Alexander B. Pinkham sailed from Boston, Massachusetts, to Brazil with a crew of boys on the brig Clio in 1829 and 1830. In his 18-page report to William Coffin, president of the board of trustees for the Coffin School of Nantucket, Massachusetts, Pinkham discussed his experiences during the first leg of the voyage.
The Clio sailed from Boston on December 23, 1829, and reached Brazil around 66 days later. Pinkham wrote his report on May 23 and 24, 1830, after visiting Rio Grande and Porto Alegre. He recounted incidents from the outbound voyage, such as his failed attempt to commemorate the ship's crossing of the equator (pp. 5-6), and frequently mentioned his attempts to instruct the boys under his care. After reaching Brazil, where they unloaded cargo, the crew remained on shore while the Clio was repainted, and Pinkham reported his anxiety about possible robbery (p. 3, 5). He also mentioned the crew's encounter with a village inhabited by German immigrants (pp. 13-14). The report is interrupted by Pinkham's account of an encounter with a British vessel, which occurred on May 24, 1830, before he began the second half of his letter (pp. 8-9). The British officers threatened to fire on the Clio following Pinkham's refusal to provide the ship's papers. Near the end of the document, Pinkham referred to personal criticisms by residents of Nantucket and shared his hope that his reputation would be salvaged (pp. 18-19).