Item #4958 Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London. AFRICA. INDIA. NAVIGATION. TRADE.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.
Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.

Log Book of the East India Ship the Montfort, captained by Robert Hanslapp. Manuscript, ink on paper, written during the voyage from London to India, Africa, the island of St. Helena, and back to London.

Written on board the Montfort: 1742-, 1744.

Price: $8,000.00

Folio: 26 x 17.5 cm. ca. [224] pp.

Bound in contemporary vellum, soiled and worn with small losses at corners, lower edge of upper board, and head of spine. Text in very fine condition aside from the final leaf, which has tears and small losses along the fore-edge. Written largely in a neat, legible hand. The last 8 lvs. are written in a heavier ink, with resultant shine-though. An illustration in sepia pen and wash of a ship in a gale has been tipped-in. Provenance: Sotheby's, Thursday, June 2nd, 1932.

An extraordinarily thorough mid-18th c. ship’s log recording the details of the voyage of the East Indiaman Montfort from England to India, Africa, and St. Helena in service to the British East India Company. The log records trading at three ports on the eastern coast of India: Visegapatam (present-day Visakhapatnam, on the central coast), Rogues River (Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, on the northern coast), and Madras Road (Chennai, on the southern coast); stops at two ports in Africa: Cape Bona Esperance (Cape of Good Hope) and Table Bay (Cape Town); and the island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic.

The log provides a first-hand view of global trade in the 18th c. in the relatively peaceful years before the Seven Years’ War. It opens with a list of officers and crew (many of whom died and were buried at sea) and includes observations on international trade, meteorology, the ship’s course and position, currents, soundings, wildlife, the health of the crew, geography and architecture (including mosques and pagodas.) There are substantial notes on interactions with local officials, workers, other vessels in both India and Africa, with descriptions of port welcome ceremonies, port locations, seamanship, maintenance tasks for the crew, ships sighted or encountered by the Montfort, and cargo.

While in India, at Visegapatam, the Montfort hosted local residents: “At 8am came on board the Chief of Bimlepatam (present-day Bheemunipatnam) and another gentleman from the same place, together with the Governor and two more gentlemen of Visegapatam, whom we saluted with guns.” (7/5/43)

The log frequently records ships from around the world, including Moorish, Moorman, French, and Dutch (including Dutch Doggers), as well as “country ships” from Visegapatam and Madras. The crews from different vessels would meet and cooperate: on 7/9/43 “a Mour Captain came on board” and on the 23rd “a mour long boat returned from town with some wood &c for the Captains use in the night”.

While in India the Montfort employed “black caulkers” (9/23/43) and a number of “Lascars” - indigenous people employed by the British East India Company to serve on its ships. The use of Lascars would become controversial in England because of the treatment they received from the Company, and the log notes that “Lascars run cockeye”. (11/20/43)

The log notes local geographical and architectural landmarks while in port in India and Africa. At Visegapatam there is “a Mosk belonging to the Moors”, the Lyons Rump, and Dolphins Nose, Sugar Loaf, and Golden Hill. (7/9/43) On the way to Rogues River the log records “Large Pagoda” and “Jimbo Pagoda”. (7/14/43) While anchored at Cape Bona Esperance in Africa, the log records sightings of Pinguin Island, Cunney Island, and Table Land. (2/28/44). There are also references to colonial settlements and fortifications.

A departure ceremony is described when the Montfort leaves Madras on 1/17/44: “At 7pm the Captain came on board which the Fort saluted with 9 guns, and we returned the same number. And at 7am the governor came off and we saluted him, and we saluted him with 21 guns as he past by us, and sometime after we saluted Mr. Most with 21 guns. Also saluted the gentlemen that came off with the Governor when they past us as they were going ashore with 9 guns. At 10am weigh’d with the wind at SW in company with the Duke, Captain Hindman. And we saluted the fort with 9 guns which they returned the compliment with the same number”. (1/17/44)

The Montfort’s cargo included 38 chests of "treasure", lead, copper, wood, coal, white lead, articles for private trade, bales of cloth, saltpeter, and redwood. Supplies include Harbour beer, cheese and butter, brandy, vinegar, bread, rice, greens, hogsheads and butts of water, sheep, cattle, and guns.

Some of the treasure was unloaded while anchored at Rogues River in India: “came on board James Haston, an English Pilot and at 5pm discharged the Dutch pilot. As soon as the English pilot came on board and took charge of the ship we immediately got 38 chests of treasure out of the fore hold and slung them and sent the longboat on board the sloop with the chests of treasure.” (8/17/43)

Two days later at Rangafuller Creek “The pilot sloop came alongside and took the remainder of the treasure, which was 15 chests and the Captain went up in the sloop to town with the pilot”.

The log notes a number of English ships (with the names of some captains) that the Montfort sailed in company with, or met in port, including “Amelia”, “Duke”, “Preston”, “Warwick”, “Salisbury”, and “Exeter”, and various types of vessels from Europe and India: catamaran, sloop, and longboat.

The log identifies numerous species of birds, fish, and other marine life, including
Pontado birds (Cape Petrel), Gannets, Cape Hen, Albacores, Bonnetas, Grampus, and turtles. On May 3 the Montfort struck a grampus, but “the ship received no Damage”.

There is a daily almanac while the ship was at sea, recording by the hour the course, wind, and weather. Each day has summary: “These 24 hours hard gales with frequent squalls and hard rain and some lightning in the night with a large following sea, which made the ship labour very much.” (5/9/43) On 4/6/42 The Montfort “Crosse the Tropick of Caprichon”.

There are extensive notes on life and death aboard an 18th c. merchant vessel in service to the British East India Company. 40 of the crew members died during the nearly two-year voyage, mostly from illness. June-November 1743 was particularly harsh, with “a great many people down with the scurvey and other diseases” (6/24/43). On July 21 the log notes that “our people fall down sick Daily & those that are ill recover but very slow”, and by August 19 “we have at present near twenty four people ill with Feaver, some in a bad way.” In late October the disease spreading through the ship began to ease: “our people that are ill begin to recover” (10/20), and by Nov. 5 “the people begin to recover apace, Excepting four that had been ill a long time”.

There is a brief account of the death of an East India Company soldier on March 19. Most of the dead sailors and passengers were buried at sea (“we committed his Body to the Deep with the usual ceremony”), but several were buried on land: “Departed this life William Arnold sixth mate at 5pm. We carried him ashore and put his Body in the ground.” (8/6/43).

The log frequently notes work related to seamanship and maintaining the vessel: scraping barnacles, painting, the armorer at his forge, caulking, making points and “gaskitts”, and maintaining and repairing the anchors, masts, and sails. One task involved balancing the cargo hold: “Employed in the fore hold in filling our Empty Butts with salt water to bring the ship to the head.” (4/26/43)

The Montfort, again captained by Robert Hanslapp, would make another voyage to India (Madras and Bengal) from 11 January 1746 to 20 January 1748; and to India and Singapore from 27 October 1748 to 25 July 1750 to Fort Saint David and Whampoa.