18th Jan. - 7th May 1855. Quarto ca. 25.5 x 22cm (10 x 8 ½ in.). 15 pp, each page numbered in pencil. Brown ink on blue laid paper. With three folding manuscript charts drawn in ink each ca. 25 x 74 cm (9 ¾ x 29 in.), ca. 52 x 36 cm (18 ¾ x 14 ¼ in.), and ca. 40 x 30.5 cm (15 ¾ x 12 in.) and two black and white wash watercolours ca. 12.5 x 17.5 cm (4 ¾ x 6 ¾ in.) and ca. 19.5 x 25 cm (7 ¾ x 9 ¾ in.), one mounted on a leaf and both captioned in period manuscript black ink. Period style brown gilt tooled full polished calf with a maroon gilt title label “JOURNAL H.M.S. LILY JAN-MAY 1855.” Journal, maps and watercolours in very good condition.
This Journal was kept from January to May 1855 by Midshipman W. Howorth on the H.M.S. Lily, a 16-gun Racer-class brig-sloop built for the British Royal Navy in 1838. It documents geographical coordinates, daily activity, wind and weather conditions along the route, as well as detailed accounts of meteorological conditions during the passage around Cape Horn, including unusual animal sightings [“Observed two strange birds unlike any seabirds with which I am acquainted – plumage dark brown with two white marks on the wing – shaped like a hawk but with the regular seabird’s beak – about the size of a small eagle and flying like one. They were about the ship the whole day and frequently attacked the Albatross…all the other birds seemed afraid of them” p. 3] and icebergs [“I was much struck at beautifully delicate transparent blue of the ice never having seen any so close before, after looking for any lengths of time at it, it makes the eyes very sore” p. 5]. The manuscript charts show the voyage in three segments: Track of HMS Lily from Melbourne round Cape Horn, Cape Horn to Rio Janeiro, and Rio Janeiro to England. Lines trace the precise route of the ship on each day of the journey, arrows are drawn to show the wind direction, and geographical coordinates are also noted. Additionally, the watercolours show views of the H.M.S. Lily between icebergs off the Diego-Ramírez Islands (southwest of Cape Horn) and the coastal profile of the Azorean islands of Flores and Corvo. Howorth apparently joined the HMS Lily from the HMS Electra. Six weeks before the departure of HMS Lily, in late November 1854, HMS Electra was involved in the suppression of the armed gold miner Eureka Rebellion (also referred to as the Eureka Stockade) against the colonial authority of the United Kingdom at Ballarat, Victoria. HMS Electra sent officers, seamen as well as artillery pieces to Ballarat. An interesting manuscript documenting the H.M.S. Lily’s voyage from the Australian gold fields back to England around Cape Horn.
“Cape Horn island […] is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile. Cape Horn is widely considered to be the most southerly point of South America, and marks the northern boundary of the Drake Passage; for centuries it has been regarded as a major milestone by which sailing ships carrying trade goods around the world marked their passage. Cape Horn was noted as the halfway point from England to Australia during the nineteenth century clipper route. The waters around the cape are particularly hazardous, owing to strong winds, large waves, strong currents and icebergs. These dangers have made Cape Horn notorious as a sailors' graveyard. […] From the 1700s to the early 1900s, Cape Horn was a part of the clipper routes which carried much of the world's trade. Clipper ships sailed round the Horn carrying wool, grain, and gold from Australia back to Europe.” (New World Encyclopedia).
Price: $2,250.00 USD