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

Log MHA 1872

Interestingly, the voyage of 1872 produced two official logs. This log contains important documents such as the discharge papers of disorderly sailors and official records of deserters. This log is more organized, containing an index that allows viewers to easily find major events. It also goes into greater detail of the notable incidents and is more concerned with the actions and attitudes of the crew.
We learn from this log more about Henry Smith, the man afflicted with delirium tremens. Earlier in the voyage, he had another attack that came while he was restocking the Store Room. He began spitting up blood and the ship doctor, Dr. McDonald determined it was the result of an old chest disease.
We also learn of a fight between two members of the crew from the surgeon's report. John Clark had his jaw broken by James Barry, both classified as "able-bodied seamen". Alcohol seemed to be the source of the fight and Barry claimed drunkenness as his defense. Other members of the crew took his knife from him.
Ships were certainly not injury-free work places for the crew. While performing necessary tasks in precarious locations on the ship, rough seas could catch even a weathered seaman off-guard. Midshipman William Abbott was stepping from the rigging to the rail when the sea got rough and he fell. His result was a broken collarbone. Frank Bayley, a cuddy servant, slipped and dislocated his hip, which was promptly set back into place.
At Melbourne, several sailors decided to not return to the Clarence. After being absent from the ship for several days, they were declared deserted. From the log we see that seamen Willson, Cook, Barry, Broad, Cooper, and Carver were among those listed as the deserters.
A few other sailors did not return to the Clarence, but for a different reason. They were discharged by mutual consent, and they held different positions on the ship: Sackerson- O.S.; Fawcett- chief mate; McDonald- surgeon; Howard- steward; and George Hall, whose occupation is unknown.
Even though the Clarence lost quite a few of its crew, it surprisingly gained two extra sets of helping hands. James Evans and John Carter, two boys, were discovered as stowaways. They were sent to help in different areas of the ship- Evans to the Stewards' Pantry and Carter to the Passengers' Galley.
Dr. Wheeler was an interesting character for sure. He would quite frequently suffer from violent attacks of mania. He attributed to a shell that struck him on the head in 1869 on board another ship. One episode was particularly bad. Wheeler displayed a very foul mouth, threatened to harm Capt. Gibson and attempted to get his surgical knives to carry out his threats. He then attempted to commit suicide by jumping off the ship, but Capt. Gibson kept him from doing so.
This log goes into great detail about the suicide of Mrs. Sutherland. There are reports from the midshipman that found her body, the log-keeper, the surgeon, the captain, and passengers that knew Mrs. Sutherland. It was a thorough investigation and the conclusion was that, due to the size of the water closet, position of the body, and statements made by her acquaintances, the death was truly a suicide.

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