Journal Volume 5 2006

Log for 1860 (continued/4)

On the 9th August we sailed from Mozambique for the Seychelles Islands.

On the morning of the 10th August (about 8 a.m.) our signal-man named Allen noticed a ship at a good distance changing her tack which caused a suspicion of her being a slave ship, as this part is noted for the slave-trade being carried on; she was not far from land.

Admiral Keppel ordered steam to be got up, also to make all plain sail, steam was up in less then twenty minutes (full power of 4 boilers). Fortunately for us there was only a very light wind, thereby we had the advantage of her; for if there had been a good breeze she would have out done us. We got pretty close to her about 4.30 p.m. close enough to distinguish them sending things overboard. We fired a blank charge at her, a sign for her to ‘heave too’ but she paid no attention to it, and just as we were going to fire a shot at her stern she hove too, we were then close to her.

Admiral Keppel hailed her; she said she as a ‘Yankee Whaler’. ‘Where are your colours then?’, said Keppel; ‘They are pretty near all sick on board with the fever’ was the reply, which was a poor excuse for hoisting no flag. Without any more questions being asked the admiral sent our 1st & 2nd Cutters with our Master & a Lieutenant & a Midshipman in them to board her. Every one both fore and aft were anxiously waiting to hear the result. They had been on board but a short time when Mr May (Master) put his head over the bulwark and cried out ‘She is a lawful prize’ and our ensign was hoisted on her. The master on boarding her went directly to see if she had any ‘Slave Decks’, and on finding them, and on finding out the number he sang out the above. The Master cried out shortly after that she had 800 and odd slaves on board and bound for Savannah from the island of Obo. She was close to the island of Joahanna when caught.

When the master cried out ‘She is a lawful prize’ there was a shout raised directly. After they had their crew cleared out with the exception of the Doctor, who stopped on board to assist our doctor, they sailed off manned by our crew - for Joahanna, although we started pretty near together, but she got in a good time before us. Her name was ‘Emanuella’ (Keppel christened her ‘Sunny South’). Her crew, with the exception of Captain, 1st & 2nd Mate, who dined in the wardroom and Petty Officers mess, dined in the Troop deck.

Arrived at Joahanna on August 11th. The ‘Emanuella’ sailed out of Joahanna for Mauritius on August 12th. Keppel christened her ‘Enchankefs’. The “Brisk” sailed away for Joahanna on the 13th August.

The Island of Joahanna is about 30 miles in circumference, having two towns upon it. The town that we were at was very small having one house that looked likely to live in, and that belonged to the governor. He had a Sugar Mill also, at which the natives worked, all the other dwellings were composed of a cocoa-nut leaves matted, and having boughs of trees for supports. I went ashore one day along with some more bandsmen, and as we landed we were met by an old Arab and a few natives, the Arab invited us down to his house to have dinner, of course we accepted it, and on our arrival there he bade us be seated while it was ready, in the mean time he brought us some lime juice to drink, which was very nice only it was rather sweet - sugar was cheap there.

We arrived at Zanzibar, on the 16th August, and we landed Captain Speake & Grant, and the 12 Cape Mounted Rifles who went ashore on their mules. Captain Speake & Grant are trying to discover the source of the Nile. Captain Speake & Grant came on board at Plymouth, and they had a screen rigged on the main deck for their sleeping apartment. Speake is about six feet high, and Grant rather lower, but both very fine made men, and appear to be well suited for their trying enterprise. I went ashore on the 19th August, but being strange of course I did not see much. I went ashore again on the 21st August again, and this time I seen a little more and one thing in particular was the slave market. It was held in an open court yard; the slaves stood in groups-something similar to cattle, and the men who were selling them stood close by waiting for a purchaser - they were all Arabs i.e. the owners. While I stood there I seen a person come to purchase, and he just hauled them about like cattle feeling the women’s breasts - looking at their teeth; making them run after a stick which would be thrown a short distance to see whether they could run or not; but I did not stop to see all for I had enough as it was. The streets in Zanzibar are very narrow and dirty. There is a Sepoy Guard kept there.

This is the end of the diary fragment.


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