Bayard Taylor’s Description of the Sailing Conditions
The Middle Kingdom by S. Wells Williams
Journal of a Residence of Two Years and a Half in Great Britain by Jehangir Nowrojee and Hirjeebhoy Merwanjee
An Historical and Geographical Description of Formosa by George Psalmanazar

December 16th

Six days ago we had strong hopes of being in New York in two days, but alas our wind suddenly changed and was directly ahead, and here we are, going this way and that way; most of the time a heavy head sea. Yesterday we were but sixty miles nearer New York than we were six days ago. This is a sad trial of patience to us all. However, we try to submit with as good a grace as possible. With the exception of a day or two the weather has been truly delightful; cool enough to make us all feel well and enjoy a good run on deck, which Willie and I literally take for about an hour, morning and afternoon. The windows are all kept open and the skylights half off.

Lately have spend almost all my time sewing, making, with Mary’s assistance, clothes for Willie, altering, fixing, etc. Writing some for Williams in two of his “journals”. Have finished the “Middle Kingdom”. Found it a very interesting book, full of the information on China that I wanted.

Read a book lent to me by Mr. Taylor. It was written and given to him by a Parsee gentleman of Bombay. It is an account of that gentleman’s visit and travels in England. Indeed it is written by two Parsees. They are ship builders in Bombay. By desire of friends they wrote the book in English and published it before leaving England. The book is particularly intended for their countrymen in India for whom they translated it. The book is written very wide and has much information in it. The spirit of it pleased me much. While many of their remarks so full of childlike simplicity amused me much. They visited England for some three years in order to perfect themselves in their business. Mr. Taylor speaks of them as fine intelligent men.

I am now reading another book lent to me by Mr. Taylor. It is an old curious affair published in England in the year 1703. The book is written by an inhabitant of the Island of Formosa, he having been enticed away from his father’s house by a disguised French Jesuit priest who was his tutor. The idea of the tutor was to take him home with him and by argument or force, make a convert of him. He failed, and they being about to resort to the offices of the inquisition, he made his escape. After many wanderings and trials by many sects to convert him, he at last meets with a minister of the Church of England, who is the means of his conversation of which he gives a full account. The rest of the book contains an account of the history of the inhabitants etc. of the Isle of Formosa. As yet I have not finished it.

Our little Willie is very well, takes great delight and amusement impersonating different animals. Indeed, he is half the time in imagination a horse or some other animal. Lately he has talked a great deal of New York and of seeing dear brother and sister there, and dear, dear aunt Mamie. He says he will run up to them and put his arms round them and kiss them dearly. He is, and has been, a very good boy.

This afternoon there were twelve sails in sight from the mast, seven at one time from the deck. One a small coast vessel sent a boat off to make us a begging visit. The same boat visited another of the vessels – a whaler direct from the Sandwich Islands. They having nothing to spare induced them to call upon us. From the movements of this little vessel all thought she had just left the States and perhaps was coming to offer us some aid if in need of it; their hopes for news were consequently much raised. An utter disappointment was the consequence.

Towards night our wind became more favorable.