ON 30 November 1804, Ashley Bowen paid one of his not infrequent visits to the Marblehead farm of Captain John Prince, where he found Captain Prince entertaining guests at dinner. Among those present was a formidable-looking clergyman from neighboring Salem who was introduced as the Reverend William Bentley. Bentley, he was delighted to discover, was an attentive listener, and during the course of the evening he embraced the opportunity to impart much of his life’s history to him.
Later, the Reverend Bentley withdrew to Salem and penned his impressions.
After dinner we were entertained by the original manner of Captain Ashley Bowen, aged 78. . . . [In 1759] he took command of 32 men from Marblehead, who entered into the marine service, & they were transported to Halifax. There he found Admiral Durell & entered as a Midshipman on board the Pembroke of 50 guns under Capt. Simcoe, who died on the passage & was succeeded by Capt. Wheelock of the Squirrel Frigate of 20 guns. He was with James Cook, sailing master of the Pembroke, in the survey of the St. Lawrence as his documents shew. This same Cook is the immortal Circumnavigator. Mr. Ashley Bowen’s claims are real but how far they extend to the whole work, could be learnt only by seeing what Cook has given to the public. Mr. Bowen has proofs from his papers of being in that survey with James Cook. I was much pleased with the strength of memory, original manners, and facetious discourse of this old sailor, who pleads warmly for a pension as he is now, as he expressed it, under “bare poles.” A curious representation of his own life under the figure of a Ship, had much fancy, & pleasing expression. I was highly disposed to give him every assistance in gaining public relief.
Ashley Bowen must have been an extraordinary individual, as much during his own lifetime as he seems to us today. A product of one of the most active and boisterous towns of eighteenth-century America, he was nonetheless a member of a large and particularly opinionated family. “The singular freedom of speaking & acting which characterizes Marblehead,” remarked Bentley after another evening with Bowen, “proves their sincerity but makes a mixed impression on a stranger who does not know the cause of it.”
“He was a man of as fine stamina of life as I ever knew,” Bentley said of him after his death. “His understanding quick, his pursuit eager, resolute and inexhaustible. His probity sure and undisguised. His friendship sovereign & eternal.”
By trade, Ashley Bowen had been many things—a seaman, merchant captain, a ship rigger, a maker of ships’ colors, and a mender of sails. By avocation, he was a keen observer of the scene, a prolific diarist, a chronicler of events, an untrained but not entirely unskilled artist, and an amateur surveyor. He was a firm believer in the invincibility of the Royal Navy, and a Loyalist in consequence, a suitor of enviable accomplishment and discrimination, an Anglican by choice and by inclination a devotee of the fulfillment of dreams. He was the husband of three wives and the father of fourteen children who lived past birth, the last of whom was born one month after his sixty-ninth birthday.
Although no formal portrait of him is known, it is not difficult to picture the man—clad in dingy work clothes, his hair matted and straggly, his face and hands permanently stained by tar—making his way through a Marblehead twilight from the rigging loft to his rooms, there to seat himself before a guttering candle to summarize the events of the day.
When work at the loft slackened his writings took a more reminiscent turn; a blankbook began to fill up with memories of an autobiographical vein, and through the media of his quills and watercolor brushes he traced out the shadows of the things that had most colored his life.
From the time he was apprenticed to an unprincipled Boston shipmaster, he sailed in all capacities aboard merchantmen from cabin boy to master, he went privateering in the West Indies, fished off the Banks, skippered an onshore whaling venture, was captured in the Caribbean by the French three times and narrowly escaped from French-incited Indians off the coast of Nova Scotia once, he was a transporter of cattle to Canada and a hauler of wood from the Eastern provinces, he survived a shipwreck on the coast of Spain, served in the capacity of midshipman aboard a ship of the Royal Navy at the Siege of Quebec in 1759, and (according to himself) deserved considerable credit for the subsequent survey of the St. Lawrence River.
When, in 1763, at the age of thirty-five, with all that behind him, he finally swallowed the anchor, he turned as a means of support to the rigging of vessels. It was at this stage of his life that Bowen apparently began to document his day-to-day observations in pre-Revolutionary Marblehead.
What prompted him, a man without formal education or lettering, to maintain so many lengthy accounts of himself? Was it pride in his accomplishments or a way of preserving himself to his descendants or was it simply an outlet for his personality? He certainly must have been possessed of a keen feeling for posterity. One senses that if he could be informed of the publication of these volumes his first reaction would be to ask why they have never been done before. Wanting to keep a diary over a long period of time and actually doing so are two different matters, as anyone who has ever attempted it knows. Bowen’s tenacity appears to have been an instinctive reaction.
As a family, the Bowens were highly cognizant of the value of written records. Elizabeth Bowen only poured out her soul in an adoration of God between lamentations over deaths and sickness of her kinfolk, but many of the men not only preserved their record books and legal documents but also kept in various forms for generations running notations on their life and times. The Essex Institute in Salem, Massachusetts, for instance, in addition to a substantial amount of loose manuscript material, owns some 100 almanacs, many with interleaved scribblings, kept by the Bowens and their tangential descendants from before the American Revolution into the twentieth century.
It is nearly impossible to scratch the surface of Marblehead’s documentary history from the second quarter of the eighteenth century to the time of the Revolution without cutting oneself upon the name of Nathan Bowen, Ashley’s father. For many of his contemporaries he was a legal advisor, he was active in town and church affairs, he was an administrator or executor of estates, a draughtsman of plot plans, a scrivener, a notary public and a justice of the peace.
It can be concluded that his children, influenced from childhood by Nathan Bowen’s dynamic personality, absorbed from him a portion of his legal discipline.
How accurate a reporter was Ashley Bowen? The answer, fortunately, is a relatively simple one. He was meticulous in gathering his facts; with very few exceptions his remarks can be verified from other, widely scattered contemporary sources. An example is his list of the Marbleheaders at Quebec in 1759. A comparison of his list of the men aboard H.M.S. Pembroke with her Muster Book at the Public Record Office in London tallies exactly, save for minor spelling variations, and, with the exception of one name, is in precisely the same order.
Another equally important consideration is the documentary reliability of his numerous sketches and watercolors. This question cannot be answered with equal conviction due to the lack of similar materials with which they can be compared.
His primitive, yet engaging, ability to draw and to paint must have been largely self-taught, although, not unlike his journal-keeping discipline, his father’s influence may have played a part in its development. Nathan Bowen was not an artist, but he commanded sufficient control over his pen and draughting instruments to prepare neat, clear, and accurate land surveys and plot plans. A number of these survive scattered throughout the many deeds and Land Record Books at the Essex County Court House. His Navigation Exercise Book, dated 1718 and bound in with Ashley Bowen’s “autobiographical volume,” attests not only to his early acquired draughtsmanship but also to his having made use of watercolors. Two paintings, attributed to Nathan Bowen inasmuch as they are contained in his exercise book, depict Father Neptune in a wheeled chariot pulled by two aquatic horses surrounded by the flags and standards of the British Kingdom, and an astronomical vortex in the form of a two-dimensional orrery. The first is colorful but is more naïve than his son’s work; the second must have been an exercise in preparation for the almanac Nathan Bowen wrote and had published for a number of years, and would serve as an inspiration for a later, similar, exercise by Ashley.
There is considerable evidence that many of Ashley’s shipping sketches date from the early 1780s and later. It is, therefore, reasonable to question the validity of a watercolor done twenty to forty years after his association with a given vessel or event. By virtue of his known accuracy of reporting, however, his intimate acquaintance with rigging, and what must be acknowledged as an unusually keen memory, his posthumous ship portraits should be considered as accurate as his knowledge of rigging, his strength of memory, and his artistic capabilities permitted.
The originals, most of which are contained in his journals and are only a few square inches in size, are crisp and brilliantly colored. It is a pity that high costs preclude the possibility of reproducing them all in color for these volumes. Those who would believe that colonial merchant vessels were drab in appearance would be in for a great surprise. Bowen illustrates them richly ornamented in lively yellows, reds, and blues.
One item illustrated in these volumes is not Bowen’s work but was done for him. “Ashley Bowen, The Brave Companion of the Immortal Cook” was drawn by Hannah Crowninshield of Salem at the request of her preceptor, the Reverend William Bentley. “At Capt. Prince’s,” Bentley was to remark, “I saw my old friend Ashley Bowen, aet. 80 & renewed the conversation about the taking of Quebec in 1759 & his friend Cooke in that expedition, his favourite topic.” To please the old man, Bentley and Miss Crowninshield together concocted a visual history of his life to the year 1785. It must have made sense to them; it does not immediately explain itself to us. All that can be said for it is that in some way it is intended to represent Bowen’s life compared to the sailing of a ship.
Amidst Biblical passages, pious verse, maps of the Americas and Europe, and sketches of Bowen heraldic stags, various vessels, the Sun, and the Moon, is an elongated cone much like the gore of a globe. The “gore” is divided vertically in half. At the left are the significant dates in Bowen’s life; on the right are additional shipping sketches and a series of numbers opposite the major five-year intervals noted at the left. These numbers are at present an enigma; they are not in a steady progression, their sums, differences, and products make no sense, yet they are undoubtedly one of the most significant aspects of the composition.
Bowen himself had once compared his life to the sailing of a ship, yet how he managed to do so is unknown because the original drawing has not been found. The closest to it may be the drawing illustrated in Plate XXXII (lower). In the center of a large circle are several vessels and a large conical tree, close inspection of which reveals an indistinct face, possibly intended to be Ashley himself. Around the circumference of the great circle and tangent to it are small circles at each compass point, each containing a ship, and each represented with her sails trimmed according to her heading on the particular compass course with a prevailing westerly wind.
Much of Ashley Bowen’s written work, happily, has survived to the present day, and most of it is owned by public or semi-public institutions. The gaps now existing in the narrative, however, point to the probability that there were or are additional pieces of material. None of the few pictures which Bowen actually mentions having drawn, for instance, have yet been found. Other journals filling the gaps may be owned privately or they may never have existed or they may have been destroyed through time. At least one is known to have been salvaged off a Marblehead rubbish pile during the 1890s. There is no way of knowing what may have been irretrievably lost.
The principal holders of the Ashley Bowen material used for these volumes are listed below. In addition, there are various other loose pieces, the locations and descriptions of which will be found in their appropriate places in footnote form.
1. Autobiographical Volume (1728–1780). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7572. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. Bound in vellum, 7½ʺ × 6ʺ. Ninety-three pages with thirty-four pages containing shipping sketches and watercolors by Ashley Bowen, plus a seventeen-page exercise book entitled “The Whole Art of Navigation . . . Written by Nathan Bowen for his Own Use and Practice Marble Head August ye 27th 1718.”
The opening entry, which refers to “the late Thomas Bartlett, painter,” establishes the fact that Ashley’s autobiographical writings postdate the year 1781, when Bartlett died.
A reasonably accurate transcription of the volume was serialized in the Salem Evening News during January and February 1930. The weekly installments concluded on 20 February 1930.
2. Sea Log and Whaling Journal (1753–1755). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7567. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. No covers, 7⅝ʺ × 6⅛ʺ. Twenty-four pages, half of which is a log of the Halley from Oporto towards Marblehead, 15 May 1755 through 16 June 1755. The remainder consists of the journal of an onshore whaling venture, 4 December 1753 through 6 January 1754. An additional section, not by Ashley Bowen, relates to a passage of the ship Hannah from Boston to London, 23 May 1763 through 19 June 1763.
3. The Courtship of Dorothy Chadwick (1757–1761). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7571. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. No covers, 7¾ʺ × 5ʺ. Six pages. Includes material on the sloop Olive.
4. Journal of the Siege of Quebec, et seq. (1759–1761). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 8203. Gift of William A. Laskey, 1931. No covers, 7¾ʺ × 6¼ʺ. Eighty-six pages, including one ink sketch, one wash drawing of shore profiles, and a watercolor of H.M.S. Pembroke on the cover page. A notation on the first page reads: “Ashley Bowen His Book/ Bought at Halifax/ April y 26 1759.”
The greater part is in Bowen’s hand; however, from 7 July 1759 through 31 August 1759 the diary was kept for him. Additional entries after the siege cover 16 June 1760 through 27 May 1761.
This journal has been published in the Essex Institute Historical Collections, lxx (1934), 227–266, and lxxxviii (1952), 336–347, W. Hammond Bowden, ed.
5. Journal (1760–1762). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7568. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. No covers, 7¼ × 6ʺ. Seventy pages.
6. Day Book (1766–1775). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7573. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. Vellum covers, 8¼ʺ × 6¼ʺ. Five hundred and twenty pages; sketches on inside covers and facing pages.
Daily entries from 1 September 1766 through 29 September 1775 plus miscellaneous rigging schedules.
7. Interleaved Almanacs (1773–1775). Owned by the Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts. Received in 1913 from John Robinson of Salem who obtained it from William Leslie of Beverly, the latter having found it on a rubbish heap in Marblehead in the early 1890s. Hinged vellum covers, 6¾ʺ × 3⅝ʺ. One hundred and thirty-six manuscript pages; seven sketches.
The bulk of the material relates to events from June 1773 through January 1776, but also includes some Quebec (1759) information and miscellaneous notations dating from the 1790s.
A version of this book, of reasonable fidelity, edited by Frank A. Gardner, M.D., was published in The Massachusetts Magazine (The Salem Press Company) in I (1908), 174–176, 260–266; II (1909), 109–114; III (1910), 240–245; V (1912), 29–35.
8. Memorandum of the Smallpox Epidemic (1773–1774). Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society, item number 7569. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. Calfskin covers, with flap, 5 ¾ʺ × 3½ʺ Sixty-two pages of which thirteen are fishing and household accounts, not in Ashley Bowen’s hand, dating from the years 1716–1724. Several sketches, including views of the smallpox hospital on Cat Island.
9. Day Book and Journal (1775–1777). Owned by the American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. Vellum covers, 7⅝ʺ × 4⅞ʺ. One hundred and sixty-eight pages, two sketches. Contains entries from 1 October 1775 through 12 August 1777; proceedings of the “House of Bishops” in convention at Philadelphia, 1789, not transcribed for the present volumes. Other entries in the form of fishing accounts by John Palmer, c. 1748.
A much abridged and drastically edited version of this journal, undertaken by the Reverend William Bentley of Salem, appeared in seven installments in The Essex Register between 6 May 1818 and 3 June 1818.
10. Day Book and Journal (1778–1780). Owned by the Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts, catalogue number 656/1778E. Purchased, 1937. No original covers, 8¼ʺ × 6¼ʺ. Fifty-nine pages, two small pen-and-ink sketches.
Contains logbook-style entries aboard the schooner Sally, Thomas Boyles, master, on a passage to Guadaloupe (1778); aboard the sloop Eagle, Nathaniel Hayward, master, on a passage from Cape Henry to the West Indies (1779); aboard the sloop Dolphin on a passage from St. Eustatius to Philadelphia (1779); and shoreside diary entries from 5 May 1779 to 9 February 1780.
11. Interleaved Almanacs (1788–1796). Owned by the Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts. Purchased from the heirs of Dr. William E. Story, 1970. Several volumes, approximately 6½ʺ × 4ʺ. Pages in Ashley Bowen’s hand interspersed throughout other entries by other members of the Bowen family.
Portions of these almanacs were published in the Essex Institute Historical Collections under the title “Extracts from the Interleaved Almanacs of Nathan Bowen, 1742–1799,” xci (1955), 163–190, 266–283, 353–383. The series was never wholly printed. The editor worked from old transcriptions of the originals, then owned privately. A comparison of the turn-of-the-century copies with the original manuscript shows much omitted by the transcriber. Only the entries by Ashley Bowen himself are included herewith.
SEPARATE PAINTINGS BY ASHLEY BOWEN
(A) Owned by the Marblehead Historical Society:
1. “Ashley Bowen, The Brave Companion of The Immortal Cook.” Item number 12731. Gift of Mrs. F. B. Crowninshield, 1947.
Watercolor and pen-and-ink, 16½ʺ × 14½ʺ. Executed for Ashley Bowen by Hannah Crowninshield of Salem at the request of her preceptor, the Reverend William Bentley. For references to this and other sketches by Miss Crowninshield for Bowen, see Bentley’s Diary, III, 12 February 1806; 5 and 13 May 1807, reproduced in Chapter XX.
2. H.M.S. Pembroke at Quebec, 1759. Item number 12730. Gift of Mrs. F. B. Crowninshield, 1947.
Watercolor, 15ʺ × 18½ʺ. Inscribed: “A Gift of Capt Ashley Bowen T his Dafter Martha G. Phelps Marblehead June y 15 1808.”
3. The Marbleheaders Leaving for the Quebec Expedition, 1759. Item number 5881 (14244). Gift of Huling C. Brown, 1922.
Watercolor, 9¾ʺ × 14ʺ.
Watercolor, 10ʺ × 13ʺ.
5. Houseflags of the Marblehead Merchants. Item number 7570. Gift of the estate of Samuel Roads, Jr., 1928. Two sheets, 7½ʺ × 11¾ʺ, of watercolor sketches of houseflags from the period of the 1760s and 1770s.
(B) Owned by the Peabody Museum of Salem, Massachusetts:
1. Ship Argo, Samuel Russell Trevett, master, 1782. Catalogue number M 5644. Purchased from Benjamin J. Tighe, 1944.
Watercolor, 9ʺ × 11ʺ. Drawn in 1783. A companion to number 2 (below).
2. Ship Argo, Samuel Russell Trevett, master, 1782. Catalogue number M 5645. Purchased from Benjamin J. Tighe, 1944.
Watercolor, 9ʺ × 11ʺ. Drawn in 1783. A companion to number 1 (above).
3. Wreck of the ship Postillion, c. 1780–81. Catalogue number M 11508. Gift of Robert Perkins, 1962.
Watercolor, 11½ʺ × 15ʺ.
4. Map of England, Holland, the Isle of Wight and Fleet Action. Catalogue number M 2862. From the Essex Institute, 1924; gift of Charles Phelps.
Watercolor, 13½ʺ× 10ʺ. Unfinished. Undated and unsigned.
(C) Owned by the Essex Institute, Salem, Massachusetts:
1. Shipping Sketches and Bowen Genealogical Chart. Purchased from the heirs of Dr. William E. Story, 1970.
Watercolor, 14¾ʺ × 19¼ʺ. The sketches are by Bowen; the text probably by Hannah Crowninshield of Salem.
(D) Owned by the New York Public Library:
1. The British Fleet at Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1759. Gift of Miss Martha P. Cheseldine, 1936.
Watercolor, 7¾ ʺ × 11¼ʺ.
(E) Owned by Alexander O. Vietor:
1. Shipping Sketches with Shipping Compass Rose. Purchased, 1964. Watercolor, 10ʺ × 10ʺ. Signed and twice dated (1784 and 1789).
Watercolor, 8ʺ × 10¾ʺ. Similar to the illustration of the same subject owned by the Marblehead Historical Society (see above).
3. Family Tree Against a Background of Marblehead Harbor. Purchased, 1972.
Watercolor, 13½ʺ × 8¾ʺ. Unsigned.
THE EDITORIAL POLICY
Most modern editors of eighteenth-century manuscripts have adopted the editorial method exemplified by The Adams Papers; that is, neither a slavish adherence to the originals nor a complete modernization to current English-language usages. In dealing with the writings of learned and articulate men this makes very good sense. Bowen, however, was neither. His spelling was largely phonetic and was entirely erratic. He delighted in unusual abbreviations.
If his journals were to be reproduced with absolute fidelity then facsimile copies would best answer the purpose. If, on the other hand, the documentary content has value, then another course must be followed. Complete adherence on the printed page to Bowen’s capitalization, spelling, and abbreviations would render the material so cumbersome and would require so many explanatory notes that it is doubtful if it would be of value to anyone. “He was a man of strong but uncultivated mind,” Bentley observed. “He had a soul for everything but his writings would not recommend him unless first known.”
A few examples of the problems encountered should convince even the most skeptical critic of the reasons why I have been forced to make the decision to modernize the spelling throughout and to follow the editorial procedures outlined below.
It would be tedious in the extreme for a reader to wade through as many pages as these volumes contain, all the while translating words such as Tread, Parace, fawl, Scerss, and scorts into trade, parents, fall, scarce, and skirts. Others, such as bult, doer, gail, wengents, or voige may be recognized more easily as built, door, gale, vengeance, and voyage, but unless clarified by context, porseson, quil, notes, coaf, mold, tears (for position, coil, notice, cough, mole, tierce) are almost impossible to comprehend.
No amount of cross-referencing in an index could simplify the difficulties manifested by proper names. Consider, first, named vessels such as “Dosshier” (Dorsetshire), “Foy” (the correct pronunciation but spelled Fowey), “Marlung” (Merlin), “Tabatthy” (Tabitha), “Wood brig” (Woodbridge), “Unun” (Union), or “Volcan” (for Falcon, not Vulcan).
Place names spelled Quabick, Salam, Lewis borge, or Mehon may not be too difficult, but another kettle-of-fish entirely are those such as Callery in Seodin (Cagliari in Sardinia), nu Pote (Newport), Museles (Marseilles), Petty Gouer (Petit Goâve), Begerly (Beverly), or Grinwags (Greenwich).
Personal names can be no less fantastic. For Denne, Foul, Worms, Gorgler (or Garler), Rows, and Garry read Dennin, Fowle, Wormstead, Girdler, Ross, and Gerry. Substitute Grush, Devereux, Crowninshield, Ballister, White, and Collyer for Gruch, Devrix, Crounsel, Banster, Whitt, and Cotter.
Without belaboring the point much further, compare an exact transcription of Bowen’s entry for 20 February 1769 (below) with the edited version in the text.
Recvd a patter of two pair of Schrouds from Colo Lees for Schoone ha J Procker June and a Quile of three yorne Spun yorne for Hake Recivd from Mr Swetts a Quil of 3 yorn Spun yor for Frace
The one scholar in ten million who is deeply immersed in a study of the Marblehead patois of the eighteenth century is invited to consult the original material in the locations listed above or xerographic copies thereof on file in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Museum of Salem.
Arrangement: All entries have been arranged in chronological order irrespective of their original sequence. When more than one repetitive entry occurs for the same day, usually from separate journals, the more informative is used in substitution for the least. Thus, “Anchored the Merlin and a transport from Boston” is omitted whereas “At the same time anchored here from Boston His Majesty Ship the Merlin and a transport” is retained. Occasionally, supplemental information is included within the framework of the entry in square brackets ([ ]). In certain special cases two simultaneous entries have been reproduced in full and have been so noted. Dates have been simplified as much as possible. Mondays have been noted as a guide to the week because Sunday entries were not always made by Bowen.
Spelling: For the reasons previously set forth, spelling and capitalization have been corrected to modern usage, including names of persons, places, and vessels. Names of vessels are italicized. The words “pendent” and “pennant” are used interchangeably, after Bowen. Certain expressive terms used by Bowen, yet not found in the average dictionary, such as “wormline” (worming) and “gundaload” (gundalo load) have been retained.
Grammar and Syntax: Grammar and syntax are preserved in their original forms. When essential shipping information has been omitted by Bowen but can be established from other contemporary sources such as Custom House and newspaper records it is supplied within square brackets. Thus, an entry such as “Sailed brig Tucker” becomes “Sailed brig [Young Phoenix, Samuel] Tucker, [for Lisbon],” unless it cannot be incorporated into the grammatical context, in which case it is footnoted. Missing matter is indicated by empty square brackets ([ ]). Questionable readings are followed by a question mark within square brackets. Illegible matter is represented thusly: [. . .].
Punctuation: Bowen rarely used any form of punctuation. Enough punctuation has been added, therefore, to clarify the text. All sentences end with a period, and quotation marks have been added to distinguish dialogue.
Abbreviations and Contractions: In all cases of shortened or of misspelled words where the meaning is clear they have been silently expanded or corrected. When the meaning is unclear, the probable reading is followed by a question mark within square brackets. Abbreviations such as y or ye, ny, do, Capt., and Coll. become the, near or nearly, ditto, Captain, and Colonel, respectively. Ampersands (&) become and except in the form for etcetera (&c.). All superscript letters are brought down to the line.
Canceled Entries: Canceled entries are generally omitted unless they are of special interest or significance, in which case they are enclosed in angular brackets (〈 〉).
Each chapter is prefaced by a short introduction supplied by the Editor. No attempt has been made to repeat the details of general colonial history, covered amply elsewhere, except as they touched on Bowen or Marblehead. The purpose of the introductions is, rather, to supplement the narrative and attendant footnotes, not necessarily to summarize either.
Several maps have been prepared to facilitate identification of the various localities constantly referred to and to reduce the number of essential footnotes.
The appendixes contain unedited rigging schedules noted down by Bowen for reference, several genealogical charts of the Bowen family to help sort out the tortuous relationships, and biographical remarks about the principal actors appearing throughout the volumes. Notes on individuals infrequently mentioned are footnoted at their first appearance; those mentioned by Bowen with some regularity are noted in the biographical appendix.
Numerous individuals and institutions have been of unfailing help. I am especially grateful to the governing bodies of the Marblehead Historical Society, the Essex Institute, the Peabody Museum of Salem, the American Antiquarian Society, the New York Public Library Manuscript Division, and to Mr. Alexander O. Vietor for their kind permission to reproduce the Ashley Bowen material from their collections. Footnote material quoted from unpublished Crown Copyright material at the Public Record Office, London, is reproduced by permission of the Comptroller of H.M. Stationery Office.
Three persons in particular deserve special notice—Ernest S. Dodge, Director of the Peabody Museum of Salem, who on several occasions not only granted me extra time away from my desk to do background research in British archives but who also was the first to suggest publication of Bowen’s journals by The Colonial Society of Massachusetts; Walter Muir Whitehill, who, since giving his approval to the project, has been a source of much sound advice; and Russell W. Knight, a Trustee of the Peabody Museum and a Marblehead historian with whom I have previously collaborated on other Marblehead-related publications, who has freely given of his fund of information about the early town. W. Hammond Bowden, who in the past has himself worked extensively with several of Bowen’s journals, has helped to solve several mysteries. Mrs. Samuel Chamberlain spent much time puzzling out Bowen’s (happily) brief use of ungrammatical and phonetically spelled French. The late R. A. Skelton was most helpful in relation to the survey of the St. Lawrence River by James Cook. Lieutenant Commander Michael Godfrey, RN (ret.), now a searcher at the Public Record Office, expertly tied up several loose ends I had overlooked when working in London myself.
Further thanks must be extended to the Peabody Museum of Salem for permission to reproduce the color plate of the ship Argo from its publication Marine Drawings and Paintings in the Peabody Museum (1968) and to Russell W. Knight for the use of the separations for the other three color plates which originally appeared in Old Marblehead Sea Captains and the Ships in Which They Sailed (1915). Also, Mr. Markham W. Sexton, the Peabody Museum staff photographer, must be praised for his yeoman service in handling the difficult photographic problems presented by many of Bowen’s drawings. Further thanks should be extended to The Anthoensen Press and to Meriden Gravure Company for their expertise and professional production of this book.
In conclusion, I owe much to my wife and to my family for cheerfully creating an atmosphere of encouragement during the many months I have all but neglected them. Without their understanding, little enough could have been accomplished.
Let us now turn to Ashley Bowen himself.
“Our old Friend Ashley Bowen was with us & gave us some of his long but not cold stories,” William Bentley said. “The old man can put fire enough into them.”
Philip Chadwick Foster Smith
Curator of Maritime History
Managing Editor, The American Neptune