Cover of: Two Years Before The Mast, Vol. 2 | Richard Henry Dana

About the Book

Two Years before the Mast is but an episode in the life of Richard Henry Dana, Jr., yet the narrative in which he details the experiences of that period is, perhaps, his chief claim to a wide remembrance.

His services in fields other than literary occupied the greater part of his life. Dana was a well known and respected lawyer, a stalwart abolitionist, and an advocate for the rights of common sailors. He and his wife, Sarah, had many friends among New England's cultural elite, including Henry Wadsworth and Fanny (Appleton) Longfellow and the artist Washington Allston and his wife, Martha Remington (Dana), who was Richard's aunt.

Two Years before the Mast appeared in 1840, while its author was still a law student. Though at the time it created no great stir in the United States, it was most favorably received in England, where it paved the way for many pleasant and valuable acquaintances. The following year, Dana produced The Seaman's Friend, a treatise on practical seamanship. Later, he wrote a a short account of an 1859 trip to Cuba in 1859. He was a copious letter-writer and kept journals of his travels and every day life. Yet, long before his death, he had seen the narrative of his sailor days recognized as an American classic.

Time has not diminished its reputation. We read it today not merely for its simple, unpretentious style, but for its clear picture of a life at sea previous to the era of steam navigation and for its graphic description of conditions in California before visions of gold sent the long lines of "prairie schooners" drifting across the plains to unfold the hidden destiny of the West.

Edition Notes

Harper's family library -- no. 106

The Physical Object

483 p. ;

ID Numbers

Open Library
Internet Archive

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August 18, 2013 Edited by lowlife changed publisher & year
October 5, 2011 Edited by mikemccabe vol 2
September 30, 2011 Edited by ImportBot import new book
September 20, 2011 Edited by mikemccabe add toc
April 1, 2008 Created by an anonymous user Initial record created, from Internet Archive item record.