Lynhaven Bay, November 21, 1789
—Tho’ a committee of American captains at Cowes had [de]termined we must expect a nine weeks passage, the winds [and] weather have so befriended us that we are come to an anch[orage] here 29. days after weighing anchor at Yarmouth, having bee[n] only 26. days from land to land. After getting clear of the etern[al] fogs of Europe, which required 5. or 6. days sailing, the sun broke out upon us, & gave us fine autumn weather almost cons[tant]ly thro the rest of the voyage, & so warm that we had no occas[ion] for fire. In the gulph stream only we had to pass thro’ the squalls of wind & rain which hover generally over that tepid cur[r]ent: & thro the whole we had had nothing stronger tha[n] what seamen call a stiff breeze: so that I have now passed the Atlantic twice without knowing what a storm is. When we had passed the meridian of the Western islands, our weather w[as] so fine that it would have been madness to go 1000. miles out of our way to seek what would not have been better. So we determin[ed] to push on the direct course. We left the banks of Newf[oundland] about as far on our right as the Western islands on our left notwithstanding the evidence of their quadrants to the contrary some of the sailors insisted we were in the trade winds. Our sickness in the beginning was of 3. 4. or 5 days, severe enough. Since that we have been perfectly well. We separated from Mr. Trumbull’s ship the evening on which I wrote you from the needles, & I never saw her more. Our ship is two years old only, excellently accommodated, in ballast, and among the swiftest sailors on the ocean. Her captain a bold & judicious seaman, a native of Norfolk, whose intimate knowledge of our coast has been of both confidence & security to us. So that as we had in prospect every motive of satisfaction, we have found it still greater in event. We came to anchor here because no pilot has yet offered. Being within 15. miles of Norfolk by land, I have some thought of going ashore here in the morning, & going by land to that city. I wrote this from hence in hopes some outward bound vessel may be met to which it may be consigned. My plants & shepherd dogs are well. Remember me to enquiring friends, and accept assurances of sincere esteem & attachment with which I am Dear Sir.
Labels: Works of Thomas Jefferson