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The Harvard Classics: Two Years Before the Mast, Twenty-Four Years After
The Harvard Classics Two Years Before the Mast Twenty-Four Years After Author:R. H. Dana Jr. Two Years Before the Mast is a memoir by the American author Richard Henry Dana, Jr., written after a two-year sea voyage starting in 1834 and published in 1840. — While at Harvard College studying law, Dana had an attack of the measles which affected his vision. Thinking it might help his sight, Dana, rather than going on a Grand Tour as most of... more » his fellow classmates traditionally did (and unable to afford it anyway) and being something of a non-conformist, left Harvard to enlist as a common sailor on a voyage around Cape Horn on the brig Pilgrim. Richard Dana, a young lawyer, takes to sea, bunking fore, among the common sailors plying the Atlantic/Pacific supply route for the industrial belt-trade, stuffing cattle-skins from the Californios into the hold of the Pilgrim. He returned to Massachusetts two years later aboard the Alert (which left California sooner than the Pilgrim).
He kept a diary throughout the voyage, and, after returning, he wrote a recognized American classic, Two Years Before the Mast, published in 1840, the same year of his admission to the bar.« less