In 1783 The Grand Turk, a merchant vessel not unlike the Friendship, set sail for the East When it returned with a cargo of pepper from Sumatra, Derby (the owner of The Grand Turk) made a profit of 700%.
After that, merchant ships began sailing back and forth to Turkey, India and finally China. Before the War for Independence, Great Britain had a lock on this trade, and they continued to try and maintain their hold. They stopped American vessels, impressed the seamen, blockaded the coast and otherwise made nuisances of themselves. Needless to say, all it really did was inflame passions and set the stage for the War of 1812.
By the time Will Rees visits Salem, it is sixth largest city in the US and the richest. And all that wealth rested on the backs of the sailors.
Crews quarters. And a sailor didn’t ‘t ‘own’ your bunk either, but took whatever was available. The first mate’s quarters and captain’s quarters were marginally better. At least they had a whole room, not a large one but something to themselves.
The captain had windows.
Most of the hold was designed for cargo but it was put below – where the crew slept – as well.
Honestly, I felt claustrophobic the first few minutes I was down there.