plymouth – East India Squadron – Hong Kong – China. Care of U.S. Consul.

Postmarked, “Charlestown, Va. Jul. 20”. – “ New York Jul. 23. Am. Packet.” – “Hong Kong 22 SE 1853”.

Charlestown, Jefferson Co. Va. June 21, 1853

My dear beloved child,

I was much cheered by receiving a letter from you, (dated Feb. and March), some three weeks ago, and likewise one from Aunt Mary Eckart, I had not heard from her since my letter to her informing her of your departure for sea, I will enclose her letter, to you, that you may hear from her likewise. I wrote her word of the letter you had sent to her. Your letter, as usual, found me surrounded with all kinds of work, which must be some excuse for my not answering you sooner. But I hope this will reach you : Monday 27th. Your letter, as usual, reached me surrounded by all kinds of work, not knowing which to put my hands to first, so that I can only snatch a few moments at a time to write a few lines to you, but it must be so until I find myself able to hire for a help with the work, which I hope to be able to do by another year, we have only commenced farming, hiring for the work, and the old man taking the direction of affairs. I have not realized any gain for my trouble with fowls, as yet, only finding out the best plans and treatment with loss as I go. I sincerely wish you were at home to take a man’s part & share the toils with me. I live very lonely, & my health suffers very much from too much exposure to the weather & too much fatigue.

Even now while I write, I have to jump up and run, the Hens with chickens are killing my young ducks, and turkeys, I can never raise either, untill I have separate grounds, which with some other things necessary in raising of fowls I have proved as I went along: I have almost got into the way of tending fowls, but with great loss: I hope I shall be able to do more with them after this: But they require a great deal of attention, sufficient to fill up one Person’s Time.

July 11th. Since penning the above, I’ received another letter from Aunt Mary requesting me to send her your letters for Perusal, which I done, & in making out a letter to her, I could not write any more to you, untill this time: My time for writing is so limited, & only by snatches. It would give me a great deal of Pleasure to sit down and write a letter to you & detail everything to you the most trifling which relates to home, and which I believe would be interesting to you: If my time would hold out: But now I have my clothes to attend to, or else I will be naked: I have suffered very much every winter since I have been here upon account of not having suitable clothing for the season. The most of my work keeps me on my feet, and leaves me very little time to knit or read or write, so that you will have to excuse my scrawls, & not expect a letter oftener than I can send you one: God grant you a safe return home to me soon, that we may never have to Part again in this world, my loved and only child. We must live to be a comfort to each other, as we are only two now. I have good Prospects of doing well now every way, tho’ we do’nt know what a day is to bring forth: If the old man

 

[Editor’s note: written in the margin:]

Your letters are much read and your handwriting much admired. I hope you will continue to improve, & your mind to strengthen. May God preserve you in all your ways.

Be choice in your books & read none that are idle or injurious.

 

Page 179

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Kiang Roads, Loo Choo)

November, 1853:21.

should die before your return, I do’nt know what I should do: He is very feeble and good for nothing, But his knowledge of farming is necessary to my carrying on The Place: such Persons as would rent it, are those that want to buy, and are not willing to give a fair rent. I have had great loss in stock every way oweing to my ignorance in knowing how to treat animals. But everything is doing well on the Place now: And your fruit trees are flourishing. I only wish I had a few more trees upon account of shade in summer, & shelter in winter. Had it not been or your half Pay we must have perished: As we had no other earthly way to live. I cannot be too thankful for a good son who considers the wants and sufferings of his Parent: May God bless you, & returne you to us again. You must not think I am unmindful of your request for a newspaper. The one you sent me, never reached me, & I think it would be the same case, were I to send you one, you would not get it: But I will see Mr. Brown upon the subject of getting one to you, & if there is any Prospect of your receiving it, I will try to send you one. I will copy a small Article from last week’s Paper, upon the subject of which you may be able to tell us something.

“one hundred and seventy six chickens, of the Cochin China, Shanghai, & other rare breeds, have been sold at Auction at New Orleans for $1,572. [One thousand five hundred and seventy-two dollars] Two Hong Kong geese sold for $20, & two white Bremen geese for 12 dollars.”

If you could contrive some of these fowls in with you when you come, they might be of some account. Keep them in a box where they will have air and light: & if you let them out, have them ty’d by the leg with a string, a yard of calico or cotton cut into strings an inch wide, is the best kind of string to tye a fowl with, keep them with food and water, Let them have plenty of air in the day, but do’nt let them be on the ground at night: I only propose this in case you can do it conveniently, but not if you have to pay too much for them. I have 70 odd head of fowls now, but I do not keep but 2 or 3 roosters, 1 Turkey Gobler, & one Drake. Our old cow does pretty well, with a fine little cow calf, which we are raising. After great loss in hogs, we have now a pretty good promise.

I do not know where your poor Aunt Lucinda is now, her husband drinks, & I expect she sees a great deal of trouble, she wrote me word, early in the winter, that she was going to leave, Cumberland, but did say were they were going, and I have not since heard from her.

I try to bear my loneliness as well as I can, making all improvements in our home that I can, untill the time arrives to fetch you back to us, when I hope to see more comfort and enjoyment of my life. I have a great deal more to say, & could write a great deal more: but you see that my sheet is filled up, so that I must conclude, begging you will write to me every opportunity. You cannot complain of the shortness of this letter. Your affectionate Mother,

Orra Moore V Buskirk

[Editor’s note: marginalia:)

I would just mention one thing the old black man tells me, to tye the fowl with a string under its wing & another string around its legs above the joint.

(Monday, 7)

B

The note from Miss Eckhart, enclosed with the above, I will at present not Transcribe.

(Tuesday, 8.)

C

Liberty ashore. Washed Clothes. Visited the Mission—played with those three little innocents, the children of Dr. B: they cannot—no they cannot be harmed by my touch; there is not—I am sure there is no moral contamination in my presence.

 

Page 180

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Napa Roads, Lew Chew)

NOVEMBER, 1853: 21.

Wensday, 9.

A

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by cash…5.00

B

Boy John C. Wilson of the Vandalia was pointed out to me as a friend and correspondent of Drummer Hibbs. Will enquire into his repute; and the correspondence? Must try to examine it.

Thursday, 10.

C

Pecuniary. Music Wm McFarland, Dr. to cash…2.00 = White, main-mast-man, Dr. to cash…2.50

D

Case of Boy Wilson, correspondent of Hibbs & familliar acquaintance (B). After very careful and judicious enquiry I am compelled to consider the boy Wilson to be a very wicked youngster, —a pæderast of the commonest notoriety in his ship. In the “North Carolina” he went under the soubriquet of “Balitimore Lize”. His age is about 17, and his appearance not unprepossessing. This is a friend of Hibbs! Now the letters—Keenan says he will try to get them for me.—

E

Employed in the morning assorting a number of Chinese books on religious subjects—marking all those of the same kind of the same letter of the alphabet. Though not a Christian, I busy myself judiciously—and I hope effectively—in the Cause of Evangilization. I keep these Christian books always at hand, and lend or give them when needed to the Chinamen in our Crew. At the same time, I am to the Chinamen, and to those of my own language, a standing example of goodness—of affability—of honesty, and of decency. I speak now of my public character, which is unstained. You who read my journal know me better. You see me under a load of guilt and shame; but to those around me—who cannot know me—I appear always in the amiable dignity of proud virtue!===Gave a painted picture of the “Prince [Albert] and the Queen” [Victoria] to a little urchin of this happy Kingdom, after having written in Chinese on its back explaining the print, and another importing that it is a gift from “the American Drummer”.

Friday, 11.

F

Occupied principally reading. _ It is reported to me that Wood, the drummer of the Vandalia, speaks of me to this effect “That fellow can’nt beat worth a damned”—“He aint worth two cents”, &c. &c.

Saturday, 12.

G

Occupied cleaning up my accountrements, and fixing my drum.

Sunday, 13.

H

Pecuniary. Having received 2 Eggs from W. Ross, I transfer to him my claim against John Anderson.

I

When I was last ashore, a boy from the Vandalia attracted my notice by his youthful and healthy appearance; by the air of dignity and decency in his countenance; by the symetry in his form and grace in his actions, and by the intelligence that beamed from his eye. He was a very handsome boy and his skin I noticed to be clear and transparent. When I first saw him, he was dressed in neat uniform, and armed with a Naval officer’s dagger to support the Ensign displayed in our parade. I have since found out that his name is Alexander Scroggy; his age, 14; and that his home is located in Race street, Philadelphia. I observed narrowly his conduct on shore, and, excepting the fact of his smoking a cigar, saw nothing in the least way objectionable.

Monday, 14 (in the morning)

J

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, Dr. to cash…50.

K

Rev. Dr. Bettelheim sent for me early in the morning and took formal leave. He had remained on board over night. _ Last Sunday, the fifer of the Vandalia visited me. I made his visit agreable, and gave him my “Self-polution” for circulation in his ship, where, from all accounts, a book of the kind is very much needed.

 

Page 181

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

NOVEMBER, 1853: 21.

Tuesday, 15.

A

Essayed to resume my studies; but could not. Examined, however, some “Evidences of Christianity”.

(Wensday, 16)

B

See Remark Book.

Thursday, 17.

C

Essayed again to resume my studies: essayed in vain. Employed however at other things.

Friday, 18.

D

Pecuniary. Peter F. Milstead, Boatswain’s mate, Dr. to 2 pair of stockings…68

(Saturday, 19.)

E

Cool weather, Rain, and incidents of no interest.

Sunday, 20.

F

Pecuniary. Wm. McFarland, Cr. by cash…40.=Expended, for sugar…25.

G

Occupied in work and Thought. _ I read the Book of Ecclasiasticus from begining to end during the day with a heart full of earnest desire to attain wisdom;—full of love towards goodness, and of hatred towards ungodliness. _ At night, in evil hour, I perpetrated self-polution in my hammock! Accursed wretch that I am!

Monday, 21.

H

Pecuniary. Expended, for Oranges, & etcetera, 25.=P.F. Milstead, Cr. by cash…60.—Fred. Cunningham, Dr. to cash…1.00.=Pvt. Gacki, Dr. to cash…25.=Bolen, Dr. to cash…50.—Boy Coleman, Dr. to cash…75.=S. Stansbury, Dr. to cash,…8.=Put. Kew, Dr. to cash…16.

I

I was employed greatly to-day in writings for myself and others. In the morning I showed my confidence in the honor of Keenan by sending him down into my Escritoire Box to get a shilling from among other coins there; and I exhibited my kindness by asking him to spend it in cakes and oranges for us. He bought cakes and oranges in the morning, and oranges and cakes in the evening, and we quite feasted off what a shilling will buy. A shilling will buy a great deal in China. I thus employed myself; indulged myself in sweatmeats; indulged my love of benefiting; but was yet not happy—O! There is no happiness for me! I am poluted; am accursed wretch!

I also paid off some of my small debts before they were due, which pleased my creditors and made them think better of me than ever; and this consideration pleased me momentarilly, and but momentarilly; Misery is my portion! I am poluted—accursed!

(Tuesday, 22.)

J

A cold day. I employed but little time in reading, and less, writing.

(Wensday, 23.)

K

I employed part of the forenoon examining the work entitled “Tristram Shandy”, by Sterne. At night, my thoughts recurred to the ideas set forth in the first chapter of that book; I indulged these ideas and thought no harm would come of it: I was a fool!—the result was the act of SELF-ABUSE!!

Thursday, 24.

L

Pecuniary. Pvt. Gacki, Cr. by cash, 38.=Expended, for cakes, oranges, & eggs…55.

M

The expenditure remarked above was for the benefit of Jimmy Keenan. By judicious kindness I propose to secure his attachment.

(Friday, 25.)

N

(Saturday, 26; Sunday, 27; Monday 29; Tuesday, 30): See Remark Book.

 

Page 182

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Harbour of Amoy)

DECEMBER, A.D. 1853: Year of my Age, 21.

SUMMARY.

A

FINANCES. Amount of Pay, &c. accredited to my acct. on the Purser’s Books…$18.59

b

Amount debited to my Account on the Quartermaster’s Books…33.66

c

Dombat Debt (91, E) Principal…42.00

d

—“ “ “ “ Interest…11.21

e

Amount of Private Debts in the ship…3.92

f

—“ “ “ Dues “ “ “…2.45.

G

II. HEALTH. During the preceding month I suffered no sickness. I experienced much discomfort, however, and exposure to bad weather, which may yet possibly induce sickness. My tooth progresses in its decay. I have eat’n sugar in the past month and for awhile sweatened my tea very highly, and at sea neglected to clean my teeth, and at one time was possessed of very foul breath.

I am yet subject to loathsome disease; on the night of Nov. 6th, I suffered an involuntary emission,—again on the night of the 16th,—and again in the night of the 7th—making the twenty-third recurrence within the present year. My diet consisted almost wholly of Pork, salt-beef, potatoes and tea. I eat no bread whatever, if I except the Duff served in our messes on Thursdays and Sundays.

H

III. Morals. Now, as ever, my reputation for honor and highmindedness is unblemished. I am thought incapable of mean action. This opinion in my favor is strengthened by my daily conduct and conversation in which I appear only as one that abhors vice—especially that species known under the name of “Chicken-ship”—and commonly practised under a system also styled “Chickenship”—but which I have designated “pæderasty.”            So much for my reputation;—now for my true moral character—O! God; I need only with shame and trembling and anguish of mind turn back the pages of last month to find withering memorials of my disgrace. Where is my honor! my highmindedness!! I am unworthy of my name—I mean of the name transmitted in my lineage. Am I not unworthy to live? Have I not forfeited my life to Society? I have—I have,—not in anything I have done in the month expired, but in those dreadful crimes always in my mind, vz. my crime with the loafer in Cumberland; but I was innocent then—I was a child that did not know the guilt of pæderasty; it was many—many years ago;—my crime with the soldier in Washington, when I knew the full dishonor but not the real guilt of pæderasty;—my crime with the boy Daley in this ship;—with the yeoman Atkinson in Singapore. In all these I have forfeited my life to Society. Now until the end of my days I am to enjoy a life that is not my own. I am to hold my freedom by imposture. It must not be known of me that I am (or was—But when’s the difference in Public Sentiment?) a sodomite, or else the law will deprive me of my freedom, which would however not be just, for death should be the penalty. My crimes—my secret crimes lay and corrode in the bottom of my heart. I will live a life which no one would envy, and in the end will go down dishonored into my grave.

I

IV. My intellect must of course be impaired by the criminal indulgence instanced above. As far as regards commiting things to memory I have not contributed much in the past month to intellectual improvement.

J

V. I am not unsocial—I am distant to but few. I am familiar, strictly speaking, with none, yet I testify friendliness and confidence in my intercourse with Jimmy Keenan. But at this moment I fear that my careful friendliness toward him will profit him nothing. God knows I do all I can to preserve him in virtue—I mean honor. Hibbs, Masson, Dick, Rodgers I often think of with affection, but there is no social tie that connects them with me; I love them with unswerving affection, but they cannot—I know they cannot love me. God bless them!

 

Page 183

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21.

(Thursday, 1.)

A

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by 2 plugs tobacco, 34,—bar of soap, 37 ½,—clothes brush, 20,—1 blacking-do, 20,—3 pieces of tape, 9,—1 ½ doz. Buttons, 58,—1 fine comb, 10,—1 paper of needles, 3.

b

Sergt. Walsh, Dr. to 1 shoe brush, 20.= Amos Mann, Dr. to 2 plugs of tobacco, 34.= PVT. Cracki, Dr. to cash, 15. Pvt. Fitzgerald, Dr. to “sundries”, 36.

C

—Sent two pieces—no! three pieces of clothes to wash. Cut apart my favorite fatigue pants will sew them over gain to fit me. I will wash them first. Intend to be unexceptionalbe in my dress and demeanor.

Friday, 2.

D

Pecunairy. Amos Mann, Cr. by cash … 25.= J.F. Wild, Dr. to cash … 25.

E

Resolved to begin at once and learn arithmetic and Grammar—No further procrastination. Thought of the future, and of the station in life that I might best fill with usefulness. I am resolved to get into the Navy if I can.  There, with the means of an officer, I can be most useful; and in a lifetime may in some degree make up to society the injury I have done it. If I qualify myself properly for the duties of Steward and Clerk, Mr. Doran, I am confident, will be pleased to take me in his employ at some future, if he does not come to know me as this journal exhibits me. And here is a difficulty. Mr. Doran can at any hour demand to inspect this book, and I cannot refuse to yield it up.  I might deceive him—or no, I might not. It is not in my heart to deceive him. I am incapable of it. Therefore, see this veritable journal (not mutilated, nor a false copy of it), he will at some future day, and thenceforward he will scorn me!  Heaven may pardon me, but he will scorn me! My only hope of coming into the Navy will be to procure Mr. D. to ­post-pone the inspection of this book for a number of years to come. If he will do this, I am saved; if not, I am doomed!

Saturday, 3.

F

Pecuniary. J.F. Wild, Cr. by cash … $90.25.

Note. Ninety-odd dollars of the above amount is put into my hands for safe-keeping; the remaining 25 cents is repayment of a loan.

Expended, for having 3 pieces of clothing washed ashore, 8,—for oranges, cakes, & bananas … 16.

Sunday, 4.

G

Pecuniary. Mus. McFarland, Cr. by 1 pot of coffee—10,—by a “mandarin’s dress,” 1.25.= Sold the “mandarin’s dress” to Mr. Blackford for 1.00 cash, and 25, credited.= Bought a soapstone dragon for 1.00.= Sold the soapstone dragon to Ben Jackson the barber for 1.25 accredited, that is, to be paid me when grogmoney is served out.

—Amos Mann, Dr. to cash loaned him on account of Wild—which he promises to repay in Hong Kong, and for which he gives 4 half-eagles in security—15.00., to interest promised for the loan, 150.

(Monday, 5.)

H

Pecuniary. Amos Mann, Cr. by cash (the amount loaned to him returned & no interest exacted) … 15.00.

I

Shame—I turned into my hammock, last night, and began planning a course of action for the liberty I expect soon to have when we arrive in Macao. I resolved in my mind that I would enjoy a girl—a Chinese girl—and my imagination became enlisted in anticipation of the pleasures of sexual intercourse, and in the end resulted in self-polution.

(Tuesday, 6.)

J

The Worthless ! This day, Mr. Beardslee related to me the following circumstance, in nearly these words: Some time ago, said Mr. B addressing me, a lieutenant made a remark which it might profit you to know.  Some officers were conversing together on different subjects, when one of them said that you expect to leave the service and to attain to some importance in your native state, upon which the lieutenant remarked—“Why that fellow is unfit for the low position he is in now—worthless—he is altogether worthless; he can’t beat his drum worth a damned; what will he do in any state?” The officers, says Mr. B, acquiesced in these sentiments.  I’ve been looking in my Dictionary for the Latin of worthless.  It is VILIS, which besides signifies mean or low.  I will assume that designation.  I love not to a purpose.  I, instanter, turn over a new leaf.

 

Page 184

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Wensday, 7.

A

I write hurriedly. In the forenoon I employed myself creditably. Not so in the Afternoon. I got out my books to study, but I did not use them. I will retrieve that time lost. I will study by lamp-light. Last night I suffered an involuntary emission. A lieutenant looks upon me: I hurry, and to my books—Let me see how my new designation look subscribed to a paper— a signature

Vilis

Very well.  How will the signature answer in English?

The Worthless.

Thursday, 8.

B

Pecuniary. McFarland, Cr. by coffee 10.=Sally, Chinese Bomboatman, Cr. by cakes and bananas, 10.

C

Note. These cakes and bananas I purchase to give clandestinely to Keenan, suffering imprisonmen on bread and water for recent mis-deeds.

D

—A few minutes ago I had the honor of writing to the Commodore!—not in my own person but for J.F. Wild. I wrote hurriedly.—P.S. Didn’t have to pass the fruit clandestinely to Keenan; he was released this morning. Wrote up my Remark Book, and sent it to Hibbs. Hear the Jarred Mundle is drummer of the Macedonian. In Washington he was my favorite.

Friday, 9.

E

Pecuniary. J.F. Wild, Dr. to cash … $90.00.

F

Sent a bundle of reading matter with a note to Hibbs.—a note that I may say was ably written in rapid, off hand, familliar, friendly style, and written with a purpose.

G

Pecuniary. Mr. Blackford, Cr. by cash, … 25.=C. Berry, Dr. to cash, … 10.=Seymour, Q.C. Dr. to cash … 5.

—Expended for oranges, 6,— 1 lead pencil, 2,—1 Chinese pencil (brush) … 2.

Saturday, 10.

H

Pecuniary. Pvt. Fitzgerald, Cr. by cash … 2.=Mus. McFarland, Cr. by coffee … 5.= Expended, for oranges, … 2.

I

Jared Mundle—Sent the following to the drummer of the Macedonian.

“My dear little friend—You may expect to see me on board your ship to-morrow.  Give my respects to Deigthkenhearrte. Yours affectionately. P. Clayton Van Buskirk.”

J

And the following to Pvt. Rose of the Susquehanna.

“Dear Sir—I must trouble you for another favor. I very much desire to be possessed of one of the play-bills of the “funny troupe” of which Mr. Buck is manager and Miss J.E. Hibbs a lady actress; I don’t care”***** No! that aint what I wrote; I forget now what were my exact words, and will not therefore try to continue the copy of my note from memory. I wrote quite a long note, requesting one of the play-bills, asking to have my respects presented to Mr. John and Miss Emily Hibbs, and making use of irony and sarcasm in some complimentary notices of Mr. Hibbs and his sister Emily, which I desired they should read, and they only. John and Emery are in error; their conduct deserves my friendly reproof.

K

Pecuniary. Old Sam, Cr. by a bottle of ink … 12 ½.

L

OLD BILLY DHU—Another instance of sodomy in old age.—Billy Dhu is a fellow main-mastman with Old White. On our passage to Amoy, he opened himself to me. Showed me that he too practiced paederasty with boys. I would never have mentioned his paederasty though Berry told me before that he the abomination practiced, had he not insulted me with proposals to act his chicken.

M

—Sent a pine-apple to the drummer of the “Macedonian.”

 

Page 185

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth, Harbour of Hong Kong)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Sunday, 11.

A

Pecuniary. Sally. Cr. by cakes … 5.

B

Visit to the “Macedonian”—my favorite, Jared Mundell—Degenhart. I went in the Dingy with others to visit the Macedonian, and passed the evening with Jared—my little Washington favorite. I was pleased—much pleased with the conversation and exemplary behavior of Jared, and the Master-at-arms spoke favorably of his general behavior. Jared, I don’t think is corrupted by the surrounding moral contagion. My conversation will tend to beneficial effects, if to any effect at all. Jared is 14 years old. Degenhart is not, like Jared, a good boy; he is wild; I hope not vile. The master-at-arms of the “Macedonian” was a sergeant in the Cumberland with me. I told him I designed to study law; he may secretly ridicule the idea, professedly he approves of my design.—Jared and ‘Hart wish to see my Remark Book. On returning from my visit, I wrote a note to them stating two conditions under which I might oblige them.  The two boys can write very well.

Monday, 12.

C

Pecuniary,  Mus. McFarland, Cr.  by ½ pot of coffee … 5.

—Sally, Cr. by 4 skeins of silk … 12 ½.

D

Mr. Wild visited me in the evening to ascertain if any answer had been returned to his note addressed to the Commodore at Macao. The commodore had not deigned a reply. Perhaps the note was impertinent. Wild took my old escritoire box ashore to have another made exactly like it. Mr. W. also carried a book (Goldsmith’s Roman History) for me to the fifer, Degenhart, of the Macedonian. The little fifer is fond of reading, and I promised to give him some books.

—Received a note from Jared and Degenhart—a reply to one I sent them this morning.

Tuesday, 13.

E

—Occupied nearly all the forenoon writing a note, or letter rather, to the drummer and fifer of the Macedonian.

F

—John (Hibbs) has been very kind to Jared and Degenhart. He has been liberal also to several (only one that I know of—what do I say!). A boy visited this ship Sunday, and I am told he wore a massive gold ring with “J.W. Hibbs” theron inscribed.

G

Don’t relish Hibbs’ contempt of me.—Throughout the afternoon my thoughts were scattered; I could not concentrate my mind and apply to study; and I was unhappy. I will pray this night, but first will wash myself; I don’t care if I catch my death of cold by it.

H

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by cash … 500, by each paid to my subscription to a list or subscription to purchase a testimonial to be presented to Dr. Bettelheim, 1.00.=McFarland, Dr. to cash, 150.=Stansbury, Dr. to cash … 50.

Wensday, 14.

I

Pecuniary. Old Sam, Dr. to cash, 14 1/2.=Sally, Dr. to cash, 25.=Pvt. Gacki, Dr. to cash, … 15.

—Expended, for a cotton silk handkerchief, 25.—for a gilded stick of India ink … 5

—Sally, Dr. to cash … 2.

J

Summary. Didn’t wash myself nor pray yesternight. And to-day was almost a transcript of yesterday. I was up and awake in the forenoon, if not advantageously employed; but in the afternoon, though I read a little in the Idler, I was most of the time neither asleep nor awake.

—Sent a Pictorial to Jared and ‘Hearty. [Degenhart is easier written ‘Hart and “Hearty” is a soubriquet under which I will always familiarly know him]—Still no word from Hibbs.

 

Page 186

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Thursday, 15.

A

Pecuniary. Amos Mann, Cr. by cash … 2.00,—by interest to be paid for the loan … 25.

B

LIBERTY ASHORE AND VISIT TO THE MACEDONIAN AND SUSQUEHANNAH. A hasty note. I say hasty because I will have to write it in the greatest haste— I must from this craft never waste my time.  A draft of marines were sent on liberty this morning, and I was among the number. On reaching the town I sought out and found J.F. Wild, the gentleman (I call him gentleman) I commissioned to get me an Escritoire Box made precisely like the old one which I sent as a pattern, only this new on to be ornamented with brass on the corners. I remained ashore and amused myself until near 12, when having exhausted my resources, I jumped into a fast boat and came off to the Plymouth for the purpose of trying to raise the wind. None of my “debtors” in the ship would advance me a farthing, and I finally obtained a dollar from the Captain’s Steward with which I left the ship. I did not go directly ashore, but stopped a few minutes on board the Macedonian, where I gave Degenhart a pictorial to amuse himself with, and carried a box—a fancy box—to Jared. This box was sent to Jared by a young man who had never seen the drummer, but who was pleased and interested in him, by the good name and favorable report I gave of him. I told Jared the circumstances under which the present was made him. I then went on board the Susquehana, where I remained until sundown. I was reconciled in this visit to Jms & Emery. I was pleased too—much pleased with John’s behavior on this occasion—and for my part may excuse him and exonerate him from blame in some things of a faulty nature that I’ve considered laying to his charge. I left him with regret at sundown, and going ashore, hunted up Wild. Found him in a whore-house—but in quite a respectable one of the kind. I lead him away and talked over matters with him in walking, and afterwards, returned with him to the whore-house.  He had a room here and offered me a settle in it to repose myself for the night, as Carr’s (where I stop) was crowded. I remained a while in the house, paid something to the procuress, gave a cumshaw of sixpence to one girl, got oranges for them all, and finally went away without touching any of them, much to the surprise of a young man of agreeability in the house who endeavored to detain me. I returned to Carr’s and got supper. The marines were all here and nearly all drunk. They gave Carr some little trouble. When the time came for closing up, he got them all into an adjoining room by dint of persuasion and having locked them up, prepared a couch for me in the Bar room, where he was afraid to treat any of the marines. He provided me some books and a lamp. I set up until late reading.

Friday, 16.

In the morning I got up and accompanied a marine to several places. I returned to cars without any money. I owed him fifty-cents, & to pay it borrowed that much from Jno. Reinlein—giving him my new money purse to keep for security. Coming off in a shore boat, I hadn’t a cent to pay for my passage: Mayerstat loaned me five cents. I returned at nine A.M.

Bill of Expenses

Paid for Escritoire box made to order … 1.50

“ ” a money Purse … 1.50

“ ” pair of light suspenders … .25

 

Page 187

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

(A)

[Bill of Expenses] 1 lead pencil … 12 ½

—2 bottles of pop (occasion of drinking a glass with J.F.W) … 25

*—1 bottle of pop (a treat for a forlorn tar I met in a ten-pin alley which he commuted to brandy) … 12 ½

—Hire of a fast-boat during first part of the evening … 55 ½

*—Oranges to treat some girls—Chinese girls—in a house of pleasure … 12 ½

*—Cumshow to a gril in the same house … 12 ½

*—Paid for a lodging in the same house which I did not however avail myself of … 25

*—1 bottle of pop & one glass of brandy (occasion of treating a marine) … 21

—Supper and lodging at Mr. Carr’s … 50

—Passage to the ship in a boat … 5

—Oranges … 4

Total … $5.60.

Receiving the above account I have reason to regret peculiarly having expended as much as 83 cents in the way of treating and cumshowing. I place a star opposite those items which upon reviewal seem to be palpably culpable. 

Saturday, 17.

B

Sent a note to Nose thanking him for the service he recently performed me.

Sunday, 18.

C

In the evening, visited the Macedonian. Jared and “Hearty” had gone on board the Susquehanna. Sent word to Hibbs requesting my Remark Book, which I promise to let Jared read, and also other word to other effect. I talked with Corp. James principally about the two music boys. He does not give them a good name; thinks that no care is taken to preserve them from corruption. Jared and “Hearty” returned in time for me to speak with them. When I was leaving, “Hearty” put something into my pocket, which, upon examining, proves to be a note I had sent to him and Jared some days ago. I mark the paper “187, C” and will deposit it in my Envellope for preservation. The fifer accompanied me. I took care that he did not communicate with Jared.

Monday, 19.

D

Pecuniary. Pvt. Gacki, Cr. by cash … 50.=Morris, Cr. by a penknife … 50.

E

Paid fifty cents to Reinlein, and redeemed the money pursed. Wrote to Wild requesting to have two ditty boxes made. Wrote a note to Jared and a separate one to ‘Hearty. Dissatisfied with my steel purse. It has a tendency to rust. Think of giving it to John W. Hibbs or Emery. They don’t want it I reckon. Tried to study: Could’nt. Sent clothes to wash.

Tuesday, 20.

F

Received a note from Rose. Also my Remark Book from Hibbs. Sent a note to Hibbs. Sent my Remark Book to Corp. James for the drummer and fifer of the Macedonian to read.

Wensday, 21.

G

Pecuniary. Sergeant-per-Quartermaster U.S.M. Cr. by a jacket … 2.87.

H

Wild has gone Whampoa, whence he is going to New York! Sent my money-purse ashore to have the steel galvanized. Asked a man going on liberty to order the two boxes which I must have made for Jared and William. Listless and unhappy today.

I

Pecuniary. W. McFarland, fifer, Cr. by coffee … 5.

  

Page 188

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Thursday, 22.

A

Griffiths returned from liberty; did’nt get my purse galvanized: cost too much; had found the right shop—my two boxes were making; Wild had been there and ordered them. In the evening I stood post at the cabin door. My two boxes came off in a boat. I tried to borrow the money to pay for them ($3.00): could’nt. Sold my knife for fifty cents. Told Sally to tell the carpenter’s man to bring my boxes day after to-morrow. Hope the purser will serve out money by that time.—Listless and unhappy. Fifer came off last night form the “Powhatan”; J. & E. Hibbs were there, he said, and were drunk!;—boy Coleman came also from the steamer and said so too. Read the Idler.

Friday, 23.

B

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr. by cash … 10.00.=McLane, Dr. to cash … 75.=Morris, Dr. to cash … 50.

[Note. Also paid Morris the dollar I borrowed on the day of my Liberty]=Pvt. Gacki, Dr. to cash … 50.

Amos Mann, Dr. to cash … 2.14.=Sergt. Walk, Dr. to thread … 25.

Ben Jackson, Cr. by cash … 1.00.=[Note. Paid Magerstat 5 cents].=McFarland, Dr. to cash … 5.

Expended, for wash clothes (3 pieces) … 6, oranges … 4, gave away, … 2.

C

Sent a note to Hibbs—I think, thus written:

U.S. Ship Plymouth, Dec, 23. 1853.

To Jms. W. Hibbs—

You stand before the tribunal of my opinion accused of shameful and unseemly behavior. I set forth a little in imitation of Court-martial language the allegations which are made of you. If they are false, which my affections inclines me to think may be possible in the case, no further evidence in your favor is required to refute them than your simple denial, when I, the Court, visits you, the prisoner, to adjudge your case. If they are true, which reason and strong evidence inclines me to think is very probably the case, let “Guilty” be your plea. The Court, interested in your favour, will in adjudging your case, award you mercy though no mercy is due,—will disregard all considerations of justice and be moved by those of affection only. The principles of affection, however, demand of the Court to exact repentances of the past, and promise of better conduct for the future. Your charges are:

  1. Drunkeness.

Specification. Being in liquor on the night of the Sing-song—and steeped in liquor to a degree that manifesting itself in actions attracted the attention of half the visitors of the Sing-song, among whom was a lieutenant of the Susquehanna.

  1. Infamous behavior.

Specification 1. Stalking about the deck of the “Powhattan” challenging everybody to fight, and proclaiming yourself “able and willing to fight any man that walks the decks of the “Powhattan,” and further “that you were a man—every inch of you a good man,” when your unmanly and stupid conduct proclaimed the reverse.

Specification 2. Seizing and handling in an indecent manner a boy aged 13, & at the same time repeating words in substance as follows: “Sign! you bugger, Sign—or I’ll squeeze your liver out.”

Signed The Drummer Van Buskirk

Who is the whole that is to try these charges,

& who is besides the accuser: would that he alone

were the only evidence.

 

Page 189

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong Harbour)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Saturday, 24.

A

Pecuniary. Expended, for coffee … 5.=Received from Sergt. Walsh for my money purse … 1.50.

—Milstead, Cr. by cash … 8.=Paid 3 dollars to Amos Mann for the purpose of getting my two boxes from the shop of A’Seng in Wellington Street.=Expended for 2 knives, 24,—1 pair of shoes, 50,—1 southwester, 24,—1 looking glass, 12 ½,—do (some kind), 4.=Paid to Mann for getting me some wafers, 10.

—Tayor, quarter gunner, Cr. by cash … 1.86.=Boy Wilson, Cr. by cash … 17.

B

It is a curious enmity,—that existing between McFarland and me.  He must know or suspect that I detest him; and I am satisfied that he hates me with the hatred of envy from the bottom of his heart. Yet we meet in friendly intercourse, and even ask each others aid in carrying out our respective plans. I promised last night to ilicit certain information from Mr. Beardslee for him, and he, to oblige me, wrote a strange note, which I dictated, to Hibbs this morning. My object in having this note written is to put Hibb’s fidelity and friendly discretion to trial. See the note among my papers to Hibbs. Whatever may result from this trial, I must soon undeceive him as regards the allegations make of me in the note, lest the new idea of me which the note is calculated to give weaken the good influence of my past example.

Sunday, 25.

C

Pecuniary. Expended for and oil-cloth coat and do. pants … 1.25.=Fifer, Dr. to cash … 62 ½.

Expended, for boat hire to and from the Susquehanna … 37 ½.

D

In the evening the fifer obtained permission from Lieut. Guest for us to visit Susquehanna. We accordingly went. My friend—my little friend was in enjoyment of the Christmas festivity—and as a friend of Hibbs I was invited to partake of the Christmas dinner got up by the Firemen. They called upon me at the table to make a speech, and I am sorry now that I did’nt stand up and say something. As it was, I excused myself. I saw beside J.W.Hibbs, and on his other hand was a very fair and youthful ship’s boy to whom I was afterwards formally introduced. He is a little favorite of John’s. Everybody was kind to me in the steamer. I spoke to the drummer of the Powhattan. John in private conversation denied the charges I preferred against him the other day, but admitted he was “slightly elevated” at the time specified. I fear me that these two brothers will turn out drunkards. They are surrounded by more temptation than they are able to resist. I have done all I could to turn them aside from intemperance and vice; any further endeavor on my part I know will be of no effect. I leave them now to God. I leave them in full enjoyment of every blessing and comfort; in a ship where every one is their friend—where they are general favorites. I will not probably visit them again while we lay in Hong Kong, and I may see them once more before I quit service, and then if my industry and good fortune is to invest me with riches I shall see them again and renew our friendship; if not, I will never see them again. God bless them!

Monday, 26.

E

Pecuniary. Expended, for fried pork … 5, gift … 2,—2 boxes of silk & two needle cases … 28,—2 lead pencils … 2,—3 yards red cord … 12 ½,—1 pair shoes … 52.

F

—Received the two boxes from the shop of A’Seng; the Capt. of the Hold brought them for one. Sent the lid of that box destined for Jared ashore to have a brass plate put on it with his name thereon inscribed. Sent a note to Emery.

 

Page 190

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Plymouth…)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

Tuesday, 27.

A

Pecuniary. Expended, for a brass plate affixed to the lid of a ditty box with these words inscribed: “Jared Mundell Dec 1853.” … 48,—for three penknives … 2.00

B

I was unhappy to-day. Melancholly beclouded my mind and embittered my thoughts. There is nothing in my actions that betokens a cheerless mind. I feed in secret on misery and seem outwardly to be most cheerfully disposed. Yesterday I finished a letter to my mother and sent it to the post-office.

Wensday, 28.

C

Pecuniary. Purser, Cr.  Purser, Cr. by cash, … 4.00.=Fifer, Cr. by coffee, … 15,—cash … 20.

Expended for oranges and cakes … 14.=Amos Mann, Cr. by cash … 50.

D

Employed in the forenoon arranging and marking the little presents I intend for Jared and ‘Hearty. I hardly know whether to send the boxes to Jared by the storeship, or keep them until we go ourselves to Loo Choo. If I had everything in them which I want, I would send them at once on board the storeship. I have a mind beclouded with anxiety and laboring under an oppression of feeling which cannot be described. O! I am unhappy!

Thursday, 29.

E

Pecuniary. Received from the Compradore, money refunded, … 50.=Expended, for 3 p. stockings, 50,—for 4 silk handkerchiefs, hemmed for use, 1.00.=Expended, for shoes, … 75,—for oranges … 6.

F

Causes enquiry to be made for Pseudo-Sally, whose claim on me I wish to satisfy. Sent a note to Emery. Went to sea. (The shit did)

Friday, 30.

G

Pecuniary. Amos Mann, Dr. to cash … 25.

H

Made an endeavor—a vain endeavor to study my English Grammar.

I

Last notice of Jimmy Keenan. Jimmy Keenan is now unquestionably steeped in vice; he is now a paederast—a man’s chicken, and my fondness for him his lingered and died.

Saturday, 31.

J

Pecuniary. Pvt. Coombs, Dr. to cash which I hereby appropriate to be paid on his acct. when we fall in again with the “Susquehanna” or the “Macedonia” … 12 ½.

K

A boiterious day. Wind and sea high. It is with difficulty I write.

Review of the Preceding Month.

Respecting nocturnal emissions I have the following memorandums to transcribe: “In the night of Dec. 24, I suffered an emission of semen, and now for the life of me I cannot say whether the emission was involuntary or the effect of will—whether I committed masturbation or dreamed it.” Dreamed it, I think since. And then again “In the night of Dec. 28, I suffered involuntary emission, consequent upon a dream.” Making the twenty-fifth recurrence within the present year. I state these facts with no allusion to the anguish of mind which this disgusting disease occasions. Reader, pity me!

In my general health throughout the year I have much reason to be grateful for exemption from pain and sickness. My tooth, I imagine grows more unsound.

I have been too indifferent to my studies. I have not applied myself. I am in the garden of Hope; I fear I am in the vale of Idleness;—I was let in by the gate

 

Page 191

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea.)

DECEMBER, 1853: 21

of Fancy. I must go out and return again by the gate of Reason. I have consumed all this year in cowardly, culpable inaction. I have planned and schemed and wished and hoped and—done nothing. What am I fit for? I cannot beat a drum “worth a damned,” and am indeed worthless in my present low position. Shall I commence the world as clerk? or enter the Navy as purser’s Steward? I know nothing of accounts—I cannot even write a plain business hand. My heart throbs when I think of office in the Navy. With its advantages and power to stay evil I might be of moral worth here. The images of fair boys with guiltless souls rise before me! It almost endows me with resolution. But this hope is withered in the bud: Mr. Doran must read this journal, and that will shut me out from the Navy.—There is another path to honor. Shall I teach school and study law? I cannot teach to write, to cipher, to read, when I know not myself the principles of writing, and cannot—positively cannot repeat in Arithmetic the rule of multiplication, or the multiplication table. My term of service in the Marine Corps will soon expire, and I must do something. The question recurs, What am I fit for?—Nothing. Twenty years of age, full of projects and pretensions and —fit for nothing! But I have resolution—O merciful Heaven—and support my weak & tottering mind in steady adherence to it! O shades of my ancestors, deign to look with forgiveness upon the wretched mortal that has dishonored your name! Mason! Hibbs! Mundell! Dick!—these names that bring the images of those before my mind whom I passionately love—strengthen my resolution. Cast around me, O my friends, the blessed influence of your names! I live for those I love.

Morally—I have not gone backwards, nor yet forwards; I am, I fear, the same speculative saint and actual reprobate this year that I was last. I don’t see where I have reformed. In concluding this page I have one thing to observe in justice to Lieut. Gillis. On page 128, I have written what were my sentiments at the time, but what I have since acknowledged to myself to be founded in error. Mr. Gillis was a kind and good officer in general, and I have no reason for thinking any otherwise than morally and intellectually my superior.

P. Clayton Van Buskirk

 

 

 

VAN BUSKIRK’S JOURNAL

1854

Adjudged worthless by his superiors. 183, J.

 

Page 195

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

JANUARY, 1854: Yr. of my Age, 21.

Summary:

A

My personal pecuniary affairs in the beginning of this year are as exhibited in the following table:

_Amount of Pay &c. accredited to my acct. on the purser’s Books … 1.83

b

_ “ debited to my acct. on the Quartermaster’s Books … 34.03

c

_Dombat Debt (91.E) Principal … 42.00

d

_ “        “ Interest … 11.46

e

_Amount of Private Debt … 4.20

f

_ “       “          “ Due (Some trifling amounts are owing me of which I will keep no account) _ _

g

_Cash at hand … 2.25

(Sunday, 1.)

H

_ I employed myself in this clay light reading. Mr. Doran did not as usual hand me his Doway Bible to read. I will not ask it again, and probably he will not lend it to me again. At night in my hammock I committed masturbation. Five minutes _ one minute before thee deed I had no design of doing it, and I would have abhorred the thought.

I

_RESOLVED, that one dollar and twenty cents be and is hereby appropriated for the payment of Pseudo-Sally’s claim upon me for that amount; and resolved further, that at Shanghae and before leaving these seas I make diligent enquiry after means of conveying to the said Pseudo-Sally the aforesaid amount of money, and that if such means can be found, I transmit the amount due and satisfy the claims of justice; but if such means cannot be found, and the debt cannot be properly discharged before I leave this station, I must consider the aforesaid one dollar and twenty cents, as not my own money, but the property of Pseudo-Sally which I hold in trust until opportunity occurs for me to expend it in charity and on the account and in the name of the said Pseudo-Sally.

Monday, 2.

J

Applied myself to study. Grammar (Sounds of the letters) in the morning; Arithmetic in the evening.

K

Received the following articles from the purser, viz: 2 plugs tobacco, 2 pieces of tape, 2 thimbles, and 1 doz. Navy buttons. Also 1 spoon.

Tuesday, 3

L

Read in a Magazine during the forenoon, and in another during the afternoon

Wednesday, 4.

M

_Tried in the morning to apply myself to study. Gave myself in the evening to light reading, but after supper, applied myself again to study. Subjects, Eng. Grammar and Arithmetic.

Thursday, 5.

N

_Delayed this morning a necessary work from sheer aversion to labour. In the forenoon I commenced to portray myself on page 192. Failed in the face, it is not mine which you see there. Some future Sunday I will finish the design and then perhaps explain it. I slept away the whole evening. I have just eaten my supper, and I now hurry to get through with this remark that I may read some in “Littel’s Living Age”.

Friday, 6.

O

_Read Magazines in the afternoon. In the afternoon read some chapters in a book entitled “The Cabin and Parlor; or Slaves and Masters. By J. Thorn Randolph.” Think affectionately of Hibbs, and despairingly of my future. Nearly all the magazines I lately read belong to “George Fortune”, a private in the Macedonian. Sergt. Grant has them in keeping and expects to return them to their owner. I am about to write “Honor to George Fortune” in the margin of one of these books and I hope he may see it.

Saturday, 7.

P

_Finished reading the “Cabin and Parlor”, and I think that benefit has accrued to me from its perusal. The death of the little Horace affected me to tears, and in the penury of the Courtneys is a lesson of wisdom.

Sunday, 8.

Q

_Spent the morning in earnest enquiry about farming in Virginia, and the evening in light reading. Would have gladly read the purser’s Bible in the afternoon, but could’nt ask it.

 

Page 196

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

JANUARY, 1854: 21.

Monday, 9.

A

Nothing before breakfast. Below in the forenoon I applied myself to Arithmetic, from which my attention was diverted by Mr. Beardslee who related to me the true circumstances of an affair which I will notice fully when I have more leisure. _On deck in the afternoon I read the “Life of Frederic II, King of Prussia.”

Tuesday, 10.

B

_On deck in the forenoon, read part of the time in the Life of Frederic. Quarreled with the corporal of my watch. Below in the afternoon, went to sleep after reading a little, I fear my “royal inkstand” is impaired.

Wednesday, 11.

C

[Written in pencilmark to be inked over; my inkstand is out of repair] 

Below in the forenoon I applied myself to Arithmetic. On deck, I at first applied myself to Grammar and afterwards read aloud to a pleased audience from Lord Dover’s “Frederic II.”

Thursday, 12.

D

[Penciled to be inked] Occupied in walk and thought in the forenoon. Below in the afternoon I first applied myself to Arithmetic and then talked about Japan and China, subjects upon which I am considerable authority. Loan’d the “Life of Frederic II, Vol. 1.” to a man from whom I expect to buy a book that bears on its first blank page, the following words “Joseph Mundell, Washington City _ August 5, 1852.

Friday, 13.

E

Below, I first did some little writing and then applied myself to Arithmetic.

Saturday, 14.

F

_Quarrelled at dinner with an old Irishman. _Applied myself to Arithmetic. Read desullerilly. Thought of Roderick Masson and of my future;_of Hibbs and of Mundell. Roderic, if living, is the happy scion of a great commercial House and would possibly despise my friendship. I am preparing to send him a letter: if he scorns the drummer I will soon know it, but I will nevertheless love him. Here are the names I love:

RODERICK MASSON of Montreal.

The drummer JOHN HIBBS on board the “Susquehanna.”

The drummer JARED MUNDELL on board the “Macedonian.”

The fifer EMERY HIBBS on board the “Susquehanna”.

The fifer LEWIS E. RODGERS of Portsmouth, N.H.

The fifer JOHN DICK on board the “Jamestown”.

The boy ALEX. SCROGGY on board the “Vandalia”

These may in the dispositions of Providence grow rich or great or proud and despise my affection, or they may grow little and have to taste and drink of the bitterest poverty seasoned with vice and disease and agony of mind, in either of which cases I will still remain their loving friend Van Buskirk.

G

_I am told that one day in Napa Roads the Vandalia’s ding’y came alongside and Old Dhu, known among us as “the coffee-merchant”, seeing the two dingy boys, exclaimed, “Aha! if I had them two fellows on board it would be a hundred dollars in my pocket!” So it would. Listen. This old man makes coffee every morning and sells it. His principal trade is with boys who are kept on an allowance of coffee which is paid for by their chickens. When there is plenty of youth and beauty there is plenty of custom for Old Dhu, and the “barbees” shower upon him. Old Dhu makes the most of this circumstance. He is often a match-maker between men and boys.

 

Page 197

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. S. Ship Plymouth __ __ __)

JANUARY: 1854: 21

Sunday, 15.

A

Finished the drawings on p.192._ Mr.Beardslee told me in the forenoon that he intended to resign and retire from the Navy at the end of this cruize, “Because, said he, the reports and stories that are going about me in this ship keep me uneasy and may work me injury”. He referred to scandalous reports which I assured him I neither believed nor had entered in my journal. The following circumstances are recent, generally unknown, and not therefore a subject of common report. The account was given me by Mr. B. himself. On the night of Dec. 21, Mr. B. was present at a Sing Song on board the Powhattan at the end of which he was so drunk that the fifer (also present) had to carry him into the boat. These two returned together in the Dingey, pulled by two boys. After getting on board the Plymouth, the fifer carried Mr. B.’s hammock down into the steerage and helped the drunken midshipman to get into it. Then his hand strayed and lodged as if by accident upon the midshipman’s __. Mr. B. thought it might be accident and said nothing. But the fifer bending down to the drunken boy’s year, whispered “I’ll tell you what will do you good, sir.” What? “Why, sir, a good dubbing off sir!” Mr. B. was of course indignant and drove the fifer away. Since then the fifer endeavored to excuse himself in the middy’s eyes, but Mr. Beardslee with commendable firmness has cast him off and keeps him at his distance. Bill was foiled this once. He laid his plans ingeniously to entrap the midshipman as he had already entrapped the doctor’s steward. This entrapping consists in playing sodomy once with the victim and then ever after keeping him in alarm and subjection by threats of exposure. The poor doctor’s-steward is in this kind of bondage. My brother musician is known to sodomize occasionally with the yeoman, the negro steward of the Forward Officer’s Mess, and the negro cook of the Wardroom. He was for a time the acknowledged chicken of the yeoman and lived in the enjoyment of all the privileges and immunities of that office. Old Frank the cook, and the Forward Officer’s Steward pay him in manavelins for his services. He is now the doctor’s-steward’s chicken. Bill attempted paederasty upon me in Norfolk Barracks; I repulsed him, and ever since then he has respected and hated me. He says that he and John and Emery Hibbs did these things together in Washington Barracks. I do not believe him. I believe this, however, that Bill committed the crime in Washington, in New York, on board the “St. Lawrence in Norfolk, and here on board the “Plymouth” as often as his own sensual desire prompted him or the inducements of others persuaded him. Bill’s prostitution is no secret among us; it is known in his mess, and the orderly Sergeant knows it. The O. Sergeant whoes first insulting words to me on coming in the ship (June 18,1851.) were “See here: I tell you beforehand I will have none of your chickenship.” He was my enemy and subsequently turned me out of the orderly mess. No one can charge paederasty upon me, or no one does charge it, and common opinion acquits me of the imputation. Not so with Bill. Everybody knows of his prostitution, and he is in favor with the sergeant. Note. A quarter and a good opportunity and Bill will oblige anyone.

B

P.S. At night in the secrecy of my hammock I indulged one lascivious thought and then another and finally committed self-polution. The act was witnessed from above. It will not be forgiven!

Monday, 16.

C

_Idle in the forenoon. In the afternoon I applied myself to Arithmetic.

Tuesday, 17.

D

My Arithmetic in the forenoon. In the afternoon, a book (shorn of its concluding pages) entitled, ,,Wuthering Heights”_a fiction I must buy for my library_a novel style which I admire.

(Wednesday, 18.)

E

_The Plymouth this day was piloted up the River Wusung to Shanghae ..Re’d note from Schultze. Ans’d.

Thursday, 19.

F

Forenoon. Wrote a long letter to Mudell and Degenhart which the drummer of the ,,Saratoga”, going to Loo-Choo, will deliver. Afternoon. Read some articles in the N. American Miscellany for May ’50.

Friday, 20.

G

_Lay restless through the night. My single blanket inefficient to protect me from the cold. I dreamed happy dreams though in the short snatches of sleep that I did get. One of books-school again _ and algebra;_ and one of adventure, youth, beauty, and innocence, that ended alas! In seminal emission. In the morning after reveille I look found the mercury in the therm. to be at 30° above zero; it is now (4,P.M.) at 42°. I have money and might better provide against the cold, but I prefer suffering one way to enable myself to enjoy pleasure in my own way. _ Forenoon. Organized a club to take the Shanghae newspaper. The cool weather confined me to the BerthDeck, where part of the time, I occupied myself committing Division rules to memory from the Arithmetic. _ Evening. etc.

 

Page 198

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China.)

JANUARY, 1854: 21.

(Saturday, 21.)

A

John Schultze _aged, by his own statement, fourteen, _ in my opinion, thirteen _drummer of the, ,,Saratoga” _a very knowing and intelligent and agreable youth_ expressive features, red hair, handsome physical conformation _ visited me this evening. I questioned him closely upon his manner of life, and must say that his answers advanced him much in my opinion. Shultze is henceforth numbered among my friends. I will name a tree after him in my orchard that is to be. And a welcome to the tangible pleasures of my country home will be always in my heart for him while I am master _ that is to be. His society pleased me very much. Before leaving I made him a present of my best knife, together with the four Lew Chewan pictures which Dr. Bettelheim gave me.

B

As the Saratoga will sail very shortly for Loo-Choo, I entrusted to Schultze the following articles:

For Jared Mundell _

 

A ditty box, fashioned after mine, Cost, $2,00,
Containing: A fine comb, 10,
A looking glass, 8,
A Chinese inferior knife, 10
An English superior,, 50,
Two Silk handkerchiefs, 50,
Box of silk, needle case, and thimble 16
Card of 16 Navy buttons, 20
Stick of tape and paper of needle 6,
Some writing paper __
¾ yard of red cord (for key) 3,

 

For W. Degenhurt _

A ditty box, fashioned after mine, Cost, $1,50,
Containing: One looking glass, 8,
One Chinese inferior knife, 10,
Two silk handkerchiefs, 50,
Box of silk, needle case, and thimble 16,
Card of 12 Navy buttons, 37,
Stick of tape, 3,
Some writing paper, _
India ink and inferior lead pencils 4,
One shilling, 25,
¾ yard of red cord (for key) 3;

 These are all stowed in the boxes, which are sewed up in canvas and properly directed. I placed Coombs’ sixpence in Jared’s box. Schultze will also be the bearer of my letter to the drummer and fifer of the ,,Macedonian.”

(Sunday, 22)

C

Visited the Saratoga in the evening. Enjoyed there a long conversation with Corporal McGregor, my old friend and benefactor, little Schultze the while sitting in my lap. Found on first reaching the Berth Deck my little friend and another boy at reading lessons under the guidance of the Captain’s Clerk_Mr. Sewuel, I believe “Jimmy Legs” there spelled his name for me, at the same time saying “he is a religious inclined young gentleman.” He takes upon himself to instruct these boys. I honor you, Sir; I envy you!

Monday, 23.

D

_The forenoon I lost. The evening I employed partly to my advantage. The night? _ I read several pages in “Satanstoe; or the Littlepage Manuscripts. By J.F. Cooper.”

 Tuesday, 24.

E

_Sent a note Corpl. McGregor, and one containing my “parting compliments” and profession of friendship to Schultze. The latter accompanied by the present of a silk neckerchief. _ Vainly endeavored to give my mind to study.

Wednesday, 25.

F

Originated another club for taking the “N.C. Herald.” In this last I have no interest._ Vainly endeavored to apply my mind to Arithmetic. _ If my deeds were known, would’nt I be abhorred? Scorned! You (you) know me, Reader; Am I not detestable! They around me think me far superior to themselves; But you know me, and Do you not detest me? My deeds _my secret acts are abominable_ and yours? Are you pure and innocent? If so you must be happy_you are godlike and enjoy a felicity which I never can pretend to; you cannot sympathise with me because you know not the miseries of vice; I suffer: pity me!

 

Page 199

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s  Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae .)

JANUARY, 1854: 21.

Thursday, 26.

A

Mr.  GUEST (who is son-in-law to Judge Semmes) said to me the other day, “Drummer; what is the matter with that drum?” This was reproof. He was officer of the deck. My drum sounded miserably.  I hesitated and then answered “Why, Sir, it will not sound any better while this damp weather continues; the weather has that effect upon it, Sir.”  This was not strictly true; but “an answer was required.” _ ”Very well”, said Mr. G, and he turned away. I felt ashamed and hurt and the drum sounded better at tattoo, and I shall keep it in better sound.

B

_I did very little to-day in the way of improving my understanding. _Endeavored unsuccessfully to start a club among the marines for taking the North China Herald. _ By way of giving myself some credit I will note an instance showing the confidence placed in my honesty by those around me. The money deposited in my keeping by Mr. Wild was uncounted. “How much is here?” Said I when he handed me his bag of coins, _“are they all dollars?” “O! there is more money there than you think”, answered Wild, and continued he, “there are some gold pieces there as big as dollars.” “Well how much pursued I, does it all amount to?” “O! I don’t know exactly_but never mind that_you just stowe it away: I aint afraid of you.” This was manifesting considerable reliance in my honesty. Others in a less degree are also trusting. I have a name for honesty and punctuality. I have a large credit if I choosed to avail myself of it.

Friday, 27.

C

_Anxious to get permission to go ashore every Saturday evening to the printing office. Mr. Balch (now first lieutenant) whom I have asked, gives me some reason to hope that my request will be granted, but more to fear the reverse. To-morrow will tell! _Officers have their rounds of visits,_they go and come when they please, _they have money and their thousand means of enjoyment, _they have their heaven, from which I am excluded naturally. Privates have their enjoyments of rum at stated periods, the luxuries of tobacco, and the occasional indulgence of unnatural commerce with boys, which they avail themselves of and hardly regret their confinement to the ship, _they have their heaven, from which I am likewise excluded naturally. Liberty of often going ashore! A boon which could so easily be extended to me by those in command, and which would the source to me of such lasting delight! I have no pleasure to fall back upon unless I go and pollute myself: tobacco and rum yield me no comforts to compensate for my loss of liberty. They govern us all alike, _there is very little distinction of good and bad made amongst us, but all share alike in the indulgence of liberty. The sailor seldom goes on liberty for any other purpose than to get drunk and lay overnight with a whore, and usually brings trouble upon himself and not unfrequently deasease which incapacitates him for weeks from discharging his duty on ship-board. Hence the objection to giving him liberty. _I, that go ashore for altogether different purposes, have not even my invaried good conduct to speak in my favor. The sergeant and doctor’s steward (to speak my Mind_two wronghearted fools) can go, _they are petty gentlemen. _I cannot!   My masters know not the error of their judgment.

 

Page 200

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae.)

JANUARY, 1854: 21.

Saturday, 28.

A

_Can’t describe the state of my feelings all the morning, filled as I was with anxiety my desire of liberty caused me.  __ Mr. Balch declined giving me permission, and said he would refer the matter to the Captain. The Captain was ashore. When he came on board in the evening I went into the cabin (having first obtained permission) and the captain kindly assented to my request for liberty. “Come off at sundown” said he. That moment I was happy. _I called at the Saratoga to leave a couple of notes, and found unexpectedly the drummer of that ship awaiting to go ashore_he can go every day_which circumstance turned much to my advantage. We went together and remained ashore until sundown. Schultze was my guide to the Office of the Shanghae “North China Herald”, and then to the City gates where a rebel officer of his acquaintance passed us in. We dined with this officer in his saloon, and amused ourselves nearly all the evening firing off rockets and crackers with which the Commissary (for such was the officer’s rank) had supplied us. This commissary’s name is A’hoy, and he was formerly Captain’s-cook of the Saratoga.

_Little Schultze pleased me greatly and displayed good sense in his behavior.

Sunday, 29.

B

Visited the Saratoga. Saw and conversed with Schueltz and Corp. McG. Also sergt. Steel and J. Duvall, and Corp. Connor and Fifer Mintz_what a string of acquaintances! Among whom there is one that I love, one that I respect, and two that I like.

Monday, 30.

C

_Suffered an in invol. em. in the night (27th occur. of ths year.)_Saratoga went to sea._Idle, quite.

Tuesday, 31.

Detail of Receipts and Ependitures_

Receipts. Borrowed in the begining of the month the sum of 1.20 from the money of Pseudo-Sally in my care, which added to my own on hand, made up … $2.25.

EXPENDITURE OF CASH: For oranges … 21.

33 Chinese coins appropriated for curios … 3.

Shilling placed in Deg’s box (198, B.) … 25

Contributed towards paying for a quarter’s sub. to the N.C. Herald … 1,00.

For Cooper’s History of the U.S. Navy…1,00.

“ Washing of clothes … 12 ½

Act of Charity, Jan. 28 … 12 ½

Discrepancy; I must have had more on hand than I accounted for. I also incurred

DEBTS, as follows: For coffee from time to time … 95

For a silk neckerchief…75

A pot pie … 25

But it is very consoling to reflect that I have

DUES as follows: for a knife which I sold…50

Balance due me on an old account…25

My transactions with the Purser will be found recorded in the proper tables.

Note. In Table IV, 8th Column, I have not included the expense incurred for articles drawn from the Purser; otherwise the amount would be $40.80, instead of 2.74. And since writing the above I recollect having received some dues in the beginning of the month, making up the deficiency in my statement above of Receipts_Note P.S. I forgot also in my statement above of Debts to indicate the one of 1.20 owing to Pseudo-Sally.

 

Page 201

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae)

FEBUARY, 1854: 21.

Wednesday, 1.

A

Carried my Arithmetic under my arm all day, and doggedly persevered in keeping my attention upon the subject. Repeated over and over again the illustration and rule of Short Division. “Greanleaf,” I say, once for all, is the book out of which I am trying to learn. “The National Arithmetic, on the Inductive System; combining the Analytic and Synthetic Methods, in which the principles of Arithmetic are explained in a perspicuous manner; containing also Practical Systems of Mensuration, Guaging, Geometry, and Book-Keeping; with an Apendix comprising the Cancelling Method: Forming a Complete Mercantile Arithmetic.

Designed for Common Schools and Academics. By Benjamin Greenleaf,

A.M., Principal of Bradford Teacher’s Seminary.                  Boston: 1847.

Thursday, 2.

B

_Suffering under a very bad cold and troublesome coughs, which divert my mind from it’s proper occupation. _Mr. Beardslee says that A’hoy holds much higher rank among the Rebels than that of lieutenant; that he is Chief Commissary of the Rebel Forces in Shanghae. ­__Persisted today as doggedly as yesterday in my work of committing Arithmetical rules and illustrations to memory. Repeating to-day the illustration under the head of “Long Division.” _­­_Unprovided, through my own improvidence, with winter clothing, I feel acutely the effects of cold weather, which confines me to the Berth Deck; and I shiver there too, as no stove is in operation to spread warmth through the chilly atmosphere.

Friday, 3.

C

_Coldest morning we have seen since leaving the U.S., says Mr. Beardslee. _thermometer 28˚ at daylight on this (the Spar) deck. _Repeated over and over again the Rule of Long Division in Greenleaf. _Read the News of to-day_I mean of this week._I believe I left Little Schultz’s  handkerchief and a package of fire-crackers al Mssrs. Foggs store last Saturday by mistake, Sent for them to-day by the Captain’s Steward, but Mssrs. Foggs say they were not left._

D

_THINKING of the time when I lived with Dr. Farrior in Arkansas. 1850. I used to visit the neighboring school house on Saturdays and Sunday evenings, by permission of the master, and rummage among the school books and copy books. In one of them I found a “promissory note” traced out to the following effect:

Six months after date, I promise to pay__or order the sum of three mills.

                                                                                    _Buttler.

I wrote underneath:

“Come, Buttler, my honey

Fork over the money;

Three mills is but small,

Or nothing at all.

Pay your just debts, and you’ll never repent,

Though immensely more than one third of a cont.

The master, as I learned from himself, came to read these lines, and forthwith I arose is his esteem as a youth of great parts and education.

 

Page 202

Drummer P.S. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae)

FEBUARY: 1854:21.

Saturday, 4.

A

_Occupied my mind awhile after breakfast with Arithmetic. _Asked for permission to go ashore this evening, having some money to pay to Mr. Shearman. Refused. _Considerably annoyed by the cold_especially in the night._My thoughts prone to be where Schutze, Mendell, Hibbs, and Rodgers are. Think also of Masson, but how to think, I do’nt know.

Sunday, 5.

B

Had passed a restless night. To-day in the forenoon I was obliged to listen to a sermon and prayers on the half-deck. In the afternoon I sought the arms of Morpheus but they were too chilly and cold to repose in. Expect liberty to-morrow, and that may probably be the last that I’ll have in Shanghae. I can almost curse the Captain that readily allows a sodomite, a drunkard and whore-monger* to have pleasant evening liberties when they desire it because they are a yeo-man, a purser’s-steward, and a Surgeon’s-steward, while I am confined on board. _ Having broken my hammock clues day-before-yesterday, I exchanged my last pair of new Purser’s stockings for a new set.

Monday, 6.

C

Commencing to give “general liberty” to-day. The First Division was sent. I asked Mr. Balch for permission to go with it, and was refused. _ I did not study any to-day. My sleep last night was broken, but I dreamed pleasant dreams. At this moment (4 P.M.) the Taou-tae’s ships are engaged in combat with the Rebel forts. I have just come down from seeing the battle, I write this in haste; I must hurry up to be a spectator again.

Tuesday, 7.

D

_I have to regret passing this day _ or the greater part of it _ in culpable inactivity.

E

Thinking last night of JOHN MORRIS. 1849-50. He was a boy that Dr. Farrior’s brother picked up on the Mississippi somewhere and brought with him to Arkansas. Our acquaintance began in the Steamer at New-Orleans.  We were at first deck-passengers but I persisted in being admitted into the cabin to which Mr. Farrior at last assented and the change affected us both. John was some years my junior. He was smart and active and very likely in his appearance. From the begining, I could see that he conceived a strong attachment towards me. I never returned it in simple reciprocation of sentiment, in spite of which he continued to the last to show me affection and respect. One day I sat out I thought alone on the Hurricane or upper deck of the Steamer and hummed audibly a black-guard ditty which I had learned in the Barracks at Pensacola. Three or four months later I happened to meet Morris in a cotton field when lo! the blackguard song of Pensacola was on his lips. I picked up a piece of brush-wood and flogged him. When released from my hold the little fellow wiping his eyes thus reproved me: “you only done that because you could; I learned the song from you.” I never illused him afterwards. But this boy was entitled to a brotherly affection from me. I was not his brother; I was his tyrant. Instead of being generous to him, I was unjust. One day he was as I thought a little unruly, when I spoke of his conduct so unfavorably to Mr. F that the latter flogged him. He bore this infliction from me, but would not from his employer. He left the farm that evening and set out for Camden. I have not seen him since. This is one who loved me sincerely. Who displayed his affection a thousand ways, and who met neglect and injustice in return.

*It is only my opinion that the S. Steward whores; _that he sodomizes with the fifer (or did) I have conclusive evidence.

 

Page 203

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

FEBUARY, 1854:21.

Wednesday, 8.

A

Endeavored to no purpose studying my Arithmetic in the forenoon. Too cold. I whiled away the afternoon the best I could._ Suffered in the night passed an involuntary emission, the 3rd such within this year.

B

August, 1845. I was a student at Georgetown College and spending the vacation with a number of students upon grounds in the country belonging to the College. Here a schoolmate of mine used to familiarize himself with me to a degree and in a manner that would have condemned us both to infamy if we had ever been discovered. But nothing criminal resulted from our strange and secret familiarity. We were too young, and knew not what was sin, and were totally ignorant both of the real infamy and destructive tendency of our conduct. My young fellow student was well-bred, handsome, gentle, and amiable in his manners. I knew him by the name of Pease; some called him “Du Pisa”, but this last was probably a soubriquet. I must seek information on this point when opportunity occurs, for I wish to see Pease again.

Thursday, 9.

C

In the forenoon for awhile I pursued my study of Numbers. I read in the afternoon. Fixed my drum.

Friday, 10.

D

Occupied some time in my Arithmetical study, deriving some light from Davies University Arithmetic which I may look into occasionly if I like. I learned what’s meant by “casting out the 9s” in proving operations. My progress is slow, because my intellect is dull and I want energy._A man returning from liberty to-day reported to me that Uncle Gabriel the Jew had “Les Lettres de Jean J. Rousseau, Citizen de Geneve” for sale. I must buy the book. It may also contain the “Confessions.”! which I long to see.

Saturday, 11.

E

Forenoon. Employed sewing. Afternoon. Occupied looking over various reading matter.

Sunday, 12.

F

_In the night preceding I suffered an invol. emission, the 4th such within this year. Think that eating some sweet-cakes before turning in contributed to bring about the emission in my sleep._My tooth, progressing in decay, annoys me a little at times._My cold annoys me a little at all times, and considerably so at night while awake in my hammock, when sometimes I set a coughing and continue until those in my neighborhood almost despair of my ever ending._My thoughts give me little rest, but I can sometimes compose them to sleep and avoid their melancholy; or, as it were, I can even sometimes cheat them into yielding me transient joy, which is the case when I dream happy dreams. My future is not dark; but it is not bright, and the doubt which hangs about it serves not to lighten my thoughts and give me hope of temporal happiness. But the great source of my uneasiness is want of confidence in my intellectual abilities. I know that I can eke out on my mother’s patrimony a comfortable subsistence through life, or if that failed me, by entering the Army I might drag out a life of servility and ease with every physical want supplied. But my belly and my back are not the causes of uneasiness in my prospect of the future. I want more than my bellyful, + more of everything than what would suffice for my personal gratifications and comfort. I want wealth! -wealth! Not for hoarding, but for the buying of what confers happiness_what spreads happiness_what alleviates misery. I want influence and respectability for the use that I can make of it. My Ambition! what sources of happiness it opens to me! How it expands my capacity for enjoyment!! Thus far blessed; but if it’s aim is not attained, what flood-gates of misery will it not open upon me! what capacity for anguish will it not endow me with! I am now begun in humble confidence the acquisition of knowledge, in the sustaining hope that my intellectual faculties will strengthen as I proceed, and TIME will realize or blast my hope.

 

Page 204

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae)

FEBUARY: 1854: 21

Monday, 13.

A

_The old sergeant caused me considerable annoyance last night by declaiming against my tattoo (which in truth was unskillfully beaten) until I was provoked to reply, when he reported me to the office of the deck for insolence! Mr. Arnold, then having the deck, reproved my conduct, and told the sergeant he would refer the matter to the first lieutenant, which he subsequently did. Afterwards addressing me on the subject of drumming, Mr. A. said: “You do’nt take any pride in your music; you do’nt think of your drum except when you come to beat it; as to your ‘throwing it up’, that’s all humbug. We do’nt want you to be an expert drummer; to throw it up in the air and beat on both heads at once. There is a medium which is agreable to us all. I do’nt expect you to take much pride in drumming; it is’nt much of a thing to be proud of – sheepskin aint, but now that you’re in the scrape you ought to do your best. I think if I got into it I’d drum myself through.”

Tuesday, 14

B

DECISION – On the 8th of May, 1853, J.W. Hibbs and I being on liberty together in Shanghae, we happened to pass over a ferry when neither of us were possessed of a string of cash wherewith to pay the ferriage, the said ferriage, as I have learned subsequently, amounting to 6 cash (2/3 of a cent) for both of us. Of this we were ignorant of the time; and of our ignorance and want of cash, and of my cowardice, the ferryman took advantage and extorted 50 cents from me. Now, unwilling in the extreme to be duped in a pecuniary way by Chinamen, I have, after some consideration, Decided, To make up off of one Chinaman the amount which another has squeezed from me, and thus square my pecuniary account with the Race. Accordingly I subtract the amount (49 cents) extorted from me by the ferryman, to the amount ($1.20) belonging to Pseudo-Sally, now in my hands, and expending the remainder tomorrow in the manner specified at 195, I, the act I may consider as justifying me in erasing Sally’s account altogether from my books.

(Wednesday, 15.)

C

_Passed the day on liberty, and per consequence in great enjoyment; _alloyed only by the thought of it’s being my last liberty. The Captain and first lieutenant are averse to letting me go ashore, so that I can only go where there is “general liberty”, and there will be no more “general liberty” given in Shanghae. A few lucky dogs excepted, the Captain treats his men with certainly a godlike impartiality. The showers of his indulgence (which are very rare) are alike upon the good and the bad. In respect to liberty the drummer of the Saratoga is far happier than I; in port here he could go ashore whenever he pleased, and I say it of Schultze with pleasure, he profitted by the indulgence. I went out into the country and meeting a squad of Government soldiers I went with them to their camp. The privates were quite civil; the mandarins were not. Afterwards I visited another Imperial camp, whence after staying a short while I was ordered away. This camp, I think, was within gun-shot of the city walls. Two heads, tied upon stakes, greeted my sight the first thing, and a hand and foot tied upon a third stake, added to the disgusting exhibition. After returning from my visit to the Imperial camp, I went into the city; A’hoy meeting me at the gate, passed me in. I spent the evening with him. Leaving the city near sundown, I went down to the “Sailor’s Home”, travelling in the dark, but returning again, finally put up for the night at the Commercial House, a superior establishment where in disregard of my rank I was treated with kindness and respect.

 

Page 205

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China.)

FEBRUARY, 1854: 21.

(Thursday, 16.)

A

_Rose early, washed, dressed, and sallied out into the open air. It had rained in the night, and the streets were muddy. After a short walk, I returned to my room in the hotel where I looked over a pile of newspapers until breakfast was announced. I then came down to the breakfast table, and after that meal, my liberty expiring, I returned to the Bund, and thence in a sam-pan to the ship. _ In this liberty I neglected to employ Pseudo Sally’s charity fund; I allowed myself no guilty pleasure; and in passing over ground where I had walked before with Hibbs, I gave myself to the influence of the pleasant recollection. _ “Supply” arrived.

Friday, 17.

B

Returned to my studies, or my study of Numbers, provided now with a slate. The news by the Supply are such as I did not wish to hear. The Saratoga had not arrived at Loo Choo, and the ships at Napakiang had sailed for Japan before she left.

Saturday, 18.

C

_Passed the time reading. Engaged a Chinese carpenter to make me a portable writing desk. It’s an enigma where I’m to get the money (4,00.) to pay for it. My credit is good, however, and when the time comes I can hardly have much difficulty in raising the dust. Purser’s steward and Master-at-arms annoyed me a little in the evening.

(Sunday, 19.)

D

Rev. Mr. Culbertson performed divine service on the half desk at the usual hour and preached a very able and energetically delivered sermon. Subject: Our Saviour’s words to Nicodemus “Verily, verily, unless you be born again, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven”, and contexts.

E

EVENING LIBERTY! Circumstantial and detailed account. Bill endeavored all he could this morning to persuade me to ask for an evening’s liberty for us both. At length I agreed to ask the first lieutenant (the first necessary step) upon his promise to ask the Captain, and performed my part, but Bill, lacking courage to face the captain, at first held back; afterwards he mustered up boldness and laid his request before our common master. The request was for liberty for himself _ I was not included. It was granted. I went aft, on learning the fact, and asked for permission also. “Because I gave him (meaning the fifer) permission’, said the Captain, ‘you’ll all come aft here.” I thought the fifer was going to ask for us both, answered I, and continued, On such occasions we have always went together, Sir. “Well! Tell Mr. Balch; and come off at sundown.”

We went ashore after dinner _ I, the fifer, a seaman, and a ward-room boy named Moses Davis,_four of us. At the landing we separated; Bill and the sailor went one way; and I went another, accompanied by Moses. I bent my steps to the old race ground; I loved to walkedn the ground there and see the old buildings adjacent. I first walked there with J.W.H. I played ball awhile at the ball alley, showing how unskilful I was at the game, and then departed from the Course. We then visited some new places, and after enjoying a walk Moses said quite “undone him”, we took a sampan and went down to the Supply. Mr. Fry was officer of the deck and actually received me with politeness, saying “excuse my glove” and that “my appearance was healthy.” I found my friend Nash (his proper name; I do’nt know his purser’s name) among the men, and made enquiries respecting the noble drummers of the Susquehanna and Macedonian. Said Nash, I saw James and John very often, but I never spoke to them. He left the boys_all of them_in good condition. He had seen a printed pamphlet entitled The Susquehanna’s Own. I had notice of this in Hong Kong. It was to be a collection of Essays relating to incidents of man-of-war life, by Camel, a sailor on board the Susquehanna. John promised to secure me a copy. Said N. we sailed from Loo Choo on the 8th Feb. In the N.C. Herald the Supply is mentioned as having sailed on the 3rd; probably a typographical error. The Saratoga had not reached Loo Choo when she left, which was very surprising, and the Commodore had gone down to Japan. At six bells I bid Nash good day; jumped into my sam-pan and landed opposite the “Sailor’s Home”, leaving Moses on board the ship. I wished to pay the boatman’s mate (6 cents), but could get no change. I therefore sent the sam-pan back with a note to Moses requesting

 

Page 206

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China.)

FEBRUARY: 1854: 21.

(A)

[Sunday, 19.]

him to pay my share of the boat hire. Proceeding on my way from the Sailor’s Home to the ferry my attention was attracted by a squad of soldiers waiting at the gate of a missionary’s yard. Five or six of them, I observed, carried English muskets, and the remainder_a dozen or more_were armed with swords and a kind of spear. I lingered awhile to see what would turn up, but my patience wore out before anything happened, and I moved on. At a short distance however I fell in with a gentlemanly looking personage with whom I was glad to stop and enter into conversation. That, said he, pointing to the soldiery, is, I think, the Taou-tae’s guard; he is on a visit to the missionary; he goes there very often and gets books. We saw some of the officials bringing yellow covered books out of the house. The gentlemanly personage after answering some questions of mine, stated that he expected to join the rebels in Shanghae tomorrow; that he ‘went in’ very often, and was well known in the city. I enquired, Do you know Dr. Martin? O! yes, said he, I know him well; he was 3rd Chief, but is nothing now; he got drunk and carried on so badly that they had to put him in irons. I believe, continued he, that he is out of irons now, but the head chief will not let him go out of the city until he gives up drinking. Looking upon the Imperial fleet, and pointing at one of the square-rigged vessels, the stranger remarked to the effect that it was the Compton, and that he had for a long time been sailing-master of her. He then related to me the following account of an attempt to capture her in which he was engaged. A few days ago, said he, I was sent as a spy on board the Compton, receiving fifty dollars for the service. The same evening a party rendevoued at the Sailor’s Home; arms and ammunition were brought down in a boat; and Dr. Martin commanded. It was arranged by this party to board the Compton at 2 .A.M, and capturing her, to slipp the cables, crowd on sail and carry her up under the Rebel fort. When 2 .A.M. arrived, Dr. Martin was drunk to the degree which typifies death. The hour of action passed without anything being done, and when morning gave sight of returning it was as much as the party could do to make good their escape, for intimation of their suspicious presence was early carried on board the ships, and acted upon by the Imperialists. By the time he had done giving me this account, an Officer came out of the missionary’s house and walked towards us, with servants on each side, and the soldiers following in double file. The attendants wore Chinese official caps, without buttons, though one of them, I think, displayed a fox’s tail. The Officer was dressed plainly, and a green silk hood concealed his head and nearly all of his face from view. This was the Toau-tae Woo. Drawing near us he stopped at where we stood, and extending his hand to the stranger,” asked, “Ah! Do you live here?” The other, bowing, replied, “Yes, Sir, I live here now; I have been sick _ “. “What your name?” broke in the taou-tae. “Taylor _ John Taylor; this man (pointing to one of the Intendant’s officials) knows me; I was master of the Compton”. His Excellency bowed, and smiling, said “I have been visiting this place myself; I find everything very quiet.” He then bowed again, and this time noticing me, I raised my cap, and the cortege moved on. When it had passed, Mr. Taylor turned to me and remarked, I thought with a little fiendish expression of the countenance, “If I had that fellow’s head and tail in the city I could get $3000 for it.” Mr. T. asked me if I was going his way; I replied in the affirmative, and we proceeded to-gether in the direction of the new Custom House on the Soo-chow creek. I enquired what was the probable force within the city. He thought about 3000 Chinese rebels and 45 Europeans among whom was a deserter from our ship. Two British marines, he said had lately deserted and joined the Imperialists!, carrying off their arms and accoutrements with them. We now arrived at the ferry. What do you pay for going a-cross here? Asked Mr. T. “The ferriage, I replied, is 3 cash, but I do’nt pay anything; they done me out of 50 cents some months ago, which I consider payment for the privilege during life of crossing this ferry, gratis.” He seemed not to hear or heed the latter part of my remark, answering “I usually give him

 

Page 207

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China.)

FEBRUARY: 1854: 21.

(A)

cash; I’ll pay for us both,” which he did. I proposed to call at the Commercial House. Mr. T. assenting, we directed our steps thither. Being in respectable company and probably recognized by the Chinese porter I found no difficulty in obtaining admission. Under less favorable circumstances I would probably have been excluded. In the Bar-Room of the Commercial I found Mr. Blackford, our sail-maker. No other gentleman, except Mr. Donaldson and Mr. Taylor, were present, a circumstance which I was very far from regretting. After calling for something to drink_Mr. T. naming Soda water and I the same_I sat down on a settee to listen to the conversation which promised to spring up between the proprietor of the establishment and the ex-mater of the Compton. _ Said Mr. D. the Imperial soldiers get only a mace and a half (9 cents) per diem, and find themselves. What might be the Taoutae’s salary? I enquired. The Taoutae gets no salary, replied Mr. D., he collects the duties here, and after paying the Emperor so many thousands a-year, keeps all that remains for himself. He is one of the richest merchants in China, continued Mr. D.; when the brig Lily laid here, he had eight tons of dollars on board of her, and that was merely his small change_not included in the bulk of his fortune. The prospects of those Europeans engaged on either belligerent side became the subject of conversation. There are about forty-five in the city, said Mr. T.; they are paid up regularly at the end of every month. They receive gold bars, silver bars, or dollars–whichever they like. They also live like fighting cocks. Said Mr. B. I would rather be home making hay—. We laughed. Much more was said and the evening wore on. Mr. B. departed, and soon after I drank another glass of “pop” with Mr. T. and left the House. After accompanying Mr. T. to the Hospital and bidding him good day, and receiving his parting charge to “take care of myself”, I returned to the Bund where I found Bill. We jumped into a sam-pan and, got on board just in time to beat off for sundown. This was a happy evening to me.

Monday, 20.

B

__Employed nearly all day writing down my note of yesterday’s liberty. It’s now nearly sundown. After beating off I propose to study my Arithmetic. I can’t afford to lose this day the whole of it.

_Mr. Beardalee standing over me, says he will give me five Carlos dollars if I’ll let him read this journal. Could I for five throusand? P.S. After sundown I did not apply myself as proposed.

Tuesday, 21.

C

_I awoke in the night and found I had suffered involluntary emission. This is the 5th time this year.

D

For a little while in the morning I applied myself to Arithmetic. _ Abed and in an evil moment I committed_self-pollution.

Wednesday, 22.

E

Weather unusually cold. At meridian 21 guns were fired in honor of the day. The Taou-tae’s ship and the H. M. Str. Rattler also saluted. As to myself, I passed away the forenoon looking over my “Easy Lessons in Chinese”. In the afternoon I did nothing: the cold weather kept me on the Berth Deck where I slept when I could.

Thursday, 23.

F

Cool weather continues. Forenoon, looked over the London “Year-Book of General Information for 1833.” Afternoon, read in “The King’s Own”, by Marryat. My studies thrown aside.

Friday, 24.

G

Cool weather continues with scarcely perceptible mitigation. Kept on the Berth Deck and employed all my available time reading the “King’Own”. I tried vainly in the forenoon to re-apply myself to the needful study.   I may mention in general that I have thoughts which I would also like to record with my deeds_but which cannot be. If you detest me for my deeds, you might be inclined to honor my thoughts. Who reads this? Where? When? I think (in anticipation) it is my own old self in review of these fleeting days of misery and sin.

 

Page 208

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghai, China)

FEBUARY, 1854: 21.

Saturday, 25.

A

Finished reading the “King’s Own” in the forenoon. In the afternoon to kill time and escape from my own torturing thoughts, I courted sleep; lounging on a mess-chest with my back against a couple of bags and my head concealed under a red handkerchief_my usual equipment on such occasions.

Sunday, 26.

B

_Read._Wrote._Visited my acquaintance Nash on board the Supply, and carried him two back numbers of the N.C. Herald. Was shown a copy of The Susquehanna’s Own; or Odds and Endsby Charles Campbell.” Do’nt think much of it as a whole, but will neverless send word to Rose to secure me a copy in case John neglects to do so. I want the book to lay on my table_(imperfect as it is)_a mementoe of the present.

Monday, 27.

C

Finished my letter to Rose. I will not probably have an opportunity to send it. Will enquire about it.

Tuesday, 28.

D

Pecuniary:

(E)

RECEIPTS: Received from the Purser in Cash and Tobacco…7.36.

From debtors…76.

Borrowed…4.62.

…12.74

(F)

CASH EXPENDITURE:_Liquidation of debts…1.25.

Coffee from time to time…1.20.

Lost at “High Die”, gambling.,…75.

Pair of boy’s boots (I intend them for Schultze if I fall in with him again)…1.75.

Eggs, fruit &c. from time to time (my own consumption)…47.

Pair of flannel drawers (2 pair)…1.00

Ginger-bread (principally my own consumption) from time to time…50

Jar of syrup (which I consumed myself)…18

_Exp. on Liberty (Schs. A&B)…5.16

Unaccounted for…32

… $12.58

(Schedule A) Exp. on Liberty in Shanghae, Feb. 15

Two extra numbers N.C. Herald…50

Oranges, chow-chow, etc. from time to time…11

Cumshawing from time to time, including a Shilling given to my choirbearer…23

Hire of a chair, for the novelty of the thing…6

2 doz. self-sealing envellopes…25

4 lead pencils…25

Steel pens…25

Chinese compass…6

Fowl (complimentary present to A’hoy)…25

Bill at the “Commerical House”…1.75

Slate…25

Passage to the ship in a sampan, &c;…26

(Schedule B) Exp. on Liberty, Feb. 19.

Charity…6

2 glasses of “pop” at the “Commerical”…25

Discount on the silver given me in change at the “Commercial”…12 ½

Loan to a sailor, which I may consider a gift, as I do’nt expect to be repaid,…12 ½

Passage to the ship (my share)…3

I perceive now when it is too late that the debt to Pseudo Sally is not put down. It is 70 cents.

 

Page 209

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MARCH, 1854: 21-2.

Wednesday, 1.

A

My endeavor is to kill time. (False expression!) In this view I borrowed Harper’s Magazine in the forenoon and read about Napoleon, Arnold the traitor, the Czar Alexander I, and sir Thomas Moore. I have laid aside my books and will not think of taking them up again until the 4th when I enter upon my 22nd year.

Thursday, 2.

B

In the forenoon, sewed. Concluded my letter to Rose, and enclosing 50 cents in it to pay for a copy of the Susquehanna’s Own, handed, or sent it in to the purser, who kindly promises to send it to Hong-Kong, where the Susquehanna is expected to arrive on or about the 10th. I drew charicatures in the epistle and made it as humourous as possible, making much reference to John and Emery.

Friday, 3.

C

Nocturnal. Last night I suffered an involuntary emission for the 6th time this year. My flannels are now stained, and going to wash, will be noticed; probably an invidious eye will see them. _I dream almost every night and usually my dreams are happy. Night before last, I think, I dreamed of Annapolis.

D

Diurnal._ In the forenoon I began and wrote part of a letter, which I intend for L.E.Rodgers. My endeavor in the afternoon was to kill time. I had not the heart to do anything. To escape from my own thoughts I took refuge in sleep. I have the faculty of being able to soon drop into slumber almost when I please._ This day ends the twentyfirst year of my age, and I have long resolved to put an end on this day to several bad habits which cling to me with the tenacity of old aquaintanceship. I am a habitual LIAR. I must be so no longer. I feel this moment ashamed for all the lying answers I have made to questions this day. I am improvident and FOOLISH in spending money for coffee and unnecessary eatables which comparatively contribute nothing to my present happiness and take away from my future. After this day I am not to lie. I must be HONEST or I can have no peace of soul. And these things for Ten Years (after to-day) I renounce: Coffee, Tea, Eggs, Sweatmeats, and Dainties of all descriptions. I cannot pray to Heaven, or I would ask Heaven’s aid to escape the galling tyranny of habit. But will a pitying angel look down from above and confirm in me, and bear me out in, my resolution to be good. Steeped as I am in polution I can address no prayer to the Throne of Purity. I would not dare. I have dared to sin, but loaded down with sin I cannot raise my voice in supplication to Heaven. _____

E

__For this week past I have laboured under mental oppression.

Saturday, 4. Y.A. 22.

F

I adhered to neither of my resolutions of yesterday. Suffering under a depression of spirits all day I could not reject a warm pot of coffee, to sip which seemed so much like temporary reliefe  I restrained myself often from lying, but as often forgot myself, and gave utterance to a falsehood. I yielded to a little injury done me in my mess at dinner time by a German and an Irishman. Last night I dreamed pleasant dreams. The letter to L.E.Rodgers I lay aside.

Sunday, 5.

G

_Pleasant dreams in the night. Torturing thoughts in the day. _P.S. At night I walked backwards and forwards on one side of the half-deck while Mr. Doran and the Captain walked on the other, and thinking on my future, almost resolved to prepare myself for the duties of Purser’s steward and clerk to the end of entering the Navy as such under Mr. Doran. The considerations are these. I can love Mr. Doran (in fact I do when I consult my heart), and I can enjoy happiness in the circumstance of being always near him. I am half-determined.

 

Page 210

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghai, China)

MARCH, 1854: Year of my Age, 22.

Monday, 6.

A

_Peals of cannon broke my sleep early in the morning. I got up to witness what I thought was an attack on the town, but it proved to be a firing among the Taou-tae’s junks which could not be accounted for. __ Actuated by my half-determination I applied myself vainly to Artithmetic in the forenoon. In the afternoon was wholly diverted from the study. But since my thoughts yesterday night on the subject of service under the purser, my mind is considerably relieved of despondency. I only regret having lost the day. _ I hear a gun where I am writing. _ another _ and another. A sailor, coming from the Spar Deck, tells me it is the Taou-tae bringing an American boat to, suspecting her to have powder on board for the Rebels. Good on your head! Let them know you are not to be trifled with. The taou-tae after this, I reckon, will search every American or other vessel that comes up the river._. P.S. Shortly before tattoo, two American pilots whoes boat was seized and detained by one of the Taou-tao’s ships, came and complained of the seizure as unlawful to Capt. Kelly. Mr. Guest was forthwith despatched with an armed boat’s crew to recover the pilot boat. By all accounts he first went alongside the vessel detaining the pilot boat. Not finding the Captain, he pulled off to the Taou-tae’s flag-ship, and yet not finding him, returned to the first ship. Ascending the gangway he is reported to have said “Is there no commanding officer here?” A lascar replied ‘I am in charge here.” Then, said G, “I want that pilot boat and the prisoners” (6 Chinamen belonging to the p. boat who were tied down and guarded by a sentry) “You can’t have them,” replied the lascar. “Well, I must have them”, said G. “that’s just what I came for”, and then to his boat’s crew “Come on board, men, and cut these fellows adrift.” The sailors obeyed the order with alacrity. The sentry presented his piece. “The sentry will shoot!” ejaculated the lascar. “Well, let him shoot,” said Guest, drawing a pistol, “and I will shoot you”. When Guest and two or three of the sailors cocked their pistols, a dozen (probably) clicks resounded from hostile muskets. But the lascar ordered the sentry to not fire. The prisoners and the boat were brought away. One of the boat’s crew tells me that men were as thick in the ship at the time as fiddlers in hell, and armed.

Tuesday, 7.

B

Morning. Applied myself to Arithmetic. Evening. Had a conflict with a little man, and idled away the remainder of the evening. The little man has just confessed himself wrong.

Wednesday, 8.

C

_Idled away the whole day, not even writing a line in the libellus which I have underway for Hibbs. This is a humourous book in imitation of printed books. I intend it to amuse J.W.H. when I fall in with him again. I call it “The Plymouth’s Own”.

D

_P.S. My tooth which I have noticed from time to time as decaying has began to ache.

Thursday, 9.

E

_Had slept interuptedly, owing to the TOOTHACHE. Made up in the evening for my want of sleep in the night. Shewed my tooth to the doctor and requested to have it extracted. He thought I had better hold on to it a while longer, and I assented.

P.S. To make up for the time lost to my studies I applied myself quite commendably to Arithmetic after Sundown. After tattoo the mail arrived and a boat was sent for our letters. The Consul, I believe, also went in the boat to search the steamer for arms or amunition intended for the Rebels. I received the following:

 

Page 211

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghai, China)

MARCH, 1854: 22.

                                    Charlestown, Jefferson City. Va. Dec. 6th 1853.

This letter is in answer to one I received from you some few days ago, two in one of date June 20th and Aug. 19th.

            My dear son,

                        I am in hopes you will get this letter. By the way in which you write, I think you could not have received my last letter, which I sent you in the summer., & likewise a newspaper, neither of which you acknowledge; It appears useless for either you or me to send newspapers, as they are not received, but I am always rejoic’d to get a letter from you, & to hear that you are well and still think of your home. You must not expect to hear from me again, as I shall expect your return home shortly; and the postage on letters is so enormous, I am afraid I am not able for it. I had no heavy postage to pay upon your letters until the two last, but my letters go overland & I have nearly a dollar to pay upon each letter. I think your letters must all come safely, as I get one about once in three months. I have answered all your letters so soon as I could, with the exception of the last, which I intended to have answered, but was hindered; I received a letter from your Aunt Polly about the same time, and to write to her was about as much as I could do. You must know my circumstances are such as give me little or no time to write. I am still without a servant, & have all my work & turns to do; I have this old man to wait upon, & we are farming now, which makes more work. I think when night comes I will have a  little time to write, knit, sew, read, &c. but against the toil of the day are over, I sink upon my chair, quite exhausted, and am unable to put myself to anything; sleep soon overtakes me, and I am obliged to get myself to bed the best way I can. I then think when the morning comes I shall have a little time, but so soon as I can rise, the impatient animals are crying out for their food, & I have to hurry on my clothes for to go & wait on them. Sometimes before I can get my breakfast myself, their dinner is to be looked after, &c. And thus passes away my life. I hope you will come home in the ship without fail, And let me know when you think that will be. I think we have a fair prospect now of making a living with industry and economy.   God bless you and speed your safe return home.

                        Your afflicted but affectionate mother

                                    Ora MVBuskirk

P.S. I wrote this last night & seize another moment tonight to finish it. I do not wish to signify that my time is not sufficient for my work, but I am frequently sick, indeed quite ill sometimes, from the exposed by hard life that I lead: & then work drags heavily. I am glad to hear of your sober industrious habits, & that you are not in debt. It is a dreadful thing to be in debt. I hope by this time you have received my letter, It was directed to Hong Kong, according to your directions: I wrote you fully of every thing at home: And would write you a great deal more now, but must bring my letter to a close, bidding you an affectionate adieu. Ora MVBuskirk.  N.B I send you enclos’d Aunt Polly’s last letter. Please to let me know always when you write of the date of the letters you receive from me: And I think, by all means, you had better return home by the first opportunity. I feel myself almost altogether childless, by your long absence, & am all alone in this old mansion, & am scarcely able to bear the burden of looking after every thing, which you might share with me if you were here. I have been at fault in making delay in answering your letters. You had better make enquiry for the letter and Paper I sent you. OMB.

 

Page 212

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

March, 1854: 22.

Friday, 10.

A

Copy of the letter from Miss Eckhart adverted in the N.B. of my mother’s letter.

                                    Mill Creek, Berkely County, Sept. 8 ’53.

My dear Ora Moore,

                        I received your letter to-day and shou’d have written when the little parcel was sent, but only discov’d a few minutes before leaving that he resided in Charlestown _then these few articles were huddled to-gether. Sister Sally has discovered since that she sent a pair of old darn’d stockings instead of a much better pair she thought she had sent __we were entirely unacquainted with the Gen. and got Mr. Boyd to ask him to carry it.

                                    I am delighted that you heard from your Son and thankful that he is enjoying good health. I am also delighted with his letters. A youth capable of writing so properly and sensibly I have no fears for if the Lord spares him, and he puts himself under his kind care and direction.

                                    I am really afraid to give an opinion of what he had better do, if I followed the bent of my wishes I would say let him come home. I think he has talent to make a living in a less dangerous and more independent calling. __The climate of China and situation of public affairs render it, I would suppose, not so safe as heretofore; he is young and might get into difficulty and no one to care for him, but I trust to him who has promised to be a Father to the Fatherless. To him I commit and commend him who will Guide him in the right way. I will return your letters. If there is nothing you care for me to see, I should be much pleased to see his last letter. Those two I cou’d hardly bear to part with, but I certainly feel your superior claim.

                                    Sister Sally who is with me now, and whom the intense heat has driven from Phil. begs me to make her kindest love to you. Do let me know what you determine on in regard to his return home and when you may reasonably expect him.

                        May God bless and direct you is the prayer

                                    Your Aunt

                                                Mary.

B

Miss Eckart is generous, kind, and solicitous for my mother’s comfort. She is the only friend that I have. She has been to me what I would be to Hibbs, Mundell, and others that share my affection. I believe that her solicitude for our welfare is founded in pure ethereal sympathy of friendship unalloyed by one sinister or selfish consideration, _her kindness to me being precisely the same in origin as my kindness to Mundell, _and how unworthy am I of such a friend!

C

_I applied myself in the morning and in the evening to Arithmetic.

Saturday, 11.

D

_Employed part of the day marking some pieces of clothing, &c. In the evening, read.

Sunday, 12.

E

_Mr. Cabini preached a good sermon to us in the forenoon. All day I read in a bound volume of amusing and instructing magazines. Yesterday I first learned about the dental satylites or amimalculae that breed in the gums around dirty teeth. Mine are filthy; I have not scrubbed them this season. I will cleanse them forthwith, and ever after this will carefully attend to their cleaning.

_P.S. I washed my teeth before turning into my hammock.   Before going to sleep I breathed a prayer as it were involuntarily to Heaven: and tears attested my sincerity.

_A new idea to-day_What to own ships!_Can own ships? My first regular thought.

 

Page 213

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

March 1854: 22.

Monday, 13.

A

_Wrote a letter to my mother._Took up my arithmetic in the afternoon, but soon abandoned it for the volume of magazines._My tooth has entirely ceased acheing._My private thoughts, en passant, are sad_even when turned upon those I love _ upon whose images I brood; but with a heavy heart I preserve an even if not cheerful countenance; it is only when I think no one is looking at me that I am so unmindful of myself as to let dejection of my heart portray itself upon my countenance. I am seldom or never happy, _ and there are men who envy me! Think I am fortunate! _Esteem me to be healthy!! Virtuous!!! and happy!!!! Do’nt know better?

B

_P.S. After supper I took up my arithmetic again and applied my mind to its study.

_In the night I suffered an involuntary emission, _the 7th within the current year.

Tuesday, 14.

C

_Applied my mind to study in the morning and evening. I may say I have finished my First Lesson in Arithmetic.  I enter to-day upon my second. I know everything by heart that is contained in the first 49 pages of Greenleaf (leaving out the “examples”), and so fearful am I of forgetting what I have learned that I make a point of repeating it all over from memory every morning. It is virtually my Morning Prayer. I begin: “ARITHMETIC is the art of computing by numbers.”_and proceed through Numeration, Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division, the Multiplication Table, and the tables of Moneys, Weights, and Measures.

Wednesday, 15.

D

_Letter to Ahoy. Sunday before last I asked the old missionary, Mr. Roberts, if he would translate a note into Chinese for me. He promised that he would; and I prepared my communication for Ahoy in English and sent it next day to Mr. R for translation. Mr. Robert replied to my note to him saying he would “send my Communication to Mr. Percy for translating which is the last I have heard on the subject. To-day I sent a Chinese copy of the Pentateuch with my compliments to Ahoy. I had a number of pictures laid up for pasteing into a scrap book; these I paced between the leaves of Ahoy’s bible; I hope they will please him. Wong A’Su, the Captain’s comprador, carries my messages. _ Applied myself to study at proper times.

_P.S. Dreamed in my sleep that I was Heën-fung, Emperor of China; that I was youthful and trammelled in all my movements and oppressed in my feelings by an old uncle or great minister that had ascendancy over me; that I fell on my knees and with all my soul implored High Heaven’s sustaining mercy.

Thursday, 16.

E

_Morning. Pursued my study of arithmetic. Evening. Slept an hour or so; and read over a paper.

Friday, 17.

F

_Studied in the morning. Slept in the evening, and read. _ Ned Faddin gave me a copy of Gleason’s Pictorial. I will sent it to Ahoy. _ P.S. Some considerable stir about decks and a little excitement. The Captain has ordered preparation to be made for bending the top sails. We cannot be going to sea! Something is in the wind. A dozen stories bruit about. One of them is that Taou-tae has insulted our flag, and that the Consul and Captain give him until 10 O’clock, Monday morning to salute it and apologize. Some little enthusiasm exhibits itself.

Saturday, 18.

G

_Topsails were bent before breakfast._I did not study to-day, _not even rehearse my morning prayer, improperly so-called._Sent Gleason’s Pictorial to A’Hoy.

 

Page 214

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MARCH, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 19.

A

_Eve of battle. It is the eve of the battle with us! The general impression is that by to-morrow at this time not a few of us will have lost the number of Hiermees. Much has turned up to deepen the impression: A sergeant and two other men tell me they heard Mr. Guest remark to the Captain this morning to the effect that the Taou-tae’s junks were moving into places, to which the Captain replied “I’ll make ‘em move to-morrow.”_We think then (a few dissenting) that the Plymouth will un-moor to-morrow and drop down to fight the Taou-tae’s fleet, and that the Taou-Tae will not give in, but give us battle. The Imperial fleet lies at anchor in full view; not far below the Soo-chow creek, and numbering 1 ship, 1 bark, 2 brigs, 1 top-sail schooner, and 11 junks, all, we believe, well armed and manned. If the Taou-tae’s men have the will, there are enough of them, and they are well enough armed, to gain the victory over our small force; but few, if any of us, fear such a result; we believe that Chinamen are all cowards, and therefore easily conquered. Besides we look to the superiority of our calibre, and skill in using warlike implements. For my part I am not much apprehensive of danger; at least I do’nt believe I am. But to-morrow will tell whether I am afraid of cannon shot or not. I am physically a coward,_but I think I can conquer this constitutional failing. We’ll see.

Monday, 20.

B

_4 O’Clock, P.M._In my opinion we are all completely fooled. The Plymouth un-moored at nine o’clock and dropped down by the long and laborious reaches to a position in the midst of the Taou-tae’s forces. It was near One P.M. when we dropped our anchor for the last time. The men were then piped to dinner, and after dinner the Main Deck was scrubbed and things put to rights. Afterwhich all kinds of rumours began to circulate. But we all expected war in the forenoon and were all deceived, and the affair if half a mystery then is a whole mystery now. _ P.S. I rested from some fatigue after dinner, and after supper, gave some attention to my arithmetical lesson.

Tuesday, 21.

C

_The Taou-tae’s ship Sir H. Compton, laying within a few rods of us, hoisted the American ensign at her fore very early in the day, and at meridian fired a salute of 19 guns. One gun went off like a squib, and the salute was iltimed. The flag remains at her fore all day I believe.

_We got underway in the afternoon and returned to our former anchorage.

D

_P.S. In my hammock at night, and in an evil moment,  almost without thought, I suffered an evil influence to steal over me that resulted in…..self-polution!

Wednesday, 22.

E

_Though I did not study to-day, I employed myself reading one thing and another. I could not study for thinking of my last night’s work. That act is another nail driven into my coffin; another step, and an awful long one, in my downward course. An hour before, and I would not have done it for Gold; and hour _ aye, a minute afterwards, and I would have sacrificed any thing to have undone my work, _ or else I sadly misunderstand myself.

Thursday, 23.

F

Morning. Progressed in my arithmetic._Obtained a favor of the Purser. I tremble at the thought of Mr. Doran’s examining this volume. Well may I! _ We scrubbed hammocks at daylight. =Evening, Read newspapers &c_

Friday, 24.

G

Morning. Repeated over from memory my First Lesson in Arithmetic, as I do every morning. Saturdays and Sundays excepted. Also recapitulated what I had learned before in my Second Lesson, but progressed no further. ___ Evening. Examined throught the British Companion, &c. or Year-Book for 1840-41.

 

Page 215

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MARCH, 1854: 22.

Saturday, 25.

A

—Obtained permission to go ashore. Went in the evening to the Printing Office and effected an arrangement with the Editor by which I am to receive the paper every week at the subscription price (33c per copy), and the purser on the eve of our sailing is to settle my account at the Office.

—Visited my friend A’Hoy in the city. At first I found it difficult to find him. The sentries on watch at the gates allowed me to pass freely, and I penetrated in search of A’Hoy a very great ways into the city. I came across a house in which the Europeans are quartered and had a talk with some of it’s inmates. They fare very well. Before finding A’Hoy I fell in with and made the acquaintance of a European dressed in the full costume of the Chinese Insurgent. The name by which I know him is A’Lye. He considers himself a bona fide Chinaman. I took supper with him a la China and will say more of him anon.         I at last found A’Hoy, just as he was going to dinner. He had removed with his two wives to another residence, this one near the centre of the city. Its apartments, shown to me today, were very sumptuously furnished. A’Hoy must respect me not a little, I passed part of the evening with him and his wife in his bed chamber. He had some considerable presents to make me which I choosed to decline.

Sunday, 26.

B

Rev. Mr. Roberts preached on board. I occupied myself variously.

Monday, 27.

C

—A cold day. Neither in the forenoon nor afternoon I applied myself to study. It was too cold.

Tuesday, 28.

D

—Rehearsed my First Arithmetical Lesson, and devoted the rest of the day to reading. Sent a number of the N. C. Herald to A’Lye; also a lead pencil and some paper together with two magazines. These latter I got in exchange for two of A’Lye’s books which I had brought on board for that purpose.

E

P.S. Mr. Roberts came on board in the evening and brought a very beautiful translated copy of my note to A’hoy. The favor is considerable but late. I cannot send it to A’hoy now, but if I go into the city again I will put it into my friend’s hands.

Wednesday, 29.

F

—Rehearsed my F.A.L., as I will determinedly not fail to do every day (Sundays and Saturdays excepted) during this and the next month.. Devoted the evening to reading and sleep.—I see two or three columns of smoke ascending from the City—my  friends A’Lye and A’Hoy are not living a life of security, though the latter is compensated for the perils of his position by many enjoyments. A’Hoy occupies a splendid house containing rooms that are sumptuously furnished, and two wives share his bed, partake of his prosperity and joys, and perhaps share in solicitude. I see an old nurse and an infant in the house. The latter is well cared for though it is not A’hoys. When I was in the bedroom, merriment prevailed among the women; —they laughed especially to see me don A’hoy’s red silk cap—belonging in the peculiar costume of the Insurgents—and wrap his red sash about my body. This was not to day, but last Saturday. —P.S. This night I perpetrated self pollution.

Thursday, 30.

G

—I neglected my Arithmetic entirely but devoted some hours to light reading. Received & paid money.

Friday, 31.

H

—Yesterday evening a sanguinary conflict took place on the Western sides of the city. It must have been sanguinary. The sharp and successive peals of artilery and small arms that rang in our ears till long after night could not have been for nothing. This attack was by the land forces. The Taou-tae’s lie inactive below the Soo-chow creek (Taotae’s fleet)

P.S. At night I perpetrated self-polution.

 

Page 216

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

April, 1854:22.

A

Pecuniary. My Money Receipts within the preceding months were as follows:

Cash from the Purser 3.50, —Tobacco and Soap, drawn on our mess-bill, converted into money, 72,—Payment of an old due, 12,—Borrowed, 50.—Total, 4.84 ½.

—My Money Expenditure within the preceding month was as follows:

Sent in a letter to Hong Kong for the purchase of a pamphlet entitled “The Susquehanna’s Own”, 50,—Eggs, 15,—Washclothes, 12 ½,—Coffee, 1.50,—Cakes, 50,—Loaned, 50,—Liquidation of old debt, 1.62 ½, —Total, 4.91.

—I also bought upon credit (over and above what I paid for) within the preceding month:

Coffee, 25,—Cakes, 1.50,—Money, 50,—Tobacco, 18,—A N. C. Herald, 25.—Totally 2.68.

Note. The deficiency of 7 cents in my receipt account was occasioned by the following transaction which I didn’t think of when adding up. Near the end of the month I received a plug of tobacco for which I marked against myself 18 c. I afterwards gave this plug to a creditor, and at his own request, charged him 25c.—Note. I perceive after having made up my account that I have inadvertently left out P. Sally’s due. It is 70 cnets, and I have got to pay it.

Saturday, 1.

B

—I cleaned up my accoutrements in the forenoon, and in the afternoon, read.

Sunday, 2.

C

—Obtained permission through Mr. Balch to go ashore, for which my heartfelt thanks. I passed the evening within the City. At A’hoy’s house I put on the red silk cap and blue coat belonging to my friend, and in this attire I rambled alone over a great part of the city. Undoubtedly the Insurgent uniform became me. I brought two N. C. Heralds with me, intending to lend them to the Europeans in Lew’s service; I could not find my way to their quarters, and meeting an insurgent that had deserted from our ship, I gave the papers to him. This man, whose name is Griffiths, tried to avoid being recognized by me, but it was no use. I assured him of my friendship and that I would keep his secret. After my ramble in the city I returned to A’Hoy’s house. He was not at home. I divested myself of the Insurgent attire and assumed my own, and waited an hour the coming of A’Hoy in his apartment. During this time I was amused by the innocent glee and lively playfulness of four little children—two boys and two girls—in whose sports I partially joined. A’Hoy’s two wives behave with great regard towards me; they are not afraid of me, and their husband is not afraid to trust me in their society,—judging from my outward conduct, my conversation and mien, that there is no harm in me. I gave two dozen Navy buttons to A’hoy for his wives to whom these things are rare. To the children I gave some pictures which I brought for that purpose. As I said, I waited the coming of A’hoy. He did not come. I took an affectionate leave of the women and children, and departed to a house on the battlements in the vicinity of the East Gate, where I found Ahoy, and went through the formality of a supper, “china fashion.” Ahoy and I then went to the Fort out side of the East Gate where A’Lye is quartered. I passed the remainder of the day with A’Lye. It was after sundown when I returned to the ship.

Monday, 3.

D

—Expected a visit from A’Lye. He did’nt come.—P.S. Near sundown the U.S. Consul came on board, and in a few minutes a party of marines and blue-jackets (probably 40) were placed under arms and sent ashore. I—lucky dog!—with my drum was among (or “at the head: of) the number. We were drawn up in front of the U.S. Consulate, and thence marched to the rear of the Foreign Settlement, where we were joined by a detachment of British blue-jackets. These

 

Page 217

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

April, 1854: 22.

Monday, 3.

A

soon dropped off as our party marched in the direction of the “East Camp”. Lieut. Guest, under Capt. Kelly, commanded. Meanwhile night drew on. A continual exchange of musketry and artilery between the East Camp and the City enlivened the scene. We halted and the Captain and Mr. G. held a consultation. Two or three balls and one cannon shot whistled near our party. They came from the Imperial Camp. Mr. G proposed to march the party between the city and camp as the only way to reach a fort beyond, which was to be taken. Rather a sanguinary proposal, which was over-ruled. But I was satisfied either way—I conquered the rebellious physique—hurrah for me! From where we had halted we were put in motion again and by circuitous routes over flats and through burial grounds reached a point where several parties of English blue-jackets were drawn up. A number of field pieces were on the ground. The Shanghae Volunteers, a Foreign mililia comprised of British and Americans, and numbering probably 36, were also on the spot. These squadrons combined, and with the artillery, moved onwards in the direction of the Imperial camp, and halted on the road within cannon-shot. The British field pieces were planted and shot sent whizzing into the Imperial Camp. Five or six minutes elapsed and then another shot, and then another. Shell were now brought and three of them through into the camp. It was doubtless with effect. The firing of the Imperialists upon the city slackened and nearly ceased. After this, our little Allied Forces marched back into the Settlement. Some of our party remained ashore under command of an acting lieutenant (passed midshipman) to do patrol duty in the night, and the remainder among whom I and the fifer were included, returned to the Ship.

Tuesday, 4.

B

—Forenoon. Nothing of note occurred on board. The dogs of war, however, are let loose upon the Imperialists. I will take but little note of the operations of the British or ourselves in the ensuing war, even where they fall clearly within my comprehension, but will rely the on the North-China Herald for full and detailed accounts.

—Afternoon—a detachment from our ship was sent ashore to join others from H. M. Ships. Our party, including marines and those acting as artillery-men, numbered between 66 and 75 men. I was there with my drum. (It may be inferred that the fifer was there with his fife) At 3, precisely, the combined British and American Forces, together with the Militia company, moved from the Church, and proceeded on their route to the grounds of an Encampment that was to be taken. When reconnoitring grounds were reached the two Commanders (Capt. O’Callaghan and Comdr. Kelly) halted and devised their plan of attack. We then separated, and the Plymouth detachment marched to occupy the position assigned to it. A 12 lb. howitzer made up our battery (with two additional guns worked by Foreign Residents). With these pieces several shot and shell were thrown into the Fortified camp, and thrown with effect. There was no return; yet abundant evidence evinced the fact of there being a vast multitude of people and flags in the fortification. The lime came when we were ordered to charge,—I mean to storm. It was intended to be done in a military manner, but the intention was defeated: there was a general rush for the battlements, & order ceased. Now ensued the fight. I kept up with the first rank while it was a rank, having infused myself into a recklessness which men have since dignified by the name of courage. A man in front fell dead; I dropped my drum and seized his musket; I obtained possession of it with a little difficulty, for he clinched it with a

 

Page 218

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

April, 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 4.

death gripe. I did not think of obtaining possession of the fallen man’s cartridges until it was too late. The men had retreated when he fell, and after possessing myself of his musket I retreated too, not caring to remain long in so dangerous a place, but if I had thought of it in time I would surely have stopped for the ammunition. I begged a few cartridges, however, and when the men scattered, each to fight as it were upon his own hook, I followed without fear the commanding lieutenant who lead the way to eligible positions on the corner of the fort, and while the fight lasted I fired my balls judiciously into the embrasures and over the wall in hopes they would do some execution; as to men, I did not see any to aim at, though I was very near the moat the whole time. At last an English marine appeared on the ramparts from within, which announced a complete victory. Our random shooting was stopped. A number of British blue-jackets and marines now appeared on the top of the wall and three deafening cheers in which all parties joined were given. The British alone entered entered the camp. They in returning to the settlement were loaded with trophies. We carried off only a few flags that were thrown across the moat to us. Thus ended this engagement. There was very little real fighting. A little skirmishing was afterwards done by the English. We returned in triumph to the settlement. All the marines except the O. Sergt, the fifer, and myself, were quartered for the night at the U.S. Consulate. By the way, I did’nt see my brother musician during the engagement, nor after it was over, until we had marched away, when he rejoined me with a musket on his shoulder. I don’t know for a certainty how he behaved; I think though that he regulated his conduct more by prudence than valor, abstractedly. Our loss was one man killed. One was wounded dangerously and two lightly.

Wednesday, 5.

B

—I was ashore all day with a musket. The came captured yesterday was now totally destroyed by fire and rakes. I walked over the ruins.

Thursday, 6.

C

—It rained in the night and through the day. A letter was read by Mr. Guest to those on board which conveyed the thanks of Capt. O’Callaghan for our “gallant” and efficient service during the past three days—Perfectly welcome, Sir, perfectly welcome! We are all highly lattered. Very few of our crew are on board; the rest are ashore on duty.

Friday, 7.

D

—Turned out at 12, midnight, to go on post at the cabin door, and felt very sick and loose in the bowels. This continued upon me all day, though’ at the present moment I feel considerably relieved. Foul stomach the cause I reckon.

Saturday, 8.

E

Entirely recovered from my sickness. Went to the N.C. Herald Office twice.

Sunday, 9.

F

The fifer and I have regular post duty to do now at the cabin door—4 hours on and 8 hours off with dog watch of 2 hours. This is a temporary arrangement necessitated by the stringency of duty in the guard; there being four posts and only ten men.—Wrote to my mother on the back of a N.C. Herald’s Extra.—P.S. Perpetrated self-polution in the night.

 

Page 219

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

April: 1854: 22.

Monday, 10.

A

—When I sat down after supper to write my daily note herein the fifer approached and caused me considerable emotion by gradually announcing the fact that in the still hours of last night he had while on post at the Cabin door, availed himself of the opportunity to examine my journal—or those passages in it (readily found) which referred to the capture of the Entrenched Camps on the 4th unit. I judge from what he says that he did not read any other note than these under that date and succeeding, and these he was anxious to see, believing that cognizance was taken in them of his own conduct in the melée. Up to the present time I have kept this volume in a ditty box unsecured by lock and key. In future and until I can get a good lock and key, I will entrust the book for security to the keeping of the Captain’s Steward, a man in whose honesty of heart I place unbounded confidence. I do’nt think Bill will ever see these pages again, and I reckon he regrets having let out his secret. I do’nt believe that his avowal, which was not straight-forward and candid, proceeded from any purity of feeling;—but from whatever it proceeded, I am neverless much indebted to him for it, and will profit by the circumstance. The examination was in a manner the work of conspiracy, as I learn from Bill’s statement, in which a Corporal Farran was associated. The corporal is a false friend. I will take a lesson from him. Meanwhile I may thank my stars for my narrow escape from present infamy. If Bill had have turned back or a page or so, his eye might have lighted upon some such passage as 214, D, and there would have been an end at once to my present bright reputation. I know the story would have passed from mouth to mouth like wildfire. But as the gods have willed it—I am safe!—and breathe freely.

B

—Not after last night’s work (my own-not the fifer’s) could I return successfully to the prosecution of my studies. I slept away the day.

Tuesday, 11.

C

—I did little else than sleep away the day,—oppressed in spirit,—loathing myself.

Wednesday, 12.

D

—Occupied myself while on post. Wrote a note the second time to A’Lye, and sent it by a Chinaman. I wrote one yesterday and sent it by the Bomboatman, who carried it to one wrong place, and returned with a copy of the N. C. Herald (April 8) !

Thursday, 13.

E

—H.E. the Taoutac, accompanied by dignitary whom I understand to be Admiral Poh, visited the ship, and dined on board. He came and went under a salute of 3 guns each time. On the quarter-deck he was received by the Captain and Officers in the epaulets—marines presenting arms. His numerous suits followed everywhere except into the cabin. I was orderly at the Cabin door and passed the time agreeably. One of the suits, wearing an official cap mounting a white glass ball and set off by two sleeping squirrel’s tails, entered into conversation with me. He says our going to fight the other day at the instigation of the English Consul was not right. That the English are very bad men. That they gave provocations day after day to the native troops before the latter retaliated.

Friday, 14.

F

—Went to the Printing Office in the forenoon, having obtained reluctant permission from the Captain. I also performed an errand for one of our men, and paid a short visit to A’Lye.

Saturday, 15.

G

I read miscellaneously in some parts of the day, but principally did nothing.

 

Page 220

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae)

APRIL, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 16.

A

I am abandoned to listlessness,—lost to energy. I am hardly able to write this note; but it is imperative for me to do so; I have made the effort, and you see—it is done!

(Monday, 17.)

B

I was ashore in the evening at the funeral of the Captain of the “Rose Standish”, who died of wounds received in the storming of the Encampment, April 4. His funeral was military. A detachment of marines from the British Stormer “Encounter”, and our own marine guard were on this occasion incorporated into one company, the command of which was assumed by our Orderly Sergeant. I acquitted myself very fairly on the march to and from the Burial Ground. The drummer of H.M.S. Encounter was associated with me in the music, but left the beating for the better part of it, for me to do, and it is lucky that my drum was in good atmostpheric order. I liked the “Royal drummer” very much.

Tuesday, 18.

C

I read newspapers while on watch at the cabin door, and this is the sum of all that I do. I cannot re-apply myself to study. I am lost to exertion. I am I do’nt know what.

Wednesday, 19.

D

On watch I pass the time reading. I’ll make an effort next Monday to resume my studies. I expect the Susquehanna from Hong Kong in five days at most. I’ll be glad to see the drummer—Angels guard him!

Thursday, 20.

E

Addressed a note to A’Lye, and sent it by the Captain’s present comprador, who is very serviceable to me in this way. I had an interview with Robt. Edelman last night, and sent to A’Lye an account of his (Edelman’s) arrest and confinement in irons, where he awaits a trial for desertion. Edelin had deserted a few days ago and joined the Rebels, but information of his whereabouts being communicated to our officers, he was recaptured. Hence his acquaintanceship with A’Lye whom he calls “Fucky Bill.” I am trying to establish a sure, safe, and regular medium of communication with A’Lye. If I succeed I will be of service to him in more ways than one.—H.M. Consul (Mr. Alcook) visited our wounded to-day.—I passed great part of to-day reading a book entitled the “White Slave.”—Last night between 3 and 4 ,A.M. while on post at the cabin door I was on the verge of self-abuse, and the thought of J.W. Hibbs alone restrained me. I was near—very near it!

(Friday, 21.)

F

I came off watch at 12 O’clock last night and in my hammock almost immediately afterwards perpetrated self-polution. There are none more sensible than I am of the extreme wickedness of this abhorrent practice, and of the certain physical misery which it entails—yet with this before my eyes I am a victim—as it were, an unwilling victim to the indulgence (habit). I know that I will suffer here and hereafter.

G

A’Lin, the Second Chief of the Rebels was entertained in the Ward-room this evening.

Saturday, 22.

H

Capt. Kelly gave me permission to go ashore, upon reporting which to Lieut. Balch my liberty was cancelled. I had not first obtained Mr. B’s permission to ask the Captain.

 

Page 221

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

APRIL, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 23.

A

Early in the day Lieut. Balch intimated to me that I might go ashore to-morrow morning. I anticipate much pleasure in visiting again my friends A’hoy and A’Lye in the city. I principally desire to familliarize myself with the streets of Shanghae, and the domocil of A’hoy, so that I may be a guide to John & Emery when they come. When I have introduced John to the acquaintanceship of the Rebel commissary I will have little more inducement to revisit the city.—If I go ashore to-morrow I will take two boxes of U.S. percussion caps in my jacket pocket as trifling present either to A’Lye or A’hoy. I obtained these caps (50 in number) on an occasion of our being sent ashore on service when I voluntarilly carried a musket, and retained them when I came back to the ship. Appropriating these caps as I propose, will be embezzlement to the amount of 25 cents. I will do it unhesitatingly. The Commissary A’hoy showed me three or four dozen boxes of these same U.S. caps which had been given to him by the first lieutenant of the Saratoga. The act of the lieutenant was certainly Embezzlement to the amount of 9 or 10 dollars.

(Monday, 24.)

B

Knowing that my tour of post this morning would be from 8 to 12, and wishing pass the whole day on liberty, I agreed yesterday with the fifer to stand a tour of post for him in the night provided he would take my post to-day, an arrangement advantageous to himself, but from which he ungenerously dissented after I had stood about half an hour in his turn. The fifers behavior in this case, considered in all lights in which I can see it, was in the highest degree mean and ungenerous. I will never forgive him. At meridian I reported to the officer of the deck that I had permission to go ashore, and jumped into one of the ship’s sampans which landed me in a few minutes at the whalf. I repaired directly to the fort outside of the Little East Gate where I found A’Lye and gave him this week’s N.C. Herald to read, afterwhich I went into the city in quest of A’hoy. I readily found the neighborhood of Ahoy’s house, but was puzzled for a while to find the entrance to the house itself. Giving up the search for a time I followed a Chinaman through some streets and over some bridges, and visted several places of interest among which was a Hall which from it’s furniture I took to be the Cheheen’s Office, and an eminence of rocks from which I enjoyed an excellent view of the city. Returning again to the vicinity of A’hoy’s house I renewed my search for the entrance and found it. A little boy in the house whom Ahoy calls his own, testified a joy in seeing me. I sent him ahead to announce my arrival and in due time reached the inner apartment where Ahoy domesticates himself. Here I passed the evening. Indulging sometimes in the tea, cakes, and preserved fruits, with which Ahoy’s table is always laden. When I arrived, some of ‘Hoy’s acquaintances were with him, but very soon these all left but one who remained the evening and smoked opium. This opium smoker testified much fondness for me. For the novelty of the thing I smoked a little out of Ahoy’s pipe and the one belonging to this man, they preparing the drug for smoking. Towards sundown I accompanied ‘Hoy to the house where he lived before and shortly took my leave. I visited A’Lye, and then returned to the ship.—I find on returning that the fifer and I are released from doing any further duty on the cabin door.

 

Page 222

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

APRIL, 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 25.

A

大好打鼓手

This morning when I had nearly finished my last note on the preceding page, Mr. Guest stepped up and took the book out of my hands!—I directed his notice to the note that I was writing (seeing that he was intent upon inspecting some portion of my journal) and hurriedly requested him to not read anything on the same or preceding page. I then handed him my little book which I entitle “The Plymouth’s Own”, saying “This, Sir, is a fair specimen of my writing in this way,” and to my great relief he exchanged the Journal for the Plymouth’s Own instanter.—I received this morning the wooden stamp or type of my Chinese name and rank. I contains five characters and only cost ten cents. The marginal impression is the first trial of its efficacy. The characters are Tae-hoy ta ku jin, meaning “Tae-hoy, the drummer.”

Wednesday, 26.

B

U.S. Steamer Susquehanna arrived in the evening. I sent my little dispatches in the first boat going to the Steamer, and though several hours have elapsed, I have as yet received no intelligence from either the Drummer or Private Rose. John wo’nt learn from me to be prompt an early in communication.—Mr. Guest, exciting my apprehension, cast a gloom over my spirits yesterday, which to-day is dissipated by the same gentleman’s exhibiting a little kindness towards me. I am yet in no mind to take up my studies. I will think seriously of the matter to-night.

Thursday, 27.

C

Wrote to Hibbs and sent my note by Sergt. Grant, and awaited anxiously all day for some written communication form the Steamer, but none came. The supercilious little rascal!—Meanwhile I read and enjoyed and gathered instruction from a work entitled Passages from the Diary of a Physician, By Sam Warren, F.R.S.—H.E. the U.S. Minister landed from the steamer under a salute of 17 guns, yards manned and music playing.—During all the forenoon and apart of the afternoon a fierce contest raged between the Rebel garrison and the besieging forces on the South side of the city. The report of every cannon acted upon my nerves and sent an indescribably painful sensation throughout my frame. This was never the case before. But now the conflict has ceased—Ahoy and A’Lye I trust are unharmed—the city is not retaken, and my little friends at ‘Hoy’s house are preserved from massacre—the perturbation of my mind is allayed.

Friday, 28.

D

His Excellency the U.S. Minister visited the ship in the forenoon, was received with the usual military honors, and departed under a salute of 17 guns, yards manned. He also visited the French Steamer and met with like honors.—Tranquility reigned, or appeared to reign throughout this day. No heavy assaults were made on the city.—I asked permission to go on board the Susquehanna but was refused.—I am reading the first volume of “Passages from the Diary of a late Physician”.

Saturday, 29.

E

—At 4 ,P.M. I went ashore with the marines to the funeral of J.E. Brine, Esq. late a British subject, who died of the effect of wounds received on the 4th inst. Detachments of Royal marines were there, with marines from the Susquehanna, and brass band, and British, American, and French diplomatic and Naval Officers in their splendid uniforms. I met John and Emery.

Sunday, 30.

F

—Visited Emery Hibbs and passed John with a mock frigidity as he assumed towards me a real.

 

Page 223

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MAY, 1854: 22.

A

Pecuniary. Within the preceding month I came into possession from time to time of money to amounts and in the ways here following: Payment of old dues, 77; Sale of Tobacco & soap, 50; Sale of a book (Murray’s Grammar) 1.00; Present from Mr. Babbit, 50; Compensation for services, 12, Sale of cast-off shoes, 12; Money received for copies of the N.C. Herald, 2.50; do. from members composing the N.C. Herald Club, 66 1/5;—Total 6.17. (A discrepancy)

—And from time to time I expended money in the manner and to amounts here following: For Cakes, Coffee, Dates, & Eggs which I consumed myself, 86; For Washing, 12; In Liquidation of Existing Debt, 3.21; For a Wooden stamp of Tae-hoy, 10; other stamps & implements, 37 ½ .

—And I increased my Existing liabilities in the ways following:

Incurred for cakes, coffee, & sardines, 75; For Washing, 3; For Copies of the Herald, 6.16.

Monday, 1.

B

YESTERDAY EVENING I visited the Susquehanna and passed a few hours pleasantly with Emery. I saw John but declined the least interchange of friendly courtesy, or even recognition further than what circumstances imperatively demanded. John exhibits, and ever has exhibited, towards me an undisguised frigidity to match which I have assumed a mock but marked coolness towards him. I will never visit him again, nor write to him, nor renew any testimony of my regard for him while his present condition of mind lasts—and that may be for years. But my fridgitdity is only disguised fondness—yet I will maintain it, and my behavior towards John shall as cool as the temperature of my heart is warm. What will he think of

C

it? or will he think of it at all? God bless him!—Sent a note to Emery requesting him to find a book (Vol. 1 of Passages from the Diary of a Physician) which, having it in my pocket, I accidentally left behind in the Steamer yesterday, and keep it for me. (I hope he will read it.) I also requested him to get a transcript of John’s name in Chinese and send it to me, and finally to tear up my note and not mention its contents to his brother.—Saturday night I made this agreement with Bill, never expecting that he would attempt the performance of his part, nor intending to adhere to my own promises. We agreed to avail ourselves of the opportunity of Sunday evening to seduce John and Emery into an act of paederasty! I would get Emery by himself, and he would undertake the management of John!—In the evening ensuing I unfolded this plot to the one whom I was to lead into evil, and counselled him to beware of such poisonous friendship as that entertained towards him and his brother by Bill. Last night when I and the fifer met to inform each other of the result of our scheme, I invented a connected narrative of what I did to consummate an evil purpose with Emery, “yet” said I, “it was no use; Emery rejected my overtures with astonishment and anger,” or to that effect. And Bill told, in his turn, as big a lie as I had expected he would, but admitted that he did not consummate any evil (it is my term) with John though he proposed it—And (the infernal liar!) that John intimated a willingness to do as Bill asked, at the same time regretting the want of an opportunity!—This arch villain! Bent on poisoning the minds of those who come within the sphere of his influence! He is the most persevering, zealous, systematic detractor and trumpeter of imfamy that I ever heard of. He is a devil! I am done with him.

D

—I essayed in vain this morning to return to my studies. Throwing my Arithmetic aside again I picked up Vol. III of the “Passages” and whiled away the day.

 

Page 224

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MAY, 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 2.

A

Occupied all day in altering my best pantaloons to fit me, and in lining my jacket collar and cuffs with red flannel. Chas. Thomas, an intimate, did the best part of the sewing for me. Rumours are afloat that the French meditate an attack upon the Rebels. I would like to go ashore.

Wednesday, 3.

B

In the forenoon I sewed upon my jacket, assisted by Thomas; and before dinner I engaged a tailor in the Guard to work new button holes, &c. My object is to fancify as much as good taste will allow the best jacket I have, and all to retain the favorable notice of drummer and fifer Hibbs, who in their judgement of man and things are necessarilly guided by outward appearances. In the afternoon I slept an hour or so, and then read the “Passages &c.”

—A’Lin the Second Chief of the Rebels visited the ship in the evening and was agreably entertained by the Officers. I thought this an excellent opportunity to send two flowered silk handkerchiefs to A’hoy, and accordingly rolled them compactly and neatly in the paper, wrote A’hoy’s name on the outside, and gave the package to Mr. Arnold. The latter kindly promised to hand it to A’lin, but the Second Chief had hardly departed before a messenger boy came to me with the package, and a message from Mr. A to the effect that it “would’nt do to send it by A’ling”! I wish I could go ashore, if only once a week and four hours each time.—P.S. Received notice from the O. Sergeant that reveille, tattoo, retreat, coulors, and all the calls of the drum will be dispensed with until further orders. This is because the sound of the drum has a dangerous effect upon the brain of a wounded man lying below.

Bottle of Wine with the fifer. Both of us sat out on the gang-board and listened to the tattoo on board of the Susquehanna. The music itself was a treat, but in addition thereto we had a bottle of wine! This Bill had bought, he said, from Raines, the Ward-room steward. Price $2. At least Bill affirmed that it cost him two dollars. He may have only given one. Bill after having drank half of the bottle’s contents, sought me, and I shared in the other half, though I contributed nothing towards the expense.

Thursday, 4.

C

Returned to duty at the cabin door until further orders. Sent a note to J.E. Hibbs. Being provoked this evening into treating an old man with contempt, I almost immediately repented of the act, and asked the old man’s forgiveness, at the same time presenting him with some sweet-cakes. I can not be at ease after any act of disrespect towards a person advanced in honorable age. I procrastinate my studies.

Friday, 5.

D

I was on post in the morning four hours. In the evening, four hours, I employed myself sewing. A strange rumour is afloat respecting Music Hibbs and the boatswain of the Susquehanna. Wrote to Jacob A. Rose for information on the subject.—Finished reading Vol. iii of the “Passages &c.

Saturday, 6.

E

No reply to my note of yesterday. I judge nothing has gone amiss with the drummer. Angels guard him¡¡ Is it odd to see my notes of exclamation reversed? They shall be reversed while John continues indifferent to my affection to be a mark of the fact. It is not thus with Emery. Angels guard him!! Received from the comprador a little brass case for ink. Sent my two silk handerchiefs to Ahoy.

 

Page 225

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)

MAY, 1854: 22.

A

—Bill came to me in the forenoon with information of the drummer and fifer of the Susquehanna’s going on liberty. I asked and happily obtained the Captain’s permission for Bill and me to accompany them. We went ashore in the evening and together visited two public houses in quest of John and Emery; but not finding them, I parted from Bill and repaired to the City. At the Walter Battery I found A’Lye and gave him my copy of yesterday’s N.C. Herald together with a Chinese romance in English entitled “The Rambles of the Emperor—Ti in Keang-nan.” I then went inside the city. Ahoy was smoking his opium with a  companion when I arrived at his house. I missed on this visit my little Chinese friend, a bright intelligent boy that I had always met before in my visits to the house. I can hardly conceive what rank or position Ahoy holds among the Rebels. Drummer Schultse always styled him lieutenant. Mr. Beardslee some months ago told me that Ahoy was Commissary Chief. I do’nt know where he got his information from. To-day I learned the names of the Chiefs from Ahoy. He says that Lew is No.1; A’fuh is No.2; A’Lin is No. 3; A’fung is No.4; A’Chung is No.5; A’Pung is No.6; Cum-long-tae is No.7; and that he himself is No.24. Whatever he is in whatever department, he lives in the enjoyment of luxury, and his dress and demeanor bespeak rank and consequence among the Insurgents.

—After remaining awhile at Ahoy’s house I accompanied him to a stabling establishment where two horses were saddled for us. I enjoyed a ride through the city, and then, when the horses were put up, accompanied Ahoy across the Yang-king-pang. In this exit from the city we got over the walls by means of a ladder placed for us. Ahoy seldom or never goes to the Yang-king-pang by way of the Little East Gate, and the other gate is walled up. After passing a very pleasant evening with Ahoy and some of his friends over the creek, & partaking in an entertainment a la Chinois, I returned to the Water Batter as A’Lye wished to see me again before I went off to the ship. He promised to procure me a handsome “joss” for the drummer of the Susquehanna. He gave me two letters to post; one was directed to “Mr. John Sheehan, No. 14 Windsor Place, South Work Bridge Road, London,” and the other to “Lieut. Colonel Henry Soundwith, 8th Bombay Native Infantry, Bombay.” At sundown I went on board the “Susquehanna”. John and Emery had not been ashore. I think the story of their having been was an invention of Bill’s. Emery, I regret, is suffering under an indisposition. John greeted me cordially for which I thank him. Immediately after sundown I returned on board the “Plymouth”.

Monday, 8.

B

Read in the “Passages” Vol. I which was returned to me yesterday. Study out of the question.

Tuesday, 9.

C

—Passed the forenoon in various little minor occupations. —On post from meridian to 4.P.M. Much occupied in thinking of J.& E. H. Of my future prospects, which are not inviting. On the question of my mental capacity: Can I be the man that my father was? Law is out of the question as a profession, but may I not study it as an amateur, and arise as a public man in Virgina to the social position vacated by my father, looking for subsistence to the cultivation of a little farm? —Thinking also of Mr. Doran, who was occupied with some chests near my posts. What can he think of me? What will he think of me when the time comes for him to read this book? He will ask it certainly, and how can I evade complying with his request?—

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae)
MAY: 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 9.

A

As regards submitting this book to the Purser’s inspection in case he demands it I see only one course to pursue, and that is to give it into the dreaded hands of Mr. D. He is the only man entitled to read these pages, and after that dreadful ordeal is passed I close them forever. I believe that Mr. Doran has a passable — a favorable opinion of me, and a little esteem. I feel that the perusal of this book will draw down upon me his contempt and abhorrence.

Wednesday, 10.

B

On post in the forenoon I did little else than walk and ruminate. I might turn those hours to advantage. In the afternoon I slept two hours. Warm weather has returned, and with it, my inclination to indolence. — His Excellency the U.S. Minister left to-day for Nankin in the little steamer Confucius, chartered, I believe, for the trip. — P.s. At night rain, thunder, & lightning.

Thursday, 11.

C

Sewed and attended to some little affairs. Sent a note to A’Lye by Chas. Thomas. The latter is transferred from the ship to do duty in the Guard quartered near the Race Course. He will probably remain ashore during the period of our stay here, and may, if he pleases, be of great service to me. My studies lie neglected. The condition of my mind is anything than serene and happy. — Ther. 80°.

Friday, 12.

D

Received a verbal message from A’Lye. He says it is not so easy as I think to get the “handsome joss” which I want for the drummer of the Susquehanna, but that he will get one as soon as he can, and send it to me. Chas. Thomas has so far executed my errand well. It is more than two weeks since I asked A’Lye for the “joss” in question. — In the forenoon I passed the time looking over my “Easy Lessons in Chinese”. I have half a mind to study the language. — From meridian to 4 , P.M. I was on the post at the cabin door. My present condition would be one of considerable happiness were I not bereft of that one thing — liberty. I have more leisure than I employ either in amusement or to my advantage. I have wages adequate to my necessary expenses. I have good clothing and plenty to eat; — but with all this I am a miserable prisoner, — and my incarceration is without dignity and attracts no sympathy. At intervals of a week or two weeks I screw my courage up to the sticking point, and with as much trepidation as a coward would feel when about to sue for his life, petition the first lieutenant or the Captain for “permission to go ashore in the evening”. And though I am more favored than a great many others in this respect insomuch as I am seldom refused when I do ask, yet I can see that even when liberty is granted me, it is done unwillingly. If I should go ashore as often as twice a week I know that I would be morally improved by the circumstance. My habits on shore are not such as debase — mean, despicable as I am on ship board. I will say this for myself that in my conduct on liberty and in my intercourse with the natives here and elsewhere I have invariably acted up to the dictates of a mind and heart at once refined & humanized [Except that one evil moment in Singapore]. I have gained the respect of all with whom I have came in contact on liberty. —

Saturday, 13.

J.E. HIBBS

Received in the forenoon a type of Emery’s name which I had ordered. It is miserably cut, as witness the impression on the left of this note. The cost is 15 cents. I reckon the comprador only paid ten or eight. Read to-day’s Herald and embodied the leading items of intelligence in a note which I sent to A’Lye by Thomas.

On Post at the Cabin Door, U.S. Ship Plymouth, in Shanghae; 11 O’ clock at night, May 12, 1854.

I just this hour conceive and entertain this thought of learning the Chinese language with a view of using it in establishing myself in business in Japan. And having once conceived and entertained the idea, a vast weight of oppression is removed from my mind. I am half determined and ready to say “Live or die, stand or fall, sink or swim,” this shall be my plan of life. In this state of mind I write these lines with a lead pencil, intending to ink them over tomorrow. Direct me O Heaven to that path of life in which I may best promote the glory & contribute to diffuse thy benevolence. In the 22nd year of my age. Van Buskirk, drummer.

 

Page 227

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)
MAY: 1854: 22.

Sunday, 14.

A

Visited the Susquehanna in the evening. Passed the time agreably with John, who turns out to be quite a proficient in Chinese learning, insomuch as he writes 打鼓人 (ta ku yan) and his full name with neatness and facility. I promised to lend my “Easy Lessons” to him. Emery was in improved health. Learning from John that the U.S. Minister’s Interpreter was (or is) a Chinese student from the Anglo-Chinese College I subsequently thought of the numbers which that institution must supply annually to the world, and my heart sunk within me at the prospect open to me in the field of interchangeable literature. Indeed the idea rendered me perfectly miserable on my passage back to the Plymouth. I am inclined to abandon all thought of learning the Chinese language or going to Japan.

Monday, 15.

B

Sent John my “Easy Lessons” with a long note. Until that book is returned I suspend my study of Chinese characters. I am determined by all means (at all events) to commit to memory the forms and meaning of the 214 radicals. When that is done I will decide whether to abandon the study or not. — Mr. Babbit loaned me a file of N.-C. Heralds of last year. — A’Lin, the Rebel chief, is at dinner in the Ward-room, A lady also. I saw the Chief and this lady shaking hands.

Tuesday, 16.

C

U.S. St. Susquehanna went down the river. Previous to which I had occasion to send a note to J.W.H. — J.W.H. received a letter last Sunday from home that contained some very gratifying intelligence reporting an increase of pay allowed to apprentices under a new law. I did not learn this from John, but today from the Orderly Sergeant. The intelligence is that apprenticed drummers and fifers are entitled to one fourth more pay per month from the date of the expiration of the first four years of their service until the date of their discharge. The following is the route by which this news came. Mr. Hibbs, who is employed (I understand) in the Pension Officer, embodied the intelligence in a letter to John, received and read at the time of my visit last Sunday. John communicated the intelligence to Capt. Slack; Capt. Slack to Sergt. Grant, and Sergt. Grant to me.

Wednesday, 17.

D

Uneasy condition of mind — Slight cold, effect of change of weather — Passed the day reading the file of last year’s N.-C. Heralds obtained from Mr. Babbit, except a couple of hours in the evening during which I slept.

Thursday, 18.

E

Passed the greater part of this day in slothful inactivity. Mine and the fifer’s duty at the Cabin is considerably lightened in consequence of one of the regular orderlies being returned to his post. Bill and I have now only one man’s tour of duty to perform between us. The Chinese armed ship Sir H. Comptom and an armed brig in the Taou-tae’s service sailed up the river this evening. In passing the Rebel battery a fire was kept open by the ships which the Rebels tardily returned. No damage done I reckon on either side.

Friday, 19.

F

Troubled with an exceedingly disagreeable cold in the head.

Saturday, 20.

G

Cleaned up my accoutrements — Read — Slept — Walked — Conversed — Laughed — Thought. Mused — laughed — Conversed — Walked — Took a nap — Read — And feel miserable.

 

Page 228

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae)
MAY: 1854: 22.

Sunday, 21.

A

A Minister of the Episcopal Church performed Divine Service in the forenoon. The preacher seemed to be a talented propounder of religion, and besides the Prayer being beautiful on this occasion, the delivery of the Sermon was impressive. — I employed myself principally in the afternoon reading over some N.-C. Heralds, and in looking over and reading aloud the accounts of Ghengis Khan and Timour Beg in Ramsay’s Hist. Vol. 2.

Monday, 22.

B

A rainy day. — Employed in the forenoon reading. — In the afternoon I listened to news read aloud from a London paper, and afterwards went to sleep. — I believe I will set about writing a long letter to my mother. I must allude distantly to my half-formed project of going to Japan. It would never do to open my whole mind on that subject. I will try to write a long letter and one that may withstand the criticism of my kind aunt that judges of me by my letters. This night my slate shall be put into requisition.

Tuesday, 23.

C

Passed the whole day reading Vol. 2 of “Passages from the Diary of a Physician”.

Wednesday, 24.

D

The QUEEN’S birth-day! Every one of Her Majesty’s ships in port, together with the French steamer, and the opium-receiving vessels (laying down the reach) was dressed out in flags during the day. At meridian a salute of 21 guns was fired simultaneously by every British, French, and American man-of-war in post. — I passed the greater part of the day reading “Passages” Vol. 2.

Thursday, 25.

E

I received this morning the type of “John Wes-ley Hibbs” in Chinese characters as per margin. For this price of work the Comprador charges me 30 cents — just twice as much, I think, as the true price. I also received a brass inking apparatus and a stick of first quality India ink. The whole — type included — cost 50 cents. These will make an acceptable present for the Drummer of the Susquehanna — Angels guard him!

—Throughout the early part of this day a fierce contest raged between the Rebels and their besiegers, who made a general attack by land and water upon the city. The Sir H. Compton has come down the river, having in the engagement this morning received some considerable damage from the guns of the Water Battery. It rained heavily in the middle of the day. All is quiet now (1 , P.M.), and the City remains uncaptured. — En passant I hear it said that A’Lin has run away!

Friday, 26.

F

Returned this morning to beating the calls, &c. as heretofore. We have still a tour of duty at the cabin door to perform between us. — I fixed up my drum in the forenoon. In the afternoon I read some numbers of Graham’s Magazine. I wish I could go ashore, but I am afraid to ask. The negroes among us are objects of envy. Happy devils! they fare better by far than their shipmates of a lighter complexion. They have liberty every day — at least I have my attention drawn almost every day to some one or two of them returning from liberty. Three of them last night having returned in a state of intoxication kept up a noisy quarrel on the forecastle until a late hour. — P.S. I am once more in the dust — Covered again with shame — Sunk in pollution. This night * * * — The disgusting detail need not be expressed. I am sick at heart.

 

Page 229

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China.)
MAY, 1854: 22
Saturday, 27.

A

Forenoon. Occupied sewing. – Afternoon. Read the news. Slept. I am going on post from 8 P.M. to 12, when I will read over the Notice of Budhism in China, &c. contained in to-day’s paper. This paper (the N.-C. Herald) costs me $1.33c per month. I allow five certain men to read it before I do myself. These are Williams the Quartermaster, Jamesson a Seaman, Berry Capt. Afterguard, Mr. Babbit the Carpenter, and Sergt. Grant. I refuse all others. – and in so doing, incur considerable ilwill.

(Sunday, 28.)

B

I passed the evening ashore. Thanks to the kindness of Mr. Balch! McFarland, for whom I obtained permission, accompanied me throughout the evening, and, through his boorishness and clumsiness, was no inconsiderable impediment to my own enjoyment. I first went to the Water Battery, and then to A’hoy’s in the city. As an instance of Bill’s clumsiness of behavior at Ahoy’s I may mention that he (on one occasion) preferred mounting a table to rest himself, rejecting the chair proferred him. The children at Ahoy’s afforded me amusement now as heretofore, and at another house I made friends with a playful urchin of nine years, and a more staid and intelligent boy of fourteen. The latter read and wrote Chinese with facility – that is, he pronounced 太平王 and 大好 when I wrote the characters, and afterwards pencilled Tae-ping-wang himself with neatness. I love children between the ages of seven and fourteen. Ahoy having obtained horses, we rode through the streets, and visited that part of the city wall where a continual fighting is kept up between the rebels and Imperials encamped outside. This was a dangerous place; I wanted intrepidity to look over the wall to view the besiegers, but obtained a squint at their camp, through the opening of a port hole (embrasure). Here the rebels were busily engaged repairing a breach in their wall. I took leave of Ahoy at about four O’clock, bringing with me an image for Hibbs, and a few flowers – remnant of a bunch which ‘Hoy had collected for me in the course of a walk, and of which I was robbed almost completely by the females at Ahoy’s. It is not unpleasant to be robbed of such a treasure by young and interesting females. We took super a la Chinois at the Water Battery. A’Lye was intoxicated and very talkative. He has great confidence in the strength of his fort, and says the Imperialists will not take it nor the city in a hundred years. Ahoy tells me (I am sure falsely) that the “Inside-men” number 1500 Cantonese & 3, or 4000 Fokienese and Chin-chewmen, besides 3000 Shang-hae men. He says the “insidemen” have no fear, but that the “Out-side men” have plenty fear. I took leave of A’Lye at 5 P.M. or later. At the first French guard house on my way from the city I encountered one of our corporals in uniform and in-toxicated. Messieurs were very polite and agreable. Being invited to drink some wine I pledged “L’Empereur Napoleon la reine Victoria et Abdul-Medjed”. I noticed particularly a young and brightly intelligent boy whom I invited to visit me in the Plymouth. He seemed pleased with me and promised to visit me next Dimanche. I must work hard next week to scrape together a sufficiency of mots Française to meet the emergency. At 6,30 .P.M. I returned to the ship, pleased and benefited by my visit.

Monday, 29.

C

Borrowed Mr. Doran’s French Dictionary. This volume contains also an abridged French Grammar.

Tuesday, 30.

D

Have thrown aside every thing else in the line of study, and give myself wholly to la Française.

Wednesday, 31.

E

Passed the whole forenoon preparing an inscription to paste on the back of Hibb’s image. I am dissatisfied with the one already pasted on. I slept away nearly all the afternoon.

F

Physical. In the night of April 23, I suffered invol. emission for the 8th time. In the night of May 2, for the 9th time. And for the 10th time in the night of May 20.

 

Page 230

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)
JUNE, 1854: 22.
A

Pecuniary. My Receipts within the preceding month were as follows: – Soap & Tobacco, 76, – Scissors, 22. = My Expenditures were as follows: – Liquidation of debt, 70 – Two yds. cotton sheeting (my own use), 18, – To pay a Chinaman for taking a note to the Susquehanna, 6, – Boat-hire, 25, – To pay an old marine for doing a tour of duty for me while I was on liberty, 25, – Coffee from time to time, 36, – Dates, 6, – Cakes from time to time, 55, – Type (“J.E.Hibbs”) 16, – Wash-clothes, 6, – Chinese type and printing apparatus for J.W. Hibbs, 50, – Unaccounted for, 10. My Debts were increased within the preceding month to amounts and in the ways following: – For tailoring, 25, – For cakes (my own consumption, 100, – For coffee, 91.

Thursday, 1.

B

Passed a restless night. – Studied the conjugation of Être, to be. – Made a third inscription for Hibb’s “Queen”.

Friday, 2

C

4,P.M. Therm. 88° on the GunDeck. – Progressed a little – a very little, today in my study of French; and the occasion is approaching which calls for my efforts.

My application to the study has been anything than unremitted and energetic, and twenty little cares of my present situation interpose to divert my mind from study. The books which I am using are, 1. “Folsom’s Meadow’s French and English Dictionary, (containing an Abridged Grammar), 1840.” and, 2. “Collot’s French Anecdotes & Questions, 1836.” For the use of one of these I may thank Mr. Doran, and for the other, Mr. Morrison. I have engaged a man to make a good summer hat for me, at the cost of 125 cents. This I design as a present for Ahoy in return for the porcelaine image of the Queen of Heaven. I wish I could make him a handsomer present, but my pecuniary circumstances are embarrassing. – There has just been a general search for something reported stolen. All hands were called to quaters, and word passed for them to bring their bags. This is the first instance of a general search of which I can recollect. Unsuccessful, of course.

Saturday, 3.

D

After making my yesterday’s entry, I picked up my French Dictionary and with unswerving application studied the conjugations, negative, affirmative, & interrogative, of Ne pas avoir, Être, and the monopersonals C’est, and y-avoir. This forenoon I had business to attend to; but in the evening, after I get through with some sewing, (it is now 12 O’clock), I will take up my French verbs again with redoubled application. I gave my teeth this morning a thorough scrubbing, using soap and pulverized charcoal, and yet but with little effect. I am determined to have them clean at all costs. The little Frenchman ashore shewed me a set of teeth so pure and white that the very thought of them contrasted with my own filthy masticators occasions me shame. His teeth are regular and white; mine are the reverse, but as far as cleanliness is concerned I may, I think, by dint of exertion and contrivance succeed in attaining as fair an appearance as that which he exhibits.

Sunday, 4.

E

An eventful day. Mr. Cabiniss preached an excellent sermon in the forenoon. I expected a visit in the evening from mon bon ami of last Sunday, and accordingly prepared a good supper for his entertainment, but he did not come. My preparations were however most opportune, for to my surprise, A’hoy made his appearance with one attendant. I found means of making his visit agreable, and, happening to have the hat finished, I embraced the opportunity to give it to him. One disagreable thing happened me. A Portuguese in our ship impudently questioned Ahoy, & getting to see his watch, broke it. I was not present at the time. And to crown all, the Susquehanna arrived at 5,30,P.M.

Monday, 5.

F

Passed the whole forenoon making cards, &c. for Hibbs. Mr. McLane, visiting the Captain in the evening with Capt. Buchanan, the latter chanced to espy Hibbs’ “Queen”, when exhibiting

 

Page 231

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Shanghae, China)
JUNE, 1854: 22.

A

[Monday, 5.] it to the Minister they pronounced it to be a beautiful and valuable image. Very gratifying to me, that. I was on duty at the Cabin door from 12 to 4 .P.M. – Hibbs returned my “Easy Lessons in Chinese” last night by a man coming from the “Susquehanna”. Not a line from him.

Tuesday, 6.

B

Mr. Balch denied me liberty to visit the Susquehanna. He says the fifer and I have too much of indulgence, and ought not to be allowed liberty oftener than “other men”. The “other men” to who he has reference have no liberty at all; and they deserve none; for they embrace such occasions to get drunk, and give way to debauchery which entails immediate and incapacitating desease upon them. This class of “other men”, whose peculiar privilege it is to stay on board, includes the bulk of the crew. The Officer’s stewards, sergeants of marines, master-at-arms, Wardroom, Steerage, and Forward-Officer’s servants (Negroes and China-boys), and in other ships, the drummer and fifer, are not included in the class of “other men”. Up to the present time we have with difficulty extorted liberty at periods few and far between; and I hope to get liberty once more – and that to be when Hibbs can accompany me – when I will cease entirely from importuning my unwilling superior, and succumb in mind to the decision which places me among the “other men”.

Wednesday, 7.

C

Devoted a moiety of the day to French. Had passed the forenoon reading in my Chinese “Easy Lessons”. Consumed a large portion of the evening in sleep.

Thursday, 8.

D

Studied the conjugation of Punir. – Read some articles in Brande’s Dictionary of Sciences, &c. – Slept.

Friday, 9.

E

Devoted a portion of the day to French. In the evening I slept an hour or so. Time lost in the day I now, however, almost invariably make up in my night watches. Sent a pair of shoes (a pair which I had bought yesterday) to A’hoy. – Bought a mat, and transacted other minor affairs. I find myself at this juncture rather distressingly steeped in debt.

Saturday, 10.

F

Transacted some minor affairs in the forenoon. In the afternoon I spread my mat, and after reading the Herald, devoted the small remaining portion of the evening to exercising myself in the conjugations of Avoir, Être, Parler, Punir, Devoir, and Vendre. Using a slate, and writing the inflexions from memory. – P.S. I availed myself of opportunities in the early part of the night to appropriate percussion caps from the stores contained in the marines’ cartouch and cap boxes. The circumstances are these. Ahoy requested me to procure him some U.S. percussion caps. I could only do this by plundering the marines’ boxes, and this, though attended by difficulty and risk, I successfully accomplished. My booty, amounting to upwards of 50 caps, I securely packed in a paper-case prepared to hold them and marked with my ta-ku-shan seal. The principle is this. I am joint proprietor of all public property – as much so as the First Lieutenant of the “Saratoga” or any other officer, – and I have as much right to borrow a few articles from the Public until I can replace them again, as had the “Saratoga” Executive. True to this principle I have opened an account with the U.S.; and keeping the run of all the caps borrowed I will in time discharge the obligation of replacing them – and then who will attach the stigma of dishonesty to my name! I am in earnest. Ahoy asked me for a hat. I might have stolen one (there is every opportunity), and thereby satisfied his desire at no cost to myself, but, embarrassed as I am in regard to money, I preferred obtaining one at crippling cost. And so with respect to the shoes. And so, I am persuaded, it would be with respect to anything (private property) which I might desire. Exculpate then the Lieutenant that set the example (if he acted on principle) and he that find so much inducement to follow it.
Page 232

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)
JUNE, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 11.

A

Mr. Balch refused me permission to pass the evening ashore. I wished to do so with Hibbs, and judged that if I get liberty, he could also. I however passed the evening very pleasantly with John on board the Susquehanna. John seemed much gratified with the image I gave him, with the type and other fixings, and on the occasion I was very much pleased with John’s appearance, demeanor, and conversation. Emery was ashore during the period of my visit.

Monday, 12.

B

I expected that Hibbs would get liberty to-day, and pay me a visit before going ashore, in which case I hoped to get leave to accompany him. My expectation was not realized. The forenoon passed away unimproved, and the afternoon followed suite.

4,30. P.M. I have just received a number of percussion caps from Cum-sing who obtained them from a private in our marines. This Cum-sing may be here appropriately introduced. He is one of the two Chinese boys employed in the Ward-room, and belongs to some district in Canton province. He is young, and small in stature; has in my view a roguish expression of countenance, not however positively disprepossessing. He is a good and useful friend of Ahoy, and sedulously exerts himself to gratify his wishes. – U.S. ship Vandalia (our relief!) arrived a Woo-sung.

(Tuesday, 13.)

C

The announcement of Vandalia’s arrival spread joy from one end of the ship to the other. I do’nt know whether I’m affected or not. Our relief being here we now anticipate a speedy return to the U. States – The Purser sent me to the office of the N.-C. Herald in the forenoon. Before returning to the ship I paid Ahoy my last visit. I asked Ahoy to visit the Plymouth to-morrow when I would give him a letter of introduction to my good friend the drummer of the Susquehanna. The streets and roads were muddy, and it was on the whole a bad day, notwithstanding which I borrowed Ahoy’s horse and rode out into the settlement, where the animal became unruly and troublesome. A pseudo-gentleman at the Commercial House begged permission to mount the horse, saying that he would curb his spirit, or as he expressed it, “break him in.” I unwittingly consented and the man nearly run the horse down. This “gentleman” was half-drunk. When I recovered the poor animal again, he was quite encased in mud. I washed him off, and rode him quietly back to the Yang-king-pang. Returning to the ship I brought some presents from Ahoy, and a damaged revolver which he requested me to have repaired. I must mention that I was particularly amused to-day by the glee and chat of a little boy at Ahoy’s, aged 9. He is much attached to me. He could read all the characters in my Shanghae note book. I gave him my lead pencil to scribble with and the following characters resulted: 徨 (his name) 大平白王 天國 心 大明 When I told Ahoy that the Plymouth would go to sea in three or four days, he expressed much regret at having to part with me. His words were: “Now you go away and I never see you again.” The tone evinced the regret. I assured him that Hibbs was like me and would be a good friend.  But Hibbs too will go away in a few weeks and then Ahoy will have no friend among the Fah-kee.

(Wednesday, 14.)

D

I passed nearly the whole forenoon writing a letter to Hibbs. The letter of introduction for Ahoy, and at the same time a summary of instructions for Hibbs’ guidance. Ahoy came on board in the afternoon and I accompanied him to the Susquehanna. After making the aquaintance of John and visiting some parts of the steamer he departed, leaving me on board the steamer. Private Rose of the Susq. Gave me his address and begged me as a “great favor” to write him a letter when I got home. I promised.

 

Page 233

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Shanghae, China)
JUNE, 1854: 22.
Thursday, 15.

A

Preparations for sea are going on. We expect to sail from this place next Saturday. The “Susquehanna’s Troupe of Funny Fellows” performed The Village Lawyer and another play last night. John, who is one of this “troop”, acted the part of Sheepface, and Emery, another “funny fellow”, played the wife of Sheepface. In the other play John and Emery were both females. I was not present, having returned from the Susquehanna two hours before the “doors” were opened”. – The drummer of the Vandalia is very anxious to get home, and makes very tempting offers through McFarland for me to exchange with him. If the Susquehanna was not here I might probably accede to his proposals (modifying them in his own favor), and remain in China two or more years longer, especially as I could have reason to expect indulgence from Lieut. Read the Marine Officer of the Vandalia. – Bill and me are taken off duty at the cabin door.

Friday, 16.

B

I expected Ahoy, but he has not come yet. (It is 4 .P.M.) Johnny Hibbs came on board early in the evening and remained a few minutes in hopes of seeing Ahoy. I gave him a roll of woodcuts clipped from The Illustrated News for him to exhibit among his Chinese acquaintances that are to be. I will send two other rolls on board the Susquehanna to him.

C

P.S. –

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal, U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea

JUNE, 1854.

Saturday, 17.

I had heard it casually said that the Vandalia had lost 3 men and a boy. To-day I inquired what boy it was, and the reply was “Scroggy”. In further reply to my questions, a man lately belonging to the Vandalia, informed me that fever had carried away the little fellow. His corpse was brought up to Shanghae on the night of the arrival of the Vandalia at Woosung, and buried the next day. The boat was alongside our ship; I saw it, but never dreamed it contained the lifeless body of one I held so dear. Alexander Scroggy is now an immortal if Religion and reason is true. May God have mercy on his soul. If Alexander went from here a fit candidate for Heaven, I pray that he will be an angel of mercy to me and more of his late fellow-mortals that are left behind stepped in sin and doubt. But if Scroggy fell victim in life to the wiles of men-of-war fiends incarnate – if he yielded to the hellish temptations with which the path of youth is beset – then may there yet be mercy for his little misguided soul, and may punishment fall upon those execrable wretches who lead him into sin. Accursed fiends! Every man-of-war teems with you, and youth, beauty, and innocence withers before you. I will make no enquiries respecting the character borne by Alexander among his shipmates, because I am satisfied that I could not arrive at the truth. I will believe though that he was a good boy, and is now an immortal, and I will ever cherish his memory with affection.

–The Plymouth got underway this morning very early and was towed by the Confucius down to Woosung and out to sea. At 3 P.M. the Confucius cast loose, and the Plymouth came to anchor. – P.S. I procured a volume containing Dr. Arch. Alexander’s Compend of Bible Truth (an excellent treatise) and read nine or ten chapters. I afterwards paced the Forecastle when only now and then a man would be seen stirring, and agitated in my mind the question of immortality. I am overwhelmed in doubt. I believe in the existence of God – the powerful – the Wise, and here my faith in religion ends. Indeed I might persuade myself that I believed in angels; – perhaps I do, – but if I do, why am I anxious to live? Alexander you know whether it is preferable to die or to live. That is clear to you which is painfully vague and perplexing to me. I will sift this subject – the most important which can engage the mind of man. I will read and reflect. And thou, Alexander, if thy pure spirit is concious of my thoughts, be thou my guardian angel.

 

Page 234

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth )
JUNE, 1854: 22.
Sunday, 18. At Sea

Read ten more chapters of Dr. A’.s work. I can never receive the doctrine of Election. I can’t believe that the holy Jesus ever preached it. Respecting the Trinity and other Christian mysteries I do’nt know what to think; I do’nt feel however that these subjects deserve much thought. I feel that our relations with the Unknown God rest upon another basis than that set forth in Christian books.

–The day was cloudy. At 11,30 ,A.M. we got underway and made sail. It rained with but little intermission all day. At 3.10 ,P.M. we dropped anchor and furled sail.

Monday, 19. At Sea

Finished the perusal of Dr. Alexander’s Compend. It is an excellent book of its kind. Its reasonings however fail to have in my case their intended effect. This may be owing to defect in my own reasoning powers. I will enquire further and further into this subject when I have better opportunities than is now afforded me, and when my mind is more filled to weigh the evidence adduced in favor of revealed religion. In the mean time I will be devotional. My worship of the Supreme Being shall consist of Prayer and Exertion to obey the Divine Will. And the Law of God shall be my study. I will look to my own reason and the conscience planted within me to find what is and what is not embraced in the commandments of God. The Scriptures I doubt not will be an invaluable aid in the way of counsel and suggestion, and as such I will employ them. The Moral Law (as I understand it set forth in the Bible) brings proof in itself of its divine origin, and I therefore owe implicit obedience to its requisitions. I believe in the immortality of the soul. I believe that Eckhart my brother, and Alexander are pure, living, and intelligent spirits. I will not now consume time in useless remorse for my past sins, but exhibit heartfelt repentance in unremitted prayer for an upright heart and energy and will to do good. I will display my love of God in kindness for his creatures. Mine shall be a religion of practice. And to begin I include in the scheme my study of French and all other employments of my mind that tend to qualify me for usefulness to the human kind. I will labor, because God commands it. Active works of live, these are my devotions. A pure heart, and a clear apprehension of God’s will, to these I aspire. Alexander! be my spirit advocate.

–At 6 ,A.M. we got underway and made sail. The weather was dry throughout. At 4, the wind had died away. At 4,45 ,P.M. we came to anchor and furled sail.

Tuesday, 20. Lewkon island

On the 11th of June at precisely meridian the pure spirit of Alexander Scroggy passed away. He was in a sweet tranquil sleep from which he never awoke, but in the midst of which it pleased God to take him to himself.

–At 9 ,A.M. we got underway and made sail. Clear and warm weather. At meridian we came to anchor off Lew-kon island, and furled sail. – I wrote a letter to-day (from a draft prepared yesterday) to Mrs. Scroggy, and Mr. Guest observing me the while, asked to see it. I assented and Mr. Guest after showing the epistle to the doctor, returned it to me saying it was “a very good” letter.

Wednesday, 21. At Sea

Occupied writing during my watch below. Mr. Doran enquired for the letter I had written to Mrs. Scroggy. I submitted it to his inspection. Afterwards I shewed it to Old Williams (who is a poet) and asked him for a few lines suited to the melancholly subject to enclose in the letter. Before the officers inspected this letter and expressed their commendation, I dated it “At Sea” and only signed Philip Clayton, fearful of implicating myself in a measure which might meet with disapprobation. Since then I have re-written the epistle and signed my full name. Affection for the memory of Alexander dictated the letter in question, and I need not say that I believe Alexander to be all that he is there represented. He is: there is every evidence. – We got underway at 5 ,A.M. and made sail. At 5 ,P.M. came to anchor and furled sail.

 

Page 235

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, At Sea)
JUNE, 1854: 22

Thursday, 22.

At 10,35 ,A.M. we got underway and made sail. Weather clear. Therm. 79 in the shade. – An old fellow (lately of the Vandalia) tells me that he made Alexander’s coffin, and that a brass plate is fastened on its lid bearing this inscription: “A.R. Scroggy, Aged 15”. – At 5,15 ,P.M. an impenetrable fog came on and encompassed us—came to anchor and furled sail.

(Friday, 23.)

At 5,35 ,A.M. we got underway and made sail. Wind was high at times and the sea rough.

Saturday, 24.

During the past week I applied myself at times to my study of French grammar, but never very diligently nor unremittedly. I have had constitutional drowsiness to contend with, and sea-sickness in a small degree besides. To-day and yesterday I read several chapters of Matthew’s Gospel. I carry the Testament most times in my pocket to read in my spare moments. If I was fixed firmly in my plan of life I think I would study better. I do’nt know whether to aspire to rank and position in Virginia, beginning as a farmer, or whether to aspire to a place at the Bar, or whether (where my inclinations lead me) aspire to position and affluence in Japan, begining as a comprador of ships. AT present I feel acutely the reflection that I am qualified for no business. To be a successful comprador in Japan I should speak French and be able to write and understand Chinese at the offstart; in the country itself I should learn Japanese. To be a purser’s clerk, I should understand Arithmetic and Accounts. The great object of my entering into life, whether as a Citizen in America, Purser’s Clerk at sea, or Comprador in Japan is to follow dictates of my own heart in which my whole happiness consists—and these are dictates of benevolence. I have not expressed myself clearly. I love children and especially children astray on the deep. I love to speak them kindly to confirm in them purity of heart. I love to make them presents, and to minister to their happiness, and above all to exercise over their minds a good influence. I love poor people and good people, and to succour the distressed would be an employment grateful to my soul. For these reasons I wish to be a man of position and affluence, and cannot rest in my present straitened and degraded condition. As to how I would turn the means of a Clerk or a Comprador to these ends, I can only say (anticipating the future and feeling a determination within me this moment) that my Memoirs will tell, for come what will, this Record of my Life shall be kept to the last. – I love purity, but I am myself polluted. Merciful and compassionate Heaven that knoweth the springs of my heart, O! restore me in part to the purity of my childhood! I came early within the whirpool of evil and abomination and was swallowed up. I was without strength when the evil came upon me and I could not resist. I fell into the snare which is set for youth and innocence. My hope is to escape from the thraldom of evil habit, and to be able to draw and entice others from the path of shame.

(Sunday, 25.)

I kept this Sabbath, that is to say, I did no work. My studies laid aside, I walked and thought over my past, present and future. At other times I read in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Matthew I think wrote badly. Mark in my estimation wrote better and there are some beauties in his gospel which I appreciate.

Monday, 26.

Between times I read in the Gospel of Luke. I think it a beautiful composition, and withal consider it quite a faithful history of the Life and actions of the Son of Man, for whom Hosanna! – With respect to my studies I must say that this day passed away unimproved. I however finished the Gospel of Luke; I think I’ll read it over again and often. Ther. 81°.

 

Page 236

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea.)
JUNE, 1854: 22,

Tuesday, 27.

Private Gacki, mentioned earlier in this book, died yesterday in the afternoon, and his remains were this day committed to the deep. Gacki when living, made much of me, but he did not exhibit any such qualities either of heart or intellect as command my respect and affection. Perhaps I should have liked him. Compared with his fellow-soldiers, he was in respect to education and behavior far their superior; yet he was no Christian, and if he was not a bad man, he was neither in his practice nor sentiments a man entitled to be called good, so that his death was I fear to him iltimed. But my judgement of Gacki is yet only conjecture; I may have magnified his faults, and he may have kept his virtues hid from me. I would that it were (as indeed it may be) so. Req. in pace. – I quite successfully applied myself to study in the forenoon & in the dog-watch after supper.

Wednesday, 28.

Engaged in the forenoon writing until appointed by the Sergeant to take a man’s tour at the Cabin-door. This duty exempts me from keeping watch on deck. It may not last longer than two or three days. – In the afternoon I applied myself a little while to my French Conjugations, – afterwards I read some chapters in the Gospel of John. As a whole I do’nt like it so well as Luke, but it contains some beautiful and striking passages. – I have decided to withold this book from the inspection of Mr. Doran, and in lieu thereof to present him with a copy minus every note that being read would prejudice my character. I will make this copy on our homeward passage. This resolution formed I am quite at rest upon a subject that heretofore occasioned me no little uneasiness. I have no thought of deceiving Mr. Doran by representing myself better in this copy than the Original would prove me to be. God forbid! In the copy itself I will candidly state that omission is made of many things which if known would work prejudice to my name, – indeed, whether justly or unjustly, would sink me forever in the estimation of every upright mind not over endowed with charity. Yet I will not suppress every unfavorable passage. I will hide only those things which it would be actually wrong and unjust to discover. If Mr. Doran will not be satisfied with the copy, the original itself will not be kept closed against his will; he is so far lord over my will; but independent of this, my promise in the case created from its peculiar circumstances a strength of obligation which strangles the very idea of release. But I have nothing to fear. Mr. Doran will learn enough of me in the Copy to wish to learn no more.

P.S. In the early part of the night I was moved by a hellish impulse to self-pollution. I had long fancied myself reclaimed from this damning vice. I do’nt know where it will end. My case is truly pitiable.

Thursday, 29.

I passed this forenoon regulating the papers and arrangements of my Escritoire box. Before breakfast I had the finished the perusal of John’s Gospel. I purpose giving the afternoon to my study of French, and after supper I will turn to Arithmetic. (It is noon.) I have just read Com. Stockton’s Remarks in the Senate on the Death of Daniel Webster. My duty at the cabin door terminates at 4 ,P.M. when I return to keeping watch on deck. – I am quite sick at heart; I can’t help detesting myself.

Friday, 30.

Began the perusal of the Acts. – After breakfast I went on the Berth Deck with my box and mat, intending to write while it was my watch below, but the acting master-at-arms (an Irishman) drove me away – myself, mat, and books. It was a piece of injustice and partiality, yet Midshipman Stockton confirmed the Corporal’s act, and added the sanction of his own authority, he being Master’s Mate of the deck. Mr. S. addressed his language to me for the first time on this occasion. I hope he may never have to speak to me again. – The marks of my grief – the border around these pages – will not be continued, but the grief remains. I am devilish and unworthy of love. Alexander is a pure spirit that knows and cannot but abhor me. But he died young; I loved him; and bereft of him, I grieve.

 

Page 237

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

July, 1854: 22.

A

Pecuniary. My receipts within the preceding month were as follows: Tobacco and Soap, 90, – Borrowed, 85, – Received from Purser, 10.75, – My Expenditures were as follows: Roll of Chinese paper, 25, – A supper given to Ahoy, 46, – To the sampan in which Ahoy came off, 6, – A mat for myself, 20, – Box for Hibbs, 25, – Subscription to the N.-C. Herald & for extra papers, 6,50, – Newspaper for Hibbs, 25, – Liquidation of debt, 1.25, – Pair of shoes for myself, 75, – do. for Ahoy, 100. – Washclothes, 15, – Wrapping paper, 9, – Hat for Ahoy, 1.25. – I also increased my debts as follows: Cash borrowed, 85, – Interest for same, 25, – Repairs done to Ahoy’s pistol, 100, – Key for my Escritoire box, 12, – Pair of shoes, 75.

B

Note. My bill at the N.-C. Herald Office amounted to 6.75 – an amount much less than I had anticipated. The Editor charged me only 25 cents a-piece for numbers which had marked 33 cents. – And having requested the Orderly Sergeant to furnish me with information respecting my Clothing Account, the sergeant very kindly overhauled his books, and the result is that there is not so heavy a ballance against me as I had estimataed. I accordingly alterered the numbers in my Table, p. 194, for this month, and henceforward will make up my clothing accounts upon a more correct basis.

C

Health, &c. Within the preceding month I suffered involuntary emission at three different times, viz: in the night of the 16, do. of the 22, and do. of the 28. This making 13 times within the present year.

D

Morals. In the night of the 5th. I committed masturbation. I did likewise in the night of the 10th. Of my sin no one knows. If the truth were told of me, few, I wot, would believe. There is no stain upon my fair name.

E

Social. I suffer no intimacy. I have no friends among my equals here, that is to say, no such friends as I would have Hibbs or Masson to be, would they reciprocate my affection; but in the loose acceptation of the term I have many friends. I have made friends of my enemies. Gwatney the purser’s steward that once so hated my name is now in the number of my friends, where the Orderly Sergeant is also to be found. My behavior, or the report of my behavior on the 4th. of April, is what altered Mr. Gwatney’s opinion of me. I allowed myself the other day to be driven off the Berth Deck, and when I had gone a corporal of marines took up my cause and stoutly abused the officiating Irishman for his act.

Saturday, 1.

F

I applied to study, both in the forenoon and in the afternoon. I had also, as every day, time for talking with my associates, and time too for thinking. Between times I read in the New Testament.

Sunday, 2.

G

Arithmetic and French laid aside, I did no reading except in the N.T. – Sunday is my day of rest. – Ther. 83°.

Monday, 3.

H

I endeavored to improve every hour, satisfied that my very life depends on present exertion.

Tuesday, 4.

I

In the night I suffered invol. emission for the 14th time this year. – In the forenoon I was engaged in sewing. In the afternoon I applied myself to French Grammar. – Other minor transactions. – It being the 4th. of July, a national salute was fired at meridian, the mainbrace was spliced at suppertime, and the flag was kept hoisted all day—all in celebration of this day;—but best of all, a clean sweep was made of prisoners in the brig, a precious lot, every one of whom were charged with grievous offences and set down for court-martial. It may be proper to mention that not many days ago the Petty Officers “in behalf of the Ship’s Company” presented a petition to the Captain praying the release of the prisoners, to which reply was made that the matter should be referred to the Commodore.

Wednesday, 5.

J

A considerable portion of the day I devoted to French and Arithmetic. I passed the whole afternoon first in sewing and afterwards drafting a letter to Roderick Masson. I also read a page in History.

–At 6.57 .P.M. we came to anchor in Amoy harbour.

 

Page 238

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth)

JULY, 1854: 22.

Thursday, 6. —Amoy Harbour—

A

I did not neglect my studies today. It is 4 P.M. and the heat is oppressive. The U.S. Consul visited the ship in the forenoon with his little boy, when a salute of 7 guns was fired.–I read also a page in History. My progress in French and Arithmetic is by short steps and slow; and as yet I have but little confidence in my powers of acquisition. It would appear that I possess application in a high degree; but this is not the case. Sometimes my thoughts are distracted and absent while it would seem that I am most intensely buried in the subject before me. My memory is not ready, and, I fear, not retentive. There is one thing which it is proper to mention here. The opinion of the world (i.e. the men and officers of the ship) is with me now—I mean, in my favor, and the consequent good influence is perceptible. Everybody says I am in a fair way to rise in the world, and nobody doubts that I will be something some of these days. But in the beginning of the cruize, and until very lately, nobody would speak in my favor; on the contrary there were not wanting men who would give themselves much trouble to persuade me “that I studied too much” and “that no good could come of it”—“that is was too late for me to begin to try to learn now”—and “all my learning, what good would it be to me?”, and so on. Curse such fellows! I was fool enough to be influenced by them to my prejudice.–I return of my own choice to duty at the cabin door.

Friday, 7. In port and At Sea

B

This day slipped away unimproved.–At meridian we got underway and proceeded to sea.

Saturday, 8. At Sea.

C

Sewed in the fore and afternoon.–Presented to Mr. Doran a couple of notes which I had written respectively before the 20 March and 4 April. They contained some expression of the love which I entertained for Mr. D. These notes were addressed to Mr. D. and provided against my falling in battle. We had come to anchor in the night. In the forenoon we got underway again. Wind very light.

Sunday, 9.

D

Gave myself a glorious washing and felt the better for it all day.–Alas! I have forfeited my privilege of reading the Captain’s books. Mr. Norris having lost the key of the Library requested me to “look out for it”. I considered it as given in my charge, and last night, wishing to read a volume of Mitford’s Greece, I without further ado obtained it from among the books. I thought this was perfectly right, but Mr. Norris blamed me this morning, made me give up Milford, and said, “I have almost a mind to take the other book away from you”. The other book was Arnott’s Elements of Physics, a most excellent work that deeply interested me. I rejoined “Well, Sir, I’ll get it for you, though it will injure me to give it up now”. & accordingly gave it into Mr. Norris’s hands. Thus end my connection with the Captain’s books, improperly so called, for these books are used by all the Officers, and many of them were purchased by the Seaman’s Libraries of other ships. My curse upon Mr. Norris and his tribe. He is a bad man.

Monday, 10.

E

I lost this day.–Evil thickens about me.–To-day a bad feeling begins between me and another.

Tuesday, 11.

F

In the night I suffered invol. emission, after which I experienced pain, as if I had overstrained my genitive organs. I passed the day without improvement.

Wednesday, 12.

G

Half resolved to seek a home in Bonin after this cruize. I am unfit to marry and live in the States. This and other matters occupy my thoughts.–Taken away from the cabin door in consequence of my quarrel with another orderly and subsequent disagreement and ilfeeling.

 

Page 239

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (United States Ship Plymouth.)

JULY, 1854: 22.

Thursday, 13.

A

Indulged myself in another glorious washing. I am prepared now to bathe my whole person whenever the Main Deck is scrubbed, and that may be at least twice a week at sea and every day in port.–

–I was not able to take up my studies again—I was a little gratified this morning to hear my own actions of April 4 recounted with praise. Everybody give me credit for my behaviour on that day.–Copied Pope’s “Universal Prayer” on to my slate. Will commit it to memory.–Looking over these pages my eye chanced to meet some paragraph in which it is affirmed of Coleman that he is on the reform. He is now as bad as ever. He could not be much worse. There is no school of vice comparable to the Navy.

Friday, 14. Hong Kong Harbour

B

A pilot was received on board in the night. Early this morning we entered Hong Kong harbour. No American man of war was in port. News abound, and rumours of a war between the U.S. and Spain in prospect.

Saturday, 15

C

Beguiled the time partly by reading the Epistles of Sts. James, Peter, and Jude, with St. John’s. My studies lie over.–I have quite a little friend in A’he, son of A’Shing the pilot, aged 15.–

Sunday, 16.

D

U.S. Store-ship Southampton arrived, 15 days from Loo-Choo.–I beguiled the hours of to-day reading chapters, in Mr. Doran’s Douay Bible, for which, thanks.–The fifer and I return to duty on the Cabin door.

Monday, 17.

E

I had suffered an involluntary emission in the night (16th time this year.) I consumed the hours in sloths. P.S. At night before going to sleep I indulged in lascivious thoughts which resulted in self-polution.

Tuesday, 18.

F

I passed the day as best I could without returning to my studies.–U.S. Brig Porpoise arrived in port. I am released again from duty at the cabin door. Therm. 86° at the cabin door.

Wednesday, 19.

G

Whiled away the hours of to-day as best I could, my studies lying unattended to. Heat oppressive.

Thursday, 20.

H

Consumed the day in sloth, only now and then doing something, reading a chapter, or eating fruit.

Friday, 21.

I

There being requisition money served out yesterday, I received two dollars, which was all that was due me. To-day there was liberty money ($4 to each man) served out, but I could get none, having none due me. Mr. Doran afterwards asked me how much money I wanted, and when I named two dollars, he supplied me with that sum from his own pocket.–The fifer is in irons for striking the sail-maker.

Saturday, 22.

J

Put my accoutrements in order.—Reposed on my mat—Read some chapter in II’Machabees—Eat some fruit. U.S. Steamer Mississippi arrived in port, having His Excellency Com. Perry on board. We saluted with 15 guns.

(Sunday, 23.)

K

Went in my turn on liberty, armed with $2.62 to meet emergencies. In company with private Fitzgerald I visited first the Mahomedan mosque, and then the house occupied by an officer and some men belonging to the “Vinconnes” (for purposes connected with Com. Ringgolds expedition. It is said this was formerly the residence of the (Editor’s note: this spot is marked out with ink) it is certainly, with its gardens, an extensive, splendid, and costly property. The marines (this spot is marked out with ink) number) who are the knights in these castle halls (and a royal life of it they lead), with (this spot is marked out with ink) present extended us a cordial welcome. I accordingly passed the day with them. For the more entertainment Fitzgerald and myself supplied brandy and wine without stint, he bearing by far the greater part of the expense. My drink was always wine with lemon syrup and water. Our conversation was lively, and in every respect these our hosts were agreable, but

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Hong Kong)

JULY, 1854: 22.

A

above all I noticed and shewed particular attention to a very intelligent and fair complexioned boy, aged 18, native of Madera, whose name I found to be ASCENIO POMBO. Ascenio seemed pleased with me; we drank wine and syrup while all the rest but one used brandy. After sundown Ascenio and another accompanied me in a pleasant walk, during which he told me in as good English as he could command very much about himself. I think him very intelligent and amiable, and have numbered him in the number of my friends. When say I have named him my friend I mean very much. At the house over our wine and brandy I talked about Switzerland with a Swiss that lately belonged to the King of Naple’s guard, and other matters were discussed; the hours flew swiftly by. But none interested me so much as Pompo. I did not converse much with him at the house, but in the evening just before sundown we took a walk together, and he advised with me respecting his affairs as of old acquaintanceship. Pompo speaks very imperfect English. I strongly advised him to learn to read English, but Ascenio had no proper books and did not know where to get them. I resolved within myself to get him one if possible. I did not return with Ascenio after our walk, but parted from Him and Wheeland (our companion) in the town, taking leave of Ascenio especially in a manner exhibiting my regard. So far my whole deportment and behavior, my every act and thought were as if Heaven directed it. I had resolved before coming ashore that none of the money so kindly advanced me by Mr. Doran should we used for vile purposes. And throughout the day it was as if Heaven confirmed my resolution, and angels guided me every step. But when night came I setting in an easy chair at the door of a sailor’s boarding house (the inmates slumbering around me) conceived the design of having to do with a Chinese prostitute. I repaired to a house near by and connected myself with one of the females. The filthiness of such copulation disgusted me so much that I resolved to never renew it. I washed my whole person immediatly and having returned to the boarding house, at a late hour I closed my eyes in sleep. I have thus recorded some of my doings that day. Much I leave unwritten for want of time and inclination to write.

(Monday, 24.)

B

Bought a Portuguese-English Grammar, which with a bunch of grapes I sent to Ascenio. Returned to the ship at or about 9,A.M.

Tuesday, 25.

C

Heat oppressive. I perspire profusely. Made up a package of my 2 vols. Historiae Sacrae and my Latin Grammar with a fancy article (Chinese worked money bag or pocket) and card having my name and address on it—also these words “Ascenio bon fils,—bon chrétien,—mon bon ami,—Adieu.” This package I have in readiness for Pompo when opportunity turns up to send it. Com. Perry went up to Whampoa.

Wednesday, 26.

D

Heat oppressive. Consumed part of the day in sleep.

Thursday, 27.

E

Heat too oppressive and my mind too unsettled to admit of my returning to study.

 

Page 241

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (United States Ship Plymouth)

JULY, 1854: 22.

Friday, 28. Hong Kong Harbour.

A

U.S. Steamer John Handcock is in port. The Commodore is expected hourly from Whampoa. The heat is excessive. In this weather I sleep probably more than two thirds of the day. During the other third I read and transact business. Callery & Yuan’s History of the Insurrection in China and some bound volumes of Harper’s Magazine engage my attention.

Saturday, 29. In Port and At Sea.

B

Had in the night suffered involluntary emission; 17th time this year.–The Commodore arrived last night from Whampoa. After taking in a cargo of presents and things from Japan we got underway at 3,30. p.m. and went to sea. Passing the John Hancock and Porpoise we cheered ship in return for cheers from them; abreast of the Mississippi we fired 13 guns which were returned by 9, the band at the end playing “Home, sweet home! ; and when supper was piped allshands were called to splice the main brace. We are now homeward bound.–Before leaving port I left my little package of Historiae Sacrae, &c. for Pompo with a little Portuguese boy in the Mississippi, A. Joaquim Carvalho.

P.S. Becalmmed in the night, we came to anchor.–Gave our pilot letters for J. Mundell and J.W. Hibbs.

Sunday, 30.

C

We got underway after breakfast, but came to anchor again in the evening, there being no wind. Just before supper we got underway the second time. We are becalmed, and are yet among the islands. Heat oppressive.–

–I am a little annoyed by some symptoms of venereal disorder! After all my precautions to avoid it I have perhaps contracted some filthy desease from a Chinese prostitute. I have seen, I think, more than half of our ship’s company at one time or other under the doctor’s treatment for venereal desease, but unless impelled by extreme pain (if indeed then) I will not, after their example, have my name put on the doctor’s list.–

Reading An Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, &c. By W. Mariner & J. Martin, M.D., Vol. ii. 1827.

Monday, 31.

D

Had suffered an involuntary emission in the night; 18th time this year.–The ship came to anchor in the night and got underway again this morning early.–The symptoms adverted to yesterday now clearly indicate gonorrhaea. This was hardly known and believed before it was repeated all over the ship so that excepting the officers, everyone knows my case. Took a few doses of medicine.

Pecuniary—Receipts. Soap and Tobacco, 90,–Standing a tour of duty on the cabin door, 54,–Sale of my boy’s boots, 175,–Borrowed, 310. = Expenditure. Liquidation of debt, 219,–Coffee, 75,–Three little queens of Heaven, 40,–Lemon syrup, 35,–Sewing silk, 40,–Bananas, cakes, water-melon and pine-apple, 32,–Pantaloons, 50,–Pocket-knife, 10,–Wash clothes, 18,–N.-C Herald, 25,–

On liberty—Straw hat, 50–*Lemon syrup, 34,–+Gratuity, 12,–To a Chinaman for running an errand, 10,–Lead pencil and paper, 6,–”Money pocket, 16,–To Chung Wei, a child, 24,–Paper of cigarites, 4,–Whore, 30, – ”’“Portuguese English Grammar, 25,–“Claims of Loo-Choo”, 25,– ”’Bunch of grapes, 14,–Bananas, etc., 6,–Passage to the ship, 25. = Augmentation Of Debt. For Coffee, 166,–Cash, 2.40,=

Notes. * Consumed in wine and water by Pompo, another, and myself at the Governor’s House that was. Pompo used no brandy. Fitzgeral was at the expense of all the wine and brandy used.

+ To a police man for showing me the way to a livery stable. The price of horse-riding was too high to accord with my ability to pay.

” This I have since sent to Pompo by way of ofa tai-too-goo. It is a very nicely worked Chinese pocket.

”’ Together made up a present which I sent to Pompo by a Madeira boy whom I chanced to meet in the Market next morning.

 

Page 242

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

August, 1854: 22.

Tuesday,1.

A

Somebody reported my case to the doctor. I was accordingly sent for and placed under treatment for the gonorrhea. My name is, I think, on the Sick List, but I persist in keeping my watch, not willing to retire from duty on account of venereal desease. Reading part of the time Dr. Young’s Pocket Esculupius.

B

Squalls and rain on deck; with which however I am no ways concerned, being compelled to withdraw myself from duty. Gonorrhoeal discharges have ceased with me, and in lieu thereof are two small chancres. No internal medicines are ordered me; the remedies resorted to so far are the Caustic (once applied), and injections of some burning liquid. I use the syringe myself, and for cleanliness am provided night and morning with fresh water and castile soap. Everything goes on swimmingly. I have hopes of a speedy cure, and the pain attendant upon venereal desease considered as punishment of my error is, compared with the error itself, light – trifling.

(Thursday, 3.)

C

Weather continues boisterous and stormy. I continue below on the doctor’s hands.

Friday, 4.

D

The Storm has abated. My case progresses favorably. Looking over the Sick List this morning. I perceive the number of sick to be 24 including three officers. Of these I know for certain that thirteen are on for the pox, and suspect that more than this number comprizes are affected the same, but I do’nt care about taking the trouble of enquiring. We are exempt from all duty and left in undisturbed enjoyment of repose day out and day in, and this more than compensates the trifling pains of our desease. We are a privileged class; in the stormiest of weather we house ourselves on the Berth Deck while others in rain or sleet do their own and our share of work. And in the common estimation our case merits no opprobrium. When it was bruited abroad that I  had caught the desease, first a smile of incredulity and then of satisfaction beamed upon every countenance. _ Mr. Doran by this time must heard of my fall from grace—in such light he must view it, ignorant as he is of my past vile practices, compared to which this is a mere venial offence. I am ashamed before Mr. Doran and take every care to keep out of his sight.

Saturday, 5.

E

My case rather at a stand. The doctor thinks I run about too much, ordered my hammock below, and directed me to keep in it as much as possible. I accordingly swung all day in my hammock, alone with a few books, a fan, and my own reflections. My disease is the Syphilis in its mildest form. I continue the use of black wash prescribed by the doctor, and suffer no physical pain. I also persevere in keeping out of the Purser’s way when having occasion to be about the decks. I am not ashamed to be seen by anybody else – neither the Captain, the doctor, the midshipmen, nor Mr. Balch. The latter ought not to be surprized if I did as other men do! But I cannot bear to be seen by Mr. Dolan. I have other reflections too, but they are more than I can write.

Sunday,6.

F

Books, fan, reflections, and repose of yesterday repeated to-day. (Read. Rebellion in China)

G

Nineteenth nocturnal emission and a “wet dream” in the evening. Miserei mea

H

Squalls of wind and rain. I continue in my hammock

 

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Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

August, 1854 : 22

(Wednesday,9.)

A

Weather tempestuous _ sea rough, _ altogether trying to the health of the men. Squalls of wind and rain succeed each other interruptedly through the day and night. _ I beguile the time in my hammock reading a large fragment of Ellis’s Embassy to China, 1816, a precious morsel. But all the time I am obliged to be in my hammock (especially night time when I cannot sleep) will not admit of beguilement. I am then a prey to distressing reflections, _ to the evil workings of an illordered mind, _mental disquietude which I am subject to in such moments, which I can mention but not describe.

(Thursday, 10.)

B

Squally, tempestuous weather and uneven sea. In the evening, two of the three syphilitic ulcers on the inside of my foreskin were by the doctor’s order retouched with caustic. The operation was attended with some pain, which from want of fortitude I bore with very ill grace. I also to-day change the “black-wash” for another lotion.

(Friday, 11.)

C

In the night a pleasant, happy dream. –The violence of the weather on deck has abated. The sun shines out. I continue the use of the mysterious lotion, and think a favorable turn is taken with my ulcers. I call the lotion—whatever it is—mysterious, for the want of another name.

(Saturday, 12)

D

Sunshine and mod weather. My case progresses I think favorably. Sometimes in my hammock I indulge in strange trains of reflections, reviewing the past and looking, or thinking to look into the future.

(Sunday, 13.)

E

I consumed the whole day in inactivity.

Monday, 14.

F

Just asked the doctor’s steward what is the name of the lotion I am using. No answer, but a consequential and half mysterious look. “It is not nitrate of silver—is it? Said I. “No” he replied, and then by another significant look of mystery and importance intimated his unwillingness to satisty my curiosity. I retired. This doctor’s steward is not Moschy. The latter (I may not have mentioned it before) was some months ago invalided home. _ Continue the use of the “Mysterious”. My ulcers I think, are fast healing up. _ Ruled 40 pages of this volume—a whole evening’s job.

Tuesday, 15.

G

Fair weather. My disease is healing up. I passed the forenoon reading, and in the evening ruled 38 more pages in the end of this volume.

Wednesday,16.

H

Returning to duty. My penis completely healed and no syphilitic poison (I have reason to believe) lurking in my system thanks to the medical skill of Drs. Wheelright and Otis. I may also remember thankfully the kindness which the doctors shewed me while I was on the list. _

_ At 12 I went on post at the Cabin door in place of the fifer, who was anxious to be released from such duty. _ Altercation with a gunner’s mate. _ I can’t find my tooth brush, Misericorde! my teeth are rolling for filth; my breath I am sure is poisonous. I did not clean my teeth more than three or four times since going on the list. I was deterred by the difficulty of getting fresh water. If I can find my brush again though, I will contrive means to procure a little water.

 

Page 244

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

August, 1854 : 22

Thursday,17.

A

Did’nt improve my forenoon leisure. At least not by study, though I determined yesterday to resume my studies again as quick as possible as my only hope of salvation. I was on post and my mind was too unsettled. Besides Mr. Doran was on the half deck nearly all morning. Once or twice I had to meet his gaze. Mr. D. was once my good genius; he is my evil now. He means me now, I doubt not as much kindness as he ever did but it is now without effect. I feel that I am prematurely sunk in his estimation. In the evening I employed myself sewing. I find myself obliges now to do something all the time for my peace of mind; I hope it is the beginning of a habit of industry.

Friday, 18.

B

In the forenoon and in the afternoon employed sewing. No heart to begin my studies anew. P.S. Twenty-first nocturnal emission.

Saturday, 19.

C

In the forenoon sewed. On post in the afternoon I read over an excellent little book entitled A Few Thoughts for a Young Man: a lecture, delivered before the Boston Mercantile Library Association, on its 29th Anniversary. By Horace Mann, the First Secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education. Boston : Ticknor, Read and Fields. M.DCCCL. And I may profit by what I have read. It is indeed a beautiful little book.

D

A devilish handsome boy. A marine speaking of me last night after mentioning a circumstance of my early history (which by the way was’nt true) concluded with the remark “Buskirk must have been a devilish handsome boy on board the Cumberland—no wonder the gunner’s mate washed his clothes for him.”

Sunday,20.

E

Dismissed from the cabin door by the O. Sergeant on account of my having no clean white pants to put on his morning. I only possess one pair just at this moment. These I had worn through the week. My wardrobe is rather scanty—as regards either summer or winter clothing. But I do’nt recollect clearly of the case ever being otherwise. I must reform it. _

_ On deck (I now keep watch on deck) I busied myself with nothing. Below I looked over a large book entitled Thrilling Incidents of the Wars of the U. States, a voluminous book which I would not think worth its place in a private library. _ Found my tooth-brush.

Monday, 21.

F

Below I employed myself sewing. On deck I walked, talked with Peabody about Bonin, talked with others upon other subjects, and for a short time read over a couple of anecdotes in a French book, dictionary in hand. Received one white jacket and two white pants from the Clothing Department. Determined to return Mr. Doran’s dictionary, consequently postponing my study of French. I am unworthy of any further kindness from this gentleman, who is truly a good Christian. If I think aright he wished to encourage virtue in befriending me. He thought me moral!–pure!! upright!!! And event proves me to be all the reverse. He thought much of me: he can now think nothing of me. I have indeed abused his kindness; I have justly forfeited his regard. If God spares me I will yet return to the path of rectitude from which Mr. Doran thinks I have gone irrecoverably astray. I will yet learn to be true to the dignity and honor of my kind. God will forgive me, and my good friend may live to know that his kindness is not lost upon me. Indeed I will feel to the latest hour of my life the effects of his kindness.

Tuesday, 22.

G

On deck to-day I nothing did except that I took advantage of a rain shower to scrub my teeth, using a piece of castile soap which was given me on quitting the sick-bay.

 

Page 245

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

August, 1854 : 22

Tuesday, 22.

A

Below I read (I hope with profit) some chapters of Job. Returned Mr. Doran’s dictionary

Wednesday, 23.

B

Respectability. The man who buys to-bacco from me at the purser’s price to realize a little profit in selling it again is (unless I am falsely informed) a near relative of Hon. Horace Mann. His wife in the day of his prosperity was a daughter of the unfortunate Dr. Parkman. One of the prisoners (F.A. Cunningham) lately released from confinement is brother of a head clerk in one of the Departments at Washington, and the relationship being know to the Captain and others it secures him both respect and privilege such as is not enjoyed by his companions of baser extraction. Old Williams the quartermaster is well connected and consequently much respected.

There are others that pretend to fair origin, but as nobody believes them, they excite no envy nor command any respect on that account, and are privileged only in proportion to their muscular power and ability to swear and threaten. I have seen the master at arms bullied more than once by fellows against whom he dared not complain. One fellow in particular, a gambler, having implicated Jimmy in some of his transactions, possesses a heavy influence over him. I will take occasion to mention here that this Legs (a soubriquet given to all masters-at-arms) has persevered to make himself an object of particular aversion to me. I have been lead to believe sometimes that Jimmy Legs had relaxed his enmity to-wards me, and even had in a degree become favorably inclined, but this was merely the deceit of one of Jimmy’s humorous moods. I have reason to believe now that Jimmy is not changeable in his affections or aversions. Affections! What can Jimmy love? Comprehensively speaking I think Jimmy loves “darkness” and hates the light—because his deeds are evil.  And I believe that he hates me as the devil hates holy water—and that because he thinks me an honorable man. He hates me that am compliant to his wishes and habitually respectful towards him. Now he is in a marked manner indulgent and friendly to my brother musician, whose repute is notoriously the reverse of mine, who has often quarreled with him, and who is habitually disrespectful to-wards him. Jimmy throws the weight of his influence into the scale of vice. Perhaps if he suspicioned how really sinful I am he would like me better.

Thursday, 24.

C

Read a passage or so in the Thrilling Incidents. Essayed to cipher in Arithmetic. It tended to make my head-ache. I put up my slate and book for the day. But I’m resolved to try again and persevere until I attain complete mastery of the subject. My all depends upon it. I need Arithmetical skill and my mind wants disciplining. God help me.

Friday, 25.

D

Forenoon. Essayed in vain to apply my mind to Arithmetic. Abandoned the subject for to-day. Afternoon. Becoming possessed of another larger remnant of Lord Amheret’s Embassy (this one comprehending nearly the whole Volume I) I employed myself reading it during the remainder of the evening.

Saturday, 26.

E

Passing squalls of wind and rain. Engaged the whole day reading my new remnant.

Sunday, 27.

F

Heavy squalls in the evening. Finished the remnant. Engaged reading M. Huc’s Tartary, Thibet and China, for which I am indebted to Mid. Beardslee.

 

Page 246

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

August, 1854: 22.

Monday, 28.

A

In general clear weather. Engaged reading M. Huc’s Recollections. It is entitled Recollections of a Journey through Tartary, Thibet and China. By M. Huc. New York: D. Appleton & Co. M.DCCC. LII.

Tuesday, 29.

B

Clear weather. Finished reading the truly entertaining and instructive book of M. Huc. From this out, and until I’ve completely mastered the science of numbers, I taboo every kind of reading irevelent to the subject before me. My great object just now is to subdue my mind and acquire a practical knowledge of Arithmetic.

Wednesday, 30.

C

Forenoon. Got up my Arithmetic and slate, but after a little ciphering, abandoned them and wen to reading over again some passages of M. Huc’s Journey. Afternoon. Arithmetic and slate again, and after using them a little while, I went to sleep. I just this moment think of to-day being the last of the month. I have supper to eat and then my accounts to make up.

D

Pecuniary. Receipts. Tobacco, 42, Pair white pants, 56. =Expenditure. Coffee 56, _Liquidation of debt, 42. =Augmentation of debt. Amount due a person on some former account forgotten by me until recently brought to my notice, 18, coffee 6.

E

Note. It is my custom at the close or beginning of nearly every month to define the social relations existing between me and my shipmates. In the whole number of individuals living with me under the shelter of these decks there is not one with whom I would regret to part—excepting always my friend by the goodness of his heart the Purser. From the greater number I would gladly part never to meet, and but for the impiety of it I would say, If their destination be Heaven, let mine be Hell.

F

Letter to Jared Mundell (Copied into this place to fill up the vacant space. U.S. Ship Plymouth, Singapore)

My dear little friend _

I beg you immediately on the receipt of this letter to consult Corpl. James or some one conversant in such matters upon the best way of forwarding my “Journal” by the overland mail. It is of the utmost importance to me that I should receive it at home as soon as I arrive there myself, and this can be effected if you will attend to my request with promptitude. At the same time you mail the book, do’nt forget to send me another letter, and write it with as much care and neatness as you can—let me know where you have been and what you think of all you have seen—write fully, carefully, and neatly I repeat, as I will send your letter or a copy of it to your father. My address, observe, is P.C. Van Buskirk, Charlestown, Jefferson Co., Virginia. And it is of the greatest importance that you make no mistake in the direction when you put in on the book or letter that you destine sending me. But all this, Corp. James, the Captain’s clerk, or Geo. Fortune will do for you. Show yourself now a little business man of fidelity and promptitude. Don’t let the next mail escape you, but be in time, and let it bear joyful tidings of you to me and to your family. ** My respects to Corpl. James, — and Dig ‘em harel I wish every present happiness, ever remaining

yours affectionately

 

Page 247

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

September, 1854:22

Thursday, 31, of August.

A

Engaged in the forenoon and afternoon preparing leaves for a manuscript book to contain an itinerary of our cruise with extracts from my journal. This I intend for Miss Eckhart. Wrote a letter to J. Munclall requesting him to send my Journal of 1853, to Charlestown by overland mail. I will add the date to their letter at Singapore where I will post it.

(Friday, 1.)

B

Engaged all day copying out of this book upon leaves intended to make up my Itinerary for Miss E.

Saturday,2.

C

Quite lost. Part of the time I did nothing. Then read aloud from M. Huc’s Voyage. Then copied into my Itinerary. Then slept.

Sunday, 3.

D

In the night preceding I suffered involuntary emission. Before going to sleep on my mat I had washed my whole person in the head. My thoughts were directed upon Religion, and I had almost knelt and prayed. This emission is the 22nd within the year. — When we arrive in Washington I will tell the General if he questions me, that I would be glad to remain in the Marine Corps as a Sergeant. If he will not make me a sergeant I will take my discharge and go home. I will know in one month what fortune awaits me there; If good, I remain; if not, I get out instanter for Japan. My mother is well provided for. Before leaving home again I have a pilgrimage of devotion to make to the scenes of my childhood —Cumberland, Georgetown College, and Annapolis. I will also write to Masson and Rodgers.

Monday, 4.

E

Engaged the whole day copying into Miss Eckart’s Itinerary.

Tuesday,5.

F

Squally. Copied a few passages into Miss Eckart’s Itinerary. The weather is bad.

Wednesday, 6.

G

Engaged nearly all day copying into Miss Eckart’s Itinerary. I think of little else.

P.S. Before going to sleep I repeated on my knees the Lord’s Prayer.

Thursday, 7.

H

Employed during my watch below in transcribing from this Journal. _ P.S. While it was my watch in the night I conversed upon religion and astronomical topics. As might be expected I had nearly all the talking to do myself. Afterwards I reflected upon my destiny here below and the prospect of yet being purser’s steward with –under (let me never say with!) Mr. Dolan forced itself upon my mind. If may yet be! It will never if Mr. Doran does not restore me to his good opinion. It will never if he reads my journal! But I’m determined now that he shall not, ­– no, he shall not, unless he proceeds to the extremity of demanding commanding – it. I will have then no alternative but to resign into his hands my reputation – my honor – my life! Giving him the greatest proof that could be given of my devotion to his person, and receiving the certain return – his scorn – his abhorrence! – Before going to sleep I repeated mechanically the Lord’s Prayer. I am in thy hands, O merciful Heaven! Thou knowest my Sin : O Father of Mercies withdrawn thy wrath!

Friday, 8.

I

Employed part of the day writing up Miss Eckhart’s Itinery. Idled away part of my watch on deck; essayed to study Fractions; read anew some portions of M. Huc’s Travels. Having a quarrel with a man (Fitzgerald) in the morning, he provoked me to such an extent that I forget myself and called him by an epithet of the meanest contumely, which he did not resent. In the evening I obeyed the dictated of my religion and apologized in the following note:

To Geo. Fitzgerald _ I crave your pardon for having addressed you in opprobrious terms this morning – and forgive you freely for the part you took in provoking me to such an extent as to cause me to forget myself. P. C. Van Buskirk.

 

Page 248

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. States Ship Plymouth)

September, 1854 : 22.

(Saturday, 9.)  – At Sea –

A

Employed sewing during greater part of the day. _ At night before going to sleep I repeated the Lds Pr. Our Father who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, 10.

B

Looking over Morse’s School Geography, 1844. _ Repeated the Lord’s Prayer before going to rest.

(Monday, 11.)

C

Looking over the Newgate Calendar. _ At 6, P.M. we came to anchor near the “Barren Rock” Light House. A pilot soon afterwards came on board and at 8, P.M. we got underway again and made sail. The pilot’s name is Mahomet, though he is not the same one who took into Singapore before. This one it appears, is a Malay. The first Mahomet was a handsome Indian.

(Tuesday, 12.)

D

Our Pilot is not a Malay, but is of the same country as our first Mahomet—Bengal most likely. At five o’clock, P.M. we came to anchor in Singapore Harbour. I made it the occasion of a little feast in which I indulged myself in a pine apple and some bananas _ Expense, six pence. I had perhaps better expended the money in liquidation of my debts.

Wednesday, 13.     – Singapore –

E

Reading “Major Jones Chronicles of Pineville”, an amusing book.

Thursday, 14.

F

The purser served out money, five dollars to each man. I faced the table as I’d probably face a Russian battery. I’ve used four of my five in liquidating claims against me and reserved the remaining one for current expenses.

G

The weather is very hot. In the forenoon I was part of the time employed assisting in the work on deck – setting up backstays, &c. Part of the time I read in a History of the U. States by C. B. Taylor. In the afternoon I read a little and slept a good deal.

H

P.S. Last night I omitted my customary prayer before going to sleep. To night I prostrated myself on the Gang board and repeated the Lord’s Prayer.

Friday,15.

I

Reading part of the time in Mr. Taylor’s History; assisting part of the time in the time in the work on deck; sleeping a part of the time. The heat is oppressive. P.S. At night I did not forget my prayers.

Saturday, 16.

J

Bought a bird from the Captain’s steward, called I believe, a lowry. I am told it is a species of parrot and that it will in time learn to articulate. There is no end to birds brought off for sale in this place, among which are Parrots, parroquets, lowries, cock-a-toos, minors, &c. A day or so I paid two shillings for a little bird and was almost immediately afterwards glad to sell him again for the same price, and that on credit.

Sunday, 17.

K

Occupied part of the time with my lowrie, who proves to be a savage bird, untractable and consequently very difficult to be managed. Corporal Farran undertakes to tame him for me.

Monday, 18.

L

Stood a tour of post for one of the orderlies, who is going on liberty. I obeyed the order to do this so cheerfully that sergeant Grant was induced to promise me liberty in Penang when we get there. Took the Bird out of Corp. Ferrans hands because intimidations entered too largely into his plan of

 

Page 249

Drummer P. C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth Straits of Malacca)

September, 1854 : 22.

A

taming him. I think I can succeed better by kind management. P.S. Neglected my prayers at night.

Tuesday, 19.

B

On post in the forenoon, the third tour for the orderly. I came off post last night at 12, and going to sleep, suffered an involuntary emission, the 23rd of this year. — In the afternoon I read a page in U.S. History

Wednesday, 20. – At Sea –

C

Early in the morning we got underway, but did not get out to sea until lat in the day, having once dropped the stream anchor. _ In the forenoon I added a line or so to Miss E.’s Itinerary. In the afternoon it was my watch on deck. I turned the fleeting hours to no account. _ Last night again I omitted my prayer.

D

P.S. I did not neglect my prayer this night, but an earnestness, a music, creeping into my enunciation, itself audible, goes far to – to – how can I express it? – to infuse a sensation of transient delight in me while the words are escaping my mouth – to give me confidence in prayer, _ But I’ve not expressed it; I cannot express it. But after this I will not omit my prayer at night.

Thursday, 21.

E

We came to anchor in the night, and, this morning, got underway again. We came to anchor at 6, p.m., and 11 got underway again.

Friday, 22.

F

In the forenoon, added a line or two to Miss E.’s Itinerary. _ Mr. Beardslee did me the kindness in Singapore to post my letter to Mundell, but left the postage unpaid though I gave him six pence to pay it. His excuse is that he had no small change at the time of posting the letter and could not get a dollar changed without inconvenience. Mr. Beardsle makes light of the affair; I will not forgive it nor forget it. Who can we trust now? Midshipman I always thought deserving confidence, but after this I will be afraid to trust a midshipman with even a sixpenny commission.

G

_ I passed the evening –  a sultry afternoon – in listlessness inactivity.

(Saturday, 23.)

H

Looking over Morse’s Geography, a book for the use of which I am indebted to Mr. Arnold. I have lost my toothbrush again, and my teeth are consequently in a wretched condition. I am also troubled with a bad cold.

Sunday, 24.

I

I have mortally offended Mr. Beardslee. He asked me to write him such an Itinerary as the one I am preparing for Miss. E., and I unwittingly promised to do so; when shortly afterwards I obtained the necessary paper for the purpose from him, and then almost immediately changed my mind as to the proposed drudgery. I will make one for the Purser, but though Mr. Beardsley offers me pecuniary recompence I cannot accommodate him in this instance. By the way I am now entirely out of Mr. Doran’s favor, and that by my own act, it is me that shuns him. __P.S. Just before turning in I ate heartily of some chicken and bread the Captain’s steward gave me, and before morning in a nap of sleep I suffered seminal emission through a wet dream. I awoke as the morbidness took effect.

Monday, 25.

J

Added a line to Miss Eckart’s Itinerary. Attended to my bird. Nothing more.

Tuesday, 26

K

Purser served out grog-money. – Added a line to Miss E.’s Itinerary. _My bird took wing this evening and struck out for the land, which however he did not reach, but returned after flying ot a great distance, and after I had given him up for lost. –

(Wednesday, 27.)

L

In the preceding night I suffered another emission. I am afraid the stain will never wash out of my linen pants. If not I will have lost two pair of fine white pants by the two last nocturnals.

 

Page 250

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Harbor of Penang)

SEPTEMBER, 1854: 22

(Thursday, 28.)

A

Near 5.P.M. we anchored in the harbor of Penang. Shortly afterwards the port was saluted, and then the Consul-at-Singapore who came up in the ship.

Friday, 29.

B

In the forenoon I was engaged searching out passages in the preceding parte of this journal containing allusions to Mr. Doran. In the afternoon I looked over an ill written book entitled Life in the Mountains: Or Four Months in the Mines of California; By S. Weston. Decidely the worst piece of printed composition I ever saw. Bought a tin cage for my bird.

Saturday, 30.

C

Made up my accounts. It appears that my

Receipts this month have been as follows: From the Purser, 8.50,—Soap, Tobacco, and Tins, 171,—Advance for Tobacco, 50,—Premium on Spanish silver, 20;—Standing post, 17,—Total, 11.08.

Expenditure: Liq. of debt, 676,—A bird (which I afterwards sold on credit) 48,—Pine apples, Eggs, Bananas, Bread, cocoa nut, &c., 126,—Some coin appropriated, 39,—Intended for postage on a letter to Hong Kong, but lost, 12,—Coffee, 54,—Wash Clothes, 18,—Oversight in trans., 11,—Tin bird-cage, 100,—Unaccounted for, 24;—Total, 11.08.

Augmentation of debt.—A parrot lowrie, 200.

D

In the night I suffered invol. emission in a vile dream.

E

NOTE. In the latter part of this month I have declined from the energetic spirit which animated me in the begining, I have grown stupid and confused in my mind. My affairs are not in disorder, but I am almost in every way embarrassed. I want clothing and I want money. I have not though, since the 20th inst. forgotten my nightly prayer. I make it a point to repeat the words of the Lord’s prayer every night before going to sleep. This I do habitually, mechanically, and without the spirit of devotion; but neverless, I do it. Even mummery is better than no prayer at all. Superstition is better than no religion.

 

Page 251

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (United States Ship Plymouth)

OCTOBER, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 1. -Harbor of Penang-

A

The sergeant endeavored, as he had promised, to get permission for me to go ashore. But it was of no use.—I sold my bird to-day at the sacrifice of a dollar, as the only means of relieving myself from pecuniary embarrassment.—At dinner time a man came alongside with old books for sale. I bought four for a rupee. One of them I am reading now. It is entitled A Complete View of the Chinese Empire, Exhibited in a Geographical Description of the Country, A Dissertation on its Antiquity, and a Genuine and Copious Account of Earl Macartney’s Embassy from the King of Great Britain to the Emperor of China.—London: Pub. By J.S. Pratt.—MDCCCXLII. P.S. This book I find is minus about 16 pages; namely those between pp. 208 and 225.

Monday, 2.—In Port and At Sea.—

B

We got underway shortly after meridian and proceeded out of the harbour under the pilotage of an Indian.—Bought five volumes of the Abbé Raynal’s History of the Indies. Price 1.00.

(Tuesday, 3.)—At Sea—

C

Finished the Chinese Empire, and read some portions of Abbé Raynal’s History. We had came to anchor last night in consequence of contrary tides. This morning we got underway again, and soon after, the pilot took his leave.

Wednesday, 4.

D

Reading when not engaged in my watch, some portions of the Abbé’s History. Upon signing my accounts to-day I find myself accredited two dollars and some cts. on the Purser’s Books. The Steward says that I am not upon full pay which I thought being the case might account for the differance.

(Thursday, 5.)

E

Passed the day in reading; principally in a book entitled Travels in America, By Viscount de Chateaubriand, Vol. 2. Mended a pair of breeches.

Friday, 6.

F

In the morning before daylight we lost one of our marines. Impelled by an oppressive sense of misery arising almost in whole from a disordered imagination he plunged into the sea, and though the customary measures were taken to rescue him, it was in vain.

G

Bought 3 books, to wit: Mungo Park’s Travels in Africa, and Chateaubriand’s Travels in America and Italy, 2 Vols.—Mr. Doran is now reading the first volume of Chateaubriand. He met with the book by accident and signified his wish to read it. I am reading Mungo Park.—About this time I think in the event of my getting a land warrant for my services in Mexico; I think, I say, of locating it in Oregon on some bay of the Pacific ocean, and of naming the tract “The Drummer’s Farm”, or Drum Acre, drawing up an Arms in which a drum must be represented supported by a drummer in full uniform on one side and a sailor-boy on the other, an axe, and with such a mottoe as “A bloodless conquest”, “Amo”, or some other, chosen from a list for its peculiar adaptedness.

Saturday, 7.

H

I have been enabled to give my teeth another scrubbing, and am put in the way of keeping them clean. A corporal has given me a tooth brush in exchange for a book. The weather is changeable; the heat oppressive. Still reading the Travels in Africa.

 

Page 252

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

OCTOBER, 1854: 22.

Sunday, 8.

A

I have been embroiled these few days past in difficulties with my messmates—a meaner set I never wish to see. We are nine:—three Germans including the Cook, with a wretched Irishman (yelept Caterer) are a party that unites its influence to keep me deprived of what little comfort I might rightfully take out my share of the ration;—the remainder (excepting Peabody, the only American) maintain a sort of disagreeable neutrality, opposed to me, though not confederated with my enemies. I have not the spirit just at this moment to resist or resent the wrong that I suffer at the hands of these fellows. The present subject of dispute is a few ounces of flour. The Cook draws our rations of flour and without sifting it of worms proceeds to make it into duff or flap-jacks. I beg to be allowed allowed my share of the flour before it is cooked; and this might be allowed me without trouble to anybody, but the request, simple as it is, meets only with refusal.

This is only one instance. I have suffered more or less through the whole cruize by the mean disagreable behavior of my mess-mates at their meals. I am impatient for the Cruize to end, and these of all people in the world I never wish to see again. But on the whole I have met with but little kindness from common soldiers (except when the object of their kindness was to pave the way to my own demoralization) that I will remember them only with horror. I can never be the personal friend of the soldier—especially the marine—ever excepting that class among them who are not yet confirmed in their vices and selfish meaness, the young musicians;—who hath yet a spark of generous feeling unperverted, the youthful drummer-boy.

(Monday, 9.)

B

Engaged to-day as yesterday perusing vol.1. of Raynal’s Indies.

Tuesday, 10.

C

Mr. Doran returned me vol.1. of Chateaubriand’s Travels. I throw every thing aside to peruse it. I purpose reading it and the first volume of Raynal, after which I will place a second taboo upon all such subjects and return again to the study of Arithmetic. I have an idea of travelling over the Rocky Mountains to the banks of the river Rouge Clamet in Oregon, the very spot, I am thinking, where I ought to locate my land warrant, and rear my future home.

Wednesday, 11.

D

The Master-at-arms did me a bad turn to-day. My oil-cloth breeches being thrown by some careless fellow up on the Berth Deck, Jimmy seized upon them, and now keeps them in his possession under cover of a rule which allows him to put every thing into the lucky bag which is found loose upon the Berth Deck. But Jimmy only avails himself of this rule to annoy his enemies. I do’nt allow myself to be annoyed, and accordingly think nothing of the circumstance, now that I have reported it to the first lieutenant with the view of getting back the breeches. These are not forthcoming; but until I get them again I will avoid exposing in rain showers my limbs though my watch may be at work; I will not skulk—I never do—,but I will tell the sergeant on such occasions the reason why I hold back.—Finished perusing Chateaubriand’s Travels in America and Italy, Vol. 1.

Thursday, 12.

E

Mr. Doran returned me the ii vol. of Chateaubriand’s Travels: I perused that portion relating to America, and then resumed the Indies. I am more confirmed in my resolution to seek a home on the Pacific. But I will first make an effort to get to Japan.

Friday, 13.

F

Finished reading the Abbé Raynal’s Indies, Vol. 1. It now remains for me to observe the labor I have set upon non-arithmetical reading.

 

Page 253

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (United State Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

OCTOBER, 1854: 22.

Saturday, 14.

A

Forenoon. Mended a breech in my oil-cloth pantaloons..Read a page or so and slept.—Boy Reever asked me this morning for reading matter: I placed my Shanghae Papers, Claims of Loo-Choo, and a volume of Raynal’s Indies at his use. In Shanghae Reever one day asked me for the Herald when I flatly refused him. He was well and healthy then, a very bad boy, and an object of aversion to me. I never favored him; on the contrary I let no opportunity pass of manifesting my repugnance towards him, and andenmity sprung up between us. Since then he has fell a prey to desease. A few days ago when I learned that his condition was really low—that he was really a sufferer—I repaired to his cot, and observing a Novel in his hand, enquired “Are you reading that book?, upon which misjudging my motives in asking, he replied sharply “You sha’nt have it.” Another book coming to my view in another part of the cot, I pointed to it and asked “What book is that?” “That’s none of your business,” replied the boy as spitefully as before. “Is it a novel?” I persisted. “Kiss my —“, enjaculated the boy. “Well, George, I’ve got some good books that I’ll lend you if you want to read them—a History of the Indies—a Loo-Choo book—&c,” said I mildly. “I do’nt care if you’ve got the History of Hell—I would’nt read anything belonging to you since you would’nt let me see that Shanghae paper.” “Well, I rejoined, I’ll get you the papers now if you want them.” “No I would’nt read them now if it was to save me from dying.” “Well George, I said, when you want books or papers or anything that I can procure you, anwish666 anything done that I cando for you, send for me,” and retired. George has got over his ilfeeling. I never meant him any harm. My previous conduct towards him was only to manifest my dislike of his doings, not his person. It is my way.—Afternoon, looked over vol.6 of Raynal’s Indies.

(Sunday, 15.)

B

Passed the time between reading and thinking over my prospects. Bought a pair of fine pants: Satisfied of the weight that appearance carries with it, I am determined to not be wanting in that respect when I return to Washington and Charlestown.

Monday, 16.

C

Read the concluding pages of Mungo Park’s Travels in Africa. An old Captain of the Afterguard who will be paid off to the amount of four hundred dollars offers to defray my expences from Norfolk to Charlestown, or to lend me requisite sums, provided I will take him with me to the Country. He is particularly anxious to find a home in Virginia; If I like it, he will join his four hundred dollars to what capital I already have, and live with me in retirement the rest of his life. If he pleases he may go with me to Charlestown and live as a guest at my Mother’s house until a good opportunity occurs of putting his money to good account and securing himself in a more quiet and comfortable home than is to be found under my Mother’s roof. I do’nt want the old man’s money, but I would like to see him placed in comfortable circumstances for the rest of his life, and I will give him my best advice and assistance towards effecting that object.

D

P.S. I must confess with shame and humilliation to another act of self-polution. It was in the night between 10 and 11 that I perpetrated the deed.

(Tuesday, 17.)

E

I will not be able to do anything this week in the way of resuming my study of Arithmetic. I will pass the time in the best way I can to relieve it of tedium.

Wednesday, 18.

F

I offered up no prayer since the night of my polution. I will not again for at least a week to come.

 

[Editor’s note: Pagination moves directly from 253, ending Wednesday the 18th, to 255, beginning with Thursday the 19th. This appears to be a pagination error on the author’s part, not a missing page.]

 

Page 255

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

OCTOBER, 1854: 22.

(Thursday, 19.)

A

Last night I washed my person with water and changed into clean white pants: then before going to rest I repeated the Lord’s Prayer. I thought of the angel of my choice—of Alexander, and breathed my wishes to see him in my dream. I fell asleep and dreamed of Hibbs.

Friday, 20.

B

We crossed the equator sometime yesterday.—Mr. Doran has spoken to me several times since the month began. I may therefore consider myself in a great part reinstated in his good graces, if not in his good opinion.—Added a few lines to the Itinerary—infact all that relating to Pulo Penang.

(Saturday, 21.)

C

We have now got into the Trades: these continuing fresh and regular, will soon transport us to our next and last stopping place—the Cape of Good Hope.

Sunday, 22.

D

We are driving along at the rate of 9 and 10 knots if not more. The sea is rather uneven.—Looked over some parts of the Indies, vol. ii—I am in trouble again with my messmates. I will have to beg my ration of flour from the first lieutenant. The source of my disquiet is the swarm of worms that infest our flour and are baked up in the duff. My other messmates pay no regard to this circumstance. Our potatoes and bread together with our beans are also wormy, but as this can’t be helped, it gives me no trouble.

(Monday, 23.)

E

I did little else all this day than walk about the decks and think over my past and future. We drive along under the trades with no less velocity to-day than yesterday.

Tuesday, 24.

F

Wind holds out. The lattitude to-day is 11˚ 49’, S. –I consume the hours idly.

Wednesday, 25.

G

Latitude 14˚, 25’. S.—To-day after much altercation I brought the dispute with my mess to a close—at least for the present. It is agreed that myself and Peabody shall have our flour. To which however a burly Irishman still holds out in opposition.—P.S. I had hardly finished writing the preceding note when the burly Irishman came on the Gun Deck to me with a summons from the Master’s-mate of the Berth Deck. I repaired below and found Mr. Stockton standing in judgement upon the flour-case. In consequence of the representations of the Irishman seconded officiously by Jimmy Legs, and as it was shewn that a majority of the mess opposed my having any flour, the Arbitrator decided against me also, thus confirming the injustice of these fellows who were principally instigated by the Irishman to act as they did. This Irishman had been troublesome to me during all the latter part of the cruize. I had told him at dinner that if he put any impediment in the way of my getting flour that I would surely punish him. Accordingly after my trouble with Mr. Stockton I drove the old rascal off the Gun Deck by mere menaces, and shortly afterwards when he came up the ladder again I kicked him down again to the foot. I did this only to keep my word with him, and I used no unnecessary violence, to have done which would have been very cowardly as the garrulous old wretch is weak and half-blind with the pox (venereal).—Mr. Beardslee witnessed the affair and reported me to the Officer of the Deck. I afterwards learned that in making his report he took occasion to speak very unfavourably of me. Mr. Balch came up, investigated the affair, and sentenced me to stand four hours in the Up-and-Down. While I was up to the Mast and in the absence of the officers Fitzgerald indulged himself in some remarks pointed at me. I was released from my irons at ½ past 5. Near 7 I taxed Fitz with the injustice of his conduct towards me, and upon receiving a contemptuous answer, I struck him in the face and then seized him by his

 

Page 256

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.States Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

OCTOBER, 1854: 22.

hair; but I was prevented from doing him further injury. Mr. Beardslee came running to the spot, and a second time I was arraigned before the first lieutenant. The affair was investigated and Mr. Balch decided that he would not punish me this time. I told that seven men in my mess were so inveterately my enemies that I could not possibly get along with them. Mr. Balch then said that I must remain where I am for the present, but that he would change my mess as soon as convenient, That I suppose will be the first of the month. Once in the Cumberland I was threatened with the lash. I was again put in jeopardy in Pensacola. But I was never put in irons before to-day. Mr. Balch might have taken some other method of punishing me. I will not soon forget the disgrace which was imposed upon me this day. But being once publicly disgraced in this manner I have no longer any dread of it. And that which was all along an object of dread to me will now possess no influence upon my conduct.

Thursday, 26.

B

Latitude 16˚ 31” S. My whole thoughts are taken up with things foreign to my Arithmetic.

Friday, 27.

C

Latitude 18˚ 43” S. Weather begins to grow chilly. I pass a small portion of my time reading the I’s.

Saturday, 28.

D

Lat. 20˚ 20” S.—Suffered an invol. em. in the night—the 27th within the year.—Think of the future and of giving my attention to Arithmetic.—A few days ago I refused to continue lending my Cooper’s U.S. Navy as the book is a keepsake and is begining to be the worse for wear. To-day it came to my notice that rankling enmity was the effect of my decision. My past kindness is forgotten, and now I offend my shipmates in daring to reserve things to myself which their carelessness would mutilate. Damn them! my kindness towards them is at an end. I hate the sight of a man-of-war sailor, and they hate the sight of each other. It is true that ninety out of every hundred are disagreable, ignorant, selfish, dishonest, and altogether despicable wretches.—I discontinue for a short time my practice of nightly devotion. This will be until I am washed and habited in clean pants again. A clean skin and unstained clothes are essentials not to be overlooked in the forms of my worship.

Sunday, 29.

E

Lat. 21˚ 23” S..Our fresh winds have gone down and variable breezes now play about our sails with hardly force enough to jog us on at therate of five knots.—Charity Debt. Begining from the 4th of last March I have considered the tenth part of my stipend as consecrated to the sacréd purposes of Charity. Reckoning up to-day I find myself eight months in arrears. The tenth part of my monthly income is 50 cents. Consequently I am indebted to my own Charity Fund to the amount of four dollars, to which I join Sally’s claim and that of Gacki (deceased), by which the amount is increased to $4.81.

Monday, 30.

F

Our breese has freshened up, and we again glide swifly through the foam. At work upon Miss E.’s Itin.—I will accompany Antonia to Baltimore, and while there will pay a visit to the Hon. Jno. C. Legrand.

P.S. In the night—O may I be forgiven!—I yielded again to the force of unhallowed, perverted instinct. I defiled myself. My mind is desolate. Accursed wretch am I!

Tuesday, 31.

G

Pecuniary. Receipts: Soap, 36,—Advance for tobacco, 64,—Bird & cage, 2.00.—Total 3.00.

—Expendits: Lost in chain locker, 1.00,—Four old books, 40,—Bread, Eggs, &c, 40,—Five vols. Raynal’s History, 1.00,—Appropriated, 1,—Unaccounted for, 3. Total, 3.00.

—Augmendits: Three books, 1.25,—Fine grey pants, 3.50,—Interest on money, 50. Total 5.25.

Sally’s claim for 70 cents and Gacki’s for 6 are transferred to another account. I will spend their money in Charity in their name.

 

Page 257

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U. S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

Wednesday, 1.

A

Wrote a letter to my mother; dated it from “Hampton Roads” and left a blank space for day and year. The gentlemen upon whom I am to wait, as ambiguously adverted to in the letter, are Mr. Black of Cumberland and Mr. Legrand of Baltimore. Masrs. Legrand and Black were warm friends, personal and political, of Col. Van Buskirk; and moreover, these two gentlemen have both interested themselves in my favor; have evinced upon separate occasions a friendliness for me—and my heart rebounds with gratitude at the thought. These circumstances are the recommendations, also adverted to in the letter, I have no other. My design is to perform a pilgrimage to Cumberland, Frostburg, and Annapolis; and to pay a farewell visit to honored friends of my father, and of my childhood. If they receive me kindly, it will go a long way towards ennobling my nature—now so depraved, so low, so vile! It will re-infuse ambition and purpose into my depressed mind to be told that I have not yet lost caste.

B

I added a few lines to Miss E’s Itinerary, and attempted a picture of Ahoy.

Thursday, 2.

C

—The first of the month has come and gone, and yet I am not changed into another Mess. In truth I am pleased for to remain where I am—especially as I am treated with some deference since my late demonstrations, though I have tacitly yielded the main-point of our contention.

D

Read biographical sketches of Admiral Lord Nelson and the great Dr. Franklin.

Friday, 3.

E

Warm: sultry weather.—My whole effort is to dissipate the time.—I am troubled with a sore lip; I have all along been troubled with a foul tooth to which in the main I am indebted for a stinking infectious breath. I’m resolved to delay no longer in having the tooth extracted; after which I may thoroughly cleanse my remaining teeth and purify my breath. I make a point of washing my teeth every morning, but it is altogether without effect; my mouth is none the cleaner.—Looking over Bonar and McCheyne’s Mission of Enquiry to the Jews, a library book.—Mended a pair of fatigue pants.—I completed and sewed together Miss Eckart’s Itinerary yesterday, leaving blank space under “Cape Town” and “Norfolk” for notes yet to be inserted. There other are blank spaces which I may fill up when I have a mind to do so.—P.S. Got the doctor’s steward at work upon my pestilential tooth—the first grinder on the left in my under jaw; the instrument was applied, but the tooth snagged; so the roots remain, though the rotten parts are removed. One evil got over. I must now wait until my sore lip heals before I can freely use my tooth brush to complete the purification of my mouth.

Saturday 4.

F

Consumed the day in idleness, except when now and then reading in a book. I might employ myself to advantage in more ways than one, but I have not the mind.—I have given up my practice of saying prayers at night. It will not do while I breathe so vile an atmostphere, and carry about me clothes that are not free from impurity. Under such circumstances it would be gross impiety.

Sunday, 5.

Looking over a book entitled “Polar Regions”, containing descriptions of Iceland and Greenland with accounts of the Expeditions of Capts. Perry and Franklin.

Monday, 6.

H

In the midwatch asleep I suffered the efects of a wet-dream, to which a slight sensation of pain succeeded—the 28th nocturnal emission within the year. I watch the development of my own destiny with a painful anxiety. My star is clouded. Misericorde!

 

Page 258

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 7.

A

Gave old Williams a copy of my letter to Mrs. Scroggy, together with a transcript of notes 233, D & F, and 234, E, and 235, B,—allwhich I enclosed in an envellope with a written requester for a memorial in poetry of the angel Alexander. This old Williams (E.W.D. Esq.) has promised.

B

Old Galushe the quartermaster very kindly loaned me his paints again to-day; I proceeded to color the back of Miss Eckart’s Itinerary.

C

—Ross (James) loaned me a book entitled Life on the Ocean, By Captain Little, which I will proceed to read.

D

—Dick Gormly has given into my keeping a book entitled Principles of Grammar; Being a Compendious Treatise on the Languages, English, Latin, Greek, German, Spanish, and French. Founded on the Immutable Principle of the Relation which One Word sustains to Another.—He brought out a new way of arguing by induction, and that grounded on observation and experience. Baker.—By Solomon Barret, Jr. Philologist.—Revised Edition—Philadelphia: Printed by King and Baird. 1851.—I will probably make some use of it.

Wednesday, 8.

E

Added the title page to Miss E.’s Itinerary. It is in the following words: Itinirary of a Cruize in the U.S.S. Plymouth, With Some Notes and Passages selected from my Private Journal.—Prepared for, and, with permission, Inscribed to Miss Eckart, with the intention of Manifesting Respect and Gratitude.—This book shall be for a record of my little doings, written with my own hand, wherein what shall be written to the praise of God, shall be the naked truth, and this I pray every one that reads it to believe. Mem. autografe di papa Sisto V.—These words of course properly disposed. I have something yet to add and the title will be complete.

F

—The day began pleasantly with little wind.—6.P.M. The wind is now high; sea uneven; top’s are reefed; and we drive along at the rate of 9 ½ knots.

Thursday, 9.

G

I am an improvident fellow. Cold weather is beginning to come on now, and I am entirely without winter clothing, the want of which I feel acutely in my watch every night. But I keep a stiff upper lip, and hide my distress. In the following list I indicate by romans the articles which I possess, and express in italics those which I have not, but feel the want of.

LIST. 1. 2 light flannel shirts 2. 2 heavy flannel shirts. 3. 3 white cotton shirts 5. do do do 4. 1 silk neckerchief. 5. 4 pair flannel drawers. 6. 2 pr. Woolin stockings. 7. 2 pr. of shoes. 8. 3 pr. of overalls. 9. 2 woolen jackets. 10. 1 comforter (italic) 11. 1 Great Coat 12. 2 fatigue caps. 13. 1 flannel lined South Wester. 14. 1 Oil-skin coat 15. 1 Oil-skin trousers. 16. 1 pr. Water-proof boots. Exclusive of some summer clothing.

H

—I see Coleman at work writing up Mr. Arnold’s Log. It was first given to me to do, and I executed the task indifferently. That was perhaps two years ago. I next saw Billy Phillips at work upon it. And now I see George pen in hand, books spread, and up to his eyes in the business. He writers a pretty hand, and is otherwise better adapted to the work of copying than me.

I

—We had to reef the top-sails last night. The wind has since subsided into a top-gallant breeze.

Friday, 10.

J

Finished the perusal of Capt. Little’s book (Life on the Ocean, or Twenty Years at Sea, Being the Personal Adventures of the Author.—By Geo. Little, For many years Captain in the Merchant Service, But now entirely Blind.—1847.) It is an excellent book to put into the hands of boys following the sea. I have derived benefit from reading it.

K

—Repaired my other flannel shirt.—It is pleasant weather. The ship makes eight or nine knots under a fine breeze, lower and top-gallant studding sails set on the port side.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea: South Pacific)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

Saturday, 11.

A

Last night in the first watch I suffered an invol. em., consequent, I believe, upon my having eaten some yam and meat before getting to sleep.

B

—A Dutch ship was spoken to-day, bound to the Cape.—It is pleasant, softening weather. We run under studding sails on both sides, and, I think, average six knots. Latitude 30˚ 52’.

C

—Finished the perusal of Barret’s English and Latin Grammar (258,D.). I am satisfied of its peculiar excellence as a vado mecuum; and am resolved to buy one on the first opportunity. Meanwhile I will use this copy to advantage.—

D

Transcribed the Greek Alphabet with a view to learn it. Eight years ago, I remember, I abhorred the sight of a Greek Grammar, and viewed a Latin book with almost equal abhorrence. I was then a baby in the arms of Alma Mater, and a more refractory, stubborn child never struggled at the breast, or rejected its mother’s milk. I was let down from her lap; and now after so long a truancy—after running so many wild courses—I would fain return to her breast again. And this I may virtually do. Why may I not class myself a son—though a straying one—of Georgetown College? When by intense application (and the blessing of God) I may master the Greek, the Latin, the French and the Spanish languages, and explore the labarynths [No dictionary] of Mathematical and Natural, Political and Moral Science,—If I prove myself deserving of a mother’s forgiveness, and go and ask it ask a repentant son, will it not be shewn me? Will I not be recognized and received again into the family? This then is my determination. I will educate myself; and afterwards seek a diploma or degree from the College of Georgetown, the Institution of which I am so proud.—towards which I bear such real affection. And now that I have turned my face homeward, I must place a double guard upon my actions: I must be worthy in every respect of the Mother whose love I wish to regain. I have a name to retrieve, and I have the means to retrieve it. I ask the forgiveness of Heaven for the many and flagrant offences I have committed against its Holy Law; I ask its blessing in this critical hour of my life; I implore its protection against future evil; and with a firm reliance upon the infinite mercy of God, I banish inquietude from my mind, and fall to the work which is allotted me.

Sunday, 12.

E

Committed the PATER NOSTER to memory.—This day I devoted to rest; that is to say, I let my work lie unattended to. The prayer which I have learned is as good as devotional. I mean to learn to articulate that prayer in French and Spanish (if not in Greek) and to write it in Chinese. This will be devotional work and fit to employ my Sundays.

F

—Alas! I forgot myself once or twice to-day and behaved unbecoming the character of a son of Georgetown College. I gave utterance to a low expression in the one instance and in the other failed to disapprove of a similar expression addressed to me. In both cases I behaved in a manner unbecoming the high character which I have assumed. I hope I will not have the like to record again.

G

—Looked over some pages of Mrs. Willard’s History U. States.—I do’nt know why I should’nt progress in my studies. I am driven to books. Among the numbers that surround me there is not one that I can call friend; there is not one in whom I can confide,—with whom I may hold social converse—but stay!—there is one—there are two—there may be more; men that manifest respect towards me, and talk intelligently when I am at liberty to hold conversation; but these aside, I am in the midst of envious and very wicked men who are enemies of my very soul. Ah! who would spare no pains to ruin me now and eternally. I have allowed my beard to grow, but this even works no abatement in the unnatural lust of the wretches who are disposed to pay me a court as a boy. I long to be rid of this society. I long to escape this infectuous atmostphere. Meanwhile my only refuge is in books.

H

—P.S. Think of Ned Rodgers; of Hibbs, of Mr. Doran. I would rejoice in the prospect of going to sea under Mr. Doran.—Conversation with Charley Berry. Am told of things that happened in the “Constellation” frigate, 1842.

Monday, 13.

I

Fine, pleasant weather, and a flowing, twelve-knot breeze. Therm. at 4 p.m. 70.˚—Latitude 32˚8’.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea, Southern Ocean.)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

Monday, 13.

A

—Occupied my whole leisure in unremitted application to figures. I began early and persevered the day through. One day well employed! Not one hour lost!! It is one advance towards power made. I know wherein my interests lie. Shall I falter in my march? It is now or never! The present hour is the very “time of salvation”. If it is lost, I am lost.

B

P.S. THE BUDGET. Charley Berry is an arch-inquisitor. What he does’nt see and observe is hardly worth knowing. I am indebted to his observation for much of what I know. We have long kept between us an imaginary receptacle of facts to which he has given the name of “Budget.” The following came out of the Budget last night: I am undecided as to what degree of credit to attach to it. Charley says, that he knew a boy in Portsmouth, 1848, who had been a pupil at the school of Rev. Mr. Wells of Boston; and that this boy, whose name was Chas. Gilbertson, stated as a fact, that Mr. Wells had more than once tried to induce him to participate in acts of paederasty. Charley’s opinion is that Gilbertson complied; though the latter always asserted the contrary. In the Portsmouth, Gilbertson’s conduct was with respect to this vice, irreproachable. Charley knew in the same ship a Spanish boy named Dumas, who had also lived with Mr. Wells; and Dumas roundly asserted that he had often served Mr. Well’s purpose.

Tuesday, 14.

C

—Sleep broken in the night, during which I suffered invol. emission. If medical skill does not effect a cure of this disorder, I will not, I do’nt think, be able to come to sea again in the public service.

D

—I worked all this day at my Numbers, and lost not an hour. I have much impediment too, to overcome; among which is constitutional and habitual indolence, distraction of mind, and impatience of spending time over elementary rules.

Wednesday, 15.

E

Work, work was the order of the day. Work, and that, as it were, against wind and tide. It would be difficult to enumerate the distracting thoughts which rise unhidden to impede the progress of my study. But they not shall divert me from my purpose, nor rob my studies of their allotted time.

F

—2, P.M. One of the crew addressing me by the name of “Clayton”, says that he was my playmate fourteen years ago. What announcement this! To-night when my work is over for the day I will see who he is that played with me fourteen years ago.

G

—Put Mifs E.’s Itinerary into the purser’s hands. He remarked in returning it that A.Baker was a genius. As it is high time to begin making Mr. Doran’s Itinery, I devote my watch below for the purpose.

H

—4, P.M. Borrowed 2 sheets of paper from Mr. Babbit, and as a mark of respect allowed him to read Miss Eckart’s Itinerary.

Thursday, 16.

I

Well nigh thrown off my track; so many distracting cares divide my mind. However I managed to give some attention and a good portion of my time to my book—Arithmetic—THE book par excellence—the Book of books, the ruling book, the First of the library, this many weeks to come.

J

—I am obliged to forego for the present (perhaps altogether) my intention of writing up an Itinerary for Mr. Doran, because I am sensible that I can not make anything really worth his acceptation. I will therefore dismiss all thought of my former intention. This Journal and Myself are at Mr. Doran’s command. At his word it shall be opened, though by that same word I will be lost to him in this world forever. May he never see these pages! He will never know my devotion to him; but then, my perversity, and the iniquity of my life will be equally hid from his knowledge.

K

—Gave permission for Mr. Homer (passenger to the U.S.) to read Miss E.’s Itinerary; also let Mr. Sherk read it.

L

—Failed to discover who the individual is that shared my boyish sports. He is uncommunicative. His ship’s name is 666. Woodward.

Friday, 17.

M

  1. to Meridian. Continued, though remitted and loose, application to the Book.—Merid. to 4. Attempted to renew my application, but diverting thoughts and circumstances prevented; so I covered myself over and slept. The mountains of Caffraria or Cape Colony are in sight on our lee beam.—P.S. 4 to 6, P.M. Made up in part for lost time.—8 to Midnight. That cursed destroyer of my repose—Seminal Weakness—afflicted me again in my sleep. O what misery I have drawn upon myself! These nocturnal emissions bid fair to be my ruin.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea.)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

Saturday, 18.

A

Progressed a little—a very little in the Book. I can only call it half-a-day.

B

—I see the Purser every day engaged in the work of acquisition. “Ollendorf’s New Method of Learning French” is his Book.

C

—My sore lip is healed, and there is nothing now in the way of keeping my mouth clean. I have removed every source of pestilence, but for all my scrubbing, my teeth are none the whiter. There is an art in whitening teeth which I have yet to learn.

D

—The sailors themselves, and the soldiers, into whose society I am thrown, draw a line of demarcation between me and them. Not a day passes in which I am not brought to feel the general disapprobation which is bestowed on men like me, that employ their time as I do, talk as I do, avoid as I do all vulgarity and filthiness of speech and action. In short, not a day passes in which I am not reminded of being among the Philistines. O! these sailors that see only my good qualities, and condemn them in me. If they knew me truly, their envy would be allayed, and then I might count upon their fellowship. BE IT AS THEY WILL IT; let distinction of caste forever separate us. Boys of the Navy will alone be eligible to my friendship; men, especially old salts, will ever remain objects of my aversion. Such they have made themselves; they were the enemies of my very soul in the period of my boyhood; and in my present condition they assiduously remove every flower and leave the thorn standing. Truly a man-of-war is a miniature hell—an element the very breath of which will transform an angel into a devil. Be it as they have made it; I am no friend of the old salt;—but of the boy-solider and the boy-sailor, whose fearful trials I know of by experience, whose joys I have shared, whose friendships I have reciprocated in that blessed period when the soul and mind is free from guile—when the impress of its Maker is yet undefaced; of the Sailor and Solider boy, I say, I am the steadfast friend. With every other condition in the Common Soldiery and Sailorhood let me never correspond or hold intercourse except on condition and through the forms of deference on their side and authority on mine. Equality is henceforward never to be thought of. Compared to a good and noble man—such, for instance, as Mr. Doran—I sink to a point and fade from sight into utter insignificance; I am appalled at my own wretched depravity—at the unfathomable depth of degradation (measured by lines of Morals, Religion, or Intellect) into which I am sunk; I am an object of scorn and abhorrence. Mr. Doran is the model of a caste above me which will always command my respect; but be it observed that few—very few of such as Mr. Doran, are to be found even in the highest walks of life. Besides Mr. Doran I have recollection of one other who bore the impress of God’s nobility, and that was Col. Hopkins. I was born to this high estate, but I am fallen, fallen! I did not, like those two men whose honored names I have just mentioned, remain true to the Maker from whose hands I came. No—I sunk into vice, and sin, and debasement, down, down until it might be supposed my very guardian angel had lost sight of me. But low as had fallen, there were yet greater depths beneath, further down than the eye could reach, when Merciful God arrested my course, and fixed me, as it seems, on the middle round of the ladder. Now compared to such men as I know every second salt to be, I am indeed a Superior being.

Sunday, 19.

E

—Hove-to all night under reefed topsails.—All this day trying to sail the ship into port. Winds preventing.

F

Borrowed Mr. Morrison’s French Bible (London reprint, 1847, of the Paris Edition of 1805.) and copied the Notre Pére. This is the first Bible I ever saw in the French, or any other strange language, though I’ve seen parts of it in different tongues.

G

P.S. I must mention a present of an old but good pair of boots which was made me by Bill Williams. Also a knife from Old Sproul.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S Plymouth, Table Bay.)

Monday, 20.

A

Drifted into the harbour of CAPETOWN in the night between 2 and 4, A.M. and dropped anchor.—Started a scheme to get the Cape Town papers. A mulattoe servant of the hotel belonging to a Mr. Clark very obligingly sent me two papers of late dates (Nov. 17 & 18).—Indulged myself in a treat of oranges;—about the only indulgence which my Exchequer will permit.

B

—I have closed the Book for a while. Cape Town and it’s harbour, inhabitants, &c., and the countless things incident to our stay in Table Bay demand my attention.

Tuesday, 21.

C

—General liberty is given. The First and Second divisions were sent ashore to-day. I expect to go before Friday.

D

—My friend the mulattoe, mentioned above, betrayed the trust I reposed in his integrity, by sending me two gratis papers instead of two Sixpenny ones. I had taken a shilling from the funds of the Plym. Intelligence Co. and placed it in this fellow’s hands for the purchase of two newspapers. Another man, one that attends the ship, promises to supply us in future with the papers.

Wednesday, 22.

E

—Wrote an advertisement for Saturday’s Advertiser, and gave it to Coleman to copy off, and cause to be inserted. It relates to a preceding advertisement appearing in to-day’s paper.

F

—A draft of marines went on liberty to-day. In consequence of shorthandédness I am appointed to do Corporal-of-the-guard’s duty. I have two sentries to attend to when on guard, and regular “rounds” to go in the night. This is not the first time I am “dressed with a little brief authority.” “Authority” it undoubtedly is, aptly qualified by “little” as to extent, and by “brief” as to duration. But in little or great authority I am unquestioningly a person capable of acquiring and preserving the approbation of men.

Thursday, 23.

G

Another day gone to your humble servant Acting Corporal the Drummer Van Buskirk. I know what my friend Rose of the “Susquehanna” would say to all this pompous recitation of my new and transient dignities—or my new duties transmogrified into “dignities” by an easy confusion of terms; He would say: “Blow your horn, and I’ll whistle”.

H

—The sailors (as usual) roundly abuse the indulgence shewn them; numbers of them lay about the decks now in a state of brutal intoxication, having overstayed their liberty besides. Our marines on shore are also over their liberty. If they come off tonight, the remainder of us may reasonably expect to be sent in the morning—Abrams is the name of the little man who procures our papers. To-day he sent a Dutch Sheet—the Zuid Afrikaan. Took measures to prevent another such mistake.—Spent my leisure time as yesterday, reading.

Friday, 24.

I

Our marines—those who went ashore day before yesterday—did not all return before a late hour to-day. The last man of them is now on board, so that we may expect to be sent in our turn early to-morrow morning.—The 3rd & 4th divisions of sailors went on liberty to-day. Each man is charged to come off at the expiration of 24 hours, but almost every one—including petty officers—takes 48 hours. Some who got into jail have been brought on board by policemen, and are now lodged in irons to be released after a short confinement. These are at present 13, and among them is my wharf-rat Keenan; whose name appears thus in the Police Gazette local: “James Keener, seaman on board U.S. Ship Plymouth, fined 5 shillings, drunkenness.”

J

A drunken crazy-man (anonanist) gave me some little trouble while I was on guard to-day. A buck negro, already crazy, and now phrensied with liquor, is no trifling annoyance to deal with; such was the fellow to whom I’ve adverted.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Table Bay.)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

MEMORANDA OF MY TWO DAYS LIBERTY IN THE PLEASANT COUNTRY HERE.

(Saturday, 25.)

A

Nine of us were sent early this morning on liberty. We were directed to find the Purser on shore where our liberty money would be paid us. When found, the Purser directed us to wait upon him in an hour’s time. I repaired immediately to the livery stable of a Mr. Thomas—a colored gentleman, that is, a bright mulattoe, but withal a man of politeness and therefore a gentleman—in quest of a horse—cream colored—that had been recommended to me by some of our late liberty men. Mr. Thomas sent his little boy with me to another place, for the cream colored was not one of his horses. This little guide of mine, by the way, was as fair complexioned, and as intelligent a little urchin as I could wish to see. You could not discover the slightest trace of the African in his features or complexion. Not so his brothers and sisters: they all exhibited more or less the dark suffuse of the Negro blood; but they were not the less handsome for all that. Indeed of the children of the White population there was not to be seen a single case of natural deformity, even in the smallest degree, and I always regard juvenile ugliness in the light of deformity. Handsome children may through irregularity or dissipation grow up to be ugly men; but that is nature altered; in the first place always the works of our common Father bear His distinguishing impress, which is beauty and proportion, but after that a thousand perversities creep or seek to creep into our system, and this impress is erased at once from our features and our minds; we become ugly men, bad tempered, cruel, selfish, stupid, and vicious. Jno. Thomas—such was his name—told me that he was in his eighth year. He is a schoolboy too, and can read, where, by the way he has the advantage over his own father, who cannot. If you learn everything that’s in your book, you may perhaps be parliament man or Governor when you grow to a man’s size. How would you like that? O! I’ll have to be a Queen’s boy before I could be Governor. “Queen’s boy” ! what on earth is that? An academical distinction here? If so, those little scholars who attain to such a class ought to be proud of it, and those who lag behind their fellows, who never get removed from the foot of their class, ought to be ashamed of it. I’m quite ashamed at this distance of years when I think of the low position I always held in my class. Mr. GYLNN’s store was the place where I was to find the horse. Mr. Glynn was not at home. After some entreaty, however, I was permitted to have the horse without waiting for the Master’s return. This was a deviation, as I afterwards learned, from the established rule, and two young ladies who had taken it upon themselves to order the horse readied^ themselves subject to reprimand, a circumstance I very much regret; their kindness in not keeping me in suspense deserves my warmest acknowledgement, especially as in this case, delay would have been ruinous to my projected enjoyment the day. At 10. O’clock I received $7.00 from the Purser in English money (=£2*, 8s. C.T. Currency.) I prevailed upon three of my Comrades to accompany me to Wynberg. Two of them accordingly engaged a carriage for 15s. at Mr. Thomas’ and the other one a riding horse. Our ride into the country was truly pleasant. My horse proved an excellent pacer, and very many people recognized him as an old acquaintance. Children especially were never tired of making him “knock at the door” and “shake hands,” by which I knew him to ba Circus-horse, and such I was told he had been before Mr. Glynn purchased him. The road to Wynberg, the country mansions, the villages, &c. are just such as we might expect to meet with in an Old Colony, long settled and beautified by the enterprizing world subduing children of Holland and Britain; and the natural scenery is what might be expected under the latitude—33° or 34° S.—; every thing I met with in the vicinity of the Bay elicited suprize and pleasure. These people might well be contented were their ports wholly inaccessible and their communication with Europe entirely cut off, for in their soil and climate are to be found every element of prosperity.

*Mistake: £1. 8c, or 28s.

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Table Bay)

November, 1854: 22.

A

Such are my impressions; I cannot think they are ilfounded. One thing exists here under the sanction of society to see which would make a Virginian stare, and that is—Amalgamation, as well in sociability, so to speak, as in marriage. I had the honor in the course of my ride to meet colored ladies walking arm in arm with their white sisters, and I met one gentleman of color promenading with a white lady upon. I say lady, because the dress and manner of these persons were idicative of respectability. They may have been otherwise. We must judge by the dress and air when we have no nearer acquaintance, but I confess that these are often deceptive. I for instance am by virtue of the uniform I wear a very low person in society; as such I am excluded from houses of respectability when I have to pass the night on shore in foreign parts, and it becomes optionary with me to hide myself away in some corner for the night—a miserable alternative—or to take up lodging in some wretched haunt of dissipation (the only places which are open to us) an alternative still more miserable. This state of things is the cause of the wreck of many an immortal soul—many a high spirit has been broken down and entirely humbled by the effect of this conspiracy of society against our very life. My uniform is the livery of a very humble walk in society; but still I have no reason to be ashamed of it: They who would despise me merely on account of my being a soldier are the very people whose esteem I should not consider worth seeking. I never knew the sinfulness of pride until I became an object of contempt myself. At meridian we visited the Kafir chief Seyolo, who is confined in the Wynberg jail. He sat smoking while we were present, and though our conductor, a constable, requested him, would not stand up. He was black, wooly headed, and altogether a fine looking negro. One of his four wives was with him. She was much lighter than him, and could express herself in English. Seyolo would not speak a word to us; but accepted a few segars. Our entertainment at Mrs. Rennies’ in Wynberg was unexceptionable; our horses, four in number, were well attended to; and our whole expenses summed up into one account amounted to no more than £.1, 8s. in the currency of the country. I drank so much Cape wine at table myself that I got half intoxicated, and I got none the more tipsy nor any the more sober while the day lasted. Intoxication is certainly very pleasant, but the effects of drinking are so overbalancingly disagreeable that I have long set a taboo upon the use of strong liquor.

We returned from Wynberg to Mr. Thomas’ where I separated from the company, as I had some things to attend to in town. We appointed—I thought—“The Albion Hotel” for our next place of rendivous, and I told Mr. T.’s little boy to be there at ½ past 6 for the horse. At Mr. Soloman’s printing office, I obtained some Cape papers, and afterwards falling in with one of our blacks I gave them to him to send off to the ship. I also let him have some money upon his promise to return it again to-morrow.

B

A boy on the pavement at Mr. S’s minded my horse for me; to make him some kind of an acknowledgement I sent him to buy some oranges for himself, which he did without expending more than 3d. of the money which I gave him, returning me the change. This is a very noticeable thing, for 3d. here will not buy more than two oranges. Some young men spoke to me about shipping in the Plymouth. Young colonists they were. It is not in my province to judge of the advisability of such a step on the part of youths from such a well regulated community as this; otherwise I would emphatically condemn the very thought of going to sea in a man-of-war. I met a gentleman in the street who accosted me, and asked a few questions about the horse on which I was riding. This proved to be Mr. Glynn. At his invitation I rode down to his house, and thence to Mr. Thomas’ stable. The object of this last visit was to ascertain whether I had or had not paid the hire of the horse to Mr. T.—I told Mr. G. that I had done so but my word

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Table Bay)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

A [Saturday, 25.]

of course was not taken. Shortly after leaving Mr. Thomas’ I fell in with one of our sailors who was driving out with his lady! The man accosted me and I of course answered him, when the woman within put her head out, and exclaimed “My dear! where are you going with that horse? wo’nt you let me ride him? I’ll ride him! and a more repelling, disgusting visage, to set off human shoulders, I hope I may never see again. I had no time to parley with either the woman or her companion. When night drew on I rode up to the “Albion hotel” and enquired for my comrades, but they were not to be found. I then asked for accommodation, but it was not to be had. “A house full” was the excuse but I suspect that my blue jacket was the true reason. It remained for me to return my horse, and seek lodgings for the night in some other quarter. A whore-house I did not intend to visit; a sailors boarding house I intended to avoid if possible. I went round^ to Mr. Thomas’, and finding the boy there, sent the horse home by him. But wishing to have the horse again to-morrow, I walked around to Mr. Glynn’s myself. Mr. G. said I could have him to-morrow. His name is Moustache. As it was growing late I began to seek a resting place for the night. I first called at Parke’s Hotel (note, not “Clarke’s”) and rung the bell. Monsieur the Mulattoe, my obliging friend of the 20th, answered the call. “Ask Mr. Parke, said I, if he will be so kind as to let the drummer of the Plymouth have a private room to-night.” It is not here like it is in the States, replied my mulattoe, we have no private rooms: every room has more than one bed in it, and they are at present all occupied. But I will tell you where you will find a respectable house; just up this street [so far etc. & then turn to your right, etc.] and you will find the Wellington Hotel. I accordingly set off in quest of the Wellington. Now for a recital of a nature suprizing, humilliatory. On my way up a street on the corner of which the Wellington is situated I was passing a large Confectionary store when a man in the garb and with the manners of a gentleman accosted me (if I remember aright) with “Good evening! You are on a randan I see. No; I replied, I am not on a randan; I’m on my way to the Wellington Hotel, if I can find it. “Ah! Well then, perhaps we can accommodate you here: though this is a private house—not a public one: Will you walk in? I accepted the invitation, for I was very tired, and was soon deposited on a sofa in a parlour very handsomely furnished with paintings on the walls, side tables, and costly ornaments, piano-forte, &c. The proprietor seated himself on the sofa also, and plied me with a multiplicity of questions; but the grand object of his enquiry seemed to be—Onanism. He professed to have been struck with my appearance. If I had permitted him he would have caressed me. Indeed I had to be constantly on my guard to restrain him from taking the most indecent liberties with my person. The language which he sometimes used I would not dare to write. And yet he was full of courtesy. Ah! this was a strange being. I sat and talked with him until a late hour and drank a glass of wine. Once or twice, when I was left alone, his little daughter came into the room and played with or turned over the leaves of a gilt edged Church of England Prayer Book. She was I thought quite old enough, but could not read in the book; I noticed too that she was not such as I would style a fine child. There seemed however to be an air of peace and tranquility prevailing in the household. The mystery of my host’s strange, unseemly behavior while in private, I could not divine. He actually expressed a wish to see my penis. The thought struck me that he might be a Surgeon engaged in some statistic work. I enquired. No; he was the Confectioner. At last I expressed a wish to turn in, and was accordingly shewn up into a well furnished bed room. My host politely bid me Good night, telling me to leave my boots outside the door that they might be polished in the morning, and retired. I carefully inspected the door when he had gone, and found it without a key. I was afraid my

 

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Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Table Bay)

November, 1854: 22.

A

host would pay me a visit in the night. My suspicions were strongly aroused as to his character. I, however, turned in, first blowing out the light; and I had not quite dropped asleep before the Strange fellow reappeared at the bedside to repeat his attempts at indecency. I strongly remonstrated, and was soon relieved of his presence, with the assurance of not being disturbed again during the night. This man was well to do in the world; his exterior, his ways, and his general conversation, were indicative of good breeding;—but upon some subjects, geography and history, for instance, he was lamentably uninformed. Histories, Travels and such books he said he was not accustomed to read, but Novels. I had done nothing this day unworthy of myself. I therefore, soon after the door had closed, resigned myself to sleep.

B

—It may not perhaps appear clearly right in me to remain all night under the roof of a man so lost to honor—so wanting in self-respect. My own pride revolts at the idea. But I have really no alternative, and besides, I must not judge too harshly of a man whoes inward thoughts I cannot divine, whoes springs of action I may never know. Thou, my Guardian Spirit in Heaven, knowing the very thoughts of my mind, thou mayst judge whether in aught this night I have sacrificed the dignity of my own nature. Curiosity! If there is aught censurable in my conduct, thou art chargeable with it.

(Sunday, 26.)

C

It was broad day when I awoke. Jumping out of bed, I threw open the shutters to admit the light, and then washed and dressed myself as quickly as possible. I then sat down and read over a good many pages in a book called Travels in Africa (not M. Park’s), and wrote on p. 125 an acknowledgement of Mr. Confectioner’s hospitality (note—perhaps Mr. Dix as that is the only name of a confectioner that appears in the Advertiser.), availing myself of the opportunity to express my emphatic disapprobation of my hosts strange behavior. Then going down into the parlour, I rung the bell, and when it was answered by the little girl, I told her to send pa. It was now 5 or 6 o’clock. I took the liberty to look at a book on the centre table: it was a Christian Miscellany, which with the prayer book, made up the whole stock of Monsieur’s Parlour Library. Mr. Confectioner now came in bowing and smiling. I told him that I was going out, made a remark or so on the Author I had just been reading, and directed him to look for the 125th page where he would find my acknowledgement of his kindness expressed in writing. I then departed, and indulged myself in the cool of the morning in a pleasant walk through the avenue of the Governor’s Garden. At about 7 or half-past, I went over to Mr. Glynn’s and got Mustache. Then I undertook a fruitless search for my negro debtor of yesterday, but he was not to be found, he was not true to his appointment; looking into my money purse I could see only three little pieces, the united value of which was 9d., (Not enough to pay for Moustache’s dinner and attendance!) and I felt myself a ruined man. My anathema upon the Negro and his race. However, putting the best face upon matters I rode slowly towards Mr. Thomas’ where finding a bottle of wine which my comrades of yesterday had left in the bottom of their carriage, I drank a glass full of it, derived immediate benefit from its vivifying properties. This was indeed drowning my sorrows in the bottle. I next directed my course to the country, and fortunately got into the road which leads around the Lion’s Head to Green Point and thence to Cape Town by the sea-coast, a pleasant ride along which many striking beauties of Nature arrest the travellers attention. As I said I directed my course to the country, Mustache proceeding slowly, while I was still ruminating in my mind the subject of Moustaches dinner, and the wine within me was effecting the estrangement (not subversion) of my reason. I opened my purse again, and this time unfastening the centre partition what was my joy when two shillings met my view—these were indeed not mine. I had brought them

 

Page 267

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Table Bay, S. Africa)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

– (Sunday, 26.) –

A

ashore to buy some papers for our “Firm”, and for that reason had separated them from my other change. I have a slip of paper in my hand which contains a note that I made on the spot; this is it:

“Short of funds. O! that cursed Thomson! Let me see. Why here are two shillings—and ninepence. So you shall have you dinner, Moustache, whatever betide. I can fast, myself. I am tipsy. I have been drinking some wine. And these are my ravings. Stop, Moustache; you may graze while I write this down. 10, A.M.”.

Riding and walking soon sobered me again. On the other side of the Lion’s Head I walked a great part of the way, Moustache keeping close behind me except when bits of grass tempted him to turn aside, which happened very often, and provoked me not a little, as I would then have to go back to set him ag-oing again. When quite near to Green Point I went down to the Water’s edge and passed some time among the rocks, leaving Moustache to himself away up on the beach, where, relieved of his saddle, and with his bits removed from his mouth, he enjoyed a great roll in the sand. Moustache is one of those kind of horses which need no tying. After my rocky-logical investigations were concluded, and Moustache had, in my estimation, rolled and grazed enough, I saddled and bridled him again, and took the road to Cape Town. I had the pleasure of meeting very shortly a young lady at her house who told me that she was the wife of a man named Alexander, and that three years ago her husband had belonged to the U.S. Sloop Saratoga. She was very kind; I had asked her for water, and she made me dismount and enter her parlour, where she offered me Ale, which however I declined, sticking to my original request. It was after meridian when I reached Cape Town. I put my horse up at Mr. Thomas’, requested particular attention to be paid him, and then set out in quest of a Baker’s shop, where I laid in some cakes, Mr. Glynn’s next, where I borrowed his Cape Town Directory, and back again to the Baker’s, whoes little boy guided me to the back entrance to a Wine shop, where depositing myself upon a bench, I contrived to make a tolerable repast out of my ginger bread and wine, and to pass a good part of the evening in conversation, and over the Directory and Almanac.

At about 3 or 4, P.M. I called at Mr. Thomas’ for Moustache, and in the next three hours rode about the Town. Passing up one quiet little street and hearing a boy behind me mention the name of Glynn, I knew he was speaking about Moustache, if not me; but it was not English that he spoke: I turned to another unchin near, and asked “What is that he is speaking—Dutch? Being answered in the affirmative, I turned to the first, and asked him “What makes you speak Dutch in an English colony?” A fat lady who heared this question, repeated it, and returned I doubt not a severe retort, but as she spoke Dutch too, I did not feel it’s weight. _ I had the pleasure of a few minutes talk with a knot of school-boys—perfect little gentlemen. The one who took the lead amongst them was “twelve years old and in his thirteenth”. His studies comprized “French, Latin, and Greek”. Ah! Vous part Francaise, said I , when this was told me. “Oui, monsieur! responded a number of juvenile voices. I was not prepared to converse with them in French, so I changed the topic to geography where they were equally at home. “China, Japan, United States, Peru” and the other far distant countries were familiar to their minds. Only Loo-Choo was a name unknown. Then speaking of the Queen and English government they expressed themselves with affecting loyalty. But when I addressed the little leader of the knot in these words, And you? are you a royalist? he replied: I am a republican. All of these boys, I believe, spoke Dutch. They were most interesting and intelligent, and their manners to the smallest particular evinced the best of good breeding.

 

Page 268

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.S. Plymouth, Table Bay, S. Africa)

NOVEMBER, 1854: 22.

– (Sunday, 26.)—

A

When it drew near to sundown, I returned Moustache, and repaired to the Long Wharlf to secure a passage off in the ship’s sundown boat. I did not in writing the above memoranda find it convenient to enumerate every thing which befel me in the course of my liberty. But every thing taken together has inspired me with the very highest opinion of the intelligence, amiability, worth, and superiority of the members of Cape Town Society as evinced in the demeanor of the juvenile population, judging the tree by its fruit. It was not however my good fortune to mingle with grown people of the higher class. At Wynberg a gentleman treated me with great civility, and offered me wine. With this exception I had no communication whatever with the élite of Cape Colony. Mr. Confectioner’s style of living was certainly very genteel, and I doubt not but that his means were ample, but I would not recognize him as a gentleman upon any consideration. So returning in the sundown boat I separated myself from the scene of the most agreable liberty I ever enjoyed with feelings akin to regret.

(Monday, 27.)

B

The following are the expences of my liberty in Cape Town:

Nov. 25. Hire of Moustache for the day…7s. 6d. Some small change & cakes for Jno. Thomas…8. Money purse…1 0. Toll on the road to Wynberg…6. Entertainment at Wynberg…5 5. Oranges for a juvenile…3. Oranges for myself…3. Passage from the ship…1 0. Lost in lending to one of our negroes (164, B)…3 6. Nov. 26. Hire of Moustache for the day…7s. 6d. Feed and attendance for Moustache…1, 6. Gingerbread and Cape Wine (my dinner) 1 0. Oranges for myself…3. Unaccounted for…1 2. Grand Total 1£. 10s. 0d.

  1. Engaged pretty near all my leisure to-day writing up my journal.

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

(Tuesday, 28.)

D

We got underway at 11, A.M. and stood out of Table Bay. – Ashamed of myself to be so behind hand in Knowledge when little children surpass me, I began early this morning to go over my Book lesson, determined to finish it and turn to Latin, and French.

Wednesday, 29.

E

The curse of my manhood—the destroyer of my repose—Nocturnal emission—came upon me in the night. I feel that if it is not stopped it will be my ruin.

Thursday, 30.

F

Made a good begining of the day as respects my Pursuit, but not so good an ending, I mean a continuing, since I gave my attention other reading.

G

_ Old William’s gave me the verses which he made at my request upon the death of Scroggy. I am very well satisfied with them.

H

Pecuniary: Receipts: Soap, 18,—Tobacco, 21,—A book, 25,—Mess, 1.00,—Recompence for writing, 50—Cash from the Purser, 7.00;—Total, 9.00.=Expendits: Liquidebt, 149,—Oranges, 12 1/2 ,—Newsp., 12 1/2,—On liberty in Cape Town, 7.00;—Total 874. Note. The 2s. over 28s. which was expended on liberty is not included in this summary. That was Intelligencer money which is now replaced, and will come in the acct. of next months transactions.

 

Page 269

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.Ship Plymouth, Table Bay, At Sea.)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

Friday, 1.

A

—Some portion of the day was devoted to Book; some hours to thought; some to miscellaneous reading. I wish I could all my available time to the Book, but I cannot confine my mind to it as yet. I therefore proceed slowly in the study. I am in hopes that my progress will be accelerated. I cannot pray to Heaven, because my mind and body are not cleansed of impurities: when I can effect a cleansing by water of the one, and by chastening of the other, I will then be in a fit condition to fall down and implore the Mercy and protection of Heaven. God knows that I am a persistent sinner.

Saturday, 2.

B

INACTIVE. By reason of a strong South wind and consequent chilling atmosphere, against which I have made no provision, my very energies seem frozen within me. But every hour lessens our latitude, so that I may not expect this to last longer than a day or two; to begin again when we near the coast of America.

C

4.30. P.M. _ The Sun is out and the weather quite changed; after this note I will get the Book, and will try between this and 8 O’clock to make up for lost time. I forgot to note that I was troubled with a pain in my bowels during the night. I am now quite relieved.

Sunday, 3.

D

Looking over a book entitled Bart’s Embassy to China.—Suf. in a drm. invl. em. The 33 of this year.

Monday, 4.

E

Was able to devote a large portion of the day to the Book; many impediments in my mind being overcome.

F

Clipped an editorial paragraph from the Cape Town Mail, relating to this ship, and containing a misstatement. A drunken sailor caused the advertisement to be inserted which led to the mistake. I wonder if this is an instance of the usual correctness of editorial assertions. Also clipped an advertisement of the S. African Institute from another number of the same paper. My object in clipping advertisements of this kind is to obtain a large variety of School Notices which may be of use to me as models; for if I do not go to sea again, or go to Japan, I will most probably begin life in Oregon, or in the far West somewhere as a school-master, and in that event will certainly have to advertise. It is with this in mind that I am so anxious to acquire a sound and thorough knowledge of Arithmetic and Grammar, upon the first of which I am engaged now in the midst of mental impediments; upon the next I hope soon to enter. These steps gained I may pursue higher studies at leisure; and I may, away from the contagion of a man-of-war, cleanse and purge my soul of its impurities, invigorate my mind; infuse new life into my system; and wipe out even yet the reproach of my past conduct. My conduct in future, and my services, if Heaven choose me an instrument of its goodness to man, will be my appeal to the World against the judgment of my present superiors. It will be left to the decision of this last tribunal, to which all worldlings are accountable, whether these officers merit my contempt, or I theirs. _ Allowed Mr. Stockton to read Miss. Eckart’s Itinerary.

(Tuesday, 5.)

G

INERT the day through. After supper I was able for a little time to fix my attention upon Arithmetic.

Wednesday, 6.

H

Sewed together some pieces of flannel to answer for a comfort in cold weather. _ Was unable to give proper attention to my Book. However, proceeded a step at least in the work of committing to memory.

Thursday, 7.

I

_ While asleep in the midwatch I suffered in dreams two successive emissions. The following among three advertisements which I have clipped affords me some hope against this blighting desease. “Just published, the 71rst thousand, price 2s. 6d., sold in a sealed envellope, by all Booksellers, &c.’, MANHOOD: The CAUSE and CURE of PREMATURE DECLINE, with plain directions for perfect restoration; &c.; being a medical review of every form, cause, and cure of nervous debility, impotency, loss of mental and physical capacity, whether resulting from youthful abuse, the follies of maturity, climate, or infection, &c.; addressed to the sufferer in youth, manhood, and old age.”

 

Page 270

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S.Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

Thursday, 7.

A

New Mexico. An act of congress, called I believe, the “New Mexico Homestead Bill”, printed in a late number of the New York Herald, has found its way here, and created quite a sensation in some of our minds. I believe that several of my shipmates have resolved to emigrate in time to take the benefit of the act.

B

_ I applied myself early this morning to the Book, entering now into Vulgar Fractions, which subject forms my Third Lesson, the two preceding being: Simple Numbers and Compound Numbers. My progress is slow, because my memory and capacity of apprehension are both impaired by the evil with which I am almost nightly afflicted. But when I can command my attention to the subject I will not even allow this great discouragement to divert me from my prosecution of the study. If through the mercy of God, a cure of my complaint can be effected, I see no obstacle in the way of my attaining to my proper degree of respectability in society. If however there is no cure for the physical evil, I am a doomed man. I will banish myself forever from society, confessedly unfit to move among the good: though determined to never return into the society of the vile; from which, I expect in a few weeks to be liberated. I know that if I learn Arithmetic thoroughly and Grammar critically, I will be possessed of an effective means of establishing myself in the far west, where “the school master is not yet abroad.” On the banks of the Klamet I may be at once a school-master, a farmer, a trader, and a polititian; and who knows but that in time I may be sent from the banks of the Klamet to hold a representative seat in the Halls of Legislation of this greatest of Empires. Now respecting my education, I know that if I make myself a good arithmetician, I can with even more ease learn the principles of the higher mathematics; and knowing Grammar, can easily advance to Criticism and Languages. History I will delight in. Law and Politics I fancy I have a hereditary talent for. But just at this moment my whole mind is prostrated, bound down, and confused by a heavy weight; indeed my “mental and physical capacity” is gone; and I look with anxious expectation to the promised “Cure”. By the way, my individual interests are not all that is involved in the question whether I am to be [powerful] or am not to be [powerful]. I am the friend of a peculiar caste—a caste, every individual of which needs a friend with power and means in his hands. If I attain to power I guarantee that many and many of that caste will attain to happiness and honor through my effective measures, where otherwise misery and infamy would be their lot.

Friday, 8.

C

_ Was able to devote some portions of the day to Arithmetic. _ These few days past I have had occasion to speak very much about Arkansas, in answer to the enquiries of some who contemplate going Westward when paid off from the ship. They are quite charmed with my descriptions of life in Arkansas.

Saturday, 9.

D

_ Not to forget anything that I committed to memory from the Book, I make a practice of rehearsing everything daily, and that always before proceeding to learn a new definition or rule. To-day, after rehearsing, I laid aside my Arithmetic for Brande’s Encyclopedia, for the use of which excellent book I am indebted jointly to Mr. Arnold and Dr. Wheelright.

Sunday, 10.

E

Passed my whole leisure reading in The Dictionary of Sciences, Literature, and Arts (Brande’s: 1851, Published.)

F

From my slate. “While looking over “Brande’s Encyclopedia”, a sailor passing by, stopped to tell me that “I would go crazy”, referring to my employment. Damn him! When will this impertinence end? Now for this fellows unseasonable impertinence, and for the many vexations occasioned me by others in this way, be my anathema fired upon the whole tribe. Be this registered in the dog kennel of Drúmacre House.”

Monday, 11.

G

In the mid watch I suffered noct.em. for the 36th time this year. _ But I did’nt allow the circumstance to divert me from my studies. The forenoon was devoted to Arithmetic; the midday to some little necessary writing; the afternoon to reading; and first night watch to rehearsing in mem.

*See next page B.

 

Page 271

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

Tuesday, 12.

A

Whole of the forenoon devoted to mnemonic rehearsal of my previous lessons in Arithmetic. Afternoon to ciphering further along, and to further mnemonic aquisition. Recreative reading, Barret’s Grammar. The following makes up my present box library, being in hourly use, viz:

1. Greenleaf’s Arithmetic. 3. Walker’s Dictionary, 1836, (borrowed) 5. New Testament.
2. Barret’s Grammar (a borrowed book) 4. Comly’s Easy Lessons. 6. Manual and Register of Mine. (ms.)

B

The mention made of a part of last night being spent in rehearsing Arithmetical rules and definitions, was anticipatory, and it turns out to be erroneous, for when the time came which I had predevoted to mnemonic exercise, other thoughts got uppermost in my mind, and I was diverted from my first intention. These other thoughts related to Rodgers and Hibbs, the Purser, Masson, Drumacre House, the Klamet, my school and my farm, honor and dignity to come, debasement to be effaced, amende honorable to be made, reconcilliation with Heaven, systematizing of my Friendship and Acquaintance, and perhaps a thousand and one divergent thoughts and associations; but Rodgers being in all an overshadowing idea. One thing I never forget. It is my utter worthlessness and pollutedness before the God of Holiness and Purity; and this one everpresent thought is the effectual check upon my devotion. After such a train of thought as that which I indulged in last night, I would fain have lifted my voice in humble, heartfelt thanksgiving, and praise, to the Author of my being, through whose infinite mercy and goodness I continue to exist in the exercise of my mental faculties; But no! these aspirations I must repress. I could not dare to address a prayer to the Throne of Purity while I am encrusted with the excrescence of abomination. I see a brighter day for me afar in the Future, and I will soon know whether this is a receding mirage or not, the “book sold in a sealed envellope” will tell me comprehensively what grounds I have to rest my hope upon; it will be my sybilline book. O! I may now bitterly lament the folly of my earlier days! Fool that I was, to disregard warnings in which the dreadful entail of vice was so expressly pointed to me. It will be recollected that I read a book on Self-Preservation as early as the age of 15 and before habit fastened upon me. But I never learned this myself—I was first initiated by adepts in the vice—and my curse be upon them! Just now I am under the ban of honorable society, but that gives me not one troubled thought; it is consciousness of being under the ban of the host of heaven that removes tranquility from my mind. I would fain this moment, but I dare not say, Deus! placatur mihi peccatori! without lifting my eyes to an offended heaven.

Wednesday, 13.

C

Lewis Edward Rodgers. Last night in conversation the orderly sergeant Grant made the following statement of Rodgers. ‘Little Ned’, said the sergeant, lived with me in the orderly room at Norfolk. Every night before going to bed he would roll his clothes up nicely, and put them under his pillow, and then down he would go on his knees, and he would say his prayers. In the morning I need only toutch him once, when up he would jump, go out and play reveille, and then he would come in, kneel down and say his prayers. Whenever he got any money he would always bring it to me for safekeeping, and every Sunday he would come regularly for 4 cents. One Sunday I asked him, What do you want with 4 cents? Why, replied Ned, it just takes 2 cents to pay my fare over to town, and 2 cents to pay it back again. Ned went every Sunday to visit his grandfather, and remained till Monday morning. What! Says I, Do they let you go over for two cents? Yes, says Ned, I talked to the man about it; I told him he ought not to charge so much for a little boy like me as for a big man. In course of time Ned was ordered to Washington. He came to me and said, Sergeant, I am ordered back to Washington, my mother has sent for me, so I suppose I must go, must ‘nt I? Yes, I replied, if you are ordered to go, you must go; there is no help for it. Well then, said Ned, how do we stand? I got out the little book and told Ned how we stood in the money line. Now, said Ned, this coat

 

Page 272

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

—Wednesday, 13.—

A

which grandfather bought me, I told him I did ‘nt want him to pay for it, so, sergeant I wish you would take the money with you the next time you go over to town, and give it to grandfather, and tell him it ‘s for the coat. Very well, said I. So I deducted the price of the coat, and paid the ballance into Ned’s hands.—This was in the latter part of 1847.

B

I was attached to the “Cumberland” late in September. Ned remained in the Barracks until the ensuing Christmas, when he was transferred to Washington. Assuming Ned to be two years younger than I, he was then only 12 years of age.

C

_ _ _ Occupied in rehearsal during the forenoon. In the afternoon Mr. Doran called me, and requested a transcript of some of the notes contained in Miss E.’s Itinerary. Copied thereupon two passages * shewing a previous intention [*from my journal] of making out an itinerary, and a reason for changing my mind, and on the back of the paper containing these two transcripts I wrote: If it is usual and safe for books of the size of my journal to be sent through the post, I am not unwilling that Mr. Doran should receive my diary of these 3 years in Norfolk after I am discharged from the ship, or before under promise of not inspecting its contents until a specified time has expired, and afterwards returning it to me by mail. Or, if it is Mr. Doran’s command; I will make an extract of every note in the book of which he is the subject,—but it is not with me to prescribe conditions—I have said that Mr. Doran’s will is my law in every thing relating to this volume: how much further, I do not find it in me to question. I intended to present this paper to Mr. Doran, but not finding an opportunity to do so immediately, I changed my mind again, resolved to make out as passable a memorandum as possible, and to embody the notes in question in it. Accordingly I devoted the evening to rulling paper, &c., to serve for the proposed manuscriptum.

Thursday, 14.

D

In the night preceding I suffered invol. em. in a vile dream. The 37th noc. em. within this year.

E

Accomplished my mnemonic tasks in different parts of the day, begining at 4, A.M., the earliest hour I ever yet voluntarilly appropriated to mental labour, or any other kind of labour,—but I must begin early now, to save time. _ My watches below devoted to the preparing of Mr. Doran’s Memorandum.

F

My teeth demand just now a share of my particular attention. I scrub them every morning with soap & water, but that does ‘nt prove efficient to remove the cause of desease. The rot has again appeared, attacking this time a front tooth in my upper jaw and a grinder in my lower jaw which stood next to the one I had recently extracted. A sergeant in the guard recommends chew-stick to my use, which, he says, may be obtained in any Apothecary’s shop. Mr. Blackford says that tincture of myrrh, dissolved in water, is good to harden the gums and cleanse the enamel. Mem.

Friday, 15.

G

Time divided fairly between my study and Mr. Doran’s Memorandum; both progressing favorably. To speak vulgarly I work roots now to gain time and to save time. This morning I went ahead with my appointed mnemonic repetitions in the midst of ships duties, and what would have heretofore been engrossing cares. But now I care for nobody nor anything but the work before my mind.

Saturday, 16.

H

Lost no part of the day. _ Last night Charley told me (out of the Budget) all about a pecuniary distress into which Mr. Beardslee has plunged himself, and his consequent degradation in the eyes of the men. It gave me no pleasure to hear it. I am sure I will not repeat it.

Sunday, 17.

I

Engaged reading in the Dictionary of Arts and Sciences. The term “mnemonic” I find by enquiry to signify ‘assisting the memory”; I thought as much, and therefore used it to express my daily recitations of arithmetical rules and definitions, all done to fix them indelibly upon my memory.

 

Page 273

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea, Homeward Bound)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

Monday, 18.

A

Forenoon. Mended a Marine drum. Attended to some other affairs. Got along with my mnemonic tasks.

Afternoon. Resumed my arithmetic. Added to Mr. Doran’s Memorandum. Transacted some private business; that is, talked over matters to Henry Edgar, who is going to reside in the Navy Yard at Portsmouth, N.H. Edgar is to be my correspondent in that quarter. _ The Fifer dreamed of Hibbs last night, and so did I; this is the second coincidence of the kind.

(Tuesday, 19.)

B

Finished Mr. Doran’s Memorandum, and did not add the note contained in 272 C, because I was afraid that the Purser would be led to think it a way of mine to put myself forward in his favor, and make known my desire of becoming his clerk.        I am just now pecuniarily below par, and he knows it; consequently any expressions or manifestations of great deferential regard and respect, however truly disinterested, would most probably be looked upon by him as proceeding from self-interested motives. When I have become a good man, and a possessor of wealth, I will not hesitate to open my whole mind (and heart) to Mr. Doran. But not now.

Wednesday, 20.

C

At or about 2 AM we crossed the line. We have, I think, averaged 7 miles an hour since leaving the Cape. _ Presented to Mr. Doran the Memorandum which I finished yesterday. _ Added the verses on Scroggy, and the lines under “CAPE TOWN” to Miss Eckart’s Itinerary.

(Thursday, 21.)

D

Suffered noct. em. in a vile dream. The 38th within the year. I have within these few last months wasted away perceptably; and men have accounted for it by supposing that I study too much.

E

Made a new arrangement in my Arithmetical Study. Instead of going over my First and Second lessons every morning as heretofore, I omit them in my schedule of repetitions, and begin with my Third lesson; making it a point however to review the First (simple Numbers) every Monday, and the Second (Compound Numbers) every Tuesday. When I will have added the Third (Vulgar Fractions) to my list of acquisitions, Wednesday will be the day on which the whole lesson shall be rehearsed over in my mind, in conjuction with what other advances I will have made in the next succeeding lesson. When I have gone in this way through the Arithmetic, I will begin English Grammar, still continuing my memoriter plan until I am firmly fixed in the knowledge of Figures and Words, and in the exercise of the only profession for which I am fit—that of Country Schoolmaster.

F

_ Added a few lines to Miss Eckart’s Itinerary. _ Dr. Otis wishes to inspect this journal. I told him to wait until this year has expired; I should not have done so. Dr. Otis must wait until Time has expired, when all hidden things will be brought to light.

Friday, 22.

G

Put aside my Arithmetic, and employed my morning and evening ornamenting (checquering) the cover of Miss Eckart’s Itinerary. Mr. Stockton greased and otherwise dirtied the cover so much that it became necessary to checker it over to hide the filth. _ The weather is sultry. _ I find it very hard to go on with my Arithmetic to-day. Confusion seizes upon my mind. My ready memory fails. My head aches from application. Uncalled for thoughts interpose. But it is no time to stop; longer procrastination will be my ruin. I will wash my person to-night, and afterwards venture to breathe a prayer to the Throne of Mercy. What debilitates my mind? What emaciates my frame? Whence the curse under which my mind and body sink? Alas! I need not answer. But the seed was sown when I was only fourteen years old. The intensity of my misery I never have attempted to express in words. Even you that read my secret thoughts can never form any

 

Page 274

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

—Friday, 22.—

A

adequate my idea of that. If this memoir should outlive me, and these lines ever chance to greet the eyes of a boy in the pride and innocence of fourteen, whom example has not yet corrupted, in whom Nature is not yet perverted, will he not be warned by my experience?  Or, knowing the fearful consequences, will he persist in plucking, as I have done, and tasting too, the apple of Death? My Journal it is most certain will never be within the reach of boys of the age adverted to, or of any ages, nor is it likely that these memoirs will survive me; but I’m determined this note shall; I will extract it if I devote the rest of the book to destruction; and boys of fourteen shall read it; this much of me they shall know; and may it operate to save them from the Evil which embitters my days, and which promises fair to involve me in ruin.

(Saturday, 23.)

C

Lassitude of spirits to-day as yesterday incapacitate me for any kind of exertion.

E

_ Parted with the property of my Greenleaf’s Arithmetic; upon condition, however, of being allowed to use it until we arrive in port. I had to give it in exchange for Brewster’s Optics; a book which was intrusted to my care by the owner, and subsequently stolen from me.

Sunday, 24.

D

Borrowed the Dictionary of Science, Literature, and Art, and read over a number of articles.

(Monday, 25.)

E

Suffered invol. em. in the morning watch during sleep. The 39 within this year. _ Went on with my Study.

Tuesday, 26.

F

Have the use of Mr. Morrison’s Webster’s University Dictionary, 1850. Yesterday I read the Memoir of the Author. _ Talking with the boy Reever last night. He described life among the Oystermen of Chesapeake Bay. I have a notion to pay a brief visit to the islands off the Eastern shore, opposite the mouth of the Potomac. _ Went on with my Study.

(Wednesday, 27.)

G

Rain and wind squalls during part of the day. Several water-spouts were visible in the evening. The fire time I ever witnessed phenomena of the kind. _ Went on—slowly through—with my studies.

Thursday, 28.

H

Viariable weather. Progressed in my Study—incited to exertion by fear of approaching want. Competent knowledge of the principles of Grammar and Arithmetic is the desideratum, which acquired would place me immediately beyond the reach of want or dependance, and in the way of acquiring higher knowledge upon the wings of which I could soar above the Vexations and Care that have hitherto beset my path.

I

_ P.S. Conversation with old Edgar in the 2nd dog watch. The boatswain’s mate—formerly a boatswain in the Service—is blessed with quite a prodigy of a daughter, who it is likely will be his secretary and amanuensis in the correspondence between him and me. He gives me full account of her. Susan (which is her name) was born on the 19 of December, 12 years ago; and her mother died in bringing her into the world. She has been kept at a select school; raised in a religious family under a fond grandfather and grand-mother; and she has the advantages of mingling in the high society,—her associates being the daughters of Officers in the Portsmouth Navy Yard. Withal, she is by Edgar’s account a pretty girl, “old fashioned” in her ways, fond of books, and very intelligent. Edgar loves her dearly.

Friday, 29.

J

Went on with my study. _ Transacted other business implied in my private economy, &c.

Saturday, 30.

K

—Signed my accounts. Quite surprized to learn that I have $6.00 and some cents due. It is thus

 

Page 275

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Homeward bound from the E.)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

A

Pecuniary Summary. Receipts: overplus after ending my “Plymouth Intelligence” partnership, 58,—Remuneration for writing, 110,—from the Mess, 300;—total: 4.68.

Expendits:—Liquidation of debt (under which head I include the amount transferred to my charity fund 3.54,—Coffee, 53,—“P. Intelligence Company”, 50,—Dificit, 1.11;—total, 4.68..=This deficiency may come from the tythe of my money expended not being taken into account: The money received from the Mess is not tythable, as it may be considered in the light of wages recovered after expenditure; my wages being already tithed in the monthly contribution which I lay upon myself.

[K cont.]

explained: My mother’s allottment ticket expired on the 30th. of last month, since which time my monthly income has been augmented by four dollars: but then how can I account for the other two? I’ll sum up from the begining of the Cruize and try to unfathom the mystery. What a poor financier I am!—P.S. I’ve summed up from the first of July last, when I signed for 36 cents.

It appears that my pay and grog money from then to now would amount to…$34.36. And all that I’ve drawn from the Purser, including the 2 Hong Kong dollars (vide),…28.18. Differance…6.18. Just the amount accredited to me to-day; wonderful effect of figures! It is evident that Mr. Doran charged the two dollars to my acct. in the first instance, and then overlooked my repayment, which was a few weeks afterwards; or at least it is only by supposing so that I can solve the mystery. This, then is just as I would have it. The mistake is on Mr. Doran’s side, and the loss on mine. I was afraid that he had added the two Hong Kongs after my repayment, instead of having previously deducted them. I will still rate my monthly income at 5.00. The other four belong to my mother.

B

_ Put my hair under a new regime. After having it neatly trimmed, I rubbed Macassar oil (so marked) into it, and then combed and brushed it to the required appearance. I will not shave while I am on board; on landing I will put my face under a new regime.

Sunday, 31.

C

I have just looked the names in our Watch Bill to see what men are entitled to be remembered by me, and have transcribed the following names, viz:

Homer Price, as a man of character; Jas. Gardner, a good natured man; Jos. Manson, as having shewn me some respect; P.C. Deviny, as having been friendly to me; R. Edelman, as a man of adventures; R. Squiers, as having been friendly towards me; Jno. Jammeson, as a good natured man; A. Russel, for favor and kindness; F.A. Cunningham, as having never been wanting in respect for me; otherwise of a faulty character; H. Vernon, as never having deviated from respect for me; Nat. Smith, as a useful man though no friend of mine; Jas. Ross, a good humored and intelligent man; Will. Day, a superior character; Chas. Wardell, for his jokes; Jno. Baker, young and good natured; Mic. Sullivan, as a youngster of adventure; Jno. Parker, as a sociable man; G.F. Kenyion, as a superior character; Jno. Lynch, for superior intelligence; F.J. Smith, as a promising young man; Jas. Woodward, for no definite reason; Thom. H. Hopkins, for sociability and superior intelligence; A. High, good natured; E.W. White, as a superior man; Chas. Jackson, for the same reason; Jas. Miller, a young man of intelligence; Jno. Manning, as not wanting in respect for me; Milton Griffiths, as a man of adventure; Andrew Milne, a boy at the crisis of life; Chas. Berry, a friend of mine; R. Cormly, superior intelligence; Jno. Ruffin, a good negro; W. Williams, (H.E.D.) friend of mine; Jas. Taylor (A. Baker) for his “poetry”; A. Rodrigo, for one or two good qualities; Henry Edgar, as a medium of observations upon Rodgers—also for the sake of Louisa, if she is as intelligent as represented; D. Isbeck, good natured old fellow; I. Bliss, good natured; Jno. Morris, very good negro—especially honest; Moses Davis, wardroom boy, for his services; Reinlin, Farran, Pomire, Kew, marines, no friends of mine; Miloz, Morrison, Gilchocet, Brennan, Braconier, Sproul, Ferguson, Soper, &c. marines.

 

Page 276

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, At Sea, Latt. 20°, 15.)

DECEMBER, 1854: 22.

A

The year ends with to-day. During its course, the filthy and wasting desease of my generative system suffered no abatement in its effects. Not less than 39 is the number of times I have suffered nocturnal emission. I have been alarmed. I am yet alarmed. There is no knowing what it may come to.

B

_ In other respects I have decidedly improved during the year. I am not half so miserable now as I was at the commencement. Men think something of me—it is evident—, and I place more confidence in myself.   I have made but little advancement in knowledge, it is true; but I have began the work of learning; and they say it is half the battle to begin (the other half, I suppose, is to persevere). My prospects are not brighter; neither are they darker. I have gone a step forward in my religion; devised a method of discharging one of the obligations of it (Charity); and reduced my method to practice. I have been given to reflection, and I derive benefit from it. I think upon my moral and religious condition; I am filled with shame.

P.C. Van Buskirk.

Drummer, U.S. Marine Corps.

 

 

VAN BUSKIRK’S JOURNAL

1855.

Thou hast made me in vain. O! I am unworthy of being called thy creature. I am vile. But O! spare me the infliction of thy just vengeance. Grant that in the coming year, from the beginning to the end, I may successfully follow in the path of knowledge; that my whole mind and heart, and all the energies of my soul, may be directed to, and never diverted from, that one pursuit. O! ye holy angels, give me strenght in my weakness; uphold me in my utter helplessness; direct my mind and my heart heavenward. Thou, my guardian angel, be with me in the hour of my temptation: Chasten my thoughts: Preserve me from evil: Purge me of impurity: and guide my footsteps in the path of virtue. Witness the penitence of my heart, O! ye angels of Love and Mercy, and plead for me before the throne of the Most High. And those I love: O spare them to me, and make me worthy of them: pray for us.

 

Page 279

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, at Sea)

JANUARY, 1855: 22.

Monday, 1.

A

Went on with my Arithmetic. Decided to not enter upon grammar until I can get Kirkham’s Compendium, except that I will read occasionally in the Barrett’s Grammar in my keeping. _ Tom Atkinson has just been tendering me pecuniary assistance, if I should need it in Norfolk; he has further invited me to put up at his boarding house, and live at his charge, if I like. _ P.S. Tom has been talking to me since. He says he can get me purser’s stewards billet in the steamer Franklin, fitting out at Portsmouth, N.H, as he expects to go out yeoman of her. Well; if he can, I will go, and be glad of it. One cruize in the Franklin might fit me for Mr. Doran’s service; and beside I would like to be purser’s steward where is Tom is yeoman. Tom is a rank poison, and I, knowing him well, could secretly and efficiently counteract the effect of his evil scheming.

Tuesday, 2.

B

De Nave. Cool weather begins. Our sunny days are over. _ Personal Went on with my study.

Wednesday, 3.

C

De Nave. Cold weather begins. _ Personal. Went on with my study. Minor Transactions.

(Thursday, 4.)

D

De Nave. High wind and tempestuous sea, with frequent squalls of rain. Pers. Went on with my study.

(Friday, 5.)

E

De Nave. Wind very high, and sea tempestuous, with passing squalls of rain. Nights cool; days mediate. Personal. Went on with my study. _ Resolved to learn the flute _ not now, but when I can conveniently begin.

Saturday, 6.

F

De Nave. A very pleasant day, notwithstanding the wind is high, and sea uneven. Pers. Progressed in Arith.

Sunday, 7.

G

De Nave. A warm and pleasant day, royals and starb. studding sails set to an 8 knot breeze. Great preparations making for going into port to-morrow. _ Pers. Suffered in the night though a dream the 1rst noct. em. of the year (       recorded in this book), and that, a copious emission, attended with pain.

H

Fred Cunningham is drunk, and this moment besieging Tom in the Store-Room, showering abuse upon him, calling his evil deeds to notice, and ending every string of accusations with a threat to whip him, if he will only come out of the store-room. Why do’nt I go to my friend Tom’s assistance, as a good and faithful friend ought to do? Because I have no good will for the man; on the contrary, I am his natural enemy, and though I would not myself hurt him (as in good faith I should not, considering that I have party his confidence) yet I would gladly see the office of his punishment performed by others, even if it were to death, for his life has been forfeited to society this many years past, and there is no promise of his ever redeeming it. If I conceived I had the authority to do so, I would send Tom to the devil very quick; as God wills that he continue among the living, I see no reason why I should not make use of him for my own immediate advantage: Tom owes the world and me everything: I and the world owe Tom nothing, be in understood; such is my friendship for Tom. I am his master: he my animal; but he is a vicious animal and at best would be hard to restrain and Traverse, I would oppose no objection to his being removed from among the living. It would his great loss and my slight inconveniency; but it would be society’s great gain: a most contaminating desease removed from it’s system.

(Monday, 8.)

I

De Nave. Suddenly in a night watch the wind came out from N & W, and changed the whole face of affairs.   Our pleasant “Indian summer” is swept away in the biting North-west blast; the ship is thrown off her course, and to leeward of the points which

 

Page 280

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Waters of the U.S.)

JANUARY, 1855: 22.

A

we have to round, and instead of getting in to-day, as we all anticipated, there is some prospect of our being blown off the coast entirely. _ Pers. Kept to my plan of study.

Tuesday, 9.

B

De Nave. Bright lookout kept for a pilot boat. Guns fired. Weather foggy and cold. Wind, from being dead ahead; shifted more favorable, and went down to a 5 knot breeze. Distant from port supposed 50 miles. __ 4.30.P.M. Hell of a racket on deck. I believe a pilot is coming on board. _ Pers. All right. _ P.S. “All right” _ that is to say, “all morally right” _ nothing proceeded from my will which I would repent of. In other respects all was far from being right. The cold weather compelled me to deviate from my plan of study. The valuable Grammar belonging to Dick Gormly, which I unwittingly left for a  few moments on a Mess chest, was stolen, and I have reason to believe, destroyed, by a narrow and childish minded man, who happens, just now, to be badly disposed towards me. But this latter is bare suspicion. Through the night I experienced rather^ excruciatingly the effects of cold weather.

(Wednesday, 10.)

C

De Nave. Nearly all day beating up to Cape Henry lights. Late in the evening the wind shifted favorably; we passed Cape Henry, and reached Hampton Roads. _ Person. Resumed study.

Thursday, 11.

D

De Nave. At or near 12 15 A.M. we dropped anchor in Hampton Roads. _ Near 5 we under way, and sailed up to Craney Island, came to anchor again, and sent the gig with Captain, Purser, &c. to a steamer passing up to Norfolk. _ A Hampton steamer fastened on to us after night; we got up anchor; and at or near 8.15 P.M. reached our buoy at the Naval Anchorage, Norfolk,

E

Va. _ Weather, mild and agreable. _ _ Personal. This day quite lost to my study. _ Bought a pair of heavy Cape Town boots, for which I am to pay four dollars. It is a new thing for me to wear boots, especially good ones, watertight and strong, as these are. Several men who during the cruize had talked to me liberally about giving and lending money at my request, or as my exigences would require it, fell behind their word when I requested them severally to-day to purchase the boots in question for me, and rely upon my word for repayment within four or five days; _ showing that such professions are sheer moonshine; though when taken in liquor, sailors set but little bounds to their liberality _ the liberality of their vanity _ of a most foolish vanity, _ but with such I wish to have nothing to do. _ The negro Thomson paid up the eighty-five cents which I loaned him in Cape Town, and fifteen cents over, which I accepted in the way of interest.  This 15 cents being a clear receipt, I of course tythe for The Charity Fund.

Friday, 12.

F

De nave. Fired a commodore’s salute in the forenoon. _ The host of negro women belonging to Norfolk and Portsmouth who make a trade of selling eatables, &c. to ships companies came on board in great force, and are driving quite a lucrative business. They come at meal hours.

G

Among the number is a bright _ very bright mulattoe who knows me of old. This is Margaret, a daughter of Minerva. Minerva engrossed the custom of the marines when I was here before. Now Minerva is gone and her daughter fills her place. Margaret is young, and I like her appearance and figure. If she will only take a fancy to me _ which would appear to be the case from the attention and regard she pays me _ we might for the time being make a mutual thing of it. I really do’nt see any harm in it, and can’t think that any harm can come of it. _ Sent my boxes ashore by Margaret; all except my Escritoire-box and Library-box. _ I notice a few boarding house runners, and other with nets spread for sailor’s earnings. _ All hands expected to be sent ashore to-day; and in this, all hands were disappointed.

 

Page 281

Drummer P.C. Van Buskirk’s Private Journal (U.S. Ship Plymouth, Naval Anchorage, Norfolk.)

JANUARY, 1855: 22.

Saturday, 13.

A

De Nave. The Commodore of the Yard with two other officers, constituting, I understand, an inspecting committee, were received on board at or near 11, A.M., and remained until near 2, P.M. All hands were beat to quarters; the several guns exercised; the exercise, rigidly inspected, and men questioned at their stations as to their competency to discharge their duties; a new thing and altogether unexpected. The examination was uncreditable to us (i.e. the crew at quarters) I think I saw an old loader unable to say how a shell should be put into a gun; and a captain of the same gun (at the same time boatswain’s mate) was non-plussed by questions about the sighting, elevating at long and short distances, &c. Before the Commodore went away the crew were piped to dinner; but it was each man to a dinner of his own catering; oysters, fritters, cake, stakes, fruit, &c. is the order of the day now, and no man lives on the government ration. Not even me; but I have no choice; our mess no longer exists, and I hate to look to Margaret for the wherewith to subsist upon.

B

When the Commodore departed, all hands were called to furl sail, and the guns were secured; after which, permission was given to the Crew to take their bags and hammocks, and go ashore. A party of marines were also sent on liberty, and five or six with a sergeant, corporal, and acting corporal (myself) retained on board to keep watch.  At half-past two, or at three o’clock, no vestiges of our “gallant” crew were remaining; all were gone, and we, with a few officer’s servants, were left sole tenants of this mighty ship. The officers remaining on duty are a lieutenant and two midshipmen.

D

Personal. My Escritoire-box with its contents, comprising, notes, papers, autographs, letters, Chinese stamps, writing materials, &c. was lost in the course of the general transportation of baggage which went on in the evening. Some negro woman must have taken it by mistake; or some rascally sailor, or graceless scamp from the city, have stolen it. The loss is a severe one. I may, however, thank God it was no greater; If I had lost my Library-box, containing this journal, it would have been a dead case with me. _ In the night preceding I suffered invol. emis. for the 2nd time this year (recorded.) Em. copious & without pain. _ I allow no time to hang heavily on my hands, but resort to reading. _ I returned half crown to a man to-day who had given it to me when drunk as payment for a list of ports visited during the cruize; I had not yet presented the list, and hearing the man asking for a small loan of one of his fellows, I concluded to return him his own, which was to his surprise, as he had entirely forgotten the circumstances adverted to mentioned. This half crown had been placed in my Charity Fund. It consequently had to be deducted.

Sunday, 14.

E

_ Weather approa