Ship's journal from Seychelles and Madagascar, with several references to Arabia

Morse, Edward George. "A Journal of Remarks and Observations as Kept by E[dward] G[eorge M[orse]. Remarks on board the Sarah Barque of London" [Journal of a Voyage to Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, St Helena and Ascension Island on board the Barque "Sarah" out of London].

Mostly at sea, on board the barque "Sarah" of London, April 1831-14 March 1833 (with additions to 1835).

4to (195 x 165 mm). (191) ff., including paste-downs and about 55 blanks. The journal with an engraved view as frontispiece, 15 full-page, 1 nearly full-page and 1 smaller manuscript maps and coastal profiles, plus a small engraved view mounted on 1 page. The lecture notes with a matching pair of engravings of a scull on and facing the title-page, and 27 pencil and/or ink anatomical drawings (including 2 full-page), some also with red.

Including: [Anatomical manuscript]. Morse, Edward George. Lecture Book [notes on anatomical lectures by Joseph Constantine Carpue]. [London], November-December 1828. Contemp, sheepskin parchment.


A manuscript ship's journal kept by Edward George Morse (Bromyard 1805?-Deal post 1850?), who no doubt served, among other functions, as the ship's surgeon. Morse reflects on Arabian navigation and Arabian explorers, including the deservedly famous Ibn Battuta. "The Arabians like the Chinese are said to have employed the compass to guide them through the trackless sands of the desert or to enable them at the hours of prayer to direct their faces with precision towards the city of Mecca and tomb of the prophet. In the sixteenth century moreover when the Portuguese first visited the Indian seas they found that the Arabians are the chief navigators of those seas [...]".

Morse made his earliest dated entries in April 1831 at the island Mauritius in the Indian Ocean and others at Madagascar and its surrounding islands from May to August 1831. Those around Madagascar indicate he was on the barque Manchester, but from at least 11 December 1831 to his arrival back in England on 14 March 1833 he was on the barque Sarah, a 600 ton ship sailing out of London. In it he spent a year in the Seychelles 11 December 1831-15 December 1832, including Make Island, Bird Island, Praslin Island and La Digue.

In very good condition. The binding is soiled and rubbed, and the boards slightly warped, but it remains structurally sound. A fascinating and unusual ship's journal with numerous maps, kept in the unused leaves of the author's illustrated anatomical lecture notes of a few years earlier.