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State Library of NSW
Arthur Wilcox Manning - journal of a voyage from Plymouth to Sydney on the Earl Grey, 1839-18401839-1840
himself credit as a zealous and clever missionary from his own peculiar party in England. Mr Vidal always keeps quite aloof in these matters: so shall I, although Mr Simpson seems to consider it necessary to consult me before he will venture to do anything in his clerical capacity! How he has taken such a fancy to me I cannot imagine, but a fact it most assuredly is. How this matter between himself and Dr Ross will terminate I know not. The Captain appears to me to be a conscientious and religious man, and an Episcopalian. He has declared himself in favour of Mr Simpson; and, I have no doubt, will conduct the matter properly. During the day I have been reading Dr Lang’s History of New South Wales. I must try to forget the man before I can judge the author.
4th. This afternoon a ship passed within two or three miles of us: - an Englishman, homeward bound. When one vessel meets another at sea, it is usual to hoist the national Ensign at the “Peak”, astern of the vessel - to denote what country she belongs to - this is immediately answered in a similar manner by the other vessel; otherwise great offence is given. Captain Marryatt, the great novel writer, had invented a code of signals, consisting of thirteen flags by means of which any question may be asked when vessels are too far off to speak each other. For instance, I want to ask another vessel at sea “What ship is that”? I hoist three flags, Nos.: 8,5,4 - The other vessel refers to is signal book (for it is in general use) and seas what I ask. He immediately hoists his number, by which, on reference, I discover the answer; for every ship is entered at Lloyd’s and has a particular number, which is put down in Marryatt’s code. Our number is 7689 - i.e. we hoist the flags 7,6,8,9 - By means of these signals you may hold any conversation, as every flag has a particular letter attached - you may ask the Captain of the vessel signalized to lower a boat and come to dine with us at such an hour! How many days he has been at sea - where from, and to what port he is bound. The vessel that passed us today was a Liverpool ship, and therefore could not answer our signals; for the Liverpool Traders, in true Yankee fashion, have a code of their own, and will not use Marryatt’s. Our surly friend today