St. Johns, Antigua, February 21st 1850
After a very boisterous and tedious passage of 15 days we arrived at this place after encountering two gales of wind from S.S. N. one on the 9th and 10th of February, when we had to lie low for two days and nights, but she behaved very well after throwing over part of our deck-load which we did on Sunday evening; and then we had head winds until within one or two days south of the Islands. We got in on Sunday the 24th. We went on shore and walked about the place until church which was 4 o clock in the evening. It is a very large stone building in the form of a […] is Episcopal. We had a very poor sermon or at least I thought it ought to have been better for so large a church, the whites and negroes were all mixed together, the one about as grand as the other and some of them are very impudent to the Yankees as they […] by saying I “reckon” […].
This place contains about 10,000 inhabitants, the houses are very small, occupied principally by Negroes, those that are able living in the country, so there are very few good looking houses now.
On entering the harbour you have to […] within about two-hundred yards of 1 or 2 forts which hail you as you […]. It is very warm although this is the […] time of the year, that is in the middle of the day, but delightful in the morning and evening, there is always a good breeze […] along the island, the country is beautiful, large high hills and the sugar cane growing in the valley, it looks so green and cool, now is the time they are making sugar but I have not seen them at work, the crops are very short, therefore you can’t get any thing for the stones, only about $22.00 per thousand and from all you can hear is not much chance of doing better but we will start in about half an hour for an Island about 40 miles to the Southward where there are a few wanted but don’t expect to get over $25 at the most and if we don’t sell there I don’t know where we will go.
I hardly know how I shall send this letter that you will get it any sooner than to write from New Orleans but there is an American Brig that will sail in a few days for […]. I must hurry and close this for we are about to go on board and get under […]. Write to me (or tell […]) at New Orleans
Give my love to mother and all the children, accept a plentiful share for yourself. I remain your affectionate son,
As this is the only chance that I shall probably have of writing home until I get to New Orleans I must embrace it. From Antigua we went to Charleston in the island in Nevis and from there to this place where we have sold and will take salt from here. We will start about Sunday or Monday. We won’t be home before the 1st of May I don’t think.
I must hurry with this for the boat is about to leave.
Give my love to all
From your affectionate son
Source: From the Holmes Papers, #1525, Southern Historical Collection, The Library of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill