DANIEL SPENCER GILMAN COLLECTION
WRITTEN BY DANIEL SPENCER
Bark Oxford Feb 23rd 1849. Latitude 1700 42í South
Little did I think one twelve month ago when I last saw you, that at this time I should be ploughing the broad Atlantic thousands of miles from native Land, beneath a burning sun, but so it is & the principal, I may say the sole cause is the love of Gold which has prompted me to this tedious journey. You will doubtless call it a visionary & Quixotic Expedition. Be it so a few months will determine. One third of our journey is nearly completed, & as soon as I reach this distant land I shall endeavor to report progress, according to the best of knowledge & abilities. If prospered I shall make my calculations to visit the scenes of my childhood in about two years. To Brother & Sisters I say forget not your far off Brother. We expect to reach Rio-Janeiro about the 27th Inst & shall probably double the Cape & be in the Pacific Ocean ere you receive this.
27th Feb. Did not sleep on Deck last night, as a heavy dew was falling, a circumstance which never happens a great distance from land. Got up this morn & found the air soft, fresh & balmy. Something I never appreciated before owing to my always possessed of such breeses. On looking round was much surprised to see very high mountains so near the sea. They remind me strongly of some of New Hampshire scenery, yet suppose they are still at a great distance. We are perfectly becalmed & it is doubtful if we get into port tonight. I shall have this all ready to seal before I land at Rio-Janeiro as what little time we stop there (probably two days) I shall wish to devote to other purposes than writing. After I get on shore I shall endeavor to enclose some kind of a leaf or spear of grass just to let you know that I am safety landed on Terra Firma in a South American City containing 150,000 inhabitants. In my next which will probably be from San Francisco I may give a slight description of my first visit to a Brazilian City. All in good health and excellent spirits.
Yours Ever D.S. Gilman
A little bird of the Sparrow kind came on board some 20 miles out, in endeavoring to capture him he lost a few feathers one of which I send to Martha to place in her Cabinet of Curiosities.
28th, Before Breakfast are just going into the Harbor, if Breeze continues favorable we shall probably drop anchor before 12, forty eight days from Boston
March 1st did not get up to the entrance of the Harbor, where there is a Fort, till after sun-down last night, when the Breeze died away and we anchored. Soon after a squall came up and we got under way again & soon got safe into Harbor. It being against the rules of the Port for a ship to go in after sundown, Signal lights were burned which were answered further up the Harbor. Had it not been for the squall we should probably have had a gun fired after us, but as it was they let us pass it. A Bark came alongside this morn, asked a few questions, & off again. Next some of Uncle Samís men came alongside inquiring for Dispatches &c stating that 5 or 6 Yankee Califonia vessels were in Port. One came in last night about the time we did & another this morn. None of which have beat the Old Oxford except the Pilot Boat Anonyma of Boston 34 days out. The Bark Maria which sailed the day before us has not arrived. Health & Custom House Officers are expected on Board soon.
I have feasted my eyes on the scenery around me & found it a treat
I assure you. The scenery is grand beyond description. I wish you were
here with me Moses just to see this place if nothing more. Such steep mountains
looking as if they were cut down with a knife. Coming boldly down to the
shore, green Herbage growing on them with here & there a Cocoa-nut
Tree. Convents, Churches, Rum-Boats & everything strange to my untutored
eyes, seen in the distance. Novelty, Novelty is stamped on everything around
me. You may believe me when I say that I am as much elated as a boy going
to a Circus. All hands are talking about going ashore, but I donít believe
we shall get on shore to day. No Wharves here and we are lying off some
3 or 4 miles from the Town. It rains & no Officers yet to be seen.
As it rains and here we are, have half a mind to seal this up before I
go on shore & write more of our reception in my next.
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