Mar 10, 2020 - Sale 2533

Sale 2533 - Lot 263

Price Realized: $ 4,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 3,000 - $ 4,000
(WHALING.) Swift, Daniel L.F. Journal as third mate on a Pacific whaling voyage. 43 whale stamps and an ink drawing of a ship. [64] manuscript whaling log pages plus [10] pages of poetry in a different hand. Folio, 13 1/2 x 8 inches, original 1/4 calf, worn; the first 24 pages later used as a scrapbook in the late 19th century, with all but 2 pages of clippings removed but still partly illegible, a few leaves worn with moderate vermin damage or detached, 22 to 30 September 1848 leaf partly excised, lacking entries from 24 December 1848 through August 1849, several blank leaves excised from end. Professional conservation of paste residue would probably increase legibility. Vp, 27 May 1848 to 17 March 1850

Additional Details

The ship New Bedford left New Bedford, MA on 27 May 1848 and spent two years in Pacific, bringing home a modest 746 barrels of sperm and whale oil. This journal was kept by Daniel L.F. Swift (1826-1889) of Dennis, MA on Cape Cod, whose signature appears on the first page. The New Bedford Whaling Museum crew list database shows him as 3rd mate for the voyage, and as a mate on other voyages through 1864.
This log records daily latitudes and longitudes, weather conditions, and any whaling activities. The ship passed Cape Verde on 26 August 1848, and the Juan Fernandez Islands on 22 December 1848. After some missing leaves, the ship is at anchor in Paita, Peru in September 1849 and passes the Galapagos Islands (Chatham and Charles) in early October. After more than a year of poor whaling, the log explodes with 16 whale stamps on two pages, 13 October to 27 December 1849, with the entries becoming irregular due to the rush of activity. The 26 October entry notes "At sun rise, rase a school of whale. Load all 4 boat and got 2, and stove one boat all to pise." On 13 December he wrote "raise a school of sperm whal and load 3 boats, and 2 boats got fast and save one of them, and the other boat got ful line and cut off. Latter part employ in cutin the whal." Cape Blanco, OR was sighted on 9 March 1850, and the log ends nine days later, months before the ship arrived back in port at New Bedford. The volume also contains 10 pages of manuscript verse in a different hand, some of it maritime, and some possibly original, such as "Sailor Boy" ("I am on the dark blue sea / No friends are near me now").