Thursday, June 20, 2019

Captain Cannon: Transcription of the Iris Logbook - Part 2

Saturday July 7th. 1798:          [same different handwriting]

First part of this Day fresh Breezes and Cloudy weather. Middle and latter part of this day Gentle breezes and Cloudy weather. People Employed doing sundry Necessary jobs Carpinter Making a Crew House, Cooper making Crews[1]   Lattd. Obserd. 4.50 North     120 Miles Distance

Dist. 120         Course   S.83E            Diff. Lat. 15..              Dep. 119
Lat. in 4..50     Long. in 12..15            Diff Long. 119

Sunday July 8th. 1798: [same different handwriting]

First part of this day steady Breezes and Clear Weather… At Midnight hove a Cast of the Lead 80 fath[oms] out no bottom  At 9 A.M. took in top Gallant sails, strong Breezes and Cloudy Weat[her]   Lattid. Obserd. 4.50 North     131 Miles Dist.

Dist. 131         Course   S.84.E.          Diff Lat. 13                 Dep. 130
Lat. in. 4..37    Long. in. 10..5             Diff. Long. 130

Monday July 9th. 1798:           [same different handwriting]

First part of this 24 Hours fresh Breezes & Cloudy… At 1 P.M. sett Fore and main Top Gallant sails,..At 8 P.M. In Top Galt. sails,…At 10. ditto. Hove a Cast of the Lead 90 Faths. out no bottam, Sounded every two Hours at 5 A.M. made sail. Latter part of this day steady Breezes and Clear Weather, all Necessary sails set… At ½ Past 11 A.M. saw the Land Bearing E.N.E. Distance about 6 Leagues    Lattd. Obserd. 4.26 North     135 Miles Dist.

Tuesday July 10th. 1798:         [same different handwriting]

Steady Breezes and Clear Weather under T. G. Sails &c. At half past 4. P.M. South Cape Palmas[2] bore NNE Distance about 4 Leagues At 6. P.M. the Cape bore NNW Distd. 3 Leagues At  5 p.m. a Cana[…] came along side…At 6 A.M. set Fore Top mast and Top Galt. stearing sails…At 9 A.M. took in Ditto…   Lattitude observed 4.34 North

Wednesday July 11th. 1798:    [same different handwriting]

Gentle Breezes and Clear Weather   Middle and latter part of this day Ditto. Weather. People employed doing sundry Necessaries   Lattitude Observed 4.28 North     108 Ml. Dist.

Dist. 108

Thursday July 12th. 1798:       [same different handwriting]

Gentle Breezes and Clear Weather   Middle and latter part of this day Ditto Weather   Lattitude observed 3.33 North

Dist. 140

Friday July 13th. 1798:            [same different handwriting]

Pleasant Breezes and Clear Weather  Middle part Gentle breezes and Heavey Weather under Top Gallant stear sails & royals  People Employed Bindg. Cables, scraping and scrubbing the Main Dk Making a Main Deck Awning &c:   Lattd. Obsd. 3.36 North

Dist. 141

Saturday July 14th. 1798:        [same different handwriting]

First part of this day steady Breezes and Heavy Weather. At ½ past Meridian cam[e] on a Heavy squall with rain, same time double rig the main and fore top…single ruved the Mizen… Latter part of this Day strong Breezes and Cloudy. Employed making Sinde[?] for the Boates & Fitting the Boat sails w/ sundry other Necessary Jobs     Lattitude observed 4,10 North

Dist. 182

Sunday July 15th. 1798:          [same different handwriting]

Fresh Breezes and Cloudy Weather…At 7 A.M. shortened sail, Hove a cast of the lead sounded in 14 fathoms water Blue mudd, stood to the SE as the log sounded every 10 Minutes  At 2 A.M. were ship to the NW. At 6 A.M. bore away, as the Log same time saw the land Bearing NE Distance 4 or 5 leagues. Supposed to be the first River from Cape Formosa[3] to the ErdAt Mirin. the 5th River[4] Bore NE Distance about 4 Leagues.

[There is a gap in the journal from July 15th to September 2nd]

John Spencer died on August 30, 1798 and George Cannon, as first mate, replaced him as captain of the Iris.[5] There were nine crew member deaths on the voyage and nine crew members deserted, none of which are mentioned in the log.  In the entry of September 2, 1798, a Captain Carshore on the ship Britannia is mentioned. The Britannia had four crew deaths and eight crew desertions, and like the Iris, obtained its slaves in Bonny. It seems reasonable to assume that the deaths and desertions resulted from similar causes, perhaps disease or a conflict with African natives or a ship from another country.

Sunday Septr 2d. [17]98:

First Part Steaddy Breezis and Clear Weather:-- undor T. Gallansails &c:--  Middle Part Ditto. weather:  The Ship Britanna – Captn. Cashaw[6] out of Sigh[t] a Starem [astern] Seemed to Sail verry heavey:-- Latter Part Steaddy and Showery      Slight Observation in 3..6 No.

Dist. 74           Course   S.22W.          Diff. Lat. 67                Dep. 30
Lat. in 3..6 No.   Long. in 6..24E        Diff. Long. 30             Mer. Dist. 34

Monday September 3d. [1798]:

Steaddy Breezes and Clear weather all this 24 Hours. People Employed Setting up the Bowsprit Shrouds and Stowing the Anchor Getting the Matts on the riggon &c:--  Messed 420 Slaves 6 Con… Expended 200 yams and 13495 remains:-- Expended 8 Crues[7] Bains & Ditto. rice:-- Lattd. Obsd. 2..5 North

Dist. 75           Course   S35W.           Diff. Lat. 61                Dep. 43
Lat. in 2..5 No.   Long. in. 43             Diff. Long. 5..41E.     Mer. Dist. 77

Tuesday Sept 4th. [1798]:

Moderate Breezes with Showers of rain undor T.G. Sails &c:-- At 8 P.M. in Top G. Sails and Single reeft [reefed] the topsails  At 10 P.M. Hd. [hoved] Ship to the Wward:--   At 6 Hd. to the SErd.:----     At 10 P.M. Lost Sight of the Ship in Company and at 4 A.M. Saw one Ship to the S.W. Standing to the Wd. Expended 180 yams and 13315 remains  Lattd. Obsd. 1..56 North

Dist. 34           Course   S.34E.           Diff. Lat. 18                Dep. 28
Lat. in 1..56     Long. in 6..9                Diff. Long 28              Mer. Dist. 105

Wedinsday Sept. [5th 1798]:

Pleasent Breezeis and Clear   All Sail Sett to the Best advantage:--- At 2 P.M. Joined Comp[any] with the Martha and fring…Ceaser [Ceasar?]:--  At 6 A M. Saw the Ma[in] Land Soposed to Bee about Cape St. Johns[8]:-- The Cape Bore At ½ Pa[st] 7 S.B.E. ½ S. Distd. 3 Legues      Expended 8 Crues of Bains and 3 Crues of rice 196 yams and 13119 remains:-- Lattd. Cape – 1..15 Longt 9..25  This Day – 1..30  This Lg 9..06.     This Day No Obsd.

Dist. 23           Course   N49W.          Diff. Lat. 15                Dep. 17
Lat. in 1..30     Long. in. 9.-06            Diff. Long. 17.W.       Mer. Dist. 17W.

Thurdsday Sept 6th. [1798]:

Light Breezes and Cloudy undor T. gallansails:-- At 3 P.M. Hd. [hoved] Ship to the South Eastard  At 6 P.M. in Fore and Mizzen top Gallan Sails:-- At Midnight Hd. Ship to the Northward and Westard:-- Expended 378 yams & 12741 remains:…At Meridian Hd. Ship to the S.Ed      Lattd. Obsd. 1..42 No.--

Dist. 29           Course   N.65W.         Diff. Lat. 12                Dep. 26
Lat. in 1..42     Long. in 8..42              Diff. Long. 24             Mer. Dist. 43

[There is a gap in the journal from September 6th to September 23rd]

Sunday Septr 23d [1798]:

First Part Pleasent Breezes and Clear all Necessary Sails Sett to the Best advantage:--Middle and Latter part fresh Bree and Heavey W. Slaves in Good Spirrits and verry Agreeable:--Expended 21 Crues Bred and 8 of Bains 449 remains. the two Before Menchuned [mentioned]…put in boxes …recovery     N. Slight Observation 3..3…

Dist. S84W.    Course   20                  Diff Lat. 186
Lat. in.             Long. in. 10..16           Diff. Long. 186           Mer. Dist. 1241

Monday Sept 24th. [17]98:

Fresh Breezes and Clear Weather: undor Stearing sails fore and aft. Bent a Spritsail topsail:-- People Employed Getting the Cables up to Eair &c:-- Needful:-- At 8 P.M. in top Gallan Stearingsails Blowing fresh Breeze:-- Expended 260 yams & 9173 remains 8 Crues Bains & 441 remains:--2 < & rice: Broatched one No. and ins ren   Lattd. Per. Objd.  3..48 So.

Dist. 183         Course   S.87W.          Diff. Lat. 11                Dep. 183
Lat. in              Long. in 13..19W.       Diff Long. 183            Mer. Dist. 1424

Tuesday [September 25th 1798]:

First Part of this 24 Hours Strong Breezes and Cloudy  All Sail Sett to the Best advantage:-- Middle and Latter Ditto. People Employed Making Sinnet[9] Drawing yarns & Carpindor Calking the M[ain] Deck:-- Expended 160 yams and 9013 remains 8 Crues Bains 2 ½ rice Gave the Slaves a Middle Mess of Bread and a Dram Brandy Every Cop Day       Distd. Per Loog 189      Lattd. Obsd. 3..39 So.

Dist. 189         Course   N.87W.         Diff. Lat. 9                  Dep. 189
Lat. in              Long. in. 16..28W.      Diff. Long. 189           Mer. Dist. 1613

Wedinsday [September] 26th 1798:

Fresh Breezes and Cloudy weather: At 1 P.M. Sett top Gallan stearingsails:-- Middle and Latter Part Ditto. weather all Small Sails Sett to the Best Advantage:-- Expended 165 yams & 8848 remains 8 Crues Bains and 425 remains 2 ½ rice Broatched one Tiree Beef No. 10 and 15 remains: on 4 Bain Pork end remains:--  Lattd. Obsd. 3..51 So.

Dist. 189         Course   S.86W.          Diff. Lat. 12                Dep. 188
Lat. in              Long. in 19..36            Diff. Long. 188           Merc. Dist.

Thurdsday Septr. 27th. [1798]:

Fresh Breezes and Cloudy W. At 1 P.M. Sett Spritsail topsail and Small Sails that would Draw:-- Middle and Latter Part Ditto. People Employed variously Doing Sundry Necessarys at the riggon Spinning Spunyarn. Expended 180 yams and 8668 remains 8 Crues Bains & 417 remains 2 ½ rice: Broatched one PW or No. 15 and 26 remains:--  Lattd. Obsd. 3..22 South

Dist. 196         Course N81W.                        Diff. Lat. 29                Dep. 196
Lat. in 3..22     Long. in. 22..50           Diff. Long. 194           Mer. Dist. 1995

[1] This might be another spelling for “crues”. See entry for September 3, 1798.
[2] Cape Palmas, separating the Pepper or Grain Coast and Ivory Coast of Africa, is located at the southern end of Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, near the border with Cote D’ivorie. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia: Harper, Liberia and Liberia)
[3] Cape Formosa is the dividing point between the Bight of Benin and the Bight of Biafra, also known as the Bight of Bonny, and is located in modern day Nigeria. In 1791, a Captain Landolphe described a journey with descriptions very similar to Captain Cannon’s. He stated: “I took the wind direction to get out of the gulf of Benin and cross Cape Formosa. I wanted to explore the rivers of Calabar, where many English trade, especially in the Bani river. I note here that, when one has Cape Formosa in sight, one must count six rivers on this point, and that the seventh is that which leades to Calabar…”  ( kenny/DH08E.htm)
[4] The 5th River appears to be Bonny, based on the description given by Captain Landolphe in the prior footnote. Bonny is located before Calabar, which was the seventh river from Cape Formosa.
[5] First Iris Voyage.
[6] The ship Britannia, captained by Joseph Carshore, left Liverpool on May 31, 1798, eight days before the Iris. It also obtained all or the majority of its slaves in Bonny. It was a smaller ship, 209 tons, with a crew of 35 and 337 slaves that were delivered to Antigua. The Britannia had four crew members die and eight desert on its voyage, compared to nine deaths and nine desertions on the Iris. Given Captain Spencer’s death in Africa, and a similar desertion pattern, it can be presumed that most of both crews deaths and desertions happened in Bonny. Captain George likely met Captain Carshore while bargaining for slaves in Bonny, or dealing with deaths and desertions among their crews. The Britannia arrived back in Liverpool on March 28, 1799, 15 days before the Iris. (Cambridge Slave CD)
[7] The dictionary defines a “cruse” as a small earthenware container, such as a pot or jar, for holding liquids. A “crue” is defined in Admiral W. H. Smith Sailor’s Word-book A Dictionary of Nautical Terms 1867 as another word for kreel, a framework of timber for the catching of fish. In the context of another slave voyage just a few years before Captain Cannon’s, the ship Ranger leaving the coast of Africa indicated it had “600 crues of beans, 90 crues of rice, 357 crues of corn”. Entries in the Ranger’s logbook for December 17, 1789 and December 21, 1789 both record, “Cooper making crues.” Wilkins, Frances, Manx Slave Traders: A Social History of the Isle of Man’s involvement in the Atlantic Slave Trade, (Wyre Forest Press, Worcestershire: 1999), pp. 91, 94-95. Captain Cannon’s journal records “crues” of beans [“bains”], rice and bread [“bred”]. See also the entry for July 7, 1798, “Cooper making Crews”. Based on the above, it appears “crues” were small wooden storage containers. 
[8] Cape St. John is a promontory off of what is now Equatorial Guinea, north of Corisco Bay. See Stories of the Gorilla Country by Paul du Chaillu (chapter on Hunting for a Leopard) and  Richard F. Burton, Two Trips to Gorilla Land and the Cataracts of the Congo, Chapter III on Geography of the Gaboon.
[9] “Sinet” [sinnet/sennit] is “a flat cordage formed by plaiting five or even rope yarns together. Manx Slave Traders, p. 95.

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