Titian Ramsay Peale 1799-1885, and His Journals of the Wilkes Expedition.

This book constitutes a fairly broad biographical introduction to Titian Peale, as well as his journals of the Wilkes expedition, not a happy camper much of the time and bitterly disappointed afterwards, when his work was denigrated and to some extent perverted by other parties. But much of it is fascinating and worth reading, even in the tiny font APS has chosen for this book.

p. 74, Sunday, March 17, 1839…: Had Divine Service on the half Deck—read the Episcopal Service and a sermon—perhaps the first time it was ever done within the Southern Antar[c]tic circle. I should indeed rejoice to extend the requirements of the Gospel and knowledge of salvation from Pole to Pole….

p. 97: When it came time to publish reports after the expedition, Wilkes and his associates placed unworkable restrictions on the preparation: everything must be new; everything must be American, with no help from European scholars; the scientists had to live and work in Washington while preparing their work, etc. James D. Dana, who was with Peale on the Peacock, wrote a friend that “it is perfectly absurd that I should be able to prepare my reports in a city, where there are no books.”

Here is a Peale response to Benjamin Tappan on Oct. 27, 1843: The books for which requisition was made last season have not been received; which has rendered much of my labor very unsatisfactory from want of confidence in the originality of discoveries, etc. So much has been done, even during our absence, in scientific discovery, that it is no slight task to overtake the collaborators in their onward pace. The privilege of access to the Libraries of this City has already proved of great service, but they unfortunately do not in all matters “keep up to the day.”

p. 125, footnote gives list of books APS recommended to the ExEx to take on the expedition.

p. 129, Sunday 30th [1838]: After prayers this morning Capt. Hudson read us an excellent sermon, which was objectionable in one respect only, that was its length or rather not is length but the length of time we had to stand uncovered, for when these sermons were written it was for a shore congregation, who it was intended should all be comfortably seated; not so with us, we stand and balance ourselves to the motions of the ship which becomes rather tiresome.

p. 132, Thursday 25th…: In the afternoon boarded the British ship, Earl of Durham, bound to Sydney N. South Wales. She was filled with emigrants, both male and female. They furnished us three newspapers (quite a treat) but not much of interest in them.

p. 140, Sunday [March] 17th [1939]: Notwithstanding which we had Service and a sermon, the sea being so high that the men had to lay on the deck and hold on by whatever was near. We shipped several sea and the vessel rolled so as to bring the water up into the lee gangway on the spar deck. The whole of the gun deck was afloat including my room by which I suffered severe losses in drawing paper books, basons, etc.

[On July 18, 1841 the Peacock was wrecked off the Columbia River and Peale lost most of his possessions and the specimens he had collected on the expedition, though his journals of the trip were taken off before the wreck. See p. 88-89.]