Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Annotated Journal of Alden Bradford Spooner Part Two


                               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. 
                    The Constellation arrives in Singapore, a British Protectorate.                                                       
[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]
"Wednesday November 24th  1841   Engaged in fitting a new gang of rigging"
"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
[Lawrence Kearny (above) was the  Commander-in-chief of the Constellation and the Commander of the East India Squadron, which consisted of the USS Constellation and the USS Boston.  Upon learning that the British had gained preferred trading status with the Chinese at five ports.  Commander Kearny took it upon himself to acquire similar privileges for the United States.] *4

 [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
“Wednesday   June  29th  1842   The commodore was saluted by the Nimrod English Sloop of war with 11 guns returned the same”

“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" 
[Macau, across the Pearl River Delta from Hong Kong, was an important trade destination.  The Constellation made many trips between Hong Kong and Macau.  Commander Kearny was looking for American opium smugglers and negotiating with the Chinese for an appropriate amount to compensate the American Merchants.]  

“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