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Title: Beale, Joseph Sr to Beale, Margaret, 1852
CollectionThe Earth between them: Joseph Beale's letters home to Ireland from Victoria (1852-1853) [E.Beale]
SenderBeale, Joseph Sr
Sender Gendermale
Sender Occupationemigrant
Sender Religionunknown
OriginShip Sarah Sands, at sea
DestinationMountmellick, Co. Laois, Ireland
RecipientBeale, Margaret
Recipient Genderfemale
Doc. No.
Partial Date
Doc. Type
Word Count3702
Genrediary kept during voyage, account of passage
Transcript½ past 3 ships time abt 5 by Mt. Mk.
Sarah Sands at Sea 9 mo: 28th 1852
[28 September 1852]
(lat 34 degrees 50 min at noon)

To my best beloved Wife,
I write thee alone in our cabin, with the dark blue sea before
me, and in a delightful climate. I had to put off my warm
clothing this morn and now have laid aside even my linen
coat. Oh, how I do enjoy the bright sunny skies of these latitudes,
they cheer the spirits and make a separation from those
we love best and dearest lighter. I often think if I had thee
and the children here I sh'd be too happy—it is not easy to
write an interesting letter on a voyage, there is necessarily so
much of sameness every day, and one day is so like to another,
however I shall give thee all I can to keep us before your eyes
at home—everyday trifles, of which sea life in particular is made
up—so I begin a copy of my diary—

9/22nd. Sailed from Queenstown at 2 o'clock, parted visitors
About ½ past two, and felt truly thankful that thou my dearest
bore up so heroically amidst the parting cheers of those bound
for a voyage to the antipodes. Our course SW, fair weather,
but contrary winds, at 8 the wind came round a few points
and we hoist canvass, the boys [our sons Joseph and Francis]
and our cabin fellow passengers unwell and retired to rest, I remain'd on deck until 10 when I retired and slept soundly,
perfectly free from any sickness. It more [ban once occurred
to me this eveng that I sh'd write home and then the recollection
that for a long period that was impracticable, told that
we were indeed on a long voyage.

23rd. Arose at 6, and read my bible, found the wind again adverse,
we move solely by the screws, at 8 changed our course
more to the west and hoist sails again—a delightful day, tho’
many passengers continue sick.

24th. In the bay of Biscay, the water rough, caught a beautiful
large yellow butterfly, of a kind not seen in Ire'd, a chaffinch
and cuckoo also came on board to rest—the weather perceptibly
warmer, and the evenings delightful, our fellow passengers
on board very agreable. [Our son] Jos'h and [our servant]
Jas Kennedy very sick since 4th day, I cannot get them to take
food or drink of any kind. Francis a good sailor. My thoughts
all day and in the wakeful hours of nigh; are center'd in home
and the dear ones left behind, but my mind is preserved in
quietude and calmness—we have had a stiff breeze since last
evening, have all sail set and are making rapid progress-
Viewing the dark blue waves around on every side, without a
home on land as I am, I tho't the lines not inapplicable

"Where'er the breeze may bear, the billows foam,
Survey our empire and behold our home."

for this ship is at present our only home. Our fellow passenger
from Cork (Thos Hosford) his wife and sister-in-law, are
all very unwell—he cannot look after them, so he sends me
into the ladies' cabin the first thing in the morn'g and last at
night. I felt it scarcely my place to intrude on others, and
apologized, but all said I was priviledged and all thanked me
for any little attention. The stewardess has been seasick and
so females were badly attended to. I took all the care I could
of them, being all thro' as well as if I were sitting in Monordreigh.
Captn Thompson invited me to dine with him to-day
in the first cabin. I shaved and dressed for the occasion, not
to disgrace an Irish friend. I believe no one but myself was
shaved the vessel rolled so much. I made my acquaintance
with Sir Robert Stamford, who is an extensive' land-holder at
the Cape and has two flour mills. We had a deal of conversation, he invited me to stop at his house at Cape Town and that he would drive me 40 miles into the country to view his
farm and mills—if so it will be a great recreation after so long
a voyage.

25th. Rose a little after six, calm weather, the wind from rather
a more favourable point than yesterday. I enjoy uninterrupted
good health, appetite good, tho' our fare in the 2nd cabin is
very coarse—salt beef and pork with hard old biscuits, they
may well be called biscuits for they were baked over again at
I/pool being left from the Californian voyage, Coffee without
milk and coarse brown sugar, courser than I have seen sold at
4d per 1b. The temperature very mild and much warmer. We
are now oft the coast of Spain—all the passengers exceedingly
attentive to me. I find on board several young sons of gentlemen,
1st class passengers, whom the more experienced passengers
consider totally unfit for Australia. Joseph says "I think
father, many who are going out 1st class will be glad to return
2nd class". After breakfast I read with comfort and a feeling
of thankfulness, as not inapplicable to my present state of life,
the XII chap, of Hebrews, which I unintentionally open d on.
(I wrote so far on the 28th and now resume on the 30th.)
Last even'g Frs pointed out a gentleman to me whom he said
I should find a very nice person. I soon introduced myself to
him (than which nothing is easier at sea), I found Francis
had formed a correct estimate of politeness etc. etc. The gn.
told me he had been an officer in the service of Eng'd and of
Austria, after a pleasant half hours chat he asked something
about friends [Quakers'] principles—I told him I would lend
him a book wh. while affording a very correct account of many
parts of our intended home, would at the same time give him
an explanation of the doctrines of the society of F'nds. I gave
him Jas Backhouse's Journal. When handing it to him a gentleman
to whom I had lent and who had lent me a work said "I
tliink Sir you are the librarian of the ship". I told the first
Gn. (whose name I think is Gordon) that perhaps lie would
find the work very diff't from his former avocations, that it was
written by a religious person "but perhaps thy intentions are
for the future to change the sword for the pruning hook".4 The
second gen'n whose name I think is Crowe said "I sh'd not
give much for reading any work written by an irreligious man".
Lat to-day 9/25-44.40 [25 September—approaching die latitude
of the north toast of Spain.]
I was to-day chosen by acclamation President of the Mess, an
American gent'n Vice President, who is well acquainted with
seafaring life. On my appointment, I addressed them and said
"in a long voyage like ours, the peace and comfort of the body
deluded in a great measure on the conduct of individuals
towards each other, that I hoped everyone would act with condescension and kindness towards his messmates, but that it was
not impossible but differences might arise, and if so, I hoped
they would be referred to the President and Vice P't of the
mess", which was answered by "hear, hear" and a cheer. [Joseph
interrupted his report of his speech by a long interpolation
reading:] (here I must mention that while I write in my cabin
by the only window in it, I think 19 inches in circumference,
I write without coat, waistcoat or cravat, with a silk handkerchief
under my finger to keep the paper from being wet, every
lew minutes I have to dry my face and hands from perspiration
while the sea rolls so much, that tho' I write quickly I had to
prop myself, first on one leg, and then on another, 13 times on
each while I wrote the line marked X) (so excuse bad writing).
First Day 9/26. On taking my seat at the table this morng
according to seafaring style, I was wished "a good morning Mr.
President" by each person. We get on very agreably and all
treat me with great respect, but my position gives me trouble
as any grievance felt by any of the mess I have to regulate,
either with the Captain or Purser—after breakfast I found by
my watch it was £ past 10, which being kept by ships time,
and allowing for diff[erenc]e of lat: would be about 20 min
past II at Mt. Melick. I fancied you all at meeting, or in
cheerfid converse with my dear sister May [Mary Pim] and all
her dearly loved family, most likely we wanderers on the ocean
of waters, and the Ocean of life, were not forgotten—No—I
am sure we were not—at £ past 10 "the sound of the church
going bell" warned all to their Sabbath duties, and it was really
comforting to see the Episcopalians, R.C's, Methodists and we
poor lone friends, each retiring to address Omnipotence in the
manner that each believed most acceptable in His Divine sight
—[the third mate] Josh Pim joined us. I read the four first
chapters of Hebrews. I read with difficulty from emotion, on
the wide ocean far from home the reading of what I had so often read under very diff't circumstances affected me. I tho't
however, a feeling of acceptance for our small offering was
The weather in this latitude abreast of northern Portugal (4ld,
50m at noon) is delightful, we find warm clothing no longer
wanted. While sitting on deck the even'gs to 9 or 10 o'clock
are such as old Ireland never knew, such mild balmy air has a
very great influence on the spirits, one enjoys life more than in
the cool, gloomy, humid summer skies, of the country of my
birth, if all my family were with me, lite would be an enjoyment
indeed. On first day everyone appears in full dress after
church hour some tracts were distributed to the R.C's
which gave them great offence, they complained to me, and I
said I tho't it was ill advised, and a gentleman, the second in
command of the detective force in London, said, he highly
disapproved of it. When favour'd to meet f can tell thee some
very curious circumstances relating to this gent'n, which as he
confides strictly to me, I cannot allude to at present. He is
going out with every authority from Govt in London to arrest
a person in Australia or the Cape of Good Hope or to follow
him wherever he is and to convey him home for fraud and
peculation to a large amount. Thou will be surprized when I
tell thee, how we became acquainted and how we became confidential
friends, so that from necessity (I may say) he had to
cut open his belt which he wears with his despatches by night
as well as by day round his body, to prove to me that his statement
could not be doubted—it cannot—he wanted and wants
my assistance, and I will give it him to the utmost of my ability.
I can tell a true, a good and a curious story about the whole
affair whenever opp'y offers—and the time arrives.
27th. Lat at noon 37.50—a gentleman handed me the following:

"Loaming in symetry and strength, old ocean's depths to ride
How .steadily and gracefully she houndeth o'er the tide
By skill designed for enterprise our commerce to increase
To hear our merchandize abroad in liberty and peace
Thro' all the dreadful perils of the fathomless profound
[Cod] speed her in her voyages outward and homeward hound.
Long may her skillful Captain in this and distant lands
In safety steer the gallant ship, the bonny Sarah Sands.
She'll cross the broad Atlantic tho' right ahead the wind
Her bare poles bending to the gale, her canvas all confined
'Gainst wind and tide her dauntless screw her progress will propel And steer lier through the trackless deep—man's energy 10 tell. But when the wind blows kindly, with all her sails unfurled. Then like a beautious hind she'll breast the waters of the world. One bumper and a hearty cheer, the theme our warmth demands. May lie who rules the winds and waves, protect the Sarah Sands."

To amuse some of the passengers I read it to them, some said
it was very good—the H.C's who are mostly from Cork shouted
out when finished, in true Cork accent, A-men A-men, laying
the accent on the last sylable. Having made my observations
on nearly everyone on board except the hardwork'd, thoughtless
sailors, I rambled down one even'g to find out what they
are made of, and whether I could gain their confidence, roughspun
seamen. So, I began by asking why every sail but one was
made tight all round and this the main sail, at times blew up
to the yard arm. They all laughed at my question and said I
suppose you are a better sailor Sir, than we are? I laughed too,
and s'd no indeed, I knew nothing at all about it, I only asked
you for inform'n. So we talked tu no use, at last the boatswain
said, don't you see Sir it's doing its duty like a L'pool carthorse,
pulling away. At the moment the wind curl'd it up in
a roll to the yard arm, which gave me the opp'y of saying—
'Like a Liverpool carthorse!! it's more like a Rio-de-Janeiro
cowskin, rolled up to nothing'. They laughed over and over again
at this, said it was the best thing they heard for many a day. I
saw I had said enough and retired saying, I hope I have not
offended any of you. "Oh, bless you, no Sir, we hadn't a hearty
laugh since we left L'pool before". About half an hour afterwards
one of them came to me and sd. he was sent by the men
to apologise to me, they were afraid I was offended, that they
did not know who I was, but since I had left, they had learn'd
from the passengers, that there wasn't a more respectable person
"afloat", and he explained to my clear understanding, why
that sail in particular was differently arranged from all the
rest. (It is now so rough that I have to prop my head ag't the
roof of my cabin to keep on my feet, sometimes bowing to the
waves, outside my 6 inch (round) window and sometimes in
the position of an astronomer, while every now and then I have
to make obeisance on my right hand and on my left. Were 1
crossing from Dublin to L'pool on the 80 of the 9 mo: in the
usual cold damp weather of that latitude, it is probable I sh'd
be dishearten'd, but here the climate makes an extraordinary difference, one is always cheerful, tho' the heart is ever the same
to those left behind. Well my darling, I think thou can hardly
understand this, but when thou art in the same lat's and with
the same weather, thou wilt (if not sick at sea) understand it
well, and feel the effects of climate in a manner thou never
before felt.

28th. Lat 34.50. The weather very warm. We have today awnings
thrown over the deck. Our fare in the 2nd cabin very
coarse and poor, all the passengers lamenting that they did not
each bring some seastore [presumably a private supply of food].
I had to give up the salt beef and pork, the first class have
every luxury and even the beef and pork is picked for them,
and we have only the coarse pieces with "Hobson's choice"—
Under no circumstance will it ever do, for my precious family
to come out save as first class passengers. I do believe the
younger children particularly never could live thro" a voyage
treated as we are—except soup and boulli one day and pea
soup without meat in it another, we have nothing comfortable
save our beds, we cannot see the food on our plates the cabin
is so extremely dark, yet my party are preserved in health and
our fellow passengers very kind to us. Jos'h more than once
said, "we must do everything in our power to get my mother
and the family out as 1st class, it would never do for them to
come out any other way".

29th. Lat 31 degrees 50 miles [sic]
Long 19 degrees SO minutes
Thou canst find out this
spot on the map. [They
were west of Madeira.]

I have had a long conversation today with Sir R. Stamford, he
is decidedly of opinion, that my family should all come out first
class in a sailing vessel, there is very little time saved by a
steamer, there is so much time lost, taking in coals at St. Vincent's (from whence I hope to send this letter) and at the
Cape of Gd. Hope. There is no reasonable expectation of the
S'h Sands making the voyage under 90 days. I would agree
with a house of first rate character like Gibbs, Bright & Co.
of Liverpool, and sail in one of their best vessels A.I, with good
room between decks. If so, the shabby tricks that are played
on the second class passengers by the charterers of this vessel will be avoided. Captn Thompson is a very excellent man, but
he has nothing to do with any save those at his own table. The
fact is, those Melbourne Mining Co. folk, are losers by this trip,
and they make us suffer by privation, to keep all they possibly
can for themselves, every passenger on board (except 1st class)
is greatly dissatisfied.

30th. Lat 29.37. The sea very rough, with wind ag't us. I sat
for hours on the bow, and greatly enjoyed the rolling of the
sea, it is a most pleasurable sensation. Thou wouldst be delighted
to sit as I have, if unaftected by sea sickness—

"Oh, who can tell, save he whose heart hath tried
And. danced in triumph o'er the waters wide
The exulting sense, the pulse's mad'ning play
That fhrills the wanderer o'er the pathless way,
Thrills Lu the rising bosom's inmost core."

Numbers of flying fish around us, they rise in flocks at times,
like a flock of larks at home, but their flight of from 15 to 200
yards, is like that of the swallow, very quick, their sides like
burnished silver. I had no idea they were so beautiful an object,
contrasted with the dark blue waters of the Atlantic—

"When I have seen thy snow white wing
From the blue wave at evening spring
And show thy scales of silver white
So gaily to the eye of light
As if thy frame were formed to rise
And live amidst the glorious skies."

10/1 [1 October] Lat 27.30. Wind contrary, tho' light, as we
get into the warm climates, many of the passengers complain
of the heat, but I feel like being in a hot bath, most agreable
and cheering, alone in my cabin I read the Chap of Genesis.
I never before understood the extraordinary beauties therein
contained—how wonderful the Sacred Scriptures for doctrine,
for correction, for instruction in righteousness. Spoke the Barbara
of Bristol, 13 days from thence and bound to the coast
of Guinea. Saw the first turtles, floating by us, the sea as smooth
as a mirror, not a breath of wind.

10/2 Lat. 25.0.
3rd. Lat 22.37, within the tropic of Cancer. The weather very
warm, many complain, but it agrees well with me, I laid aside
my flannel waistcoat, in fact, without any clothes one would be suff'y warm, the air is about as warm as the blood. I often
think if I were to return home and arrive in 11th mo. "in the
dark dismal days of Nov'r" it would almost end my days—
while I write, the perspiration pours down my face, tho' I have
only a light calico shirt and a trousers on.
4th. Lat I9.18 Long 24.0. We are desirous for to-morrow when
we hope to land at St. Vincent's, one of the Cape de Verd isles
lat 17.54. It is probable we may rem'n there for 2 or 3 days.
I intend posting this there, if practicable. There are a good
many Irish on board from Ulster, Leinster and Munster, and
"the Kingdom of Kerry" (and except two or three aristocratic
tools in the 1st cabin, where are also several excellent gentlemen)
all act as friends to each other, no matter what the respective
creed may be, is it not strange that however parties
contend at home in Ire'd, so soon as they meet "foreigners"
like Scotch or Eng'h, the Irish become united—so it is in fact

10.5. At ½ past 4 a.m. I arose and until the present time 9
o clock have been amused with the bold scenery of St. Anthony's
and of St. Vincent's, where we have been fav'd to arrive in
safety, and now my ever precious love, I conclude, by saying my
tho'ts are continually with thee, anxiously desiring to know
thou contends with all thy difficulties, in the Mill, etc., etc.
Joseph is a remarkably steady lad, Frs. more volatile, but both
greatly respected on board. Kiss each of my loved children for
me, remember me aff'y to all interested about me. Be assured
that nil that lies in our power will be done for thee and if
favoured to meet you all in Australia, it will be indeed the
happiest day of my life, and will be a recompense for all the
trials hitherto administer'd to me. Write often to my address
—P. Office, Melbourne—and I will write at least weekly to thee.
Farewell my dearest, and believe me to be thy ever attached
and loving husband