Sep 28, 2017 - Sale 2455

Sale 2455 - Lot 153

Price Realized: $ 6,760
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 2,000 - $ 3,000
(MARITIME.) Larnerd, John. Logbook of seal-hunting expeditions in the South Seas. [262] manuscript pages using printed forms with the printed title page "The Seaman's Journal." Folio, original 1/4 calf over marbled boards, minor wear; internally clean, two leaves detached. Vp, 11 December 1804 to 21 November 1816

Additional Details

This volume contains a seaman's logs of 3 voyages. The first was aboard the ship Alexander under captain John Brown to the newly discovered seal grounds of the Prince Edward Islands between South Africa and Antarctica. There had been no landing on these desolate islands until 1799, but they were then visited regularly by sealers until about 1810, by which time the seal population was nearly depleted. The log contains only sparse routine entries until the islands are reached, followed by 13 pages of densely written narrative of the crew's efforts to gather seal skins in poorly charted sub-Antarctic conditions. On first arriving Larnerd "got out the whale boat. Myself and four people went on shore. We landed in a small bay on the s east part of the island, a large surf on shore. We damaged the boat in landing. . . . We found a large cave where we made a fire and stoped overnight. . . . We saw four of five hundred seal on shore" (20 March 1805). Bad weather kept them from landing again: "We have ben hear 52 days since we made the land and not on shore yet. The people are getting sick" (24 April 1805).
This journal is followed by Larnerd's log of the ship Belisarius, also captained by John Brown, on a trip to Canton in 1807 and 1808. It includes brief entries on shore in Indonesia circa 29 December 1807, and concludes in Baltimore on 5 May 1808. The final section is another sealing journey aboard the ship Ataba in 1815 and 1816. Revisiting the Prince Edward Islands, "got out the whale boat and went on shore at 6 p.m., returned after looking over land. We found no seals. Got a large number of birds and eggs" (24 December 1815). Another attempt was made at a different island on 13 May: "We landed on the main island and found a gang of Spanyards for to ketch fish. Thay had caught but a small quantity. . . . We landed two hands on a small rock where there was 3 or 4 hundred seal. As soon as they got on the rock, thay took to the water. They did not get one." By 5 September 1816 the ship was off Alaska at Tscherikov's Island. A photostat copy of this log is held by the Peabody Essex Museum.