Thursday, February 13, 2014

Jacob Bailey the Frontier Missionary of Rowley Journal

From History Massachusetts Bay Colony: In 1760, Jacob Bailey, (son of David Bailey and Mary Hodgkins b. April 16, 1731) a native of Rowley, Mass., known as "the Frontier Missionary" who like the greater number of the Episcopal clergy of New England before the Revolution had been reared a Congregationalist. (Americana Journal) He was a graduate of Harvard College, having prepared for the ministry and been licensed to preach, determined to obtain orders in the Church of England and so, through the intervention of friends, took passage from Boston for London in the ship Hind, carrying twenty guns, which sailed in company with six other vessels. Bailey genealogy : James John, and Thomas, and their descendants : in three parts (1899)
Mr. Bailey kept a diary of the voyage and his description of the accommodations which the ship supplied, the life on board, and the men with whom he was brought in contact, is a surprisingly vivid picture of strange and uncouth conditions attending passenger service to England in the mid-eighteenth century. The ship lay at anchor in the harbor and Mr. Bailey went out to her in a small boat. Letter book below
"The wind was blowing strong, and it was some time before we could get on board ship. At length, with difficulty, I clambered up the side and found myself in the midst of a most horrid confusion. The deck was crowded full of men, and the boatswain's shrill whistle, with the swearing and hallooing of the petty officers, almost stunned my ears. I could find no retreat from this dismal hubbub, but was obliged to continue jostling among the crowd above an hour before I could find anybody at leisure to direct me. At last, Mr. Letterman, the Captain's steward, an honest Prussian, perceiving my disorder, introduced me through the steerage to the lieutenant. I found him sitting in the great cabin. He appeared to be a young man, scarce twenty years of age, and had in his countenance some indications of mildness. Upon my entrance he assumed a most important look and with a big voice demanded to know my request. I informed him that I was a passenger on board the Hind, by permission of Capt. Bond, and desired that he would be civil enough to direct me to the place of my destination. He replied in this laconic style: 'Sir, I will take care to speak to one of my mates.' This was all the notice, at present. But happily, on my return from the cabin, I found my chest and bedding carefully stowed away in the steerage. In the meantime the ship was unmoored and we fell gently down to Nantasket....
"I observed a young gentleman walking at a distance, with a pensive air in his countenance. Coming near him, in a courteous manner he invited me down between decks to a place he called his berth. I thanked him for his kindness and readily followed him down a ladder into a dark and dismal region, where the fumes of pitch, bilge water, and other kinds of nastiness almost suffocated me in a minute. We had not proceeded far before we entered a small apartment, hung round with damp and greasy canvas, which made, on every hand, a most gloomy and frightful appearance. In the middle stood a table of pine, varnished over with nasty slime, furnished with a bottle of rum and an old tin mug with a hundred and fifty bruises and several holes, through which the liquor poured in as many streams. This was quickly filled with toddy and as speedily emptied by two or three companions who presently joined us in this doleful retreat. Not all the scenes of horror about us could afford me much dismay till I received the news that this detestable apartment was allotted by the captain to be the place of my habitation during the voyage!
"Our company continually increased, when the most shocking oaths and curses resounded from every corner, some loading their neighbors with bitter execrations, while others uttered imprecations too awful to be recorded. The persons present were: first, the captain's clerk, the young fellow who gave me the invitation. I found him a person of considerable reading and observation who had fled his native country on account of a young lady to whom he was engaged. Second, was one John Tuzz, a midshipman and one of my messmates, a good-natured, honest fellow, apt to blunder in his conversation and given to extravagant profaneness. Third, one Butler, a minister's son, who lived near Worcester, in England. He was a descendant from Samuel Butler, (see pic) the author of Hudibras, and appeared to be a man of fine sense and considerable breeding, yet, upon occasion, was extremely profane and immodest, yet nobody seemed a greater admirer of delicacy in women than himself.
My fourth companion was one Spear, one of the mates, a most obliging ingenious young gentleman, who was most tender of me in my cruel sickness. Fifth: one of our company this evening was the carpenter of the ship who looked like a country farmer, drank excessively, swore roundly, and talked extravagantly. Sixth: was one Shephard, an Irish midshipman, the greatest champion of profaneness that ever fell under my notice. I scarce ever knew him to open his mouth without roaring out a tumultuous volley of stormy oaths and imprecations. After we had passed away an hour or two together, Mr. Lisle, the lieutenant of marines, joined our company. He was about fifty years of age, of gigantic stature, and quickly distinguished himself by the quantities of liquor he poured down his throat. He also was very profane.
"About nine o'clock the company began to think of supper, when a boy was called into the room. Nothing in human shape did I ever see before so loathsome and nasty. He had on his body a fragment only of a check shirt, his bosom was all naked and greasy, over his shoulders hung a bundle of woolen rags which reached in strings almost down to his feet, and the whole composition was curiously adorned with little shining animals. The boy no sooner made his appearance than one of our society accosted him in this gentle language. 'Go you —— rascal, and see whether lobscouse is ready.' Upon this the fellow began to mutter and scratch his head, but after two or three hearty curses, went for the galley and presently returned with an elegant dish which he placed on the table. It was a composition of beef and onions, bread and potatoes, minced and stewed together, then served up with its broth in a wooden tub, the half of a quarter cask. The table was furnished with two pewter plates, the half of one was melted away, and the other, full of holes, was more weather-beaten than the sides of the ship; one knife with a bone handle, one fork with a broken tine, half a metal spoon and another, taken at Quebec, with part of the bowl cut off. When supper was ended, the company continued their exercise of drinking, swearing and carousing, till half an hour after two, when some of these obliging gentlemen made a motion for my taking some repose. Accordingly, a row of greasy canvas bags, hanging overhead by the beams, were unlashed. Into one of them it was proposed that I should get, in order to sleep, but it was with the utmost difficulty I prevented myself from falling over on the other side....
"The next day, towards evening, several passengers came on board, viz: Mr. Barons, late Collector, Major Grant, Mr. Barons' footman, and Mrs. Cruthers, the purser's wife, a native of New England. After some considerable dispute, I had my lodgings fixed in Mr. Pearson's berth, where Master Robant, Mr. Baron's man, and I, agreed to lie together in one large hammock."
Rev. Jacob Bailey: His Character and Works By Charles Edwin Allen

Jacob Bailey like the man of later years although just a little tainted by some social corruption of the times was greatly superior to his surroundings He was very poor of very poor parents and hence socially he was very low for society often grades its members by any standard other than that of moral worth or intellect He entered Harvard College at the age of twenty and graduated therefrom in 1755 at the foot of his class because the Puritan commonwealth of Massachusetts was far from democratic and his social position was at the foot Among his classmates was John Adams at one time his friend and correspondent and whom he again met at Pownalboro when Adams visited the section in 1765 as attorney for the proprietors of the Kennebec Purchase He taught school in several Massachusetts towns having among his pupils a class of young ladies some years before Puritan Boston thought it prudent to admit girls to her public schools. From Collections and Preceding of Maine Historical Society


  1. My Bailey is I think John from Newbury.

  2. Good work, Melissa! This gives a whole new meaning to the rhubarb growing in our back yard possibly having medicinal value, in addition to being very tasty when baked into muffins! Take care and enjoy!

  3. Interesting to me also was the fact that Rev. Bailey had spent some time in Dresden, Maine only about twenty miles from where I presently reside. I enjoy history and more so when I can connect in some fashion or another by and to a relevant fact. I've visited Pownalboro, situated on the banks of the Kennebec River as well. This was Lincoln County's site of it's first court house (now located in Wiscasset). It is also one of the spots where Colonial Benedict Arnold and troops stopped on the way to Quebec in 1775. There is a wonderful building there that still portrays where the court room was and other rooms identified with historic embellishments. Very cool to visit!