National Maritime Museum Manuscripts : Lieutenant's logbook for HMS Princess Louisa

National Maritime Museum Manuscripts

<p>One of a collection of officers' logbooks from the ships HMS <a href='/search?keyword=Centurion'>Centurion</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=vessel-301004;vesselReference=vessel-301004'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , HMS <a href='/search?keyword=Orford'>Orford</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=vessel-336356;vesselReference=vessel-336356'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , <a href='/search?keyword=Princess%20Louisa'>Princess Louisa</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=vessel-340696;vesselReference=vessel-340696'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , and HMS <a href='/search?keyword=Tartar'>Tartar</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections.html#!csearch;authority=vessel-352678;vesselReference=vessel-352678'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] . The columns here are for the month and day, the date, winds, course, distance, latitude, longitude, bearing and distance at noon, and remarks. Much of what is recorded is standard activity on board ship.</p> <p>Captain <a href='/search?keyword=George%20Proctor'>George Proctor</a>, and Lieutenants <a href='/search?keyword=Montague%20Bertie'>Montague Bertie</a>, <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Draper'>John Draper</a>, and <a href='/search?keyword=Rowland%20Cotton'>Rowland Cotton</a>, all served on HMS Centurion on the voyage [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-C-00082/1'>ADM/L/C/82</a>] which gave passage to <a href='/search?keyword=Lisbon'>Lisbon</a> to <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Harrison'>John Harrison</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/136321.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] and H1 [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/79139.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='RMG icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] .</p> <p>The logbooks of Captain <a href='/search?keyword=Robert%20Man'>Robert Man</a>, and Lieutenants <a href='/search?keyword=Thomson'>Thomson</a>, <a href='/search?keyword=Knowler'>Knowler</a>, and <a href='/search?keyword=Barnard'>Barnard</a> are from HMS <i>Orford</i>, which gave passage to <a href='/search?keyword=John%20Harrison'>John Harrison</a> and H1 on his return from <a href='/search?keyword=Lisbon'>Lisbon</a> in 1736. The differences between logbooks from the same voyage tend to be marginal, as they were often copied from one source, thus it is interesting that the notice of Harrison's coming aboard the ship is written slightly differently. In Lieutenant Barnard's log, on Sunday 30th May, amid the activity of making preparations for sailing, 'Mr Harrison came on board with a machine for finding Longd' [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-O-00027/61'>ADM/L/O/27:59</a>], whilst Lieutenant Knowler describes Harrison as a 'Projector' [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-O-00029-A/87'>ADM/L/O/29A:2:49</a>]. The captain, Robert Man, provides a slightly fuller description, noting that the machine was for 'Measuring the Time in order to determine the Longitude by D.o' [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-O-00028/55'>ADM/L/O/28:55</a>]. These slight variations suggest some of the difficulties for the writer of the logbook in recording less than standard occurrences in what was supposed to be a standard form.</p> <p>The logbooks of <a href='/search?keyword=Patrick%20Fothringham'>Patrick Fothringham</a>, Lieutenant <a href='/search?keyword=Duane'>Duane</a>, Second Lieutenant <a href='/search?keyword=Charles%20Herbert'>Charles Herbert</a>, and an anonymous compiler come from a voyage of the Princess Louisa which was used during the <a href='/search?keyword=Barbados'>Barbados</a> trials. This was the ship fitted with <a href='/search?keyword=Christopher%20Irwin'>Christopher Irwin</a>'s marine chair, which, as was noted in the anonymous logbook when the apparatus was brought on board on the 13th September 1763, was 'for Observing the Satellites of the Planet Jupiter, in order to finding the Longitude at Sea; The Commissioners for that Discovery having resolved to examine those Machines under the direction of Admiral Tyrell, in the Course of this voyage' [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(19);return false;'>17</a>]. Among the more routine remarks, these texts suggest some of the difficulties of making observations at sea, as the inability to make observations 'by the Chair or Quadrant' [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(23);return false;'>21</a>] because of cloudy weather, or the necessity of changing the sail carried because it was obstructing the observations of the satellites of Jupiter [<a href='' onclick='store.loadPage(28);return false;'>26</a>], were recorded. This latter remark in particular indicates some of the negotiations of authority and priority on board ship, as the best functioning of the ship took second place to the astronomical observations of <a href='/search?keyword=Charles%20Green'>Charles Green</a> and <a href='/search?keyword=Nevil%20Maskelyne'>Nevil Maskelyne</a> [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/379043.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='NMM icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] .</p> <p>The logbooks of Lieutenants <a href='/search?keyword=Murray'>Murray</a> and <a href='/search?keyword=Barton'>Barton</a>are from a voyage of HMS <i>Tartar</i>, another ship used during the Barbados trials, under Commander <a href='/search?keyword=Sir%20John%20Lindsay'>Sir John Lindsay</a>. Carried on board the <i>Tartar</i> were <a href='/search?keyword=William%20Harrison'>William Harrison</a> and H4 [<a target='_blank' class='externalLink' href='http://collections.rmg.co.uk/collections/objects/79142.html'><img title="Link to RMG" alt='RMG icon' class='nmm_icon' src='/images/general/nmm_small.png'/></a>] , to which there are occasional references in the logbooks, including a notice of Harrison giving in writing to the Captain 'the dist of Westing the ship had made to Porto Santo by his timekeeper' in the logbooks of both Murray [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-T-00022/31'>ADM/L/T/22: 29</a>] and Barton [<a href='/view/MS-ADM-L-T-00023/25'>ADM/L/T/23: 21</a>]. Given that logbooks could be used as evidence in contexts from courts martial to geographic investigations, or indeed investigations of certain technologies, it is interesting, if perhaps unsurprising, that the detail of this performance, the giving of a distance in writing, was recorded.</p> <p>Whilst Harrison and his machine, or the difficulty of using the marine chair, might be worthy of attention, how the bureaucratic form of the logbook fits this activity into the routine of the ship, such as delivering stores and changing sails, or noting weather and position, should not be overlooked. Logbooks were not for showing timekeepers or marine chairs, but happen to do so on these occasions. They were a process of accounting for work done and stores used, a complex recording of the expenditure of labour and supplies in an ever changing environment, and it is important to read the scattered references to particular technologies and people highlighted here in their appropriate generic context.</p> <p>Megan Barford<br />History and Philosophy of Science<br />University of Cambridge<br /> </p>


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