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    Description

    Remarkable 1810 Seaman's Journal With Detailed Account of His Rescue At Sea. 6" x 3.75", 60 pages, with entries from December 2, 1809 through December 25, 1810. This spectacular journal was written by John Fish, first mate serving on board the Brig Three Thomas's whose homeport was Boston, Massachusetts. The Three Thomas's was a 175 ton brig built in Kingston in 1805. The ship sailed from Boston bound for "Tonigen" with stops at "Island of Hellegoland" (Heligoland) and Norway. The Three Thomas's set sail from London heading back to Boston on October 5, 1810. The crew's ordeal began on the 9th of October, as Fish writes in part: "...we perceived that our Brig leaked a little more than usual and that leak gradually Encreased [sic] until [sic] Monday the 15th by this time the leak had Encreased [sic] to the degree that she kept one pump going constantly...tried [sic] many experiments to find the leak but of no purpose...was every appearance of a gale of wind from the N. W...the gale commenced and the pump choked very bad by reason of our Ballast being washed fore and aft...we found that the leak had gained two feet more and at 2 AM found that there was about 6 feet of Water in the Whole [sic]...we then left our pumps to prepare our boats...most meloncholy [sic] to behold to see the lower Whole [sic] full of water...we left the Brig with about 40 lbs of bread and 16 gallons of water...at 6 AM the Brig lay with her lower yard arms in the water...Sunday the 22nd at 12 Meridian the Brig lay with her topsail yard in the water...at 3 PM the Brig disapeared [sic]...we let our yawl???? a stern and we steared [sic] to the South and East...". Thus begins a month long ordeal for the crew as they brave the inhospitable conditions of the North Sea and are passed by several potential rescuing ships that fail to see them. At a point near the height of his despair John Fish pens a verse in his journal: "Adieu Dear Shipmates Whoom [sic] I love, O may I meet you In Worlds above, Our Darkness then Shall turn to Day, And Sin and Sorry flee away...Lines that Long Ocupied [sic] My Miynd [sic]". Fish seems to resign his self to his fate and prepares for the eventual end. But, on November 8, just when it seems all is lost Fish's crew is picked up by the schooner Friendship. The Friendship safely deposits the crew at Liverpool where Fish apparently joins the crew of another ship named the Poison (or Bison?). The journal is a beautifully written testament of man whose brush with death caused profound changes in his life thereafter. Several pages recount dreams with religious overtones and he writes "October 25th AD 1810 When first checked in my Wicked Career I soon found that I had too long traveled in that broad road which Leads to Hell...". John Fish is truly a man transformed by his difficult ordeal. Fish recounts one last strange tale while serving aboard the Poison, he writes in part: "...at 6 PM the man that relieved the helm said I have sweetened my last tea. Whether he spoke to the man he had relieved or me I knew not but supposed that he meant the former. I asked what he meant - he said I have Drinkt [sic] my last tea - a Singular expression - though I don't suppose he thought he should never drink any more tea...when the watch was called at 12 at knight [sic] this man was not on board the ship - I suppose he accidentally stept [sic] overboard." The handwriting is clear and sharp and Fish has drawn three rather good ink sketches of ships including one of the Three Thomas's. The journal is bound in sail cloth with the inked title "On Board the Ship Poison? Saco? Wrote In Liverpool". At the end of the journal and dated March 4, 1930, Fish's grandson has written a brief biographical account of John Fish and how the journal was passed through the family. Included with the journal is a wealth of research documentation accumulated by the former owner. Useful documents include photocopies of the Three Thomas's original registration papers, a photocopy of a Lloyd's List for December 4, 1810 with a mention of the rescue of the crew of the Three Thomas's by the Friendship, and many letters from various historical societies providing genealogical information. A wonderful and unique document worthy of further research. Fine.


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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
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