August 21, 2019  
LearningDiary of Richard Carr McClementDiary ExtractsReligion  
Diary Extracts: Religion

Extract 1: Halifax
Extract 2: Ascension

(All extracts taken from GB 0240 FA/67/3)


Extract 1: Halifax

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Transcription of GB 0240 FA/67/3

[p 274]

16 July 1865

Went to mass at the Cathedral with the Roman
Catholic party. This is a very fine and
most substantial building: quite a contrast
to the public and private buildings of St Johns
I dare say it is capable of holding 7 or 8,000 people
It, as well as the adjoining buildings – convent –
monastic schools – Bishops residence &c. &c.
is built of granite. The interior decoration
of the church, though not of tasteful or
handsome appearance, are most substantial
 The organ is a superior one and the singing
surprisingly good to find in an out-of-the-way
place like St Johns.
 There is one neat and clean
little hotel in the town.
 The appearance of the country about is
not unlike Nova Scotia – barren – I walked
about two miles and and observed several
neatly built and clean looking cottages and
dwelling houses. This being Sunday the
place looks to advantage – Every step on [sic] takes
a bevy of well dressed women or girls is to
be met. Women appear to predominate
 The streets are unsually clean –
in fact much more so than Halifax.
 The people almost without exception are Irish
and Catholics – I believe the Catholics number
20,000. The sole dependency of the people
is upon the fishing:- of course the many
off shoots are not wanting – as public houses
- rope & sail stores – timber establishments &c &c
[p 274]


p 274 extract thumnail

Extract 2: Ascension

Click on the images to view the original extracts and read the transcription below

Transcription of GB 0240 FA/67/3

[p 135]

6 May 1861

Dr McDonnell was removed to Hospital
in a highighly [sic] delirious state, last night.
Called at the hospital and found Dr McDonnell
in a state beyond recovery:- received six
apologies from officers unable to come on board.
 In consequence of the illness of Dr McD. a
silent melancholy pervaded all our guests
for a length of time after their arrival on
board. however; after dinner he was partly
forgotten – (in fact we all considered his illness
could not be fatal from it’s short duration).
 One half of the quarter deck was tastefully
fitted up with awnings and flags as a dining
room, the other half was lighted up for “dancing
place. 9.30. P.M. (during a waltz) news came
on board that Dr McDonnell had died at 5.O.C:
instantly, all was stillness! By the request
of Dr Roche went on shore immediately to make the
necessary arrangements for tomorrow, taking with
me the Ladies and officers of the island.
 Found Dr Roche in his quarters with “the chaplain”
- both in tears.
Arranged for the funeral to take place at
4 P.M. tomorrow. Dr Roche and myself to be
chief mourners, and four other medical officers to
be pall bearers:- the funeral service to be
 [p 135]
page 135

[p 136] H.M.S. Buffalo – Ascension

read be me. While arrangements were being
made for the conveyance of the body to the grave,
a party of marines came up from the
barracks and volunteered to carry it.
11.P.M. went to the dead house with Dr Roche and
read prayers over the body of Dr McDonnell.
Sorry indeed was I to see the corpse of
my dearest friend! of one, whose kindness
to me, during my illness with Fever on the island
was more than brotherly. of one, whose
death drew a tear from the eyes of every
honest person on the island.
Midnight – left the dead house.
2.30 P.M. Preparations for the interment of (the body of) Dr McDonnell completed.
3.30  funeral party of marines formed on parade and
marched down to the dead house:- officers assembled
in Epaulettes, &c. 4.30  the procession began to move from
the dead house:- the order was as follows – First; the troops with
arms reversed; then followed the coffin, borne on the shoulders
of four marines, and covered by a black velvet pall which was
supported by Drs Clarke, Ryan, Farelly, and Yule,
(on the coffin were placed, as usual, the deceased’s sword and
belt, cocked hat, and, epaulettes);- immediately behind
the coffin, Dr Roche and myself walked as Chief
mourners, wearing black silk, hat and shoulder scarfs
and crape round the left arm. After us, came the
petty officers and men belonging to the island and “Maeander”;
and the seamen from “the Buffalo”, next, and lastly, the
officers of the island, “Maeander”, and, “Buffalo” – the rear being
brought up by the Captain in charge of the island and
the Senior Surgeon. Near the gate the marines separated
into two files between which the procession passed and
entered the grave yard:- the marines fell in and followed.
At the grave yard the marines were stationed (at a little
distance), on one side;- the sailors and civilians
occupied the intervening space and foot of the grave;-
the officers stood on the opposite side; and
Drs Roche, Farelly, and, myself, at the head of
the grave (we being the only Roman Catholic officers
present) The ordinary Catholic burial service
 [p 136]
page 136

[p 137] HMS “Buffalo” Ascension

was read by me, and responded to by Drs Roche
and Farelly. Having finished the prayers and
thrown the earth on the coffin, in the ordinary manner,
the troops were ordered to fire three volleys, which
being done, they formed into marching order
and returned to the barracks, followed by the
sailors, and, soon after, by the officers.
 The Lord Bishop of St Helena &c. did not attend
the funeral, however, he sent us a message by
the chaplain, previously, saying “that he could
not attend unless in his official capacity, and
that he would be most happy to perform any
service me (the Catholic friend) might wish, or, to have
service in the church over the body, before proceeding
to the graveyard. Dr Roche and myself thought
it would be more agreeable to his friends
to refuse the Bishop’s kind offers, which we
accordingly did. The chaplain attended
the funeral and was amongst the last to leave
the grave, he being one of poor Mc D’s dearest friends.
  One of poor Mc D’s dearest is Dr Roche, an honest,
kind-hearted man – one whom no language could do full justice to!
 The Senior Surgeon (Dr Jenkins) was less kind to
poor Mc Donnell, during life, than his friends would
have wished although he appeared deeply
affected by his death. Better for “Mac” he had been kinder!
 [p 137]
page 137


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