Lot 76: [MS Logbook, HMS Phaeton, Slaver Interceptor]
05 November 2016
Macon, GA, USALive Auction
Description: Manuscript logbook of His Majesty's Ships Phaeton (written by Capt. Francis Stanfell), Tees (by Capt. George Rennie), and Conqueror (by Capt. James Wallis.) 1817 - 1819. Approx. 12.5" x 7.5". 256 pages, + 2. The HMS Phaeton logbook appears between pp. 1-141, with the final entry signed by Capt. Stanfell (dated Jan. 1, 1817 - March 19, 1818); The HMS Tees logbook appears between pp. 142-188 (June 9, 1818 - Sept. 15, 1818); The HMS Conqueror logbook appears between pages 189-256 (Sept. 17, 1818 - Oct. 7, 1819); The final leaf contains an ALS by Captain Stanfell (verso only.) The whole bound in later cloth with front board lettered in gilt and decorative gilt devices to spine. Front pastedown with the U.S.N.R. bookplate of Edward Lee Dorsett and small label of the nautical antique dealer Karl Wede. A couple of small archival tape repairs and one other larger repair strengthening the upper and inner margin of one leaf, final leaf with some soiling, dampstain to upper corner of second half of book, else mild age-toning, Very Good. ******************************************** All three ships were active off the coast of Africa and in the area of St. Helena's during the time of Napoleon's exile. Captain Francis Stanfell and the HMS Phaeton are the more notable of the three. The HMS Phaeton had quite a history prior to setting sail for the Cape of Good Hope and St. Helena's under Capt. Stanfell (where it appears to have acted as a slave-ship interceptor at the time.) Stanfell signed an agreement abolishing slave-trading in 1817. The event is noted in the present logbook on October 25, 1817: "Fired a salute of 21 guns on the Treaty being signed for the abolition of the slave trade." The British fleet would remain for decades in a constant cat-and-mouse game with slave-traders off of the African coast. Other notable events during the period include Stanfell's capture of the schooner Heloise. The Heloise was attempting to land a cargo of 85 slaves when the landing was delayed by crossing surf (See "Parliamentary Papers:1780-1849," vol. 27, page 124.) The event is noted in the present logbook, in the entry dated June 26, 1817. The final leaf bound in contains a letter written and signed by Captain Stanfell; the letter is one of recommendation for a particular sailor who served aboard the Phaeton under Stanfell. Stanfell refers to him as an "able seaman" and a "sober and steady hand" who unfortunately fell and broke his arm and injured his ribs. A wonderful relic from this interesting period in maritime affairs off the African coast. 2017 will mark the 200th anniversary of Stanfell's voyage on the Phaeton.