This letter was written by Andrew Bulkley (1789-1867) to his father, Capt. Eleazer Bulkley (1763-1843) of Fairfield, Connecticut. Andrew’s mother was Mary Ogden (1770-1839). Andrew married Sally Dimon (1782-1868) less than four months after writing this letter.
The Bulkley’s lived on Mill River in the town of Fairfield, Connecticut. The Mill River flows into Long Island Sound at Southport Harbor. Capt. Eleazer started his sea-faring career as a privateersman during the Revolutionary War and afterwards followed the “coasting business” [trading on the eastern seaboard]. He purchased vessels and placed his sons in partnership with himself, forming the shipping firm of E. Bulkley & Sons in New York.
Addressed to Capt. Eleazer Bulkley, Mill River [Fairfield, Connecticut]
23 April 1815
Sir, I arrived here last Wednesday evening in a short passage from Boston about 3½ days with a full freight & about 20 passengers. I passed Mill River Tuesday night with the wind fresh at ESE and being very anxious to get in, I thought it best not to stop and concluded to come up in the Packet, but could not get discharged in time to settle my business.Therefore, I shall not be able to come up until I come up again from Boston. The Mary has made a great trip. Her freight & passage money to Boston was about 575 dollars & about 425 back making from 10 to 1075 dollars. But Sir, I can hardly account for the money. My expenses has been so much. New sails, cables & a great deal of rigging as I am determined to have her in good order. Her sails please me very much & set as well as any I ever saw. The duck proves good & no one knows it is stained ____ ____ unless they are told. I shall finish discharging tomorrow & begin to take in a little about 10 tons pig iron & a few ____ and shall get away again as soon as possible as I expect Capt. [paper torn] will be here this week as he was ½ loaded when I left Boston and expect is ready to sail by this time and The Concern was ready to take in but freights was dull & I expect they are dull here from what I can learn. Robinson has bought a new sloop & is loading for Boston Bradley P___in Co. He does not appear to get freight very fast. They have bought about 1000 bushels corn. I expect he will get away in 3 or 4 days & I think it quite probable I shall get by Saturday next. I shall have from 35 to 50 sailers with the same officer I had before and several cabin passengers that will wait 15 days in case I should not get away before as they are listing men everyday & have about 30 new enlisted.
[My brother] Jonathan & Capt. Steel feel very anxious about that sloop on Long Island & wish me to write you about her to see whether you had been to look at her & see how she would answer as they think The Juno & The Concern is rather below par & I think as they do about it & I should be very glad to own a fourth of her with you and I am sure we could get along the payments very easy as Business, I think, will be good towards fall and if we calculate to keep the run of the business as usual we must have as good vessels as others and there is a number of new comers in the trade and a number of the first rate of vessels. Therefore, I think we ought to have a new sloop in the womb of The Juno & get rid of The Concern as she will sell better in the course of a few months than she will after.
As to The Mary‘s papers, they are cut & I have thought best to enclose them to you & you will please take them out in your name & then enclose them to me the first opportunity without fail as it is possible I may want them in a very few days. Then I can get them endorsed over to me. Please to attend to it immediately for if I should have 40 or 50 sailers on board, it would be very bad to be obliged to stop. Then I enclose you the papers & 400 dollars in money, 100 dollars Treasury Note, & about ¾ of a bushel of Nova Scotia potatoes for seed which are very good. I would like to come up but business calls me here at present. The officers has been here since I began to write this & say he has lost all his men to 12 or 15 but thinks he will have from 25 to 30 for me when I get ready to sail.
Please to write me on the receipt of this & send my coast pilot & mention your opinion in respecting that sloop. Please to remember me to all enquiring friends.
I remain your affectionate son, — Andrew Bulkley