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[p. 77] purchaser was found. She was bought in part by George Pratt. Captain Shaw, her commander, and Sprague and James had a share in her. These ships plied between New Orleans and Antwerp, doing business principally in cotton. These ‘ventures to sea’ in the main proved profitable.

It is impossible now to tell the fate of all the ships of Sprague and James, but though some were wrecked and others were outclassed when the new style of clipper ships came in, they were good vessels, built on honor, and their commanders were proud of them.

Captain Redman, writing of the Shepherd after he had sailed in her for many voyages, said, ‘Mr. Shepherd, Mr. Touro and Captain Macy are building a very large ship at Portsmouth and have offered me an interest in her with command. I have not given them a definite answer yet but it is most probable that I shall decline. I am very fond of the James H. Shepherd, she has no fault except that I would like her a little stronger, but with care I am in hopes she will make many safe and prosperous voyages. She has the appearance now of a ship not more than two or three years old.’

Mr. Sprague was the head of the mechanical part of the business and designed the ships, making the moulds and doing the draughting in his parlor, generally after working hours were over in the yard. Mr. James' place was in the counting room; each had perfect confidence in the other's ability and never interfered with the other's department. Both were men of iron will and differed radically in religion, Mr. Sprague being as strong a Unitarian as Deacon James was an Orthodox, yet in all their long business connection, there was never a breach in their friendship and it was continued until Mr. Sprague died, in 1851.

Both men, according to the custom of the day, took apprentices into their families. Joshua Turner Foster lived with Mr. Sprague and later married his daughter. John Taylor lived with Mr. James and married his sister.

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