Charles E. Thomson journal  1798-1799
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Collection Scope and Content Note

Charles Eldredge Thomson kept this 64-page pocket journal while serving as a crewman on the schooner Regulator and sloop Fancy on merchant voyages in the Caribbean and along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Thomson recorded details about the winds, sea conditions, and weather; noted the names of crew members and passengers; and listed cargo taken onboard during some of the ships' journeys.

Between September 1798 and September 1799, Thomson spent much of his time at sea onboard the Regulator (September 1798-August 1799, pages 1-51) and Fancy (August 1799-September 1799, pages 53-60), under Captains Nathaniel Thomson and Silvester Wilcox. He began the journal shortly before leaving Santo Domingo for Baltimore, Maryland (September 28, 1798-October 26, 1798), and continued to write during subsequent voyages to Petersburg and Richmond, Virginia (November 10, 1798-December 16, 1798); to New York, New York (December 17, 1798-January 3, 1799); and to Stonington, Connecticut, where he remained until mid-April 1799. He then sailed to New York and Virginia (April 12, 1799-May 20, 1799), and joined the crew of the Fancy for a voyage from Stonington to Virginia (August 20, 1799-September 16, 1799).

Though most of his brief journal entries focus on sailing conditions, Thomson mentioned a parade held for George Washington, while the Regulator discharged and loaded cargo in Baltimore (November 6, 1798, p. 12). He recorded his salary, and lists of crew members and passengers during some voyages. On one trip, Thomson's list of passengers included an African American maid accompanying a woman traveling from Baltimore to Richmond (November 15, 1798, p. 17). Additionally, Thomson documented the ships' cargo, which frequently included "trunks" and "bundles," as well as manufactured items, alcohol, foodstuffs, and hides. The journal contains two ink drawings of sailing ships, the Justine and the Regulator (on page 64 and the back cover).

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