Lot 240    

Ship's Journal of a Voyage from New Orleans to Liverpool, 1815
2010, American History, Including the Civil War
Unbound, 58pp

In the months after the end of the War of 1812, John Nichols shipped out aboard the merchantman, General Hamilton, as it sailed from New Orleans to Liverpool and then back to New York. The journal he kept during that voyage (and subsequent ones) begins as a fairly standard daily log of position, direction, wind and weather, but upon the return trip from Liverpool to New York and Antwerp, it moves into a more narrative form. Little is known of Nichols, although he appears to have been a man still learning his craft: the journal includes a record of the buoys in New York Harbor, and exercises in finding the time at sea (by several methods) and lunar estimation of longitude. By personality, though, he seems to have had larger dreams: early in the journal, as he was returning to New York, he writes of his grandiose plans for his new invention, a silent chronometer. Nichols most interestingly includes his invention in his Rules for my conduct and behavior after I arrive in N. York, which seem remarkably un-seaman like:

1st Drink no ardent spirits and abstain from women 2nd Live in a private family and ditto ditto 3rd Keep genteel company and but very little of that. Live retired and attend constantly to the Sabath to public worship and avoid swaring 4th Apply ameadeately for money to my brother and in case he does not supply me apply to a stranger for the purpose of bringing the above machine to perfection and secure a patent from our government preavous to making it public as to have all lucrative advantage which will naturally arrive from the discovery of the chronometer, which is the name I shall give to the instrument or in other words a silent chronometer as it will give you the time of night at any place on any meredean...

Nichols comments on his ships’ officers, too, comparing two of his captains in a revealing manner: I find there is as much difference between Capt. Gantley and Capt. Deypester as possible, the one economical and the [other] extravagant and his mind sure as the wind which is always a head, so is he always opposed to any regulation that we formerly had in the ship on the passage out...

The apparent propriety of his rules for conduct and his criticism of Capt. Depeyster, though, may not reflect Nichols’ actual behavior, and much of the rest of the journal sounds more like what one might expect of a roving seaman. On his 33rd birthday (Feb. 20, 1817), Nichols mused on his moral state: I make these remarks as I am thirty three years old and not worth a cent in the world and owe about 500 Dollars... and now I am determine if it pleases God to assist me in my determination that is to forsake all lewd women be temperate in my drinking ardent spirits and economical in all my expences get clear of debt clothe my self and remit home all the money that I can spare to my parents for there support in there old age and in part by them for there assistance to me and my duty to the best of parents whom I have shamefully neglected during my absence from them....

Apparently, he had something to worry about. The journal includes a long and complicated passage, not quite complete, that seems to describe a just-missed assignment with the wife of a man with whom he was doing business, after he got the money on board, he learned he was in danger I being ignorant of my danger went on as cheareful as ever and he presented me with a double joe or sixteen dollars and his wife put on had put up for me a jarr of sweet meets and in the bottom ware a beautiful ring which I lost in Riojanario one night when in bed with a ----- W.

The last thirty pages of the journal appear to be something of a memoir of Nichols’ exploits at sea in the years prior to the War of 1812, with accounts of his time in Rio de Janeiro, Valparaiso, and other ports in South America. He mentions visiting a Catholic county on St John’s Day, when all labor was set aside and nothing but going to mass and then to sport and pastime. The women go to what is call midnight mass in order to fulfill some intrigues or in other words adorn her husband’s head with antlers which them is but few that have not the affectation of cuckold...

In Rio, he was more explicit: I was constantly employed in the night time and in the day time having so many opportunities on shore and seeing so many pretty fair that I was enammoured with all of the fair sex I was six weeks constant on shore and in the cours of that time I had thirty eight different wives or concubines I spent two thousand dollars broke my constitution all to pieces and returned to American pendys(?). Thus I made a business of F---g. One night when I was at the play I fell enamoured with an Atalian actress and got access to her and reined her kind embrace for the paltry sum of one hundred dollars. Thus you may say with the authors a fool and his money is soon separated for I found the pleasure had some durability as her paint had that set her face off to such an advantage the night that I first saw her on the stage, I found in the morning was wrinkled and ugly and the paint is the cause of our A....s got rubbed off so that she was disgustfull.

The journal includes twelve pages of sketch maps of coast lines visited and entries into port; a wonderful map of the Atlantic depicting the course of the General Hamilton as it voyaged from New York to the west coast of Africa December 1815; a plan of a harbor in Trinidad; and a map of English Harbor in “Bonavista” (off the west coast of Africa).

A colorful look into a sailor’s life during the period of the War of 1812, with excellent content on sailors’ attitudes, navigation and shipboard life, and life in ports of call in South America, along with several attractive maps.


Condition:  
Expected wear and some soiling, a few pages apparently lacking, else good condition.
Sold: $587.50
Price includes
Buyer's Premium
      Ask a Question

All Images

don't miss

an opportunity to bid. You can't win if you're not in.

sign up to bid

what's it worth?

ask the experts

sell your item

start selling
Confederate Broadside from West Virginia, 1861
Lot # 100 - Confederate Broadside from West Virginia, 1861
1p, 14 June 1861, 9.5 x 12.25 in. To the People of North Western Virginia. By the Governor of Virginia. A Proclamation. Signed in type by John Letcher. The announcement that Virginia has seceded from the Union with a plea for volunteers to defend her. Letcher makes an appeal on "kinship:" Men of the... > Item Details
Civil War Requisition Docketed by Genls. L.A. Grant, MOH and G.W. Getty
Lot # 90 - Civil War Requisition Docketed by Genls. L.A. Grant, MOH and G.W. Getty
1p, approx. 8 x 12.5 in., from Erastus D. Holt, Lt. Col. Commanding, Headquarters 49th NYVI, Patrick's Station, VA, 17 Jan. 1865. To the Governor of New York, Reuben Fenton, requesting five companies of troops to bring the 49th back up to regiment strength. In the letter Holt enumerates the hard-fou... > Item Details
U.S. Civil War Confederate Model 1840 Cavalry Sword by <i>William Glaze & Co. Columbia S.C.</i>
Lot # 139 - U.S. Civil War Confederate Model 1840 Cavalry Sword by William Glaze & Co. Columbia S.C.
35" blade stamped Columbia, S.C. with inspector's mark A. The swords marked Columbia, S.C. are believed to be part of the palmetto Armoury Contract of 1852. An extremely rare sword in this condition. See Albaugh, 1957: 108. > Item Details
<i>C.G. Bush & Co.</i> Kaleidoscope, 1873
Lot # 269 - C.G. Bush & Co. Kaleidoscope, 1873
Long, leather-covered barrel with brass-mounted end in form of ship's wheel, which rotates to change image viewed, brass stamped G.G. Bush & Co. Prov. R.I. / Patent Reissued Nov. 11 - 1873, dia. 3.5 in., ln. 10.25 in. Mounted on a mahogany column with 6.5 in. diameter turned mahogany base, total hei... > Item Details
Assorted Jewelry That Descended Directly in the Lincoln Family
Lot # 311 - Assorted Jewelry That Descended Directly in the Lincoln Family
Lot of 11 items, including the following: a tortoise shell hair ornament, approx. lg. 5 in.; gold sweater clip, lg. 8.25 in.; gold watch engraved on backside SWEETHEART from JIMMER. June 5th '20, face .75 x .75 in., on black ribbon band; gold necklace, lg. 12.5 in.; and cameo bracelet, lg. 7.5 in., ... > Item Details
Alexander Gardner Stereoview of <i>Gen. Andrew Porter's Staff</i>, Including a Young Geo. A. Custer
Lot # 46 - Alexander Gardner Stereoview of Gen. Andrew Porter's Staff, Including a Young Geo. A. Custer
On a pale yellow square-cornered mount, with Gardner's imprinted 1862 copyright line and applied paper label ink inscribed Gen' Andrew Porter's Staff on recto, with applied printed label from Gardner's Photographic Incidents of the War series on verso, ID'd as No. 389/Group of Gen. Andrew Porter's S... > Item Details
Group of Brady Negatives of Stage Performers
Lot # 264 - Group of Brady Negatives of Stage Performers
Lot of 21 collodion negatives primarily depicting 19th century stage performers, produced by Mathew Brady, most with 2 half-plate exposures on same plate, including exposures of the following actors and actresses: Tommaso Salvini; Emma Abbott (3); Annis Montague; Signor Operti; Zelda Sequin; Francis... > Item Details
Signed  Abraham Lincoln Military Appointment for General Stahel
Lot # 283 - Signed Abraham Lincoln Military Appointment for General Stahel
Vellum, partially printed document, approx. 15.25 x 19 in. Washington, 17 March 1863. For Julius H. Stahel as Major General of Volunteers, to date from 14 March 1863. Stahel (1825-1912) was born in Hungary, where he entered the Austrian army after his education. He ended up on the wrong side of the ... > Item Details
Geronimo Cabinet Card by Irwin, Chickasha, Indian Territory
Lot # 387 - Geronimo Cabinet Card by Irwin, Chickasha, Indian Territory
Albumen photograph of Geronimo holding a Dance & Bros. Confederate revolver, with Irwin's Chickasha, Indian Territory imprint below image on mount, ca 1890. Verso includes a light, penciled inscription about Geronimo as well as a newspaper clipping pasted to the bottom half, featuring the headline G... > Item Details
Frank LaRoche Photograph of American Indian Woman with Blanket
Lot # 537 - Frank LaRoche Photograph of American Indian Woman with Blanket
Hand-tinted silver print of aged American Indian woman wrapped in blanket, marked LaRoche, Seattle and copyrighted lower right, ca 1910s, 6 x 8 in. > Item Details
L.A. Huffman Cabinet Photo of Crow Women
Lot # 432 - L.A. Huffman Cabinet Photo of Crow Women
Albumen cabinet card photograph of four Crow women seated together in a studio setting, with L.A. Huffman's Miles City, M.T. imprint below image, ca 1890. > Item Details
U.S. Civil War Confederate Pike
Lot # 159 - U.S. Civil War Confederate Pike
20" bayonet, iron blade made into a pike with a 6" socket. For a similar example see Brown, 1967: 119, plate 100. > Item Details
<i>J. Brown, Glasgow</i> Improved Stereoscope
Lot # 270 - J. Brown, Glasgow Improved Stereoscope
A pedestal stereoscope with burr-walnut veneered body, rack-and-pinion focusing lens pair, double hinged lid with mirrors, and bone plaque engraved Improved Stereoscope, J. Brown, 76 St. Vincent Strt. Glasgow, ht. 16.5 in., with hand-turned transport mechanism containing 26 reproductions of Keystone... > Item Details
Roland Reed Blackfeet Indian Photographs
Lot # 539 - Roland Reed Blackfeet Indian Photographs
Lot of three 8 x 10 in. toned silver prints, one of a line of mounted Blackfeet on a ridge, penciled The Vanishing Race, H 27/53 on verso but known to be titled The Trail Makers, Piegan Indian, taken by Reed at Glacier National Park in 1912, plus two more of Blackfeet Indians conferencing near their... > Item Details
James A. Garfield Civil War Uniform Button, Framed with Document
Lot # 168 - James A. Garfield Civil War Uniform Button, Framed with Document
Brass uniform button featuring a shield eagle with the "I" for infantry, framed with an engraving of General Garfield in his Civil War uniform and a note of authenticity signed by Rudolph H. Garfield, 13.5 x 15 in. overall. The back of the frame is inscribed in black marker This frame was made from... > Item Details
Ben Wittick Boudoir Photograph of <i>Loco</i>, Chief of Warm Spring Apaches
Lot # 399 - Ben Wittick Boudoir Photograph of Loco, Chief of Warm Spring Apaches
A boudoir photograph identified as Loco, Chief of Warm Spring Apaches and signed Wittick in negative, a Frank Wesson rifle that appears in other Wittick photos rests at Chief Loco's side. With a tag attached to verso that reads Second International Congress of Eugenics Exhibit of Scientific Studies ... > Item Details
Alexander Gardner Stereoviews of Civil War Hospitals
Lot # 63 - Alexander Gardner Stereoviews of Civil War Hospitals
Lot of 2, each on cream square-cornered mounts, including: one view with Gardner's imprinted 1862 copyright line and applied manuscript label inked Confederate Hospital at Cedar Mountain on recto and an applied printed label from Gardner's Photographic Incidents of the War series on verso, ID'd No. ... > Item Details
Archive of African American Colonel Charles Young
Lot # 208 - Archive of African American Colonel Charles Young
1882-1925; ca 300 items, plus 11 photos, including an 8 x 10 print of Young in dress uniform, a full plate tintype of a young child, and nine images from a dedication ceremony at Central State University and his Spanish-American War-era uniform. Although Col. Charles Young is relatively obscure toda... > Item Details
Civil War Furlough Endorsed by Generals E.M. Gregory, WIA at Chancellorsville & J.L. Chamberlain, WIA at Petersburg
Lot # 93 - Civil War Furlough Endorsed by Generals E.M. Gregory, WIA at Chancellorsville & J.L. Chamberlain, WIA at Petersburg
1p, 8 x 10 in., manuscript furlough for Sgt. Stevens L. Smith and Corp'l Abram Thompson, Co. G, 187th NY Vols., dated June 1st, 1865, to go to Washington to visit a sick brother and cousin in hospital for ten(10) hours. Docketed on verso by Bvt. Brig. Gen. Edgar M. Gregory (1804-1871), an ardent ab... > Item Details
Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, ANS
Lot # 218 - Charles Carroll, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, ANS
Receipt, 8 Dec. 1802, acknowledging $338.22 received from Dan Carroll for interest on Charles Carroll's bond. Approx. 2.5 x 6 in. (sight) framed with lithograph of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Although as a Roman Catholic Charles Carroll (1737-1832) could not enter politics, practice law or even v... > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: