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On offer is a rare, original and superb ship's journal handwritten by a very young serving as the ship's boy from the mid-1800s. Frederick C. Coulter, the author, is a 'Ship's Boy' on board the sailing vessel Matilda. A ship's boy or a cabin boy is a boy in the sense of low-ranking young male employee. His job generally was to wait on the officers and passengers of a ship, especially running errands for the captain. Ship's boys were usually 12-14 years old sometimes as young as 8 or 9 and also helped the cook in the ship's kitchen or galley and carried buckets of food from the galley to the forecastle where the ordinary seamen ate. They would have to run from one end of the ship to the other carrying messages and become familiar with the sails, lines and ropes and the use of each in all sorts of weather. They would have to scramble up the rigging into the yards whenever the sails had to be trimmed. They would occasionally stand watch like other crewmen or act as helmsman in good weather, holding the wheel to keep the ship steady on her course. Casual research did not turn up any additional information on Coulter. There have been several commercial sailing ships over the years that have borne the name Matilda. Although there are some brief references to this ship (such as Recollections of a Sea Wanderers Life; George Davis; 1887) casual research has not turned up any additional information. Theodore Lewis was her Master (Captain). Coulter keeps a superb record of their journey. Leaving New York, Matilda sailed south around Cape Horn to Valparaiso, Chile and Callao, Peru, then north to Monterey CA before turning east to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Hong Kong, Macao, Singapore and Bombay. She sailed back to Singapore and Hong Kong then returned to New York through the China Sea, Indian Ocean, Cape of Good Hope and the Atlantic Ocean. The voyage was expected to take 2 years. In fact, the journal covers the period October 1847 to December 1849. Matilda carried a mixed cargo of "Naval Stores and Merchandise". His log records weather, ship-board living conditions, tragedies, floggings & discipline, watch-keeping and duties and the many ships they encounter on their voyage. Signed the Ship Matilda's articles at 10 O'Clock A.M. and was towed to Quarantine Ground by the steamer United States at 4 O'Clock in the afternoon where we lay til the Monday following. .....[Oct 22, 1847] Hard rain all day; about dusk we lost a man overboard named Johnson; the last that was seen of him he was going over the Forecastle deck into the head. He was the oldest sailor on board, was of New York and had no family [Oct 27, 1847] ... would have given anything to see Sarah Cook, Mother and Elizabeth and all the rest of the folks; think of them and home very often.' [Nov 8, 1847] Mid-November sees them battling around Cape Horn 'It commenced blowing pretty fresh at 8 O'Clock last night. At 10 O'Clock we took in the mizzen topgallant sail, squall rose at 11 O'Clock, we called the watch. Double reefed the fore and main topsail, stowed the topgallant sails and close reefed the mizzen topsail. We split the jib in pieces early this morning. Stowed the mainsail. Cold but fine morning. Head winds and ruff seas. [Nov 16, 1847] They stopped at a number of ports on their voyage and these were always well described. Coulter has a good eye for detail and a succinct manner of describing what he sees: In November, 1848, Matilda arrived at Bombay. From pages 44 through 50, he describes the discharging of cargo and the taking on of new cargo. In addition to a large load of cotton, her cargo included 50 chests of opium. He note the presence in harbour of the clipper ship Frolic of Baltimore. Frolic was constructed almost exclusively for the opium trade. She was lost in 1850 off the coast of California [pp 44-50] His last entry is: Arrived at New York City after a passage of 149 days from Manilla and after a 24 month voyage. [Dec 20, 1849] A separate page details his wages as a sailor ($4.00 per month) less his detailed expenses leaving him with a profit of about 4 1/2 months pay. This is a superb record of a 2 year, round the world cruise by a trading ship. For naval historians, it paints a graphic picture of life on a working sailing ship in the heyday of the tall ships. A historian would appreciate the details about sail changes, sailing directions, seamanship and cargo. A geographer would appreciate the daily weather record kept and it can be an interesting comparison to weather changes occurring today. This journal would provide a rich harvest of information for a writer who wanted the ring of authenticity in their writing about the sea. The journal measures 8" x 12 1/2" in size, it is leather bound with marbleized board covers, it contains 119 numbered pages of daily hand written entries along with many pages of other hand written info including the ship's cargo, ports of call and much more. It is approximately 75% complete. The journal is in fair condition. All pages are present but the spine has broken and both the covers and several pages are unattached. The handwriting is a very neat copperplate.
Title: 1849 SUPER, ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT DIARY AND SHIP'S LOG OF A YOUNG MAN AND 'SHIP'S BOY' CIRCUMNAVIGATING THE WORLD AND DESCRIBING IN DETAIL ALL HE SEES AND EXPERIENCES RIGHT OUT OF A PATRICK O'BRIAN NOVEL
Book Condition: Good+
Size: 4to - over 9¾" - 12" tall
Item: 1.00 Item
Seller ID: 0007023
Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF, FREDERICK C. COULTER, SAIL SHIP MATILDA; RECOLLECTIONS OF A SEA WANDERERS LIFE; CAPE HORN; VALPARAISO; CALLAO; SANDWICH ISLANDS; OPIUM TRADE; FROLIC OF BALTIMORE, NAVAL, NAUTICAL, CIRCUMNAVIGATION, OCEAN GOING COMMERCE, FORESTER, O'BRIAN, JACK LONDON, JOSEPH CONRAD, AGE OF SAIL, MARITIME, AMERICANA, HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNALS, PERSONAL HISTORY, SOCIAL HISTORY, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL