Aaron Thomas: The Caribbean Journal of a Royal Navy Seaman

The journal of Aaron Thomas, housed in the University of Miami Libraries Special Collections Division, is a 374 page leather-bound volume containing approximately 367 pages of handwritten material. The journal begins on June 15, 1798 and concludes on October 26, 1799, and chronicles the experiences and adventures of a British seaman serving in the Royal Navy aboard HMS Lapwing in the West Indies during the French Revolutionary wars. The journal contains insightful, first-hand accounts of naval operations, customs of the day, and humorous, detailed anecdotes involving shipmates and superiors. Thomas, who joined the navy in 1793, includes entries regarding the health and punishment of the men aboard ship, as well as his personal views on slavery, religion, and morality. With the exception of the final three pages, all entries are written in Thomas’s hand.

Approximately two hundred and forty pages of the diary are transcribed verbatim, with spelling and punctuation intact.