About the Collection
The Diary of a Voyage to China, 1850-1851, the private diary of Captain Thomas Small, reveals the intense loneliness of command and details the longing he feels for the wife and newborn son he left behind. He comments on marriage, child-rearing, and religion, and frequently expresses his desire to find employment “ashore” to better provide for his family. In addition to these personal entries, he provides rich details of a mid-nineteenth century life at sea. Daily nautical annotations are augmented with comments about the crew, rations, frequent communications with passing ships, and his waning hope in obtaining a profitable cargo of tea in China.