Lot 56
Sold for £ 11,875 (US$ 15,778) inc. premium

Lot Details
The Chief Engineer's private log, titled on the flyleaf "S.Y. 'Morning' National Antarctic Expedition", and signed "J.D. Morrison Engineer", extending from her departure from East India Dock until her return to England and arrival at Plymouth, manuscript on paper, approximately 170 pages, front endleaves with title and several sketches including "First Iceberg" and "Sledge flag presented to Expedition by J.D.M.", original red quarter roan, rubbed, 9 July 1902-10 October 1904; A revised version of the foregoing covering the period from Morning's first departure from Lyttleton for Antartica until her return from the second voyage, with the addition of some interesting additional explanatory passages, approximately 52 pages, original red quarter roan, manuscript label on upper cover "S.S. Morning J.D. Morrison Engineer", [c.1904], folio (2)


  • A splendid record, by an active participant, giving first-hand accounts of all the events that make up the narrative of the two voyages, with the addition of the engineering information (with its impact on the ship's performance), which is not available elsewhere. To his colourful complaint as to the state of Terra Nova and Shackleton's possible responsibility for that, can be added bitter anger at the superior attitudes of the Royal Navy to officers of the Merchant Service.

    Early entries note concerns with the engines and the ship's sailing qualities. Ten days out Morrison notes "She takes a little water onboard with the roll and has wet the Capt. and Chief Officers rooms". Fashionable Funchal was the first landfall that failed to impress Morrison, Madeira being a "miserable place", and as at Lyttleton drunkeness affected the Engine Room, in this case the greaser Taylor. During the long ensuing journey to Lyttleton (during which Morrison's cat 'Bobs' was lost overboard), the log notes the routine of the engine room, repairs, the stopping and starting of the engines, as well as the lighter matters including days when photographs were developed, and the concert where Doorly sang 'Northland', to words by Morrison [see Lot XXX]. Morning arrived at Lyttleton on 16 November and the following day Morrison went up to Christchurch, predictably a "Rotten place people the same". Taylor and now Kemp drunk. However entries suggest Morrison had a jolly time at Lyttleton, and on 6 December, after a service onboard conducted by Bishop Julius, Morning left the wharf with the tug Lyttleton full of wellwishers and a band made fast alongside.

    On 10 December 1902, after several days stowing stores taken on in New Zealand, the ship's company were issued with Arctic clothing and boots. There was a sweepstake as to when ice would first be sighted, and Morrison starts to makes regular entries on the birds observed. On Christmas Eve the officers had a concert with "any amount of toasts and songs", and Morrison printed some photographs by the midnight sun "it's a bit slow". The following day ice was sighted, together with an uncharted island which was proposed as Markham Island (after Sir Clements Markham, President of the Royal Geographical Society and progenitor of the National Antarctic Expedition), but ultimately named Scott Island. Captain Colbeck, Mulock and Morrison made the landing and drank various toasts including the health of friends in Lyttleton and Christchurch in fulfillment of a pledge to them. The following day Morning had a nasty moment when she struck "a ledge about 1 cable length form the south side of island. Boats were provisioned and made ready, but Morrison put the engines full speed astern, and escaped with the loss of a "good bit of our false keel", the day ending with Morning steering into pack. On 27 December the first large berg was sighted, a flat-top which Morrison calculated as being 200 feet high and 2 miles long, and the first seals were shot for the pot by Colbeck. On New Year's Day a penguin was captured and taken onboard. It's mate followed Morning "for several miles and came on a floe beside us and called to the one on board which answered". On the next day the penguin was "liberated" to join the still-waiting mate. 6 January Mount Sabine was sighted and "we are standing in for Robertson Bay".

    8 January, 1903 Morrison was one of those to go ashore at Cape Adare to Borchgrevink's hut of 1899 "Broke open the door of Hut, found record from Discovery saying all well had been there 7th January 1902...took off some snow shoes and things as momentos". At Posession Island they found no record from Discovery, but instead one left by Borchgrevink's Southern Cross. From there Morning sailed to pass close to Coulman Island for Wood Bay where they hoped to find Discovery, but the passage was impossible, altering course instead for Franklin Island, where Morrison went ashore and found no record. On 17 January he was one of the party landing at Cape Crozier where Discovery's record was found with news that "she was in winter quarters in McMurdo Bay about 100 miles from Cape Crozier so we may see her tomorrow". I was not until 23 January that Discovery's topmasts were sighted "We fired rockets and I fancy the Discovery hoisted her flags but as she was about 5 miles away is was impossible to say". The following day sledges from Discovery were seen "The Doctor, Doorly and I went off to meet them but we fell through the ice near the ship. The Captain and 2nd Officer went off on ski and met the party...The Capt. and party have been away three months southwards. The Engineer and Armitage have explored the Western Mountains to the height of 9000ft.". For a further week Morning steamed with limited success against the ice. On 3 February Discovery was "dressed with flags" taken correctly as a sign that Scott had returned " their dogs all died of poisoning the fish being bad". Morrison and others from Morning went over to Discovery "had a big dinner. I have never seen men eat so much. After dinner we had a concert". Thereafter the Morning was either transferring stores to Discovery by sledge, or taking any advantage that offered to steam closer to Discovery, including the use of explosives. However, on 2 March Morning left for Lyttleton "We have taken on board Mr. Shackleton and nine men from the 'Discovery'. Mr. Shackleton is suffering from the effects of his long sledge journey South the other men are more or less undesirables: Great cheering from all hands. It seemed a great pity leaving them there on the ice for winter...". Getting clear of the ice was not easy and at one point Morrision confided "it certainly looked as if we were going to get stuck which would be a ghastly thing as most of our oils, candles and small stores have been sent to the Discovery".

    25 March Morning arrived at Lyttleton. Taylor, Beer and King were soon off duty, the latter two wishing to be paid off, as they were a few days later. Repairs were made to various valves and the high and low pressure cylinders were inspected and new rings fitted. Most evenings Morrison seems to have been away enjoying himself, frequently staying overnight with friends. Shackleton left on 5 May, and shortly afterwards Morrison made a brief visit to Wellington before returning to gauge cocks, bilges, and packing expansion glands etc. On 4 August H.M.S Phoebe arrived at Lyttleton, her engineers making a survey of the engines and carrying out tests while men from Anderson's continued to work on various valves and the condensor. On 8 September Morrison raised steam and "took turn ahead and astern with engines", to be followed on the 10th by a visit from the furious Engineer of Phoebe who demanded know why the engines were started without his permission, the Commander of H.M.S. Phoebe saying "it was interfering between two contracting parties viz. himself and Anderson...wanted to know why I did not see that the valves were tight before raising steam pointed out to him that that would have been interfering between two contracting parties..." After coaling from H.M.S. Canopus, Morning left Lyttleton on 24 October for Hobart, arriving there on 4 November "Terra Nova arrived here on Saturday dont think much of her or her men, Nine of her crew in jail. Went ashore with Doctor in the afternoon most miserable place I was ever in and most extraordinary looking men and women, judging by the look of the place and people we'll be glad to get away from here, even South Victoria Land will be an improvement the penguins are more or less intelligent".

    6 December Morning and Terra Nova left Hobart. Morning was no match for Terra Nova under steam or canvas, and the faster ship struggled to keep contact with Morning, and the goats were unwell. On Christmas Day Morrison noted he was almost exactly where they were a year ago. Two days later Scott Island was sighted, now surrounded by heavy pack, as Morning followed in the wake of Terra Nova. During the journey to McMurdo Sound both ships shot numerous birds, white seals and sea leopard. On 5 January the ships were stopped 17 miles from Discovery "In the afternoon Capt. Scott and Dr. Wilson came on board quite unexpectedly. They have a small camp on the beach about 3 miles from here at a penguin rookery". Thereafter there were visits to Wilson's camp and guests onboard Morning from there and Discovery. Although progress was being made towards Discovery, by 15 January Royds told Morrison that in a couple of days Discovery would start sending her gear across. On the 15th "Put a tent on the ice and began blasting not very effective". Ten days later with some assistance from blasting Morning and Terra Nova were close to the islets marking the halfway point between where the ships had first been stopped and Discovery, and hopes were rising "We are nearly up to the first island now a day or two of this sort of swell would clear the strait and let Discovery out", but there were also complications and the following day "The sledging party had to leave the sledges on the ice and jump from floe to floe. Eventually Terra Nova got up to the gear and got it on board". The early days of February were spent blasting with varied result, and on the 11th word was sent to Discovery for all hands that could be spared to assist in digging and blasting. On the morning of 12 February the condenser started leaking after a "bad bump" and later in the day "Stuck an ice floe with sternway and the wheel span round damaging the wheel and box bruising the bosun badly". Two days later "The two ships were steaming neck and neck through the floes...We had a great race all the Discovery people sitting on Hut Point watching". On the 16th Discovery was clear and Terra Nova moved to coal her. Morrison thought he saw Discovery ashore on the 17th and the following day recorded "Discovery had been ashore on Hut Point all yesterday afternoon the waves breaking over her, she was expected to break up every little while. A short lull and a shift of wind allowed her to get off..." Wind from the south then forced Morning against the ice, damaging her propeller, the entry for 19 February concluding "I never felt so pleased as when we got out of MacMurdo [sic] strait and hope never to get into it again". The three ships headed north until 21 February when Discovery signalled for Morning to proceed alone to a rendevous at Auckland Island, Morning eventually arriving at Lyttleton on 1 April where extensive repairs and overhaul occupied most of the days before departure for England via Cape Horn on 8 June. Predictably arrival at Port Stanley elicited "the most miserable hole I have ever seen...eggs 3/- a doz. Its an absolutely impossible place..."

    The other volume contains a revised version, which omits all the references to engine room matters, distilling of water etc., and is intended as a narrative, generally following the original entries, but sometimes expanded by further thoughts, such as those on leaving Discovery and her company on March 1903. The entirely new account of events at Lyttleton after returning from the first voyage, expresses Morrison's anger at his treatment at the hands of the Royal Navy and by extension the Admiralty "The officers and Engineers of H.M.S. Phoebe who had never seen ice knew far more about what was wanted and what should or not be done to the ship to make her fit for a southern trip than we did. How we got out from London, down to the Discovery and back here was beyond their comprehension". Of the accommodation on Terra Nova "simply disgraceful and the way she is found is a scandal. There was a great amount of either ignorance or worse displayed in fitting her out. Shackleton who is said to have looked after the equipment must have forgotten his own experiences in the south or been fearfully careless. Perhaps he wanted to break the record for cheapness and so get into the good graces of the Admiralty. A few shillings spent in buying crockery for the saloon and other little things go far to making a ship comfortable". On reflection, Hobart is reappraised "The people of Hobart were very kind, gave us dances receptions etc. and did all they could to make our stay pleasant".

    Provenance: John Donald Morrison (1873-1938), and by descent.
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