Two Years Before the Mast eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 591 pages of information about Two Years Before the Mast.

I love to think that our noble ship, with her long record of good service and uniform success, attractive and beloved in her life, should have passed, at her death, into the lofty regions of international jurisprudence and debate, forming a part of the body of the ``Alabama Claims’’;—­ that, like a true ship, committed to her element once for all at her launching, she perished at sea, and, without an extreme use of language, we may say, a victim in the cause of her country.

R.H.D., Jr.

Boston, May 6, 1869.

[1] Pronounced Leese.

[2] This journal was of 1859 before Colonel Robert E. Lee became the celebrated General Lee in command of the Confederate forces in the Civil War.

[3] [Dr. George Parkman.]


By the Author’s Son

In the preceding chapter, my father contrasted the solitary bay of San Francisco in 1835, its one, or at most, two vessels and one board hut on shore, with the city of San Francisco in 1859 of nearly one hundred thousand inhabitants and a fleet of large clipper ships and sail of all kind in the harbor, which he saw on his arrival in the steamer Golden Gate bringing the ``fortnightly’’ ``mails and passengers from the Atlantic world.’’ The contrast from 1859 to 1911 is hardly less striking.  San Francisco has now grown to over four hundred thousand inhabitants, has twelve daily trains bringing mails and passengers from across the continent and beyond, and steamers six to ten times the size of the Golden Gate.  In visiting San Pedro in 1859 he speaks of the landing at the head of a creek where boats discharged and took off cargoes from a mole or wharf, and of how ``a tug ran to take off passengers from the steamer to the wharf, for the trade of Los Angeles is sufficient to support such a vessel.’’ From this landing, a stage-coach went daily to Los Angeles, a town of about twenty thousand inhabitants.  Now there is a fine harbor at which large steamers themselves can land at San Pedro and a four-track electric road leading to Los Angeles, now a city of three hundred thousand inhabitants.  Trains on this road go at the rate of sixty miles an hour.  The picturesqueness, the Aladdin lamp character of the change, would not perhaps be heightened, but certainly the contrast is greater, if the days of 1835 be compared with 1911 instead of 1859, while the startling growth from 1859 to the present makes one pause to ask what will be the progress and the changes in the next fifty-two years.

Of the fate of the vessels since my father wrote ``Twenty-four Years After,’’ little has come to our knowledge.  Of the brig Pilgrim, he says, ``I read of her total loss at sea by fire off the coast of North Carolina.’’ On the records of the United States Custom House at Boston is this epitaph, ``Brig Pilgrim, owner, R. Haley, surrender of transfer 30 June 1856, broken up at Key West.’’ Is it not romantic and appropriate that this vessel, so associated with the then Mexican-Spanish coast of California, should have left her bones on the coast of the once Spanish colony of Florida?

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Two Years Before the Mast from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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