6th January, 1720
We are now two days in French territorial waters, and the voyage has, thus far, been largely uneventful. The largest problem thus far has been that many of my most trusted men on dry land are absolutely unaccustomed to life at sea, despite our months of training and preparations.
As Sergeant Collingsworth told me shortly before we left port, "Ye can train the men all ye want, Cap'n, but ye cannae train away the sea-sickness." How right he was. My men have suffered in the main not from scurvy, or from being unaccustomed to the weather, nor from accidents during drills, nor even from the shells and blades of enemy ships, but from that oldest of seaman's ailments, that which occurs when the humors, accustomed to dry land, have not the stomach for the sea.
I am relatively lucky in this regard. I spent a great deal of my youth aboard ships, far smaller and less stable craft than this, and I have yet to suffer from the sickness. My father often suggested that it was a trait to be looked for among men who have no country to call home.
Of the men who are not befuddled with such a devilish ailment, providence has smiled. They are proven as apt at gunnery and drill as they were upon dry land, and the contingent of experienced sailors have done as I requested and taught them the finer points of the seaman's trade, though of course only a long life at sea and the experience of combat on the water can prepare any of them.
I for one am somewhat relieved that we have not yet entered hostile action with the enemy at sea. The good lord knows I fear not the smell of powder, but I am aware that combat aboard ship is a very serious business. The fear of drowning common to men is not so much an issue for myself - I can swim better than most men my age, who fear the water - but the fear of the splinter, the explosive shot, the clatter of grape amidst the rigging, there is my chief concern. I believe I shall endure it well, but I will not know until our first experience. And it is upon this experience that my men, both new to my service and old friends from the Artillery, will come to mark me. Should I waver but for a second, they will see me as little but a foolish man who has parted with his money in the service of some grand adventure. Should I prove otherwise, I may yet continue to earn their loyalty. Methinks I have earned it thus far.
I wonder how the men will react to war at sea, should I endure. They have drilled well, but drills are not anything like war. Smoke and fire. Burning flesh. I do not expect them to be unbendable as iron (even the finest of the Irish Guard has had his moments of fear), but I do hope that they keep their composure. That they can prove themselves as courageous as they carry themselves.
I trust them. I trust myself. I trust the good Lord.
Doubtless, however, so too does my enemy....
Thus, it has been a relief that we have not yet fired a shot in anger, but it has been a curse, as well. A worrisome spectre that will not be exorcised until we meet our first moments of death on the water.
I have already given an eye for my country. May the lord grant that I may give my life in as noble a way as possible....