Astor House, New York, April 1, 1851.
I have just arrived at this place, and have found my companions on hand, all ready for the commencement of the long-anticipated voyage. We regret the circumstances which render it your duty to remain, and we all feel very sorry for the disappointment of your wishes and our hopes. You will, however, feel happy in the thought that you are clearly in the path of duty; and you have already learnt that that path is a safe one, and that it always leads to happiness. You have begged us all to write to you as frequently as we can, and we have concluded to send you our joint contributions, drawing largely upon our journals as we move from place to place; and, as we have for so many years had pleasant intercourse in the family circle, we wish to maintain it by correspondence abroad. Our letters will, of course, be very different in their character and interest, because you will bear in mind that out ages are different; and we shall write you from a variety of points, some having a deeper interest than others. I trust that this series of letters will give you a general view of our movements, and contribute to your gratification, if not to your instruction. The weather is delightful, and we are anticipating a fine day for leaving port. It is to all of us a source of pain that we are deprived of your sunny smile; and while we are wandering far away in other lands, we shall often, in fancy, listen to your merry laugh; and I assure you, my dear fellow, that, wherever we rove, it will be amongst our pleasantest thoughts of home when we anticipate the renewal of personal intercourse with one who has secured so warm a place in our affections.
Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool, April 14.
It is but twelve days since we parted, and yet we are actually in the old world, and the things which we have so often talked over on the rock-bound shore are really before me. Yes, we are on the soil of Old England, and are soon to see its glories and greatness, and, I fear, its miseries, for a bird's eye view has already satisfied me that there is enough of poverty. You know we left New York in a soaking rain, and the wind blowing fresh from the north-east. We all felt disappointed, as we had hoped to pass down the bay, so celebrated for its beauty, with the bright sunshine to cheer our way; but we had to take comfort from the old proverb, that "a bad beginning makes a good ending." James, George, and I had made up our minds to a regular time of sea-sickness, and so we hastened to put our state room into order and have all our conveniences fixed for the voyage. As soon as we had made matters comfortable, we returned to the deck, and found a most formidable crowd. Every passenger seemed to have, on the occasion, a troop of friends, and all parts of the immense steamer were thronged. The warning voice of "all on shore" soon caused a secession, and at twelve o'clock we had the great agent at work by which we hoped to make headway against wind and wave. The cheering of the crowd upon the wharf was hearty as we dropped into the river, and its return from our passengers was not lacking in spirit. The Arctic, you know, is one of the Collins line of steamers, and I was not a little surprised at her vast size and splendid accommodations, because I had only seen the Cunard boats in Boston, which are very inferior, in size and comfort, to this palace and tower of the ocean.
We all anticipated a hard time of it, from the severe storm which raged all the morning, and I, in common with all the passengers, was delighted to find it any thing but rough water outside the Hook. We kept steaming away till we lost sight of land with the loss of daylight, and yet the sea was in less commotion than it frequently exhibits in Newport Harbor....