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Captain Wyatt St. Barbe

Thomas Jefferson noted in his memorandum book on July 5, 1784, "Sailed from Boston at 4. o'clock A.M. in the Ceres Capt. St. Barbe."[1] This was the beginning of Jefferson's voyage to England and onward to France, where he would represent the United States until he returned home in 1789.

Jefferson's correspondence and accounts are largely silent on St. Barbe himself, but Jefferson kept detailed records of the voyage: every day at noon, he noted the Ceres's position, the temperature, and the wind direction. There were only six passengers on the ship aside from Jefferson, his daughter Martha and James Hemings; the only two that have been identified with any certainty are Nathaniel Tracy, the owner of the Ceres, and Alexander Moore, a British merchant.[2] By the end of the voyage, Jefferson apparently was on familiar enough terms with St. Barbe that he could recommend him to Archibald Cary; the actual letter has not been found, but Jefferson noted in his Summary Journal of Letters on 24 July 1784,

"Ceres. off Scilly. A. Cary. Recommending St. Barbe. That [Alexander] Moore will get some hares, warren rabbits and partridges and deliver to St. Barbe who will deliver to him - to raise and turn out breeders - if he meets with N. Lewis and he will undertake to do the same at his own house, give him some."[3]


  1. MB, 1:554.
  2. Ibid.
  3. PTJ, 7:383.
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