1825 – 1878

Famous world traveler

who traveled as a passenger on the Sea Serpent with Sarah, Williams and Willie from Macao to New York in 1853.

American poet, travel author and diplomat.

Early Life

Bayard Taylor was born in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania to a Quaker farming family.

Intellectually curious with a yearning to travel, his first desire was to be a poet.

He achieved some success, but was more well-known for his travelogues.

After his first 2 year walking trip through Europe, he published Views A-Foot and quickly became a celebrity.

He was hired by Horace Greeley of the New York Tribune to report on the Gold Rush.

Upon his return, he wrote Eldorado which was also a best-seller.

In 1849, he married Mary Agnew, but sadly, she died of tuberculosis the next year.


Famous Journey

In 1851 Bayard embarked on a journey that would take him away for 2 years and 4 months and cover 50,000 miles.

He started in Egypt and India.

Then Horace Greeley arranged for him to join the expedition of Commodore Matthew Perry,

so he joined them in China where they sailed to Japan.

Sea Serpent Journey

When the Howlands arrived in Macao in the summer of 1853,

Bayard Taylor was there with the members of the Perry expedition.

He asked Captain Howland if he could return as a passenger on the Sea Serpent from Macao to New York.

He was just 28 at the time.

Sarah developed a close relationship with Bayard Taylor

and she frequently mentions their walks and talks on the deck of the clipper ship.


While on his 2+ year journey, Bayard Taylor sent accounts back to Horace Greeley who published them in the New York Tribune.

When Taylor returned to New York he found that he was even more of a celebrity,

even before he published several works about his travels.

One of these was called A Visit to India, China and Japan in the Year 1853.

The latter portion of the book includes his time in Macao and his return trip on the Sea Serpent.

It is interesting to compare his account to Sarah’s Journal,

since they write about the same incidents from different perspectives.

Link to the Book

Later Years

Upon Taylor’s return he embarked on a successful lecture tour across the United States.

He continued to travel and wrote travelogues, poetry and novels.

He also conducted some diplomatic work in Russia and Germany.

Bayard Taylor died in Germany in 1878.

The New York Times called him “a great traveler both on and off paper”.

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