January 27, 1820 – 10 o’clock. A.M. – With a fine morning, and a fair breeze which sprang up soon after last evening sacrifice, we find ourselves delivered from the dangers of Le Maire and rapidly and pleasantly advancing toward our turning point, the place of hope and fear. (One o’clock) While at the rate of 8 knots an hour, the Brig serenely cuts her way, the long looked for cape rises full in view and all our hearts leap for joy. But in the midst of congratulations, which we gratefully acknowledge that our times and seasons are at the disposal of an allwise providence, it becomes us to rejoice with trembling lest we should not sufficiently glorify God. (2 o’clock, P.M.) The wind rises – dark clouds hover round. – the approach of a whirlwind is announced – all hands are ordered on deck – the sails are filled, – the dead lights in, – the companion way closed, and we are imprisoned below deck, – For a moment our Heavenly Father seems to hold the rod over us. (1/2 past 2 P.M.) The wind subsides – a gentle rain descends, – and light breaks in again. We know that he who made Cape Horn, and placed it as a waymark which the tempests of 60 centuries have not been able to remove can conduct us around it in safety. – nor shall whirlwinds nor storms prevent us from erecting upon it, in the name Jehovah, the “Rock of our Help,” the Ebanezer of the Owhyhean Mission. (3 o’clock, P.M.) The wind rises again, – All hands are called. The waves lift themselves up. – and our little trembling, tottering bark with its invaluable freight, yields to the opposing currents and lightly bends her course towards the South. (4 o’clock, P.M.) The sun breaks out in the clear western sky, while the dark tempest, passing off to the East, bears down upon the waters of the Atlantic, and leaves us running briskly South, and the cape gradually sinks behind a pleasant sea. – (6 o’clock, P.M.) A stiff breeze and heavy sea from the west. (1/2 past 6) The sun shuts in behind the cloud. A squall approaches. (7 o’clock, P.M.) The sun breaks out again and smiles. Thus rapid are our changes. Thus transitory are our scenes, and thus fluctuating the joys and sorrows of mortal life. (Thaddeus Journal)
27th. Early in the morning. We now find ourselves clear of the dangerous shoals and rocks of Terra del Fuego and Staten land, and sail 5 knots an hour, in a direct course towards C. H. The Lord has been our deliverer hitherto, we will bless his name, and still trust him.
12 o-clock. See cape H. about 8 leagues to the N. W.; 9 or 8 knots an hour, and the sea is so smooth that we can scarcely perceive the Brig to move. This is rarely the case in this region of storms. How long it will continue thus, is known only to him who is able to make the wind the sea obey him. – I have taken a Northwesterly view of Cape Horn which is said to be correct, I intend to send a copy; also a view of the strait of Le Maire, Both of them are just representations. Perhaps they may gratify American friends. 2 o-clock P. M.
Bow suddenly is our situation changed a few moments since all was peace and. we were sailing as pleasantly as at any time since we left America; Now. all is confusion, ‘a hailstorm is rising, all hands are summoned on deck to take in sail, one cries out from Masthead “a whirlwind” what the Lord is about to do with us we know not; one thing we do know, and this shall comfort us in every trial and danger; He loves his own cause, and if he has any work assigned in Owhyhee (Hawaii), he will be our refuge and our Salvation. 5 o-clock. The storm was terrible but it is now over. The whirlwind passed a few rods from us, but did not affect us. The wind is a head the waves run very high and a strong current takes us back to the E. 4 miles an hour. 1 o-clock lost sight of C. Horn by being carried so far to the east. (Samuel & Nancy Ruggles)
Jan. 27th. Thursday morning finds us favored of the Lord. What shall we render unto his name I I did think, beloved sisters, yesterday, two o’clock, as I came down from deck, if GOD would send us favorable winds and take us out from these dark mountains, where black clouds gathered on all sides, I should praise his name, and feel under renewed obligations to be careful for nothing, but by prayer and supplication, with, thanksgiving, to make known my requests unto the Lord. We are safely out of the Straits of Le-Maire, leaving these two islands, like little specks, sinking away in the dim horizon.
We go with speed, in a direct course, towards the Cape, while the sea is so smooth, that we can walk, sew or write, with no more inconvenience than if on land.
A little circumstance, which I have not mentioned, interested us, yesterday. A smoke was discovered rising from the beach, and by the aid of the glass, two men were seen kindling a fire. What their condition was we knew not, but could not avoid thinking the smoke might be intended as a signal of distress, on that desolate shore. But we could not reach them had we attempted it. The vessel, in some favourable moments, would make her way to them, then by the current, be driven far back again, at which times, it appeared as if they renewed their smoke; but we could only hope they were natives.
If they were some poor ship-wrecked mariners—my heart is cold at the thought!
11 o’clock. A huge whale has just come sporting around the vessel. The little multitude was at once on deck, but Mr. B— and I busy in our little room, did not go till we heard Capt. B—’s voice calling us. The view of the monster rewarded us for laying down our books. But a still more interesting view increased the animation of each countenance, as our Capt., pointing off in the course whither we were rapidly going, says, “There is Cape Horn!” then looking up on his full spread sails, adds, “I never passed this region in this manner.”
2 o’clock. A cloud arises, carrying darkness and terror in its aspect. The sails are all ordered to be furled, the passengers down, the dead lights in and the companion-way shut. A few moments since the sun shone, and joy was in every countenance. Well, I hope composure is still in most hearts, for tho “the sea is dark and deep—the Pilot’s sure”. (Sybil Bingham)
Jan. 27.-Yesterday (January 26, 1820) we entered the Strait of Le Marie, fifteen miles wide. The scene before us was interesting and sublime. On either side was a long continued range of mountains. The tops of some were covered with snow, while others reached to the clouds. There the naked eye could discover forests, trees, grass and sandbanks. But what interested my feelings most of all was the discovery of a smoke on the island of Terra del Fuego. Through spy-glasses two men could be discovered near it. Whether they were natives or shipwrecked mariners we knew not, nor could it be ascertained without much labor and danger. (Lucy Goodale Thurston)
Jan. 27. I wish my dear parents knew how contented and thankful we are for the smiles of an indulgent providence. Yesterday morning the enter the Straits of Le Maire with a good breeze which carried us about halfway through when we were suddenly becalmed and continued near the same place except the current from the Pacific rather drove us back until about 9 o’clock in the evening, when we were again blessed with favorable winds. Lying as we were between two islands we were exposed to danger, liable to be driven against them on either side, and swallowed up by the devouring element. Well may we say, had not the Lord been on our side, we might have perished. But His Almighty arm has been extended for our deliverance and safety. Since about 9 o’clock our progress has been rapid, and we have almost lost sight of the islands before mentioned. Two or three others have this morning been discovered farther south. In this region, where we expected boisterous weather and rough sailing, we are so far agreeably disappointed. The vessel slides along smoothly and gently we have seen nothing of the snow and hail storm spoken of by many. Captain B says, he never before witnessed so smooth that time in this place we have known. We have no occasion to distrust our covenant god, who is safely conducting us on our passage and who we trust well in his arm due time in his own du time land us at our desired haven.
1 o’clock. Almost every hour of this day brings with it some important event. Between eleven and twelve, we were on deck gazing at the large at a large whale, which came spouting around the vessel, when someone observed they saw Cape Horn. It however proved to be mistaken cape. Though our passage should thus far has been prospered beyond our expectations, we must expect some rough and unpleasant weather before we have doubled the cape. Even while I am writing I hear Capt B’s voice ordering his men to take down sales for we are threatened with a storm. (Mercy Partridge Whitney Journal)
27. – We left the straits this morning with a fine breeze from the north. At 12 major land (or rather rocks) again, suppose that first to be Cape Horn, but prove to be what is called Mistaken Cape. At 2 a squall struck us accompanied by a severe gale. We are now laying too, & it is uncertain when we double the Cape. In this ‘patria nimbornum’ (country of winds) ships are sometimes driven about 6 or 8 weeks before they can get safely round. (Samuel Whitney Journal)
January 27, 1820, 10 o’clock P.M. – At 8 this evening while our vessel was tossing upon the rising billows, her sails close furled, her decks washed with a heavy spray continually breaking over, and while a strong west wind from it roared through her rigging drifted her towards the South East, we assembled, as usual for evening prayers, read the 46th Psalm, and sung the 83rd hymn of the Select., acknowledged the good hand of our God upon us in his past undeserved favors, endeavored to lay ourselves peacefully at the feet of divine soverignty, and to implore the kind protection, the sure guidance, and the continued presence and blessing of his whose unfailing goodness constrained us unitedly and devoutly and joyfully to say “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” (Closed this interview with the 84th Select. H. Hothen). Though even now his waves and his billows are going over us we have great cause for gratitude that we are now so far from land as to be comparatively free from danger. This gale, had it been commissioned a few hours sooner might have dashed us on the rocks of Staten Land. But the Captain of our Salvation is our pilot, and we will not fear. “The Lord of Hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge.” (Thaddeus Journal)