Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Voyage of the Britannia 1699

William Bracken arrived in Philadelphia from Liverpool, England on August 25, 1699. There were, of course, other passengers aboard the ship Britannia. One of them was George Haworth. My brother Daryl found a description of the voyage of the Britannia on the Haworth Association of America site.

I am not able to give proper credit for this account, there are two books referenced on that page, George Haworth and Some of His Descendants and Haworths in America,but the source of the account is not clear There is also a reference to "Gerald and Helen Wood's Book," but it isn't clear if that is a third book or if they are the authors of one of the others. The source page is here. What is clear is that the original account was from letters that George Haworth wrote to his family in England.

The Voyage of the Britannia 1699

"That sick ship from Liverpool"

The Britannia had been chartered on behalf of the Lancaster Quaker Meeting out of Liverpool for Philadelphia. Many from nearby meeting, including Marsden, sold their estates and embarked with their families for Pennsylvania. In spite of various Toleration Acts in England which permitted nonconformist religious meeting, the system of compulsory tithes was still enforced.

The dates of sailing or arrival in America can not be determined, except that arrival was previous to August 26, 1699, which is the date of George's first letter home. The Britannia was a large ship, carried 140 passengers and was a dull sailer. The season was reported as hot and dry, even at sea. George described the hazards and suffering of the journey.

"We were about fourteen weeks at sea--were thronged in the ship--many died at sea, about fifty six and at shore there died about twenty--many distempers among us as fevers, flux and jaundice--having salt beef we were much athirst--for the seamen stowed the hold so full of goods that they had not room enough for water and beer."

George debarked somewhere near the Delaware Capes and as he had been "very weakly at sea" found his sister Mary Myers and spent a week with her before continuing to Philadelphia.

In the record of Marsden Meeting we noted, that on August 20, 1698, Thomas Pearson had stated his intentions of removing to Pennsylvania in America with his family. Thomas Pearson and his wife Grace were among those who died on the Britannia leaving two young daughters. Most numerous victims

(End of page 7)

of the journey were men, next women, and least affected were children and young persons.

In the summer of 1699 there was an epidemic in Philadelphia and vicinity presumed to have been yellow fever. In ten weeks about 200 died among Quakers. This was coincident with the arrival of the Britannia. The monthly Meetings of the area took care of the numerous orphans, among them the two Pearson daughters.

In the Quarterly Meeting records of February 4, 1700 we saw the following: "that all Friends who are concerned in transporting people into foreign parts take care not to crowd them together in ships to prejudice their health or endanger their lives."

For some years thereafter no Friends from Lancashire again attempted the crossing.

In none of the Haworth records had we found any information about the ship that brought George to America. It seemed that this narrative should at least include its name. Letters to Liverpool and Falmouth brought no result. Finally in published letters of some Philadelphia Quakers to friends in Lancashire in 1699 we found the name of the ship they termed "that sick ship from Liverpool." It was the Britannia. When George migrated, he must have been about twenty years of age. At his marriage in 1710 he was about thirty or thirty-one and at his death in 1724 or 1725, near forty-five. Some records give the date of his will, which is unlikely. It is best to say that the exact date is unknown.