Excerpt from The Dangerous Voyage of Capt. Thomas James, 1740

The 11th, my Lieutenant, and 5 more, de-
ſir'd they might try their Fortunes in travelling
about the Iſland. But they had far worſe Luck
than the others, altho' they endur'd all Night,
and had wander'd very far in the Snow, (which
was now very deep) and return'd comfortleſs
and miſerably diſabled with the Coldneſs. But
what was worſe than all this, they had loſt one
of their Company, John Barton ; namely, our
Gunner's Mate ; who being very weary, merely
to ſave the going about, had attempted to go o-
ver a Pond that was a Quarter of a Mile over ;
where, when he was in the very Middle, the Ice
brake and cloſed upon him, and we never ſaw
him more. Conſidering theſe Diſaſters, I re-
solved to fiſh no more with a golden Hook, for
Fear, I weaken'd myſelf more with one Hunt-
ing, than 20 ſuch dear Deers could do me Good.
Being now aſſur'd, that there were no Savages
upon the Iſland, nor yet about us on the other
Iſlands ; no, nor on the Main neither, as far as
we could diſcover, (which we further prov'd by
making of Fires,) and that the cold Seaſon was
now in that Extremity, that they could not come
to us, if there were any ; we comforted and re-
freſh'd ourſelves, by ſleeping the more ſecurely.
We chang'd our Iſland Garriſon, every Week ;
and for other refreſhing we were like to have
none till the Spring.
From this 10th to the 29th, it did (by In-
terims) ſnow and blow ſo hard, that the Boat
could hardly venture aſhore, and but ſeldom
land, unleſs the Men did wade in the thick con-
geal'd Water, carrying one another. We ſenſi-
bly perceiv'd withal, how we daily ſunk into
more Miſeries. The Land was all deep cover'd
with Snow ; the Cold multiply'd, and the thick
Snow Water increas'd ; and what would become
of us, our moſt merciful God and Preſerver knew

The 29th, I obſerv'd an Eclipſe of the Moon,
with what Care poſſibly I could, both in the
Trial of the Exactneſs of our Inſtruments, as al-
ſo in the Obſervation : I refer you to the Obſer-
vation, in the latter End of this Relation ; where
it is at large deſcrib'd. This Month of October
ended with Snow and bitter cold Weather.
The 1ſt of November, I caſt up Accounts with
the Steward concerning Victuals; the third Part
of our Time being this Day out. I found him
an honeſt Man ; for he gave me an Account eve-
ry Week what as ſpent ; and what was ſtill in
the Hold remaining under his Hand : I would
take no Excuſe of Leakage or other Waſte, un-
leſs he daily ſhew'd it me. Every Month, I
made a new Survey ; and every 6 Months, put
what we had ſpar'd, by itſelf ; which now was
at leaſt a Month's Proviſion of Bread, and a
Fortnight's of Peaſe, Fiſh, &c..
The 3d Day, the Boat endeavour'd to a get a-
ſhore, but could not get thro' the thick congeal-
ed Water.
The 4th, they found a Place to get aſhore :
and ſo once in 2 or 3 Days, till the 9th, bring-
ing Beer to our Men aſhore in a Barrel, which
would freeze firmly in the Houſe in one Night.
Other Proviſion they had Store. The Ice Beer,
being thaw'd in a Kettle, was not good ; and
they broke the Ice of the Ponds of Water, to
come at Water to drink. This Pond-Water
had a moſt loathſome Smell with it ; ſo that
doubting leſt it might be infectious, I caus'd a
Well to be ſunk near the Houſe. There we had
very good Water, which taſted, as we flatter'd
ourſelves, like Milk.
The 10th, having Store of Boards for ſuch
a Purpoſe, I put the Carpenter to work, to make
us a little Boat, which we might carry, (if Oc-
caſion were) over the Ice, and make Uſe of her,
where there was Water. At noon, I took the
Latitude of this Iſland, by two Quadrants; which
I found to be 52. 00. I urg'd the Men to make
Traps to catch Foxes ; for we daily ſaw many.
Some of them were pied, black and white :
whereby I gather'd, that there was ſome black
Foxes, whoſe Skins, I told them, were of great
Value ; and I promis'd, that whoſoever could
take one of them, ſhould have the Skin for his
Reward : Hereupon, they made divers Traps,
and waded in the Snow, which was very deep,
to place them in the Woods.
The 12th, our Houſe took Fire, but we ſoon
quench'd it : We were oblig'd to keep an extra-
ordinary Fire, Night and Day ; and this Acci-
dent made me order a Watch to look to it con-
tinually ; ſeeing, that if our Houſe and Clothing
ſhould be burnt, that we ſhould be in a woful
Condition. I lay aſhore till the 17th; all which
Time our Miſeries increas'd. It ſnow'd and
froze extremely. At which Time, we looking
from the Shore towards the Ship, ſhe look'd like
a Piece of Ice, in the Faſhion of a Ship ; or a
Ship reſembling a Piece of Ice. The Snow was
all frozen about her, and all her Fore-part firm
Ice ; and ſo ſhe was on both Sides alſo. Our
Cables froze in the Hawſe, wonderful to behold.
I got me aboard, where the long Nights I ſpent,
with tormenting Cogitations ; and in the Day-
time, I could not ſee any Hope of ſaving the
Ship. This I was aſſur'd of, that it was im-
poſſible to endure theſe Extremities long. Every
Day the Men muſt beat the Ice off the Cables,
while ſome within Board, with the Carpenter's
long Calking Iron, digg'd the Ice out of the
Hawſes : In which Work, the Water would
freeze on their Cloaths and Hands, and would
ſo benumb them, that they could hardly get
into the Ship, without being heav'd in with a
The 19th, our Gunner, (who, as you may
remember, had his Leg cut off) languiſh'd irre-
coverably, and now grew very weak ; deſiring,
that, for the little Time he had to live, he
might drink Sack altogether ; which I order'd
he ſhould.
The 22d, in the Morning, he died. An ho-
neſt and a ſtrong-hearted Man. He had a cloſe
boarded Cabbin in the Gun-room, which was
very cloſe indeed ; and as many Cloaths on him,
as was convenient, (for we wanted no Cloaths)
and a Pan with Coals, and a Fire continually in
his Cabbin. Notwithſtanding which Warmth,
his Plaiſter would freeze at his Wound, and his
Bottle of Sack at his Head. We committed
him, at a good Diſtance from the Ship, unto
the Sea.
The 23d, the Ice increas'd extraordinarily;
and the Snow lay on the Water in Flakes, as it
fell ; much Ice alſo drove by us : yet nothing
hard all this while. In the Evening, after the
Watch was ſet, a great Piece came athwart our
Hawſe ; and four more follow'd after him ; the
leaſt of them a Quarter of a Mile broad, which
in the Dark very much aſtoniſh'd us, thinking it
would carry us out of the Harbour, upon the
Shoal's Eaſtern Point, which was full of Rocks.
It was newly congeal'd, a Matter of two Inches
thick ; and we broke thro' it, the Cable and
Anchor enduring an incredible Streſſ, ſometimes
ſtopping the whole Ice. We ſhot off three Muſ-
kets, ſignifying to our Men aſhore, that we were
in Diſtreſs ; who anſwer'd us again, but could
not help us. By 10 o'Clock, it was all paſs'd ;
nevertheleſs we watch'd carefully ; and the Wea-
ther was warmer than we had felt it any Time
this Month. In the Morning by Break of Day,
I ſent for our Men aboard, who made up the
Houſe, and arriv'd by 10, being driven by the
Way, to wade thro' the congeal'd Water ; ſo
that they recover'd the Boat with Difficulty.
There drove by the Ship many Pieces of Ice,
tho' not ſo large as the former, yet much thick-
er : One Piece came foul of the Cable, and made
the Ship drive.