This is a continuation of this question I asked earlier. According to the answers I got from the question, a better way for my character to travel is by ship, as quoted from user Mark Johnson:
Taking a ship to the nearest sea port of the final destination was probably more often (and swifter) done than long distance overland travel.
However, I just can't seem to find any source about traveling by ships at the time period of my story (1778 - 1779 America). Most results I found on the Internet are about life as a sailor, goods transportation by ships, and naval warfare. The closest to a history of travelling by ships that I could find is this website, which states that the earliest ship to carry passengers was from the early 1800s (please correct me if I interpreted what I read wrong):
The earliest ocean-going vessels were not primarily concerned with passengers, but rather with the cargo that they could carry. Black Ball Line in New York, Advertisement in 1818, was the first shipping company to offer regularly scheduled service from the United States to England and to be concerned with the comfort of their passengers.
Without doing any Internet search, I think that it was possible for someone with enough money to travel long distance by ships, but I just can't seem to find anything to support that belief.
I'm in the process of reworking my story. I have omitted the possibility of my character using a carriage to move around and opted for a ship instead. In this new scenario, my wealthy gentleman wants to get out of the town, and he decides to board a ship. However, he also has a secret relationship with a woman, and she wants to run away with him. He tells her to meet him at the sea port and he will take her together with him. So for planning out the scene, I need to answer the following questions:
- What time did a typical 18th century ship operate? Was there any specific time in the day when ships did not accept any passengers?
- How would my character go about boarding a ship? Does he just go around moving into a ship? Or does he have to buy a ticket beforehand before he is allowed to get on the ship?
- Could a woman board a ship to travel around? I believe there is a stigma about women on ships at the time, but early American settlers allowed women to travel with them, so maybe there is something wrong in my assumption.