Letter 1 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Elijah Grant
Boston, March 29, 1839.
My dear Parents,
Mr. Burgess wrote you in Amherst [Massachusetts], & sent by Mr. Cowles. We left Amherst the next day, & rode nearly all the following night, & arrived in Grafton [Massachusetts] Fri. noon. The next Tues. Mr. B. [Ebenezer Burgess] was ordained. The exercises were highly interesting, & well attended. I was pleased with our visit in Grafton, the people are hardy, sensible, & inhabit the eastern part of the Green Mt. range. Mt. Ashutney was in sight & only a few miles from us. The people are now engaged in making maple sugar. It was a good season, & sufficient is generally made for their own use. We visited Mr. B. [Burgess]’s four uncles, & called on a good many cousins & acquaintances, found them interested & kind, indeed I was much more gratified with my acquaintance there than I anticipated, & think I should have regretted it, had I not gone We stayed in Grafton one week, & came to Lowell [Massachusetts] last Sat. where we stopped at Rev. Mr. Burnap’s an old teacher of Mr. Burgess’s. We spent the Sabbath in Lowell. Mr. Burgess preached half a day in each orthodox Congregational ch. [church] Lowell has now a population of about 19,000. About 1,000 persons usually attend at the <ortho> congregational chhs, [churches] & they are now forming a third congregational ch. [church] It is a city & is quite an interesting place. In the town about 6/7 of the inhabitants are females, & about the same proportion in Mr. Burnap’s ch. [church] about 600 females, & less than 100 males. We came to Boston Monday last, and are now almost ready to embark. My health has been very good, & my acquaintances say that I am looking very healthy for me. I get tired days, but sleep, & rise refreshed & well. We are staying at Mr. Stichney’s.
Ipswich, April 9, 1839.
My dear Brother, & Sister,
On Saturday March 30, the missionaries Rev. Messrs. Burgess, French & [Hume] & their wives with Miss Cynthia Gannan, came from Boston to Salem [Massachusetts]. On Sat. eve. private instructions were given them at the house of Rev. Mr. Worcester, by the Rev. Messrs. Anderson & Armstrong. Judge Darling of Henniker, N.H. the father of Mrs. Ballantine of the [Nahvalta?] Mission was admitted, & such relatives of the missionaries as were in Salem. Judge Darling remarked, that his love for his daughter had increased every year since her absen<t>ce, but he did not wish to see her in this country; he wished to have her a devoted missionary. Mr. Anderson very familiarly told the missionaries what was due from them to the Capt. <&> mates, helmsman & sailors on board the vessel, what would be due to the English Consul on their arrival at Bombay &c., & exhorted them to render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s. He gave them good counsel also, in reference to their deportment towards each other.
On Sabbath evening, Mr Anderson as the organ of the Board [American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions], gave the missionaries their public instructions in the Tabernacle church, the house in which Dr. Worcester formerly preached. Mr. Worcester gave the address. The missionaries occupied the same place in the church, that was occupied by the first missionaries sent out by the Am. Board, & the first sent from North America 27 years ago. They were, as you know, Messrs. Hall, Nott, Newell, Judson, Rice & their wives. The church is very large, & it was crowded to overflowing. The number present estimated from 2000 to 2500. On Monday morning the<y> mission company had their state rooms, 6 ft by 5, assigned them, & they made up their berths with their own bedding, & arranged their trunks &c. so that the rooms were in readiness to be visited at ½ past 10. Multitudes went to [...] the rooms. At ¼ before 12, Mr. Burgess from the highest part of the ship addressed the crowd on deck & on the wharf, estimated at from 2500 to 4000, (probably not far from the highest number.) He said they were going to make known the gospel to those who were without it, that this same gospel was no less important to us than to them. He hoped those around them would not think some strange thing had happened [there]. They were only obeying that gospel which they themselves (the missionaries) had received. He exhorted all to see to it, that they (the heathens) became personally interested in the same salvation. The day was one of the finest of April days, the weather comfortable, the sky & air clear & the wind westerly. After singing & a prayer lead by Mr. Armstrong, persons were requested to leave the deck, & friends to take leave of the missionaries, & in a few minutes the activity of the sailors spread the sails & put all things in readiness, & the vessel was in motion. I lingered & watched her proud & easy movement until the hull & half the height of her masts were out of sight. May he who rules the ocean keep them in the hollow of his hand, waft them to their destined port, bless them & make them rich blessing to the heathen, by employing them as the agents of Christ, in turning many from Satan unto God. – What a blessed privllege it would be to give up Phelps to so glorious a work. May all yours & all mine, & their descendenants to the end of time, give their own selves to the Lord, & be co-workers with Christ in advancing his kingdom.
Capt. Ward of the brig Waverly is an excellent, pious man, a member of the Baptist church. He has already carried out several missionary companies. In 110 or 120 days he hopes to reach Bombay. His wife thinks she shall visit these missionaries, within a few years.
From Sat. 5 o’clock P. M. I was at the same house with Mary [Mary Grant Burgess] until her departure. She was cheerful, solemn & happy & so appeared to [love?] all the company.
Ever your friend & sister, Z.P. Grant
[Zilpah Polly Grant Bannister]
My dear Brother, Your letter was most precious to me. That I have such a friend in you, affords me great consolation. I suppose that Christian parents are often blessed, when they, in faith, educate their children, & that <generally> if they can they shd [should] educate them [for?] faith, even when the children are not pious. I know not what the Lord would have you do with your son John, but I trust that he will make known to you his will in this matter. You cannot safely lean much upon your children, in such a way as to depend on them in future. But if you do all you can to fit them to glorify God, & give them up to him, he will be better to you than sons or daughters. The course of obedience to God, is the only happy, as it is the only safe course. We must not desist from commencing a good work for fear, that we shall be unable to carry it through. David did well to commence what he could not finish. Every good work is commenced in the mind of some deviser. I mean when commenced & carried on understandingly. May Heaven guide & bless you. – Mary [Mary Grant Burgess] handed me $50. in return for my loan. I do not want the funds from Mr. Bass’s estate forwarded to me
My connexion with Ips. Fem. Sem [Ipswich Female Seminary] closes on Tues. the 10th. I have no doubt, that it is my duty to give up all care of a school for some time to come. By quiet, & much exercise in the open air, together with the blessing of Heaven, I may again have comfortable health, & enjoy the luxury of laboring for others. But to obey the will of God seems to me more desirable than any thing else. In my abundant cares in closing business, my poor body suffers, but my spirit is wonderfully sustained Teachers & pupils are as kind & faithful as possible, & so are all with whom I have to do. The Lord deals with me in great mercy. – I do not expect to visit Colebrook [Connecticut] for some time to come. Whether I shall be moving about in [a hass?] next summer, & be stationary I do not know. My health will be my object. Miss Elizabeth [Heaton?] expects to go where I go, to stay where I stay. She can write such business letters as I must have written, & <perform for> gives me the sisterly attentions I need. – The future in this world is a blank, but I doubt not, the Lord will provide – I hope you will write me again before long. Direct to Ipswich [Massachusetts]; This will be my head quarters for six weeks to come. After that, I shall keep the P. M. [Post Master] here advised of my movements. I send you an Essex Register.
Much love to all your children.
Your ever affectionate sister,
I should have written last week if I had been able. I write in great haste now.
Letter 2 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Dea. Elijah Grant
[Note in area of letter near above address] From Mrs. Mary Burgess written as they were starting on <the...> to their Mission field – Apr. 1839.
Salem Harbor ½ mile from wharf. [Massachusetts]
April 1. 1839.
My dear Parents,
I commenced a sheet to you, but found only time to write one page which through mistake, I left on shore. I will write now what I can before the pilot goes back. I have written to sister E. [Elizabeth Grant Burton] but to none of the other brothers. We had a very pleasant visit in Vt. [Vermont] Friends there were kind, & many much interested in the cause of missions. We spent one week there. I found more intelligence & piety then I anticipated. Considering the season, we endured the whole tour very well. The ordination exercises were very interesting indeed. The consecrating prayer by the Rev. Mr. Bradford pastor in Grafton [Massachusetts] was admirable. We came to Lowell [Massachusetts] & spent the second Sab. [Sabbath] Lowell now has a pop. of 19,000, 6/7 females. In the <Pres.> Con. [Congregational] churches, two in number are about 1000 females, & less than 200 males. We came to Boston one week ago today, & remained there getting ready till Sat. P.M. when we came to Salem. Fri. P.M. we had a miss. [missionary] visit at Mr. Hill’s in Roxbury [Massachusetts]. Our friends have all been kind, very kind, & we procured all we needed, & have about every thing we wish. Our conveniences are as good as we can have on board a ship of this sort, & are really comfortable. Our state rooms are about six feet by five. Mr. B. [Ebenezer Burgess] cannot stand arect. Our Capt. has an excellent reputation in Salem. We have only 13 including the Capt. two mates & the steward, besides the miss [missionary] company. They are seven in number, Mr. French Mr. Hume & their wives, & Miss [Cynthia] Farrar. We received our private instructions Sat. eve. our public last eve, & an immense crowd assembled to see us off. I hope a salutary impression will be left. The Lord grant it. In answer to the many prayers which have ascended for us, God has, & will bless us. - - We shall think of you daily Try all of you at home, to be kind one to another, all the children speak pleasantly, all try to do what will please God.
Mary [Grant] Burgess
Letter 3 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Note at top of first page of typescript] Original not in file
Brig Waverly, April 10, 1839
Lat. 36% N. Lon. 54% W.
Loved and honored Parents,
This is the first time I have taken my pen since I addressed you a few lines immediately after embarking. I intend in writing to you to mention incidents as they occur somewhat in a diary form. I think I shall always consider it a great privilege as well as a duty, to write you every opportunity.
The day we left Salem, April 1, many sails were in sight, & Cape Ann was to be seen the whole day, though as the sun was setting it was in appearance a small cloud, less than a man’s hand. I supposed this was the last glimpse of our native land, yet I could not sufficiently recognize that for my country, to be affected with sorrow in taking a farewell view. — Immediately after completing my letter to you, I went to my stateroom & there arranged things for sea sickness. Mr. Burgess began to be sick directly, but remained on deck the whole P.M. I remained below something more than an hour, & then went on deck, found all the passengers there & all a little sick, none so much so as Mr. B. [Burgess] The sea was comparatively smooth. Tues. & Wednes., the two following days, the sea was rough, the passengers were all sick, & scarcely left their berths. Sea sickness makes persons almost perfectly helpless. One loses all curiosity, & all desire. The effort of speaking, or of even raising the hand, seems an almost insurmountable task. Something must be accessible into which to vomit, & a glass of water for the purpose of washing the mouth, if possible to go through this herculean work. I have read this description to Mr. B. [Burgess] he says it is hyperbolical, but I think it my own experience, & I surely thought it to be his. An accompaniment of sea sickness, which is very disagreeable, is an exceedingly bad taste of the mouth. We slept considerable during both day & night, took no nourishment, but a little water gruel, ocassionally tasted of an orange or lemon, with which our friends had bountifully supplied us.
Thurs. morn. The motion of the vessel was less, the sun, through one sky light shone pleasantly, & we all felt better. Mr. B. [Burgess] hastened on deck. I rose & washed my whole system in salt water (a practice I have since continued, & probably shall to the end of my voyage) & went on deck. From that date I have been most of the time entirely free from sickness. Thurs. noon I took dinner at table with Capt Ward, Mr. & Mrs. French, Mr. & Mrs. Hume. This was the first time we had been to the table. Mr. B. [Burgess] & Miss F [Cynthia Farrar] were not able to be present & they are still on the sick list. Fri. & Sat. we had some social reading.
Thurs. P.M. April 11. A favorable breeze is wafting us along, & the day is beautiful. The sea is less rough, so we are on deck more & suffer less from s. [sea] sickness. I will go back to last Sab. [Sabbath] It was warm, & mild. Mr. B. [Burgess] had his mattress spread on deck, & I read to him most of the A.M. I read some from the Bible, & several tracts. About 3 o’clock, P.M. a little meeting was held in the cabin, opened by singing. Mr. F. [French] led in prayer, Mr. H. [Hume] read a sermon by Chalmers, a little time was spent in conversation, & the pleasant meeting was closed by prayer, led by Mr. Hume. Capt. Ward was present. He is a member of the Bap. chh. [Baptist church] in Salem. He is willing that all suitable measures should be taken to benefit the crew. The number of persons on board is 20. Missionaries, 7. Capt. & two mates, steward & cook, & eight sailors. The steward & cook are colored men. We have far more to do with the steward than any one else excepting the Capt. The steward is good natured, active & kind, & rather neat. None of the crew are pious. The sailors were all strangers to the Capt., but he thinks them a very docile, respectable set. Six of them are from Salem or its vicinity, & the others are foreigners, English I believe. They spent considerable time in reading last Sab. [Sabbath] & almost entirely religious books. We hope this may be a voyage they will love to remember in eternity – Mon. Tues. & Wednes. (the past three days) have been very rough, the rocking & tossing of the vessel have made us all dizzy, & about ½ of our company sick. However we have had social reading on deck, each day. We have in this way read John’s first Epistle, & about 50 pages in Malcom’s tour to India. All our company sing, though Mr. F. [French] sings but very little. Mr. B. [Burgess] is very fond of it, & sings well, & much. I am glad of it.
April 14. Second Sabbath at sea. There seemed a stillness & sacredness even on board ship, as if holy time was recognized. Nothing is required to be done, that is not necessary. To day seems like a Sab. [Sabbath] at home when there is severe sickness in the family. None of our company are able to be up much, except Mr. & Mrs. French & myself, therefore we have no sermon read. Mr. B. [Burgess] has his mattress on deck. I sit by him, & read much of the time. The sailors sent back the tracts Mrs. Hume sent them last Sab., [Sabbath] saying they were much obliged for them, & liked them. The Capt. said they considered that a polite way of asking for more. I sent them about a dozen, most of them stories such as Conversion of Mrs. Eleanor Emerson, Col. Gardiner, Bob, the cabin boy, etc. We have evidence that they were read. They are not well supplied with Bibles. We regret we had not procured some cheap Bibles & Testaments to give them.
April 15th Lat. 28% Long. 40%. For several days the wind has been almost ahead (S.E.) & we have been compelled to go farther S. than is desirable. This morning the ship tacked, & our direction is now N of E. This change brings our state room on the windward side & in consequence our side of the ship is several feet higher than the leeward. It is not quite as easy keeping our place in our berths. Had some cheerful, pleasant conversation with our company, read an hour in the Ladies Wreath & heard Mr. French read in Malcom’s tour. I feel almost impatient for Mr. Burgess’s recovery. He does not relish his food, is feeble, & exceedingly averse to exertion. He hardly walks at all.
April 16. As this day terminates the existence of Ips. Fem. Sem. [Ipswich Female Seminary] I have thought much of them, & my emotions are indescribable. For years, associations, tender & strong, have been clustering round that institution, & what a day there, this must be. I would praise the Lord for his blessing upon those who have assembled there to receive instruction for his loving kindness & tender mercy to the teachers, & for that providence which permitted me to enjoy its privileges. May Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Bannister] be comforted & sustained, & I doubt not she will be.
While writing the above in the cabin, I was apprised by the tone of voice on deck, that something out of the common course had occurred. I found the second mate had brought a dead flying fish, which probably flew into the ship the night before. It was smaller than my idea of them, though the Capt. says it is of medium size. He has seen them twice as large, but often smaller. It measured 13 inches from the extremities of his wings, nine inches in length, & five in girth. Its eyes were large, color on the back & sides silvery grey, under whitish. We judged it to weigh 1 ½ of a pd. [pound] It has a few small scales, & three small fins. Its wings were inserted about an inch below its head. – Today for the first time, all our company sat at table together. Mr. French had just been reading the temperance tale, “I am afraid there is a God,” which furnished a topic for conversation. Those now, who are able to write, spend a little time each day in writing. We may meet, the Capt. informed us, a returning ship within a few days. This is uncertain. After tea, we sung on deck some of the old tunes, Greenwich, Morality, Exhortation & several others. The Capt. joined us a little. He says he regrets every day that he did not take his wife & daughter with him. His daughter is an only child, aged about 20. We saw them in Salem.
April 17. Lat. 30% N. Lon. 44% W. Favored with a fresh breeze & a beautiful day. We spent an hour & a half, reading Murathee, with Miss [Cynthia] Farrar for our pundit. All were present, except Mr. B. [Burgess], & I think he is better today. We commenced reading Luke’s gospel. They read Mark & Henry & his Bearer, while with Mr. Read. We intend to have a lesson each day in Murathee. Mr. Hume read aloud in Mr. Malcom. Sung in the odeum after tea, & then had some pleasant conversation in the round house on deck. The Capt. was communicative, as we ever find him, when disposed to converse. He spends considerable time each day reading. His age is about 45, has been to sea 25 years.
April 18. Warm & rainy. Studied Murathee an hour & a half in the A.M. We have but one lexicon, & one grammar, & four copies of Mark, so we take turns in using them in preparing our lessons. We study in pairs, & keep the books in use most of the A.M. At 2 o’clock P.M. we recite in a class, with Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] for our teacher. She is happy to be permitted to go to the heathen again. She suffers every day from ill health & I fear always will. She is resigned, & is able almost constantly to say the will of the Lord be done. She knows something of the peace of a mind stayed on God. She is one too, who keeps her mouth & tongue. I have noticed this trait from my first acquaintance with her. I am glad she is with us.
April 19. Mr. B. [Burgess] has walked with me on deck today for the first time. He appears like one recovering from severe sickness. The day is pleasant.
April 20. Lat. 31% Lon. 37%. As the one who preaches will wish his time Sat., & as we all wish to have matters arranged preparatory to the Sab. [Sabbath], we this morning decided to have no Muratha lesson on Sat. It is three weeks to day since we came from Boston to Salem. That eve we received our private instructions, given principally by Dr. Anderson & Mr. Armstrong. Dr. Anderson among other things remarked upon the frequent effect of sea sickness upon mind & body; of its making one unreasonable, petulant, & 0, he drew a sombre, deary picture. I cannot tell how far his delineation operated as a preventive of such direful effects, yet I can say that three weeks, the time he mentioned, has passed, & I have not heard an unpleasant word, & I think each of our company could make the same remark. I am happy, to say Mr. B. [Burgess] improves, though slowly; his appetite I think could be called good. He, with Mr. & Mrs. F. [French] & myself sung an hour this P.M. Today the ship tacked, again; our course since Mon. has been N. of E. now it is S. of E. I looked on to see the seamen change the sails. The first thing a seaman learns, is to obey; it is interesting to notice their perfect obedience. They evidently strive to excel in promptness & seem to do their best. Some of their work is very hard, & as yet they are constantly occupied. They will have more time for rest & improvement after a few weeks.
April 22, Lat. 28%55”. Lon. 37%50”. We are now in the N.E. trade wind, & shall now pass on in a S.E. direction to the equator. We have just finished our recitation in Murathee. Yesterday we had public worship for the first time on board. This is the third time Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] has crossed the wide ocean & never before had she beheld such a scene. An awning was raised aft of the main mast. The colored table spread was tied round the capstan, for the desk, three settees were arranged, one before, & one on each side of the capstan, these accommodated 11, the others occupied chairs, forming something more than a semicircle round the speaker. At two, P.M. all except the man at the helm seated themselves. They were in a cleanly clad manner, though in sailor style; no one appeared in a white shirt, some of them wore red flannel, without coats, some in blue factory cloth shirts. Some of them showed by their appearance that this was a novel scene to them. It was amusing to observe their countenances. Timidity, bashfulness, wonder, curiosity, pleasure & good will by turns or simultaneously were expressed in their sun burnt faces. In one case as one caught the eye of another, I noticed a suppressed smile. Mr. French officiated. He read the hymn commencing “There is a fountain filled with blood.” Some of the sailors joined in singing, but in a suppressed tone. We stood in prayer. God was with us. We sang again; then listened to a good sermon from Mat. 3:18. All were very attentive. The occasion was one of uncommon interest. We were forcibly reminded of our distance from the assemblies with which we have been accustomed to worship. I believe all are pleased to have religious exercises. Family worship is regularly attended at eight o’clock each evening. Half the sailors attend each evening alternating. – Last Sat. eve Mrs. H [Hume], Mrs. F. [French] & myself had a little season of social prayer. It was pleasant, & I trust but a foretaste of what we may hereafter enjoy.
April 24. Lat. 24% 37”. We have as yet seen but few sails since we left Salem, but yesterday five were in sight; some from the W. Indies [West Indies]. In the morning our Capt. hoisted his flag to one, but she condescended not to tell us who she was, or to what nation she belonged. The Capt. then hoisted a flag consisting of pieces of cloth denoting the name Waverly. They raised a flag saying they understood, & by that time the vessels were so far apart that they could not communicate. About noon, one appeared which would cross our track, the Capt. learned by signals that she was an Eng. [English] ship bound home. Soon the little boat, with the first mate, & four rowers were dispatched with the letters. A short general letter written by Mr. French was sent to the Miss. [Missionaries] rooms. The mate said the Capt. of the vessel offered him some brandy & water; upon his refusing, he asked him if he was from Salem. This ship was on a return voyage from Sierra Leone. You may hear perhaps from the Herald that the Brig Waverly was spoken by the British Tar, London, & were well. Mr. B. [Burgess], Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] & Mr. & Mrs. H [Hume], however, are far from well. Johnny Hodges occupied the time for social reading to day, the fourth temperance tale we have thus read. Though we are about to cross the tropic, the weather is cool & agreeable. The thermometer now stands at 70% four o’clock P.M. One sail a hoy today.
April 29. Lat. 14% N. Lon. 31% W. I often calculate the difference of time between us, & look off towards home & country & think what my friends are doing. When dining yesterday, I thought of you, as engaged in the services of the sanctuary. Our meals are between ½ past 7 & 8, between ½ past 12 & 1, & between ½ past five & six. Crossed the Tropic, Apr. 25. The thermometer for five days past has been from 72% to 75%. There is a fine breeze of the N.E. trade wind, & the sun is often obscured by clouds. Today the sun is vertical, & will now be N. of us till we get round the Cape. The sailing distance of the vessel from Salem is a little more than 3,000 miles. We had religious services on board yesterday as last Sab.[Sabbath] Mr. F. [French] again officiated as neither of the other gentlemen were able. It was a pleasant season, though more difficult for the speaker to stand or speak, on account of the motion of the ship.
Tues. April 30. Lat. 11% 15”N. Lon. 29% W. For two days we have sailed at the rate of 178 miles a day. Mr. B. [Burgess] able to study the Murathee lesson. Last evening we conversed for about ½ an hour in that tongue. Mrs. Hume arranged sentences easily. All our company are disposed to improve themselves. Mr. F. [French] & Mr. H. [Hume] yesterday commenced classes of four sailors each. They teach them chirography principally though sometimes they read & spell.
May 1. Lat. 9% A fine breeze is wafting us pleasantly on our way; this with the flying clouds, so diminish the intensity of the heat of the sun, as to render us quite comfortable when in the shade. Last evening for the first time I observed the phosphorescent light of which I have read as being sometimes seen at sea. This appearance is accounted for, as caused by minute animals, and is not phosphorescense. It is seen only where the water is in motion, & principally near the ship. It seemed more like numerous lightning bugs, on the water than anything else, to which I can compare it. I stand & gaze & admire. Thus something, almost daily, occurs to furnish a little variety. For a few days, flying fish have been very often seen, both singly & in schools. They fly but a few rods at a time & resemble a flock of grey birds. Dolphins, & many other large fish pursue, & pray upon them. – I often feel, that I shall never have so favorable a time for cultivating personal piety, or for reading, as the present. So teach us to number our days, as to apply our hearts unto wisdom. I must not omit to mention, that Capt. W. [Ward] has had a convenient bathing tub fitted for the ladies, & another for the gentlemen. We use ours in rotation, & as Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] does not choose to take a bath at present, every third morning, I have the luxury of bathing. We value it highly, as conducive to health & comfort.
May 6. Lat. 1% 23” S. Lon. 26% 14” W. Ther. 81% Yesterday P.M. we crossed the equator. It was the Sab. [Sabbath] Mr. Hume preached. There was a fine breeze all day, & though the thermometer stood at 82, (I always give the thermometer in the shade) it was very comfortable under the awning. Sat. evening an arched squall (as they term it, occurred. A cloud in the form of a perfect arch, covered the whole eastern horizon. Soon the wind blew, & though not properly a gale, it approached nearer one than any thing before on our voyage. The wind was so steady upon one side, that the vessel did not rock much, but was constantly turned down upon the leeward side.
Last Fri. the Capt. caught two fish, called bonetta. They were of very rich, brilliant color & weighed four or five pds. [pounds] each. They were caught with an instrument called grains, which has three prongs, & a handle longer than a hoe. They made us two meals, which were relished by all. Two little flying fish had before been cooked, & were nice. When we left Salem, there were of live stock on board as follows, 120 fowls, 10 pigs, & a goat. The goat was procured at St. Helena, on the Capt.’s last returning voyage. It had a high reputation for yielding a large quantity of milk, but it furnished us with none, & as a consequence forfeited its life. Nearly every Sat. our ears are saluted with the dying shrieks of one of the pigs. The whole crew have a fresh meat dinner on the Sab. [Sabbath] It is common for sailors to have a better dinner on the Sab. [Sabbath] than on other days. For the supply of our table the number of our chickens is diminished four or five each week. The crowing of the cock, & the noise of the hens, is pleasant, sometimes & almost leads me to feel that I am on terra firma.
Our food is good, things are, in general, well prepared, with the exception, that they are sometimes too rich. Our dinners are regular. On the Sab. [Sabbath] & Wednes. fresh meat, & sometimes on Mon. Tues. & Fri. baked beans, Sat. salt fish, & Thurs. minced meat, also a pudding each day. We have puddings of rice, bread, flour, Indian meal, & sago. The sea bread is of good quality, & so are the coffee & tea, the butter, cheese & pickles, & the potatoes as good as could be expected for the season. I take a cup of weak coffee with my breakfast, & one of weak tea with my supper, & though most of the water is palatable, I aim to need as little as possible. I have often wished you could know just how we are situated.
May 8. This P.M. Mrs. Hume & I have been making some dried apple pies. It was a relief to do it for exercise. We walk the deck back & forth for exercise every day, some of us jump the rope and practice calisthenics for the same purpose. Mr. B. [Burgess] has led our evening devotions twice since I last wrote. He went through the process of getting the longitude from the sun’s & altitude today.
May 10. Lat. 7% 57”S. Lon. 31% 40”W. Ther. 82%. Birds are now often seen flying at a little distance. We are near the Brazil Coast & every day brings us nearer. If the wind would permit, our course would be S.E. instead of W. of S.
May 14. Lat. 9% 40”S. 32% 50”W. Last Sat. about sunset an uncommon pitching of the vessel took place, wh. [which] the Capt. knew not how to account for as high winds are hardly known in this latitude; but he was sure that there was a blow somewhere in the vicinity, & he felt that it might reach us. The sky was clear, the pitching continued & about midnight all the hands were called on deck. They reefed the sails, the rain fell, the wind blew strong. The ship tossed, & sleep almost forsook us. Mr. & Mrs. Hume are our nearest neighbors, they complained of being drenched by the rain which leaked thro. [through] the deck. We did not feel in danger. Storms will probably be severe as we pass around the cape. The next day, Sab. [Sabbath] no preaching – all of us dizzy, & some quite sick. Towards night the sea became more calm. — — Yesterday the windsail was put up. It is five or six yards long of a cylindrical shape, & is made of two breadths of Russia duck cloth. For a yard at the top, it is not sewed together, but is straight. It lets down a stream of fresh air; our state rooms, the cabin, & indeed all between decks are benefited by it.
May 15. An interesting female social prayer meeting in my state room. Miss G. met with us for the first time. We value having her with us. — We have made us some little blank books for translating common phrases into Murathee. My task in this department is three sentences a day. I write them in Eng. [English] on one page, & in Murathee on the other. We make some progress, though we often feel vigorous for reading & writing letters, when we do not relish Mahratta. (I suppose in writing letters, I had better spell Mahratta as this is the usual way in Eng., though I find it Murathee in the books from India, & I often write it that way before I think). We were so far west as to fear we should not see any vessels, but to day a sail aho, caught our attention. Our flag was immediately raised, & so was hers. It proved to be a whaler, out 10 months from N. Bedford. Capt. Maxwell. They were more desirous to have communication with our ship, than we with theirs; & they sent one of their boats manned with six men to us. They wished to learn respecting the war of the U.S. Capt. W. gave them a file of papers & they gave him some Liverpool papers of March. They also brought us a half bushel of [potatoes] oranges, & the Capt. gave them a half a barrel of potatoes. We hastened to seal our letters, our company of seven sent off 23. I sent three, one to Mrs. Stickney, one to Mrs. Willard Holmes, & one to Elizabeth Rockwell. The Capt. & crew sent as many more, I presume.
May 17. Lat. 7% S. Almost becalmed – the sea nearly as smooth as glass & the weather very warm. We are near the shoals of Brazil. They sounded last night and found the depth of the water 25 fathoms. They find bottom today. fish of various kinds are sporting in the water. They have been trying to catch some, & I suppose they have put out for bait some two pounds of pork, which the fish have taken without being caught. A shark too, made its appearance a few rods from the ship, it appeared to be of brown color, its only fin of consequence is on its back, it resembled a horn as seen from the ship. The ship’s progress the last 24 hours, only 40 miles.
May 18. Mr. B. [Burgess] continues to gain strength, & has a good appetite. If the sea should be rough, however, he would be sick. He now studies the Mahratta lessons, & reads considerable, & to day finishes his third letter, all of them short. Kindness, good nature & forebearance characterize all our company; & the officers & crew seem contented & happy. — On Sat. our bedding is carried on deck to be aired, & to day our state rooms have been washed; so you will perceive our health & comfort are consulted. Our cup does indeed overflow with blessings.
May 20. 22%56 S. Lat. 35%30 W. Lon. Yesterday was the Sab. [Sabbath] There is not the perceptible difference between it & other days as on land; yet there is a quietness & sacredness in unison with the day. We felt rejoiced to have a still pleasant Sab. [Sabbath] Our Bible lesson was instructive. We occupy in reciting from one & a half, to two hours, & spend more time in previously studying it. Mr. B. [Burgess] conducted the exercises of public worship for the first time. Christ’s interview with Nicodemus, formed the basis of his remarks. — Some of the sailors read their Bible every day, & I doubt not some of them will be benefitted by the efforts made in their behalf. — Venus, the moon, numerous stars & the balmy air conspire to render our evenings delightful.
I have been much amused today in seeing Mother Cary’s chickens tipping on the water, then soaring generally near the water. I never see them remain long on the water, hardly a moment at a time. They are about the size of a robin of black, white & chestnut color. Numerous sperm whale birds have been flying around for two days, probably a dead whale or a whale ship is in the vicinity.
May 21. Lat. 24%30” Lon. 34%30”. We crossed the Southern Tropic about six o’clock last eve. To day is much cooler, & rain is fast falling. They catch some for washing. An Eng. [England] brig from Rio Janiero bound to N.Y. [New York] passed us within two rods of our vessel, bound to N.Y. [New York] Capt. W. [Ward] spoke it with his trumpet & told the Capt. he would give him some papers if he would stop, but the wind was briskly blowing, & they stopped not. I have read H. Newell two days passed. I admire her spirit. Our comforts exceed hers. I fear our gratitude does not. — You now have three hours more sunlight than we. Our sun sets before ½ past five, & every day diminishes our sun light.
May 22. Not a day passes, but we think of our dear native land, & raise our petitions to our common Preserver for the many dear ones we have left behind. The Lord bless, guide, & keep them all in the way of eternal blessedness. Our country, seen from the point of observation we now occupy, assumes a greatness, a glory, an importance, which I cannot express. Much is seen to excite gratitude & hope, but still there is much corruption. We keep up a little idea of what is going on in our native land. Miss. F. [Cynthia Farrar] says she thinks far more of her home in India than in America.
May 23. P.M. A ship has been in sight all day, & all have been busy in getting out letters, hoping to send by her, but now we relinquish the hope, as she is too far off.
May 24. A little discussion upon dress occurred, & it was decided to read Mr. Judson’s tract on that subject, & Mrs. Torrey’s little book, entitled Ornament. Mr. B. [Burgess] read while the ladies sewed.
May 25. Lat. 28%S. Lon. 32%W. Cool & damp, very heavy dews. Sat. my first work after breakfast, is to put everything in order on my premises, i.e. in my state room, & then see that the clothes for the succeeding week are in readiness. I have just finished that work this morn. I take pleasure in doing it. Yesterday Mrs. F. [French] & myself made six dried apple pies. This is the fourth time we have made them; twice Mrs. Hume & I, & twice with Mrs. F. [French] We partake of them for tea, & they relish well.
May 29. Lat. 35%S. Lon. 20%W. Ther. 66% distance from Salem 7,000 miles. The air [however] & all around is damp, yet the day is pleasant. No fire is kept except for cooking. Miss G. has two soap stones each about the size of a brick. These, after being heated we apply to our feet, & they are really a comfort. By the way, missionaries ought always to take them. It is past seven when the sun rises here, & it disappears before five. Six is my time for rising, besides attending to my morning work, I get some time for reading my bible before breakfast, wh. [which] is about 20 min. before eight. Last Sab. [Sabbath] the sea was in great commotion, & public worship was attended in the cabin, only one watch was present. Mr. B[Burgess]’s remarks from John 3:13, 14 were clear & faithful. Yesterday & the day before very damp, embracing a variety of weather. Our female prayer meetings which are held three evenings each week, increase in interest. Last eve. the season was precious.
May 31. Lat. 37. S. Lon. 14% W. Yesterday an albatross flew several times round our vessel, favoring us with a full view of the largest of aquatic fowls. It is brown upon the back, & almost white below its wings. Its flight is rapid, & graceful. It is remarkable for the length of its wings. It often measures from 9 to 12 ft. from tip to tip, & is about twice the size of a goose. Its flesh is not valued for food, though sailors frequently eat them. We saw many at a distance sometimes sitting in companies on the water, at others soaring aloft. — Cape pigeons begin to be numerous. They are spotted, black & white, about the size of pigeons in New Eng. [England] They resemble ducks. One was caught, by getting its wings entangled in some lines thrown out for the purpose. All the fowls we see are webfooted. Very few can raise themselves to fly from a level surface, like the deck, & they all walk clumsily spreading their wings & slapping their webbed feet, but they move elegantly in either water or air.
June 1. Sat. Rough & damp. Wrote & read some in the A.M. after dinner. I was in severe pain. Mrs. Hume very kindly & efficiently nursed me. She is apt, at almost everything. June 4 at night a gale commenced, but was not very powerful till Sab. [Sabbath] morn. Then every sail, with one exception was entirely furled, & that was reefed, the helm was made fast, & the vessel was in a state called lying to. Everything at such times must be made fast, or be thrown from side to side. Passengers keep principally in their state rooms. Every few minutes a high sea washes over the ship, & though our vessel is well built, the water found many entrances at such times. The wind continued strong & violent till Mon. A.M. Twice I ascended the stairs which lead from the cabin to the deck, & there gazed at the mountain waves. The view was fearful. Our vessel seemed very small, when compared with them, & as a high sea approaches, it is difficult for one not long used to such scenes not to feel that it will overwhelm us. None of us stayed on deck, everything there was lashed by strong ropes, & the Capt. feared every high sea, that the deck would be swept clear. To see nothing but bare masts & rigging, was desolate. None of us attempted at such times to do much, & though it was the Sab. [Sabbath] there was little thinking, reading or praying. I occupied our upper berth, the lower one was too wet to be occupied. Mr. B. [Burgess] had his mattress on the floor, just outside the door of our state room. Considerable of my time was spent, in covering the things that they might not be injured by the salt water which came in every time a wave broke over the deck. When one cloth was thoroughly wet, I furnished another. I had rather a severe headache, but felt that I had much for which to be grateful. Mon. my head pained me still, but about 11, Mr. B. [Burgess] came & said I must go up & see the birds. I put on my overshoes, cloak & hood, & went on deck: the wind had subsided, but the sea was still very high, & we were obliged to hold ourselves constantly. Albatrosses, cape pigeons, stormy petrel (alias Mother Carey’s chickens) & two other kinds of aquatic fowl were very numerous, & soaring around in every direction. Some were very near the vessel, & they often seated themselves on the water & afforded us much amusement, in seeing them ride the mountain waves. A line with pork on it was put out, in the hope of catching them, but though they were attracted by it, & many pitched near it, & some took hold, yet they all contrived to release themselves before they could be drawn to the vessel. An albatross was drawn several feet, we thought he was secured, but were disappointed when he freed himself, & flew away. A little before noon some of the sails were unfurled, & we were again under way, having been lying to, more than 24 hours.
June 5 Lat. 35 S. Lon. 3% W. The sea is still very high. Every few minutes a large wave dashes over the deck, but the fair wind is driving us rapidly towards our destined port. Around the cape is the region of gales, thunder & lightning, & variable weather. Our Capt. who has been around 23 times, says he dislikes this part of the voyage. I have not felt fear at all. I am assured of the skill & prudence of our Capt. & I have an impression, that some of our company have a work to do in India. I often try to bring myself to view death near, & aim to be ready to welcome it, but have never been disposed to feel, that the deep would prove my grave. — Today we resumed our Mahratta studies, which since Fri. last, we had laid aside. Time seems almost lost in rough weather, as it is more than we can well do, to take care of ourselves & the leaks. My room is yet very damp, & we are anxiously looking for fair weather. Health we consult, & I enjoy it, in general. Gales, & damp, cool weather will tend to make us value, & be grateful for more pleasant circumstances.
June 7. Lat. 36%S. Lon. 5% 15” E. Ther. 55 ½ Last eve a shower accompanied with thunder & lightning occurred, & to day the air is pure & delightful. I have almost continually felt, that gratitude should flow forth for this fine day. Our progress is not so rapid, but the deck is dry, & our mattresses & bedding have been aired, our room is dry again, & how agreeable is our situation compared with what it has been for five days past. The sun rise & the sun set were both beautiful to day; finished reading the 3d vol. of Brit. India. Some part of the volumes are rather dry, yet the mass of the information was interesting; all except Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] read them, & their contents have often been the theme of conversation. To day for the first time washed a few articles off, 5 pints of fresh, hot water only were allowed me, & owing to its being so long in a cask, I suppose it will make suds only with difficulty. Soap, as I rubbed it on the cloth, changed to a brick color. I rinsed in salt water. I had before supposed they would be sticky, if rinsed in s. [salt] water, but the steward said that was only the case with flannels. Towels, sheets, etc are very liable to become iron rusted. I have been glad that I took such a quantity of old clothing for the voyage. In addition to what I had laid aside when I arrived in Boston. I found a bundle of articles from the Ips. Sem. [Ipswich Female Seminary], & Mr. B. [Burgess] found a similar bundle from Andover Theol. Sem. [Andover Theological Seminary], forwarded at the suggestion of Prof. Emerson. Clothes become tender, and very yellow by remaining so long without washing. It is economical to be supplied with old clothing for a long voyage.
June 9. Ther. 55% Sab. [Sabbath] eve. 6 o’clock. Just about time for the Sab. [Sabbath] school in Colebrook. I think of the churches & Sab. [Sabbath] privileges of my native land. May they be abundantly accompanied by the Spirit. The weather is so variable, that the Capt. thought it not best to have preaching. This was a disappointment, but it may be for the best. Our Bible lesson was interesting this A.M. & it has been I think a profitable Sab. [Sabbath] to me, & I judge to all the miss. [missionary] company. Mr. Hume conversed with one watch of the seamen, & found them all ready to admit the truth, & acknowledge duty, though none seem to feel deeply. All have been still.
May 10. Lon. 12% 10 E. Lat. 36% S. Ther. 55% to 59%. I have studied with unusual delight & vigor today. What a great work to learn the languages of nations. We make some progress. Evening brings us all below this cool weather. We sit around the cabin tables & either write or silently read. The Capt. is one of our number. Miss F. [Cynthia Farrar] spends her evenings in her state room, & reads reclining in her berth. I sometimes sit with her. She does not need much done, but I love to sit converse, & sympathize with her.
June 12. Ther. 55% Damp & uncomfortable, so rough that some are sick, & all are affected. Mr. B. [Burgess] read another of Wiseman’s lectures, while I sewed. Yesterday for the first time, our eyes were feasted with the sight of a whale. Though he shewed himself finely a number of times, I do not know how to describe him. He was but a few rods from the vessel when first seen, & while we were eagerly on the watch to catch further views, he passed to the other side of us. Its color was very dark. Its skin smooth, & it seemed a huge mass moving undaunted & rapidly through the water. We saw from 25 to forty feet of its length, which was probably 50 or 60 feet. The mighty ocean seems a fit residence for him, & his species. From a large fin on its back, it is called fin backed. It is rarely taken as it is fierce & frequently sinks before it can be secured, & yields less oil than other kinds.
“13. Ther. 59% Clear fine air, our bedding on deck for airing. We passed the Cape of Good Hope yesterday & are now in the longitude of Cape Lagullus, 72 days out & are now where Capt. W. [Ward] was in his last voyage when 58 days out.
June 17. Lon. 26% E. Lat. 36% S. Ther. 65%. Anniversary of the battle of Bunkerhill. I remember how the cannons are fired in Ips. [Ipswich] & other towns in the eastern part of Mass [Massachusetts], at the dawn of this morning. — The whole animal economy seems animated & invigorated by the balmy air around us, & the soul partakes of the delight, how inexpressibly delightful would a view of the verdant hills & forests & gardens of home, be for a few hours. The Capt. thinks that while the weather is so unsettled, public worship had better be omitted. The time for our Bible lesson is the only time, which the passengers have the cabin uninterrupted, & it was decided to spend the hour in conversation & prayer, & defer the Bible recitation to the round house in the P.M. It was a precious session, & the same arrangement is to continue till the weather is more favorable. Last Fri. night, we were visited by another gale from the West. It continued 15 hrs., the sails were nearly all reefed, yet we were driven over the mountain waves at the rate of 8 miles an hour. Sat. P.M. the ladies went on deck, the waves presented an appearance similar to one caused by a high wind after a fall of snow. At the head of each wave as it rose, were innumerable drops of water & much vapor, which looked white & moved as snow before the wind from the summit of the drifts. We dined in our state rooms for the first time.
June 18. Yesterday at twelve o’clock, the course of the vessel was turned to the N.E. Now our faces are set towards Bombay, & we anticipate reaching Zanzibar in time to spend Independence, July 4. To day the air is balmy, & delightful. “Every sense & every heart is joy” Though it is winter, to us it seems a spring day. After dinner yesterday as we were singing, as is our practice after dinner, Capt. W. [Ward] called our attention to the fishes which were gamboling in the water, astern of us. It was indeed an amusing sight, to me more so than the whale. They were very large, some of them 30 feet long, with great heads. They would leap from a large wave, first throwing their heads, & as these descended into the water their backs. We were glad to see them, but heartily wished them either to stay longer or soon come again.* They were a species of black fish. Muratha & writing letters is my principal business this week, & I may add, that of all the missionaries.
June 21. Lat 31% S. Lon. 34% E. We are having a favorable breeze, & fine weather. Ther. 68% or 69. A little before sunset a shoal of porpoises secured our attention. They passed the ship, often leaping entirely out of the water. The mate tried to harpoon one as they passed the bow, once he succeeded, but before they drew it into the ship, it got loose. — Every thing is pleasant as we could wish in our circumstances. Bedding was again aired to day.
June 23. In our little state room. Past 9 P.M. I seem unwilling to retire while you have so much Sab. [Sabbath] I think of you as now in the sanctuary, P.M. service. That the Sab. [Sabbath] privileges of my native land may be blessed & sanctified, is a desire, which rises spontaneously as often as I think of you. My mind first recalls those parts I have visited, or where I have friends, & from them extends over the whole country. The temperature & clearness of the atmosphere, with a favorable breeze wafting us four miles an hour, render our outward circumstances agreeable, & what is far more desirable, I think God has been with us by his spirit. This P.M. Mr. Hume preached from Rom. [Romans] 3:20. For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in his sight. After being bounded in our prospect by sky & water for 83 days, it was pleasant to see land this morn, which continued in sight till darkness came. The land is in Africa, Cape Corientes, & the coast for many miles below. It is principally sand hills, barren & uninhabited. At Inhambane near Cape C. [Corientes] is a Portuguese settlement from which we could perceive ascending smoke. Such an evidence of the presence of our race added interest to the view. We could not but feel for oppressed, degraded Africa. The Portuguese own the coast from Delagoa Bay to Cape Delgado embracing 16% of latitude, & have numerous settlements. The slave trade is carried on more extensively on this coast than in any other part of Africa. Many vessels leave every year laden with slaves, though the traffic is a violation of a treaty between the English & Portuguese. Many are taken to Brazil. It is for the interest of the owners to treat them well on their voyage. The dealers use fast sailing vessels, & have agents in Africa to collect cargoes, & put into port one day, & ship the cargo the same day, at night, to avoid detection. Eng. [English] cruisers are constantly on the coast, but few comparatively are detected. Our Capt. thinks the Portuguese on this coast a great curse to Africa, & says they are remarkably destitute of moral principle. He has traded extensively on this coast, at Madagascar, & indeed in all this region. The Portuguese, Spanish & French are all, to some extent, engaged in this smuggling traffic, & some think, U.S. men (Americans) are not entirely free from the imputation of being at present engaged.
I think I must tell you how I am favored in visiting home in my dreams; last night I had a most agreeable visit with mother of several hours. I was fitting to leave, which made us more studious to improve every moment; we were agreed in concluding as we separated, that this was the best visit we ever enjoyed. — I have rode to meeting with you, bid you, & other friends farewell, again & again. I am generally preparing to go. Once the ship put back, & I spent a few hours mostly with father, before we put out again. Aunt [Zilpah Polly Grant Bannister] too, I often meet. Sometimes I am procuring articles for use in India. Nothing sad, has with one exception occurred. I mention this because it has been pleasant to me to mingle with you, though on awakening, I am assuread we have been continually receding from you.
June 26. Lat. 20% S. Lon. 37% 38 E. We reentered the Torrid Zone June 24. Thermometer for a few days has been between 73% & 79%. The sunsets in this region present softer, mellower, & more varied tints than I have ever seen before. I have been loath to say they were more beautiful. I have seen such glorious sunsets at home though this is the general opinion of our party, & I felt last night, this is different, & I think superior. — This morning as Mr. B. [Burgess] came down from bathing, he said he had seen the moon sink below the horizon, & that the eastern horizon was already resplendent, & that if we could go on deck in 10 min. we might see a beautiful sunrise. I went before that time transpired; as soon as I went Mr. Lovett, first mate said there was a shark. Mrs. F [French], & I immediately discovered it. A piece of pork was thrown out, it seized it, though the hook seemed too large to take in, we had a very distinct view. Five little pilot fish hardly as large as trout were with it, sometimes on its back, & then by its side. The pilot fish were prettily girdled with stripes of blue & white the whole length. Its upper side was of chestnut brown, underneath whitish; when dying its color changed to deep brown. Sailors love to kill sharks. This was full grown, weighed 150 pds [pounds] or more. Its fins are fleshy, & do not contract. It has one large fin on its back, two of about the same size on its side, & two smaller ones near the tail. We saw its five rows of teeth in the under jaw, & five in the upper – its mouth is of horse shoe shape. Mrs. Hume says its head & mouth are like a tadpoles in shape. The gentlemen took the dimensions; whole length 6 ft. 7 ½ inches. Head 12 ½ in. Body 3 ft. 10 in. tail 21 in. Between eyes 9 inch, width of mouth 8 in. Fin 17 ½ in. long. They save the back bone but the most they give to David Jones as they say when they throw anything overboard. At tea, some of the cooked fish was put upon the table. I tasted it, & had I not known it to be an animal of bad reputation, I might have liked it. None of us ate much of it. However the sailors had one or two good meals from it. In Madagascar & many other parts in this vicinity, they are highly valued as an article of food, the fins particularly. Large quantities of fins are exported to China, & other places.
June 29. Sailed by Mozambique, & so near as to distinguish trees and buildings. Moz. [Mozambique] is a small island, the capital of the Portuguese settlements on the coast. The governor general resides here. The sight of land is very pleasant.
June 30. Sab. [Sabbath] no public service, as the vessel was rolling very much.
July 1. Progress the last day 202 miles, 20 miles more than any previous day. We hope to see Zanzibar tomorrow. This being the eve of the monthly concert, a little meeting in the cabin. We expect the island of Monfua before morning. It is inhabited by Arabs & is a part of the Sultans dominions.
Zanzibar. July 4. Three Amer. [American] vessels are in the port here, & 13 cannons were fired by one at sunrise. 26 at noon by the next, & one at sun set by the third, & in the evening sky rockets were discharged from the flat roof of the Amer. [American] consuls house. American flags have been waving all day. We arrived at this port July 2, about noon. We had been sailing in sight of the island for four or five hours. The isl. [island] is about 50 miles long, 15 or 20 wide, & 15 from the continent. Its pop. [population] is composed of Arabs & African slaves, principally. About 400 Banyan traders, & a class called Soohillas. The pop. [population] is estimated to amount to from 125,000 to 150,000, two thirds of whom are slaves. The vegetation is so unlike N.E. & the town, too, that our attention was strongly riveted. Cocoa nut trees were so like the drawings, that we recognized them at once. I wish Martha & Marcus to notice drawings more, they will gain many correct ideas, & increase their enjoyment. The town contains probably from 15 to 40,000 people. The houses line the shore for about 1 ½ miles, & for some distance back into the interior. The better class build of coral rock with which this, & the neighboring islands abound; & cover with chunam. The walls are from one to two & a half feet thick, have few windows, & less window glass. Their stairs & roofs are of the same material. These roofs are flat. Many however, have a thatched roof above, sloping four sides, made by fitting poles, then covering with the cocoa nut leaves. The lower class build of poles, then wall the sides with mud, & thatch the roof. The streets cross each other like the threads in a tangled skein. We walked yesterday through some of them. They are rarely over 10 feet wide. The houses so cover the ground as to leave no room for gardens, & next to none for trees. A few slender cocoa nuts find room. But three white females have visited the isl. [island] before us & we are quite a curiosity. The people merely assemble & gaze & occasionally laugh. The first day the gentlemen went on shore with the Capt., & the following day July 3 the ladies went with them, to Mr. Waters’ of Salem. He is the Amer. [American] consul, & has been here three years. He is pious, & aims to do good to this people. There is also an Eng. [English] mercantile house here, so that I suppose there are at this time as many white persons, as ever at one time before. We took a short walk in a cocoa nut grove, saw the cassada growing, also alocs & mango trees, picked several wild flowers. Returned to Mr. Waters’ in a boat. His Highness (the Sultan of Muscat or Mascat) as soon as he learned that our vessel had brought to Mr. Waters the tidings of his brothers death, sent assurance of sympathy saying that he would come & see him. In the evening, he came, & we were introduced to his Highness, his eldest son prince Haleed, & two of his officers. His Highness prefers the climate of Zanzibar to that of Muscat. He has made Zanzibar his residence for the last three years, one of his sons being in Muscat. His palace is between two & three miles from town, though he has one nearly completed in town. He comes up, either on horseback, or in a boat. His age is about 54, his size above medium, his beard long & gray. His manners easy & dignified. He is always attended by a retinue, though he is not fond of display & would often be gladly relieved from it, yet it is their custom. He shook hands handsomely & affably with each of us. He is very well versed in the Arabic, but does not speak Eng. [English] but by an interpreter. He first said to Mr. W. [Waters], God does all, & he does right & good. He inquired respecting the prosperity of our country, of our passage, of our health, & a few other things, & then bidding us good evening, departed. We then took tea at Mr. W. [Waters] & after singing & prayers returned to the vessel about nine, so tired that I almost felt that the Arab custom of keeping ladies at home, the best. This morning we went by invitation to Mr. Thorns, the agent of the mercantile house; dined there, ladies never dined with him before, quite a parade. We had a fine view of the town & harbor from the top of his house. The slaves around were amused. A little Arab child of three years was brought up, that we might see how they paint their faces etc. They begin to wear ornaments from infancy — This little child had three strings of beads of various color, material & size upon its neck, bracelet on the wrist & bangles about the feet, & 6 or 7 rings in the ear, extending round the rim of the ear. Some have ornaments as large as a cent, inserted entirely within the lower part of the ear, then of different sizes to the top of the ear. Some have rings in their noses, but this is not common. Slaves have as many ornaments as any, but in general, not so valuable; though the rich slaves wear those that are valuable, though they do not own them. Slaves are from 7 to 20 dolls. [dollars] apiece here. They are sold every day at auction, at five o’clock. They are well fed, & do but little; die off fast, from 7 to 10,000 come here from the continent every year. They wear but little clothing, besides ornaments. They look as if they needed only favorable circumstances to make them valuable, intelligent people. None of the Arabs or Sowalies are slaves. While the gentlemen went out to walk, we remained & were treated with fruits. We are here in the season for oranges, mangoes, plantians, papau & various other fruits. Cocoa nuts are abundant. The exports from this port are gum, copal, frankincense, cloves, & shells. The natives are becoming more industrious. An evident improvement is in progress among them. May the day be hastened when they shall have the light of the gospel. Mr. Waters & Mr. Thorn have spared no pains to make our visit here, profitable & pleasant, & I think it has been so. We have acquired some acquaintances, with this part of the world.
July 9, 1839. Last Sat. we visited by invitation his Highness. The ladies were permitted to enter the harem, & see his daughters. His Highness has been very kind; he sent up a boat manned to take us to his house; he furnished us horses & donkeys to go six miles into the interior & every thing else which would contribute to our comfort, provided refreshments as we went & returned, & presented each of the ladies with a cashmere shawl, worth from 20 to 30 dollars a piece. He is very kind to all our countrymen. We surely feel under obligation to him. He, of his own accord, sends letters for us to his son at Muscat. We leave this place to day in good health & spirits. We feel that soon we shall reach the field of our labors, & shall rejoice to enter it. I did not intend to send this memoranda until I arrived in Bombay, but it accumulated so much that I decided to send it now. I wish it to be preserved, & as neatly as consistent. I have written you, my dear parents, & Martha by mail.
Ever your affectionate daughter, M. [Mary Grant] Burgess
Letter 4 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mrs. Elizabeth Grant
[Stamped on upper left corner of address leaf] WILKINS
[Written in stamped area] May 19th
East Liberty [Pennsylvania] May 17: 1839
We received yours of the 5th inst. yesterday. In regard to visiting New England we must be guided, as we ought in everything else, by the indications of providence. Should an eligible opening for a location be presented it would seem duty to embrace it. But should nothing of this kind take place within six, or eight weeks we will if health continues come and see you. The only question in my mind is in regard to duty. Inclination very strongly tends to New England. I have then another dear mother besides yourself whom I have not seen for 16 years and whom I wish to see before she dies, besides brother and a sister. No doubt, however, that our desire to see our friends, like any other natural desire, cannot always consistently with duty be indulged, and needs to be moderated, or restrained according to the circumstances in which providence may place us. We shall I think know in 2 or 3 weeks whether it will be consistent for us to visit you this season and if anything should occur to prevent we will let you know. In the mean time we must endeavor to have our minds prepared for whatever event may be appointed for us.
Your affectionate Son
Wm. [William] Burton
I have not time to say much. Little M. E. [Mary Elizabeth Burton Shurtleff] is less troublesome than when I wrote you, before. M. is nursing her. She says she thinks we must put her in the letter and send her on that our friends may see what a pretty baby she is. M. & L. would write but their father wishes to put the letter in the office, as he goes to school.
M. E. [Mary Elizabeth] is almost 5 months old. Her eyes are still a little untrue, but I hope she will outgrow it
I received a letter from brother [P.?] and another from brother J. since within a few days. I am glad to hear from you all, but wish <more?> still more to see you. Little E. Grant is better. Sister Susan expects to start for Ct [Connecticut] about the first of June.
I expect Martha & Marcus are so much grown that I should hardly know them, but I want to see you all, much.
E. G. Burton [Elizabeth Grant Burton]
Love to all.
Letter 5 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Elijah Grant
Litchfield Co [Connecticut]
[Stamped on upper left hand corner of address leaf] WILKINS
[Written in stamped area] Oct 19th
East Liberty [Pennsylvania] Aug. 8=1839
Whatever concerns us, I suppose you will be interested to hear. We have finally concluded to go on to a farm. I have accordingly purchased in Pike County Ohio. The farm I have purchased consists of 232 acres, about 100 under improvement with a house nearly finished which will be sufficiently large and convenient. The farm is situated 2 miles from Piketon the county seat, and 4 from the great Erie and Ohio Canal. There is at Piketon a small presbyterian congregation to whom it is the arrangement that I am to preach as my health may permit. That and the surrounding neighbourhood I should think presented a field for usefullness.
But my chief object in writing at this time is to endeavor to persuade you to remove and settle down by us. Upon a general view I have no doubt it would be to your advantage and that of your family to remove to the west if you would sell at a price which property be as in New England. As to the particular part of the country where I have purchased I am not alone in the opinion that it is at present the most favourable point for purchase and emigration at least in the State of Ohio. The land is less than half the price of land <of> of the same quality generally in Ohio. <...> Various circumstances, which I would detail if I had room, have contributed to prevent the rise of land in this particular section of the state but circumstances which must now cease to operate. For the farm I purchased I gave a fraction over <...>nine dollars per acre. There are other farms, one immediately joining, to be bought for from ten to twelve dollars. It is the opinion of good judges that the price must in a few years be more than double what it now is. Should you have ant serious thought of removing I would write more particularly and I think could furnish you with additional facts going to justify the opinions I have expressed. I leave the remaining part of the sheet for Elizabeth.
Your affectionate Son
Wm. [William] Burton
Mr. Burton has left me more room than I can occupy. I hope we shall <if nothing> make a final remove in the spring. I am pleased with the idea of going to a farm Cannot you go and settle near us? I fear, from what Cousin Parnel says of your health, that you would find journeying difficult, but you could come by water from Albany almost to the place. We are not perhaps, on the whole, more in favor of frequent removals than you, still we think, as I suppose you do, that they prove advantageous sometimes. Mr. Burton thinks he has made the best bargain, but that other good ones may be made still. He pays $2250, — $1000, this fall, the rest in a year.
I was very very glad to see cousins William and Parnel. I hope they will arrive safely at home, tomorrow as they expected.
We are all well. Little Mary is still well, and I have not weaned her yet. I must as soon as my girl returns. I suppose she will come tomorrow
I do not much expect ever to visit New England, though I may. It appears a married lady never knows what she can do, or what she cannot. It is all right or it would not be so. It is easier to say “it is right” than to feel so sometimes. This is indeed a world of wonders
If friends can meet, can enjoy each other society in a world of bliss, beyond the grave it matters little where they sojourn here. O my dear mother, shall we meet in that better world, fathers and mothers, brothers, and sisters sons, and daughters, grandsons and granddaughters, and all our relatives, how numerous they are, but I ought not to say a word upon this subject, I am so ready to make a [portion?] of this world. Next Sabbath is sacrament here. Mr. B. [Burton] goes to his preaching place tomorrow.
I could say much more but M. E. [Mary Elizabeth Burton Shurtleff] is waking, & it is bed time. I only add do not show this. I have neither attended to grammar, <or> chirography or composition in writing it.
How is brother John, how are you, how are the rest. I was so glad to hear from you by cousins.
E. G. Burton [Elizabeth Grant Burton]
The more I think of it the more I want you to be neighbors to us. The society needs to be improved, though our farm joins Gov. Lucas’s I think, and there is already some good Yankee society I am glad of that The Yankees are the best after all
The little girls are in good spirits and send love. M. [Mary] is improving and I doubt not would look very inquisitive upon her grandmother if she could see her. She cannot walk yet
We had little M. E. baptized the last time Mr B. preached at [Mc. Keesport?]. How little can be said on a little piece of paper, besides it is becoming more and more difficult, I fear, for me to find time to write. You must not look for a letter from me often. Maybe you will come to Ohio yet. I should so rejoice to have you, though I know it is very expensive as well as troublesome moving. By no means move or have any anxiety on my account. I only ask you to pray for me and mine
I think sister Martha is a very <fine> good girl from what cousin P. says. She says she does a great deal of work and keeps the house as neat as a pin.
Love to all.
Letter 6 -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---
[Addressed to] Mr. Elijah Grant
Boston, Nov. 7, 1839.
You perhaps have been somewhat disappointed in not seeing me before this time; but I believe I never represented the prospect of my coming home as very bright. As it now is, you must not expect me at home in less than a week from this time and it is very doubtful whether I shall come even then. We are now lying at anchor about half a mile from Charlestown Navy Yard, and about a quarter of a mile from the Eastern wharves of Boston. I took up my residence on board yesterday, though my pupils are yet so busy that I have no school nor do I expect to have till we have been long enough at sea for the fresh hands to get over their sea sickness. Every thing is hurry and bustle on board, and though some hundreds of men have been busy for two or three weeks the vessel is not quite ready yet. I expect however that we shall sail for New-York in a day or two. We are to go there to take on board Com. Ridgley who is to be our commander, and as it is probable we shall be there two weeks at least, I have some hope that I may come home a short time. One reason why I have not felt more anxious to go home from Boston rather than New-York is that I might have an opportunity of seeing the ship in motion before I go. I trust I shall be better acquainted with the discipline, and officers of the ship after such a voyage than I can be while in port. Still it is by no means certain that I shall come home from New-York. I am heartily tired of the slow manner in which work appears to go on here, but as I have my pay I do not know as it becomes me to grumble, though I had much rather have some business to perform than to be without. I do not think it likely that we shall leave New-York before the first of Dec. This will shorten the time for which we shall be absent from the country considerable as we shall return just as soon as if we started earlier, that is in about three years from Oct. 1839. I have a room <by> of my own here which, though you on land would not think it worth taking as a gift, is quite a luxury here. As a matter of interest to you I will tell its dimensions. It is about 7 feet by 8 and about 5 feet 7 inches high, furnished with a berth to sleep in, a <...> bureau with three drawers (under my berth there are three drawers more) <...> a wash stand; and a chair which is all the furniture belonging to the room. There are three other rooms like mine which are occupied by the surgeons, and aside from these we have a common room of a larger size (about 10 feet square) where we take our meals and do all business which belongs to us as a body politic. Our private rooms are two of them on one side and two on the other of this larger room. I am not acquainted with more than one of the surgeons who appears a very fine man, whom I cannot describe better than by saying he very much resembled Dr. James Welch of Winsted.
I went yesterday and spent about four hours with Aunt [Zilpah Polly] Grant at South Dedham a place situated 14 miles from this. She was very glad to see me, and to appearance was tolerably well though she says she often suffers much. She appears very pleasantly situated in the family of Dr. Briggs. I should have made her a longer visit but we were expecting to sail this morning & I was obliged to return last night. But one of those delays which continually vex me kept us here, and will keep us here I do not know how long but I hope not a great while. I think I shall be able to spend my <m> time agreeably, and have a very good opportunity for reading and study. If you write direct your letters to New-York. I received a letter from mother a day or two since.
Board I am told will cost about $20 per. month.
I will write to you again from New-York.
Your affectionate son