Als im Laufe des Jahres 1744 immer deutlicher wird das die Brüdergemeinde zusätzliche Kolonisten benötigt, beschließt die Gemeindeführung ein eigenes Schiff zu bauen um damit Auswanderer aus Europa in die USA zu holen, es wird auf den Namen "Irene" getauft.
Auf der dritten Reise der "Irene" im Mai/Juni 1750 sind Johann Franz Steup und seine Frau Sophia als Auswanderer mit an Bord.
Am 25 Oktober 1744 trifft eine Gruppe Moravier unter der Führung von Zinzendorf in New York ein: Bischof Spangenberg und seine Frau, Kapitän Garrison, Abraham und Sarah Reincke, Andrew und Dorothea Horn, Christian Frölich und George Neisser.
Direkt nach der Ankunft spricht Kapitän Garrison mit Timothy Horsfield über den Bau des neu projektierten Schiffs. Er kontaktiert ebenfalls Thomas Noble15, der als Finanzmakler agieren soll. Nach mehreren Treffen wird entschieden ein größeres Schiff als das bisherige zu bauen. Als Schiffstyp wird eine Snow ausgewählt, dieser Typ ähnelt einer Brigg und wird vorwiegend als Handelsschiff verwendet.
Der angesehene Schiffbauer John van Deventer16 aus Staten Island wird verpflichtet den Rumpf und die Masten herzustellen sowie die Betakelung des Schiffes durchzuführen. Die Betakelung, Seile und Anker werden in England beschafft da diese Ausrüstungsgegenstände dort billiger als in den Kolonien sind. Es wird außerdem in Betracht gezogen den Innenausbau des Schiffes durch eigene Schreiner (unverheiratete Brüder (single brethren) aus Bethlehem) durchzuführen. Dieser Gedanke wird wieder fallen gelassen, da die Arbeitskräfte beim Aufbau des "Brethren's House" (Brüderhaus) benötigt wurden.
Am 29 Mai 1748 um 11 Uhr findet im Beisein von tausend Zuschauern der Stapellauf des auf den Namen "Irene" getauften Schiffes statt. Anschließend soll das Schiff für den Innenausbau nach New York überführt werden. Als am folgenden Tag das Schiff mit einem Ruderboot, besetzt mit 6 Ruderern, in die City geschleppt werden soll weht ein starker Wind aus Nord-West und treibt das Schiff in die Strömung des North River. Um nicht auf Felsen aufzulaufen wird der Anker geworfen. Erst am Freitag Vormittag kann die "Irene" sicher am "Old Slip" andocken, Kapitän Garrison das Kommando übernehmen und Bruder John Brandmuller als Wachmann benannt werden20.
Zinzendorf inseriert durch seine Agenten ein Inserat in der "New York Gazette" vom 24 Juni 1748:
FOR AMSTERDAM DIRECT
The Snow Irene, Nicholas Garrison, Master, will sail by the 1st of August next at furthest.
For freight or passengers agree with said Master, at the house of Jarvis Brinckerhoff.
Für die erste Reise besteht die Fracht aus Kaffee, Reis, Zucker und einigen Passagieren.
Am 08 Sep 1748 läuft das Schiff aus. Garrison ist bis 1755 Kapitän der "Irene", anschließend wird sein Sohn Benjamin für eine Fahrt Kapitän. Dessen Nachfolger wird Christian Jacobsen21.
Die Irene fährt neun Jahre für die Kirche und überquert dabei 14 mal den Atlantik. Sie pendelt zwischen Häfen in New York und Holland und macht eine Reise nach Grönland. Obwohl der Hafen von Philadelphia näher zur Brüdergemeinde liegt als New York wird dieser Hafen nicht angefahren. Grund dafür ist die langjährige Verbindung des Kapitäns mit den Händlern in New York und damit eine bessere Frachtbeschaffung sowie die leichtere Gewinnung von Passagieren.
Mit ihrem Kapitän Nicholas Garrison und Steuermann Christian Jacobson segelt die Irene am 08 September 1748 von New York aus nach Amsterdam. Sie erreicht Texel am 01 November 1748. Die Rückreise startet in London am 01 März 1749 und endet mit der Ankunft in New York am 12 Mai 1749.
An Bord ist die "John Nitschmann Kolonie", die größte Moraviergruppe die jemals ankommt. Ebenfalls ein Rekord ist die anschließende Heirat von 31 Paaren am 15 Juli 1749, getraut durch sieben Pfarrer in Bethlehem. Das Ereignis ist als „Great Wedding“ in die Historie der Moravier eingegangen.
Mit Bauholz und anderem Material für die Mission in Grönland sticht die Irene am 21 Juni 1748 von Staten Island aus in See. Sie erreichen New Herrnhut in Grönland am 30 Juli 1748 und ist am 29 August 1748 zurück in New York.
Am 15 Oktober 1749 läuft die Irene aus dem Hafen von New York aus mit dem Ziel England. Sie erreichen London am 21. November, nach nur 30 Tagen von Land zu Land wie ihr Logbuch aussagt. Die Rückreise startet am 11. May 1750 von Dover aus und sie erreichen New York am 22. Juni 1750. Sie fuhren eine bemerkenswerte Westwärts Passage mit der "Henry Jorde Colony" an Bord. Im Folgenden sind die Namen der Kolonisten aufgeführt:
|Albrecht||John Andrew||Herrman||Frederick Emmanuel||Ortlieb||John|
|Balffs||Marcus||Herrman||Susan Maria||Otto||John Matthew|
|Borhek||John Andrew||Hoffman||Thomas||Pfeil||Frederick Jacob|
|Eckhard||Zacharias||Höpfner||Christian Henry||Pitzman||John Michael|
|Euler||Claus||Kornmann||John Theobold||Richling||John Henry|
|Feldhausen||Henry||London||(ein engl. Schwarzer)||Richter||John|
|Feldhausen||J. Christopher||Lange||John Gottlieb||Rösler||Godfrey|
|Fockel||John Godfrey||Löther||Christian Henry||Schoen||Henry|
|Hänsel||John Christian||Meyer||John Stephen||Sydrich||John Daniel|
|Herbst||John Henry||Nagle||John Jacob||Weber||Andrew|
Die Irene verließ ihr Dock im New Yorker Hafen am 28. August 1750. Kapitän Garrisson hatte den Auftrag einige Häfen in Neuschottland in Kanada anzulaufen und Ausschau nach geeignetem Siedlungsland für die Moravischen Brüder zu halten. Die dortige Regierung hatte Interessierte eingeladen sich in ihrer Provinz anzusiedeln. Während eines schweren Sturms verlor die Irene beide Topmasten und konnte nur knapp einem Untergang entgehen. Von der Ostseite Neuschottland's startete die Irene ihre Rückreise in der kleinen Hafenstadt Dover und beendete diese am 26. September 1751 in New York.
On November 22, 1751, the Irene sailed from New York with John Nitschmann, (23) John C. Pyrlaeus and wife, Henry Jorde and six passengers. She arrived at New York from Dover, May 17, 1752.
About a month after the sailing of the Irene upon her fifth voyage, there arrived at New York unexpectedly. The New York Gazette and Post Boy frequently contains the advertisements of Henry Van Vleck, Samuel Stillwell, Rudolphus Van Dyck and other merchants, offering for sale merchandise imported on the Irene, and Captain Garrison, "Holland bricks cheap for ready money."
The Irene sailed from New York July 6,1752, and from London on her return September 30, and arrived at her dock November 20
On April 5, 1753, the Irene sailed from New York, and from London on her return, June13, and was docked September 9. It is also worthy of mention, that the first steam engine used in America was brought over on this voyage, and taken to the copper mine near the present town of Belleville, New Jersey.
On November 3, 1753, the Irene sailed from New York, and from Gravesend March 15, 1754, reaching her dock April 15. This is the quickest western voyage she ever made, "being but three Sundays at sea." When within five days of New York, Bishop Spangenberg ascertained the sense of the crew, to wit, of Nicholas Garrison Jr., Benjamin Garrison, William Okely, Just Jansen, William Edmonds, Peter Brink, William Angel and Christian Jacobsen, in reference to the Act of Parliament, George II, being impressed thereto, in view of impressment of sailors, which excepted at New York. Fortunately the Mährenn sailors escaped the rigors of the Act.
The Irene sailed from New York May 29, 1754, and from London September 22, arriving at New York November. It was while the Irene was in port that the project to transport merchandise by water between Bethlehem and the capital of the Province was unsuccessfully attempted, the details of which I have given in my paper, "The Ferry and Boat Yard of Bethlehem."
In charge of Nicholas Garrison Jr., as Master, the Irene sailed from New York, February 4th, 1755, and arrived from London August 11th.
The Irene Christian Jacobsen, Master, sailed from New York, September 28th, 1755, from England April 6th, 1756, and arrived at New York, June
On July 1st, 1756, the Irene sailed from New York, and on September 23rd, from London, arriving at New York 12 Dez 1756.
The Irene sailed from New York, March 17th 1757 --- the only vessel to leave the port after the embargo. Sailing from the latter port September 15th, she arrived at New York after passage of fifteen weeks.
On November 20th, 1757, the Irene sailed from New York on her last voyage. When ten days out, she was captured by a French privateer, and proved a total loss to the church.24 The news of her capture and wreck did not reach Bethlehem until May 19th, 1758. The following interesting account of her capture was prepared by Andrew Schoute, for some years her mate.25
"On the 20th of November we cleared Sandy Hook. At noon of the 29th, when in Latitude 36 degree, 35 minutes and Longitude 60 degree, we sighted a vessel to the north bearing down on us and soon after hoisting the English flag. Mistrusting the stranger, we showed no colors, but crowded on all sails in hope of effecting our escape. Hereupon the stranger ran up the French flag. It was now a trail of speed, in the course of which the Irene gave proof of her excellent sailing qualities, but at eleven o'clock at night our storm-sails parted. The privateer now gained rapidly upon us, and as she did so fired shot after shot. I counted thirty, not including the volleys from small arms. It being bright moonlight and no further hope of escape in our disabled condition, we backed our sails, and at midnight our ill-fated vessel was boarded ‹ Latitude 36 degree, Long. 62 degree. Capt. Jacobsen and two of the crew were immediately transferred on board the privateer, which proved to be the "Margaret" from Louisburg, mounting eight guns and eight swivels and manned by fifty men; and the Irene was given in charge of a prize crew, consisting of a captain, lieutenant and twelve sailors. At day-break we were ordered on deck and were stripped and plundered of all we had on our person. On December 6th, the privateer came longside and after enquiring about the prisoners, the captain ordered our prize officer to take the "Irene" into Louisburg, ‹ at the same time he transferred five of our members on board his own vessel.
"For upwards of four weeks we cruised about, I may say at the mercy of the wind and waves, for the weather was foul and the prize crew inexperienced in seamanship. Occasionally they would call on us to assist in navigating the vessel. Meanwhile the supply of provisions ran short, so that our daily allowance was a quart of water and three biscuits. In all this time of harassing uncertainty, we did not fail to meet in the evenings for singing, and on Saturday for praying and Litany.
"One day our boatswain came to me and proposed that we should make an attempt to overpower our captors, cut down those who should resist, secure the others and then run the Irene into the nearest English port. To this I would not consent, but instead encouraged him to place his trust in God. Thus the days slowly passed, until on the morning of January 12, 1758, the fog raising, we discovered an island close by the vessel, whereupon we put out to sea. At noon the French crew were called into the cabin where Mass was celebrated, after which they decided to make for the land again. When I heard of this, I went to the captain and pilot, and tried to dissuade them from so unseamanlike a course in foggy weather, and told them they would certainly loose the vessel. As they would not listen to my protest, I prepared for the worst. At 2 P.M. breakers were reported ahead and very soon we were among them and struck a rock. The second time we struck, the rudder and part of the keel were broken off, and three feet of water was reported in the hold. The Frenchmen became so demoralized that I ordered the boat launched, into which we all got (twenty-two in number) and rowed for the shore, which we reached in safety but wet to the skin. On landing the French captain fell upon my neck, kissed and thanked me for saving the lives of all. We next entered the woods, made a fire, and on returning to the boat for the provisions, found that it had drifted out to sea. The next morning only the masts of he Irene were to be seen above the water. We marched along the coast and by evening reached some fishermen's huts, where we obtained food and passed the night. On the 14th we reached St Pierre, a trading-fort garrisoned by sixty soldiers, where we were kindly treated. Being quite feeble, the commandant of the post allowed me to remain, but my companions under escort on the morning of the 16th, set out for Louisburg. At noon on the 28th, the escort returned, and I learned that my companions and Capt. Jacobsen (who had arrived on the 21st) were put on board a frigate bound for Brest.
"After dinner, February 1st, a Capt. Gray, some sailors from Boston and myself, under escort and with provisions for eight days, set out for Louisburg, twenty-five leagues distant. The country through which we passed was almost a barren waste, and frequently we had to wade through water and snow knee deep. On the 5th, we reached our destination and we were taken before the Governor, who committed us to the common prison, where we were allowed daily one pound of bread and a quarter pound of pork, with sometimes bad Spruce beer."
Here Bro. Schoute was alternately in hospital and in prison until the 10th of May, when a M. Castyn (Castine) interpreter to the English prisoners, employed him as gardener. At this time there were eight men-of-war (64 to 74 gun ships), four frigates and transports laden with men and munitions of war collected in the harbour, some of them recently arrived for protection of the city, against a demonstration it was known the English designed to make.
On the 1st of June, General Amherst's expedition hove in sight from Halifax. It consisted of twenty ships of the line and eight frigates carrying 14,000 men.
"All the English prisoners in the city," continues Bro. Schoute in his narrative, "were ordered on board the man-of-war and confined below decks under guard. One week later the English effected a landing, and four days thereafter, succeeded in dislodging the French from their outworks, compelling them to retreat within their fortifications. On the 14th, cannonading was opened simultaneously between five French vessels and the Island battery, and an English man-of-war and the Light-house battery. The French vessels were compelled to fall back on the 16th, under cover of the fort. The ship on board of which I was, being in range was riddled by three hundred shot. One night when I was asleep behind a barrel of flour in the hold, a ball came crashing through the hull and buried itself in the barrel !
"On the 16th, the English opened a general cannonade against the city, which was sustained with unremitting for two days. Then they opened their mortars upon the fleet, pouring into the vessels a fiery hail which soon wrapped three of them in flames. Compelled to abandon our burning ship (a 64) all hands took to the boats. It was a desperate alternative, as the way of escape to the shore as commanded by the English batteries. On landing, we prisoners were immediately put in confinement. Thus another week passed, when on the 26th of July, the cannonading ceased and news was brought to us, that the garrison had capitulated. The next day we were released."
It was not until Sept. 2d that Bro. Schoute was able to obtain a passage to New York, where he arrived on the 19th, and at Bethlehem ten days later.
Capt. Jacobsen and his sailors arrived at Brest, (Feby 14th), where they were imprisoned with the exception of Henry Ollringshaw, who being very ill was sent to a hospital where he died. Five days later they were released on parole and went to Dinant, where with five English sea-captains, they rented rooms and boarded themselves on their allowance of 18 sous per day. Here they resided until exchanged about nine months later.