folio ledger, half-leather with marbled paper boards. Log records 2 days per page, with entries every two hours of speed, wind direction, course, other comments at the beginning of the voyage; location in latitude and longitude measured once per day (most days). By Nov. 13, stopped noting hourly observations, text only, except for a 3-week period in Feb. 1842.
Throughout, the clerk has inserted small sketches of whales or tail flukes in pencil. Toward the end, he also notes how many barrels of oil each produced with a number in ink in the middle of the body. Whale sketches occur: 1841: Nov. 6, 20, 24; 1842: Mar. 4, 5, 10, 12, 16 (2 whales, mother and calf which are described in the text), 21; Apr. 4, 18 (flukes); May 1 (flukes); Sept. 21, 22, 24; Oct. 18, 21, 22, 25, 26; Nov. 29; 1843: Jan 20 (2 flukes); Feb. 19; Mar. 25; Apr. 23, 25; May 25 (1 whale in pencil with "33" in ink, plus flukes in ink). It almost appears to be a tally of the whales taken, but we did not correlate the text with the drawings.
The Tybee, a 299-ton ship out of Stonington, CT, was captained by Swan and owned by John F. Trumbull. On this voyage she left Stonington on July 16, 1841 and headed southeast across the Atlantic. By Nov. she seems to have rounded the horn of Africa and headed into the Indian Ocean (only latitude was recorded) and is in the waters between Australia and New Zealand by the end of Feb. They land at the "Bay of Islands" (New Zealand) and in August at Rarotonga (today in the Cook Islands). By July 1843 she heads home the way she came, back across the Indian Ocean, and is off Fishers Island (New York) by Oct. 23.
Besides the usual weather reports, the journal contains many quotable passages. The phonetic spelling is interesting; for example on Oct. 1 (1842): ...Captn. Swan told Charles Wiliams a man that we shipd at the Bay of Island... [apparently to work off a fine?] and he refused to do it he said he had rather go in irons then Captn Swan told him he wold put him in and trid [tried] of some hand cupples but tha [they] wold not fit he told Captn Swan he was no Gentleman and used much abusive language in my presence after that he said he wold go to his dutey and did so at 3 PM comensed boiling at 10 AM saw some whales the Orders were given by Capten Swan to lore [lower] down the boates and Charles Wiliames(?) told Captin Swan he wold not go in the boat and as he wold not obay orders Capten Swan had hand cufs made and put him in we lored the boats but cold not git fast.
The clerk describes other ships in their vicinity, and sometimes exchange information: (Nov. 21) Spoke the ship Neptune of Sagharbour Captin Ludlow with 2400 barels of oil had taken 14 whales this seson and we but 13 whales... At another point the boats from another ship were chasing a whale that dove under the Tybee.
There are accounts of a number of fights among the men. The description of one incident takes up about two-thirds of each of two pages and one-third of a third page. It is an account of a near-mutiny (Feb. 25, 1843).
When she had been out less than a year, the writer noted: we now have 3 men sick with the scurvey and expecting more daylay [daily] to bee sick with the same disorder. The British had demonstrated the value of citrus juice nearly a century earlier, and Cook avoided scurvy on all three of his voyages between 1768 and 1779 by giving his crew lime juice. Yet, apparently it was still not standard practice on American ships in mid-nineteenth century.
A classic log of a two-year voyage with descriptions of conditions and hazards faced by these crews.
Condition: Water stained; some damage to paper on first dozen or so pages. Boards have seen better days, but the whole is still hanging together after 2 years onboard ship and over 150 years on land. Previous owners' notes on front endpapers.