New York, January 5, 1857.President John Taylor.
Dear Sir--That you may have a report of our voyage, and that our friends at home may learn of our arrival in safety, we forward you the following for publication in the Mormon--
The ship Columbia left Liverpool dock on the 16th of November, 1856, and sailed from the River Mersey on the 18th, on her voyage for this port, with 221 Saints and other passengers on board. The Saints were under the presidency of Elders John Williams, George Baker, and Benjamin Lloyd. Before leaving Liverpool, Elders Calkin and Williams, from the Millennial Star office, came on board, and exhorted the Saints to observe cleanliness and order during the voyage, promising that, if they would obey the counsel and carry out the instructions given them by those who presided, they should have a prosperous voyage, and not one soul should be lost.
During the first three days, we had a fresh breeze, and then came on a calm, which continued for a week. On Sunday, the 23rd, the captain very kindly consented to allow preaching on the quarterdeck, when President John Williams set forth the first principles of the gospel to all on board. During the calm, the Saints partially recovered from their seasickness, of which most of them had had a very severe attack. On the 11th December, Sister Skinner was confined of a son. From a few days before this time, up to the 23rd of December, we had strong gales and heavy squalls, which rendered it very difficult for the Saints to have their food cooked, which, at times, made it very unpleasant for them, nevertheless, as a general thing, contentment and peace reigned. On the 23rd of December, the weather commenced to be very cold and stormy. On Christmas eve, Christmas, and the following day, most of the sisters and children were compelled to remain in their berths on account of the coldness of the weather and rolling of the ship. After the 26th, the weather became mild until the end of our voyage.
On the 30th, land was observed from the mast-head, which made the hearts of the Saints greatly to rejoice, thinking that deliverance was so near at hand from their long and dangerous voyage.
Whenever the weather permitted, the bugle was sounded for the saints to attend the meetings for prayer and instruction. The captain, officers, and crew were very kind to the Saints.
We landed at New York towards evening of the 1st January, 1857, after a voyage of forty-five days. Two of the crew have gone on to St. Louis with the Saints that have gone there, with a design to go ultimately to Great Salt Lake City.
The majority of the Saints enjoyed good health crossing the Atlantic. The morning after our arrival, we were visited by brethren from the Mormon office, and other brethren. President John Taylor, Parley P. Pratt, George A. Smith, and Erastus Snow, paid us a visit at Castle Garden likewise, and gave us every necessary instruction for our future comfort, for which the Saints feel to tender their grateful acknowledgments, and, at the same time, thank the branch of New York, with its president, for sending them a goodly portion of the good things from the festival.
We remain your brethren in the everlasting gospel,
John Williams, presidentGeorge Baker, counselorBenjamin Lloyd, counselor
Samuel Symon, clerk. [p.106]
BIB: Williams, John, et. al. [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 19:7 (February 14, 1857) p. 106.