• Title
    Medical log of the slave-ship "Lord Stanley", kept by Christopher Bowes
  • Reference
  • Level of description
  • Date
  • Creator
  • Scope and Content
    Medical log of the slave-ship "Lord Stanley", kept by Christopher Bowes, the ship's surgeon between 23 March-26 July 1792. The ship traded between the African coast and the Isle of Grenada, West Indies. Of the 389 slaves on board, 16 died. The log gives the daily sick rate, with brief notes of the cases and treatment. At the end of the manuscript, Christopher Bowes states it is a "just and true journal" which he then presents to Custom House, at St George, Grenada in 1792. This is witnessed and signed by George Ferguson [Possibly George Ferguson, Governor of Tobago c1781]. The next page of the volume contains a statement signed by George Ferguson, saying that this is a "true copy of the original journal", and is dated September 5th 1792. Therefore it is likely that this manuscript is a copy of the original journal, which was perhaps retained in Grenada. At the front of the volume is a letter to Arthur Bowes Elliot (grandson of Christopher Bowes) dated 5th October 1911, from Sir Ronald Ross (FRCS) 1857-1932, regarding the contents of the volume, and the diseases the slaves were suffering from.
  • Extent
    1 volume
  • Physical description
    The manuscript pages of the log have been bound into a more recent volume
  • Language
  • Conditions governing access
    By appointment with the archives. Contact details of the Archives on the College website.
  • Conditions governing reproduction
    No photocopying permitted
  • Admin./ biographical history
    Christopher Bowes was surgeon to the slave-ship Lord Stanley, which traded between the African coast and the Isle of Grenada, West Indies in the late eighteenth century. Bowes was born in 1770, and became a member of the Royal College of Surgeons of England on November 6th 1788. He was a naval surgeon and apothecary, residing in Richmond, Yorkshire. [Source: PI and RV Wallis, Eighteenth Century Medics, 1985; RCS Membership lists] Between 1450 and 1850 at least 12 million Africans were taken across the 'Middle Passage' of the Atlantic. European traders would export manufactured goods to the west coast of Africa where they would be exchanged for slaves. The slaves were then sold in the Americas, and traders used the money to buy raw materials such as sugar, cotton, coffee, metals, and tobacco which were shipped back and sold in Europe. To maximize their profits slave merchants carried as many slaves as was physically possible on their ships. A House of Commons committee in 1788 discovered that one slave-ship, The Brookes, was originally built to carry a maximum of 451 people, but was carrying over 600 slaves from Africa to the Americas. Chained together by their hands and feet, the slaves had little room to move. A large number of slaves died on the journey from poor food and diseases such as smallpox and dysentery.
  • Associated names
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