Page images
PDF
EPUB

consult his interest in carefully avoiding all intercourse, or other communication with the various agents who swarm the wharfs, and public places, and who are always ready to tender their services, professing to secure passages at a much less rate than at what the emigrant himself may be able to provide one. A little reflection must satisfy him, that these men who may be said to act as so many crimps, to deceive and entrap the unwary, cannot live by the mere tender of gratuitous services, but must derive support from some known source. They are usually paid by their employer, some stipulated sum for every passenger whom they thus secure, and from whom they seldom fail to levy further contributions. This sum is, of course, to be added to the passage money that the emigrant will have to pay, and which he may just as well save, by doing his own work, and judging for himself.

Having ascertained what vessels are first for sea, the emigrant, or traveller, should next proceed on board, to make such selection, and determine in what ship he will take passage. In doing this, we would advise his choosing a roomy, airy vessel, as the most eligible. A close crowded cabin, independent of health, is seldom the most agreeable. He will also learn on going on board all such information as may direct his future movements, the time he should embark, &c. from the captain, who is always ready to attend to every inquiry he may make. This class of men are generally very intelligent, and though their address and manners are

SELECTION OF CABIN. 11

rather tinged with the characteristic bluntness of their profession, are nevertheless of gentlemanly deportment, and are seldom wanting in their exertions to please, and accommodate themselves, whenever consistent with their duty, to the wishes, and frequently to the whims and caprices of their passengers. There are, however, some few exceptions in the list, some "hard cases" amongst them; and these we would earnestly advise the emigrant and traveller by every possible means to avoid. Much of the comfort or unpleasantness of his passage will depend upon the man with whom he may sail. We speak advisedly, from having had the ill fortune in our outward voyage to fall in with one of this class—of illiterate, untutored "Downeasters,"* the very extreme of incivility and coarseness. The consequence was made apparent in the very limited number of his cabin passengers, who were restricted to five only.

Having made such choice, if a cabin passenger, we should recommend his selecting as the most eligible state room, or sleeping cabin, the one furthest removed from the general gangway, or passage, but as near midships, or the middle of the vessel as possible. So should we recommend the steerage passenger, as the motion or heaving of the

* The familiar designation by which the vessels, or captains of ships belonging to, or trading from the North-eastern ports in, the United States are always known, who are generally more homespun and made up of harder materials, than from other parts of the Union.

ship is less felt in the centre than at the bow or stern, or indeed in any other part of the vessel: an early application on board for this purpose will be necessary, in order to prevent disappointment, particularly by the steerage passenger, if a married man, who from thus making an early choice, may secure such accommodation for his wife and family as the nature of the circumstances will admit of. Whenever many families embark in the same vessel, they will materially consult their comforts, by being as near as possible together. The necessity of such application is the more obvious from the laws of the United States of the 2nd March, 1819, in force for the better regulating the number of passengers in all such cases.*

Having selected a proper vessel—marked his berth, and paid his passage money, for which the emigrant or traveller should be particular in taking a receipt, the next matter he has to consider, if a steerage passenger, is, the choice of a sea stock. He may expect that for the first few days he will suffer from the influence and effects of sea-sickness, as also his wife and children, should he have any on board, rendering him unequal to much exertion. It may be well to provide against this most distressing period of the entire voyage, with a small supply of

* As the proper observance of this Act will very materially conduce to both the comfort and health of the passengers on board, and as its provisions are too frequently broken through— its objects sacrificed to the avarice and cupidity of the owners, or charter party, we give a copy thereof in the Appendix (letter B) which it were well that every emigrant should understand.

LUGGAGE. 13

cold meat, and fresh bread, which he will find a useful auxiliary to what should be his usual sea store, of tea, coffee, biscuits, two or three small hams, with potatoes; and should he have children on board, some oatmeal, and molasses, or treacle; as also soap and candles. The quantity to be provided must altogether depend on the number of his family—their respective ages, as also the port to which he intends sailing; allowing, in the usual emigrant vessels, six weeks as the average passage to New York—seven weeks to Philadelphia, and eight weeks to Baltimore.

Cleanliness, so very essential to health, is above all things recommended. But this is always insisted on by the captain, especially on board of American vessels. A responsible part of the first mate's duty is to see that all " 'tween decks," is kept in a wholesome and healthy state, and properly fumigated, at least once in each week, particularly in the warm and summer season. Windsails are always provided, which create a free circulation of air "fore and aft," and materially add to the health and comfort on board.

We should be unwilling to advise the emigrant, embarking for the United States, encumbering himself with any quantity of household furniture. This, he will find on arrival, can not only be purchased much cheaper, but of equally good materials and workmanship ; and if particular in such matters, of the latest London and Parisian fashions: besides, should he take any with him, he will run considerable risk in its being damaged on ship-board, which is sometimes difficult to prevent, even with the greatest care and attention to packing, and stowing away. But this recommendation does not extend to wearing apparel, particularly woollens, and the finer cotton fabrics, as well as various articles of household economy, that may be purchased cheaper in England, than in America; and with which the emigrant would do well to provide himself before going on board. We shall endeavour in its proper place to give such a detail of prices of most articles of general use, as will enable him to determine on such as it will be his interest to bring with him.

In taking out money to the States, the emigrant, or traveller, will find it his interest, instead of encumbering himself with specie, on which it were probable he would sustain a loss on arrival, to retain such sum only as he might require for his immediate necessary expenses, either in Spanish dollars or sovereigns, and invest his remaining funds with some respectable house or mercantile firm in Liverpool, with connections, or a branch establishment in New York, on which he will receive duplicate orders for whatever sum he may so lodge, to be paid to him on presenting such order, with a premium, according to the then rate of exchange, without charge for brokerage or otherwise. Here there is no risk, provided that but common precaution is used in the selection of the house; no difficulty, or inconvenience, whilst every

« PreviousContinue »