As I was looking for examples of Copperplate handwriting for my recent post about handwriting, I came across this beautiful, striking image of a ship’s log and this article: Bounty logbook sells for £40,000.
A naval logbook detailing the first glimpse of the Bounty mutineers on a remote Pacific island sold for £40,000 at auction.
The weighty, yellowing tome, painstakingly inscribed by midshipman J.B. Hoodthorp of the HMS Briton, also contains a watercolour sketch of Pitcairn Island.
Painstakingly inscribed. And illustrated too. Now tell me that log book is not a work of art as well as a piece of history. Is there such a thing as ‘painstakingly inscribed’ nowadays?
Hoodthorp, a junior officer, probably aged no more than 18, was responsible for compiling a daily account of the 44-gun ship's course and sailing conditions.
On Saturday September 17 1814, his curling script recorded: "Several canoes came onboard.
"Found the island inhabited by the descendants of Mr F Christian. Mutinous crew of the Bounty settled here AD 1788 (sic)."
Royal Navy warships spent 25 years scouring the ocean for any trace of the mutineers who set captain William Bligh adrift in an open boat after seizing control of HMS Bounty in 1789.
Led by Fletcher Christian they took refuge on Pitcairn Island, 1350 miles off the coast of Tahiti, and established a thriving community in 1790.
This is interesting enough, and then we read:
The HMS Briton, a fifth rate frigate commanded by Sir Thomas Stanley, was in the South Pacific to intercept an American frigate, the USS Essex, which had been attacking the British whaling fleet.
En route to Pitcairn the Briton also stopped in Peru and the Galapagos Islands.
Does that remind you of a Patrick O’Brian book and movie?