Manuscript Archive pertaining to the Ship Morning Glory, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, owned by Ichabod Goodwin, Governor of New Hampshire, while on a voyage to the Northwest Coast, 1858-1860

Detailed manuscript archive pertaining to this vessel, owned by Ichabod Goodwin (1794-1882), merchant and businessman of Portsmouth, and Governor of New Hampshire1. The archive consists of correspondence, bills, receipts and documents pertaining to the Morning Glory and her voyage to California, Washington Territory and Vancouver, on what proved to be a particularly ill fated voyage. 42 letters, 73 pages, mainly quarto, 164 bills, receipts, etc., 28 legal documents, 112 pp., from England, Esquimault, Victoria, Vancouver, British Columbia, Port Townsend and Steilacoom, Washington Territory, San Francisco, Peru, etc.

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The Morning Glory, H. H. Hobbs, master, was engaged in coastal trade between Peru and the Northwest Coast, of Washington Territory and Vancouver, British Columbia. She was on a return voyage to Callao with a cargo of lumber for the South American market when disaster struck as related in the following letter from Hobbs to Ichabod Goodwin:

San Francisco, June 13, 1858

"Hon. I Goodwin,

Dear Sir,

I am very sorry to have to inform you that I have met with a great misfortune with the ship. I was beating out of the straits of Fucu [Straits of Juan de Fuca] and struck a sunken rock that lays about one half mile off the race rocks. At half past 12.00 P.M. on May 30th while in the act of tacking ship. This rock is not down on any charts not even those of the British man of war it has 10 feet draft at low water. The ship remained on the rock from half past twelve until eight in the morning when she rolled over on her beam ends and slid off. The rock was very steep for the ship struck bows on and at the Break of the forcastle there was five fathoms of water and at the stern there was eleven fathoms. The ship made no water from the time she struck until five in the morning when she commenced making water very fast and by the time we had been off the rock an hour the ship was entirely full after we found that we could not make any impression on the water for we had our hands pumping the water gained two feet on us the crew refused to proceed to sea I wanted to bring the ship to San Francisco as I know there were no conveniences north of this port where the ship could be repaired. But as the crew would not work but all refused to work the Ship I was obliged to make for the first port. I brought the ship into the harbour of Esquimault where all of the British men of war lay.

I came down to San Francisco to see the Underwriters Agent to see what I should do with the ship and he will not consent to let me bring the ship down as she is consequently I have been obliged to get a steam pump to take up to pump the ship out and also a diver if we can stop the leak with a diver who has a submarine armour we will use the steam pump. I return by the first steamer that leaves for Victoria. Messrs Flint & Peabody will furnish me with funds. ..."

The collection goes on to detail the progress of the vessels repairs in an effort to reach San Francisco the nearest place where the proper repair of the ship could be completed. However while attempting to bring the vessel from Victoria to San Francisco the ship encountered a violent gale and was run onto the beach at Port Townsend, Washington Territory in hopes that the leak could be reached and repaired while partially exposed.

Hobbs at length made temporary repairs and set sail for San Francisco in September 1859:

Port Townsend, Sept., 26, 1859

Hon I. Goodwin,

Dear Sir,

I have just received yours of August 17th. I am now on the point of sailing for San Francisco I have got the leak stopped so that ten minutes pumping will do for twenty four hours. I have been obliged to sell some of the cargo of lumber to raise funds to disburse the ship... payable in ten days after the arrival of the ship in San Francisco. The parties who advance the money were not able to advance the necessary funds until the arrival of the steamer from San Francisco consequently I was obliged to sell the lumber to pay off labourers I do not know how I will raise the money to disburse the ship in San Francisco I am now of your opinion that it would have been for the Interest of all concerned to have abandoned the ship in Victoria. I shall be ready for sea tomorrow and will not be over ten or fourteen days getting to San Francisco..."

The Morning Glory was eventually taken to Mare Island, put in dry dock and was thoroughly overhauled:

Mare Island, Nov. 19th, 1859

"Honble I Goodwin,

Dear Sir,

The survey that I had held on the ship estimated that the cost of repairing on the ship would come less than thirty thousand dollars so under this survey I could not abandon. The repairs were all recommenced by Mr. Hanscom and he says that the ship will be as good as before... We have put in a lower piece of stern and forward piece of Keel of California live oak. The ship is now on the dock and will of next Thursday. The Knees are to be refastened and the stantions in the lower hold kneed also...

P.S. We did not find the ship injured near as much as we expected every one here says that she is the strongest and most thorough built ship that has ever been on the dock."

This highly detailed archive documents virtually everything that went into and out of the vessel upon this voyage. It details aspects of Northwest Coast maritime commerce, maritime law, insurance and salvage, construction and other costs, and the economics of the coastal trade at the time.

1.  American National Biography, vol. 9, pp., 269-271

Dictionary of American Biography, volume IV, pp., 408-409

        Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, p. 210