Levi B. Downs papers  1861-1888
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Collection Scope and Content Note

The Thomas G. Monroe log book (162 pages) contains daily entries about the voyage of the Nile from New York to Canton, China, and back in 1831 and 1832. The log book also contains records regarding the voyage of the Charles Wharton along the Atlantic Coast and from New Orleans to Liverpool and back to Philadelphia in 1832.

The Nile log (119 pages) contains daily entries from April 13, 1831-August 7, 1831, and November 11, 1831-March 13, 1832, covering the ship's voyage from New York to Canton, China, and back to New York by way of the Cape of Good Hope. Between August 7 and November 11, 1831, the Nile was in port at Canton. Monroe recorded information about winds and weather conditions and the ship's course and position. Most entries contain latitude measurements, and entries made after December 7, 1832, also include reckonings of longitude. Thrice-daily remarks usually pertain to weather conditions and sails. Monroe sometimes noted the names of islands the Nile passed, and on one occasion he briefly mentioned the crew's preparations for possible encounters with "Malay pirates" (July 20, 1831). While in Canton, the Nile 's crew repaired the ship, discharged tobacco and dry goods, and took on pepper, beef, and provisions. During the return voyage to New York, Monroe noted the number of days since the ship had sailed from Canton and, later, the Cape of Good Hope. Mathematical calculations of the average distance between observed positions of the sun and moon appear in entries dated February 5, 1832, and February 6, 1832. An account for flour New York merchant J. Thomas received from the ship Ohio is laid into this volume. The Nile log is preceded by a partially colored drawing of a building decorated with Masonic symbols.

The second part of the volume is the log of the Charles Wharton (43 pages), captained by Samuel Yorke, and pertains to the ship's travels along the Atlantic Coast (May 26, 1832-June 7, 1832) and its journey from New Orleans to Liverpool and back to Philadelphia (July 14, 1832-October 11, 1832). Monroe's daily entries cover events while the ship sailed along the Delaware River, and include charts of the ship's course, winds, and location via latitude and longitude. Additional remarks concern weather conditions and the use of sails. The second group of entries, recorded during the Charles Wharton 's transatlantic voyage, sometimes concerns the activities of the ship's carpenter and signals exchanged with other ships. The Charles Wharton docked at Liverpool in August and September 1832; Monroe resumed the log for part of the voyage back to the United States.

Poems and other inscriptions are written on the volume's endpapers and on some of its first pages. The book also includes a list of ships and captains. A partial letter written in New Orleans on November 19, 1833, is laid into the volume.

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