In the following pages I design to give an accurate and authentic narrative of a little more than two years spent as a common sailor before the mast, in the American merchant service; and in it I have adhered closely to fact in every particular, and endeavoured to give each thing its true character. My design is, and it is this which has induced me to publish the book, to present the life of a common sailor at sea as it really is - the light and dark together. Richard Henry Dana (1815-1882), American politician, lawyer and expert for maritime law, gives a vivid account of his younger years as merchant sailor. Between 1834 and 1836 he sailed on a trading ship from Boston to South America and around Cape Horn to California. Dana always stressed that he had written the book to improve the status and life of the common sailor. Because it gives a very detailed description of California, with the Californian Gold rush of 1849 the book and its author became extremely popular. Reprint of the original edition from 1840.