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From: (Dennis Ahern)
Subject: Re: Excerpts from Irish newspapers
Date: Fri, 10 Jan 2003 12:37:35 GMT
References: <H8HHoI.B6z@world.std.com>


THE PACIFIC MAIL STEAMER.
----------------
Letters from America, received in Dublin yesterday,
and dated 19th February, state, "that up to that period
nothing had been heard from the Pacific steamer from
Liverpool, which was then twenty-seven days out." The
Government and Mr. Collins had each sent a steamer in
search of her. From the adventurous character of some
commanders, their anxiety to make short passages, and
the pertinacity with which they proceed by the North
Passage, notwithstanding the fields of ice they have often
had to encounter, we have long been prepared to hear of
some fearful casualty.

We (Dublin Evening Post) have now before us a
letter, written by a gentleman late of this city, who left
Liverpool in the Pacific on the 14th of April last, giving an
account of the almost miraculous escape from a hurricane
which caught that vessel with all sail set, and threw the
ship on her beam-ends, whilst amongst banks of
field-ice, off Newfoundland, on the 20th April last. This
occurred, notwithstanding repeated warnings given by
the sudden fall of the mercury, which made the ship
captains, of whom there were seven on board as
passengers, declare, several hours before, "that they
were in for a gale." The account says :--

"On the Friday afternoon (the 20th), the weather
became very cold ; the temperature of the sea having
fallen twelve degrees in four hours, and an iceberg
appeared to the north-west, which obliged us to change
our course a little ; after this came a storm of hail and
snow which ended with lightning from the coast, which
gradually spread round, and ended at the N.W.--
according to the opinion of the nautical men, the very
worst possible sign. They all said we were in for a hard
blow. At this time the wind was blowing pretty fresh from
the eastward and we had all sail going at 13 knots an
hour. At midnight the wind veered suddenly round to the
N.W., which blew so hard that the sails could not be
taken in, and consequently flew to shivers, the jib,
foresail, and foretopsail, all went over, and were torn into
ribands." After describing the storm, which lasted for two
days, the writer thus speaks of the management of the
vessel :--

"It is most astonishing that the Captain, an officer of
great experience--especially with so many
unmistakeable signs of a gale--should have been caught
with all sail set. He had plenty of time to have all down,
and topmasts and yards lowered. The only way I can
account for it is, that having so far made a most rapid
passage, he wanted to do something wonderful ; even
when the gale was blowing its worst, he kept the steam
on, and drove on at five knots, in the very teeth of the
hurricane--for hurricane it must be called. They all
agreed, that in all their trips across the Atlantic, they
never experienced so heavy a gale ; one old sea captain
said, that he once knew it to blow as hard when off Cape
Horn."

--The Cork Examiner, 5 March 1856

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Dennis Ahern | Ireland Newspaper Abstracts
Acton, Massachusetts | http://www.newspaperabstracts.com/Ireland
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