Description: [ARABIAN GULF - MANUSCRIPT - MARITIME]. [anonymous senior merchant(?) of the ship "Baron van der Capellen"].
Journaal, gehouden aan boord van het schip Baron van der Capellen gevoerd door Kap[itei]n. Peter, op de reize van Batavia naar de Golf van Persie, in 1824.

[on board ship from Batavia (Jakarta, Indonesia) to Muscat in Oman, Bushehr in Iran and back], 14 March-9 November 1824. Folio. Contemporary half vellum, sewn on 3 tapes, sprinkled paper sides. Manuscript ship's journal in Dutch, written in black ink on paper. [4 blank], [66], [130 blank] pp.

Anonymous ship's journal from the 1824 voyage of the three-masted merchant frigate, Baron van der Capelle from Batavia in the East Indies (now Jakarta, Indonesia) to Muscat in Oman and Bushehr on the Iranian coast of the Gulf. It was probably kept by the ship's senior merchant (opperkoopman), for he seems to be in charge of buying, selling and trading, the deputy of Said bin Sultan Al-Said (1790-1856), Sultan of Muscat and Oman, personally invited him to an audience (the Sultan himself was en route to Mecca), and the Sheik of Bushehr met with him and provided him with an (Armenian?) assistant, Arakiel. He also sometimes notes his disputes with the Captain J.H. Peter, and notes on 23 August that the Captain is sick and that he therefore received a letter from the "eerste stuurman" (first mate) Smitt. The ship was built in 1815 and active through 1834.
The journal is neatly written, with daily entries throughout the voyage and on land at the destination ports. During the voyage itself these entries briefly mention the favourable or unfavourable winds or weather, notes when they passed or briefly stopped at various named islands, notes ships they encountered, the deaths of sailors or soldiers, etc. Most interesting and remarkable, however, are his dealings on land on the Arabian peninsula and the Iranian coast of the Gulf.
They came in sight of the Arabian coast on 22 May and anchored at Muscat on 26 May. The author devotes nine pages to a detailed account of his reception and his trading there during his first eight days. He describes some of the presents brought for the Sultan (some disappeared, apparently taken by the Imam's wives or servants, but reappeared after the author reported the fact).
They anchored at Bushehr on 4 July, where our author gives even greater detail of their trading. He and the Sheik got on well and shared a dislike for the English there. He acquired a wide variety of goods, including large quantities of cloves, nutmeg, oils, galls (to make dyestuffs?), carpets, cloths and even a pair of elephant tusks. But he especially took an interest in the Arabian horses, finally buying 25 and listing them by number with the prices and giving some other details. At the suggestion of Arakiel our author urged Captain Peter to remove some planks above the hold to give the horses relief from the heat, but he refused to damage his ship and two horses did indeed die. On 21 July the author notes that the English resident left Bushehr for the city of "Chiras" (Guyum in Shiraz) where he says an earthquake had killed 4000 people. This was the earthquake of 25 June, with an estimated magnitude of 6.4.
The blank book originally contained 102 leaves, collating [A]10 [B]-[C]12 [D]6 [E]8 [F]10 [G]12 [H]8 [I]12 [K]12. The last leaf K12 appears to have been removed before the blank book was bound and A1 and K11 served as paste-downs. There are three paper stocks, all Dutch. All written leaves except the last are in quires A-C, watermarked: Royal cipher of King Willem I (a circle containing the crowned W and crossed branches) = Dutch Garden/Pro Patria. Neither Voorn, Noord-Holland nor Heawood records any watermark with the crowned W, but another stock (with a watermark patriotically topped with an Orange tree) closely matches Voorn 172, dated 1823. Although leaf D1 has been removed (directly before the last written leaf D2), there is clearly no gap in the text, with the complete entry for 28 October on C12 followed by the complete entry for 29 October on D2.
The manuscript is in very good condition, with only an occasional minor spot or marginal chip. The binding is somewhat tattered, with 3 of the 4 vellum corners lost and the sewing somewhat loose. A fascinating ship's journal, forming an important and very detailed primary source for Dutch relations and trade in Oman and Iran.
For the ship:
  • Number: 1060651
  • Dealer: Speculum Orbis Nauticum

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