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James White was a 21 year old farmer from Quincy, MA.  In 1849 he sailed from Boston around Cape Horn to San Francisco and the gold diggings of California.  In all he spent 6 months at sea and a year in California.  I've transcribed his journal and am publishing it here as well as on Amazon/Kindle and Apple/iBooks.

San Francisco at last!

Thursday the 28th
In Lat. 32º 10' Long. 137º 42'. Commenced with strong breezes and light rain from the NNW. The sky wore a very threatening aspect. At noon sun came out. Pleasant. The rest of day with fresh breezes from the N.

Very dissatisfying. Wish in all conscience we might get into port by the 4th. No idea that we shall. Yesterday read out loud in the foretop in company with Bates and Mears Richard III, a contest between the houses of Lancaster & York. Very interesting. Gives the reader a knowledge of the kings & history of England.

Today washed some cotton garments. Hereafter, I shall know how to appreciate the labors of a wash woman.

Today thought of the preparations making to celebrate the 4th in Boston and vicinity. At home the days or only(?) youth or school boy days brought to memory old friends now almost forgotten.

Friday, 29th of June
Lat 32º 30 Long. 136º 00'. Cloudy and variable winds. Barometer went down. Sign of a change  The wind gradually hauled from the N to the NNW.

Today had a meeting and chose a committee of five to make the necessary arrangements to celebrate the 4th wether in port or not. Chose W.H. Othmann, Griswald, Wells, Price & W.B. Farwell committee of arrangement.

Saturday June 30th
In Lat. 34º 48' Long. 133º 56'. The last of the first summer month goes out with a strong wind from the NNW. Cloudy and squally. Blew strong all day. Cape Horn weather to a charm.

Capt carried sail today harder than ever showing what the vessel could do if he had carried sail since we started off. Like it we should have been on the diggings a month ago, but as he is bound to make it six months so to make it even change.

Sunday, July 1st, 1849
In Lat. 35º 25' Long. 132º 19'. Commenced with a strong breeze from the NW. Blew hard in squalls. Carried away main top mast stay sail yesterday. This morning split the main top gallants. This morning found ourselves under single reef top sail, reefed main sail, etc. In fact, found her in Cape Horn rig striving close on the wind. Close on the wind yesterday all day.

The Capt is anxious to get to the N of San Francisco on account of the prevailing wind and tide. Today wind NW. Heading NNE. Making, allowing variation in compass and leeway, NE by E course. Two 1/4 points variation 3/4 leeway.

Had no religious services in the morning on account of the cold & rough sea. Moderated to fine weather towards night. Had a sermon by Mr Benton. He said that was probably before another Sabbath come round we should be on terra firma once more. Touched upon this. Admonished them to have faith, swear not at all, upon the morals of man ??.

Monday July 2nd
In Lat. 35º 35' Long. 131º 15'. Calm and foggy. Commenced with a growl between the Capt & 2nd Mate growing out of the Capt telling Mate that he did not do his duty by not calling the sail maker and carpenter to help wash decks. The Capt ordered Mate to go forward. Said he would not go. Ordered him off the quarter deck which he was washing and said would not go much right there as he had. Mate told him he had been made a fool of every since he left Boston. Capt told him knock off, to go forward etc. If he did not, be careful he would knock his brains out with a hand spike. Mate said he would not go forward but would knock off. After a few more words the growl ended by the Capt telling him to go about his business. Thought Capt ? no man was fit Capt

[Note: very crabbed and disorganized handwriting]

...bound to make this a glorious day as we came from that blest land where at this moment nart is heard but the glad artillery and sound of musical instrument that call thousands and tens of thousands listening ears. O that I could peek in and see the joyful faces gathered round the many sumptuous tables sat at home and vicinity. What a thrill of joys runs through my breast when I think of meeting them. But how is it with us on the broad & fathomless Pacific?  Preparations have been making for the last two three days to have a grand celebration. Our committee have made all the necessary arrangements. Cakes in any quantity is baked up. The musicians have brought out their musical talent. We have a regular order of exercises---Vis

Music (Instrumental) Hail Columbia
Reading of the Declaration of Independence
by John W Homer
Music (Vocal, Land of our Fathers)
Poem by Rev. Mr. Benton
Oration by L.R. Lull
Music (Vocal & Instrumental) Star Spangled Banner

In the afternoon grand rally of the colourd population.
Exercises of the day commenced at 10 1/2 O'Clock. Owing to the roughness of the sea, the meeting was held between decks near the main hatch.

Tuesday, July 3rd
In Lat. 36º 00' Long. 130º 35'. Cloudy, stormy, with a strong wind from the North making a bad course for the Port. This morning another growl took place between the Capt & all the sailors. It is usual to scrape decks before going into port. Commenced yesterday morning. This morning the scrapers were missing from the Mate's state room. Nowhere to be found. The Capt ordered them to get bricks out and scrub the decks with them which they refused to do. The Capt. finally after jawing about an hour told them to go to work and scrub down with sand which they accordingly did. The Capt had shown some partiality to one or two of the sailors, but he found they were the worst of the lot, and led off in refusing to do duty.

Wednesday, July 4th
In Lat. 36º 32' Long. 136º 32'. Strong breezes from the NNW. Misty. Saw a brig on our weather beam. Passed her on account of our riding the seas better. She was about five miles off bound for the port probably. Thus commenced the greatest day in the annals of American history with us. Our friends in all probability think we are in the gold country, but no here we are, and the Lord only knows when we shall get in. But nevertheless we are.

Owing to Mr Upham, who lying dangerously sick, no guns were fired. The meeting was called to order by Mr Bates who called on Mr Horner to read the Declaration of Independence. After that Music. Eight instruments composed the band. Singing done by six persons. Then came an original poem by Mr Benton which was excellent and caused great amusement and much praise. The Star Spangled Banner came next & was sung and played in good earnest. Then came the oration by Mr Lull which was exceedingly good. The meeting closed by the bands playing that favorite tune Yankee Doodle. All hands gave three cheers and dispersed with good feelings.

Never was such a celebration as this on these waters-never went up to the skies this sound of eloquence and musical tones in honor of that noble day that proclaimed the thirteen constituted states free & independent. No, if we have been tossed round to the fury of the waves for six long tiresome months, we forget not the day that our fathers taught us to celebrate. No, as it comes round yearly, we are bound to celebrate it in honor of that noble body of patriots who sacrificed their lives, honor & fortunes in defense of our glorious liberty.

The day closed by a grand parade of the colourd population which was the most laughable scene most that I ever witnessed men and women. To see a woman's dress was really a luxury. Mr. Gimela speared and caught at dark a ripe whale porpoise.

Thursday July 5th
In Lat. 37º 59' Long. 125º 13'. Commenced fair with a good breeze from the NW. We are now fast approaching the land. The water has changed from the fathomless ocean blue to sounding green. Logs of wood are floating by and kelp, and in all probability Friday is the day we must enter port as we sailed from port Friday.

There is still a war on board. The trouble between the sailors and Capt is ended as the blame of the scrapers being lost is attached to 2d mate Briard as he is accused of telling one of the watch to throw overboard a barrel of iron in the night, or he would . All there was on board, steel etc. The man refused to do it. The Capt got the wind of it and he is, or case is, now before the Directors and finally comes before the Company. How it will end I am in doubtful, but I fear it will go hard with him and tend greatly to excite more in favor of dissolving the Company.

Today got up the cable which was truly a joyful sound.

To show that I have not wasted all of my time or spent it foolishly, I record here the books and parts that I have read on this long and tiresome voyage for memory's sake if nothing else. I have read the Bible as far as the book of Chronicles in the Old Testament & the book of Proverbs in the New Testament. The Life of Silas Right. Life of Franklin. The Young Man by Todd twice. Letters to Young Men by E.H.Chapin. Watts on the Mind. Dr Johnson's Rasselas or Prince of Abyssinia. Young Man's Guide by Alcot. Maxims of Agagos. Lady of the Lake by Scott. Fremont's Exp. in Oregon & California. What I Saw in California by Bryant. Byron's Child Harold. Don Juan & Swerney Nasrepa. The Life of Shakespeare, his Tempest, Two Gentlemen of Verona & Merry Wives of Windsor. From the Penny Magazine: Sketches of the Life of Cicero, Pericles, Raffaell's Toussainty L Overture, Robin Hood. Part of Crlley's [Crawley's?] British Poets.
I can now say I never have spent six months of my life that has been so useful to me nor ever in my lifetime put it all together as this six months.Chapter 12

Friday July 6th
In Lat 38º  07' Long=Shore. This morning made the Land. Cape Bodegos, forty miles above the San Francisco. This was a joy-full sight. At eight o’clock we hailed it with three hearty cheers. Not getting an observation Thursday, it made it rather bad, but by dead reckoning we were at 11 PM in the eve within fifteen miles of land. Trowed the lead. Found no bottom. Lost the lead in hauling it up. Tacked ship at 12 and run off till 4 AM. Fogey all day yesterday and all night. Cleared away fine this morning with a strong breeze from the NW. At ten made close in to land about five miles of it. Sailed along down slowly knowing that we must be some ways above it with double reef topsail only till 12 when an observation was taken. Set more sail and glided along down shore viewing the hills. Showing to us not a very discouraging sight for they were covered with nature, trees, grass etc. At five P.M made the harbor of that long looked for port. Went up the channel with happy cheer. The delightful hills that by on the right & left was beautiful far far beyond our expectations. Made white sail? ?? between that and the south shore.

Saw a vessel under full sail up the harbor. Made Whaleman's Harbor. Four vessels lay in there. Began to make more off to the right and in a little while we lay anchored off the town of San Francisco. One hundred and seventy-five days from Boston. Over one hundred vessels lay anchored around us. At last we have arrived to that gracious magnificent harbor. The little hills that town was on seemed alive.  Tents, a great number studied the hills. The boats was soon long side from other vessels stating to our dissatisfaction that the N.England Company had arrived. The ?, Elvira, Aurora, Josephine, Architect and all the Boston fleet but the Capitol & Saltitto. They gave us all the news. Ten thousands questions was asked. The news from the diggings glowing, prices high, and every statement made concerning trade & the gold collaborated. Soon a great number of the New England Company was aboard to see their friends. Hearty was the shake of the hand and joyful the greeting. All was enthusiasm up to 11 o"clock when I retired content & happy.

Saturday, July 7th
San Francisco Harbor. A delightful day. Went ashore in the morning. Found the city teeming with Yankees. Gambling houses in any quantity where natives gambled away their gold by the square foot. Cigars cheep which was a good sign. Provisions cheap & mechanical instruments, lumber and materials to work with found very high prices. Stopped in town about an hour. Saw that I had no letters and found that the town was determined to be an immense city. Every thing was going on quietly and harmoniously. Went aboard ship to look around, pack away my clothes & write home.

 Sunday July 8th
San Francisco Harbor. Went ashore in the morning took a stroll with friend Mears down the coast to see where some of our ship's crew had camped and hundreds of others. Went in to the Aurora's tent. Found all at home living happy and content. After, went up to the Post Office on the way in the square. Found the Stars & Stripes flying. In one of the houses nearby heard a man holding forth in religious worship. Stood in the doorway. This seemed like home. Put me in mind of the times when at home. Found them Americans & Episcopalians in creed.

Went aboard in the afternoon. The ships Mary Adeline & Orphius from New York and at last who started first the Saltitto. One ran afoul sand bar at the entrance of the harbor. To end with she got off in the night  Today party of our men went down on the ile. and got two bullocks. Found them plenty and deer in herds.

Monday July 9th
San Francisco Harbor. Pleasant west ?  Pleasant breezes from the NW. Went ashore today  Saw some of the ?. Put letters in the post office for Mother Rollins & Peasy that we are in search of one piece weighting 2 1/4 lbs and 2 lb and lbs of dust and flakes. Found all the town alive with Americans. I can not say Yankees because there are a great number of New Yorkers. Yes, any numbers of N. York pirates who stood ready to swindle the gold out of the natives.

Tuesday July 10th
San Francisco Harbor. Went ashore in the morning, as today at 12 o'clock was the time appointed to sail up the river for Benicia, to look around. Came to the conclusion on looking round and seeing the houses going up and the lumber arriving & merchandise that San Francisco must in time be a tremendous city. Already, they are building substantial wharves which is greatly wanted. All business is done in the American tongue and after the Yankee fashion. Land is very high. Provisions low. Clothing cheap. Lumber and all building materials command very high prices. Fire wood is thirty dollars a chord.

At 12 o'clock all on board with a pilot Capt Hoyt of Benicia who volunteered to take us up the river for nothing as were very large. At 2 o'clock had the anchor up and sails on and heading for our ship’s final destination (as ships brought nothing comparatively speaking we were determined to run her up as far as she would go). Sailed along with a light breeze till getting back of Angle Ile. The tide was in our favor. We drifted along slowly through Snisileter Straits [probably Raccoon Straits] enjoying the scenery. Another party took a boat and went in search of the wild cattle but we were favored with a strong breeze from the NW. after getting through the straits and they had the pleasure of staying out over night.

We arrived at Benicia after a delightful sail of about three hours and a half. Dropped our anchor within five rods of the shore. Found the propeller steam ship Massachusetts of the U. States and the store ship South Hampton both U. States vessels. All in sight of the barracks or naval station. Also found the Leanore who sailed Sunday before us. She had no pilot and was up on the flats. Benicia is at the head of Snisileter bay straight on a point of land that makes the straits of [blank space]. In a few years this will also be an immense city. Already religious societies and schools have been formed, and in all probability this will be the principle naval station on this side of the continent.

Wednesday July 11th.
Benicia. On board ship today. All was confusion on board. Half of our men were ordered by the Directors to make preparations to go to the gold mines this and mooring, the ship, and about a dozen of our men leaving the Company made confusion & excitement enough for one day.

Those that left the Company gave no particular reason for leaving, but they have been growling ever since leaving Boston. Since their attempt to break up the Company where they petitioned and then would not define their position and make some plausible statements why the Company should break up, they have growled worse that every. They have left, and I am glad they have (with exception of one or two) they they have caused trouble enough, and their attempts to break up the Company the first one of the kind in the country have been fruitless. I for one am glad they have left. Although they think that they will be a loss to the Company, I think we will be the gainers by it. All now will go on harmoniously. I shall place a black mark against their names as not belonging to the Company on my list of members.
Our boat arrived with the party that went out yesterday in search of a bullock with no game and well beat out.

Mr. Alexander, the geologist, with a party of three Mr. T.L. Bates, S.S. Shaw & To Nabor started for the gold mines today. They go in search of a desirable location for our Company to work and locate themselves. We depend greatly upon their good judgment. Good luck to them . All day, as I have said before, a large party of our men were getting ready to go the gold mines. They are to start the next tide. My division was left to stay aboard.

Sorry for the delay.  I am traveling.  I've made this a double week to compensate.

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