[Russian Navy 1861-1880] Two detailed Journals of an English engineer (primarily naval) in the Russian Far East, 1861-1880

An English engineer (primarily naval) in the Russian Far East, 1861-1880
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SKU: 17278

2 volumes. Both internally in good condition, with light signs of age, and both in worn grey cloth bindings with marbled boards.ONE: 17 May 1861 to 22 July 1861, then a couple of entries for 1867, and then from 1 January 1868 to 22 May 1870. 115pp., 4to. At rear, three pages, with the following headings: 'Cashe [sic] received From 16 October 1865', 'Nineaux' and 'Account with Lutz the 22 of Febure [sic]'.TWO: 14 August 1876 to 23 September 1880. 136pp., small 4to. At rear, pages headed: 'Steamer Andrei 1878 to 1879', 'Repairs on "Djinlinder" Winter 1878 to 1879', 'Wanted at Blagoweshensky' and 'From Nicolofsky - Passenger'. The present item is a fascinating artefact commemorating a hitherto-unexplored interchange between two cultures. There have been English engineers in the Russia from at least the time of Peter the Great, but the advent of the Industrial Revolution appears to have precipitated an increase in the number. In the 1830s, 'Mr. Major, or as he is called in Siberia, Mr. Mesher', was 'an English engineer who has made several steam-engines for the mines of Siberia' (Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, 1837). Twenty years later S. S. Hill, in his 'Travels in Siberia' (1854), reported encounters with two in Ikaterinburg alone: one, 'a resident English engineer, Mr. Tate, possessing an extensive iron manufactory at this place' and the other, 'Mr. Jackson, who had been sent into Siberia by the Russian government to aid and extend the operations of the iron works in this vicinity'. The latter is said by Hill to have 'raised himself by his industry and perseverance, from the humbler ranks of the artizans of his country to his present position'. The present author is clearly in a similar position to Tate's. He is trusted and capable, but without a full education . Despite his bad grammar and spelling ('Friday', 'Holyday', 'doctore', 'residense'), he is clearly a native English speaker. An envelope, loosely inserted in the second volume, may perhaps be addressed to a relation: 'Mr. James H Jackson | 99 Wellington Street | Bolton | Lancashire'. We learn that he is married with children (two sons are named: 'Thomas James' and 'Lewis'). On 10 June 1868 he writes: 'got letters from home of R. Smith death from Harriet Fanny Walter little Fanny and sister Susannah'. A similar entry on 1 February 1869 may provide clues as to his identity: 'got letters from Petts creek Ninaud, Harriet Fanny Millari and father and Louis Kidman'. The author writes with the 'long s', and for some months of year he gives dual English and Russian dating, separated by twelve days. He notes Russian holidays and occasional English ones and others such as 'Prussian Christmass'. Regular notes are made of the severe Russian weather. (On 8 November 1868 the author writes: 'Holiday very cold - a sailor from Korsakoff found frozen on the road near Stretchensky | This morning early river frozen over'. And on 5 October 1879: 'Fine day but could sledge as roads distroyed'.) There are occasional references to topical events. For example, on 4 April 1879, 'Out at harbour men at work fine day first water <?> News Russian Emperor was shot at | Gave Paulkoff Pollock adresse'; and on 1 March 1878, 'English said to be bombarding Tureky'. Although he has additional work on locomotive engines and in the gold mining industry, the author's main employment is on steam ships, and involves the dismantling and repair of engines, and the going on 'trial trips'. He is also a draughtsman, writing on 10 November 1869: 'finished drawing for cylinder Kosakawich'. The extracts below give an indication of the nature of the author's employment. Labour is cheap in Imperial Russia, and the author can oversee men numbering in the hundreds. Much of his work is clearly for commercial concerns, but there does appear to be some connection with the Imperial navy. On 30 August 1879 he writes: 'Bootakoff name day he went to see barge in Platoke returned at 12 MD said would be finished to day', apparently a reference to the Admiral Grigory Butakov (1820-1882). And on 14 September 1869 begins a revealing passage, including a reference to General Skolkoff (described in The Times of 14 May 1874 as 'an Admiral, Aide -de-Camp General, and chief of the Emperor's personal Naval Staff'): 'General Ditmare arrived and left on Onon at 4 PM he going to Kara and Onon to the Amoor. Colonel Gertz arrived to review material in harbour | [15 September] Began, With Col Gertz to weight materials, Nicolaefsky arrived at 5 PM, expecting Skolkoff | [16 September] Weighing materiale of Harbour was sent on board Nicolaefsky found boiler a little burnt other things all well | [17 September] Fine day finished Materiales Admiral Skolkoff arrived on Zea at 9 PM. | [18 September] Admiral out in harbour had a long talk with him said he wishes to have this factory in Kabarofsky [i.e. Khabarovsk] Left on Zea at 11. AM for Brenking Nordwick not in Uniform to Receive him' | [1 October] Zea returned from Brenking, saw Barislofsky told me Korsakoff wished him to speak with me about contract got a letter from Barre'. The author's work appears to be hard and unrelenting. One of the few references to recreation involves a horse race, with the author writing on 18 March 1869: 'Great race for 1000Rs against 200 with Samsonowich and Golbert the later won, my horse took fright'. (On 8 April of the same year he pays 'Samsenowich for 3 pair of Galosh 6,50 Rs'.) The author's precise location during the two decades of the journals is difficult to ascertain, for reasons including his atrocious spelling (on 19 January 1869 he writes: 'Mr S passed here on his way to China from Bloody wastock'), but he is clearly located in the Far East. Among the large number of places mentioned by him are: Stretchinsky or Stretensky (29 March 1879: 'At 2 AM Fire broke out in old stores in market place Stretensky and burnt down 19 shops and hotel got most of my things out and took lodgings by Pauveloff at 7 AM all this time on Schilka'), Blagoweshen and Blavoshensky [i.e. Blagoveschensk, Amur Oblast], Irkoots [i.e. Irkutsk, Siberia], Amoor [Amur River], Pokroffsky [Pokrovsky], Bienking, Chilka, Shita, Nertchinsky, Barishsking, Borchofsky, Kara, Loogavoy. And among the Russian names are: Purgachefky, Hayounion [Hoynion], Podachenko, Kazakeywich, Korzakoff, Prodgrasky, Margazoff, Newsser [Newser], Molsoff, Zinzenoff, Captain Petrowish, Mazeoff, Barislofsky, Korsakoff, Voloffskoff, Zablosky, Chestakoff, Captain Bootakoff, Porotoff, Aristakoff. There are also references to Captains Nordwick and Oatkin or Oatkan. The ships the author refers to include: General Korsakoff or Korzakoff (on 29 July 1861 he reports the arrival from Long Island of an English steamer by this name), Zea, Nicolaefsky, Corrinth, Gonetz, Nechannia, Kaparack, Barislasky, Ingoda, Abchenishnikoff, Helena, Alexy, Emma. And there are references to a number of English residents, including: Chase, Newman, Barre, Norton, Weymouth, Pollock, Captain Crely, Captain Brook, Charles Wolf, Paterson.The following selection of extracts is arranged under the following headings:1. Work2. Contract3. Disagreements4. Parts and Labour5. Employees6. Locomotives7. Gold Mining8. Alcohol9. Criminality10. Author's Health--1. WORKOn 11 June 1861 the author writes: 'at 9 AM priest blessed steamer Nicolas at 11.30 AM started on trial trip with many officers on board run from Koska to Chinerack in 38 minute Engine at most making 36 revolutions towed Corrinth barge up the last is boat and after fell over board arrived home at about 8 P.M Excentic altered on the way'. And a week later, on 18 June 1861: 'at 7 AM had a trial trip with English steamer Korzakoff run well made 1 ½ Miles marks 9 minutes up 6 ½ down run round Lena demand with Belegory expressed himself perfectly satisfied gave me 500 R. as also J. P.' On 14 June 1861 the Korzakoff 'left for Leman went down as far as Chinerack return in a small boat with Belegory and dined with him got back at 2 PM found Weymouth had taken is cut off. off the engine for good got 2 letters from home'.On 17 March 1868: 'Cold, took condenser of Korsakoff to pieces to get under her to repair hull sent a letter to Petherick by Miss Devideva Barishafsky returned from Shita, gave in Estimation for Material for 1869', and two days later: 'Sent money for soap and candles for Petherick and a letter to Soderoff to say his lath was finished Lutz said he expecte the repairs of his Steamer to cost 300 Rs I told him not more than 200 in Machine shop very wharm day, not finished cleaning under "Korsakoff" for 1 patch more spoke long about it'.A run of hard work in 1877 begins on 4 May 1877: '"Ditmare" a ground just outside of locks. Could not move further water in Schilka Standing. Paukolkoff launched his first 2 small Steamers a little rain | [5 May] Out at harbour at 7 AM found "Ditmare" aground and all asleep 12 men waiting returned to town & sent out 20 more men Tryed "Shita" & "Zea" afternoon at 4 PM out again at harbour and brought "Ditmare" to Stretensky at 7 PM informed Pauloloff she was quite ready. water stoped rising. Water standing | [6 May] Water rising 1" per day got all lugage on board "Ditmare" Tryed "Alexy" at 5 PM and on board "Korsakoff" found all well - Telegrame from Skapalzine that only 2 of water in Schilka. Telegrame Politick that England could not look on the Ware | [7 May] Left on board "Ditmare" at 1,50 PM with 220 men 500 P<?>ds Sukary 5 cask of Spirits 2 Verses above Mongady found 3 ft of water but concluded nearer shore to hear [...]'On 16 May 1877: 'Korsakoff passed here with 2 barges at 8 AM downward. Nicolaefsky arrived here with 2 barge one for Tavarashstoy and other with our workmen found tubes leeking in lower part and feed said not to act together at 12 Midday Nicolaefsky left for Voskrechensky for her barge and "Andree" again a trial trip upward 4 verses with Director on board all worked well and all quite satisfiyed with Steamer "Andree" "Alexzy" passed downward with barge of soldiers at about 3 PM'.On 28 May 1879: 'Sibererack arrived upward at Albazen at 6 A.M left at 11 AM "Rabotnick" at 8 AM left at 10 AM <?> and "Djinlinder" arrived at 4,30 PM after much trouble got her to send off a boat for me Left at 4,55 PM arrived at Residence at 7,50 PM, 3000 <?> on Steamer altogether engine making & 4 revolutions per minute with 35 <?> of steam 26 of vacume in fact working very well but high waters.'In addition to his main employment the author does a bit of trading on the side. On 3 October 1868 he writes: 'Sold Petherick tea 32 bricks for 28 RS', and on 9 April 1870: 'Sold my silver to Zablosky for 1,25.' And on 7 January 1869: 'Received from Dïtch 10 Rs for Iron sold of Jew [in] Bienking, and 17 Rs for oven boy Jew, one sailor left work without notice'.There are a couple of references to a country with which Russia would be at war at the end of the century. On 15 July 1861: 'got the rest of Japaness Cargo on steamer'. And on 1 July 1861: 'Japaness [i.e. Japanese] left with Berling's schooner all hand on steamer Nicolas blowed Chukaroff for not finishing barge bought son at Silverstone Korzakoff left for Tiers station to <?> 10 oxens and returned at 9 PM making 25 verse per hour <?> all hands at work on Nicolas allowed 50R per day for meat'2. CONTRACTFrom the first the author has trouble with the terms of his employment. On 22 May 1861 he writes 'River open at 12 Midday steamer Zee in sight gave my resignation to Pargachefsky Zee landed Passengers at 5 PM in a small boat Kozakaurich Admiral arrived in Zee with much news Agent spoke to me in Evening asking me on what termes I wanted for this year told him it was too late I had given my word to Mr Chase | [23 May 1861] pump boilers up found pipes leaked badly Agent wanted to withdraw my letter of yesterday told Hoynion I would think of it he told me Agent had power to give me 300 R per month Agent got news of his dismissal asked twice to day of Agent for guage cocks not yet arrived' There is usually trouble with the yearly negotiating of his contract. On 1 July 1861 he writes: 'had a dispute with Belegory regarding my contract'. And again on 3 January 1868: 'This morning at the work had a row with Prodgrasky who told me I was on Tuesday last at 10 PM at Borislofsky with my contract I told him it was a lie as I was at Mordofsky at 8 PM and home at 9 PM Prog gave me some paper about instructions which I never read'. And on 3 February 1879: 'spoke about my percentage to directore told me to write to Bassnine as he could only answer for the same'.3. DISAGREEMENTSThe author notes a number disagreements or 'scandales'. The second entry (18 May 1861) reads: 'home at about 3,30 AM from Mr Newser wedding Mr Barre and Norton had a great dispute and shook hands to day'. On 31 December 1876: 'Ball in evening Great Scandale with Gregasoff'. And on 8 November 1879: 'Smith to residence Linblome daughter christned evening at Botokoff with scandale finished'. On 21 November 1879 he writes: 'Bootakoff again insulted by Goshcoff', and the following day 'Bootakoff left to complain in Albazine'.4. PARTS AND LABOURThroughout the author is engaged in a constant struggle for parts and labour. On 1 January 1868 he is 'In Bienking by Kaparacky Mill', waiting for 'coals for blacksmith', and around this time 'No coals for blacksmith' is a common complaint. On 17 January 1868 he writes: 'told Prodrasky that if I did not soone have coals I should not be able to get Steamers ready left for Bienking in evening at 5 PM'. And on 3 November 1869: 'Saw Barrislafsky asked him about boiler for fire engine, told me it was for harbour not for him. Told Nordwick of same when he said we had a round one which would do for us I told him it would be of no use but he thought different, asked for bricklayer to see to ovens of factory and my house | [4 November] Much ice in chilka no bricklayer sent to see to oven, asked Nordwick about 4 large tubes for water in factory in case of fire'. On 25 May 1861 he writes: 'fine day rather windy told Agent required three sailors and boatsman continuoly a board - said he would see to it Zee left at 1 P.M with Governer on board to visite Yougery at 1.30 P.M lighted fire on board actionary started Engines at 3 PM worked remarkably well all joint tight stoped at 6 PM Engine with full steam made 76 revolutions a minute Agent dissired Carpenter to work to morrow wrote to my wife'. And on 2 April 1877: 'told Captain I must have all men for engine room by to morrow to clean engines and flanges or I must report'.5. EMPLOYEESwith those under his direction numbering in the hundreds. On 3 May 1879 he writes: 'Emma & Zea left hearly in morning sent all things on board Andre and left with 300 workmen at 5,20 PM with strong winds downward - | stoped 25 verses from Stretensky at 7.20 PM'. And on 2 May 1880: 'Left on André 500 workmen left at 1 PM found not lesse than 5 feet of water passed'.6. LOCOMOTIVESOn 13 February 1869 he writes: 'Got private work for Chestakoff on his locomotive'. And another run of locomotive work begins on 17 January 1879: 'Work finished and packed up all machinery for André at 11. A.M. Lebotking ordered 1 sleigh for me to morrow morning himself left at 11 PM Feodoroff drunk | [18 January] Lower Demetry Locomobile again started after 3 days & night repaires. Myself with Stop valve for Andree left Priska at 9. AM. arrived at Residense at 9. PM found Lebotking Mykoff & Jelvettre here | [19 January] Boiler of Nicolaefsky and frames ready loaded for Priska. Leboking & Mykoff left at 11 PM. | [...] | [27 January] 22 of cold Feodoroff arrived here at 9.AM Told me le locomobile of lower saw mill was brought back to shop to change all tubes | [28 January] 21 of degrees Spirit arrived from Stretensky Doctore & F returned at 11. PM the worse for wine'.7. GOLD MINING15 December 1878: 'Left for gold washing at 10AM with doctore | [16 December] Arrived at Vassiloff gold washing at 1 midnight nighted by Doctore Footerine here but left at 9 P.M'. And on 11 January 1880: 'Nerpine left at 10 AM for Residense Larring at 4 PM for procuring new place for gold 120 verses from here', and a week later: 'Larring returned from seeking gold but found none'. 18 February 1880: 'Nerpine directore returned at 4 PM from Alexzy. gold washing good gold found at last years place To day left good to transport to gold washings'.8. ALCOHOLHabitual drunkenness is a great problem. On 1 March 1869 the author records: 'Most of men drunk'. And on 1 December of the same year: 'Many men drunk'. (Two days later: 'Let men out of prison'.) And on 11 February 1879 he reports, regarding a Russian festival: 'Many drunk of Butter week'.9. CRIMINALITYOn 15 July 1861 the author writes: 'sent a man to police got cargo out of steamer heard they was not able to floge sailor.' And on 2 November 1868: 'convict received 250 lashes for stopping Diackinoff'. On 2 October 1869 he records: 'Fine day Orders from Zagaring to send all convicts to Kara, Koskawich arrived at 6 PM all well, Nordwick sent Telegram to Governor for permission to retain convicts'.10. AUTHOR'S HEALTHThe author's health is precarious throughout. On 7 January 1877 he writes: 'Lost about 12 lb of blood through nose and mouth from 7 AM to 7 PM when I all but lost my senses but gradualy got round'. With the last entry in the second volume, written in August 1880, he arrives back in London at Cannon St station, having travelled via Tomsk and St Petersburg, and is immediately taken ill with a fever, from which he is still suffering, under the care of 'Dr Vickers', as the journal ends on 23 September 1880.?>?>