Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana


The fourteenth of August was the day fixed upon for the sailing of the brig Pilgrim, on her voyage from Boston, round Cape Horn, to the Western coast of North America. As she was to get under way early in the afternoon, I made my appearance on board at twelve o'clock, in full sea-rig, with my chest, containing an outfit for a two or three years' voyage, which I had undertaken from a determination to cure, if possible, by an entire change of life, and by a long absence from books, with a plenty of hard work, plain food, and open air, a weakness of the eyes, which had obliged me to give up my studies, and which no medical aid seemed likely to remedy.

On this day in 1834, Richard Dana boarded the merchant brig, Pilgrim for the Boston-California return voyage that would become the book "Two Years Before the Mast." Dana had just turned nineteen when he took this for the high seas, in search of hides and tallow. The 1840 book was based on his letters, notes and recollections

This is a great book and I have read it a couple of times. It is one of the books on Project Gutenberg. If you are interested in history it is a valuable historical resource describing early California.

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