[p. 55] Among the Medford-built vessels engaged in the northwest and China trade at this period were the Arab, Louise, Pedlar, Lascar and Triton. Bryant and Sturgis sent the Sachem round to California for a load of hides. This was the beginning of a trade which grew to large proportions and which ten or fifteen years later was described so vividly by R. H. Dana in that masterpiece,‘Two Years Before the Mast.’ The brig Pilgrim in which he went out was built in Medford and the ship California which they helped to load was also. Dana gives the following description of her:—
She was a good substantial ship, not quite so long as the Alert, wall-sided and kettle-bottomed, after the latest fashion of south shore cotton and sugar wagons, strong too, and tight and a good average sailor, but with no pretensions to beauty and nothing in the style of a ‘crack ship.’This trade in hides was very profitable and the story of the hardships and dangers connected with it is told in a vivid manner.