(Norfolk August 12th 1838)
My dear Sister,
Your letter came to me yesterday; I was very
happy to receive it, Father's has not found me yet, & I thought
you had forgotten me already, I hope Grandmother is again in
health and do say to her, that I regret very much, my search for
Mrs. Gordon was in vain.
To Beccy Myers, I am much indebted for her postscript,
and shall endeavour to repay her kindness when I am far away.
The Ships are down at Hampton Roads, ail of them, the first
move of the Exploring Expedition has at length been made, the
Squadron is increased by the addition of two Pilot Boats pur-
chased at New York. Passed Midn will command then; I wish my
rank would entitle me to one, 'tis something to be a Captain,
and those Boats are large, beautiful & swift - perhaps I may
return Captain Reynolds. I have not slept on board yet,
having been most busily and ordously engaged in Expending $1000
for the Mess & $600 for myself; we have a great many stores,
and I flatter myself, that the mess over which I preside will be
the most respectable, tasty, and somewhat stylish. When I get my
room arranged, it will be carpeted, cushioned, curtained (one set
crimson damask, one white) mirrored, silver candlesticks &c &c &c
a little bouders, most exquisitely luxurious in its arrangements.
I like the associates we shall have during the cruise, these
enthusiastic artists, and those headlong, indefatiguable pursuers
& slayers of birds, beasts & fishes & the gatherers of shells,
rocks, insects, &c &c they are leaving their comfortable homes,
to follow the strong bent of their minds, to garner up strange
things of strange lands; which proves that the ruling passion
is strong in life.
Titian Rembrandt, Peale, the great naturalist is with us;
he is most devoted to his favorite pursuit, and has passed the
greatest part of his lifetime in hunting subjects to preserve;
he was with Major Long over the Rocky Mountains, has been in
Canada after the moose, &c & to South America after other things,
he is perhaps the most scientific slaughterer of living
animals, now existing. The other scientifics are said to
possess talents & much zeal, in their respective pursuits;
we, the ignoramuses, will no doubt take great interest in
learning the origin,nature & history of many things, which we
have before regarded with curious and admiring eyes.
I see before us an intensely inteeresting cruise and a career
of wild and exciting adventures; may we go safely through all
dangers and return with knowledge that will be useful to the
world, and that will, gratify those who we love best, at home.
I have purchased two Journals of 5 quires each if I fill
them, I trust I shall make a perusal interesting; and by the
way when Mr. Well's book is published I hope Father will buy it:
he was school master ia the Potomac & returned in the Constitution.
I was his companion in all bis cruising on shore until I left
the Squadron & I think his book will bo good. I regret that none
of you could come to see the Ships, but will depend on Father of
some one else, or two, or three of you to be the first on board
when we return; then those who come, will see the men who ship
& everything on board just as they were during the cruise.
I have written to John and before we sail I shall give you
a few lines to direct you how to forward letters to me, we go to
sea on Tuesday.
Father's letter has just come. The Captain, Mr May and Mr.
Carr arrived this morning, I am on shore for the last time,
settling the mess accounts, today we had the first meal on board
in the Stearage, all hands have been living together previously.
Tuesday night or Wednesday morning we go to sea.
I am perfectly charmed with everything on board, & have the
most glorious hopes of a most glorious cruise, nothing could tempt
me to withdraw, I am wedded to the Expedition and its fate,
sink or swim.
I am glad to hear of Grandmother's good fortune & hope
(letter torn) will use her treasure to journey about a little;
if (I were) at home I should like to make a tour with her.
We have a gardener on board, as well as a Botanist, I shall
procure Thomas a variety seeds & trust we may all live to
enjoy the fruit.
Amos Rendall’s abuse of the Navy, is as false as it is
scurrillous, that published in the Globe I mean, read a
paragraph which I published in the Intellegence while in
Wash’n; alluding to the Navy Ration, you will find it in my
Journal. My statement was denied most emphatically, the very
next day in the Globe, & I doubt not, that my piece has roused
Amos’ ire, & led him to retaliate, but the scamp has not told the
truth: Navy officers are like other men, they are not cast iron,
neither can they live without money, certainly they never get more
than the law allows, them and often not that: they are to work
forever, & poor fellows if is rank heresy for them to attempt
to recusitate their battered frames, by the sojourn of a week
or two at the springs, The excuse for Mr. Dickenson was
contemptible, if they knew he was too excessively amiable, so
much so, as to ruin the services, why was he not turned out??
Amos I should like to choke you.
Give my most affectionate love to everyone at home and
remember me most kindly, to those who may enquire about me,
when you write your letters must be very lengthy and always
send newspapers with them; .Good bye & do not let Elly forget