Ship Borneo: 1868. 1/4 leather. This 150-page sailing journal measures 7” x 8”. It includes a 119-page daily journal plus additional pages including a list of the ship’s stores, a sample weekly menu for the ship’s officers, the agent’s shipboard library, a clothing and personal effects list, an inventory of foods loaded for the voyage, a list of clothing sold to crew members, sketches of three remote islands, company information for the W. F. Weld Company, and a table of daily readings (latitude, longitude, weather, speed, distance, etc.). A 4.5” x 4” card-mounted albumin photograph of the Borneo is laid-in. The text block is solid; the spine covering is missing, but both well-worn covers are attached. An 11-page transcript of journal highlights is included. Very good. Item #009718
The Borneo, a ship owned by the W. F. Weld Company and captained by Henry Smith, left Boston harbor on February 8th, 1868 arriving at Batavia (today Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies on May 29th and Singapore in the British Straits Settlements on June 16th. Temple Fay, an agent for W. F. Weld accompanied the ship and the firm’s cargo during the voyage. He got along well with the ship’s 19-man crew, at times even joining in small working parties, and kept company with its officers and 62-year-old captain, whom he both admired and found frustrating. Fay kept an exceptionally detailed journal, using a full page of text to summarize events for almost every day of the trip describing the weather (including a waterspout, hurricane, and several gales), distance traveled, leisure activities (reading, fishing, bird shooting, cards, gossiping, drinking, and smoking), and significant occurrences (fights, illness, and the death of a well-liked seaman who fell overboard to his death while working on the rigging). Fay drew amateurish sketches of three remote islands (Island of Fernando Norohna, Amsterdam Island, and Christmas Isle) the Borneo passed along its way. As well, Fay’s listing of ship’s stores is thorough, and his description of week’s worth of 21 meals served to the officers is impressive. Upon arrival at Batavia, Fay recounts meetings with regional merchants, the unloading of cargo, wrapping up business details, and the city’s social life (dinners, breakfasts, gatherings, billiards at the club, and attend musical concerts). The W. F. Weld Company was one of the most prominent shipping company during the Age of Sail. William Fletcher Weld was the son of a Boston ship owner whose plans for Harvard were crushed when his father’s fortune was lost in the War of 1812. Instead, he became a clerk for a Boston importer at 15, and within seven years accumulated enough wealth and credit to build his first ship, the Senator. A savvy businessman, Weld soon became one of the wealthiest shipping magnates in the United States, operating 51 sailing vessels plus 10 steam ships bearing the companies famous “Black Horse Flag.” A scarce, important, and detailed shipping journal. There are no other W. F. Weld ship journals for sale within the trade, and none have been listed at auction per the Rare Book Hub. OCLC shows only one Weld ship journal is held by an institution, the Library of Congress.