The Alvan Stewart Papers

May 16 - June 10, 1831

Across the Atlantic,
New York to Liverpool

June 11 - June 18, 1831

Landing in Liverpool;
Travel to London

June 19 - June 26, 1831


June 27 - June 30, 1831

From London to Paris

July 1 - July 8, 1831


July 9 - July 14, 1831


July 15 - July 21, 1831

From Paris to Havre

July 22 - September 1, 1831

Return across the Atlantic,
Havre to New York

Across the Atlantic, New York to Liverpool, May 16 - June 10, 1831

Alvan Stewart Diary, page 1

Ship Manchester. Liverpool Packet.            
16th of May 1831.

Observations of Alvan Stewart Esqr. Counsellor at Law of the New York Bar, on a passage from New York to Liverpool. The Ship was commanded by Capt. Sketchby.

I left New York on the 16th of May, where the trial of parting with my wife for a voyage and journey of a year or eighteen months, was peculiarly painful and distressing. - The steamboat Rufus King started with the passengers of the Manchester from the west side of Whitehall dock at 10 A.M. with many friends and connections of the passengers. - The Steamboat overtook the Manchester about four miles from the dock and towed her about five or six miles further, when friends and passengers took a cold lunch on board, when, the baggage having been transferred from the steamboat to the ship, we bid our friends farewell, and with an easy wind arrived within three or four miles of the Narrows, where we found the wind dead ahead and the ship came to anchor about 3 o'clock P.M. in the Bay. The ship continued at anchor through the night - the afternoon of the 16th and night, and morning of the 17th very foggy - no wind so far today, it being now eleven o'clock. The noise of the surf on the Rahway Beach is sounding in our ears with its harsh and dolorous murmurs - This noise on the beach I am told is everlasting even in the profoundest calm, there is a dead roll of the ocean which dies away in that perpetual cataract sound - I as yet know nothing of what my feelings will be on the rotund ocean - "Vendique Mare, Undique Coelum."

Wednesday, 18th of May. Still at anchor in the Bay three miles from sea. - The captain who has crossed the sea 138 times says he never witnessed such a distressing calm at this end of the line before.

There are three light houses on Sandy Hook and a Telegraph, the next Telegraph is on the Highlands on Staten Island, the other station I believe is on the top of the Exchange in the City of New York. - I am this day afflicted with my monthly headache. - Mr. Hammond spent a part of the morning in reading from Washington Irving's Sketch Book - the article of the grave or funeral, and another, his visit to West Minster Abbey - both eloquent and mournful pieces of composition. The place where we have lain at anchor, is within about one mile of the spot where part of the Pirates of the Brig Vineyard were swamped with their money in attempting to land on Long Island Shore - $25,000, in kegs lie on the bottom just below us - There has been some fishing for it as well as digging for Kyd's money on the shore. At three o'clock this afternoon a light breeze sprung up, the anchor was pulled up, the sails spread, and we sailed out by the Hook, there was fog which obscured the passage, but at about four or five, the fog disappeared, and we arrived to the outer edge of the pilot's limits where a small pilot boat took him off, and we were left alone on the wide ocean, with Long Island, the Rahway Beach may be indistinctly seen in the misty distance on the left. - This afternoon we passed at anchor, fishing for codlings, a small fish, I asked the captain if he thought he could cross the Atlantic in one of those fishing smacks? Who replied he could. We are under an easy sail tacking at the rate of four knots, or four miles an hour. - I have not felt any sea sickness yet - though I expect it by tomorrow certainly. There is at present a large gentle roll of the ship. The ship is a first rate Liverpool Packet of 500 tons burthen cargo 5000 barrels of flour, and the rest cotton. - She has sixteen hands, all but one are a new crew not that the old crew were dissatisfied, but the ship lying three weeks unemployed at New York, the crew would not loose their time, therefore shipped on board some other ship ready for sea. - The wages of the sailor's is $13 per month. - There are sixteen Liverpool and New York Packets. There is a young gentle man from Liverpool, who came passenger in the Manchester in her last voyage and is now returning; he is dying of consumption - the voyage instead of helping him he says, has injured him, his name is Lee. - He told me, with great composure, that he should die in a few months. - May the Lord have mercy on his soul, and sanctify him for his change.

Thursday, 19th of May. Fairly at sea I slept very agreeably last night, the ship going about seven knots an hour. Some of the cabin passengers are very sick - I am not. I never had better health in my life, but I may still be sick; I therefore will not boast before I am out of danger. We are now going nearly east at the rate of eight or nine miles an hour. - The sea assumes a darker color, as we approach the extremity of soundings, it is seventy fathoms so here we are now. - I saw the log thrown to day by which the rate we sail is determined with the greatest accuracy. A three cornered piece of wood with lead attached to it is fastened to a line the size of a clothes line which is wound around a roller. - A person holds the roller, another throws the log into the sea which unwinds from the roller for one minute, which is determined by a minute glass of sand, then the amount of cord unrolled by the march of the ship in one minute, determines the rate we are going at as if we are going 200 feet in a minute it is easy to ascertain the rate per hour.

There is something very grand in looking on the world of waters, with nothing for the eye to rest upon but the blue sky of the horizon. No hill, no mountains to be tipped with the last and fist rays of ascending and descending light. - This is solitude. This the lonely waste of the world of waters.

There is here no arm to help, but that of Omnipotence, no power to rescue but that which first breathed his spirit upon the waters. - Last night I made some general remarks on the subject of religion to three or four gentlemen sitting near me and was astonished to hear two of them, Roman Catholics from Canada, defend the vile and wicked practice of horse racing and ball making and attending on the holy sabbath day. - They say it is right, justify it under of the sabbath being a day of rest, and that people have not an opportunity to attend to those amusements on other days without encroaching on their common employments.

One of these gentlemen in speaking of Moses and the decalogue said, two or three times, "Mr. Moses" in decisions of him and his institutions. - The sabbath, I understand is used as a day of creation on the continent by Roman Catholics. - Oh! horrid religion, which makes such votaries. The conversation wound up on the subject of Revelations, which these free thinkers called a book of mad imaginations, and denied its authenticity, upon which a young Englishman of Liverpool of high family, who is on the borders of the grave, spoke as though it was a credit to him, and said he had never read the revelations. - Poor man, dying of consumption, may God open his eyes to the dreadful depravity of the human heart. - How dreadful it appears to me to see men otherwise the glory of their families, and the ornaments of their country, so blind on the subject of their immortal interests and putting forth their short-sighted logic and self-complacent ingenuity as opposed to the word of God, and the able stations of tens of thousands of men, who have laid down their lives in its defense, and millions who have died in the enjoyment of its consolations, and of a Newton, Locke, Milton Addison and Johnson - who told the world by their lives and deaths that Jesus Christ was the Son of God and the sinners only hope and saints consolation.

We breakfast at eight o'clock, have a lunch at 12 o'clock, and dinner at four P.M. and tea at 1/2 after seven P.M. Everything is very pleasant and agreeable. - The captain is an exceeding kind man, a gentleman and a good seaman.

Friday 20th of May 1831. There is a great deal more motion about the ship today, we have abundance of wind and go at the rate of eight knots an hour. The captain took an observation at 12 o'clock today and found ourselves six degrees of longitude East of New York, which at twelve o'clock made the watches on board 25 minutes to 30 behind the true time. - Those watches being New York time. - The latitude 40 degrees forty minutes; at eight o'clock this morning got east of Nantucket Shoals - about eleven o'clock saw fish hawks flying over the Blue Sea. - Many on board are afflicted with sea-sickness very much - I am not. The captain has thirty six live ducks, ten or fifteen live geese, eight or ten gobbling turkeys, and two large Florida tortoises, swimming in a hogshead, weighing about sixty pounds each, in good health. Also a good milch cow. The captain also has Congress water for invalids, and 120 bottles of Soda Water for the comfort of our fault-finding stomachs. It is a grand sight to look over the Lee bow of the ship as she rises and falls and dashes on through the cerulean foam of the salt sea. - There is something very majestic in the sight of a 500 ton ship rising and plunging with such great ease and dignity through her proper element striving with the anxiety of living intelligence for her destined haven.

Saturday 21st of May. We are sailing at the rate of nearly nine knots an hour, very near due east along the Gulf stream, we passed St. George's Shoals yesterday and the Gulf stream runs east from this place a number of hundred miles, and the intention of the captain is to run a line parallel to the Gulf stream on the northern edge of the Gulf stream. Today we saw Mother Carey's chickens, a bird which resembles a swallow or Martin bird. They are very solitary, not more than two or three seen together, and never seen nearer than four or five hundred miles from shore. A great secret is their incubation; do they deposit their eggs on the mountains wave, or plant them on the bottom of the immeasurable deep? These are questions for the naturalists to solve - at this point while writing, the gentlemen and ladies who have not withdrawn form the table, are drinking this toast, to wit "go our absent and distant friends" - second toast is to the Ladies, third "To our wives and sweethearts." - Abundance of wine, bottled cider, porter and every sort of drink. - I have not drank any thing but a little cider - but I find a little vinegar and water the most palatable as most calculated to banish sea-squeamishness. We are not where we can find soundings any longer. Oh! the vast deep what strange things are on its vast unfathomed bottom; no man has told the secrets of the deep.

22nd of May. Sabbath morning at sea. Last night, after finishing the last page, the wind blowing from the south, the western horizon at about sundown looked reddish, the clouds hazy and watery, while a dark bank of clouds lay in the south over the Gulf stream, mucky and threatening a storm, whereupon one of the most beautiful Rainbows, the Almighty's official seal of hope and promise to a once drowned world, stood, with its seven primary colors, to ornament the Heavens at the conclusion of the day, as the sun sank beneath the western waves.

Soon after, a warm breeze blew from the gulf stream as though it was from a region of steam, accompanied with a rank smell of sea weeds brought from the hot and tepid regions of Mexico. - After having retired, the captain was determined to raise a party to while away the Saturday night in singing songs, among which were sung the "Canadian Boatman," and "Row Brothers Row," "Yankee Doodle," "God Save the King," "Rule Britannia."

Horrid dreams, unsightly shapes awoke me from sleep at midnight, when I supposed myself at my father's in Vermont, but at last the noise on deck and the unearthly sounds of the howling of a night storm with terrible thunder and flashing lightening, with torrents of descending rain convinced me that I was riding on the "mountain wave" in the raging sea, where there was no eye to see or pity, but that of Omnipotence. The storm continued till about day light, the thunder heavy, the lightning sever. It was a time, when no man could have been blamed for the wish to have been at home, with his wife and children, on terra firma, in his own cottage. Curiosity for visiting foreign countries was at this juncture much abated, and one would seem to be entirely willing to study the Geography of Europe in maps and books by his own fireside, and learn her history and wonderful things from books rather than personal observations. - But I had enlisted, as the saying is, and taken the bounty, must go on, there is no returning.

While the rain poured down in torrents, the first thought which struck me was, that inasmuch as everything was made and done for some valuable and useful purpose by our Heavenly Father, what can be the use of this shower 600 miles from land falling into the briny deep? But though I know not the season, God does, and perhaps it may be to purify the atmosphere, and throw a certain quantity of fresh water into the surface of the salt sea to make it more healthy for man or agreeable for the monsters, animals and fish who inhabit the sea. Today a great number of porpoises played about the ship; and at the conclusion of their gambols, a huge grampus played "solo" among the porpoises, dispersed them and disappeared. -

We had at request and direction of Captain Sketchby a meeting for worship in the ship, upon which we all assembled about 12 o'clock, when the captain requested me to prepare a service for the audience upon which I read one of David's Psalms, and one of Dr. Sprang's sermons lately published. - The persons present appeared to be pleased - one would think that of all places on earth or under heaven, that a ship at sea in the presence of so many dangers, would be the place where the mind would be turned to God, with the strongest feelings of dependence, and with cries and tears appeal to him for mercy and protection.

But alas the hardness and thoughtlessness of man amidst the wonders of the sea and dangers of the deep. - Nothing but the sovereign grace of God can subdue the hardness of the human heart and bring it to repentance.

Oh! how good God is, even in our little company; the greater number do not look to him as their Father, Creator, Judge, and Savior. If God was as forgetful of us as we are of him, or if God revenged the indignities shown him, by us worms, as we would do to fellow mortals, for life insults: Alas! Alas! what would be our condition - but, oh! Eternity is required to express the gratitude of an immortal soul for its creation, redemption and sanctification.

Monday, May 23rd. Six o'clock in the afternoon. It is with great difficulty I can record this day and its general appearance. It will be one of the days I shall remember as long as memory is true to her trust. - The wind blew almost a gale from 7 am until 2 pm with some rain. - But oh, the grandeur of the mighty deep, when she arises from her slumbers and puts forth her awful powers.

To see the waves coming like ledges of rocks and hills with ravines ready to burst their fury upon you, man trembles at his weakness, and almost involuntarily by looks to God for protection. - Yet it is astonishing in such a storm to behold a 500 ton ship with three masts at least one hundred feet in the air, with many thousand yards of canvas spread upon them dashing on through the mighty uproar of the elements like some giant pursuing his destined course.

Grand as the falls of Niagara may appear to one for the first time, I yet think, the majesty of a storm at sea far surpasses it. - Grand as what I have seen this day appears to me, the captain and mate speak of things in the line of a storm much fiercer and grander than this. But to a novice I must say it is the grandest sight I ever beheld.

Tuesday 24th of May. After our high wind went down last night, there was for the first time a new motion of our ship from right to left, a most disagreeable roll. - I could hardly lie in my hammock and after listening for two hours to the most horrible screechings and creakings of the ship's gang way stairs, flapping of state room doors, crying of two children, the constant coughing of a man dying of consumption, the vomiting of a sea sick Frenchman, the constant snoring of a porter-drinking Englishman, and the flapping of our sail, I mounted my feet and ascended to the deck, where I remained until two this morning. - The sea today has been almost as flat as a millpond. Today we saw an animal or substance with a white crown out of the water called by the sailors a "Portuguese man of war." The captain says it is a living animal with pings near a foot long, very poisonous to the skin. - Sea gulls, and Mother Carey's chickens showed themselves today.

The ice on the Newfoundland banks begins to cause some alarm as we shall cross the grand banks in the course of the next two or three days. But God is our protector. A ship is on the whole a disagreeable place to me for a great many reasons, although our company and the captain are very agreeable.

Wednesday 25th of May at sea. The weather is foggy today and we sail very slow at the rate of only three or four knots an hour. There is a great depression of spirits in us land lubbers. - The sea smell in one's room originating in dead rats or bilge watch is very offensive - I do not know what the cause is, there is something however very offensive to the olfactories of one who has snuffed the mountain air of the table and elevated lands of New York. - But I have enlisted and taken the bounty and there is no more to be said, but my brother Hammond was so melancholly, depressed and jaded after a sleepless night yesterday morning as to say that if there was a steamboat going to New York he would return, and ascend to North River. - That I would not do for a large sum of money, as I have so long wished to see distant countries, I am determined if God pleases to extinguish that passion in its own gratification.

We have the following passengers: Mr. Lovett and wife and two daughters of the city of Plain, well meaning people with some money which they wish to spend at the fashionable watering places in England. - We have also Mr. Fry, lady and three children, with two black servants from Rio Janeiro in the Empire of Brazil, 23 degrees of South latitude. - Mr. Fry is a very intelligent Englishman his wife a lady of great flow of spirits and fine disposition. - Mr. Fry went to that country many years since from England and has made his fortune, and is now returning to enjoy it in the mother country. Mrs. Fry is the finest laugher on board the ship. - There is also Mr. James, lady child and wife's sister, Miss Phelps, and a servant girl. - This is a very agreeable and modest family, who seem to feel some respect for religion, and have been hearers at Dr. Sprang's church in New York.

This last family are moving from New York to settle in Liverpool. - There is also a middle aged lady going to England to return to her friends who seems to have bestowed her affections on a favorite lap dog, who drinks his tea and coffee, as I am informed with his mistress with whom, I am also told, he sleeps.

There is a Mr. Bradly an Englishman, about 55 years of age, who has spent three or four years in Concord, near Boston, who is most wonderfully delighted with the United States, and carries to England a very high opinion of our people and institutions. - There is an elderly gentleman by the name of Murray from New York, who is crossing the sea for his health, he has no particular complaint, but a general drooping and decay seem to have plainly told him that his days are numbered. We have a Mr. Ackerman, a young Englishman, who sailed from England to the City of Mexico, when he spent near 10 months and then came to New Orleans, and from there up the river by Cincinnatti in Ohio and so round by Lake Erie, the canal and North River to New York. - He gave us today some horrid accounts of the banditti of robbers, which infest that beautiful country, devoted to faction and insubordination, the Roman Catholic religion, bloodshed and murder. - What would you think of a country whose great roads every mile or half mile, presents you with a cross erected denoting that a Roman Catholic has been murdered at that spot. - Such Mr. Ackerman informs us is the case in the Republic of Mexico. - We have Mr. Joshua King of Albany, New York, a sprightly young man, travelling for pleasure and amusement. _ We have Mr. Hammond of Albany, counsellor at law, an ingenious and sensible man, travelling for his health. - We have Mr. Vize a French gentleman from Montreal, who has been distinguished as a lawyer and member of Parliament in Lower Canada - he is continually affected with sea sickness. - We have also Dr. Nelson, my room mate, a single gentleman of about 40 years of age, a very learned, sensible, and agreeable man from Montreal. - Also Mr. Bidart, a French gentleman, a lawyer from the city of Quebec, who is a member of the Lower Canada Parliament; he is about 25 years of age, agreeable and very intelligent.

We have a Mr. Lee of Liverpool, who came out in the Manchester for his health and tarried four weeks at the City Hotel, New York and, as he told me the other day with great composure, he was now returning to die with his friends.

He foregoing comprehend the passengers after adding myself. - Mr. Hammond has a French servant, Joseph.

The captain, a fine gentleman, and seaman, Sketchby; 1st mate, Mr. Riddle, 2nd mate - a carpenter, sixteen seamen, two boys, two cooks, two stewards, three men waiters and an Italian woman, who waits upon the ladies in their cabin. - This, I believe comprehends the whole of our company. - But oh! the despotism of a ship and the line of distinction kept up between the different parts of a ship, it is the perfect picture of a well regulated despotism.

At sea no captain hesitates for a moment to call down the oldest sailor into the forecastle and give him the rope's end until he cries for mercy at the captain's discretion. - This is a hard, but I do not know but it may be necessary, but it strikes me very strangely to say the least. It is strange to hear the motley and stranger accents of the crew of sailors, Swedes, Hollanders, Swiss, French, English and Americans, all brought suddenly together unknown to their officers and each other, such severity may be necessary to enforce obedience. But their labors are twice as hard as three of the laborer on the land. Wet or inclement weather instead of being the reason, why a poor sailor should be sheltered from the peltings of the piteous storm, demands that he should expose himself so much the more for the protection of the ship.

Thursday 26th of May at sea. Last evening, being rainy, just at or before sundown we discovered a sail at the east from us on the disk of the horizon, and the glass discovered she was bearing down directly for us. - I run into my room, and wrote a short and affectionate letter to my wife, with the hopes of the strange sail coming up, I might send it to some port in America. A Mrs. James also wrote one, our letters were tied by a string to a potato in order to throw them into the fishing smack. Which, the sail proved to be; from the Grand Banks as she was passing us, but alas everything is subject to disappointment, the letters with their weights were thrown but fell short of the fishing smack into the salt sea. The captain says the porpoises will break the seals and read our letters. The weather continues rainy and foggy. - A great deal of dejection pervades some of our passengers, who at this moment, 4 P.M. are eating dinner in the cabin. They have on the table, first a course of fine turtle soup and common soup. Then there is boiled beef, roasted beef, fresh, boiled mutton, and roasted mutton, fresh pork, boiled ham and tongues, boiled turkey, roasted turkey, roasted goose, two or three roasted ducks and four boiled fowls, fresh and salt fish, currant jellies, cranberries, all sorts of sauces, asparagus, lettuce, pies of oranges and lemons, tarts, pickles, oysters, then comes the dessert of apples, oranges, raisins, almonds. White wine, port wine, Madeira wine, porter and Newark cider, Saratoga water. So that it is easily seen that there is here in this ship on the ocean most of the luxuries to be found on the land. - But there is so little exercise, that I have no appetite - while I am writing the description of this day the gentlemen and ladies are dining in great pomp. But I prefer one of my Cherry Valley dinners to them all. - I have no appetite -though my health is very good. This afternoon we sounded by throwing out a bar of round lead, two feet long, and two inches in diameter, attached to the end of a cord 120 fathoms or 120 feet in length, but we could find not bottom, we were supposed to be approaching the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, which lie from 100 to 400 feet under water.

These Grand Banks are near the size of the state of Connecticut in point of territory, and perhaps larger, the surface of the bottom is supposed to be nearly paved with cod fish - 30,000 men have been fishing on these banks in a year. - This tract of land covered by water is more valuable to mankind as a great storehouse of subsistence, than if it were an island under the best cultivation. - Such is the amazing wisdom of God.

Friday 27th of May. Supposed to be on the confines of the Grand Banks. - The morning thick and hazy about 11 A.M. the wind became strong from the southwest and is now at 3 P.M. blowing us on our course due East, nine miles an hour.

This morning our attention was arrested by a Shoal of porpoises swimming in the same direction with the ship to the north of us, which Shoal of porpoises were followed by an army of blackfish, real monsters about the ninth cousin to a whale, they look like large black horses; only longer and different about the head.

They are said by the captain to weigh a ton or more each. They are really noble monsters of the deep.

They held on their way very nearly even with the sailing of the ship for nearby a mile, when we finally left these old settlers behind to manage their own affairs in their own way; the captain mentioned an anecdote, that at a certain time in a calm near this place a party of gentlemen, harpooned a black fish, who dragged the small boat they were in five miles to the no small terror of the ship's company.

But he finally disengaged himself from the harpoon and released his pursuers and himself from fear.

Saturday 28th of May. Passing over the Grand Banks about 300 miles to the Northeast of the south corner of Newfoundland. - Last night about dark in a smart breeze, we came on to the edge of the Banks in a heavy rain and impenetrable fog. - The captain sat up last night for the first time to watch ice, which comes down from Hudson's Bay, Labrador, Greenland and Spizbergen. It accumulates in great quantity in those Arctic regions and as the weather becomes moderate in the spring it detaches itself in large fields and bergs, from those inhospitable shores, and moves down from the North into the warmer waters of the South, and this ice has been found as far as ten degrees north of the line unmelted in the month of September.

I had the fidgets so that I read my book till midnight, and sat in the round house till daylight, when I went to bed and fell asleep, and dreamed the ship was running up on to a field of ice, and it was with much difficulty, I could pursuade myself afterwards, that it was not an awful reality. But time the sure medecine for all mistakes relieved me. The captain and one of the mates were up all night, and two men stood near the bow of the ship, watching ice every moment of the time. Today we saw six or seven vessels, or fishing smacks of French, English and American, drawing up the god from this great magazine of subsistence. - There is a codfish on these banks for every human being on the Globe. - The mines of Mexico are not as valuable to mankind as the Cod Banks, when you can have your note discounted without an indorser. The key to unlock the treasures of this great Bank is a large fish hook with a piece of fat pork for bait and a long line. The French own the islands, or have the permission to dry Cod on Miquelon and one other. At a small distance from us today a whale blew up a puff of water into the air, but did not honor us with a view of his majestic person, but simply intimated that he was in our vicinity, as an army sometimes indicates its approach by a congreve rocket. Divers birds were seen flying on the Bank today. The water on the Bank has a lighter blue or greyish color than it has out of soundings. Out of soundings there is a color in the water very dark approaching to blackness.

The rain and fog continue, and strange for this time of year, we have not had an entire fair day since we left New York, and I do not believe there has been twenty hours of visible sun since we left the dock. I have not, for clouds, yet been able to see the sun rise out of his oceanic bed, nor set but once. The sight of a setting sun, in the ocean is always sublime and melancholly.

Sabbath day 29th of May. Today at 1 P.M. I held a meeting in the round house, at which the gentlemen and ladies repaired, I read a Psalm chapter and sermon. Today we saw a sun fish, which is a fish - looks as large and flat as a kitchen table and is a curiosity. - Last night the young rakes aboard had a frolic on whiskey punch until 2 A.M. very drunk.

About midnight as the ship drew near the eastern edge of the Grand Banks, the weather became suddenly cold, the thermometer falling instantly ten degrees below 54 - which made it stand at 44. This plainly denoted that we were in the neighborhood of icefields, upon which the sails were backed and we lay still till daylight, for the first time since our departure. The fog continued last night and also today - I am informed that these fields of ice are seen sometimes for miles lying a number of feet out of the water like square up and down mason's work.

What can be considered more awfully dangerous than to plunge a 500 ton ship against such a body of ice the destruction of the ship is as inevitable as if she were run on to a like ledge of rock. And in that event our only salvation for fifty persons would be an open long boat to traverse three or four hundred miles of open sea to Newfoundland the nearest land north of us. Our chance would be small to say the most for such a forlorn condition - I have no doubt that many a vessel, which has never been heard of has foundered and gone to the bottom amidst this desolation produced by ice. But those who go down to the great waters in ships, after all human precaution and nautical skill is exhausted, must be subjected to nameless disasters, which no prudence can foresee or sagacity prevent, and this great lesson of the inability of man for his own protection, ought to be constantly teaching him his dependance upon God, who made the sea and land, to whom the lightnings, tempests, storms, icebergs, hail, whirlwinds, volcanoes and earthquakes are but so many servants obeying their master with fidelity unequalled and promptitude unsurpassed - Oh! may the wonders of the great deep make us fall down and cry out, thou art God alone, and may we worship thee day and night continually, Oh, the God of our salvation! Oh infinite wisdom! Oh infinite power! Oh, infinite goodness! may our souls be fired with the rapturous contemplation of God, our Father, of Christ, our Savior and of the Holy Ghost, the comforter - Oh adorable and incomprehensible mystery of the Trinity and redeeming grace, may the power of the former and the benefit of the latter be felt in our souls for ever and ever. Amen.

May 30th at Sea. Blowing a head; Alas! last night at the request of the ladies I performed religious service a second time after the manner of the one last stated. - This morning we enjoyed the view of the ocean without fog. Oh how grand to appear to be in the center of the world of water, the horizon bounding the view equidistant. We are now 200 miles east of the Grand Newfoundland Banks in latitude 45 degrees and 30 minutes North according to an observation taken by the Quadrant at noon. - The fear of ice is now gone. Today we saw many hundred gulls sporting around us and sitting on the water.

I have not yet been able to see the flying fish which is not exclusively attached to either element and when it ventures into the air for safety, a bird, called the albatross, pursues it with a vengeance, and the dolphin is ready to devour it the moment it drops into the sea. - This is a truly persecuted bird-fish, which has neither safety or rest in air or water.

I was astonished to see the amount of correspondence carried between England and the United States today, when the captain emptied a mail bag containing five or six bushels of letters, for some purpose or other. - The captain gets four cents for each letter delivered at the Liverpool post office frequently amounting as he says to L40 or L50 sterling - he has two cents a letter for each letter delivered at the New York Post Office. - This money is paid the captain by the respective post office departments, to which he delivers these letters on his oath, at the same time swearing that none of his passengers have any sealed letters undelivered to the Post Office at Liverpool to his knowledge and belief.

Tuesday 31st of May. Last day of Spring 1831, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. - Draw a line due north and south from this place it would reach the north and south poles without touching land. Wind is blowing very fresh from the Northeast and the ship is running at the rate of ten knots an hour, the roaring of cordage, wind and waves dashing, with fog, rain and night coming on in the center of the Atlantic is a loneliness of condition beset with troubles, which might well make one wish for the chimney corner of their own home rather than covet the slippery residence of the unstable, dark blue mountain wave. - There is a curious fact about all of our passengers, that each one should have calculated to have written much and read considerable, but the fact has generally been otherwise. - I presume from what I hear I have written more than all the passengers put together - I have felt but little desire to read. - Though I have read about two volumes. There is such a newness in one's situation is the reason of it.

June 1st 1931. At sea. This is the first day of Summer; the weather continues cold and rainy; the thermometer stands 56 degrees Farenheit. Our average run for the last 24 hours has been at the rate of seven knots an hour, which is 168 miles in 24 hours. The captain mentioned a most extraordinary mistake which he had read from the Log book of a captain, who sailed with a cargo from New York in a brig for Gibraltar, the first thing the captain discovered after being out forty days was land, and snow falling, which he took to be the northwest cape of Africa, southwest of Gibraltar, and from chess of weather thought he would put in when he found his cape of Africa to be the Farro Islands, and behind the islands he saw main land and a small town and port, which was the most northern port of Norway, not far from Bergen, in which port no brig of that size had ever been seen before.

It is said in old times, when the Yankee captains sailed with shingles from Connecticut, the captain would throw a shingle over, every little distance, the whole length of the passage, so that he might trace his way back. - It is also related that a captain sailed from New York to a town on the east side of South America, south latitude 36 degrees, he missed the place, doubled Cape Horn in South latitude 55 degrees, and sailed upon the west side of South America and for the first time stopped at Lima in Peru. Mistakes indeed.

Thursday 2nd of June 1831. I have fasted today, till I was drawn out of my state room by hearing the captain offer my name in a toast to be drunk, I felt bound to come out and thank the company of twenty-four gentlemen and ladies for the honor they had done me in making such an unimportant name as mine. - Last night I witnessed about 10 o'clock a very fine display of phosphorine in the sea, sparkling in the foam created by the motion of the ship. -These sparks of light, philosophers determine, to be living animals, if so the immense sea is nothing but a body of living insects; so that all nature seems with life.

Friday June 3rd still at sea. Last night was a dreary one. I slept little from the blow squalls, and an hateful dream occasioned by the uproar of the winds and waves, I supposed the ship turned bottom side up; and that although I had often before dreamed of death in a variety of terrible forms, yet I thought this was not a dream but a dreadful reality and the ship was going down into the unfathomable deep, and in a prayerful shriek awoke amidst the howlings of the tempest and roar of waters; and had reason to thank God my time was not yet come. The weather has been clear today for the first time, all day, but very cold, wind blowing from the northwest, at noon the captain ascertained our latitude to be 47 degrees north longitude 31 degrees west, calculated our distance from Liverpool to be 1120 miles.

Not having seen the account of the two following disasters which took place on the high seas I shall here record them. In 1817, Captain Sketchby being commander of his own ship with L120,000 sterling cargo on board, with four passengers in the cabin, bound from Liverpool to New York in the month of February in that year sailed around Scotland on the northern track and after being six days out of sight of land, west of the North end of Scotland, about midnight, sea running mountains high from the Northeast, one of those great waves was descried by the captain as coming. The [They ?] sat down behind the mainmast to avoid its fury, when it swept about forty feet over the top of the deck bearing away the taffrail, stanchions, plank shear, round house over the companion way, breaking off the main and mizen mast about six feet above the surface of the deck, sweeping away the cabboose, or cook house, the long boat with the sheep, cow and live stock, with the first mate and three sailors.

The captain recovered a little when a second sea swept away the rudder-wheel and wheel house, and carried the man at the wheel two thirds of the length of the ship when a spar from the standing mast fell on him and broke both of his thighs, and disengaged that part of the rigging which fastened the two fallen masts and sails from the ship. - The ship having turned around lights at the stern and poured an immense quantity of water into the cabin, and the skylight near the companion way, and the companion way itself both being open, when the first two mighty waves run over her made the water four feet deep in the cabin.

To cut the story short the passengers and all the surviving hands went to the pumps, and worked at them six days, when they arrived at a port in Scotland with two sailors, whose feet were so frozen that they came off at the ancle joint, and in five days after, the ship took fire and burnt to the water's edge. She was abandoned to the underwriters who out of L120,000, saved only L37,000, from the wreck. The captain had $15,000 insured on his ship which was worth $20,000, so he lost $5,000, and the freight of his vessel worth L1200 more. -

Alvan Stewart Diary, page 32

The other anecdote is in relation to a large Slave ship fitted out at Rio Janeiro, which sailed for Mozambique on the Southeastern coast of Africa.

After having kidnapped 500 slaves, and put them on board the ship, which had a crew of 40 hands, they sailed and doubled the Cape of Good Hope, having used up the fresh water which stood on deck, they then went below in order to commence on the main stock of water for the voyage. When they opened the first puncheon it was discovered to be salt water, and so of the 2nd and 3rd, and of every puncheon in the hold. - What was the grief, rage and astonishment of the crew and slaves. - The mate of the ship whose business it was to see to this, had been changed and on a former voyage had filled the puncheons with salt water, as the fresh was emptied for ballast, as is the practice, and they by some mistake were not emptied and filled by fresh water. Distraction, death and throwing overboard was the whole employment until the ship arrived at Rio Janeiro, with but nine human beings who were survivors, out of 500 slaves and forty hands. There were two negroes and seven white men alive. - The vengeance of God seemed to rest on this ship engaged in a traffic of human blood.

Alvan Stewart Diary, page 33

Saturday June 4th at sea. Wind from the South, we passed on our right this morning an immense large East Indiaman, supposed to be the Bencoolen, by exchange of signals, which is returning from India's spicy lands, richly laden with the products of that oppressed land.

Ships going from England to India go by Madeira and near the African coast, and have a regular Northeast trade wind to aid them at their back, but on their return home to avoid this very wind they make a track of 1000 miles west of the outward bound track, and their homeward track, is a great deal west of the Friendly Islands or the Azores.

What reason have we to be grateful and return thanks to the most High for his kind protection to all who sail in this ship so far. - Men fear the Lord in storms, but forget him in calms. - This the poet says:

  1. "When lightnings flash and thunders roar,
    "And storms and tempests rend the sky,
    "The Sinner dreads the Thunderer's power,
    "And fears some awful vengeance nigh.

  2. "If now he calls his sins to mind,
    "And conscience stares him in the face,
    "This trembling soul is half inclined,
    "To own his need of pardoning grace.

  3. "But when the burning blase is o'er,
    "And the tremendous tempests cease,
    "The Thundering voice he fears no more,
    "Hushed with the boisterous storm to peace.

  4. "Lord! I would fear thee while 'tis calm,
    "And the horizon bright and clear,
    "When no dark clouds portend a storm,
    "And no apparent danger's near.

Sunday June 5th at sea in a storm. I had my little congregation together as usual and read a Psalm, a chapter, sermon and psalm in conclusion. Since we finished our worship, I read the most holy and devout Psalm of David the 119th containing 176 verses. - How wonderful are the sentiments they expressed, they must have been dictated by the Almighty. This moment I heard the knives, forks, plates, and glasses fall from the table by the dreadful lurch of the ship. - This storm commenced before day, and when the morning broke in clouds, wind and rain; and it heavily brought on this gloomy day - which has continued till now, 5 P.M. with increasing violence, and when it will end God its master only know. As Mr. Bidart, a French gentleman, had stripped to take an rinsing at the bow form the spray beating over there, I slipped from the round house on deck and putting forth my left hand involuntarily for my protection, I put it through the glass window of the round house, broke a light of glass and but my hand with the glass. But that was not so bad as to slip in the rigging five or six feet and by mere accident be caught in the cubby hole of the round top; as happened to one of our cabin passengers the other day, who went up drunk, and but for a mere trifle he would have come down dead. - My teeth chattered with fear, to behold a man illustrating Shakespeare, who says, "like a drunken sailor on the top of the mast ready with every nod to tremble into the bowels of the tremendous deep." I am ready to surrender all claim, which I may have as one of the citizens of the World to ride upon the mountain wave. I think at best it is a hard life, in storm it is dreadful, in times of tranquillity, you are consumed by a rusting ennui, from the monotony of the life; I feel as if I can complete my intended tour by the goodness of God, I shall be contented to stay at home. - For if home ever possessed endearing charms as mine has done, the traveller will feel his chain to grow heavier which binds him to home, by every link which distance adds to it.

Day and night my soul travels back to Cherry Valley and enters the sitting room and bed-room of my home and talks to Mrs. Jane and Alvan. -

"How quick is a glance of the mind,

"Compared with the speed of its flight,
"The tempest itself lags behind,
"And the swift winged rays of the light,
"In a moment I seem to be there,
"But alas, recollection is at hand
"And hurries one back to despair."

But the storm continuous raging; the ship bowsing, trembling, and rolling and a dark and moonless night setting in.

Good bye till tomorrow.

Monday, June 6th at 6 P.M. The storm has continued until the present, and will give us another dreadful night, like the last one, in which I scarcely slept a wink from the tremendous motion of the ship. - Last night was a distressing one indeed. We are 51 degrees and 27 minutes North Latitude, 21 degrees East Longitude. We are too far North by 3 degrees of latitude to get around the south of Ireland, and may yet have to go around the north of Ireland, but I hope not.

Tuesday June 7th. The storm has continued another 24 hours, but now it seems to abate, making three days and three nights of horrible sailing; the seas running very high and striking the ship with great violence. - The smell of the ship from bilge water has also rendered our situation uncomfortable today for the first time. I have not eat much in the last three days, and have been very miserable. The weather has been very cold, not a warm day since I left New York nor hardly one fair one.

The sun is not yet set and it is eight o'clock in this high latitude. Today a poor wandering swallow from Ireland, like Noah's dove sailed into the companion way and lit - I have caught him and showed him to the gentlemen and ladies, who are in good spirits, from the men being so good.

Wednesday 8th of June, 280 miles west of the north end of Ireland, latitude 54 degrees and 9 minutes North, Longitude 17 degrees east. - Winds adverse, beating from right to left gaining none.

Forenoon fair after three days of storm; this afternoon wind and rain has set in again like a little storm from Southeast. The little swallow of yesterday is dead. Alas! To be buffeted by adverse winds almost in sight of the destined country is an affliction not uncommon to the Mariner. We saw a large English ship, which by our signals the captain made out to be the Ospray; what a beautiful sight she was, with all her canvass spread in a fair breeze sailing before the wind, But alas the thoughts of home, sweet home draw like cords upon my heart, and almost destroy the satisfaction of the contemplated voyage - I am now pursuaded such journies as these should be undertaken, before a man has a wife and children, to bind his affections to his native soil, from which I now know I shall never stray again if I get my feet on American soil.

But why should I uselessly torment myself and strip myself of the advantages to be derived from a journey of this character, by a fruitless and unavailing complaint? Am I not in the hands of an all wise and gracious God? Yes and praised be his name.

Thursday June 9th 1831. At sea in a calm. So this world goes; we were distressed with storms and adverse winds so that we lost ground instead of gaining. We are now be calmed 200 miles west of "Erin-go-bragh, or Ireland forever." Last night at ten o'clock in the evening the weather being cloudy with here and there a patch of clear sky and no moon, it was notwithstanding so light that I could read on deck in such a book as one of Cooper's Novels. this appeared very strange to us, who had never been in latitude 54 degrees and 55 degrees North before in the month of June. - It is so light that one can see for miles from the ship all night.

Today, in looking over the side of the ship about 11 o'clock A.M., the sun shining very bright, we discovered millions of little animalculae resembling little fish, not larger than needles or angle worms. Some of them appeared an inch, some half an inch and some two inches long. - So that the water seemed to teem with this kind of existence, if existence it may be called.

Who knows but what those animals are what occasion the Phosporesence of the sea in the night in the shape of sparkling fire. - All nature is full of life, the air, the earth and the sea is full of life. If life is a blessing to the being that enjoys it. Surely our all-wise Creator, has multiplied that blessing beyond the most sanguine imagination to conceive of in the utmost range of its excursions into the field of animated Nature.

Friday June 10th at sea. Sailing now and two days past to the South east so as to get around the most southern cape of Ireland called Cape Clear. - While we were dining, at 4 P.M. today, the captain, for our gratification, has informed us that tomorrow at this time, we shall have rounded Cape Clear and will be sailing abreast Old Kinsale on the South east part of Ireland. - Old Kinsale is never mentioned in my hearing but it is coupled with the recollection of the dreadful fate of the Albion Packet ship, which was wrecked near the rocks of Old Kinsale 22nd of April 1822. To God alone I look for deliverance from this and similar disasters, to whom be honor, glory and praise for the preservation of my life through so many dangers seen and unseen, but while this is a matter of praise and joy. Oh! that my heart may continually be penetrated with the presence of God and the dying love of Jesus who suffered, the just for the unjust, and oh, may that blood of infinite efficacy be applied to wash away the sins of the unworthy indicter of these lines.

On taking an observation at 12 o'clock today our latitude was 54 degrees and 40 minutes north latitude and 12 degrees and 50 minutes west longitude and wind blowing strong from the west at 8 knots an hour. - A strange sensation I feel, a fear of approaching land, if there is much wind - I now know what is meant by having sea room.