• Early New England Ship Captain Told About Ship's Hatch; Freight Charges -- Two Letters

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    JOHN LORD (December 12, 1792 – August 21, 1856) was a sea captain and the son of John and Lucy Lord.  Lord first married Elizabeth Dodge and later Elizabeth Gage, daughter of Major Thomas Gage of Rowley.

    AARON P. LORD (Jan. 21, 1795 – February 29, 1872) was a sea captain and is buried in the Old Burying Ground of Ipswich, MA. Other references list him as a farmer as well as a captain.

    THE NEW ENGLAND ECONOMY grew steadily over the entire colonial era, despite the lack of a staple crop that could be exported. New England conducted a robust trade within the English domain in the mid-18th century. They exported pickled beef and pork, onions and potatoes from the Connecticut Valley, codfish to feed their slaves, northern pine and oak staves from which the planters constructed containers to ship their sugar and molasses.  Moving vegetables and other merchandise by ship was a necessity and ships’ captains had to figure out the economy in order to survive financially.

    We offer two early New England ALS both addressed to Captain Aaron P. Lord, one from his brother John Lord and the other from Geo(rge) W. Hewitt. One letter deals with construction changes that Lord needs to make to his ship and the other   with the logistics of covering freight costs with suggestions on how his voyage might be able to achieve profitability through freight charges.

    2 pp, 5” x 7 ¾”, Ipswich, July 3rd n.y., John writes to Aaron: “I sent you the charts which I will lend to you for it will be expensive for you to get them. I find they cost $12 but that was some time since.

    “I hope you will make all dispatch for I long to have them make a beginning have a [?] made for the main hatch.  Have [?] the cable bent & the chain linked or shackled to the mast before you leave the wharf.

    “I have not seen your wife yet believe she is well.

    “Think I shall come to Boston day after tomorrow but hope you will be off before that time.

    “Yours Truly

    “John Lord”

    Second letter -- 2 pp, 7 3/4” x 10”, Jan 15, 1820, Ipswich, ALS, George W. Dewitt writes to Lord with integral address leaf, 18 ¾ manuscript stamp.

    “I have received yours of Dec. 26 saying you were going to N. Haven & I hope you will succeed in making a…trip for altho $200 would  assure [?] to go south, I fear that in coming to the north at this season you will find that freight little enough if you have not short passages and make dispatch. After you have finished this trip, I suppose as you do not say anything to the contrary, that you intend returning to Norfolk if so & you do not find fair freight & readily, I am inclined to think that a load of grain south would be advisable as I have before mentioned. The last account I have seen from Charleston & Savannah were from the farmers…Their corn was quoted 38 @ 42 & oats 30 @ 40, peas 45 @50…Corn was quoted 42 @ 44…I rather think that as fewer vessels will probably be going that way in and the season is growing later…I would take 8 or 10 hundred back oats & the balance in corn but be particular about the qualities of both or whatever you take be good & free from…weevils. I am of the opinion that you would make a freight & it was not a large one would it not be better than coming north. Peas are generally saleable at Charleston but I do not know if they can be had cheap enough in Chesapeake. The suppliers of them are usually obtained from the N. Counties of N. Carolina. If you do anything of this kind, you will of course write me on account of having insurance due. I do not know what amount you have or will have with you from N. Haven but you had better inform me as there is no insurance –none-- on property on board…

    “Yours truly

    “Geo. W. Hewitt”

    Letters are in excellent condition with normal folds, light toning, foxing. Seal tear on the Hewitt letter. But two great examples of early New England maritime shipping.

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