Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
Moses Bond Journal, 1808-1814

Finding aid created by
Catalina Oyler, April 2004

Summary Information
Title: Moses Bond journal
Creator: Bond, Moses, b. 1786
Inclusive dates: 1808-1814
Bulk dates: 1808
Extent: 35 pages
Moses Bond's journal contains a memoir of his life from 1786 to 1815, including accounts of his early apprenticeship, vivid descriptions of his sailing career, and his wife's death in childbirth.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

2001. M-4129.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


No copyright restrictions.

Preferred Citation:

Moses Bond Journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


Moses Bond was born December 29, 1786 in Framingham, Mass. He attended school in Framingham and planned to go on to college, however when his sight began to fail at age twelve he was forced to give up hope for a college education. When he was fourteen, Bond was apprenticed to a hatter in Waltham, Massachusetts, but continued to study, particularly mathematics, his favorite subject. At the age of eighteen, with the help of Edward Preble, he convinced his father to buy the remainder of his time as an apprentice and to let him pursue a "sea faring life." Bond then traveled to Boston to learn navigation from the well know mathematician Osgood Carleton. In March of 1806, at the age of nineteen, he began his first sea voyage on the ship Levant , belonging Mr. E. Preble and under the command of William Sihbar.

Bond's first voyage lasted fourteen months, in which time the Levant sailed in the Mediterranean and to Calcutta carrying various cargoes. He finally returned to Massachusetts in April 1807 to find that his second oldest sister had married and died while he was away, and that his good friend William C. Fuller had also passed away. After only three weeks in Massachusetts, Bond joined the crew of the Adamant . He worked his way up to second mate and then, in 1808, to first mate.

On the Adamant , Bond sailed around Europe and Africa and for the first time, he encountered privateers. In the summer of 1808, the Adamant and the Ann of Alexandria were captured by Maltese Pirates. After suffering through "the most daring outrage practiced by th[ese] Barbarian[s]," the ships were seized and taken to Malta. Bond later returned to Framingham, Massachusetts, and married Harriet Loring. They had a daughter, but in 1814, Harriet died giving birth to a stillborn son.

Collection Scope and Content Note

Of the 35 pages in Moses Bond's journal, the first twelve are devoted to basic arithmetic problems. These include word problems, most involving investment. The journal proper begins on page 13 with a title page. Though Bond wrote the journal in 1808, he is recounting events that date from 1786 to 1808. The memoir is 22 pages long. In 1814, Bond added a half page about the death of his wife in childbirth.

On the first two pages, Bond writes briefly about his apprenticeship; Osgood Carleton, the well known mathematician who taught him navigation; and Edward Preble, a merchant in Boston who was part owner of the ship Levant . The remainder of the memoir contains an account of his sailing career aboard the ships Levant , and Adamant from 1806 to 1808. Bond recorded the many places he visited in Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and India, and sometimes provided detailed descriptions, especially for Cape Aden in the Arabian (or Persian) Gulf, and the ancient city of Tarragona in Spain. He also mentions various cargoes the ship carried, mostly sugar, coffee, wine, and spirits.

Bond wrote about many events, including stormy weather, pumping water from the leaky ship, loading and unloading cargo, and nearly running aground. One time the ship "pitched away our fore top mast with my friend H. Oxnard at the head of it, he however luckily held in the rigging and saved himself without any injury." He also mentioned how they were received by different countries and the lengths of time they had to spend in quarantine. On a visit to Barcelona, in possession of the French, they had to pay a fee to avoid being tried for "breach of the Edict of Napoleon." At one point, the ship was seized and searched by Spanish privateers, and another time they were captured by a Maltese privateer, and taken to Malta.

Bond's own feelings are reflected in the events he recounts. For example, he describes the privateers as overbearing wretches employed "to annoy the Enemy for want of other employment." He also wrote emotionally about the deaths of his sister and friend William C. Fuller, both of whom died while he was at sea. In December, 1814, six years after he wrote the memoir, Bond recorded the account of his wife's death on Dec. 5. "Sad remembrance will bleed at every pore in recounting the sufferings of that dear woman."

Subject Terms

    • Merchant mariners--18th century.
    • Merchant mariners--19th century.
    • Merchant ships--United States.
    • Osgood, Carleton.
    • Preble, Edward.
    • Privateering.
    • Quarantine.
    • Sailors' writings.
    • Ships--Cargo.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    Moses Bond journal,  1808-1814 [series]