Tremont House Boston Decr. 25, 1831
5 o clock PM
[Date does not match number of days cited in letter]
left New York Friday [Dec. 23] morning about 9 oclock being detained 2 hours
later than usual on account of the mailšs not being able to get over the river,
there were 9 passengers inside and the ride very unpleasant until we landed
some of them, which we did the 1st days, we then had more room for
our feet, dined at Stamford Con. Supped at New Haven, got to Hartford at 3
oclock in the morn, where we were kept waiting in the stage one hour for the
mail, the tavern having shut up shortly after we arrived there; at the next
change of Horses from Hartford, we
got took runners, and Rest them until
within 20 miles of Boston where we arrived about 4 o clock in the evening. Abr. Everett of this place who had been
at the Convention at Baltimore was in the stage with me from New York, he found
out who I was, what I was, where I was going & in what I was going, Invited
me to visit him whenever I had time.
He had a brother who had a Midshipman commission and went aboard his
ship, but the second day, he got ashore, and gave up his commission, he hoped I
would like it better than he did.
He said he had went to Holland in the Congress Frigate, Commanded by Comd. Morris. He was attached to the Legation which
was sent there, Com, he found the Comad. a very clever man, good to his
Yesterday morning I went to the Navy Yard to see the Boxer. She is a pretty vessel, though small, 10 guns, handsomer down below than most of the other vessels. I went aboard her and also the Constitution Frigate, in ordinary there. She is a very large vessel for a Frigate done the British a little damage, in the wars, there are a good many cannon holes in her, although stopped up, they can be seen.
This morning I went to Wm. Blakešs, he had been sick lately, but is now well; he gave me a letter to Comod Morris, told me to call and see him at any time I had determined he would be very glad to see me at all times.
From there I went again to the Navy Yard and reported myself to Comod Morris, he asked me if I had been to sea before, my age, the date of my warrant & date
and date of the orders, entered them in a book, I then got a certificate of having reported myself Dec 26th 1831, which it would be necessary to show to the Navy agent, on the payment of my traveling expenses; he said I had a fine vessel to go in, & a fine commander Benjamin Page. Several Midshipmen had reported themselves for the Boxer within a few days, one, a short time before I came in. Several also for the Sloop Peacock, both vessels sail together under the command of Comod . Thos. C. Morris, for the Falkland Islands & from there to the Pacific Ocean on a 3 years cruise. I was very glad to find that out. [?] for a Midshipman (Wm Hazard) whom the Comod had sent for, told me it was probable it would be the most interesting voyage I would ever make. He took me aboard the receiving ship Columbus [?] guns, headquarters of all the officers & sailors who sail from that port, none belonging to the Boxer were aboard at the time, the comod. Having given then leave to stay in town a few days & if I wished I might have the same privelege, as soon as I chose I might go on the receiving ship & draw my rations which would be less expensive than staying at a tavern. I will move my quarters there tomorrow, to make my punchans, a bed blanket, sheets pillow & canvs, but no chest, (they have lockers to keep the clothes in) hat, sword, coat, &c. I dined with 3 mids on the steerage, on beefstake potatoes, squashes, horseradish, white bread & Brown, cheese & water. They have a cook for the mess who also waits on them at table and a boy to black shoes, brush coats, run errand &c &c.
They draw the 25 cents a day in rations, put it together for a mess & send the cook ashore for provisions, Wm. Hazard, was sent on some duty before dinner, and did not return until we had done, he had not time to finish his dinner before he was sent off again to bury a sailor who had died last night. Wm Gee was also sent away from his dinner, on some duty, he said to me, Wm. Reynolds, you have some specimen now, you have to obey orders at all times, even at meals, idle times are in bed.
He told me it would be best for me to come aboard tomorrow as there were only two lockers vacant and they would be very soon taken up (lockers are very much like the closets in the parlor). I will deliver Wm Colemans letter & parcel tomorrow; the others at some time other period, Col Baldwins I will deliver to him at the Navy Yard.
Comad. Morris appears to be a very kind man, he told me as soon as all the officers arrive he will put them to mess on board their respective vessels, Boxer & Peacock, the P-k is a sloop of the largest class, 22 guns, has been but one voyage. Neither will sail for two months, unless he receives directions to send them out immediately. So I will know something about a ship before we sail.
I have $10 left which with the mileage allowed will I think be sufficient. I will not want my drawers or shirts [unknown] get to re[?] a few days; We will be in a warm climate all the time of our absence.
Wm. Hazard also told me after I had been out a year I could get transferred to the Peacock if I wished, but a schooner was the best vessel to make the first voyage in.
Boston is a very
The streets of Boston are very crooked, every time I have left a house I have been obliged to enquire the way back. The houses and shops are very handsome and this house (the Fremont) is the handsomest, largest and best furnished house, better than any other tavern I ever was in much more so than the City Hotel New York.
Give my love to all the family. I hope grandmother has
got well recovered.
Send letters to Wm Reynolds, Navy Yard, Charleston, Mass.
Your affectionate Son,
Wm Prentis, one of the mids of the recy. Ship just now came in, he says it will be best to have the letters directed to Boston PO specifying Wm. Reynolds is Navy as all the Naval letters are put in a separate box and brought to the Navy Yard every day by the porter.
John Reynolds Esq