Regretfully, due to Covid-19, we have decided to cancel all fairs up until the end of October.
Book Description
Impressive primary source manuscript accounts of naval training and service, in the form of a naval logbook and private journal, both made simultaneously by George Tate Medd as a very young lad aged 12-16, learning the trade, and featuring service in the West Indies for 29 months. Compiled during service on seven of HM Royal Navy ships, some of which are notable, including Inflexible, Imaum, Wellesley, Alarm, Victory, Arrogant, Britannia. Logbook: Quarto. 294 pages in manuscript, leafs feature the Britannia watermark, ruled in ink, neatly outlined for daily use, with a few steel engravings mounted and tipped in for illustration. Original boards, wrapped in hand-stitched flag cloth with title "Log" and featuring an ink drawing of a ship. Volume measures approximately 22 x 33 x 3 cm. Delicate hinge, leafs chipped at edges, cloth cover well used, otherwise in very good condition internally, crisp and clean leafs with clear entries in a legible hand. Private Journal: 8vo. 250 pages in manuscript, with 2 of Medd's own watercoloured ship drawings mounted within, 4 manuscript in-text drawings, 7 steel engravings tipped in for illustration, signed GT Medd on the final leaf. Half calf over marbled boards, original marbled endpapers, and brass clasp. Volume measures approximately 12,5 x 18 x 3 cm. Wear to boards, clasp hinge fixed in position, otherwise in very good condition. Together with: 1 manuscript letter written by him at aged 11, dated 1 June 1848, predating the two volumes.
Dealer Notes
George Tate Medd (1837-1907), was a Royal Navy officer who enlisted as a naval cadet at only 12 years old, quickly earned his way to becoming a midshipman, and found himself on a voyage to the West Indies, an adventure which would last two and a half years. He visited the islands of Jamaica, Bermuda, Trinidad, the Caymans, and Cuba; also going to Vera Cruz in Mexico, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland in Canada's Labrador region. Medd subsequently saw an illustrious career with the Navy, serving in the Crimean War in 1853, during which he was directly involved in the blockading of the Black Sea and participating in the Battle of Alma. Not long after, in China, he served for some two years during the Second Opium War. He retired in 1861 invalided with the rank of Lieutenant. Evidently he cherished his navy life and preserved his own journal for safekeeping, making a scant few later reminiscent annotations in the margins, in 1890 and 1893.

A superb primary source account of the rigors and adventures of a Royal Navy marine in the 1850s, documented by a very young lad of only 13 years of age, whose first overseas voyage took him to the British West Indies before decolonization, to Havana, to Vera Cruz in the Gulf of Mexico, and north to Newfoundland Colony, and Nova Scotia which had become self-governing only three years before his arrival in 1848.

This was a time of significant social change in the West Indies, a step forward in human rights. Emancipation laws came into effect in 1838, not long before. And, the same year that Medd was in Jamaica, in 1852, Edward Jordon, a "free person of colour," became the first man of colour to be elected mayor of Kingston. [In 1835, Jordon was appointed to the Legislative Council, which advised the governor. In 1854, he was mayor of Kingston, a post he held for 14 years. From 1861-4, Jordon was the first non-white man to become speaker of the Assembly. Together with Richard Hill (Jamaica), he was a leading figure in post-emancipation Jamaica.]

Medd spent 29 months attached to the North America and West Indies Station, from 18 September 1850 to 18 February 1852. The main base of the Station was at Bermuda, which was strategically positioned to counter threats from the United States. Halifax was used as the summer base for the station. His logbook contains 155 pages, the journal 10 pages, and his itinerary was as follows:

• HMS Imaum: Jamaica 18 September - 29 October 1850
• HMS Indefatigable: Bermuda 30 October - 16 November 1850
• HMS Wellesley: Bermuda, Trinidad, St. Vincent, Grenada, Dominica, Montserrat, back to Bermuda, 17 November 1850 - 6 May 1851
• HMS Alarm: Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Jamaica, Cuba, Gulf of Mexico, back to Havana and Jamaica, 7 May 1851 - 19 February 1852

Both the logbook and the journal entries start on 11 June 1850 at Plymouth as Medd is a twelve-year-old (nearly 13, born 25 June 1837) naval cadet on board HMS Impregnable, beginning his naval training. He reports on his first watch duty, the first time he turned into his hammock for sleep, the training exercises and pastimes.

Some of his tasks onboard the various ships include cleaning, painting, scrubbing hammocks, provisioning, stowing holds, mending, watch duty, tireless work with altering the position of the sails to maintain course at sea, firing exercises, target practice, cutless and musket drills, surveying gunner stores, and more.
Author George Tate Medd
Date 1850-1853
Condition Logbook: Delicate hinge, leafs chipped at edges, cloth cover well used. Private Journal: Wear to boards, clasp hinge fixed in position.

Friends of the PBFA

For £10 get free access to our fairs, updates from the PBFA and much more.


Membership of the PBFA is open to anyone who has been trading in antiquarian and second-hand books for a minimum of two years subject to certain criteria.
Find Out More