Holograph journal of the author's naval service from 1845 to 1861, with some verses dated 1867. The volume begins with a summary of his service on the HMS Seaflower, sailing between Jersey and northern France, as well as on the steam ship Sidon. He then describes his service on the HMS Orestes, with which he sails to Mozambique, Zanzibar, and Mauritius. He mentions the weather and routine ship duties, as well as shoots gazelles and hippopotami and chases various vessels, including a number of slave ships. On November 19, 1851, they begin to chase a brig, but gives up when it hoists American colors; in January 1852, they chase and take the Maryanne, a brig from Havana equipped for the slave trade, whose crew the writer describes as all seeming to be "hardened slavers." The manuscript also contains his subsequent appointments on the HMS Excellent and HMS Terrible, and further naval service in Cornwallis, Brunswick, and Cambridge; as well as extensive records of his activities on land, in which he describes primarily routine social events, such as visits to his aunt Sarah and other friends; subscribing to the library; dancing; and flute lessons.
The manuscript also includes 8 pen and ink sketches, 2 pencil sketches, 21 poems, 5 newspaper clippings tipped in, and 1 clipping laid in. The sketches are accompanied by explanatory text, and are primarily of naval scenes, consisting of a drawing of "a Spanish Slaver laughing at HMS Orestes Nov 5th 1851"; an illustration of the HM Boat Ima'm; a series of three sketches illustrating the boat of HMS Carter destroying the slave "barraccoons" in the Angorha River, "a noted spot for slaves"; boats on Luabo River; a Portuguese Polacre rigged off Quilimane Mozambique Channel, and taken by HMS Orestes in 1851; Scorpion, disguised as an American Man of War, and "one of a series of drawings, formed into a story by Mr. Samwell", accompanied by a short verse; HMS Orestes on shore at Zanzibar; and the shipes Orestes, Pantaloon, and Dart in company off Cape Fitzwilliam, Mozambique Channel. The pencil sketches, both initialed "W.S.", are of Restormal Castle, Cornwall, "ancient seat of the present Samwells," and the Orestes in a "midnight gale." The newspaper clippings consist of portraits of officials such as General Charles Windham, Matthew Talbot Baines, and General Pierre Bosquet; a scene from Faust; and an engraving of a ship called the Ocean Monarch. The poems included in the manuscript are primarily of a sentimental nature and address such issues as love, death, and resignation; titles include Secrets; Dying child's dream; The forsaken; Old grammer Gruffel, by Charlotte Young; Resignation, from Longfellow's Poems; A wind storm at night; Lines written before death; a poem of admiration for "Sarah"; another love poem "to L. E. Y."; and a humorous poem about the new year.