Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The Johanna Wilhelmina

It must have been a very important bomschuit the Johanna Wilhelmina.
We know this ship of captain Jan Vlieland was captured near Rotterdam by Marivault on his way from England.
We know what happened to Jan.
He was send to prison but escaped from there by burning through the walls with the heated hinges of his bed.
We know who were on the ship as passengers
De bemanning bestond uit den kapitein Jan Vlieland,
gezegd Hollander, van Rotterdam, Johan Letzer of
Litser, van Zeeland en de Griek Constantino Variotto, Hollander,
een conscrit réfractaire, was, terwijl hij zich al in
1811 onder toezicht der haute police bevond, naar Engeland
en Barones Minckewitz
Also another passenger wrote the story of the passage to Holland
Sept. 29-—About nine o'clock in the morning we were ordered on board, with the promise of sailing immediately ; our packet was called the Johanna Wilhelmina (Captain Vlieland.) Our trunks were examined by the Custom House officer, who received from each of us his accustomed fee of half a crown ; the thing is perfectly understood ; the traveller pays his money that his trunk may not be disturbed; it is merely opened and a finger or two thrust down at the sides, and all is pronounced well; if the money is refused, the trunk becomes an object of suspicion, and with the zeal of miners they dig to the very bottom ; the money which is paid for forbearance is called civility money.

Having formed my ideas of packets from those of Rhode-Island and New-Haven, and not imagining that any employed in Europe could be inferior, I was hardly able to suppress my disgust, when I found, that ours was only a little Dutch boat, of about thirty tons, as badly contrived for accommodation as possible. The births were all in her hold along her sides; we descended through the hatch-way, and neither air nor light could reach us except through this aperture. In this place, fourteen of us, of all ages, and of both sexes, were crowded together; yet, for such accommodations we paid five guineas each, exclusive of subsistence.

If you have ever descended into the hold of any one of the celebrated gun-boals of our country, you will form a tolerably correct estimate of our situation ; and, in fact, this very packet was built for a gun-boat for the invasion of England ; she was taken in action by the English, purchased of them by a Dutch captain, a--'d converted into a packet to sail between Rotterdam and London. She was however, in every respect inferior to the American gunboats., except that she was deeper in the hold, but, still we could not any where stand upright.

The captain did not fail according to his promise; he kept us till evening, when we got under way, but, the wind which had been fair before, now became contrary, and we beat only ten miles down the river, when the tide turning against us, we dropped our anchor and waited the return of the flood.

Sept. 30.—In addition to the privations which we all endured in common, I found that my birth was so short, that I could not extend my limbs, till I contrived to lie across with my head in one corner and my feet in the ether, but, the noise of the sailors and the snoring of the passengers rendered refreshing sleep unattainable.

In the morning we found the wind strong at east, and directly ahead—the sky was cloudy, and the weather chilly and uncomfortable. We advanced a few miles by beating; just far enough to bring us into the road where the river Thames opens into a wide bay, and by losing the protection of the land, begins to feel the fluctuation of the ocean. Here we cast anchor again, on account of the turning of the tide ; the wind increased and caused the boat to pitch and roll so much, that I became sick ; the hold, which was the only refuge from the piercing wind, was loathsome, and I preferred remaining on deck, till the termination of a very dismal day. We remained in this situation all night, and the morning brought us no alleviation of our troubles.

Oct. 1.—The east wind continued stedfast to its point, and, when the tide became favourable to our course, we could make only eight or ten miles, before we were compelled to cast anchor again, and lie tossing, through the day, with an adverse current and a strong wind, bringing in a heavy swell from the ocean. The sun was veiled, the atmosphere was cold and raw, the wind was increasing, and we had in prospect, a night much more uncomfortable than the last; nor, were we entirely without apprehensions for our safety, because our situation was very much exposed, and our bark extremely frail.

But, just at twilight, the captain relieved our solicitude, by standing in for the land. He was acquainted with the coast, and ran into a deep bay, to the north, in the county of Essex. A few miles from it stands Colchester, and immediately contiguous, a little village, whose name I do not recollect. Here we came immediately under the lee of the shore, and into smooth water.

So much does our comfort depend on comparison, that our present situation seemed happy, when contrasted with that of last night, and we passed this in perfect quiet, solaced with the reflection, that in our present situation, even a tempest would not expose us to serious danger.

Oct. 2.—The morning cheered us with a fine sun and clear sky, but, the wind remained as before, and we ran in quite to the bottom of the bay, and anchored within cable's length of the shore, among eighty or ninety sail of small sloops, employed in fishing for oysters ; with their sails all set they were plying back and forward, and presented a scene of great life and gaiety.

This bay is famous for producing the finest oysters in England ; the London market is supplied principally from its waters, and the oysters are even exported to Holland. The Colchester fishermen take them in netts which are dragged along by the motion of the boat. I have eaten excellent oysters in England, but sometimes have perceived a metallic'taste very offensive and particularly in raw oysters; the popular opinion imputes it to eopper in the oyster banks.

In this bay we observed two armed brigs, and near them a gun-boat captured at Boulogne; or.e of those which have been so long preparing for the invasion of England.

We were very solicitous during our confinement in these waters, to go on shore and make ourselves comfortable at an inn, but the alien laws were severe against us, and the captain would not run the risk of a fine of five hundred pounds for permitting us to land ; and we ourselves, as aliens regularly cleared for a foreign country, and, in that way discharged from the care of the ajien office, should have been liable to severe amercement and imprisonment besides,

As we could not land, we sent our captain on shore to procure us some fresh provisions. He brought us a peck of miserable apples and pears, for which he paid five shillings; for a bottle of gin he gave five shillings and nine pence, and for a bottle of rum six shillings and six pence;—a specimen partly of imposition, and partly of the high prices of the articles of life in this country.

Oct. 3.—The wind continued as before, only blowing with more strength, but we were favoured with remarkably fine weather. We dropped down the bay a mile, and anchored again, that we might be ready to put to sea, whenever the wind should become more favourable.

By this time I began to discover with what people I was imprisoned. We were a motley collection. Among our number were several Dutchmen, a German, a Swiss, a Hamburgher, a Russian, a Prussian, a Frenchman, a Jew, an English woman and two Americans; all were however very civil, but with the kindest deportment we could not be but very uncomfortable. The whole story can be found on the internet,
Of all the ships that were captured the pricepapers are still kept in the National archive in London as HCA -High court of Admiralty /but although we know where to look they are not digital the librarian told me ,they are not on line .
You have to search in London .
So one day we have to go there and read what happened to this and the other ships of the Vlieland family in the original papers in the London Archive.
and finally we have the auction of the ship .This time is the owner Ary Vlieland.

NICOLAUS MONTAUBAN VAN SWYNDREGT en WILLEM VAN DAM J.H.Zoon, Makelaars, zullen, op HEDEN den 12 Maart 1805, 's namiddags ten 3 uren, Rotterdam, in 't Logement het Zwynshoofd, aan den meest biedenden, (zonder Afding) verkoopsn, een extra welbezeild BOMSCHlP, genaamd JOHANNA WILHELMINA, laatst gevoerd door Schipper Ary Vlieland, lang over Steven 37 voeten. hol 9 voetenenl duim, wyd, i9voeten. Bieder by de Inventaris en bericht by de gemelde Makelaars. NICOLAUS MONTAUBAN VAN SWYNDREGT, Makelaar te Rotterdam

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