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|The Diary of William Bentley, D.D., Pastor of the East Church, Salem, Massachusetts: January, 1793-December, 1802 (Classic Reprint)
by William Bentley
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Excerpt from The Diary of William Bentley, D.D., Pastor of the East Church, Salem, Massachusetts: January, 1793-December, 1802
January 1, 1793.Our Lodge Officers were installed this evening I totally disengaged myself from any Office in a Lodge. An alarm of fire this evening, great danger, but speedy relief.
2. The Town of Salem in the alarm of last night had instant plentiful relief from the Centre Cistern, lately prepared for them.
3. It is pleasant to observe the distinct objects of the several social institutions, the fire clubs to protect property, the marine societies to lesson the dangers of trade, the free masons to assist the stranger, the public worship occasionally to recommend exalt them in their turn. There have been two prosecutions of Masters, Sinclair Welman, for abuse. The first on a Guinea Voyage a year since, the last for abuse of a negro in a late West India voyage. The examples were cruel roused the public resentment.
4. Upon the Completion of the third century everything has been said of Columbus, & among other things the following of Cat Island on which he first landed. Cat Island, called Guanihani, lat. bet.24 & 25 north, long, about 76 west from London, 90 miles from Providence, long & narrow. Most easterly of the northern Bahama, clear of Bahama Bank, long, about 43 miles, broad, seven miles on an average, extending north & south. Shores faced with reefs of sharp rocks lying about half a mile frequently less from the Island, furthest upon the western side within is anchorage upon a sandy bottom, the landing is not difficult particularly on the western shore, excepting there have been strong northwesterly gales, which are not so common here as in higher northern latitudes. The Soil is generally barren being a loose sand and covered with small woods, in some places almost impenetrable, infested with lizards, guanas, land crabs, a few goats, & wild hogs, infested formerly by pirates, & now inhabited by a few families from Providence. In some places there is tolerably good timber, & a few hills with wood towards the center, which make a pleasing appearance but are difficult to approach on account of the salt ponds & underbrush. There is excellent fishing & turtling on the coasts. There are ruins here of buildings constructed of the native rock when broken & a soft white stone found on the island.
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