Tuesday, September 29, 2009

From the Travels of William Bartram

What follows is taken from botanist William Bartram's adventurous journey in search of plants in the Southeastern parts of North America, beginning just prior to the American Revolutionary War. I find something charming and picturesque in his travelogue of days long past.

"PART I, CHAPTER I: THE AUTHOR SETS SAIL FROM PHILADELPHIA, AND ARRIVES AT CHARLESTON, FROM WHENCE HE BEGINS HIS TRAVELS

"At the request of Dr. Fothergill, of London, to search the Floridas, and the western parts of Carolina and Georgia, for the discovery of rare and useful productions of nature, chiefly in the vegetable kingdom; in April 1773, I embarked for Charleston, South Carolina, on board the brigantine Charleston packet, captain Wright, the brig ----------, captain Mason, being in company with us, and bound to the same port. We had a pleasant run down the Delaware, 150 miles to cape Henlopen, the two vessels entering the Atlantic together. For the first twenty-four hours we had a prosperous gale, and were chearful and happy in the prospect of a quick and pleasant voyage; but, alas! how vain and uncertain are human expectations! how quickly is the flattering scene changed! The powerful winds, now rushing forth from their secret abodes, suddenly spread terror and devastation; and the wide ocean, which, a few moments past, was gentle and placid, is now thrown into disorder, and heaped into mountains, whose white curling crests seem to sweep the skies!"

-- To be continued.

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