The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #128220   Message #2898959
Posted By: Gibb Sahib
03-May-10 - 12:28 AM
Thread Name: The Advent and Development of Chanties
Subject: RE: The Advent and Development of Chanties
THE LOG OF MY LEISURE HOURS (1872), by "An Old Sailor," original preface 1868. I am confused to what this is -- fiction, or an autobiography. The author seems to switch from first person to third person midway through. In any case, the narrator claims to describe a voyage in a schooner CLEOPATRA to Georgetown, Guyana. On one scene, the loading of molasses and sugar is being accomplished. The writer says it was 1831. Thoughts on the authenticity of this?

Log of Leisure

Here is the passage of interest. Shanties are not mentioned in the book.

As the entire energies of the owners and their agents were devoted to the speedy discharge and loading of the Cleopatra, she was never detained in port, either at London or in Demerara, for more than ten or twelve days at a time. But the work in the West Indies was the heaviest; it was almost unremitting. After the seamen concluded their day's labour, a gang of negroes came on board, who worked the whole night, discharging cargo or taking on board hogsheads of sugar; and their never-ceasing songs, as they walked round the capstan, or when "screwing" or "swamping" sugars in the hold, left little chance of repose to the whites, who had been at similar work during the whole of the day.

The implication is that the crew, out of London, was all White. And though they participated in the loading of the cargo, it was the local (Guyanese) Black workers that sang songs as they worked.