[ A Royal Navy engineer in the Far East and Pacific, 1882-1891. ] Account book of George Parsons, latterly Chief Engineer of HMS Champion, recording his personal and professional expenses on various tours of duty.

George Parsons, nineteenth-century Royal Navy Chief Egineer on HMS Champion [ Naval and Maritime ]
Publication details: 
Between August 1882 and May 1891. At locations including Port Said, Alexandria, Portsmouth, London, Suez, Malta, Hong Kong, Yokohama, Tokyo, Vladivostock, Shanghai, San Francisco, Vancouver, Esquimault, Honolulu, Halifax. Further accounts,1889-1911.
SKU: 19412

73pp., in a 12mo account book with printed red rules, in dark marbled boards with black cloth spine. Internally in fair condition, aged and worn, in heavily worn binding. Inscribed 'G. Parsons' twice on front endpapers. (Parsons' Royal Navy certificates as an assistant engineer (1872) and engineer (1878) are held by the National Archives.) The present volume contains a full set of accounts, 1882-1891, over 52pp.; less-detailed accounts, 1898-1911, over 8pp.; desultory accounts over 5pp., including two-pages of the 'Furniture Fund | H.M.S. Champion', 1889-1891; and a full-page detailed 'List of outfit', itemising his clothing in a 'Tin case', 16 September 1888. The main accounts, August 1882 to May 1891, are laid out in double entry over 52pp., with credits (including pay rises and debts to fellow officers and winnings at 'Whist') on versos of leaves, and corresponding debits on the facing rectos. A mass of entries include the cost of: mess and club bills, subscriptions to the Pembroke Cricket Fund (5s), the 'Nigger Fund' (5s, 1 March 1889), the Hang Chow Relief Fund, a gravestone for the ship's cook, and a 6s subscription to the Golden Jubilee Fund of 1887, wine, washing, furniture, socks, handkerchiefs, 'Beamish' (stout), 'Turkish Towels', 'Cashmere Vests', 'Tennis Shoes' and 'Racquet', 'To Alexander for tobacco', 'Shoes hf soled & heeled', 'Picture mounts & frames', 'Gunpowder', 'Making flannels', 'Athletic Club', 'Tea pot'. The accounts, which also note locations by date, begin on 1 August 1882, with Parsons in the Mediterranean (Cyprus, Egypt) and having £8 8s 6d 'In hand', expenditure (itemised with individual prices) for the same month includes 'Wine for June & July', 'Paper fund', 'Tonna', 'Malla Shampo [sic]', '11th. <?> vaseline', 'Wash', Book', 'Cigarts.', 'Limasol Stamps', 'Alexandria, stamps', 'Ismailia'. In December of the same year he is in London and getting married (there are entries for 'Jennie' and 'Fannie'), buying a 'Marriage License' for 42s 6d on 22 December, followed by a 'Ring' for 35s on Boxing Day, and 'Locket', 'Bon Bons', 'Marriage fees', 'Dickens' Books'. From there the book records Parsons' travels: to Malta by 15 January 1883, and from there to Hong Kong (leaving May 1883), Yokohama, Nagasaki (August 1883), Vladivostock (September 1883), Shanghai (including dinners at Astor House), and elsewhere. After Parsons's promotion to Chief Engineer on HMS Champion in January 1888, his travels include Valparaiso, San Francisco (prices noted in dollars, with conversion rate), Vancouver (for a court martial), Honolulu (January 1890), Esquimalt naval base on Vancouver Island (June 1890), and elsewhere, arriving at Halifax (Nova Scotia) in January 1891. A second set of less-detailed accounts, covering the period August 1898 to January 1911, follows in pencil over 8pp. The second set of accounts are followed by 5pp. of desultory accounts, including two pages (double entry) headed 'Furniture Fund | H.M.S. Champion', 1889-1891. At the rear of the volume are four pages of scientific transcriptions by Parsons, with three pages of calculations, including a newspaper cutting, at the front.