Summary of Content: Writes to Walker that he has been busy fitting out the ”Rae” and the ”Rebecca.” Says they both have a new coat of paint and that the ”Rae” has been supplied with ”important necessaries,” including a cable and anchor. Says the men on board await his orders. Can send the orders to the ships by express to the railroad station or have the ”Talapora” take them to the wharf in Portsmouth.
Background: Forbes was a sea-captain, China merchant, ship-owner, and writer (mostly of pamphlets). As a member of the Forbes family of Boston, much of his wealth was derived from the opium and China trade of the 19th century. He played a prominent role in the outbreak of the Opium War. Despite the ethical problems of dealing in opium, he was known to engage in humanitarian activities, such as commandeering the USS ”Jamestown” to send food to Irish famine sufferers in 1847. His house in Milton, Massachusetts is today a house museum.