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contributed by ggg-granddaughter Connie Ganz

Robert Nicholson Tate (1804-1886), diary account of a trip to England from New York, 1867.
Outward bound on Iowa
(Anchor Line to Glasgow), return on Helvetia (National Line from Liverpool).


On Saturday, August 17th, took passage on board of iron steamship Iowa at the office of Francis McDonald, No. 6 Bowling Green. Took a cabin passage $75. Berth No. 16. Got my berth secured, and in the afternoon about 3 p.m. moved out into the stream, and at 4 p.m. cast off from our tender and steamed out to sea. Twenty minutes past four we were leaving the highlands on the starboard side with land in sight.
     About ten miles off on our larboard side a fine clear evening with showers at a distance. A fine breeze right aft. The sun is setting. There is a vessel right between us and the sun, which has a singular appearance. Time eight minutes to seven, by my watch. There is yet a small portion of the sun above the watery horizon. Now it is gone and left the vessel in a fine bright portion of the sky. The Mother Carey’s chickens are flying around us. They made their appearance long before we lost sight of land. The superstitious sailors are chasing a dragonfly, swearing at it and calling it all sorts of names. The engine is laboring away. There is quite a large vessel on our larboard side. She has about three masts and a smoke pipe. It appears to be about ten miles away from us. The darkened shades of night are fast closing over us. The passengers are fast disappearing from the deck, and so did I. I next took a glass of wine with my young German friend and retired.

Sunday, August 18th: A fine, pleasant morning. Heading due east. A large steam vessel passed us on our larboard side, distant about one mile, an English vessel bound to New York, at least heading that way. The pilot boat with her white sail is sailing towards her, ten minutes past 9 a.m. Breakfast time, fresh fish and coffee. Latitude 46 degrees, 1”/longitude 14 deg. Divine service – only eighteen present. Time 20 minutes to four p.m. another three-masted sailing vessel on our starboard side, about four miles distant, crowded with canvas, all she can carry. She looks very pretty. There is nothing more in sight of all the boundless convexity. We are going merrily. The sun has set clear. The gulf weed has passed us today. A lot of Mother Carey’s chickens were in our wake today.

Monday, August 19th: Kept awake a great part of the night. I finally arose, my mate and I, to ascertain the cause of the stoppage of our machinery. I saw the cover of an air pump or some such cover, lying on the deck broken in three pieces. The casting would weigh about 200 pounds and about 30 inches diameter. They had a substitute off boiler plate and after forming it and getting it nearly ready, accidentally burned a hole in it in the engine house fire, and so had to make another, which they finally finished about sunset. This occurrence stopped our progress for a while. We have not seen a ship of any kind all day. One of the sailors this forenoon caught a Mother Carey. I had it in my hand, and after examining it a while, gave the poor mystery its liberty again. Discovered today that there really were bed bugs in our berths, but not many. The sailors are painting everything they can lay their hands on with white lead. The doctor and the purser had a spat today.

August 20th: Blowing quite strong. Our course south of east, going briskly. A fine moonlight morning, time 2 a.m. On the evening of the 19th, the constellation Ursa Major is located in the heavens over our starboard stern quarter, and the North Star by looking over our larboard stern quarter and at about equal distance as regards the elevation and angle. Time half after ten a.m. going finely on our starboard stern quarter about ten miles distant, a brig can be seen heading WNW. I have not seen a fish of any kind nor any other bird than the storm petrie or Mother Carey’s chicken. At nine a.m., we were 45 deg. north bearing E by N. A small quantity of gulf weed floating past us continually. We had an addition to the number of our second cabin passengers – a lady has been transferred to our lot from the first cabin by request. There is no more motion in the vessel where we are sitting at present than if we were in a church.
     There is in our cabin three ladies and five gentlemen. A change in the wind – at least we are changing our course. My berth companion, Adolph Stein, a young German, has just handed me a specimen of seaweed. It has a strong marine smell and has otherwise a great many fossil animolecules in it. It was fished up from the side of the vessel by a Mr. Somebody. Mr. John Wilson, coachmaker near Glasgow, one of our passengers, tells me he has been in London and been there long enough to see all the scenes as far as necessary to be seen and it only cost him six pounds sterling. A smart but short shower with rain clouds and showers at a distance. Did not take any dinner today. A fine morning. Ship heading 2 points N of E – 35 deg., 41’, 41”.
      I had a narrow escape from being blackmailed yesterday night. Three or four cabin passengers went forward to see a cockfight on the forecastle, which was really not more ridiculous than it was amusing. The two sailors are secured by their shipmates and are nearly rendered helpless by having their knees and elbows between which is locked a stick about a yard long pointed at each and, projecting about a foot on each side, in order to hook under each other and roll each other over. The successful one counts one for that he is heard to say. The rolled over cock is picked up and set in front of his opponent again, and they have another set-to; but the tars have another move on the board besides this, in which they are all interested, as many of the cabin passengers (as their loud laughter and heavy betting) as an inducement to come and behold their rumpus are unsuspectingly chalked on the back. This accomplishment justifies them in demanding a bottle of rum from the unlucky wight for his seeing the cockfight. No sooner than they perceived a move by us to leave them than they. It was faint moonlight. I happened to know nothing of their game, and so did not make off in proper time, but suspecting what they were up to, I slipped away and with just haste left the poop and made for the passage leading to the main deck, but found that there were ropes stretched across it. I slipped this barrier, but jumped right into the arms of a tar. I got rid of him, however, and so escaped, as I thought, until next morning on seeing my shoes all chalked. This, I was told, proclaimed me a victim and indebted to the sailors for a treat for going into their dominion to see their cock fight. Several passengers in the first cabin had to pay for seeing their performance. The temperature of the sea water is 65 degrees.

August 22nd: The whistle was blown from time to time by way of safety while we are in and surrounded by fog. The first cabin passengers are preparing for a performance tonight. They are going to hold it in our cabin. They have not enough room in the front cabin. They are rigging a stage with spare hatchways and draping with the flags of England and America to give a stage appearance. The bills are published. The performers are all first-cabin passengers. We have not been thought of as possessing any talent that way. The dramatis personae are as follows:
A song, “The Widow Malone,”……………………....
Music on concertina………………………………….
Song, “The Lads of Kilkenny”………………………..
Music and song………………………………………
Recitation, “Lochiel’s Warning”……………………....
Song, “Dreaming of Thee”……………………………
Recitation, “William Tell”……………………………..
Burlesque “The Negro Sermon Burst”………………...
Music on concertina…………………………………..
Recitation, “Gentleman and His Wife”………………....
Recitation, “The Razor Seller”………………………...
Song, “The Thames Steam Boat”……………………..
Song, “The Irish Schoolmaster”…………………….....
The Purser
Mr. Ross
The Doctor
Miss Ophelia
Mr. Ross
Miss Ophelia
The Minister
Mr. Phillips
Miss Ophelia
R.N. Tate
The Minister
R.N. Tate
R.N. Tate

August 23rd: Morning rather cold. The passengers are calling for more blankets. Wind two points N of E. A species of gull is flying around us. The storm petrel has made its appearance again. Our cabin here is too warm for our feet.

Saturday, the 24th: Going merrily. Wind right aft on Friday evening. We had a family concert. Mr. Foy in the chair – each agreeing to sing a song or pay a fine. Captain, chief steward, and second steward and purser tabled with us. The passengers were: Mr. McClain, Mr. John Wilson (coachmaker near Glasgow), Mrs. Roy (an old lady), Mrs. Larson (a young lady), Miss Ophelia (the songstress), a chambermaid (all Irish), an Albany gardener and his maid and child, a reverend minister, Mrs. and Mrs. Nichols (an odd couple), the painter Philipps, the ship’s doctor (Mozier). These are all I can bring to mind, but at the Sabbath meeting there were assembled between 20 and 30 persons. Adolph Stein, my bunkmate, a German about 20 years old; the old lady Foy; Miss Ophelia; the minister; and several others left us at Derry, Ireland, where the ship stopped to land them and take off some freight. The small steamer that came out to take freight and passengers into port was named Souter Johnny.
      The seamen got up a performance and laughable burlesque. The leader plays a fife and his mate beat on an old tin pan, followed by two tars representing an Irish farmer and his wife. The farmer rode a mock horse – at least he seemed to ride on horseback. The rest of the ship’s crew followed in Indian file parading the deck. The horse and farmer capering and kicking up their heels at every one coming near them. Eventually the farmer tried to sell his horse, and then he had to quarrel with the crowd and then dismount, and his wife and he and some of the tars had an Irish reel to the music of the fife and drum. And after this they formed into line again and marched off to their home in the forecastle.

Sunday, August 25th: Gloomy and rainy. Wind SSE. We are heading two points south of east. We are using the frames on the tables that prevents the dishes from sliding. The sailors are shifting the cargo to counteract their using up the coal so as to keep the ship trimmed right. Today they took the tickets up and in doing so they discovered a person who had stowed himself away to get passage free home. He had been wrecked off Cape Hatteras. The captain ordered that he should eat at our table. The weather is rather stormy. The passengers from the first cabin are gradually coming over to our cabin, and we are having the chequer board and quite a song singing time. This, the purser, and Miss Ophelia.

August 27th: Better weather this morning. Wind WSW heading 3 points south of east, but for a short while she varied, the course heading three points north of E. One of the company ships, the Columbia, passed on our starboard side about noon. We passed another bark about nine miles off. The first appearance of a species of gull that frequents the Irish coast passed. A dead whale. The sea this morning is quite high and frequently peeps over the rail amidships, rather saucy. Our ship, the Iowa, is 365 feet long and 60 feet wide.

Wednesday, August 28th: Much better weather. A pleasant mixture of the sky, clouds. A long, rolling sea. Wind on our starboard quarter heading as usual three points south of east. Three large vessels are on our starboard side and one on our larboard. The vessel on our starboard bow a bark. So near as to see her men. She seems to feel the effects of the liquid undulations. A few gulls in sight. Had some conversation with an old man named Nichols. The history he gave of himself was that he was 53 years of age. He had been married 36 years. His uncle is about his age. The wind has shifted to the SE. The sun is just emerging from the ocean, yet almost every way else the sky looks murky. There is a large vessel passing us now on our larboard side called the Lady Westmoreland, westward bound, a full-sized ship. Two bells are now being struck, indicating one o’clock p.m. My time is 20 minutes to nine. About 20 minutes ago we say a large full-rigged ship about five miles off, westward bound on our larboard side. All hands are on the qui vive. About making land tomorrow. Signed a paper certifying our gratitude to the captain and crew for their civilities.

August 29th: One of our party would not sign the paper, Mrs. Foy, an Irish lady. They refused to alter her berth; rather a decent old lady. The ship’s time seven minutes to four p.m. My time is 27 minutes past eleven a.m. We are to have a jubilee tonight, and we really had a merry time. There were about 20 of us. Likely the very last time we shall have on this trip. Among the number were the captain and lady, the minister and lady, the ship’s doctor Morier, Mrs. Foy, Mrs. Larson, the Australian lady, Mr. Ross, Mr. Phillips, my berthmate Adolph Stein, in short nearly all the passengers of both cabins. The management of the evening was conducted much to the gratification of all, but most to our cabin passengers (Mr. R.N. Tate is the chair, assisted by Dr. Morier as vice).

August 30th: Early next morning long before sunrise, we were called to see land! The Irish coast! Then such a hurrah was got up to see the green hills of old Ireland. Old Mrs. Foy among the rest. The Irish Coast as we made it on Friday morning, August 30, 1867. While on board of the iron steamship Iowa off Glasgow, Captain Hederwick, Chief Mate Robert Stewart. Rain, rain. We are said to be opposite port. Rush to the right of which we can barely see the Saints Causeway. The pilot and custom house officers came on board about an hour ago and have just left us. Their boats are fine lifeboats built with two bows, four oars. The steam tug is now come up alongside. She will take about 30 of our passengers from us, among which two belong to our cabin: Old Mrs. Jane Foy and an Irish girl. From the first cabin will go Mr. and Mrs. Cunningham, the minister and his wife, together with the little Nightingale, Miss Ophelia, and quite a lot of luggage and quite a number of steerage passengers. They cast off the ropes holding the tug and away they went, and as they rounded to head for the land we discovered her name, singular enough, The Souter Johnny of London. How she could be a London boat and have such a name, let doctors tell. Our departed passengers now came crowding to her stern and waving of hats and handkerchiefs was the order of the day. For a time the faint drumming of her paddlewheels was swallowed up in distance. Nothing but the little jaunty bonnet and light blue veil of the little Nightingale could be seen. We swung around and in a short time our separation was complete. It is now nearly dark, eight bells has just rung. My time 20 minutes after three p.m. We are now passing a large pig iron factory and furnace on the Ayreshire side of the Firth and heading for Cremora Light. It is now quite dark. We expect to be at Glasgow tonight, or early in the morning. All the porter, ale, and wine is used up. The steward declares he is a broken merchant. I have had a cold nearly all the way across. We are running up the Firth by the screw and forestaysail. The distance between the saloon and the forecabin is on the main deck twenty-one yards. We have passed the Tower point light. It is a revolving light. Heading for Clough Light. Midway between each on the Ayreshire side stand the Castle of Montgomery (of Burns’ Highland Mary). It would appear that there were two large islands at the mouth of the Clyde, one on the Argyle side on which stands the Cremora Light; the other on the Ayrshire side, the Clough Light is on the mainland. The numerous dwellings that are seen at the mouth of the river are watering places. As we proceed up the Firth we passed several towns of which nothing could be seen, being night, but long rows of street gas lights. As we passed up things and places could only be guessed at, it being quite dark. I retired to bed and during a night of Durdom and Yo Heave Oh, we jam our way up the narrow river, scarcely wide enough for our noble ship to swing around. At length down dropped the anchor.
      We were really now at Glasgow. In the morning we arose and took our last meal on board the Iowa, and packed off to the tavern after a very brief inspection by the Custom House officer. As he was assured by our worthy fellow passenger, Mr. William McLean, who assured him we had no tobacco, Mr. McLean took us to a very respectable house to put up at, and we soon found ourselves in comfortable quarters. I had scarcely got seated when I missed my shawl. Back I scampered to the ship and found it hanging up in my stateroom. But during the short time I was away, oh, what a change! All was torn away. Berths, tables, all former signs of a cabin was gone. I got my shawl, however, and returned to the hotel, where I remained until night. The Dr. ungenerously took dinner at my table and left me to pay his bill. Sloan, the Albany gardener, got drunk and I picked up his watch under the table. The disgrace, I am sure, would grieve him when he became sober, but he had got back to Glasgow; that was enough. And this is the last I have seen of any of them. I ought to have bid farewell to Mr. John Wilson, carriage maker of Patrick near Glasgow. I now sought Adolph Stein , and we remained there until car time. I bought a suit of clothes and a Highland bonnet. Poor Adolph said he had lost a pound note soon after he and I took the cars for Carlyle, where we parted, he to Antwerp and I to Bp. Wearmouth, and this is the very last of Adolph Stein. We parted at one o’clock Sunday morning, September 1, 1867.


October 21st, 1867: Steamed up about twenty minutes to four p.m. Captain H.D. Cutting, on Wednesday.

October 23rd: Mr. Alexander, Mrs. Armstrong, and your humble servant, on the steam tug. So to our steamship Helvetia. Mrs. Armstrong alluded to above is the daughter of Mrs. Coplestone, the hostess of the Clifton House situated at No. 41 Islington, Liverpool. Her first husband’s name was Clark. The father of the above Mrs. Armstrong, Mr. Clark, died, and Mrs. Clark married a Mr. Coplestone, proprietor of the Clifton House. He afterward died of cholera, and after his death Mr. Alexander, boarding at the Clifton House, engaged to keep the books and accounts of the widow, and this was the condition of affairs when I went there to board on the 17th of October, 1867. During my stay there, which was about six days, Miss Clark, the oldest daughter of Mrs. Copelstone, married Mr. Armstrong. Armstrong hails from California, hence the bride and groom sails with me. On the eve of the 23rd of October, 1867, we left the port of Liverpool and after crossing the Irish Sea, rounding Cornsore Point, took a beeline for the Cove of Cork, Ireland, to call at Queenstown to take on more passengers. The tug that brought them on board of us, on Thursday at five p.m., we there took on board 140 passengers and several cabin passengers. Accompanying the tug were a bevy of peddlers, some with fruit and some with poultry, vegetables, etc., and one of them had sets of bog oak jewelry. I bought and several of the passengers bought, and I believe he would have sold all he had had not the tug rung her bell. So this paddy Moses had to scamper on to the tug. We swung around into the channel again. It was growing dark. Passed Kinsale Light. This was Thursday night. We had now made since we left Liverpool 300 miles, about 8 deg. 20’ west of Greenwich, 1 deg. 35’ south, and 5 deg. 10’ west of Liverpool. Once clear of Kinsale, we soon bid farewell old Ireland. We coasted along during the night, leaving cape clear far behind in the morning. The sun arose and such a lovely morning, but the wind was on our starboard bow.

Friday, October 25th: Altho we had most of our sails set going on very pleasantly, that fine vessel, the City of Antwerp, that left Liverpool a short time after we did, now appeared on our starboard quarter and soon heading us and sailed across our bow and bore away in gallant syle. It is asserted she will be in New York Harbour three days before we will. She is deep laden and has her full complement of passengers, 500, and about 25 in the cabin. We have seen very few vessels today. Our consort has outrun us and disappeared. On we jog, the wind is not favorable, inclining to storm. Wind, increasing, misty all around the horizon, threatening rain. Wind WNW. Very few astir this morning. Our passengers and names become known to us and the familiarity of sea life is fast growing everywhere. Sea running a rough day upon the whole. Wind toward night increasing. The rolling and pitching of the vessel is very uncomfortable to all, but we are not to grumble. We are on the ocean on the tail end of October. A rough night threatens us, with the wind nearly dead ahead. Roll, roll, clatter, clatter, creak, creak, grumble, grumble. Fudge, fudge. This will be rough among the steerage passengers.

Sunday, October 27th: We have been now 89 hours at sea, time 9 a.m. The ship has been on the other tack ever since four o’clock this morning. The wind shifted round to the north yesterday morning. It is said we are only making four knots an hour. We are doing much better now, however. Mrs. Armstrong has only been once on deck since the storm began. Mr. Armstrong has taken no breakfast this morning, nor was any of the ladies astir. There is a good arrangement for the ladies, an appropriate apartment is set apart for their convenience during stormy weather, and they are provided with every convenience. The stewardess can administer to their wants, and they are in a better shape to assist each other. They are excused from sitting at table, take their meals there, and not to be seen if seasick. Time 11 a.m. Sea running high. Wind moderating. No minister astir today. Of course, no divine service. Time 4 p.m. Weather more moderate, yet we roll very disagreeably. We have now, Sunday 10 p.m., been 108 hours at sea. If we have had an average speed of 8 knots per hour, we will have come 816 miles. I took no notes on Monday, Tuesday. Yesterday we had a game at leaping frog. The captain, in leaping over W.C.’s back, the unbearer broke down, the captain rolled over, lost his hat overboard, and is supposed to have gone back to Liverpool.

October 28th: Arose this morning at seven o’clock a.m. Nearly all our sails set. A complete rainbow seen to windward; not much apparent increase to our speed. The ship is heading two point N of W, a steady, unbroken, rolling sea. I omitted to state yesterday evening, the ladies had a private concert in their sanctum. The captain and lady were there.

October 29th: This is the first really clear day since we left Liverpool. It cleared up prior to noon. The captain and mates took the sun today. This is the first observation I have seen during the voyage. This sunset, unseen by the crowd after supper. The amusement consisted of various tricks and sports. The following are among the many performed. A circle consisting of the performers standing up, the larger the crowd the better. In the center, a person placed with a cloak on. To the lower hind part of the cloak they tie a small whistle connected by a piece of string about 18 inches long. The cloaked man or woman is surrounded by the party, securely blindfolded, and the players take every advantage of his condition and blow the whistle in turn while he takes the most dexterous means to grab the blower, he keeping all the time swinging around, this causes a tug on the whistle, gives him an idea in what direction to grab the teaser or blower, who, if grabbed, the penalty is to wear the cloak and whistle in turn.
          The Captain’s Conundrum – Captain B.B.B.B. sent his C.C.C.C. to the D.D.D.D.
          Mr. Knox’s feat – an empty wine bottle is placed on the deck of the cabin, and a person sits down upon it. He has then to cross his legs, allowing only the heel of one of his boots to touch the floor. He is now requested to thread a needle without any assistance from any part of his person. To prevent him from rolling over, our friend the giant Mr. _______ proposed a mathematical puzzle. He requests Jones to put down three figures of any number he chose. Jones did so, thus 746. Now I will add three figures, 651. Now you add three, 348. Oh, fudge.

November 2nd, 1867: Time 11 a.m. We have now been 235 hours at sea. Time 8 bells. All inclosed in murky clouds. It cleared again about noon. The captain and mates are busy with their quadrants again. A fine day. Enough sail set to keep her steady. They do us no good otherwise. A muss among the steerage passengers. Three or four Irishmen nearly choked a poor Jew. The captain threatened to put them in irons. This has settled the matter, and all is quiet again. A very fine night, a new moon, but head winds blowing all the time. Steady from the NW shifted my bed. We will soon have been nine days at sea. They are betting that we will be at New York by Wednesday at four p.m. Weather coolish. The steerage passengers are kept quiet by plenty of good victuals and fresh air. They are brought upon deck early in the morning until breakfast is nearly ready for them. They are then permitted to remain but a short time after breakfast below, and are hustled up on deck again in bad weather, which has been very seldom. There is less to be seen of them, but invariably they are by far the greater part of the time on deck. This morning about 2 a.m. the wind blew strong. The ship is scudding away. We have been taking in sail. The wind is a little more moderate. The squall has passed us. The fog is gathering around us, so much so that by four a.m. we were perfectly certain of our whereabouts as far as the Bahama Banks is concerned. Precaution was now necessary to avoid collision while we are in this fog. The whistle is blown quite frequently. It is beginning to clear away again. The vessel is now going about 8 knots. We have made the best day’s work today of any day since our start, 260 miles since yesterday noon. 4 p.m. foggy yet. For about 2½ hours in the middle of the day the sky was quite clear. They have drawn up a lottery of 24 numbers. For each number you pay two shillings, equalling 48 shillings. This is awarded to the person drawing the number of the boat that brings us our first pilot. I say the first, because we take two. Scudding away. The wind is increasing. Now 11 a.m., wind NNW, blowing fresh. The bank fog is fast disappearing. It is not very cold. The ship is rolling (she rolls too much) at times, looking down upon the ocean from the poop is grand, apart from the general dark green, sometimes the light striking through the broken crest of the wave is a fine transparent crome green, but otherwise the sea is without much variation in colour, a cold dark bottle green and nothing more. Time 11 a.m. Going 9½ knots. Our canvas is two trissils. The wind is too strong to carry more. Wind NNW. Last night, Friday, we had a game at cards. The doctor, Mr. and Mrs. Armstrong, and myself, we had too a little champagne, sherry, and brandy. I went to bed at 11 p.m. Tonight they have been playing cards at the other end of the table, but two have quit. The most of them all gone to roost. The captain sang something to the giant, making him laugh. The scene closes.

Sunday, November 3rd, 1867: Time 4 a.m. Wind increasing. Blow, blow. A small gale almost from the W, of course right ahead. We pitch but don’t roll. The sea is bespattered with foam all over, heavy vibrations and thundering blows are received in quick succession, yet on we go, on we go. The sun is struggling through the mist and the clattering of plates announces breakfast at five a.m. The constellation Orion on the larboard bow and the Pleides on the starboard, and numerous others of the heavenly hosts. I went on deck after breakfast and remained until after noon. The highest waves yet. The ship’s motion is too much for the crowd, altho the wind has abated some. There was divine service in the saloon this forenoon, but Mr. Knox, his daughter, and I were not present. The general [James Garfield – later President Garfield , as later entry will confirm] has crowded the [Tate’s] Glengary Bonnet on it – don’t seem to be a bad fit after all, but it is quite pliable and elastic. He is the very model of a Highland Chief. He has by far the largest head of us all. The sea is going it.

Monday, November 4th: Time 7 a.m. A fine morning, much more pleasant of course. Much less sublime. Yesterday was a great and glorious day. We are spreading more sail. During the blow yesterday, we had every sail snugly brailed up and stowed away as snug as possible, our yards pointing to windward. The wind screamed through the wire rigging while our noble ship dashed away fearlessly through the angry foam. The screw is beat, beating, sometimes heavy and sometimes faint. Time nearly 10 a.m. I am busy plotting how to conceal my traps. We have gone 200 miles in the last 24 hours.

Tuesday the 5th: A fine morning. All the sails are set for the first time nearly during the entire trip, and she is going gloriously one point W of due south, or rather one point S of W. The sea is rolling us moderately. I have not seen a fish during our whole passage, nor did I see any on our passage out. There are a few ducks or something of the kind skimming over the waves in various places, numbering from 6 to 12 in a flock, flying close to the water. Otherwise, the world’s great ocean that encircles us is all our own. This is the coldest morning I have experienced since I left home (Rock Island) [Ill.]. Yesterday, while in my stateroom, I imagined I heard [wife] Margaret call “Pa” quite plainly. It caused me to turn around quickly, for I thought the voice came in at my stateroom lense from the ocean. Tuesday noon a small bird came on board and flew around us, alighting on the spars and ropes to rest. Sometimes by its long absence we thought it left us and we should see no more of it until back it would come and rest again. There is a large vessel in sight, a barque about 8 miles from us. We are as we left – have a game of shuffleboard on the saloon deck. This game has given us a great deal of amusing recreation. It suits the general [Garfield] to a T. We have made, since we left Liverpool, 10 deg. 80’ latitude and 54 deg. 28’ longitude.

Wednesday, November 6th, 1867: Made land about 10 a.m. We passed a tall lighthouse, now we are running along the coast about six miles from shore, I should think. Wind is quite brisk and dead ahead as usual. Took a pilot on board last evening after sunset about three-quarters of an hour. The wind has been right ahead all night. This morning was pleasant, but we are having a cold fresh breeze. Vessels all around us and land a continuous line of sand banks, scattering trees, village steeples, and small craft close in shore. No log displayed today, we are steaming against a smart breeze right ahead. We are now entering the Bay and rounding into the narrows of our port. The Highlands of Neversink to our bert [sic] in the North river until long after sunset. Passed the white triangular harbour light in the middle of the narrows run up to quarantine and stopped. A small tug came steaming towards us, rounded under our stern, and came gently up on our larboard side. The tug’s name was the George Birbeck. She is owned by the line as a tender. General Garfield’s valuables were put on board of her, so were the General and his lady. He came from his stateroom about the time the tugboat boarded us. He came to me, he and his lady, and quite politely returned my Highland Bonnet and thanked me very much for the use of it. Got on board of the tug. Being United States Senator, the customs had no power to examine his luggage. Garfield is gone for aye, and one or two of our passengers have also stolen off (sunset). We are now steaming up to the City [New York] and will come to anchor at Christe Street. Took supper and went to bed.

Thursday, November 7th: Thursday morning all our trunks were put on board of a small steamer and landed on the customhouse pier, and there examined. I concealed the lense, but acknowledged to the microscope. “Bring it along,” said the officer, entering the office. I was to confront a number of officers sitting around a table. I had deranged the instrument so as to (if not compelled to produce it) have some use of it. Nevertheless they taxed me $16.75 for opticks. I had the lense of 4½ diameter in my breast pocket and a Dyer telescope (small) around my neck and 14 yards of silk hanging inside my overcoat down my back, and I got off very easily. Mr. Kuffman had to pay a large bill for dresses, 90% on silk. The Rev. Mr. Williams had to pay 14 pounds sterling on a gross of silver forks. The lamed man from Canada was still fighting the custom house officers. He had employed a lawyer and I hear has made worse of it. He says he had three dresses. Mr. Knox also paid heavily. A lady is said to have passed with an enormous lot of plunder in a large packing case by declaring it was only bedding. “You may break it open an examine it.” We were set free at last. The cab man nearly worried us after all, but did not. We were now taken to the Lovejoy Hotel, a temperance house where the Armstrongs will remain until Monday, and then they will depart for California. I think the Rev. Williams will go with them after dinner at the Lovejoy. The Armstrongs and I went to make our exchanges again. I had to exchange 198 sovereigns. Each dollar in gold is worth $1.40



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