Sailing the British Empire : The Voyages of The Clarence, 1858-73Main MenuSailing the British Empire: The Voyages of the Clarence, 1858-73IntroductionThe Crew / AcknowledgmentsThe Provenance of Watson's LogAdditional Sources: Logs, Crew Lists, DiariesInside Lloyd's Register"Green's Celebrated Service"Details on owner of the ship at the time of our voyage, Richard Green.The Master Builder: William PileThe Master: Joseph Watson's BiographyA Mate's ProgressThe Career of Henry Berridge, First Mate of the ClarenceThe Crew of the Clarence in 1864An annotated crew listThe 18th HussarsThe Clarence and the Cyclone of 1864Origins of Indian Emigrants Aboard The ClarenceThe Surgeon-SuperintendantWages of indentured labourers in Demerara (1870-1900)The Clarence Sails to AustraliaMutiny! Violence and Resistance Aboard "Coolie Ships"Cholera: The Killer from CalcuttaSTSC 077, Fall 2015 First Year Seminar, University of Pennsylvaniab33a025deaa7595ed0079bfc9b77ea3cb14b8d08STSC 077, The University of Pennsylvania, fall 2015
Log of the Arima
12015-12-07T10:30:14-08:00Alden Terryeda541eb6a8a53055892f3a0c4ae86df6a0c654b62651Picture of Log Detailing Complaints by Dr. Raheemplain2015-12-07T10:30:14-08:00Alden Terryeda541eb6a8a53055892f3a0c4ae86df6a0c654b
The duties of the ship surgeon ranged from inspecting the Coolies before boarding (he had to sign a certificate that proved the coolie was healthy), to ensuring that there was efficient air circulation throughout the ship. The Instructions to Surgeons Superintendents of Government Emigration Ships (1866) lay out the extensive rules for how a surgeon should appropriately act and what came with the job. Another popular book of guidelines was Handbook for Surgeons Superintendent in the Coolie Emigration Service, by James M. Laing. Whether certain individuals actually followed these guidelines remains very unclear.
According to these instructions, not only were the surgeons responsible for maintaining the health of those on board, but also disciplining them when he saw fit.; this may be where the issues of too much power originated from. In the log of the Arima, one surgeon, Dr. Raheem, reportedly complained about an individual “kicking and pushing” a Coolie, as well as using “abusive language.” The surgeon would also inspect the “Cooking Apparatus” and also carry around a “Water Con-Distilling Apparatus” so that he was able to convert saltwater into something more “fresh.” Surgeons were required to keep a detailed journal and record of the voyage and patients as well as visit the decks at least two to three times a day to ensure cleanliness and preserve dryness (no laundry, washing, or anything that uses water was allowed on the decks).
In 1857 their pay was increased to 10s per every person who arrived alive (an increase from their previous 8s). On every subsequent voyage, this amount per “head” would increase 1s up to 12s. Increasing the surgeon’s pay was a good way to attract more competent individuals for the job.
Because of the numerous responsibilities and power the ship surgeon had, there was sometimes conflict between the surgeon and captain of the ship when it came to certain decisions being made. Specifically, an incident in the Log of the Arima will be examined in which the surgeon and captain disagree over the disciplining of a passenger. In the log, one surgeon, Dr. Raheem, reportedly complained about an individual “kicking and pushing” a Coolie, as well as using “abusive language.” Another passenger was accused by Dr. Raheem of stealing some brandy. His following punishments were to be “placed in irons for the day and to put him on half rations for a week.” This lead to some conflict between the doctor and captain of the ship who supposedly proclaimed, “No! The punishment was too severe.” Next were some back and forth arguments, with the Captain ordering to have the irons off and Raheem then continuing to punish the passenger by not allowing him to go below deck despite the cold. This situation points clearly to the power struggle between the captain and the surgeon. The captain expresses his lack of power when it comes to discipline after the immigrant begs to go below the decks, stating, “I hardly knew what to do. I did not like to interfere, it was the doctor’s duty.” The passenger eventually goes below on his own, resulting in an aggressive beating from Dr. Raheem. “I now thought it my duty to interfere,” said the captain, who then decided to protect the man himself. Another case of a surgeon utilizing his disciplinary power can be seen aboard . The surgeon on board approaches a seaman “for using filthy and obscene language to his compounder and interfering in his duties.” Another passenger aboard The Clarence, William Rose, was punished by the surgeon for having “beaten a female emigrant.” This resulted in the surgeon putting “Mr. Rose in irons on the poop.” These logs are an excellent source for illustrating the power struggle between the surgeon and captain and the surgeon implementing this power.