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1 Tovey, John THE 1859 AND 1866 HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT STEAMSHIP TRAVEL DIARY OF JOHN TOVEY FROM ENGLAND TO SOUTH AFRICA AND BACK 7 YEARS LATER
1859 Hard Cover Very Good Manuscript 
On offer is a fascinating handwritten diary kept by a Mr. John Tovey. The diary consists of actually two different voyages, with the first trip having been written while on board the steamer the "Golden Fleece". The second recorded trip was while on board the screw steamship the "Hydaspes". It's not often you find diaries that have such detailed ship board entries as this one does. Mr. Tovey was a superb diarist. The first trip takes place in 1859 of which he and his wife, Ellen, leave for Algoa Bay in South Africa from their home in Gravesend England. There are 82 handwritten long pages, about each specific trip. They leave Gravesend on January 31st, 1859 and are on the sea for almost 3 months. The second trip, 7 years later, starts off on May 26, 1866 and it's a two month voyage that our same man takes only this time with his young son. It seems to be the trip home from South Africa to England. It appears she has died because at one point he alludes to wanting to be with her in heaven. He does seem to be a bit depressed on the trip home. These particular entries go on for about 95 pages. The entries are not just one lined entries, they are entire pages. Some of the pages are perhaps only ½ full but most of them are entire pages. He not only writes down his deep feelings, but talks about the ship itself, the food, the other passengers, the soldiers on board, the whales sited, the other ships sited, the weather, hurricanes, his very sick wife, deaths on board, his "naughty" little boy, his feelings of inadequacy (because of his social status) and so much more. Here are just a very few snippets; 1859 Voyage to South Africa "About 10 O'clock there was a sail in sight. As soon as we got near enough to her the Captain ordered our signal, that is the British Flag. He soon discovered it and he run up his, which was the Norwegian Flag. Our Captain asked him what his name was, it was The Solade from Cardiff bound to Havana and had been out 11 days. He had not been able to see the sun so was anxious to know his position. It appears as if that is a common thing to state one another's position….My wife has been very sick indeed. I wished some times it had been me instead of her. While dressing I heard a tremendous crash and opening the cabin door I beheld the saloon strode with the tea things or rather the fragments of them. They was carried away by the steward and some more brought out on the table…Having a steady breeze and all in good spirits because of the shift in the wind one of the passengers got out his gun and amused himself by shooting some of the sea gulls. In the afternoon we spoke with a requisition baroque. Some of the other passengers wished to have a shot at something so the Captain got a bottle and tied a piece of string to it and threw it over board so that it was a very good mark but none of us could hit it on account of it's drifting about. After that we saw a Portuguese Man of War or Naturalist. It was a beautiful creature to look at but not to handle. The Captain caught it but it stung him very bad indeed…..We went to the other end of the vessel to see the porpoise, it being the first time that we had been that end of the vessel where the sailors sleep called the forecastle. One of the sailors came and chalked our shoes. At first we wondered what the meaning of it was and I was given to understand that we had been trespassing and must pay our farthing and those that would not had to be strapped down to the Bon Split until they did…..After tea we all went on deck to see the supposed Neptune. As we crossed the line that night he was to board us. When all at once a voice was heard to say, "Sail Ahead". When then was a clamor about that the said Neptune was under our bows. Then there was a few more questions asked when he made his appearance in his costume dressed in sheep skin with a blue cap, and a spear in his hand. The question was asked him, what he wanted? He said that he wanted to see the Captain for to see if he had any of his children on board (and much more on that)…..We had another sheep die, thrown overboard. A very good bait for the sharks. One of the passengers was measuring the deck. I made enquire about what it was for and he informed me that he wished to know how many miles he walked during the day…..Today we saw some Cape hens and some birds called the Tropic birds. The sailors say that they are the souls of the drowned sailors. The superstitions still prevails in England this day…..Have not felt well for sometime, no more has my wife. I do not like to see her so poorly for I think that it must be braking up her system and I fear if we do not get to our destination very soon, I shall have her laid up all together if it was not for the sun she would look like a corpse…..This has been a very ruff night. Squally, rain and blowing all the night which caused us to roll about most dreadfully enough to roll us out of bed if we did not hold tight. Quite a hurricane, it appeared to travel in puffs in a circular fashion like a whirl wind….." and much, much more. 1866 Voyage to England "Sailed from Cape Town South Africa by the screw steamship Hydaspes, registered tonnage 2600. Having on board 350 souls and about 2600 tons cargo, most valuable goods from India, silks, indigo, sugar and other produce. Both from India and the Cape. (On this same page he lists some of the passenger's names)….I dress my little boy to be ready when the breakfast bell rang. There being so many children on board they go to breakfast at eight and the adults at nine. Soon Sunday Service was announced to commence, the troops have mustered on deck with the passengers…..I proceed to dress my son taking caution to clean him thoroughly as a few remarks I heard which greatly annoyed me for he was as clean as any on board but his clothes being not of the very best articles as the others, he was I thought slighted……Towards night a wealth of melancholiness set over me that I was so low in spirits that the flood gates of my heart gave way for really I do feel so lost on board this ship, all being above my rank in life and I being so low spirited that life and energy seem to be entirely gone. That really the wicked thoughts comes over me that I wish that the Lord would have memory upon my soul and take me to join Her that has gone before me….All at once I heard a person call to Jonny to get down and looking see he was leaning over the rail. I am sorry he is such as naughty boy. I am surprised to see some of the married women with children frolicking about with the officers after dinner…..We have an old gentleman on board lying dangerously ill, a Mr. Auckland Esq. returning to England to spend the remainder of his days, but I fear according to accounts that his constitution is broke up and he's fast leaving this world….After dressing Jonny and cautioning him not to go and play with the water I let him go. Had not been long on deck when he was like a drowned rat and I was obliged to bring him down and then I tied his hands and took him in the cabin and made him stop. He made me so cross. After dinner I went up on deck and was informed that one of the passengers was dead. So many souls being on board the Doctor ordered the body to be ready and by half past nine it was committed to the deep. Thus was the end of that poor man, he sunk down…..We are making our way down to the Western Isles as the Captain intends sending a boat off to see if he can get any provisions for the troops as the meat is nearly all bad. The Islands are said to contain thirty thousand inhabitants. Portuguese settlements…. (He goes on with much more about these Islands, the people, etc.)….." and much, much more. 4 ¾" x 7 ¾". The cover is a beautiful tan cover that looks almost stitched together. VG. 
Price: 3295.99 USD
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