Ship Juventa, Off Cape May, 4 P.M.,Friday, May 4, 1855.President F. [Franklin] D. Richards.
Dear Brother--As we are now lying at anchor, waiting a favorable wind to take us into the river, I desire to pen a few lines to you, informing you of the prosperity which has attended us thus far, and, as we expect to proceed on our way about 6 p.m., I may be ready to post this as soon as I can advise you of our arrival in Philadelphia.
Thus far the blessings pronounced on our heads by you, when you parted from us in the Mersey, have been fulfilled to the letter, and we have endeavored to live for them all the day long. Since we left the shores of Old England, we have experienced the hand of the Lord over us for good, in that we have had a pleasant and prosperous voyage. Under the influence of His Holy Spirit we have enjoyed peace and happiness, the utmost order and tranquility prevailing amongst all the passengers, and today, whilst we write to you, we can heartily thank God that we have every soul which left Liverpool with us rejoicing (on deck) in the fulness of health and strength, not one out of such a large company having met a watery grave. We have been free from disease, with the exception of seasickness, and a few cases of measles, which occurred amongst the children. And here we cannot omit expressing our gratitude to our worthy captain, Mr. Watts, whose attention to the comfort and safety of the passengers was indeed unbounded, and his kindness to us shall ever be remembered with thankfulness. He was ever ready to grant us any privilege which we asked, and to offer any advice which suited us, and from his table supplies were regularly sent to the sick, aged, or infirm. The surgeon, Mr. Edie, has manifested the greatest solicitude for the health of the people, and has proved himself kind, attentive, and obliging, so much so, that he has gained the goodwill of the passengers. Indeed there could not be a people more blessed than we have been, for we met with the kindest treatment from every officer of the ship. We must also notice the benefits we have derived from the experience of our brother Captain Stayner, who was always on hand to give us a word of counsel where it was needed.
On Sunday, April 1st, being the day after we left the Mersey, we held a council meeting at 9 a.m., and organized the ship's company into twelve wards, and set apart the ex-presidents of Conferences and missions to preside over them; Elder Patrick Lynch, clerk of the company. We found it was essential to the safety of the passengers that the utmost strictness with regard to cleanliness and order should be observed, and to that end it was resolved that each ward should furnish every morning a sufficient number of men, whose duty was to clean the ward thoroughly, washing and scraping out the same; these cleaners to commence at 4 o'clock each morning, so as to allow the females to get up at 6. The cooking operations were attended to in ward, each President seeing that none (except for the sick) came into the galley during the time his people were cooking, but the members of his ward. The same order was attended to in serving out the water and provisions. Thus, under the influence of the Spirit of God, all things passed off well with us. Meetings were held regularly in each ward morning and evening, and on Sundays we always observed a fast, and held meetings on deck, where discourses were delivered by the various elders, which were always listened to by the officers of the ship with all due attention and respect. The sacrament was administered between decks each Sabbath at 1 o'clock, after which the Saints repaired to the galley to prepare their daily meal, and having satisfied themselves with temporal food for the [p.374] body, composed themselves again for preaching at 6 p.m. Thus the time passed on without a dissenting jar, all feeling thankful for the manner in which they were supplied with provisions for the voyage, and if any were dissatisfied with anything, they were so few that they do not need to be noticed.
Although we have not had favorable winds, yet we have got on prosperously and safely, not having had to encounter anything which could by the most timid be called a storm, with the exception of a few hours on the night of the 21st April, when we had quite a gale, but while it lasted the Saints were composed, no cries of alarm being heard, as amongst other emigrants, but all was peace, for our people knew in whom they trusted, and that he was able to save us. During the gale, we had 2 close-reefed top-sails, 1 fore-top-mast, and 1 fore-stay-sail blown away. While this scene was being enacted aloft, the doctor was busily engaged "'tween decks" ushering another actor on this stage of action. Thus, amid a perfect tornado on the bosom of the deep, did young "Juventa" Beck make her debut on this terraqueous ball.
As already observed, we have had a few cases of measles on board, but they were of a mild nature, and are now almost entirely removed off the ship.
Yesterday, at 7 p.m., the pilot came on board, and expressed himself regarding the cleanliness and health of the passengers in such a manner as was indeed merited, and was pleasing to us. The captain, surgeon, and officers always expressed themselves in like manner, and oft testified that they never crossed the seas with such an agreeable lot of emigrants.
On several occasions, during the fine weather, Captain Pitt and some brethren from the Manchester Conference, entertained us with instrumental music, Brother Clegg, from Liverpool, often performing on the dulcimer, which, with singing Zion's songs, kept our minds continually occupied, and made the time to pass quickly to all appearance. Our brethren and sisters also found relaxation in tent and wagon cover making, at intervals during the passage.
In several instances manifestations of the healing power were in our midst, one or two we will mention.
On Sunday, 15th April, Elder Thomas Hunt, while attending to his cooking in the galley, was seriously scalded by the passengers' steward throwing a potful of boiling pork in his face, thus endangering his eyesight. He was led down to his berth in extreme agony, and continued so until evening, when he was administered to, and the pain left him, and from that hour he began to amend. Another is the case of a child of Sister Elizabeth Davis, whom the doctor despaired of, as being incurable, it being to all appearance lifeless. When we administered the ordinance to it, it instantly was restored, and it gained strength from that time.
Six p.m. The steam tug "America" came alongside, and took us in tow, but because of a strong head wind, we could not proceed up the river. Cast anchor for the night.
Saturday, 5th. Proceeded up the river. Anchored at the wharf at 8 p.m.
Sunday, 6th. The health officers came on board, and expressed their satisfaction regarding the cleanliness and health of the passengers.
At a meeting called on deck, complimentary votes were given to the captain, surgeon, and officers of the ship. The captain acknowledged the same, and expressed his feelings regarding us as a people in the most satisfactory manner. Votes of thanks were also given to Elder Glover, President, and to Elder [Patrick] Lynch, clerk of the company, for the services rendered by them to the passengers; also thanks to the
Presidents of the twelve wards, and to Elder [Elias] Gardner, captain of the guard.
Monday, 7th. P.E. and through emigrants luggage examined by the custom house officers. Their feelings towards us very kind.
Tuesday, 8th. Emigrants started for Pittsburgh at 12 noon, all rejoicing in health, and feeling good in the work of the Lord.
Dear brother, these are a few items connected with our journey thus far, and we can say that God has blessed us, and we feel to praise His name continually.
Yours in the bond of peace,
William Glover, President.P. Lynch, Clerk.Wednesday 9th, 8 p.m. [p.375]
BIB: Glover, William, [Letter], Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star 17:24 (June 16, 1855) pp. 374-75. (CHL)