Lehigh University
The Vault at PfaffsAn Archive of Art and Literature by the Bohemians of Antebellum New York
Previous Issue Next Issue
Previous Page Next Page
0 matches
[newspaper clipping continued: first column]
five dollars per head, and the provisions for their
comfort and convenience far excelled those of the
monster ship.  There were dozens of our excursion-
ists who were offering their tickets at prices ranging 
from one to four dollars.  Many were sold at the
above prices, and the sellers left for New-York via
Philadelphia, or waited for the boat direct from here.
The Great Eastern presents a splendid sight, as she
lays off in the distance.  At two o clock, quite a fleet
of vessels were plying around her, giving their passen-
gers a good view of the ship, and upon the payment of
fifty cents they were admitted on board.  Many of the
country folks availed themselves of this opportunity
of seeing  the elephant.   In fact, the 4th of July
was not to be compared to the excitement of the day,
if we except the gunpowder burning and the snap-
ping of those pesky firecrackers.  The hotels were
besieged by the Great Eastern excursion-
ists, who, as they had hoped, were enabled
to get a good  square  dinner.  The beach was
one of the centres of attraction, and the bath-houses
were well patronized, and soon the gentle surf rolled
over the heads of hundreds of people, who seemed to
enjoy it highly.  The small stands realized not a 
small sum from the visitors of the day.  At half-past
two o clock the gongs and bells announced the regu-
lar dinner-hour, and a grand rush of the half-starved
passengers to the tables then took place.
		THE RETURN.
         EMBARKATION SCENES ON THE BEACH.
  Those whom we have previously mentioned, that
went on shore at Cape May, were notified by means
of large posters placed in different parts of the ship 
and at the hotels on shore, that the J. S. Schriver,
a box of a propeller, would ply between the ship and
the shore every hour.  This arrangement was carried
out as long as there was any one at the Cape who
wished to pay fifty cents to visit the ship; after that
she was kept alongside.  The excursionists had been
notified by the man with a  blue ribbon  on his hat
that they must be on the wharf at 4 o clock, to embark
for the ship, as she would sail at 6 o clock, accord-
ing to the notice.  At that time, over five hundred
people, among whom were quite a number of ladies,
were assembled on the sandy beach, where, until 6
o clock they were obliged to stand in the burning
rays of the sun.  At two or three little houses a mis-
erable decoction of  Jersey lightning  was dis-
pensed, mostly to a large number of the residents of
the vicinity.  Boat after boat carried off and
on the Philadelphians who had come down 
to visit the ship.  There were at least two thousand
people on the wharves at one time, and they were so
slightly built that it did not seem improbable that at 
any moment a disaster might occur, and hundreds of
lives be endangered.  From four to six o clock, as each 
boat arrived at the dock a rush was made for her, but
when they were informed that she was going to take
only her own excursionists there were renewed de-
nunciations.  At the ship one man lost his hat over-
board, and in after it he plunged.  The cry of  a 
man overboard!  caused the wildest excitement, but
he swam to the paddle, climbed up the floats, and 
soon was safely on board of his own boat.  At a few
minutes past six, after a renewal of the crowding and
pushing adventures of the morning, in which no one
was bodily injured, but every one mentally dissatis-
fied, the party gained the cramped-up and filthy deck
of the J. S. Schriver.  Many were laying their plans
for the night, and exhibited defiantly huge baskets
and pails, and from their remarks we inferred that
they had provided well for the comforts of the  inner

[newspaper clipping continued: second column]
man.   A good number of new faces were to be seen,
they were the holders of tickets which they had pur-
chased at prices ranging from a SEGAR to TWO DOL-
LARS.  Nothing of interest occurred on the trip
from the beach to the ship, but to some
the swell in which we were rolling
was the cause of sea-sickness.
	  RETURN OF THE PASSENGERS.
  The swell increased, and by the time the boat
reached the Great Eastern the chances were slim for 
an ascent of the gangway ladder without loss of
limb or life.  A line was made fast in the wheel of
the big ship, and the ascent of the ladder com-
menced.  It was a terrible sight.  The little boat
would thump against the sides of the huge ship,
jarring the Schriver s passengers off their feet; the
ladder would be pressed up and fall down with a six-
foot surge.  One would spring for the ladder, be
caught by a seaman, and exhibit his ticket to  the
blue ribbon,  pass on, and inwardly thank his stars
that he was safe once more.  Ladies had to scramble
up perilously, as best they might.  Nearly an hour
was occupied in making the transfer of passengers,
many of whom, however, crawled through the side-
ports, thereby retaining their tickets, to be shown at
some future period as a memento of their  Trip in
the Great Eastern.   In the meantime the anchor
was weighed, steam up, and every one ready for the
start homeward.
	           ANCHOR UP AND OFF.
  At about eight o clock the ship was on her home-
ward-bound journey, and a great many were con-
gratulating themselves and their neighbors upon the
event.  After the excitement of leaving had in a
measure subsided, an internal excitement quietly
arose in many of the people s minds and stomachs,
as the supper tables plainly showed, but the supply
was limited.
	          THE MATTRESS PANIC.
  Next in order came the mattress panic.  Hundreds
might be seen wending their way from forward to
seek some sheltered nook to stretch their wearied
limbs, yet they laid down with tremblings for the
future, for it had been announced that a society had
been formed bearing the title of  The league of
thirty-five,  sworn to allow no one to get a wink of
sleep during the night; but this  league,  for some
unknown cause, did not carry their intentions into
effect.
  The cotillion band furnished music for quite a
number of dances, but the majority of the people
were so fatigued with the busy enjoyments of the
day, they sought their sleeping places at an early
hour.  A goodly number were extended under the 
 lee  of the bulwarks, and were soon asleep;
the saloons had their quota, but the scene of this
night did not, by half, compare with that of Mon-
day night, much of the romance and ludicrous being
left out.  The officers (not directors) nearly to a
man, had given up their rooms, and in most cases to
entire strangers, and in justice to them we
would state, that a large number of the ex-
cursionists are under great obligations to 
them for their many attentions and kindness.
One of them we saw as late as two o clock
furnishing gentlemen with a berth to sleep in.  At one
o clock, A. M., the engines were slowed as the close
proximity of the vessel at the time was such that but
for the skill of the officer of the deck there would
have been a collision.  As soon as we were clear of
the schooner, the engines were started and no more
vessels got in our way.  As day began to dawn
many were on deck to see the sun rise, but in this
Page
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Thirteen: page one hundred and thirty
Description:Newspaper clipping from ''The New York World'' describing an excursion aboard the Great Eastern.
Subject:Great Eastern (Ship); Gunn, Thomas Butler; J. S. Schriver (Ship); New York world.; Ocean travel; Travel
Coverage (City/State):Cape May, [New Jersey]
Scan Date:2011-01-29

 

Volume
Title:Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries, Volume Thirteen
Description:Includes descriptions of boarding house living, his freelance writing and drawing work, antics of New York literary Bohemians, Frank Cahill fleeing for England after spending money that was meant for ''The New York Picayune,'' visits to the Edwards family, the state of Charles Damoreau's marriage, a sailing excursion to Nyack with the Edwards family and other friends on the Fourth of July, a fight between Fitz James O'Brien and House at Pfaff's, witnessing a fire at Washington Market, the execution of pirate Albert Hicks on Bedloe's Island, an excursion aboard the ship Great Eastern, a vacation at Grafton with the Edwards family, his growing friendship with Sally Edwards, Lotty Granville's behavior with Brentnall and Hill at his boarding house, Frank Bellew's return to England, and visits to dance houses in the Fourth Ward with friends for an article.
Subject:Boardinghouses; Bohemians; Gunn, Thomas Butler; Journalism; Marriage; Publishers and publishing; Women
Coverage (City/State):New York, New York; Grafton, New York
Note:Thomas Butler Gunn was born February 15, 1826, in Banbury, England, and came to New York in 1849. During the Civil War he worked as a correspondent for the New York Tribune and the New York Evening Post. He returned to England in 1863, and died in Birmingham in April 1903. The collection includes twenty-one volumes of his diaries, including newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, sketches, and various other items inserted by Gunn. Diary entries date from July 7, 1849, to April 7, 1863, and include his experiences with the New York publishing and literary world, his descriptions of boarding houses, his travels throughout the United States, and his experiences traveling with the Federal army as a Civil War correspondent.
Publisher:Missouri History Museum
Rights:Copyright 2011 Missouri History Museum.
Source:Page images, transcriptions, and metadata of the Thomas Butler Gunn diaries have been provided by the Missouri History Museum.