POH Transcripts - 1838

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Beginning – Jan 1849



Peter Orlando Hutchinson

VOL. 1

* 30757
009.91            H

February 1st. 1838.  New York

At 11 AM got on board the London Packet Ship “Mediator.”  At noon we hove off from the wharf at the foot of Pine Street, and the steamer tow-boat, took us out beyond Sandy Hook.  The day was wonderfully mild – the bay almost wholly without floating ice and we all (us passengers) stood on deck to admire the scenery, and see the last of New York.  Just ahead of us the Havre packet was being towed out; and astern of us came the packet for Liverpool.  (We saw neither of these all the way over the Atlantic although we all arrived at our several ports within a few days of each other.)  As the sun went down we saw the last of the New World - I believe the heights near the Narrows – and the land vanished like a grey cloud on the horison.  Now then we are fairly off – the “skipper” or “old man” says we shall be in England in eighteen days; but as I was 49 coming out, this appears too fair a hope.  An uncomfortable evening – nothing in order – all (bottom line of text missing from photocopy)

Friday. February 2nd. 1838.  On the Atlantic
Lord Bacon says that it is a very foolish thing for a man at sea to sit down and write a diary of events which happen during a voyage: for, as he says, every succeeding day must be like the preceding, and a record of events is only ringing changes on some half dozen things which regularly occur in succession.  That being, we will be brief: - for in this assertion there is some truth – that is, if the weather should prove moderately steady. 
To day the wind blew from the northeast  and we went along “like winking:”- but “oh horror,” as Fanny Kemble says, I got sea-sick – yes I did, “and no mistake.”  It is just a twelvemonth since I made my last voyage, but I have had a great deal of boating, both in travelling and in excursions in my own boat in Boston; so that I had almost flattered myself that my sea horrors were over for ever.  I suffered for ten days coming out and three (bottom line of text missing from photocopy).

Feb.27th. 1838.  Straits of Dover.  –
Wind easterly during the morning, fell calm towards noon, and in the afternoon it sprung up to the S.W. – This is better.  However, we made very little way, and got no glimpse of land, though we are coming up towards the Straits. 
Fell in with, and spoke to a Hamburg schooner. 
After tea drove away the evening with a game of Speculation. 

Wednesday, Feb. 28th. 1838.
Took on a third pilot this morning.
At 7A.M. obtained a good view of Dover – the castle – and Shakespeare’s cliff.  How often have I seen Dover in this way – in steamers, packets, and various sorts of craft – and yet I never was there.  I fancy I know all about the castle hill, and the fine cliff, off which Lear was going to jump; and yet forsooth I never was on either. 
Friday.  Towards the evening we ran by Margate with a fair wind, for it is gradually veering round to the west.  We were a long time making short tacks, as we arrived nearer the Thames.  Several large ships were in our case; but we beat them all in sailing – these American packets are beautiful sailers.  We passed Chatham, and the hulls of six large ships on the stocks were visible.  As the sun went down we cast anchor for the night, for the skipper was afraid of proceeding in the dark. 
Turned into bed about ten, and thought it very queer that now I was so near trading again on the soil of Old England – a much better soil faith, than the Yankees can boast off.  True, there are many things which I like in America – but then there are many more which I prefer in England.  A pound (bottom line of text missing from photocopy).

March 1st. 1838.

March 1st. 1838.  Thames, and London.
At 4 A.M. was awoke by a steamboat coming along side and fastening herself to us, to give us a lift up the river.  Slept again till 7.  Turned out – breakfast – shave – polish up – passed the towns merrily.  What a very antique and venerable look there is about every building in this country, when compared with the newness shed over every thing in the one I  have just left.  Quite astonished to find they have had so severe a winter in England; the winter in American has been the mildest almost ever known. 
Entered the St. Catherine’s Docks, and went ashore.
Quite horrified in walking through Cornhill, to see that the Royal Exchange has been burnt down.  It happened whilst I was in the middle of the Atlantic, about a fortnight ago.  What a pity!

Saturday, March 3rd. 1838.  London
The preceding pages are remnants of the earlier part of my Diary.  Perhaps I might with advantage have saved such portions as preserved the records of actual facts; but as there was so much in it that was childish, I threw it indiscriminately into the fire.

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