Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Found Friday 42

"It is very hot here so that the tar melts off the rigging some times."

This is an old stampless letter that I picked up about 20 years ago at the Lambertville, New Jersey flea market. The dealer had a box of old covers and I went through and picked out several that I thought had interesting postmarks. I didn't get around to reading the contents of this letter until just a couple of years ago:

Bermuda July 4, 1852
Do not be uneasy Dear Mother. I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and hope these few lines will find you the same. I think I shall not be to home until October and if I do not make any thing I shall not come home before spring. I shall ship to go a merchant voyage and if I do I will write to you and let you know where I am going. We have got but 35 bbl (barrels) of sperm oil and 4 bbl (barrels) black fish oil. The Chanticleer is a good vessel. There is plenty of bed bugs aboard. We have a good Capt. but the mate is a rascal. We was 20 days to sea before we made land after after we left home. The first land we made was Port Rico and we cruise off there a week and then we hove away for Sand Bay St. Domingo. We stayed there but half a day because there was not any whale seen there this year. We then went into three ports and got a […] and then left away for the Charlestown grounds. We expect to go to the Western grounds before we come home. We lost 2 large whale. One of them upset our boat – all hands saved. I belong to the starboard boat. This is too lazy a life for me. Some times we have hard work. Do not be uneasy about me. I am to be married when I get back to Boston. I did not tell you any thing about it before. If I had waited till the first of April I could have had work in the same place for Mr. Haley in Boston. I shall come to see you when I come home. Give my best respects to all the folks and when you write to me let me know how all the folks are. I should like to see you all very much. It has been a long time since I have seen William and his wife. I did not see any body but George when I went away. None of the rest knew it. I have been away from home about 3 months and a half. You must excuse my bad writing for the vessel is rolling very badly. You will hardly know me when I get back. It is very hot here so that the tar melts off the rigging some times.
From your affectionate son,
Francis Augustus Hutchins

Forget my friends, o name it not.
I love them with regret, forget I may.
But there is one I never can forget.
Ask not her name, I only breathe a simple sound in prayer.
But could you look within this breast, you find it written there.

July 7th
If I should tell you what we live on you would think it hard. We have nothing for food but stinking beef and yams and I grow fat on that. I have sent one letter to you. We all letter post letters aboard. I do not know wether you will get them or not. The vessel was bound for Charlestown S. Carolina. The Captain put one man in irons because he sassed the boats […]men.

July 8th
We are going in to Bermuda to get some medicine for one of the crew that has got the fever and ague. This is my last letter I shall send because I have no more paper. This is my last sheet. Do not forget to send a letter to me about the first of September. Direct it to me in Provincetown on board the schooner Chanticleer. I do not expect to get home before October. I cannot write any more. Good by.
From your son,
Francis Augustus Hutchins
Tell Sarah I should like to see her very much.

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