George Coggeshall.

Second series of voyages to various parts of the world, made between the years 1802 and 1841 online

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Online LibraryGeorge CoggeshallSecond series of voyages to various parts of the world, made between the years 1802 and 1841 → online text (page 1 of 28)
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Commodore Byron McCandless





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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Southern
District of New-York.





Of the United States Navy,

Who, for more than half a century, has dignified and adorned
his profession by his character and achievements ; — who has,
during his whole hfe, practically vindicated the rights of
American seamen from British impressment ; — to whom was
struck more than once the flag of France, when at war with
his country ; — who was conspicuous in humbling and taming
the barbarian power of Tripoli ; — to whom, as captain of the
" Constitution," were surrendered, in one action, the " meteor
flags" of the " Cyane" and " Levant ;" — who, while command-
ing squadrons, was charged with the duties, and displayed
the abilities and wisdom of a statesman on occasions of deli-
cacy and difficulty with the nations of the Mediterranean and
the Pacific ; — who has received the thanks and commendations
of Cities, States, Congress, and of the Government ; — who is re-
warded in his advanced years for the services of his earlier
life by the love, veneration, and respect of his countrymen,
this volume is dedicated, as a slight token of the hidividual
esteem and regard in which he is held

By his friend and obedient servant,

New-York, April, 1852.



DuniNG tlie last year I puLlislied a few voyages to
various parts of tlie world, whicli were so well
received, that I am induced to narrate a second
series. As a considerable portion of these voyages
were made to Europe, and to places well known,*
I can hardly expect them to excite much curiosity
or interest for the general reader ; still, it may be
interesting to those concerned in commercial affaii's,
and particularly to the younger part of the commu-
nity, to trace the progress of our growing commercial
marine during the last half century. The first voy-
age of this series was made in 1802, and the last
in 1841, consequently they extend over a space of
more than thii'ty-niue years. I have been travelling
and voyaging about the world for a period of fifty-
two years, and have kept a regular journal from the
commencement of my career until the present time.
I have, of course, passed through many perilous


and exciting scenes not given to the public, but I
have related -enougli to prove tlie hardships and trials
of a seaman's life, and also to show that mine has been
a checkered one. In narrating these voyages it has
been my constant aim to do justice to all, and need-
lessly to hurt the feelings of no individual named in
my work. Still I have strictly adhered to the truth
under all circumstances, and have never called good
evil, nor evil good ; and as I am now drawing near the
close of life, I hope to die at peace with God and all
mankind. In conclusion, I would say to those of my
readers who may have the patience to follow me
through a portion of my various wanderings, that
whatever may be their opinion with respect to its
literary merits, they will do me the justice to believe
that candor and impartiality have been my sincere

G. C.
New-Yoek, April, 1852.


Dedication, .,.,.... 5

Preface, ......... 7


Voyage in the Schooner Thomas to Berbice. — Ashore on Fisher's Island. —
Violent gale, which lasted three days. — Lost a man overboard. —
Remarks on Berbice. In 1802, 1803, .... 17


Voyage in the Schooner T/teresa to tholsland of Terceira. — Leave Montauk
Point. — Arrive at Terceira. — Load with fruit. — Remarks on the Azores,
or Western Islands. — Sail from that place. In the year 1804, . 24


Voyage in the Schooner Betsey and Polly, to the West India Islands.— Dis-
. pose of our cattle at sea. — Men-of-war firing upon the boats of the mer-
chant ships. — Arrive at Barbadoes. — St. Lucie and St. Martin's. In
the year 1804, 28


Voyage in the Ship Marshall, to Leghorn and New Orleans.— Arrive at Gib-
raltar.— Catch a great uupiber of turtle. — Arrive at Leghorn. — Re-


marks on Leghorn and Pisa. — Arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi.
— Remarks on that river. — A Deserter reprieved. — Remarks on New
Orleans. In the years 1806, 1807, 33


First Voyage in the Schooner CentiirloJi, from New Orleans to Vera Cruz.
— Sail from New Orleans.— Arrive at Vera Cruz.— 3Iake a short voy-
age, and return to New Orleans. In the year 1807, . • 40


Second Voyage in the same vessel to Vera Cruz, and back to New Orleans.
— Sail from New Orleans. — Arrive at Vera Cruz. — Difficulty with the
Custom-House Officers. — Go on board of a Spanish sloop-of-war. —
Leave Vera Cruz. — Return to New Orleans. — Sail from New Orleans to
Now- York, in the Schooner Ildty. — Remarks on the attack of the Brit-
ish ship-of-war Leopard on the U. S. Frigate Chesapeake. In the
year 1807, ... 42


First Voyage in the Pilot-Boat Schooner Hamilton, from New- York to
Vera Cruz. — Sail from New-York. — Robbed by Pirates. — Arrive at Vera
Cruz. — Sail from Vera Cruz. — Return to Now- York. In the year 1807, 40


Second Voyage in the Pilot-Boat Schooner Ilajiiilloyi, from New- York to Vera
Cruz, and back to New- York. — Arrive at Vera Cruz. — Harbor of Vera
Cruz. — High prices of merchandise at that place. — Violence of north-
ers. — General remarks on the Port and City of Vera Cruz. — Sail for
home, and arrive at New- York. In the year 1808, , . 52


Third Voyage in the Pilot-Boat Scliooncr IlamiUon, from New- York to Vera
Cruz, from thence to Philaduli)liia.— Sail from New-York. — Arrive
at Vera Cruz.— Climate and liealth of that place.— Take on board Don
Jose C. do Villaiuieva and his family. — Sail from Vera Cruz. — Arrive
at Philadelphia. In the year 1808, . . . . . 55



Voyage in the Brig Henry and Isabella, from New- York to St. Bartholomew
and back to New- York.— Sail from Now- York.— Arrive at St. Bartholo-
mew. — Sail from that place.— First voyage Captain. — His Motto. In
the year 1809, 58


Voyage in the Ship Virginia, from New-York to Petersburg, Va., from
thence to England and Tonningen. — Sail from Norfolk. — Arrive at Fal-
mouth. — Arrive at Heligoland. — Enter the Eyder. — Remarks on Ton-
ningen. — Also on Hamburg. — Sail from Tonningen. — Pass Fair Island
Passage.— Get near the Coast of Iceland. — Arrive at New- York. In
the year 1809, CI


First Voyage in the Pilot-Boat Schooner Eliza, from New-York to Tonnin-
gen and back to New- York.— Sail from New- York. — Get among the
ice on the Banks of Newfoundland. — Loss of the Ship Jupiter among
the ice. — Speak the Ship Pilgrim. — Pass through the Pentland Firth.
— Arrive at Tonningen. — Visit to Hamburg. — Sail from Tonningen. —
Arrive at NewYork. In the year 1810, . . . .71


Second Voyage in the Pilot-Boat Schooner Eliza, from New- York to Swe-
den, and from thence to Russia, and back to New- York.— Sail from
New-York. — Arrive at Gottenburg. — Remarks on that City. — Pass
through the Great Belt.— Danish Gun-Boats. — Arrive at Carlsliam.—
Taken by the English.— Sail from Carlsham. — Arrive at Riga.— Re-
marks on wintering in Russia. — Sail from Riga. — Lose a man overboard.
— Arrive at New-York. In the years 1810 and 1811, . . 80


First Voyage in the Ship America, from Philadelphia to Lisbon, and from
thence to New-York. — Drunken mutiny on the Delaware River. — Sail
from the Capes. — Ship takes the ground. — Arrive at Lisbon. — Sail
from that place. — INIake a good voyage for the owners. — Return to
New- York. In the years 1811 and 1812, . . " . • 100



Second Voyage in the Ship America, from New-York to Lisbon, and back
to New- York. — Sail from New-York.— Arrive at Lisbon.— Remarks on
the probability of war. — Religious Mate. — Five days calm weather. —
Escape from the enemy. — News of war with England. — Arrive at New-
York. In the year 1812, 113


Voyage in the Schooner Iris, from New- York to TenerifFe, St. Thomas, Ha-
vana, and from thence to New- York. Preliminary Remarks. — Sail
from New-York. — Pass through Long Island Sound. — A severe gale. —
Novelty of Ocean scenery. — Arrive at TenerifFe. — Hire a house in
Santa Cruz. — Costume of the Spanish ladies. — A jaunt to the interior
of the Island. — A visit to the churches and nunneries. — Conversation
with the nuns. — Magnificent view of the Peak. — Port of Orotava. —
Load with brandy. — General remarks on the Canary Islands. — Sail
from Tenerifle. — Arrive at St. Thomas. — Get supplies of fruit, &c. — Sail
from St. Tliomas. — Pass through Sail Rock Passage. — Make the Hole-
in-the-Wall. — Bahama Banks. — Arrive at the Havana. — Remarks on
that place. — Load the Iris in the Havana. — Sail from that place. —
Arrive at New-York In the years 1818 and 1819. . . .121


Voyage in the United States Brig jE^t/erpmc, with Captain Lawrence Kear-
ney, from Ncw-i''ork to Omoa, thence to Vera Cruz, in the Schooner
Retrieve, and back to New-York, in the year 1819. — Remarks on the
object of the voyage. — Sail from New- York. — Mona Passage. — Coast
of San Domingo. — Coast of Jamaica. — Lose a man overboard. —
Swan Islands. — Bay of Honduras.— Arrive at Omoa.— Salute the
Castle.— Good Governor.— Remarks on Omoa.— Sail from that place
in the Retrieve in company with the Enterprise. — Separate from the
Enterprise. — Intemperate crew. — Arrive at Vera Cruz. — Ingrati-
tude of Baker Smith. — Superstition of a sailor. — Troubles in Vera
Cruz.— Sail from Vera Cruz.- Alacrane Islands.— Narrow escape
from a Water-si)out. — Put into Savannah.— Arrive at New- York. —
Settle the voyage.— Execution of JNIr. Brown, mate of the Retrieve, 135



Voyage in the Sloop Volusia, from New- York to St. Jago de Cuba and
Omoa, and from tlicnce to New Orleans, and back to Truxillo, Bon-
aca, and from thence to New- York, in the 3'ears 1820 and 1821. — Sail
from New- York. — Make Tnrli's Island, and San Domingo. — Arrive
at St. Jago de Cuba. — Not allowed to sell my cargo. — Description of
that place. — Leave St. Jago de Cuba. — Make Bonaca. — Sail down to
the southward of Rattan Island. — Appearance of the coast of Hon-
duras. — Arrive at Omoa. — Terrible earthquakes. — Indolence of the
people. — General remarks on Omoa. — Sail from that place. — Melan-
choly death of Mr. Fricker. — Arrive at Truxillo. — Variegated plu-
mage of the Birds, and brilliant colors of the Fish.^Sell the residue
of my cargo at that place. — General character of the people. — Sail
from Truxillo. — Arrive at the mouth of the Mississippi. — Tedious
passage up that river. — Arrive at New Orleans. — Low prices of pro-
visions, etc. — Sail from New Orleans. — Leave the Mississippi. — Ar-
rival at Truxillo. — Description of that place. — Recover a large brass
cannon. — Meanness of its Governor. — Remarks on the Caribs. — Sail
from Truxillo. — Arrive at Bonaca. — Collect cocoanuts. — Large ser-
pent, and turtle. — Description of that Island. — Sail for New- York.
— Arrive at that city, — Settle the Voyage. — Letter from Captain
Baker, '150


Voyage from New- York to the Havana, and back to New- York, in the
Schooner Swan, in the year 1823. — Agreement with the Owners. — Sail
from New-York. — Inefficient Mate. — Bad crew. — Make the Hole-in-
the-Wall. — Isaac Rocks. — Bahama Banks. — Escape from a Piratical
vessel. — Arrive at the Havana. — Trials and troubles at that place. —
Take a cargo for New- York. — Remarks on the frecpient Piracies at that
time. — Sail under convoy of two United States Schooners. — Passage
home. — Arrive at New- York. — Death of Mr. Patterson. — Quaran-
tine Ground. — Settle the Voyage. — General remarks and comments
on the Piracies in the West Indies, in the year 1823. — Connection
between the Pirates and the Inhabitants of Cuba.— Dreadful mur-
ders and barbarities conmiitted by Pirates at this period. — Awful
murder of Cai)tain Thornby and his Mate, Jlr. Roberts.— Burning
of the brig Vineyard. — How to make a Pirate, as related by Gibbs.
— Condemnation and execution of the Pirates, Gibbs and Walmsley, 170



Voyage in the Ship Governor Clinton, David Hepburn, JNIaster, from New-
York to Chili, Peru, and Colombia ; namclj^, on the western coast of
South America, and from thence to Gibraltar, and back to New-
York, in the years 1825, 1826, and 1827. Myself Supercargo.— Sail
from New- York. — Sea-sickness. — Make the island of St. Antonio. —
Cross the Equinox. — Make Terra del Fucgo. — Loss of a Spanish
seventy-four. — French sloop-of-war, her sails in tatters. — Storms and
tempests off Cape Horn. — Bland climate of the Pacific. — Make the
St. Felix Isles. — Arrive at Callao.— Proceed to Chorillos.— Commercial
affairs at Lima.— Sail from Chorillos.— Arrive at Arica.-Go to Tacua.—
Remarks on that place. — Character of the people.— Value of Guano.—
Return to Arica. — Character of the People. — Sail from that place. —
Cabin passengers. — Arrive at Valparaiso. — Description of that place.
— Take a cargo of wild mules. — Sail from that place. — Arrive at Lima.
— Peacock and Georgia Packet. — Accident to the Packet. — Robberies
on the Callao road. — Sail from Callao. — Arrive at Eton. — Chai-acter
of the people. — Proceed by land to Lambaycque. — Description of
that place. — Procession of grotesque figures. — Sail from Lam-
baycque. — Touch at Payta. — Description of that place. — Sail from
Payta. — Arrive at Guayaquil. — Take a cargo of cocoa. — Descrip-
tion of that place. — Sail from Guayaquil. — Arrive at Payta. — Take
in bark. — Sail from that place. — Arrive at Lambayeque. — Take on
board Plata-pina. — Loss of one pataca. — Sail from that place. —
Quick and pleasant passage round Cape Horn. — Cross the Equinox.
— Speak an English ship, with monkeys. — Arrive at Gibraltar. — Get
Letters from home. — Sail from that place. — Arrive at New-York.
Severe winter, — Settle the Voyage, ..... 186


Preliminary remarks and observations, preceding several vo3'ages made
in the brig Brilliant , during a space of four years, namely, from the
year 1807 to 1841, inclusive.

First Voyage in the Brig Brilliant, from New- York to the Isle of May,
and Rio do Janeiro, from thence to New Orleans and Boston, in the
years 1837 and 18,38. — Sail from New- York. — Strong gales from the
westward during the whole jiassagc. — Make the Isle of Sol, one of
the Cape de Verds. — Pass down throiigh this group. — Arrive at the
Lsle of May. — Take a cargo of salt. — Description of that Island. —
Character of the people. — Sail from that place. — Cross the Line. —


Arrive at Rio dc Janeiro. — Capacious harbor of Rio. — Magnificent
and bold scenery. — N^umber of Inliabitants. — Commercial impor-
tance. — Purchase a cargo of coffee. — Sail from that place. — View of
Pornambuco and Olinda. — Make Barbadoes. — Pass down tlirough
the Caribbean Islands. — Arrive at New Orleans. — Take a freight of
cotton to Boston. — Arrive at that place. — Send the Brilliant to Nova
Scotia. — Return home, ...... 277


Second Voyage in the Brig Brilliant, from New- York to the Isle of May,
Rio de Janeiro, and from thence to New Orleans and Connecticut,
in the years 1838 and 1839. — Remarks preceding a Second Voyage
in the Brilliant. — Make an arrangement for a credit on London. —
Leave New- York for Rio de Janeiro in the Brig Himmclah. — Arrive
at Rio. — Brilliant sails from New- York on the 13th of October. —
Arrive at the Isle of May. — Brilliant arrives at Rio. — City of Rio. —
Remarks on the Inhabitants. — Emperor's birthday. — The churches
and public buildings. — Botanical garden. — Mixing of races. — Bra-
zilian navy. — Fine gardens in the vicinity of Rio. — Increase of
coffee. — Importation of slaves. — Load with coffee. — Sail from Rio.
— Pass Cape St. Augustine. — See Pernambuco and Olinda. — Make
Barbadoes. — Pass through the West India Islands. — Mouth of the
Mississippi. — Arrive at New Orleans. — Dispose of the cargo. —
Freight with cotton. — Sail from New Orleans. — Arrive at Saybrook.
—Settle the Voyage, ....... 295


Third Voyage in the Brig Brilliant, from Saybrook to Sydney, N. S., and
from thence to Philadelphia, in the year 1839. — Preliminary Re-
marks. — Sail from Saybrook. — Departure from Montauk Point. —
Make the Island of Cape Breton. — Cold, foggy weather. — Make
Flint Island. — Remarks on the cod fishery. — Make Scattery Island.
— Arrive at Sydnc}'. — Hospitality of its Inhabitants. — Coal mines. —
Number of Inhabitants.— An Indian Tribe. — Birch canoe.— Sail
from Sydney.— Catch codfish and halibut.— Capes of the Dela-
ware. — Cape Henlopen. — The Breakwater. — River Delaware. — Arrive
at Philadelphia. — Settle the Voyage, ..... o07


Fourth and last Voyage in the Brig Brilliant, from New-York to Rio
de Janeiro, and from thence to New Orleans, in the years 1840


and 1841. — Preliminary Remarks. — Sail from New-York. — Severe
tempest. — Make the Island of ' St. Antonio. — Cross the Line. —
Southeast trades. — Clear skies and fine weather. — Arrive at Rio. —
American INIissionary and his Family. — Climate in the mountains. —
Load with coffee. — Sail from Rio. — Make Cape St. Augustine. —
INIake Barbadoes. — Pass through the West India Islands. — Mouth
of the Mississippi. — Shipwreck in that river. — Bayou Carrion
Crow. — Send the coffee in lighters to New Orleans. — Remarks on
the ]VIississippi and its mouths. — The Inhabitants. — Region of
Carrion Crow. — Oystermen. — Arrive at New Orleans. — Sell the ma-
terials of the Brilliant. — Dispose of the coffee. — Settle the^Voyage. —
Return to New-York.— Insurance Companies,— The End, . . 318



In the early part of my sea-life, I made several voyages from
Miiford and New Haven, in Connecticut, to the West India
Islands, in a miserable class of small brigs and schoon-
ers. These vessels were employed in exchanging the pro-
duce of the soil of Connecticut for the produce of the
Caribbean Islands;, namely, for rum, sugar, molasses, cof-
fee, and the indigenous fruits of these islands, such as oranges,
limes, tamarinds, cocoanuts, etc. These vessels carried the
produce of New England under deck, and live cattle, such as
horses, oxen, sheep, pigs and poultry on deck, and were, in
familiar jgrms, called horse-jockeys. Though the reader may
find nothmg very striking or interesting in these voyages, still
I have decided to narrate a few of them to serve as a specimen
of our commerce to these islands, and to exhibit the ineffi-
ciency of the ships and vessels in common use at that period
of our commercial history, that the present generation may be
able to contrast our then infant commerce, and the inefficiency
of our merchant marine, with the rapid strides it has since
made in wealth and importance, during the last half century.
I have said that the brigs and schooners in common use in
Connecticut at that period, were miserably constructed, and
very badly adapted to commercial purposes. In New- York, and


some Other cities of the Union, they were a Httle better, but still
small and very inefficient ; and not one in fifty of them were
coppered ; so that on long voyages they would be covered with
barnacles and sea-grass, which impeded their speed at least
one-third; forexample,aship with a clean copper bottom, which
could with ease sail nine miles the hour, with a foul wooden
one could not be driven over six, consequently their passages
from the East Indies would be one-third longer. A ship in
those days, of 300 or 400 tons burden, was considered enor-
mously large, and when advertised for sale, freight, or charter,
was represented as a very capacious ship, coppered and copper
fastened, and well found in rigging, sails, etc.

Methinks I liear some of the seamen of the present day
inquire how men could be found to go to sea in such misera-
ble craft? I answer, they must either go in them or stay on
shore, for these were the vessels in general use at that period.

I hardly need remind any one at this time that our sail-
ing ships are floating palaces, and measure from 1000 to
2500 tons, and frequently cost from 100,000 to 150,000 dollars.
Such, then, is the improvement in the merchant marine ser-
vice during the last fifty year^■, and it is hardly less striking
in our ships of war. Other nations, also, have made great
progress in naval science ; look, for example, at the engravings
of Lord Nelson's fleet as represented at the battle of Trafiilgar,
what ungainly, clumsy-looking floating batteries were then in
service, Avitli their bowsprits standing almost perpendicular.
How it would oflend the eye of one of our naval olficers at the
present day, to gaze upon one of these obsolete ships of a by-
gone age. Perliaps tliore is no branch of art or of science that
has made such rapid progress as naval architecture, and the
management of ships.

With these preliminaries, I will proceed to copy from my
journal, a voyage in the schooner Thomas, to Bcrbice, Guiana,
with Captain Henry Turner, commenced in December. The
Thomas was an old vessel, of 80 tons burden, badly built,
and badly-.equippcd, and were she in existence at this time
(1852), a crew could not be obtained for her in the United


Stales. Our crew consisted of the captain aforesaid, Mr.
John Mallet (an old man), the mate, with two seamen,
two landsmen, and a cook. This comprised the whole, being
seven in number. Mr. Stephen Trowbridge, a native of Milford,
was one of the seamen, and myself the other. He was, in
truth, a good sailor, and a worthy, honest man, and later in
life made many voyages with me to various parts of the world,
as my chief mate. It is with sincere pleasure that I now call
to mind his efficient and honest fidelity, in many trying scenes
through which we were destined to pass in our various wan-
derings for a period of more than five years. We took on board
the usual cargo under, deck, namely, beef, pork, hams, some
flour, butter, cheese, etc. On deck, we had twenty-four low
priced horses, with sundry sheep and pigs, and were provided
with the usual quantity of grain, hay, etc., to supply the ani-
mals' with food. Thus manned and equipped, we sailed from
Milford in the morning of the 10th of December, for Berbice.
It was a very cold day, and there was a great deal of field and
floating ice in the Sound ; but the wind being favorable and
strong from the N. W., we made fair pr6gress on our course
towards Montauk Point, but as the schooner was at best a slow
sailer, we did not get down to Fisher's Island until near mid-
night, and when we approached it, our captain was deceived
in the appearance of the land ; in fact it was difficult to dis-
criminate it from the water, there being so much floating ice

Online LibraryGeorge CoggeshallSecond series of voyages to various parts of the world, made between the years 1802 and 1841 → online text (page 1 of 28)