Approximately two hundred and forty pages of the diary are transcribed verbatim, with spelling and punctuation intact. Words appearing in italics are added to facilitate reading, and square brackets are used to identify unintelligible writing.
Scope and Contents: The journal of Aaron Thomas 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.