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    U.S. Naval regulations concerning illegal slave trading vessels

    USS Brandywine Order Book, along with the Listing of Officers and Sailors. All dates in this collection are between 1828 and 1852. The order book includes detailed regulations for boarding vessels involved in the slave trade along the coast of Africa. The order book measures 8" x 13". Pages and cover are intact. On a back endpaper of the order book is a pencil drawing of two vessels meeting on the open waters.

    The USS Brandywine launched in 1825 and had the distinction of carrying Lafayette back to France following his grand tour of America in 1824-1825. For the next twenty-five years, the 44-gun frigate served in the Mediterranean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Atlantic. A fire destroyed her during the Civil War. This handwritten order book contains orders and regulations for the vessel during its service at the African Station and the Brazilian Station, dating between 1828 and 1850.

    Handwritten on the cover of the order book is "Orders, Rules & Regulations of U.S.S. Brandywine, 1847." Entries cover near half the book; the remainder contains blank pages. The orders, rules, and regulations concern a variety of topics. An eight page section lists the "general instructions of which you are to be governed while employed in command of a U.S. vessel in the African Station." This section regulates actions toward vessels suspected of piracy and those engaged in the slave trade. Concerning any members of the U.S. Navy boarding ships suspected of slave trading, "there is no right of visitation or search, so far as American vessels are concerned, except of our own vessels of war." Following that is a fascinating description of the practices of illegal slave trading vessels along the coast of Africa, especially their many ways of avoiding detection and capture: "It is not to be supposed that vessels destined for the Save Trade will exhibit any of the usual arrangements for their business. They take especial care to put on the appearance of honest traders, and to be always prepared as if engaged in the pursuits of lawful commerce. This is their practice to run into some river or inlet where they have reason to believe the Slaves may be obtained, make their bargain with the Slave factor, deposit their handcuffs and other things calculated to betray them, and then sail on an ostensible trading voyage to some neighboring Port. At the appointed time they return, and all the Slaves are then ready to be shipped, they are taken on board without delay and the vessel proceeds on the voyage. Thus the Slavers do not carry with them any positive proof of their guilt except before they reach the coast and after they leave it with Slaves on board." The description then cites "a variety [5] of signs and indications of which their true character can at all time be conjectured." Those indications include "an unusual number of water casks," multiple log books, and forged consular certificates. Even though the U.S. banned the importation of slaves in 1808, many American slave traders continued their profitable business in the South Atlantic, bringing slaves from Africa to Brazil. In 1847 and 1848, it is estimated that nearly 120,000 Africans were forced aboard slave ships bound for Brazil. Throughout the 1840s and 1850s, Great Britain led the assault on the illegal slave trade. In the 1860s, slave trading on a large scale ended.

    The order book contains many other orders, rules, and regulations. One prohibits the practice of dueling: "I have learned with deep regret that duals have not been unfrequent on this station among the Junior Officers of the Squadron. This practice originating in a barbarous, should be suppressed in a more enlightened age. . . . As the Commanding Officer of the United States Ships on the Western Coast of Africa [Charles Skinner] . . . I conceive it to be an imperious duty to forbid a practice at war with the laws of God & Man, subversive of discipline, and destructive to human life and happiness. Any person, therefore, who give or accepts a challenge, or fights a duel with any other person belonging to the squadron under my command, will be guilty of disobeying the lawful orders of this superior officer." Others regulate punishments, dress codes ("hair is to be kept short. No part of the beard is to be worn long"), provision purchases, the relationship between U.S. vessels to English vessels, dealings with custom houses, and requests for various intra-naval reports. There are also rules concerning the permission of foreign navies to board and search American ships ("under no circumstances"). These are issued by various commanders, many by George W. Storer, who served a long career - nearly fifty-five years - in the U.S. Navy. During that time, he commanded such ships as the USS Constellation and the Brandywine. In 1849, he was given command of the U.S. naval forces off the coast of Brazil.

    Accompanying the order book is a bound handwritten listing of officers and seamen, near twenty pages, 8.5" x 10.5". The first two pages offer a "List of Officers with the date of their orders to the Brazil Station." George W. Storer is listed as commodore, along with the names of midshipmen, surgeons, the chaplain, lieutenants, pursers, and others. Beside each name is written the date of orders for each, which range from 1846 through 1849. Pages two through sixteen offers a list of "Expiration of Service of the Petty Officers, seamen, Marines, O[?], Seamen, Landsmen and Boys of the U.S. Ship Brandywine." The expiration dates range from 1850 through 1852. The final page includes a list of forty-four marines with their expiration of service. Other lists, such as a list of deserters, is also included. Bound by red ribbon.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-15th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,698

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