As I read through this I felt that some of the translations could use a further explanation. My comments are in brackets { }. The comments of the original translator are in brackets as well [ ]. Special thanks go to Dr. Hans-Wilhelm Kelling, professor of German at Brigham Young University, for his help in translating some of the idiomatic expressions. Tricia


Between Bremen and Bremerhaven on the 18th of April 1845.

Today after all we sailed from here by favorable winds; but this evening at 9 o'clock we dropped anchor again in Bremerhaven. On the 19th at 3 o'clock we weighed anchor. The wind was a bit strong; therefore, the Weser, which is already a majestic stream there, was very choppy for about 1 hour. Around 2 o'clock in the afternoon Europa {Europe} had almost disappeared; only to our left was there a little magnificent Oldenburge village which disappeared on the horizon. The ship started to rock significantly. But the captain assured us that when we hit the open sea the rocking would increase greatly. The wind died down toward the evening. We had a beautiful sunset. The moon reflects in the water with a wonderful clearness, and lifts the heart of the lonely with strength and joy. Jolly people found each other here.

The cabin is shared with a Hanoverian officer. He seems to be a jolly fellow, not the least snobbish; he wants to settle in Texas. Another man got called to a colony in Texas, and another man wants to settle there, too. A student from Göttingen goes there as a Doctor. A forestry candidate from Munich wants to settle there, a ______ from Hanover, a Gometer [?] family from Nassau, and also a young man from around Hanover want to settle in Texas, too. It looks sad in the middle deck; there are people from all regions of Germany, but in a way it is entertaining to study the different physiognomies of miscellaneous individuals. In all there are 120 persons as passengers on the Johann Dethard.

The 20th we have good wind. Yesterday evening was a wonderful evening, so we were naturally wonderfully merry. 2 brought 3 guitars on board and also 2 flutes, so we sang and also danced. But the captain, who seems to be a graver [?] {stern} man, said that tomorrow evening the weather will look completely different, and so it is. Our little ship rises and throws itself so that we get very painful feelings. At noon we ate grits and beef. As soon as we got through eating we started to get seasick, and vomited with force. Everywhere the passengers are hanging overboard and feed the full contents of their stomachs to the fish {die Fische füttern (to feed the fish) is a German idiomatic expression which means to throw up}, which they accept as welcome food. And those distressed faces they have after unloading their stomachs; I think in that moment they would not care if the ship would sink and they with it. But here marches a stout gentleman smoking a pipe; he looks around as if to say, "Am I not a healthy-looking body; and the sea does not bother me in the least." But look, he is not at the end of his wanderings yet. He lays his pipe to the side; and it looks like he had overloaded his stomach with 1000 pounds of beef and 10 gallons of buttermilk. And so the sickness touches nearly everyone. Only a gentleman from the Hanover family and I are spared from it.

And now I can see through my binoculars the island of Helgoland, about 6 miles away from us; but I can't see anything on it, only a white and yellow mass of rocks.

21st April. Yesterday evening the sky was overlaid in the west with long gray stripes, and we all thought we would have a storm today. The continuous rocking was such a burden that I went below deck to my coje [bunk] to fall in the arms of god Morpheus. In our room we have 8 cojes -- 4 to each side. 2 upper and 2 lower. If they were hammocks, it would make the rocking easier, but these are immovable, and sometimes you stand on your head and other times your head feels like swinging around. You get the sneaking suspicion you are tipsy. As I awoke this morning, I saw tired and exhausted shapes get out of their cojes. They looked worse than yesterday; a tin dish in front of them and they got sick in their stomachs again and again. I went up on deck and instead of the promised storm the wind was completely still, and the whole sea was covered with fog. We could not see 20 feet in front of us. The ship is rocking some; nobody is on the foredeck; only the 4 people from Nassau and me. The captain says that we were spared from seasickness. The fog lasted all day and it got cold like an ice sea, but I didn't go below; I stay awake easier that way.

The 22nd April. A beautiful day but very cold. I am getting used to the rocking of the ship; and more people are seen on deck again. This morning we played a partie {party} [?], and since we are happy folk, we made terrible jokes. We were aware of 2 ships.

23rd April. Last night was a full moon, and we had an enchanting view. You can't have a view like this on land from the highest mountain. Today there is no wind. Everyone believes that the ocean makes continuous waves, but today so far as you can see it is perfectly smooth like a mirror; only when a little breeze blows it has a rippled appearance. [Illegible writing.] The ship looks like a little world of its own. You see people having fun in different ways. I smoke my pipe; the guitar plays; they play the flute and other people sing. And little babies join in with their crying. Around noon we got a visit from a fisher and for a handful of cigars he let us have a whole barrel of Kabel jan [fish] {most likely Kabeljau- codfish}. On the Kejulen-deck you can hear the firing of shots to shoot ducks and seagulls which come close to the ship in great abundance. At about 5 o'clock in the afternoon a good breeze started to blow, and now our J. Dethard sails forward rapidly.

April 24th. Last night we had a radiant full moon; it was a dark fire-colored shine; it leaves your heart in ecstasy. I think such a moment compensates your heart for everything. The wind is favorable today. But we don't make too much headway. And our entertainment is about the same. But there appears a lot of ships and I count 49 at this moment. Also we got a visit from a yellow Stelzzehen {a bird}, a sign that we are close to the English coast. Also today we saw a large wonder fish which rolled in the water like a fool. I do not get to enjoy too many sunsets because every evening in the west the sky gets cloudy.

April 25th. Again no wind. This way we will be in the North Sea for a long time before we get to the channel. 25, 26, 27.

April 28th. To what tricks can boredom lead people. It started on the evening of the 24th. The audience was bored in a terrible way. I decided to pull a big joke and make everyone laugh. It was a newfound talent in me; I have never before been so frolicsome. That evening at half 9 o'clock {halb neun means 8:30} the wind started, and it seemed like we were flying with a tremendous speed. In minutes we made an English mile {1.5 km}. It was as if I had turned the wind our way with my frolicking ways. Soon after we lay down in our bunks, but we did not lie there long; we all tumbled over. Boxes, suitcases started flying and dancing between us, leaving painful bruises and bumps. We could not find the exit from the bunks. And there was that command like a lion's roar from the captain, "God bless me. God bless me. God damn you!" It was a situation where no one knew whether one was alive or one was in the claws of the bad spirits in the underworld. At last it got to be daylight. Whoever escaped the seasickness this time ran on deck; they couldn't stand it downstairs. But it was a terrible, beautiful sight. Waves which were as high as a house. One gets to know God. Those horrible raging waves with all their might lifted the ship to a great height and then let it tumble to the bottomless depth of the sea. But who is it whose power keeps the ship from being smashed into 1000 pieces? No human who knows [?] God's almighty power and his care, who is surrounded by a bottomless ocean, who has to depend on a piece of wood on which to stand, has to say, "Yes, God is here; He is alive."

April 26th. The storm died down about 8 o'clock. (I write all this on 28th April.) We are in the English Channel, the white cliffs of Dover.

All together we feel very well. Those who have a great fear of death get very frightful, and he who has courage is not afraid of death at the least, but forgets the fear of it in the view of God's terrible and beautiful nature. I am thankful to God that he spared me from the horrible seasickness. I think back with love and emotion on everyone at home, my dearest ones. I don't go below deck all day long, because I probably would get sick just by looking at all those miserable seasick people. In the afternoon at about 5 o'clock, a pilot comes aboard. The wind is so unfavorable that we have to cross over to the French coast again, and then back to the English. What those pilots risk is terrible. But our captain knows that when there is only dangerous and unsafe ground for dropping anchor, he would rather spend the night between France and England.

The 27th April (Sunday). This was a horrible night; the storm became worse and worse. But we stayed steady. I would like to describe the rage of the storm, but it is impossible to describe. I think Schiller's poem did not even describe correctly what happens in such a storm when he wrote those words, "And it boils and pulls and swirls. When water and fire unites," {These lines are from the poem Der Taucher- "The Diver"} etc. But for a hair {um Haaresbreite -just a hairs breadth away} we were all killed because another ship came toward us without seeing us; only the knowledge of our captain saved us. He saw the ship, which was only a ship's length away from us. He made a spur of the moment maneuver with the steering wheel, which made the ship groan and sigh in its seams, and saved both ships from destruction. On top of that we ran into a heavy fog, which kept our eyes from seeing 20 feet in front of us. At noon a pilot boat came and the captain was willing to go in to the harbor. The sky became clear, but the storm continued on; and it was really horrible to see how these 2 pilots in their small boat came toward us. The boat was not much bigger than a small fishing boat, but it had a mast; and despite storm and waves, they set a sail and came toward our ship. A short time later, they came on board and led us toward the English coast, which lends a more beautiful view. As far as we can see there are rough looking rocks of white color in the white cliffs of Dover. In the midst of it is the town of Dover. The houses are built in the English style, with windows and chimneys which look very well. We steer along the English coast; the ship flies along the coast with great speed and Dover disappears soon. Close to Deal, about 1/2 a German mile {a full German mile is about 7.5 km}, we drop anchor; there are already a great number of ships anchored; and also one which lost its masts last night; and everyone waits for favorable weather. We said what good sailors those pilots were; so my roommate and I and two from the captain's cabin decided to let them take us on land so as not to miss the occasion to eat a beef steak and plum pudding and to enjoy a few bottles of English ale. For 10 sterling {silver coin} we made a deal to take us to the town Deal. The other passengers hated to see us leave because we were the merriest on board, and also the liveliest. On that little boat we traveled along with the speed of a bird which flies in the air. Sometimes we hit terrible heights, and then again the boat went deep down into the waves. The boat never took on any water. The only reason we got soaked and wet was the spray from the waves. 5 1/2 minutes later we were on land.

First we got a reception by a runner, and (in the worst English that one can imagine) we explained who and what we were. And through him everyone learned, perhaps in the newspaper, that the Johann Dethard was in this part of the country. From there we went to a guesthouse {Gasthaus- inn}, where we had plenty to eat, and as soon as we were full we went to explore the town. We walked along and conversed very loudly in our language. The whole world stared at us, and everyone stopped for a while to enjoy the sight of the eight Germans. The town consists of a long street which is interrupted by little side streets which are about 50 feet long. The main street is about a 1/2 German mile long. It has pretty houses, which are in good English taste. It has 3 arsenals, 1 very big and beautiful hospital, 1 big barracks which houses 3 battalions of soldiers, a beautiful castle, which belongs to the Duke of Wellington. It is at the same time a fort, to shield Dover and England from the seaside. The girls we saw are quite attractive with nice little faces and small waists, but unreasonably big feet. We looked at the fields, and as far as we could see there was clover 1/2 foot high and the seeds for the summer were sprouting beautiful gardens and everything else Mother Nature produces. Before we sailed again for our ship, I bought myself a very simple but beautiful rifle, with all the necessary equipment, for 20 sterling [?]. And now we sailed back to the ship. The air was clear; the wind calmed down; the waves were low; and so we were back on board in about 10 minutes, where we were greeted with a loud hurrah.

The 28th. This morning I did not have anything better to do with myself -- I had written down everything that had happened the last three days, so I sketched the town of Deal, which did not come out too well. About 11 o'clock we got a favorable wind. So we pulled our anchor, set sail and we went sailing away. We saw Dover from afar; and we got bad wind again; we had to turn around and go back to Deal where at 3 o'clock we dropped anchor again. While I write this, I look over to Deal, and I see a house burning down, which is an interesting sight. The sky is so clear and beautiful we can see the French coast, which is 6 German miles away. I wish we were on the French coast, so we could enjoy French food and drinks on French soil.

Sunday the 27th. Eight days we had to be anchored before that unfavorable wind let us set sail and leave. Finally today we weighed anchor. At half 6 {halb sechs- probably 5:30} we left with our back toward Deal, and still the wind was not too good. In those 8 days that we were anchored, many ships collected there. All of them came to life at once and sailed with us. Soon we had the cities of Dover and Folkstone in view. In the afternoon at 6:00 the wind improved; and for the first time we flew along with pleasant speed through the waves. In the evening we were granted a beautiful view of the resort of Hastings, with its illuminated windows. Many rich English people live there.

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