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Finding a “snug harbor”: Aboard his Flagship Constitution, the Pacific Squadron Commodore Promises to Help an Old Sailor Find a Retirement Home


Alexander Claxton. Autograph Letter Signed, to unknown “Old Tar.” June 20, 1839, “At Sea” aboard the USS Constitution, which had just left Vera Cruz, Mexico for the Pacific. 1 p.

Aboard the USS Constitution, a Commodore Helps an Old Salt

  • Claxton, at the time Commodore of the Pacific Squadron with the Constitution as his flagship, writes an unknown old sailor, thanking him for previous letters and promising to help provide him with resources or refuge in his old age, most likely helping him get into the recently-created (1833) Sailor’s Snug Harbor on Staten Island:


    “I regard you as an Old Tar – one who should be provided with a ‘snug harbor’ where you could not only ride securely but be enabled to ‘fish up’ something for the evening of your days. I promise you to act decisively in the premises if matters should not have been perfectly cleared up. When I can serve my country I never hesitate to go to the fountainhead—tell the case—and urge to action. God bless you Alex Claxton. [PS] Love to my glorious passengers”


    Based on the Constitution's timeline and

    mission schedule, these "glorious passengers" are American diplomats being transported to their consulate posts throughout the Carribean Atlantic ports.

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