USS Constellation - Painting by Rear Admiral John W. Schmidt
The USS Constellation is entering the China Sea with the USS Boston astern. With their combined fire power of 56 guns, the two American War ships presented a formidable presence.
Note: Quotation marks ( " " ) define exact quotes, which include misspellings and lack of punctuation. Square brackets ([ ]) define annotations. Links to reference matter will be defined by an asterisk with a number (*1). Links to reference information are located at the end of the text.
[Spooner is now 17 and has been at sea 11 months.] "Friday November 5th 1841 At 1.30 called all hands to bring to anchor in Singapore firled sailes Fired a salute of 21 guns wich was returned from the fort the same On our pasage from Quallabattoo [Kuala Batèë] To Singapore 25 days distance" *1
[Singapore was an active port. The Constellation fired many gun salutes to visiting dignitaries and incoming and outgoing ships. Repairs to the Constellation and the America ship Robinhood, kept the crew occupied.]
"Tuesday November 16th 1841 Sent the boatswain with 25 men on board the Robinhood to step the mainmast" [To step is to install a new mainmast]
"Thursday November 25th 1841 Sent down the top galmast and lower yards and landed the top sail yards." [Spooner is replacing and refitting sails.] The "yards"are the horizontal spars from which square sails are suspended. [Climbing to the top of a mast would have been a common occurrence for the young Spooner.]
Below - Top Gallant Yard *2
"Sunday January 9 1842 saluted the american consual with 9 guns"
"Sunday Febuary 6th 1842 got under way Laid 91 days in port [Singapore]"
[The mission of the USS Constellation was to safeguard American lives and property against loss in the Opium War and to enable negotiations of commercial treaties. British and Americans citizens had been importing tons of Opium into China, a drug long prohibited by the Chinese. The Chinese took action by arresting foreign and Chinese merchants, confiscating and burning opium and wreaking havoc on the merchants. The British retaliated. The Chinese forces were no match for the British. The Treaty of Nanking was signed August 29, 1842. China ceded the island of Hong Kong to Great Britain and opened five ports including Canton, and Shanghai to Western trade and residence.] *3
[Arrival in China - five months before the Treaty of Nanking was signed] "Wednesday March 23 1842 Came to anchor [in Canton]"
"Thurs day May 19th 1842 Received the vice Admirel of the Chineese fleet on board and saluted him with 9 guns Confined the Boswaine in irons for disgraceful conduct"
"Tuesday June 28th 1842 Hoisted English Collars at the fore and main fired a salute of 21 guns in Commemoration of the Coronation of Queen Victoria" [Wikipedia - The coronation of Queen Victoria took place on 28 June 1838, just over a year after she succeeded to the throne at the age of 18.] *5
“Saturday July 16th 1842 At 1 A.M. a marine by the name of William Rogers shot himself”
“Monday September 12th 1842 Arrived a English Stemor Ackbar she hoisted the American Ensign at the fore and saluted the Commodore with 13 guns and returned the same”
"Thursday September 15th 1842 at 4 P. M. performed the funeral service over the bodies of Lient L. Handy and Corporal Hume Fired 3 vollies of Musketry over that of the former" [Was it Spooner who performed the funeral service?]
"Friday September 16th Jorge York died"
“Monday November 27th 1842 James L Parker died"
Thirsday November 30th John Evans boatswains mate died"
"Sunday December 3rd Jeffreys quarter guner died” [Spooner knew the names of the men and boys that died, unusual considering there was a crew of 340. Could he have been involved in the funeral services?]
[Wampoa] "Thirsday February 22nd 1843 Washentons birth day At sunrise dressed th ship of signals and of flags. . . . . fired a salute of 17 guns At 11 A.M. Called all hands to muster and read the constitution of the U States and Washentons farewell address to Congress At 12 A.M. fired a salute of 17 guns and the Marines fired 12 rounds Dinner was given on the occasion After dinner crew decorated quarters deck for the entertainment of the evening At 6P.M. received several Captains of the american ships . . . . . the likness of Washenton on his full stature was painted by the ships Painter Under neath was writen First in war First in peace and First in the harts of his countrymen Songs was sung accompanied by music and toasts was given"
(photo of Washington painted by Léon Coginet 1836, engraved by Laugier 1839)
"Tuesday April 1th 1843 At 7.30 A.M. got under way made all sail . . . . came too anchor in Macoa Roades [roads - a sheltered area outside of a harbor where a ship could anchor] Laid at wampoa . . . . 53 days"
"Tuesday Aprail 22nd 1843 Departure from China" [After 13 months cruising the China Coast, the Constellation is headed in the direction of home. Spooner will be 19 in June.]
The annotated journal of Alden Bradford Spooner will conclude on the next post.
* 1 - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_history_of_Singapore
* 2 - https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yard_(sailing)
* 3 - http://www.victorianweb.org/victorian/history/empire/opiumwars/index.html
* 4 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Kearny
* 5 - http://www.wikiwand.com/en/Queen_Victoria