Ship Underwriter (50 miles from New York) May 21, 1861.President G. [George] Q. Cannon.
Dear Brother,--We address a few lines to you with pleasure, knowing the anxiety which will be felt concerning the condition of this ship's company, not only by you, but by the whole British Church.
After our appointment by the Presidency on the 21st of April, we proceeded to organize the company placed under our watch care. We divided them into nine wards--four on each deck, with a separate ward for the bachelors. A suitable man was appointed over each ward to watch the interests of the people and give them suitable advice. We got everything ready for sea as quickly and merrily as possible, and on the 23rd the ship weighed anchor. The steamtug had us in tow all night. We had a very mild and pleasant time during the remainder of the week.
On Sunday, the 28th, the sacrament was administered in all the wards simultaneously at half-past nine, a.m. In the afternoon at three o'clock, Brother [Charles W.] Penrose preached a discourse on deck. In the evening we had a fresh breeze of wind; also on Monday and Tuesday most of the people were seasick. We will not stop to describe the peculiar pleasures attached to this delightful recreation, (seasickness) as we do not wish that the Saints, by anticipation, should be deprived of its peculiar sensations and benefits. They must wait with patience till they come. Experience will be the best schoolmaster. However, the wind died away, the qualms departed, the Saints rose on their legs again, and the weather became fine and pleasant.
On Sunday, May 5th, the sacrament was administered as before, at three, p.m. Brother [Milo] Andrus delivered a discourse on the deck, after which the wind freshened again; and on Monday it blew pretty stiffly. Brother [Milo] Andrus was taken sick, and on Tuesday was confined to his bed, where he was confined for a week, suffering severely; but by the blessing of God, and through the faith and constant prayers of the Saints, he recovered and is now enjoying health. During this week the weather was foggy and cold.
Sunday, May 12th--Meetings as before, except that the afternoon's meeting, in consequence of the cold, was held between decks. Brother [Charles W.] Penrose preached to the Saints. After meeting, the wind freshened again; and on Tuesday we had a brisk gale, which lasted till midnight. [p.396] No damage, however, was done to anyone, and the songs of the Saints could be heard sounding cheerily while the ship rolled and pitched, and the angry winds howled and grumbled through the ropes.
Sunday, May 19th--A lovely day, but a dead calm. Meeting as usual in the morning. Brother [Homer] Duncan preached on deck in the afternoon. A breeze as usual after meeting, towards night. Monday, a strong gale--everything playing a game of "pitch and toss," unless it was tied; and then it looked as if it wanted to. Today we have a pilot on board, and are sailing quietly towards the oft mentioned and greatly desired port of New York.
During our voyage we have had two deaths--infants,--who were nearly deficient of the breath of life before we started. The first, Sister McClean's [McLean's] son James, of Coventry, aged 15 months on 29th April. The second, Janet Gillespie, daughter of Alexander and Mary Gillespie of Scotland, May 13th, aged 18 months. Both died of consumption, and both were enclosed in metal cases to take ashore. We also had two marriages; the first on 22nd April, between William Alfred Garrett and Ann P. Wilkins, both of Coventry; the second between John N. [W.] Hinton, of Birmingham, and Emma Spendlove of Rowington, Warwickshire, on 19th of May.
The general health of the passengers has been good, no epidemic diseases of any kind having manifested themselves. Brother [Homer] Duncan has been in good health all the way, and has been able to get round among the people all the time. Brother [Charles W.] Penrose suffered considerably from seasickness for a few days.
We cannot speak in too glowing terms of the good spirit and feeling manifested by the Saints on this happy voyage. The power of God has been with them, and they have governed themselves according to the counsels which have been given then, almost without an exception.
May 23rd.--We arrived on the 22nd, and the majority of the company are about to start to Florence. We found Brothers Pratt, Snow, Jones, and Hooper all well.
With heartfelt gratitude to God for his abundant goodness to us, and with love to Brothers Lyman and Rich, and the brethren in the office, to yourself, and all the Saints in the British Mission, we remain yours in Christ,
Milo Andrus,Homer Duncan,Charles W. Penrose. [p.397]
BIB: Andrus, Milo, [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 23:23 (June 22, 1861) pp. 396-97. (CHL)