On board Ship Isaac Newton
Mobile Bay January 7th 1838
I wrote you in Portsmouth stating
my intended visit to this Port and hoped you would
write me here, but so far my hopes have not been realized.
We sailed from Portsmouth November 15th and arrived here
Dec.5th 20 Days Passage - Ships cargo consisting of 150 Tons
Hay, 1500 bbls Potatoes and 250 Turkeys. Finding the market
very dull for Portsmouth Dry Goods here (Hay & Potatoes) we run
round to Pensacola where we discharged, remaining about
10 Days, and thence again returning to this Port.
Business is very dull this year compared with last year. We
cannot get one half the price and only half the rate for
freight that we got last year. We have obtained a freight
for Liverpool to sail about the 1st of February at 5/0 of a penny
We shall probably return directly Home to Portsmouth from
Liverpool, where I hope you will have a long letter written
for my perusal. When I left home all our friends were
quite well - Warren and Abby were at home in high spirits
Of John we had no particular information. Thomas indirectly
learnt of his intention to go South. Mother was much
troubled about this, it being almost a year since he
last wrote home. And none of us know where he is.
Capt. Rice is up to the city where he remains, only
visiting the ship once in the course of two or three weeks.
My situation is pleasant and like it very well, but
it requires most all of my time and attention to look
after the ships company and prevent desertion, take
an account of all the ships Cargo that goes in and out of the
Ship, and also overlook the stowage, to keep the crew in
proper discipline & carry on the necessary work of the Ship.
Crews of ships laying in this Bay frequently seize the Boats
or make rafts to go on shore where they get their $40 or $45
per month instead of $12 or $14 when shipped from the Port.
It is often necessary to keep watch all night to prevent them
from using these means - We almost live upon oysters
here it being a great place for them - a steam Boat
runs regularly between this & town every day in the
business season and have newspapers and other intelligence
to dissipate the prison like confinement of a Ship - We lay
about 6 miles from the nearest land on either side
I have not been and shall not be probably on shore
from the time I left Portsmouth till I reach Liverpool
sometimes four and five months. As there in no person on
board who I can term my equal and be familiar with
it becomes a tiresome and mountainous way of leading
a life the more I go to sea the more I think so.
Capt. Rice will not go to sea probably more than 1 voyage
more, when I hope either to get this Ship or another.
As I now consider myself competent to take charge
of a ship - Do write particulars concerning yourself
wether you think to settle there, or how long you may
remain, how much you are a making, wether you devote
any time to the fine arts, contribute to Newspapers or
periodicals, and lastly, but not least how many
flirtations you carried on among the western
beauties. It is a very long time now since I have
received a letter from you. So do pray, write and have
one at home by the 1st of May for my own special
reading. I have had no letters at all, at all
since my arrival here neither from friends nor kin
to enliven and invigorate the finer feelings of the soul.
Write for your own as well as others gratification -
With great esteem