Ships log of the East Indiaman 'Thomas Coutts' for 1828
By WIGGINS, Arthur , 1826

A Journal of the Proceedings on Board the H.C.S. Thomas Coutts From the Port of London to Bengal & China Commanded by Alex[ander] Chrystie Esq. Commencing December 3rd 1827 Ending June 16th 1829. Kept By Arthur Wiggins Midshipman.

Maritime & Military
  • Author: WIGGINS, Arthur
  • Publication place: London
  • Publisher: Printed and Published by, J.W. Norie & Co. (succesors to the late W. Heather,) Chartseller to the Admiralty and the Honourable East India Company, and the Agents to the Board of Admiralty for the Sale of their Office Charts; at their Navigation Warehouse and Naval Academy, No.157, Leadenhall Street, near the Royal Exchange; Where may be had Sea Books, Pilots and Charts for all parts of the World, Sextants, Quadrants, and Telescopes and all the Charts and Nautical Publications of Steel & Co. late of No.70, Cornhill
  • Publication date: 1826.
  • Physical description: Folio (330 by 210mm), title, list of crew, passengers, births and deaths during voyage, 79 fl. journal of the outward bound and return journey, each leaf with printed table for the noting of course and daily remarks, numerous sketches and caricatures to upper and lower paste down, contemporary vellum over boards, soiled.
  • Inventory reference: 1621


The log commences on the 3rd December 1827, in the East India Company Export Dock, London, and covers the voyage to Bengal, then to China, and the return to England. The ship carried soldiers for India as well as cargo and cast off on the 19th December. However, Private John Cheeseman of the 14th Regiment had hardly had time to receive 200 lashes before a conference of officers decided the ship was not seaworthy and that they should return to the Thames.

After much toing and froing the the log begins again on the 25th March 1828 off Dungeness Lighthouse. The outward journey log records general nautical details such as weather and heading together with the births, deaths; and the rather frequent floggings, the soldiers getting much the worse of it, usually receiving 200 lashes compared with the sailors nominal two dozen.

The ship reaches Calcutta on the 1st July, and anchors in Sanjar Roads, unloading passengers and cargo and taking on goods, mostly cotton. On the 19th September she weighs anchor for China arriving at Whampong Reach on the 6th November, where she loaded tea and other goods, before leaving for England on the 17th February 1829. The log ends on the 2nd of June 1829.

The ‘Thomas Coutts’ was built by Frances Barnard, Son & Roberts, in the Blackwall yard for Stewart Marjoribanks, a merchant involved with the East India Company. She was launched on the 17th September 1817 under the name of ‘Thomas Coutts’; with a tonnage of 1424 9/94, and dimensions of 138 by 43.4 by 17.1 feet. The East India Company chartered her on the 31st December 1817. Her first two voyages were under the command of Captain William Marjoribanks, who was relieved of command on the 31st December by Captain Alexander Chrystie. She made eight voyages between 1817 and 1833 under the auspices of the East India Company. Although no longer chartered by the Company after 1833, she continued to make regular runs to India and China up until 1845. In 1841 she was sold to famous ship-owner Joseph Soames, and in 1845 was broken up.

Her most memorable voyage was her 1826/1827 run to China and India. In March 1826, carrying goods and mail, she left England and arrived in Bombay harbour three months later, on June 2, only 82 days from the Channel. From Bombay she went on to China, leaving the Indian port in August and calling at Singapore and Macao. She left China on November 23, reaching St. Helena late in January 1827, finally arriving in the Downs on March 2, 1827. This was the fastest voyage on record, out and home in 10 days less that a year.

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