Autographed Letter Signed. At sea, Feb. 15, 1879. To "Brother Hall." 1879.
Folio. 18 pp., 32 lines per pag Written in a neat hand on blue lined paper. Some age toning, but completely legible. $4,500.00
In 1878, Captain Bray, an experienced navigator and an earnest Christian, took command of the third "Morning Star". The intention of the voyages of each of the (five) ships named "Morning Star" was to bring Christianity to the people of the Marquesas Islands and Micronesia. The third ship of that name was built at East Boston, at a cost of $28,462, and like her previous namesake, was 181 tons (practically the same size as the "Mayflower" of 1620, which was 180 tons). She was launched January 26, 1871, sailing from Boston a month later under Capt. Nathaniel Matthews, reaching Honolulu July 3, 1871.
Captain Bray took his command in 1878. In this letter (his only one written during his entire tenure as captain), he provides a summary of his voyages since leaving Honolulu at the end of the previous year. The ship sailed a total of 14,500 miles, having visited 26 different islands (some two or three times). Details are given of many of the ship's visits to a total of 37 places, including five new islands, where teachers were left on three of them. Of particular interest is Bray's description of a number of the smaller islands, such as Luknor Island, Atene Island, the island of Apaiang (part of the Gilbert Islands), and the Marshall Islands. He relates accounts of the one death and one marriage held on the Morning Star. A great deal of the letter deals with religion on board. The number of Christian sailors increased from an initial one to five (as of the date of the letter). "Some still are not Christians," Bray reports. "The first sailor came on board intoxicated and tried to run away by jumping overboard & now he wants to study to be a missionary."
After over eight months they arrived back in Honolulu, where Bray gave the letter to a ship that was then departing.