304: Whaler Henry Clay, Account Book Of The Last Voyage
Whaler Henry Clay, Account Book of the Last Voyage
12 x 8 in. hardbound account book of the third and last voyage of the 385-ton whaler Henry Clay of Nantucket, Massachusetts; Captain Samuel P. Skinner. Built in 1839 in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts and owned by Christopher Wyer & Co., she was immediately put to the whaling trade. Leaving October 1847 on her third voyage, she plied the South Pacific, regularly calling on the ports of Tumbes, Peru, and Talcahuano, Chile, twice at the Marquesas Islands, once each Paita, Peru, at Tahiti, and at Pitcairn Island. The Henry Clay never returned home, being condemned at Rio de Janeiro on her homeward-bound leg.
The hunting seems to have been sparse, as the Henry Clay started trading between the ports of Peru and the islands of the South Pacific while searching for whales. Although some pages are missing, we still have records of her landing at the Marquesas on January 5, 1849, and taking on provisions such as 580 coconuts, pineapples, breadfruit and hogs, while selling 300 pounds of tobacco, 11 muskets, 3 dozen flints, 10 kegs of gunpowder, 380 pounds of soap and nearly 300 yards of cloth. January 1, 1850, the Henry Clay was back in the Marquesas with more muskets and gunpowder.
On January 25, 1850, she dropped anchor in Tahiti, where 5 men deserted. She bought blacksmith supplies and sold 725 gallon casks, 50 barrels of beef, and various sundries. On February 22, 1850, she bought potatoes and fruit at Pitcairn Island, and sold 88 yards of cloth. After six months of whale hunting, the Henry Clay returned to Tumbes for provisions, selling 13 barrels of oil, perhaps for operating funds. The next entry is from April 30, 1851, at Talcahuano, Chile, where she sold 119 gallons of whale oil. October 27, 1851, found the ship back at Tumbes, selling one old boat, 1,200 yards of brown cotton and 85 yards of drilling cloth, and dozens of shirts, pants and shoes, among other items of sundries.
July 31, 1852, the Henry Clay loaded up with thousands of pounds of provisions at Talcahuano, and sold a whale boat, 8639 pounds of iron hoops, 791 barrels of shooks (sets of parts to build a cask), 175 water casks, and 686 gallons of whale oil, among other supplies. October 5, 1852 found her ending her voyage in Rio de Janeiro, where she was condemned. She sold 658 gallons of sperm oil as part of her last settlement.
Next in the account book is a balance sheet for the entire voyage, ending at Rio de Janeiro. It is signed at the bottom by Captain Samuel P. Skinner, showing him due $515.16 and a half cents. The last page is an accounting of the oil sold during the voyage. The prices range from $7 to $10 a barrel for whale oil, and the gallon prices from 45 to 50 cents a gallon for whale oil and $1.25 a gallon for sperm oil, giving total sales of $1,626.30.