Twenty Years before the Mast, Or Life in the Forecastle. … Contain an Account of His Escapes from Wild Beasts; from the Dangers of War; from British Press-Gangs; from Frequent Shipwrecks; Together with Several Remarkable Dreams… and His Conversion to God.


Memoir of a sailor born in Norway, removed to England after his father’s death, and shipped as cabin boy at age ten. Sailed the world on sealers and New Bedford ships. He became one of many nineteenth-century sailors turned pious proselytizer in the name of the Holy Spirit and Providence. His rather elaborate dream sequences are redolent of John Bunyan, but apart from his dogged spiritual views there is little evidence of education or reading here. There are a few interesting passages: