DAVID DUFF, at the time of his decease, which took place on Aug. 21, 1870, was one of the oldest master mariners belonging to Dundee. He went to sea as early as the year 1806 ; and although engaged both in the coasting and foreign trades for a period approaching to half a century, he never suffered shipwreck, and never had occasion to make a claim of any extent upon the underwriters on behalf of himself and the other owners of the vessels of which he had the charge. In such a prolonged course of mari- time life, he of course experienced many perils and hardships ; but he had the good fortune never to sustain any serious personal injury.

On one occasion, while acting as mate of the brig Ceres, the vessel cast anchor off the coast of Sicily, and the captain and the men went on shore in the boat on business, Mr Duff and a boy only being left on board. A violent storm arose ; and, night having come on, all access to the vessel was prevented. In the morning,
the captain and those who were along with him returned to the beach, expecting to find the vessel a complete wreck, and lying in fragments along the shore ; but they found her safely riding out the gale, the judicious measures adopted by Mr Duff having prevented her from dragging her anchors or sustaining any damage
whatever. The storm soon after subsided, and those who had landed got again on board, after which the vessel again proceeded on her voyage. Though Captain Duff retired from the sea a number of years prior to his death, to enjoy the fruits of his industry, he continued to be strongly attached to the profession he had for so many years followed, and frequently said that if he had a line of life again to choose, he would select the one he had adopted in early life. Captain Duff was a fine specimen of the old sailor, and was widely known and esteemed for his sterling uprightness and kindliness of heart.


Norrie, W. (1873) Dundee Celebrities of the 19th Century. PP  361-362.

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