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A superb log documenting the final voyage of the ship Washington, bound from Calcutta to Hamburg with very interesting content, including multiple mentions of "Capt. Cook." There is an incredible set of illustrations of naval signal flags, gleaned from the captain's journal from the same vessel during a previous voyage " in Company with the China Fleet... " in 1794, the same fleet that accompanied the first British diplomatic mission to China!
various, February 2 to June 18, 1796. 9" x 14.5". "Manuscript journal, entitled ""Journal of A Voyage in The Ship Washington by Saml McCulloh 1796,"" 9"" x 14.5"", 84 leaves, February 2 to June 18, 1796, bound in soft leather boards. The journal, kept by Samuel McCulloh, the supercargo of the ship Washington, commanded by Samuel Hubbart, chronicles the voyage of the Ship Washington on its voyage from Calcutta bound for Hamburg before its loss on the rocks near Lands End in Cornwall and features a terrific set of illustrations demonstrating the use of naval signal flags. Typical wear to boards including rubbing at corners and spine, pages overall quite clean, else very good.The journal was kept in two parts, each of which begins on opposite ends. The first, and most important portion is entitled ""Journal of a Voyage in the Ship Washington by Sam'l. McCulloch 1796"". The first two pages contain a list of the crew for the journey to Calcutta and back to New York. There are 46 men listed. Among these are 16 specialists - commander, surgeon, cooper, carpenter, sailmaker, supercargo, ship's steward, cabin steward, cabin cook, ship's cook, first, second and third mates, etc. There are 17 seamen, 5 ""ordinary seamen,"" seven ""boys,"" and one ""cabbin [sic] boy."" The journal subsequently describes the ""Measurements of ship - Hull, masts & yards"". One note indicates that she is 540 1/2 tons, followed by comments on the ""Lengths & Sizes of the Running Rigging."" The next section is of particular interest. Headed ""Code of Signals taken from Capt. Samuel Hubbart's Company with the China Fleet / Received from Sir Erasmus Gower, Knt. [Knight], Commander of the Lion, Man of War, 1794."" our journalist illustrates, in vivid color and tremendous detail, the signal flags used by naval vessels, filling eight pages. The illustrations cover almost every situation and illustrate the ""Numerary Signals,"" the ""Significance & Manner of displaying the Signals,"" as well as what appears to be all the possible combinations allowing ships to communicative during battle. Sir Erasmus Gower (1742-1814) commanded the H.M.S. Lion, which from 1792 to 1793 led the first British diplomatic mission to China headed by Lord George Macartney (1737-1806). It appears that the ship Washington, commanded by Samuel Hubbart, sailed in company with the Lion and the ""China Fleet.""Following these illustrations is the actual log of the journey which opens on February 2, 1796 in the Bay of Bengal, soon after its departure from Calcutta. Most of the journal is fairly routine, offering observations of the weather, setting or reefing (shortening) of sails, repairs made, latitude and longitude, etc. One day they found two barrels of beef spoiled and had to throw them overboard. Occasionally, there is an inventory of water (at one point enough for 110 days). Nevertheless, the voyage did not proceed without incident. On March 29: ""Joseph Gonsalvus received one dozen & a half lashes from the Boatswain, agreeable to the order of the Captain. All hands were mustered on the Quarter deck to witness the Punishment. The culprit has for some time past been discovered to be frequently intoxicated, having no other means of acquiring liquor, but by embezzlement. He was this day caught with half a Gallon of Rum, which he stole in the night."" On April 17 ?Lying at St. Helena. ...At 4 PM Capt. Hubbart, Mr. D?Arcy, Mr. Farmer & myself went on shore. We found lying here the London Capt. Grant, the Princess Emelia Capt. Millett & the Barwell Cpt. Welladvice[?], British Indiamen from Bombay, and the Eliza Ann Capt Loyd [Lloyd?] from Calcutta. We are informed that the Cleopatra Capt. Dikey sailed from this on the 8th Inst. & the Major Pinkney on the 13th Inst..."" At St. Helena, the crew brought more water on board and made a few repairs. They unmoored on April 20 and got ready to sail: ""Brought on more food, including a bullock, potatoes and fruit. Mr. Farmer procured a new servant maid from the islands and left his other behind, since she had been confined for three weeks with Typhus""On the 25th of April, they reached Ascension Island, and Hubbart, D?Arcy, Grant and he went on shore. Next night, they and 20 men, in groups of 5, went on shore to spend the night catching turtles. About the 3rd of May a number of the officers became very ill. He describes the symptoms in clinical detail. ""I impute it all to the Turtle diet."" Two days later, ""Two of our Turtles died last night.""A number of times he refers to the luminosity of the seas at night. On May 7, he observed ""...At 1/2 past 9 Am the Sea appeared uncommonly luminous which continued until day light... This Phenomenon I believe has never been satisfactorily accounted for. Capt Cook I recollect right supposes it owing to animalia in the water, possessing the same power of shewing [sic] light that the Light bug does. If this was the case ought we not to see it more frequently? I am rather of an opinion however, that it is owing to the commintiere[?] of the Rain water with the Salt. Having had a great deal of rain some days past, under this conjecture somewhat probable...""On May 17 , they encountered a fleet of 21 ships. One stood toward them in the early afternoon (i.e., aimed the guns on that side in their direction). A boat was sent out. ""She proved to be the Quebec, British Frigate, Capt. Cook ...Rear Admiral Pool with a Convoy of 21 Sail of Transports & Gun boats with 10,000 soldiers on board bound to Barbadoes & out 5 weeks"" About three weeks later they encountered another ship who appeared to be chasing them, ""[B]ut it blowing fresh with a rough Seas & he having shown no colors, the Captain did not think it proper to shorten sail for her. At noon she was nearly out of sight astern.""On June 18, within sight of Land's End, all of a sudden ""found ourselves completely surround'd with Rocks. Hove also aback & endavoured to get the Ship out form among them, but our efforts were effectual, for the tide having so much command of her that she was in a few minutes driven on the Rocks, without a possibility of getting her off again..."" Started the pumps and fired a distress signal. According to McCulloh, ""The ship was totally lost but the Cargo principally saved thro' the exertion of the Crew and the assistance procured by Messrs G. C. Fox & Sons."" He goes on to describe the efforts to save her ?" firing a distress signal with the guns, cutting away the long boats, manning the pumps, etc. Meanwhile, ""Upon the first observing the Rocks the Pilot appeared in the greatest confusion & acted with much inconsistency. He made his escape in one of the country boats, in the morning, unobserved by any of our Crew."" They began shuttling off the cargo, and anything else useful (even sails) to shore and leaving men to guard it.The second part, which starts on the opposite end of the journal begins with an identification of the original owner and his father: ""Major John McCulloch of the Pensylvania [sic] Artillery at the time of the Revolution & who was killed by 11 stubborn fools of a jury who would not give a just verdict & kept the Major shut up 48 hours in a jury room, which brought on Apoplexy of which he died in 1800. ---- The eldest son of Major John McCulloch was Doctor Saml. McCulloch, who acted as ships steward, supercargo & sailing master on his father?s ship and this journal of a Voyage & Wreck was kept by him --- and it will be of interest to you & the boys ?" so I send it to find a place in your Family Archives --- Aug 19th 1892.""Following the section titled ""Rules for finding the longitude / Methods"" on the first two pages are 45 observations for the ship Washington between 10 July 1795 and 15 June 1796. The next section bears the title ""Method of solving a Lunar Observation by a New and simple Projection,"" and five pages with 4 examples, each with a diagram of the geometry behind the method.This is one of the earliest ship's logs we have encountered relating to a merchant vessel, dating from the earliest days of the United States as an independent commercial power. The journal also stands as a comprehensive primer for early modern methods of navigation and reckoning as well as naval communications. "
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Last Found On: 2015-10-11           Check availability:      Biblio    


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