Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett. NAVAL, George A. Calhoun.
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett
Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett

South Pacific cruise and the beginning of diplomacy with Samoa

Illustrated manuscript logbook of the Pacific cruise of the U.S.S. Narragansett.

Various places: December 24, 1871 to September 4, 1872.

With 5 manuscript maps (one large folding), 7 albumen photographs, and numerous ink views. 359, [36] pp in purple brown ink. Signed on several dozen pages as examined by Captain Richard Worsam Meade and signed by Calhoun in several places. Folio (12 1/2 x 7 1/2 inches). South Pacific cruise and the beginning of diplomacy with Samoa. Original sheep reinforced with calf. Custom chemise and quarter morocco slipcase. Some scuffing to boards, mostly minor toning and spotting to tipped-in maps, some fading to photographs and to text in spots, but overall excellent condition. In a custom navy half morocco slipcase and chemise. Item #305829

An outstanding, extensively illustrated logbook of the diplomatic and research expedition undertaken by the U.S.S. Narragansett to the South Pacific in 1870-73. Kept by midshipman George A. Calhoun (1849-1897), the logbook covers the period December 1871-September 1872, during which time the Narragansett visited several island groups in the South Pacific, including the Hawaiian, Samoan, Phoenix, Marshall, and other island chains. In addition to providing crucial surveying information, the expedition marked the beginning of diplomatic negotiations between Samoa and neighboring island chains and the three great foreign powers competing for influence in the region–– the United States, Germany, and Great Britain. The logbook also records an encounter with the notorious pirate "Bully" Hayes.

The Narragansett originally set out from Sandy Hook, New York on March 21, 1871 and completed its journey when it arrived in Panama on April 2, 1873. It was commanded by Richard Worsam Meade III, who signs and annotates the log in several places "examined and approved," adding at the end: "This journal has been excellently kept in every respect and I commend Mid[shipma]n Calhoun very highly. Richard W. Meade, Comdr."

Several entries in the logbook record activity almost certainly related to the most significant achievement of the journey: Commander Meade’s signing, on February 17, 1872, a treaty with Chief Maunga of Samoa granting the United States exclusive rights to build a naval station in Pago Pago harbor. The entry for February 15 notes: "One of the principal native chiefs [i.e. Maunga, whose photograph is tipped-in across from the entry] came on board to pay his respects to the Commanding officers." On February 18 and 19, the log records the visit of American, English, and German consuls to the ship, undoubtedly to discuss the newly signed treaty, which which gave an immense advantage to the United States over its chief rivals. (Shortly afterwards the German Consul sent a letter of protest to Chief Maunga.) "The diplomacy connected with the [Samoan] islands may be considered to have begun in the year 1872, when Commander R.W. Meade of the U.S.S. 'Narragansett,' anchored at Pago-Pago, on the island of Tutuila, and on his own initiative concluded with the native chief of the bay an agreement by which the exclusive privilege of establishing a naval station in the harbor of Pago-Pago was granted to the United States" (Keim, Forty Years of German-American Political Relations, pp 114-115).

Another event of interest is recorded on February 18, 1872, when Commander Meade seized the ship of the notorious south seas pirate William Henry "Bully" Hayes (1829?-1877): "Sent an armed boat which boarded and took temporary possession of the American Brig 'Leonora,' late English brig 'Pioneer' Captain W.H. Hayes. Capt. Hayes was brought on board and detained on suspicion of having been engaged in unlawful acts in the Micronesian and other islands.” Hayes, who had been operating nefariously in the South Seas since at least the early 1850s, had taken possession of the "Leonora" from his business partner under suspicious circumstances, and it was on these grounds that Meade made the arrest. However, none of Hayes’ men could be induced to provide evidence against him, and on February 21 Calhoun reports: "The investigation in the case of the Brig 'Leonora' having been completed Captain Hayes was allowed to resume command of her."

Among the numerous illustrations in the logbook are drawings of the ship itself, including a magnificent ink rendering with the American flag and pennant colored in red and blue; a number of manuscript maps and plans of islands; a series of inked views of islands made from aboard ship; and a group of photographs of islanders taken and captioned by the ship’s assistant surgeon, H.C. Eckstein. In addition, inserted throughout are several four-page descriptive pieces by Calhoun on Honolulu, Apia, Pago Pago, the Phoenix Islands, Baker and Howland Islands, on several islands in the Gilbert and Marshall groups, on deviation tables, and on "Naval Etiquette in a Foreign Port"

Price: $17,500.00 Free International Delivery