Pirate attacks on the high seas were a frequent obstacle to shipping and the safety of vessels in early America. Here is a wonderful content letter dealing with the matter with excellent early postal markings.
3 ½ pp, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾, Portland, [Maine], March 23, 1829, to Capt. Francis Donaldson of Brig Exchange of Portland, with early postal markings. The sender’s name is difficult to discern but appears to be S.K. Hamand.
“Dear Friend and Brother, Sister Phebe has just handed me a letter to carry to the Post Office for you, which reminds me of the duty of writing…I now almost fear that our letters will not reach you, it is long since you left New York…Although our acquaintance is somewhat limited, yet, I cannot but join in the anxiety…about your while absent. We hear of frequent disasters at sea and read numerous accounts of piracies, committed near the islands of Cuba and in the vicinity of the Gulf of Mexico; and sometimes feel apprehensive that you may either be overtaken by the one or fall into the unmerciful…of the other; still while we imagine the terms of a tempest and shudder at the cruelties of the pirate, we hope you may have escaped them both. There are two vessels missing from this place supposed to have been destroyed by pirates near Havanna…The Statira [sp?] is one and a brig belonging to Geo. Willis commanded by Capt. Weeks. One brig from Boston was taken & one from New York and all hands murdered. As soon as [President Andrew] Jackson heard of it, he ordered the U.S. Ship Natches to sail for Cuba in 24 hours’ notice…I think this will be a feather in his cap…Money is plenty in our banks but very little in circulation. Little business doing in anything now except West India and that is hardly worth pursuing…Brig Drom, Capt. Rice, was capsized in one of those great snow storms, within 30 miles of Nantucket [MA] and Capt. Rice was the first man who perished…I forget to say that Hugh McLellars is elected Colonel of the Gorham Regiment, in consequence of being a Jackson man…”
Folds, toning and cello tape repairs, primarily to the third page and around the integral address leaf. Several words affected. Spectacular early maritime Americana.
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