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
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
Christian Barthelmess Photograph of <i>Little Chief</i>
Lot # 439 - Christian Barthelmess Photograph of Little Chief
Ca 1890. Card mounted 8 x 5.5 in., with Barthelmess' Fort Keogh imprint on verso. Little Chief (ca 1827-1906) negotiated the surrender of the Northern Cheyenne in 1877 after the Little Big Horn. In this image, taken much later shows the aged leader holding a gold-headed cane, probably a gift from ... > Item Details
Pennsylvania Civil War Generals, POW and WIA, Collection of Signed Letters and Documents
Lot # 85 - Pennsylvania Civil War Generals, POW and WIA, Collection of Signed Letters and Documents
Lot of 10. Letters and documents from ten Civil War Generals. Two date to 1873 and relate to the reunion (one acceptance, one unable to attend), seven date to 1889 and are either thank yous or requests for copies of Boynton's letters on the Battles of Chickamauga and Chattanooga (these are addressed... > Item Details
Civil War Photograph of Officers from the 44th NY Vols., <i>Ellsworth's Avengers</i>
Lot # 29 - Civil War Photograph of Officers from the 44th NY Vols., Ellsworth's Avengers
Albumen photograph, 6 x 8.25 in. with clipped corners, on a mount trimmed to the same size with printed label of Churchill & Denison of Albany, New York, and two five-cent revenue stamps, dated in ink Oct 14, 1864, applied to verso. The 44th NY Vols., or "Ellsworth's Avengers," were so called as the... > Item Details
Civil War Archive of David Grosvenor, U.S. Colored Infantry, 13th & 100th Regiments
Lot # 78 - Civil War Archive of David Grosvenor, U.S. Colored Infantry, 13th & 100th Regiments
22 items David Grosvenor’s service in the Civil War was unusual in several regards. First off, he served in the regular army, rather than a state unit that had been federalized, volunteering in November 1861 to serve as private in the 13th U.S. Infantry. Recognized by his officers as a man of gre... > Item Details
Abraham Lincoln Memorial CDV Tintype
Lot # 295 - Abraham Lincoln Memorial CDV Tintype
Oval, approx. 1.25 x 2 in., mounted in a cdv-style mat with angels surrounding the oval opening, with a facsimile signature. The card is mounted in a 4.5 x 5.75 in. frame. The tintype is from a lithograph; the cheeks have been colored. > Item Details
L.A. Huffman Photographs of Cowboys Roping Horse & Cattle
Lot # 504 - L.A. Huffman Photographs of Cowboys Roping Horse & Cattle
A pair of two albumen printing out images mounted on 5.5 x 4.5 in. cream mounts, with Huffman, Miles City handstamp on verso. A fine, 1880-90s pair, one showing three cowboys with a roped steer, the other of two cowboys fitting a mare with a hackamore, with her colt looking on, the latter illustrat... > Item Details
Scarce Photograph of Western Surveyor, Francis Vinton Greene
Lot # 375 - Scarce Photograph of Western Surveyor, Francis Vinton Greene
Lot of 2, one cdv and one cabinet card. Both taken at the same time, with imprint of Charles A. Zimmerman, St. Paul, MN. In the cabinet photo Greene is wearing cold-weather gear, a knit hat and scarf, and Cree fringed leather jacket, pants and embroidered fur mittens. The footwear is also Cree in de... > Item Details
Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside Signed Photograph
Lot # 488 - Brigadier General Samuel M. Whitside Signed Photograph
Ca late 1880s. 3.25 x 5 in. photo (a bit larger than a standard cdv) inscribed and signed S.M. Whitside U.S.A, with backmark of Williams & Thomson, Kansas City, MO. Samuel Marmaduke Whitside was born in 1839 in Toronto, Canada. He enlisted as a private in New York City in 1858 and assigned to the 6t... > Item Details
George Wythe, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, LS
Lot # 219 - George Wythe, Signer of the Declaration of Independence, LS
3pp 8 x 10 in., 19 Aug. 1797, n.p. stated. Legal document signed by Rawleigh Colston and docketed by Wythe with his decision on the fourth page. George Wythe (1726-1806) was a lawyer who served in a number of positions, including Mayor of Williamsburg and judge in the Court of Chancery. He was a rep... > Item Details
Ballard Civil War Carbine
Lot # 127 - Ballard Civil War Carbine
.44 RF, 22.5" octagonal-to-round barrel; S/N 14501. Three-leaf rear sight. Walnut stock and forearm. > Item Details
Annie Oakley Signed Photograph, Plus
Lot # 512 - Annie Oakley Signed Photograph, Plus
Lot of 2, including a 4.5 x 6.5 in. photograph of an older Annie Oakley signed Annie Oakley / 1922, in an 8.5 x 10 in. frame, and 3.25 in. square photograph of Frank Butler and Annie Oakley shooting alongside each other on a skeet deck, inked Compliments of Frank E. Butler and Annie Oakley / Oct 192... > Item Details
Robert Todd Lincoln & Mary Harlan Lincoln Monogrammed Handkerchiefs
Lot # 306 - Robert Todd Lincoln & Mary Harlan Lincoln Monogrammed Handkerchiefs
Lot of 10 lightweight cotton handkerchiefs, including 4 monogrammed RTL; 1 monogrammed Mary; and 5 featuring a monogram that is difficult to decipher; measurements range from 11 in. square to 21 in. square. Property of the Heir of Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith (1904-1985) and Margaret Fristoe (1901-2... > Item Details
<i>A Pictorial Description of Broadway</i> by the Mail & Express, 1899
Lot # 343 - A Pictorial Description of Broadway by the Mail & Express, 1899
6 x 17 in. oblong booklet, printed paper wraps. Pages 2 through 74 are blocks of New York along Broadway. For example, the first two are Broadway, West Side, Bowling Green to Morris St. and opposite is Broadway, East Side. Bowling Green to Hudson Bldg. Page 75 through 91 and covers are ads, which in... > Item Details
<i>A Treatise on Heliochromy</i> by L[evi] L. Hill, 1856
Lot # 268 - A Treatise on Heliochromy by L[evi] L. Hill, 1856
Or the Production of Pictures by Means of Light in Natural Colors, Embracing a full, plain and unreserbed Description of the Process Known as the Hillotype;....on paper, velvet, parchment, silk, muslin, porcelain, wood &c. New York: Robert Craighead, 1856. 8vo, printed paper wraps. Prospectus for hi... > Item Details
Revolutionary War Militia General William Davidson LS, 1780
Lot # 1 - Revolutionary War Militia General William Davidson LS, 1780
1p, approx. 8 x 12.5 in. Camp [at] Rocky River, 10 Oct. 1780. Secretarial letter signed by Genl. Wm. Davidson to Brig. Genl. Jethro Sumner reporting the Continental rout of the British forces near King's Mountain (NC) under Patrick Ferguson and his death in the battle. A version of this letter was p... > Item Details
U.S. Civil War Model 1855 Bayonet with Type II Scabbard
Lot # 166 - U.S. Civil War Model 1855 Bayonet with Type II Scabbard
18" blade with U.S. and with inspector's initials. Nice leather Type II scabbard with brass fittings. > Item Details
Christian Barthelmess Boudoir Photographs of <i>Dives Backwards</i>, Northern Cheyenne
Lot # 436 - Christian Barthelmess Boudoir Photographs of Dives Backwards, Northern Cheyenne
Lot of 2, each with Barthelmess' imprint on verso. A member of the Fox Society, Dives Backwards was present at the battle of the Little Bighorn. > Item Details
F.J. Haynes Stereoview of Noted Sioux Indian Chiefs
Lot # 416 - F.J. Haynes Stereoview of Noted Sioux Indian Chiefs
A stereoview of Noted Sioux Indian Chiefs as titled and on verso, identified from left to right as: Gall, Crawler, Crow King, Running Antelope, and Rain-In-The-Face, taken at Fort Yates on the Standing Rock Reservation in the summer of 1881. Note that Rain-In-The-Face is holding a cabinet card, perh... > Item Details
U.S. Civil War Model 1850 Staff Officer's Sword and Scabbard
Lot # 149 - U.S. Civil War Model 1850 Staff Officer's Sword and Scabbard
32" roll engraved blade, stamped Ames Mfg Co. maker. Pierced U.S. on the hilt. Metal scabbard also marked N.P. Ames > Item Details
ITEMS 1-20 of 20
SKIP TO PAGE: