November 16, 1849

On board the Franziska November 16, 1849.

We recently had occasion to complain about the food and became aware of the defectiveness and ambiguity in that part of our contract where it says, ‘at the captain’s table.” I, therefore, advise everyone, before paying his earnest money, to insist that in umking the contract for the voyage it be clearly spelled out what meals and foods one is to receive as a “cabin passenger.” In this way one will have a defense against the captain, who exercises arbitrary power when at sea. This should bring relief, for the laws of Bremen require that the ship carry provisions for 3 (three) months, and in Galveston, as in the other United States ports, the officials severely punish those captains who become liable for legal action for failing to honor the passengers’ contracts. Firstly, there must be no lack of the necessary provisions, and secondly, the captain is compelled to fulfill his special duties. Captains gladly neglect the latter in order to profit from the sale of the provisions remaining after the voyage.

We have three men on board who are already living in Texas – two farmers and a merchant from Galveston.

We have learned much from them about conditions there and are now eagerly awaiting the end of the voyage in order to experience it all ourselves.

Our voyage can by no means be called an especially good one. We put to sea in a-strong south east wind, and almost everyone was seasick before the pilot left the ship. I hoped, I would be spared, but late in the evening I succumbed. It was just as well that during the first night, exhausted by seasickness, we slept soundly, for the violent wind had become a gale that, had it blown from the north, north-west, or north-east, we would certainly have been driven onto the beach. There was no wind on the following day, and on the day after that the wind was unfavorable. Then, a strong wind from the east drove us through the English Channel in two days. The dangers of the North Sea and’the Channel, which are the most threatening of the voyage, were quickly and happily left behind. From the Channel our course was set toward the south-west in order to reach the eastern trade winds near the Azores. But here we had many days of calm and unfavorable winds, so that for more than a week we made no noticeable progress. Later there was a light trade wind from the east that unhappily was of short duration and ‘changed to a strong west wind. This forced us to tack back and forth. For six days now we have had a fairly good wind, which, in case it doesn’t take a turn for the worse, will bring us in sight of Domingo in a week. Within four days after that we can be in Galveston.

Boredom is the greatest evil of the voyage; one can’t practise English all the time; reading finally palls; and even sleeping, night or day, has become difficult. By the way, one should not forget to bring deck chairs on such a voyage for use on the ship, because there are only 15 seats on deck for ~laS cabin passengers. This seems all the worse when one discovers that only on deck can one relax, for it is too hot in the cabin. , If I should ever make such a voyage again, I’d bring half a bottle of light French wine (costing about two and a half silver groschen a bottle in Bremen) and a half bottle of beer, which is downright indispensable for quenching .thirst, for every day that the voyage might last. Whoever doesn’t like black coffee, should boil himself good, fresh milk with sugar until it has the density and consistency of honey, for on then will the milk keep on the ship and not spoil.