Item of the Day: Richard Randall’s Travel Diary (1822-1823)

Full Title: Manuscript travel diary of Richard Randall, leaving New York in 1822 on a voyage bound for Gibraltar, Malta and Sicily. 1822-1823.

[The following is an excerpt taken from the beginning of Richard Randall’s 87 page handwritten travel diary. Randall left the port at New York in December of 1822 to embark on a voyage to Gibraltar, Malta, Sicily and the Mediterranean coast. Almost immediately after leaving the harbor in New York, the ship encountered rough seas. The diary also contains two hand drawn sketches of Gibraltar and one of Turkey. It begins with a hand drawn and hand colored map of the Mediterranean.]

New York Sunday eveg. 8th Dec 1822Went on board the Brig Shephardess Capt. Peter Stevens of New Haven, bound an a voyage to Gibraltar, and the Islands of Malta & Sicily, in the Mediteranean [sic] Our passengers consisted of the Rev. William Goodell, and Isaac Bird & their Ladies, Mr. Andrew Meliss of New York, Mr. Paul Paulding of Germany, Mr. Balch of Vermont, Mr. Hotchkiss of New Haven, , owner & super cargo of the Sherphardess & myself – The missionaries were attended on board by their friends at New York accompanied by Mr. Everett of Boston, Secretary to the board of foreign missions – After singing and a prayer by the Secretary, an affectionate and affecting leave was taken of the missionary family, who were never again expected to revisit their native shore –

The Ladies were very composed, appearing to have prepared their feelings for the occasion, and nothing more was discoverable in their appearance than if they were returning to their friends in New England – Our pilot came on board early on Monday morning the 9th and we proceeded from the wharf with a gentle breeze which wafted us gradually down the bay and harbor, and brought us to Sandy Hook at 12 o’clock, noon at which time our pilot left us – A fresh breeze now springing up which gradually increased to a gale, soon drove us from the sight of our native land, excepting the highlands of Never-Sink in the State of New-Jersey which was visible during the remainder of the afternoon, and which caused many a “lingering look behind” – The sea now becoming very rough our passengers began to be visited with some unpleasant sensations, which deprived them of their supper, and laid them away in no very dignified retirements—we were occasionally however saluted with an ‘oh dear,’ echoed from our German (who was not troubled with sickness ‘what can the matter be’, and some other very significant sounds, and expressions, which served to show that all were, at least, alive – As for myself I took possession of my birth [sic], when I lay like a rat who has effected a lodgment in a blue nosed New England chaise, now and then peeping out to see the poor dear creatures who had crawled out, and who had scarce sufficient strength and spirits to support themselves – This state of things however was not lengthy, as the unremitted attentions of Mr. Hotchkiss through the week, restored most of us to a situation, in which we were able to make our appearance on the quarter deck in tolerable condition – The musical disposition of our German passenger, served in a great measure, to dissipate the gloom which otherwise would have prevailed, for not being sick himself – the mischievous genius had only to torment and laugh at those who were – Another misfortune now attended us – After having been deprived of eating for a week, by sickness, the tempestuous ocean now pushed our little Brig about in such a manner, that it required all our exertion to support ourselves in our seats in the cabin, without attending to the delicacies of the table – as necessity is the mother of invention—we gave up the cabin and retired to the quarter deck, where our worthy and attentive friend Mr. Hotchkiss like an old hen surrounded by a family of chickens administered to us our tea & coffee etc., which we managed to dispose of something in the Turkish style, by seating ourselves, not squat on cushions, but on the more substantial deck of our vessel, in which situation, with a sail for a table cloth and our seats for a table—we made several very ludicrous and very comfortable meals. –

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Filed under 1820's, Posted by Caroline Fuchs, Travel

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