New York, May 13, 1859.President Asa Calkin.
Dear Brother,--After a very pleasant and prosperous voyage of 31 days, we are happy to take the earliest opportunity, according to promise, of reporting ourselves as having arrived safe, sound, and right side up, "with care". As brevity has ever been a motto with me, and realizing that "words written are written," I will now proceed to give you an outline of our progress since parting with you in the River Mersey.
After we had gone through the process of Government inspection, clearing, &c. I proceeded, in connection with my counselors, to organize the company into ten wards, five English, and five Scandinavian, appointing a president over each to see to the faithful observance of cleanliness, good order &c. This being done, and all ready for sea, we found ourselves necessarily detained, in consequence of head wind, until Monday the 11th ultimo, when the anchor was weighed at 4 a.m., and every heart rejoiced in bidding adieu to Babylon and setting forth for the land of Zion. The joyous songs of Zion echoed through the ship; and as we got into the channel, the chorus followed, of course, in good seasick style, in which nearly all joined in to their heart's content.
The voyage throughout was by far the most pleasant and agreeable one that I have ever realized, during the whole of the five times I have crossed these waters, owing to the very pleasant weather and the exceeding good order, general good feeling, and harmony which prevailed throughout the entire voyage.
The health of the passengers was excellent. This can be realized from the fact that out of the 726 passengers we had but one death - an old sister from Sweden, named Inger Olesen Hagg, aged 61, and who had been afflicted for upwards of five years previous to her embarkation. This was counterbalanced by two births - namely, Sister [Caroline] Higson, from Leigh, of a son; and Sister [Jane] France, from Hindley, of a daughter: mothers and children doing well.
In the matrimonial department we did exceedingly well, as we had nineteen marriages, five couples of which were English, one Swiss, and thirteen Scandinavian, all of which were solemnized by myself.
During the whole of the voyage, from the day of our organization, we had the people called together for prayer every morning and evening at eight o'clock, which was faithfully attended to by the [p.400] Saints. On Sundays, three meetings were held on deck, and fellowship meetings in each ward two nights a week, which was a good preventive against grumbling, as it kept the minds of the people actively engaged in the better things of the kingdom.
The monotony of the voyage was also enlivened with singing, instrumental music, dancing, games &c.; in which, as a matter of course, the junior portion took a prominent part, while the more sedate enjoyed themselves in seeing and hearing the happifying recreations.
I certainly felt it quite a task in being appointed to take charge of a company composed of people from so many countries, speaking nine different languages, and having different manners, customs, and peculiarities, and thrown together under such close circumstances; but, through the faithfulness and diligence of the Saints, which were universally manifested, I soon found the load far easier than I had anticipated; and on our arrival here, we were pronounced, by doctors and government officers, to be the best disciplined and most agreeable company that ever arrived at this port.
Of the captain it is not necessary to say anything further than that, just before our arrival, we presented him with the following testimonial, which he is in every respect worthy of: â€”
"Testimonial to Captain James B. Bell, Commander of the ship William Tapscott.
Sir,--As we are drawing to the conclusion of our voyage, we should not be doing justice to our feelings, were we not to embrace this opportunity, before we separate, of expressing, though briefly, those sentiments of sincere regard and esteem which have been engendered within us towards yourself, during our short intercourse while on our passage across the Atlantic, and throughout which we have all been so happily blessed and prospered.
We would humbly assure you that the pleasant and interesting time which we have spent on board the William Tapscott will be long remembered by us all, and mostly so on account of the many kindnesses and favors which we have received from her worthy captain. The assiduous care and kindly interest which you have universally displayed for our comfort and welfare, your courteous urbanity, and gentlemanly bearing have all combined to win our hearts and call forth the warmest feelings of a grateful people.
And wherever our respective lots may be cast in the future, our minds will often revert to the present voyage and its happy associations; and our heartfelt prayers shall ascend to heaven for the richest blessings of our Father to be bestowed upon you that your life may be long, prosperous, and happy, and your future, joy and peace.
Signed, in behalf of the seven hundred and twenty-six passengers, and with their unanimous approval.
Robert F. Neslen President of the Company of Emigrants
Henry H. Harris George Rowley Counselors
James Bond Secretary [p. 401]
BIB: Neslen, R[obert] F. [Letter] Latter-day Saints' Millennial
Star 21:25 (June 18, 1859) pp. 400-401.(CHL)