Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73

Caird Log M5

     From the very beginning, the log M-5 promises to be an entertaining one. On the title page, Midshipman Ralph Gallilee Huggup includes several drawings. There are various sketches of the captain and the ship. On the next few following pages, he continues to exhibit his artistic talent with an image of sailor counting his money next to the table for calculating seamen's wages. There is also a comical caption, "Pull you devils, pull!!!" 
     The first portion of the log is written with little description. Huggup notes the various ships that were signalled and also the sight of different islands as the Clarence progressed. He also jots down the obligatory weather observations, with an emphasis on the strong winds and gusts on January 16th, 1871. Huggup expresses his sense of humor with another small sketch within the body of the log. This time it is of a sharply dressed man with a top hat and cane. It connects to the text because Huggup is describing the swells of the waves, but a contemporary meaning for swell was "a person dressed in the height of fashion."
     The events of the second half of the voyage are noted in this log with an interesting alternate perspective to Robert Gow's diary. The major events are still recorded- like the lowering of the life boat for a short pleasure trip, the signalling of the Daphne, the incident with the Lothair, the encounter with the Pride of Devon, and the vessel that was belly-up. However, the log is much less detailed about these occurrences, often only mentioning one or two brief phrases in contrast to Gow's lengthy entries. This difference poses some interesting questions. Why were the logs so vague? How much is missed by such limited descriptions? Perhaps the duty of the log-keeper was not strict about the depth of information and only concerned with recording notable events. Maybe as a landlubber, Gow is just overdramatic with his perception of the dangers and excitement about life aboard ship. Most likely, the truth lies somewhere in between.
     On July 21st, 1871, Huggup concludes the log by informing the reader that the Clarence was hauled into the East India North Dock with the exclamation, "Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!"
     One of the most interesting historical aspects of logs like this one is the recording of time and location. It is possible to construct a map that highlights the route of the voyage by examining the dates and latitude/longitude coordinates. 

"Swell." Def. 4b. Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, 2015. Web. 10 Dec. 2015.

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