Thursday, May 21, 2015



A story of the Asian slave trade that followed the abolition of the African slave trade, as described by a first-hand witness, Don Aldus, The Rover.

Sponsored by the award-winning commercial design specialists of NM Interiors Group at

Copyright 2015. Glenn Scott Michaels

The hardbound book drifted from bookshelf to bookshelf for over 100 years before I opened it. Its water-stained pages are filled with neat columns of  handwritten words organized in alphabetical lists, cryptic annotations (“Number of different words in my book, Don Aldus The Rover”) and a yellowed newspaper clipping from the London Times. 

Why would a writer count, for God’s sake, the words in his own book? OCD, maybe?  And what was that book? Who was the mysterious Don Aldus?  

Figure 1 (above right): Spine of journal with handwritten and pasted label: Don Aldus. Figure 2 (below left): Inside cover of the journal. Pencil text reads: “Number of different words in my book, Don Aldus The Rover'.

There were no easy answers. Little by little, question by question, it suckered me into searching for answers that no one else had found and placed in the public domain.  

Sorry, did you just say, “So what?”  

Exactly! So what? can’t be answered unless someone investigates.  My  investigation crisscrossed oceans. I sniffed through the English-language archives of England and Australia, virtual library stacks in New Zealand and riffled through the genealogies of countless individuals. It is astonishing how much can be learned about historical figures using the Internet. In fact, you can sometimes learn more about them than their own contemporaries could have known. 

More specifically, I learned that slavery didn’t pass out of the world just because England, and later the United States, outlawed the practice. I found that racism didn’t prevent Caucasian merchants and their Chinese counterparts from doing business, as long as their mutual interests were served.
I learned how hard it can be to live with shame. Plus a lot more. So pay attention.

The book—let’s call it a journal—certainly didn’t look like the key to a series of interlocking stories, each known in its respective time and place, but never connected. Not like this. 

—The story of a ship—one of many—that freighted abducted and coerced workers from China and delivered them as slaves to the Americas and elsewhere for profit. 

—A long-forgotten author—our hero!—who published the same text twice in eight years, under two titles, using two names. 

—A scathing, seemingly on-the-spot description of the ugly and brutal coolie trade. And yet, that description turns out to be, literally and figuratively, a whitewash.

What was the coolie trade? The business model essentially required the capture of Chinese nationals by other Chinese, their imprisonment in China and their subsequent transportation by ship to colonies controlled or managed by Caucasians. The contracts for this human freight were subsequently sold or auctioned, generally to mine and plantation owners in need of cheap labor. 

Figure 4: Clipping from London Times, February 18 (1890, as listed in the archive of the Times of London). Note: HMS Pigmy was a Pigmy Class Composite Gunboat built at the H M dockyard, Sheerness, Kent. 1988. (See Footnote #1)

Ultimately, this journal proved to be a lost and most probably previously unknown link to reports about the coolie trade that appeared in newspapers far and wide in the latter decades of the 19th century. 

After the slave ships from Africa were outlawed and long before “cattle cars” were used to deliver European pariahs to German death camps, Caucasian and Oriental “businessmen” combined to obtain and deliver cargoes of miserable and horribly abused Chinese to far distant lands and godforsaken often deadly jobs for profit.

The journal isn't much to look at. Some pages were cut out. Some are blank. Most are filled with lists. Neatly written, primarily in ink, the word lists are grouped alphabetically, but are otherwise casually organized. asking precedes added, which is followed by adding, and aspire.

Inside the cover of the journal, written in pencil are the words “Number of different words in my book, Don Aldus The Rover.” (See Figure 2, above.)

The words add up. Literally, if not figuratively. The journal’s author appears to have counted all of the words in Don Aldus The Rover. They are organized alphabetically, by first letter. Individual totals appear at the end of every section. (See Figures 3 and 7.) In the last pages of the journal, its author summed up a life at sea by totaling the number of words he used to describe it. 

This, however, would not become clear until later.

The search for the identity of Don Aldus and his literary legacy ultimately led to the story of the “coolie trade” that followed the abolition of the African slave trade. I learned that the gold rush that eventually transformed the North American West had a frightful counterpart in the rush to capture and sell “yellow gold” - Chinese men - to the owners of plantations, mines and “mineral” deposits in South America, the Caribbean and the islands of the Malay Archipelago.

But, as it would turn out, behind the seemingly candid testimony of Don Aldus, lay “facts” as cryptic as the water-stained journal that revealed them.

I stumbled on the journal among the effects left behind by my parents. Its decorative spine earned it a second life in the disinterested safety of my parents’ bookshelves. There it likely sat unopened for years. In 1989, that house sent flames high into the sky above Mummy Mountain, in Scottsdale, Arizona. What little was left when the embers were extinguished was waterlogged or singed.  The journal’s decorative value was ruined by the water that saved it.

Scottsdale is a suburb of Phoenix, Arizona, planted in the Sonoran Desert. The desert is both an oddly ironic and utterly appropriate location for the discovery of a sailor’s journal. The Phoenicians of the Bible were famed mariners.

Some 25 years later, I held it, looked between its covers and fell, a little like Alice in Wonderland, into another, utterly alien world.

Pasted on the spine is small piece of once-cream colored paper holding the handwritten text, in ink, Don Aldus (Figure 1). It covers another piece of paper with something written on it: something presently illegible.

Taped inside the cover I found a yellowed newspaper clipping (Figures 2 & 4). The headline: "The Chinese Coolie Traffic From Hongkong."

It looked old; the spelling of Hong Kong was unfamiliar. Moreover, I thought that “coolie” referred specifically to Chinese laborers or servants. But I was wrong. 

"The word coolie, which refers to unskilled cheap labor from Asia, is believed to have its origin in India, Turkey, or Africa.
"Its transliteration in Chinese means ‘bitter labor.’ The term has been widely adopted to describe the Chinese who moved to foreign lands as contract laborers or indentured laborers in modern times." 2
A second opinion seemed in order.

“Name given by Europeans to hired laborers in India and China, c. 1600, from Hindi quli 'hired servant,' probably from kuli, name of an aboriginal tribe or caste in Gujarat. The name was picked up by the Portuguese, who used it in southern India (where by coincidence kuli in Tamil meant "hire") and in China.” 3

According to the clipping:

Figure 5: The Colonies And India. April 9, 1890. Page 15

“An incident which has recently occurred at Singapore shows the practices by which Chinese coolies are in effect still kidnapped. A German steamer from Hongkong arrived outside Singapore Harbor and signaled for the

police. On the arrival of a force the Captain explained that he had over 200 coolies on board bound for Medan, in Sumatra, and that he was afraid of an

    outbreak when he passed Singapore. The coolies’ story was that they had been engaged to work at Medan, which was described to them as a British possession and as 'in Singapore,' whereas it was a Dutch possession and in Sumatra, and they protested against being taken beyond Singapore. One of the officers of the Chinese protectorate in Singapore went on board and found that the men had been willfully deceived in Hongkong by statements that Medan was in the Straits Settlements.” 4

More plainly, the article reports that Chinese citizens aboard ship had agreed to work under contract (i.e., as indentured servants) in the relative safety of a British colonial possession, subject to British law. Too late, they learned that they were bound for Dutch colonies in Indonesia, via Medan, whose inhumane conditions were both notorious and protected by laws that put all legal power in the hands of the coolie’s “employers.” 

This article suggests that the governments of Great Britain, Germany and the Qing Chinese Emperor cooperated to ensure a peaceful, satisfactory outcome.

“There is no question as to the good faith of the captain and agents of the steamer; the guilty parties are the Chinese agents employed to collect the coolies, and known as ‘coolie catchers,’ who made the fraudulent representations to these ignorant men. … It is not believed that their complaints would receive much attention at Medan, and they are now doubtless distributed over the plantations of that part of Sumatra.” 5

In the then current - and clearly myopic if not simply racist - view of the newspaper, businesses and governments enabling and profiting from the transportation of shanghaied workers to an uncertain fate incurred neither moral hazard nor legal culpability. Everyone profited - except the victims.

The dateline, at the end of the clipping, is "London Times, Feb.18." No year is given. A search of the London Times archive revealed that the article was published in 1890.

The captain of the German steamer had good reason to be concerned. When abducted and imprisoned Chinese workers being shipped to distant foreign shores exploded into mutiny, the results for everyone on board - from the captain and crew to the prisoners - could be fearful.

Contemporaneous verification is provided by a dispatch in The Colonies And India (London, Eng.), of April 9 1890. 6 (See Figure 5.) The same information was reported widely in the American press of the time.

Figure 6: The second page of the journal display two handwritten inscriptions

Figure 7: The first and last journal pages (inset) listing words beginning with A. Total number of words listed for A was calculated at 467.

Does the situation described sound ominousfor the coolies? It was. More ominous than you might imagine.

According to a citation from the Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery:

"The duration of a contract was typically five to eight years, but many coolies did not live out their term of service because of the hard labor and mistreatment. Those who did live were often forced to remain in servitude beyond the contracted period.” 7

Apparently, the journal’s author trimmed this article out of a leading English newspaper, at a time that the country was center of a vast colonial empire as of 1890.

But why paste it in a journal filled largely with word lists? Like the clipping, the words were evidence, albeit, of a different type, pointing to interlocked questions.

Figure 8: Preface from Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping, by Don Aldus. (Highlight added for emphasis.)  Note: Google indicates that Don Aldus is a pseudonym, but not provide the actual 
name of the author.  Nor does it state how that conclusion was reached.

On the facing page, in pencil (Figure 2), one sees, "Number of different words in my book, Don Aldus The Rover."

Below that, in ink, there is a second, apparently unrelated entry, "Household & Personal effects July 1891 when adjusting a fresh. Policy of Insurance."

Flip the page. The quite legible, sepia colored ink reads, "Showing the Number of words in my book Don Al(d)us The Rover. Total number at end of this book"

I googled "Don Aldus" and “Don Aldus the Rover.”

Google displayed many listings. The two most pertinent results were these: 
–“Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping”. By Don Aldus. LONDON:  McCorquodale & Co., “THE ARMOURY.” 1876. 253 pages. Collection of Oxford University. Digitizing sponsor: Google.

–“Don Aldus, the Rover”. By George D. Donald. Published by McCorquodale. 1886

"Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" is available as a PDF through the Internet Archive.8 It is also possible to view a scanned version of the same book at no charge. 9 

Don Aldus! I couldn’t wait to peruse it.

Figure 9: listing for "Don Aldus, the Rover".
 (Highlights added for emphasis.)

The author, Don Aldus, immediately informed readers that his book was intended to provide facts and insights for (British) legislators and the interested public. (See highlighted passage in Figure 8.) It is, Aldus wrote, “simply a collection of facts.”

“The scene opens at Hong Kong, where I join an expedition of Coolies, the kidnapping, treatment, and transporting of whom form the leading feature of the work.” ("Preface." Page V)

Don Aldus also admitted to an “insatiable love of roving.”

 “My time has been spent for many years past moving about the world.” This quickly evolved into a description of the manner in which he stumbled upon the slave trade in Chinese coolies.” (Hong Kong: Incidents which led me to take a voyage in a Coolie ship. Page B [1])

Surprisingly, for a text written in the first person, Aldus’ dialog partners invariably refer to him as “Mr. D.”  Don Aldus, Mr. Aldus, or Mr. A never make an appearance in the text.

The second book,“Don Aldus, the Rover,” is not readily available. It was not listed for sale on or The Internet Archive did not have a version, either.

However, OCLC identified the location of two known copies. One is in the collection of The British Library, St. Pancras (London), the other is held by the State Library of Victoria (Australia).

"Don Aldus, the Rover," by Geo. D. Donald, by the way, is listed as fiction.10 (See Figure 9.)

OCLC description under Details > Notes, includes an oblique phrase: My voyage to Australia p. [64]-76. (Again, see Figure 9.)

Elsewhere, an OCLC WordCat author overview reports: 1 works in 1 publications in 1 language and 2 library holdings

My curiosity aroused, I copied My voyage to Australia from the OCLC World Cat Notes entry and searched for it in "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping."

There it was: located in the Table of Contents.  "My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences" (sic) is Chapter VI.  It opens on page 64.

Next, I picked out an unfamiliar word listed in the journal, under S: spalpeen's. says that SPALPEEN is a word of Irish origin and a synonym for RASCAL.

But was spalpeen's used in the text of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping?" Bingo. It appears in the PDF text on page 36 and again, in the singular, on page 60.

These two items, each an independent link to “Don Aldus, the Rover,” both appear in "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping." The clues were suggestive.

Figure 10: Journal entries near the end of the book display individual word total by letter in the text of Don Aldus, The Rover (left) and the estimated total number of words in the same book (right).

The clipping from the London Times (Figure 4) also seemed significant. It was published four years after the listed publication date of “Don Aldus, the Rover.” That made it evidence of strong and continuing interest in coolie abduction on the part of the journal's author. It seems doubtful that anyone else would have pasted a pertinent newspaper clipping into the journal.

Now, on a scale of nominally odd to wildly extraordinary, where does one rank the fact that the journal’s author took the time to alphabetize, write down, and total the number of individual words in an entire book?  Manually. Presumably, after the book was published. The total is 5734 words.

The author calculated both the number of unique words in the text of “Don Aldus, the Rover,”and the total number of words in the entire text. (Judging by the similarity of the handwritten 5’s in both lists, the work was completed by the same hand.) (See Figure 10.)

The “Estimated Words in the book,” was originally entered in ink as 43,000. That figure, however, was later overwritten in pencil with a new value, 81,000.

Just how the journal’s author obtained either figure is not entirely clear. But if you copy the entire text of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" into Microsoft Word and use the Word Count feature, it reports a total of 71,876 words.

With the information in hand, the following surmises suggested themselves:

        Authors Don Aldus and George D. Donald were probably the same person. Don Aldus was probably a pseudonym for   George D. Donald.
§ Donald = Don Ald__.  
§ Within the text of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" the protagonist–presumably the author–is referred to as Mr. D.

     "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" and “Don Aldus, the Rover,” are probably the same book, with different titles.
§  Both volumes were published by McCorquodale & Co, eight years apart.
§ “Don Aldus, the Rover,”is not a work of fiction.
§ "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" was cited in the bibliography of "Passage to the World, The Emigrant Experience 1807-1940," by Kevin Brown, published in 2013, by Seaforth Publishing ( 11

     The journal was most likely written by George D. Donald.

     George D. Donald likely lived with an obsessive compulsive condition akin to hypergraphia that prompted him to list and measure things in detail. 12

The journal shows, for example, that its author included and counted prepositions, definite and indefinite articles, even common verbs, as words: “a,” “an,” “all,” “and,” and “are.”  Clearly this list was not compiled as part of any standard book index.
As more data was needed. I ordered a copy of  “Don Aldus, the Rover,” from the State Library of Victoria (Australia). Once it arrived, a glance sufficed. The two books are not identical. “Don Aldus, the Rover,” has a cover illustration. "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" doesn’t.
More importantly, how similar are the two books’ respective Tables of Contents? (See Figure 11.) 

Figure 11: Tables of contents for "Coolie Traffic and  Kidnapping"  (left) and "Don Aldus, The Rover" (right)

They are almost identical.

The difference? “Don Aldus, the Rover,” has an Introduction and a new first chapter, Japan, neither of which are listed in the TOC of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping." Both are paginated with Roman numerals whereas the original chapters are paginated with Arabic numerals. The font style used for the original chapters, in both TOCs, is apparently the same. The numeric range displayed for each chapter in the original text (Figure 11) has been truncated to display only the first page of the chapter in “Don Aldus, the Rover.” With the exception of the Chapter VIII., in Figure 11, even the use of the ellipses is identical.

Step two was to compare pages of the “same” chapter from both books side-by-side. I picked page 3 of the chapter, "Hong Kong; Incidents which led me to take a voyage in a Coolie ship," (sic) at random.

They are identical, right down to the odd page number: B2. (See Figure 12.)

Figure 12: "Don Aldus, The Rover," Chapter 2, Page 3 (left) and "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping," Chapter 1, Page 3 (right)

Adding the 560 words of the Introduction former and 2448 words from the new chapter, Japan, to the word count established above for "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" brought the total for “Don Aldus, the Rover” to 74,884 words. The error rate is right around 6%.

Figure 13 (left): Cover illustration for "Don Aldus, The Rover." Published 1886. 
Figure 14 (right): Drawing and signature of Don Aldus, from the book’s flyleaf. Both his mutton chop beard and jacket lapels closely resemble those of the gent in the foreground of the cover illustration, Figure 13

In "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" the emphasis in the prose Preface is on the horrifying story of human trafficking in enslaved Chinese workers. Not so in the second version.

The Preface of “Don Aldus, the Rover” is, instead, poetic. It is comprised of two short stanzas of verse. The first one, “To My Critics," is an admonition not to dismiss the text before giving it a careful review. The second verse, “To My Readers,” lightly suggests that the book will 
 amuse, instruct, or at a minimum, help pass the time.

The freshly added Introduction doesn't address human trafficking, either. It speaks to other, would-be rovers and urges them to observe themselves as closely as the wide world they hope to discover.

"I look upon this want of reflection in man as the strongest evidence of his fall, and it is, unquestionably, the cardinal cause of much of the misery of human life, causing more than half the daily troubles of our race. Its awful consequences are to be traced in many a blackened page of bloody history." (Introduction. Page VI)

Otherwise, both books display the identical text. As noted earlier, Don Aldus never appears in the text of"Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping." Aldus does not appear “Don Aldus, the Rover” either.

What is a reader to think? You buy “Don Aldus, the Rover,” it even includes an illustration of Don Aldus, but the ostensible hero never makes an appearance in the text. At least, not by name. The protagonist remains "Mr. D." 

Look at the book’s cover. Isn’t that gent, hand on sword, foot on the cannon’s carriage, a ship's captain? After all, the author is listed as "CapT. George D. Donald". And the word Capt. virtually touches the gent’s hat.

Now compare that image to the man identified as Don Aldus in the corresponding illustration on the flyleaf. There is, wouldn’t you agree, a close resemblance?
But then again, Mr. D’s first “first voyage from London to the Colonies” is, it seems, as a passenger on a fine “iron clipper.” He joins “the fair ones” on board, “while they, with but one exception, were enjoying a beefsteak breakfast, with all the concomitant et caetera which a well-found ship can always produce from no one can particularly tell where.” (My voyage to Australia. Page 65)

After breakfast says Mr. D, “we came on deck to take one more look at the land ere we lost it.”  A paragraph later, his tone is melancholy.

"It being, for me, the first time of leaving the home of my childhood, I beheld in the dim shadow of the distant hills the home of my first prayer and a mother’s love; the birthplace of my young aspirations, the cradle of maturer joys, and the arena of later sorrows and disappointments." (My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences. Page 66)

This is not the reminiscence of a young man, say, an apprentice seaman. Thus speaks an adult Englishman of his first journey far from home by ship. But what experienced sailor leaves England for the first time - England, the center of a far-flung military and commercial empire connected solely by world’s oceans - as an adult? It seems unlikely.
Then again, what professional seaman - what captain - tells a tale that has him unable to stand on his own two feet in heavy seas?

“As I lay gathering a resolution to get up, bang went something in the adjoining cabin. I listened. It was only a door broke loose and taking a little animated exercise before breakfast; however, it was a little too near my head to be pleasant, and as no one appeared to be at hand, I resolved to get up and secure it. … No sooner had I reached the cabin deck and got one leg into my ‘continuations,’ than a heavy roll of the ship succeeded. I made a grasp at the edge of my bed to prevent my falling to leeward, but missing my mark, and losing my presence of mind, I was hurled at a furious tangent through the side-cabin doorway, over the saloon table, on my back, kicking the swing-tray, and smashing the glasses as I passed under them, and ultimately landed heels up, and head into a terrified spittoon, whose sides went crack at the unusual weight and nature of the deposit.”

The story continues with the “real” ship’s captain laughing review of the “spectacle I presented.” Then comes his query, “Are you hurt, sir?”  

"No, Captain B., I am not much hurt, although thus rudely touched with a flying and tangible impression of my nautical incompetence." (Chapter: Our passage down the China Sea. Page 130.)

It sounds plausible.

True, not all captains are ship's captains, after all. Then again, there is no clear indication in the text that Mr. D. had served his country as a military man, either. 

When Mr. D learns that a significant number of venomous pirates may be on board, disguised as simple coolies, his sleep is troubled by martial dreams filled with bloodshed and fear. ("We discover signs of mutiny amongst the Coolie." (sic) Pages 78-79)

 An experienced military man might reasonably have more such dreams than the average individual. But in the course of the next few paragraphs, Mr. D goes to sleep with a “revolver and cutlass,” wakes with a sword in his hand, and learns from the omnipresent ship’s captain that he had attempted to skewer a cockroach in his sleep with a “sabre.” 

Would an experienced English soldier or sailor describe his weapon so variably inside of six paragraphs? Or would he stick to simpler prose?

Then, too, the protagonist describes himself not as a man of steely nerve and martial experience, but as a soft-hearted intellectual, certain that education would eventually cure most social ills. He has other remarkably liberal opinions, too.

"I cannot say that I agree with the infliction of corporeal punishment, Captain B. I think, however, such will not so much be needed ere long, seeing that education is being so extensively diffused amongst all classes." (Chapter: "A practical view of the British Mercantile Marine."  (sic) Page 202)
In any case, Mr. D, the inexperienced traveler of the chapter, "My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences," has become quite the opposite by the time he decides, impulsively, to chaperon a boat-load of coolies headed to slavery in Peru per the Preface of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping."

Figure 15: Partial view of map of the British Empire in 1886, the year that Don Aldus, The Rover was published. British possessions appear in orange. White dots indicate the route to Australia described in the text. Yellow dots indicates routes that the author may have taken to Japan, India and China. Call-outs identify specific locations referenced in the text.  Map courtesy of

He has visited Australia, China (Hong Kong), traveled the Mediterranean with stops at Athens and "Salonica" (Greece), to Constantinople (modern Istanbul, Turkey), and sailed north to Odessa (Ukraine) via the Black Sea.
Add Japan and by inference, India, to the list of countries Mr. D. had toured before his story really starts, based on Japan, the first chapter of “Don Aldus, the Rover.”13
He hinted as his age in the first sentence of the chapter, Japan:

“It was the middle of May as we reached Kobi (which adjoins Hiogo, the treaty port) when the spirit moved me to write-not a book-but simply a diary of passing events for future reference. This was, at least, a proof that the said spirit was at length about to emerge from an incubation of thirty years to a realization of its actual needs.” (Japan. Page ix)

So Mr. D - Don Aldus? - seems to be an Englishman, aged 30 or older at the point he begins his journal.  As the first book was published in 1876 - several years after it was written - Don Aldus was likely born about 1840, give or take a few years.
Inconsistencies abound. Our peripatetic protagonist, a world traveler in an age of sea travel, as noted above, describes himself as “nautically incompetent” midway through the text. ("Our passage down the China Sea." Page 130).

Yet, by 1886 when “Don Aldus, the Rover” is published, its author - a Geo. D. Donald - had risen to the rank of captain.

While recounting the events on his first trip away from England, Mr. D described a fateful conversation between the captain and the first mate of the ship he took to Australia in the third person. (My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences. Pages 71-72.) But he then skipped to the first person plural, as if he had been a member of crew instead of a passenger.

“‘What can we do?‘ said the fellow (the captain).
“‘Round her to and prepare to cut away the upper masts is our only hope of safety. ’  (The first mate.)
“Round her to we did.." (Italicized for emphasis.)

Apparently, McCorquodale & Co., the book’s publisher, didn’t have an editor proof the text before it was published.

Mr. D gives every sign of being a decent man. He is a private citizen. But he dared speak with evident passion against the practice of kidnapping and enslavement of human beings, notwithstanding the fact that they were, in this case, Chinese (also called “Celestials,” “roundheads,” “Mongolians,” “heathens,” and “exotics” within the text.)
Why? Because it is “evil.”

“In exposing the system of kidnapping and Coolie traffic, I have confined myself to the recording of actual self-investigated facts, some of which may doubtless amuse the reader, while many more will serve to conduct the mind into a region of black-hearted inhumanity, leading it downward through a labyrinth of evil, until midway between man and demon it will be found (with pulse beating time to the deeds) asking in the measured tones of gathering astonishment, Can such things be?”  (Preface, "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping.")
Our protagonist demonstrates the insights of an alert, widely travelled and equally well-read individual, even though he never mentioned his own educational background. He quotes Shakespeare. He knows enough about Chinese mythology to reference Pwann Koo, the “first man," of Chinese mythology. He is conversant with Siddartha Gautama, his place of birth and heritage. In an aside, he tosses off the approximate height of “Fusiama,” (Mount Fuji). 

References to Socrates, Jupiter and other classical luminaries are strewn throughout the text. Mr. D even uses a bit of French (“on dit”) and incorporates multiple handfuls of verse.

Mr. D tells the captain of the coolie ship he hopes to take passage on:

"That, having no other way to occupy my time than by moving about the world from place to place, and being (as I was) tired of foreign travel, it was my intention to return to Europe via Panama and New York--a tour I had long wished to make." ("I obtain a Passage." Page 15.)
This does not read like the conversation of a working stiff. Never once is the cost of his travel or accommodations worthy of mention.

That summarizes Mr. D. But what can be gleaned about George D. Donald, assuming that CapT. George D. Donald was not itself a pseudonym?

Why did he publish the same book twice, under different names and titles? What compelled him to use a pseudonym in the first place?

For that matter, why is every person addressed by name, and each ship that Mr. D referred to, only identified by a first initial in Donald’s book(s)?  Privacy?

One possible answer to the preceding question is suggested by the text itself.  At the outset of the book, we learn that a vessel flying the flag of England will shortly be loaded with coolies intended for the slave trade. But that was illegal!

"’That, sir,’ he replied, ‘is the clipper ship A , one of the finest sailing ships afloat ; she is destined for the Chinese slave-trade, alias Coolie traffic.’
"Our naval friend immediately turned round and declared such to be impossible, as he had observed the   free and proud ensign of old England flying at her flagstaff this morning, and such trade was considered almost slavery by the British powers that be, and not permitted under the flag. 
"’My dear sir,’ said the captain," that amounts to nothing ; they will soon change her nationality, and that without much trouble : you will see some less scrupulous nation's colours waving over her stern before long.’" ("Hong Kong." Page 13)

Isn’t it possible that the English captain of the (American-built) coolie ship, with whom Mr. D later travelled and became friendly, the crew and the ship's owners could have been targets of prosecution under English law, or other valid courts of jurisdiction in which the ship had sailed with its cargo of prisoners?

Maybe, if they could be identified!  For that matter the author, too, might have been subject to such laws, if he could have been identified.

Conclusively identifying the author and substantiating the "facts" described in the text of Donald’s book(s) was not made easier by his purposeful omission of exact dates, ships' names and full surnames in his text(s).

George and Donald being common English and Scotch names, attempting to find a particular George D. Donald, even with an estimated birth date range, was a significant challenge.

I was forced to sift details in hopes of uncovering a tell-tale shard.

The first page of the chapter,
My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences, contained three potentially helpful pieces of information (See Figure 16, below.)

Figure 16: Chapter: My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences. Page 64

Mr. D departed London, England, May 18, year unknown, on a trip to the British colonies of the Far East.

He traveled by "iron clipper."

Other passengers, male and female, had also booked passage.

Other clues in the text suggest that Mr. D’s Australian voyage occurred in the late 1860s or early 1870s.

1.    "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" was published, in London, England, in 1876.

2.      In the Preface of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping," Mr. D states that the book was written several years earlier.

3.    Both books include the chapter, "We sail for Macao, our place of charter." (sic) It details the refitting a clipper ship to house a cargo of coolies, destination: Peru. Coolie trafficking out of the port city of Macau - then under Portuguese control - ended at the start of 1874. 14  Thus Mr. D’s visit clearly predated the cessation of coolie trafficking from Macau.

4.    In the chapter, "My voyage through the Mediterranean" (Page 143), the author mentions seeing the Queen of Greece. "The Queen — whom I had the satisfaction to see closely — (sic) is a lovely creature of middle height, with more of the Romano-Greek than the Russ about her."  

Grand Duchess Olga Constantinovna of Russia married King George I of Greece in 1867 at the age of sixteen. So Donald could not have seen her in Greece at an earlier date.15

Consequently, Mr. D must have departed London (prior to reaching Australia and Hong Kong) and arrived in Peru between 1867 and 1874.

The next clue appeared in the form of an extended and dramatic monologue. Mr. D regales the ship’s first mate (aka, chief officer - a position subordinate only to the ship’s captain), Mr. N, with a story of his disastrous first voyage to the colonies - that is, his trip to Australia.

About two months after departing London, on July 14th, 18__ a gale that battered his ship for three (eternal) days. The ship - unnamed - eventually lost all three of its masts; the passengers’ berths were flooded and the ship barely avoided sinking.

The full story required five full pages in the original text. A few key scenes follow. Ultimately, these details helped identify the exact ship in question and the presumptive author of these books.

"At eight o'clock in the evening of the above date we were running before a furious storm, accompanied by fierce squalls and hail, while the sea came rolling on like living mountains, a sure sign at all times that the gale will be long and furious. 

"At midnight the chief officer was lashed, with two men, at the wheel, guiding the vessel before the tempest and the sea, our compass being useless, while the bold commander was moving about the saloon (endeavouring to put on a commanding countenance for the occasion) to " cheer" the excited passengers, instead of being on deck attending to the wreck of matter which had already commenced there.

"By one o'clock we felt as if the ship was running under water altogether, and this idea was speedily confirmed by the panels of the cuddy doors (saloon) getting broken, while the water found its way amongst our feet; at sight of which our captain lost his self-control, and would not allow the doors to be barricaded up from within, but to ‘bail the water out first and the carpenter would fix them after.’

"We all set cheerfully to work, bailing out the water with vessels of every description, but before we got well warmed at our work she shipped another sea, swept the deck of everything, took a life-boat from the starboard quarter, and brought down the lower main topsail yard from the collar of the main stay, where it had been dangling since fifteen minutes past mid-night, bringing also the stay with it in its fall across the ship, where it broke in two, just as we were being driven — with the ladies in their night-dresses — from the inundated saloon to take what shelter the port after-cabin could afford. Speedily the saloon became a total wreck, and all our ready cash, letters of credit, valuables and clothing, battered up into a heterogeneous mass.

"At 8 a.m., when the madman [essayist: the ship’s captain] could no longer find room for the soles of his feet, he crawled with a terror-struck countenance up the companion ladder, when the chief officer (who was still guiding the ship's dangerous course) asked him if it was his intention to do anything to save the ship, as with the weight of imprisoned water and wreck now in the saloon she could not possibly lift her stern much longer in the trough of the sea. (My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences. Page 71)

This description summarizes only the first 12 hours of the storm. Eventually the storm and the attendant dangers abate just long enough for the sailors to lead the passengers to the other end of the ship.

“Soon, however, the good ship recovered herself, in some measure at least — sufficiently to enable the sailors to convey us to the forecastle where (to our great surprise) nothing whatever had been disturbed, while all night long such sufferings were being experienced in the saloon.

“The sailors immediately gave up their beds to the ladies and children, while boxes were opened and dry clothes served out to every one of us, until none remained for themselves.

“I had often heard and read of Jack’s generous nature, never dreaming that I was ever to become the grateful recipient of his kindness under such terrible emergencies and surroundings.”  (Page 72) (According to the online Oxford Dictionary, the use of jack linked with “the general sense 'laborer' arose in the early 18th century.” Here it denotes a common seaman.)

The preceding paragraphs indisputably place Mr. D on board the ship as a passenger. Although this was earlier implied, the description here is vivid and explicit.

He then detailed a second night of terror.

“As night closed in fervent were the prayers offered up for deliverance from further calamity.

“Mast after mast came tumbling down, the first being the mainmast which fell down about seven o'clock the first night, when most of the crew and several passengers were around it at the pumps.”

“Thick darkness shrouded every one from sight. The sea ran high; and rain had joined its battering music with the wind and measured clanking of the pumps, when suddenly a ‘crack’ was heard; the mainmast tottered and with a crash like thunder fell on board.

“The falling of the mast having smashed our pump-levers, we soon prepared a primitive wooden lever to serve the purpose of pumping.

“Ere the rising of another sun, the mizenmast rolled down, breaking below the poop deck, tearing and smashing everything to atoms in its track, finishing up by landing over the starboard quarter within a few feet of our steering gear."

Meanwhile, all aboard - passengers and crew, men and women - are manning the pumps. Here comes the third night of the storm.

“As night again drew on and darkness set its "signet on the flood" the storm if possible increased as if determined to drag the last ray of hope from every heart by howling a (seeming) sepulchral melody over us and, as it were, preparing a funeral requiem for ourselves and gallant crew.

“The awful appearance of that midnight scene still haunts me. Seventy-six wet, bruised, and exhausted human beings huddled together amongst wet hay and rags in a despairing heap; the light of life gone from every eye, while an appalling finish is shed over the terrible picture by the ghastly flicker of the oil lamp at every roll of the iron beams.”

"About four o'clock next morning the foremast, with yard attached, rolled down with a terrific crash, which sounded in every despairing ear like the closing death-knell of our destiny; the shadow of petrifaction settled upon every face, until aroused by the mate calling out, 'Come out, every man who can lift an arm,' which mandate was immediately responded to by most of his intrepid and exhausted crew and several passengers; on reaching the deck we found the ponderous iron mast lying aft amidships over the house-top having broken a second time over the small engine boiler, torn the after end of house down to the deck, and finished its career by finally plunging through the main hatch into the hold, down which the green seas immediately rolled in a damaging deluge. No time was lost in covering up the black-looking chasm with old sails, planks, and oakum, after which we were gratified to hear our chief officer assert, with some show of confidence, that the worst was now over. … Matters began to assume a more hopeful aspect, although [the ship was] totally dismasted."  ("My Voyage to Australia and its Consequences." Page 75)

As luck would have it, in searching genealogy websites for mid-19th century England, I had earlier encountered the name George Donald Donald. That particular permutation of George + Donald and the associated dates hadn’t appeared in the archive of the Times of London, nor had Google proved helpful. But I tried again using the website.
That search eventually led to articles discussing and reporting the disaster that befell a ship named the Dallam Tower. The connection? The first mate and second-in-command of the ill-fated ship was one George Donald Donald.

The following table picks selected elements from Mr. D’s descriptions and compares them to statements found in newspaper reports of the Dallam Tower disaster.

Figure 17: Selected events described in the books, "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" and "Don Aldus, The Rover," and corresponding descriptions of Dallam Tower shipwreck events drawn from newspaper reports and other contemporary sources.

The parallels between Mr. D’s story and news reports regarding the Dallam Tower disaster are clear and persuasive. The story is the same.

The Dallam Tower story proved to be a sort of Rosetta Stone.

For example, It is possible to find, online, a newspaper ad in The Times of London, dated May 3, 1873, advertising the May 7th departure of the ill-fated Dallam Tower for Otego, New Zealand.20

Figure 18: Display advertisement in The Times of London, on May 3, 1873. It lists the scheduled departure  date of the iron  clipper, Dallam Tower, traveling from London to Otago, New Zealand.

However intriguing the newspaper reports that correspond to Mr. D’s tale of disaster, the details that he omits are far more telling. The first of many twists in this story is provided by what the narrator doesn’t share.

      –George Donald Donald, was publicly heralded as the Dallam Tower’s savior by many of its passengers.

In our own age of self-aggrandizement, it is shocking to find an author suppressing facts that might otherwise have assured him of recognition and increased sales.

Figure 19: Illustration of the Dallam Tower at the “Beginning of the Storm.”
 A) Foremast. B) Mainmast. C) Mizzenmast.

–Almost immediately upon their arrival in Melbourne, survivors of the Dallam Tower wrote a letter, published in multiple newspapers, including The Argus (Melbourne, Australia), on September 3, 1873, Page 5. 21

“We are requested to publish the following letter which has 
been addressed to the underwriters of the ship and to the 
underwriters of the cargo of the Dallam Tower:

"’Sydney, August 21, 1873. Gentlemen, We, the undersigned, 

who were brought into Sydney by the Cape Clear, were 

passengers on board the Dallam Tower. We think it right to 

express our conviction that in the gale which began on July 14, 

and subsequent disaster which befell the Dallam Tower, we 

owe our lives, and the ship and cargo their safety, to the 

energy, ability, and courageous conduct of the chief officer, 

Mr. George Donald Donald. (Emphasis added.) We wish also 

to testify to the noble conduct of Mr. Moseley, the second, and 

Mr. Bond, the third mate, and to that of the crew generally, but 

we would particularly mention the following names: Clarke, 

Edwin Hyde, James Robinson, Alexander Mairs, George 

Richardson, Thomas Murphy, Andrew Anderson, Otto 

Sandbeck, Charles Browne; also, George Anthony, the 

engineer on board.’"

Figure 20: Illustration of the Dallam Tower having lost all three of its masts.

This letter identifies George Donald Donald as a hero. Surely, the captain of the Dallam Tower, John S. Davies, would have noted the glaring absence of his own name! This omission must have amounted to a very public affront.

Mr. D also fails to mention that some survivors of the Dallam Tower took yet another step.

–Multiple Dallam Tower passengers presented a neglect of duty claim against the Dallam Tower captain to the Victorian Steam Navigation Board. (Melbourne, Australia, is in the Australian state of Victoria.) Figures 21 - 23, below, display newspaper reports of the official inquiry.

The survivors charged that:

1.    Captain Davies was unfit for duty either from drunkenness or from having lost all presence of mind
2.    The ship’s hatches were not secured prior to the storm. No preparations were made to prevent water from coming into the saloon ( the common area) for passenger living quarters
3.    That in trying to heave the ship to (turn it), the captain had the helm down and the braces were fouled and unattended. No time was allowed for clearing the fouled braces.
4.    On the last day of the storm, while the main hatch was smashed in, the captain stayed in his bunk and tried to dissuade sailors from obeying the orders of the chief officer. Had the hatch been left open, seawater might have flooded the ship with potentially disastrous circumstances.

Chief officer (aka first mate) Donald was called to testify during the Victorian Steam Navigation Board inquiry. He avoided criticism. Instead, he indicted the captain’s behavior with generous excuses and the assertion that he would have done the same as the captain, if he had had a chief officer as capable as himself. (See Figure 22.)  

Captain Payne: From the 14th to the 18th, taking all the circumstances into consideration, did Captain Davies not do all that a captain should have done?

Witness: It is a very painful question for me. I saw very little of him. My instructions were to clear away the wreck. It is just probable that had I been placed in the same position, and had an officer under me that I could depend upon, I would have acted in the same manner.  22

This is the same man who also testified that “With the exception of a few hours during the night, I was not off the deck for three days.”

Figure 21: Portions of an Evening News (Sydney, Australia), article dated September 9, 1873. 
The article reports on the official Victorian Steam Navigation Board inquiry into charges filed
 against Captain Davies of the Dallam Tower by some passengers. Parts 1-3 list the charges
 brought and the testimony of the some passengers. Figure 22, below, displays portions 
of the testimony of chief officer, George Donald Donald (labeled Parts 4-6).

Where was Captain Davies? According to passenger Thomas Dicken,

“He was not much on deck, being the greater part of the night of the 13th in the saloon. … My daughters were in consternation in their nightdresses. The captain said to them: ‘I ask you conscientiously, are you all right?’ I think that was an extraordinary question, when the girls were shivering with cold, up to their knees in water. It struck me how on earth he was not on deck during the night. He was down amongst us looking after the … bailing.” 23

The first mate had not seen him on deck, either. “I presume that he had quite enough to do looking after the passengers.”  24

Is it any wonder, then, that the survivors thought that George Donald Donald had saved their lives?

Figure 22: Additional portions of an Evening News (Sydney, Australia), article dated September 9, 1873. The article reports on the official Victorian Steam Navigation Board inquiry into charges filed against Captain Davies of the Dallam Tower. Parts 4-6 display portions of the testimony of chief officer, George Donald Donald.

The Argus article of September 6th (See Figure 23, Part 2) suggests that the first mate’s testimony was key to this conclusion.

Figure 23: Portions of an article from The Argus (Melbourne, Australia) dated September 6, 1873. The article reports on the testimony to and the decision of the official Victorian Steam Navigation Board regarding charges filed against Captain Davies of the Dallam Tower by some passengers. In this article, Part 1 lists the charges. Part 2 shows that George Donald Donald’s testimony played a key role in the decision of the board. Part 3 reports that Captain Davies was found culpable. However, the board only issued a “caution,” a relatively minor form of censure.


Nor is that all. Mr. D also passed over Captain Davies’ attempt to vindicate - or perhaps avenge - himself at the expense of his first mate.

Seven weeks later, Captain Davies charged George Donald Donald, with willful disobedience of a command.

The complaint was heard at Williamstown Police Court on October 14, 1873. Testimony indicated that Davies had first attempted to provoke Donald with a salty sexual slur, “'You're neither a man nor a boy, and I'll put it into you, as sure as you're a living man; go forward, fellow.” 26

The ship’s third officer “on being examined, admitted that the captain had told him not to take any notice of the (first) mate’s orders.” This is, by the way, the same invidious conduct described in the Dallam Tower passengers’ fourth charge against Captain Davies. That charge had been dismissed for want of first-hand confirmation.

Remarkably, the captain’s charges against first mate, George Donald Donald, were dismissed. "The bench stated their belief that the orders were vexatious and only given to annoy the chief officer." 27  

When Mr. D described the nameless captain of his disaster narrative as “the most wretched specimen of incompetent imbecility possible to be found,” was he being kind?

This would be the end of the Dallam Tower story for the purposes of this essay were it not for the fact that the drama of the Dallam Tower disaster captured the imagination of succeeding generations as only a few stories ever do.

Oddly enough, however, those who chronicled the story repeatedly misreported the name of the Dallam Tower’s chief officer.

In 1924, 51 years after the Dallam Tower arrived in Melbourne, Sir Henry Brett, author and publisher, published a dramatic description of the same events in his book, "White Wings. Volume I". Brett shared his motive for revisiting the story in a preface.

One of the most thrilling stories of a disaster at sea that I have ever come across concerns the voyage of the ship Dallam Tower, which, under charter to the Shaw, Sevill Company, left London for Port Chalmers in the summer of 1873, met with a succession of gales of unprecedented fury, was dismasted, had her hatches stove in, was thrown on her beam ends, and in spite of her crippled state rigged a wonderful array of jury masts with strangely and weirdly constructed yards, and sailed 2000 miles and more into port.” 28

Unfortunately for the honor and memory of George Donald Donald (and for the frustrated fellow who researched it), this story identifies the first mate as “George Donald McDonald.”
Twelve years later, in 1936, Basil Lubbock’s even more detailed retelling of the Dallam Tower story appeared in the book, "All Clear Aft - Episodes At Sea." Lubbock compounds the confusion surrounding the name of the first mate by assigning him the moniker of “Donald McDonald.” 29

And Captain Davies? Four years after the Dallam Tower shipwreck, he took the ship, Queen Bee, from London with an intended destination of Nelson, New Zealand, carrying cargo and passengers. The Queen Bee went aground near Cape Farewell Spit. Passengers and crew were forced to abandon ship. The ship was lost and sank, its cargo was scattered on the waves. 30

After an official inquiry, Captain Davies was found responsible for the loss of the ship, which also resulted in the death of the ship’s carpenter. Apparently, Captain Davies failed to ensure that the ship maintained a proper distance from the shore, failed to take depth measurements and did not keep a proper look-out. “In this he was guilty of grave default.” 

The court suspended Davies' captain’s certificate for three years.

George Donald Donald’s high opinion of himself was implicitly confirmed by the 1877 court of inquiry. It held the first mate equally responsible for the wreck.

“The court considered the first mate erred in judgment as much as the captain, but that the responsibility rested with the latter and the second mate, was officer of the watch at the time of the wreck.” 31

Had Captain Davies’ first mate on the Queen Bee proven as capable as the first mate of the Dallam Tower, perhaps the second wreck might have been averted.

Oddly enough, the story of the Queen Bee also found its way into "White Wings, Volume I," by Sir Henry Brett. It, too, can be found online. What can’t be found in Brett’s version, however, is the name of the ship’s captain. 32

The Truth According to Mr. D

By page 75 of his book(s), George Donald Donald, our (putative) author, has simultaneously:

–Demonstrated extraordinary modesty–reticence, really–regarding his own heroic efforts to save the Dallam Tower.

–Sacrificed his credibility as a reporter of "facts" by delivering a completely fabricated image of himself and his status while on the Dallam Tower.

–Completely rewritten the sequence of events to suit his needs.

The preceding assertion only became evident after it was possible to identify and date the Dallam Tower disaster. Per the books’ narrative, Mr. D gave his version of the story in Macau, in 1866. (We discover signs of mutiny amongst the Coolies. Page 95). Mr. D described events from his own past that would not take place until 1873.

A second date sequence discrepancy confirms that the first was no simple mistake. Later in the narrative, Mr. D, now well on his way to Peru, tells Mr. N about a different voyage he had taken through the Mediterranean (My voyage through the Mediterranean. Page 143).

During that trip, Mr. D had visited Greece and seen its young, Russian-born queen. But, since she did not marry George I, the King of the Hellenes, until the following year, in October 1867, we have caught our narrator living in the future, yet again.
Perhaps the promised “collection of facts suited to the time,” described in the Preface of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" (See Figure 8) was not meant to imply that the whole narrative was entirely true. After all, again and again, throughout the text, the author highlights the truth of individual incidents, just not all of them.

For example, after completing his speedy summary of My voyage through the Mediterranean, Mr. D adds, "You may rely implicitly upon the truth of the description, at least, Mr. N." (Page 149)

A page later, Mr. D. reconfirms the veracity of the anecdotes just shared and stresses the reliability of those to come. 

“As we are now lying under the shadow of Anger Hill (Anyer, Island of Java, Indonesia), and having finished a truthful account of my trip through the Mediterranean, we will proceed—on the same principle—to record the varying incidents of our present cruise, believing and knowing that, if a good name is to be established amongst our fellow-men, there is no surer way by which to obtain it than by proving that our very existence is rolled up in Truth, and worked out upon this, the noblest principle in man.” ["We arrive at Anger, and leave Java all well." (sic) Page 150]
Mr. D is, in effect, tagging narrative elements for his readers. When he writes that one part or another is true, he implies that other, untagged narrative elements are not - entirely - true. The story of his Mediterranean cruise is true and reliable (even if the time sequence is not). The “varying incidents” of his voyage to Peru, he says, will also be true.
That insight prompted another review of the Mr. D’s Dallam Tower disaster story. He did not describe it as “true.” Still, as shown in Figure 17, much of Mr. D’s version corresponds closely to the facts reported at the time in the press.
A strict, legalistic reading of Mr. D’s assurance at the outset of "We arrive at Anger" (cited above) compels the conclusion that the veracity of the role and identity of the narrator, himself, have not been guaranteed. We have only been advised that the “incidents” are true, not the rest of the narrative. Thus are differences between “principle” and practice, in life as in literature, bridged.
It is also true that George Donald Donald was ship’s captain! He is listed in the Index to the Captains Registers of Lloyd’s of London: D, on page 152. 33

Figure 24: Partial view of map of the British Empire in 1886, the year that "Don Aldus, The Rover" was published. British possessions appear in orange. Yellow dots indicate the routes described by the author from Hong Kong to Peru and on to the Panama Canal. Subsequent destinations of interest described in the text included  New York, USA, and London, England.  Map courtesy of

Mr. D Describes Peru

On arrival in Peru, Mr. D found that the involuntary contractors he traveled with were keenly needed.
"The labour market standing much in need of supplies when we arrived, it was not long ere we had a clearance of our cargo.”
However satisfying that result might have been to the owners of the ship and the owners of the contracts, respectively, the “cargo” was not thrilled. 
"It was a painful scene at times to see numbers of the Coolies gathering about the captain in tears, praying he would take them with him, and that they would serve him so faithfully. To such an extent was this carried, that the captain, to escape their entreaties, had to take up his quarters on shore until all were taken away.” (The last of the criminals. Page 235)
The apparent anxiety exhibited by the Chinese prior to disembarkation (and distribution) was, as Mr. D saw the situation, utterly unnecessary. The worst was over.
"The Coolies are here employed principally as agricultural labourers, and in Peru it is said great care is taken of them; in proof of which many have been known to rise to wealth and position, pay their way back to China, and, when there, gamble the money they had accumulated away, and afterwards (when ruined by that curse of China, the gambling-house) enter voluntarily for a second period of service in the country. We had such cases on board our vessel; consequently I must give it as my closing opinion that the majority are much better off in Peru than vegetating out a miserable existence in their own native land, where poverty and wretchedness abound in their most hideous forms. Still, the kidnapping in its essence is abhorrent, and repugnant to modern feeling, and ought to call loudly to all European Powers." (The last of the criminals. Page 235)

The narrator needed only this single paragraph to describe his two-month stay in Peru. (By comparison, he dedicated 210 pages to the 3.5 month voyage that preceded it.) Mr. D’s penchant for touring the countries he visited (such as Japan and Greece) suggests that he would have done the same in Peru. Presumably, then, his relatively positive conclusion reflected significant personal experience. 
In that context, consider this sobering assessment from the Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery:
"The coolies who worked on the sugar plantations in Cuba and in the guano beds of the Chinchas (the islands of Hell) of Peru were treated brutally. Seventy-five percent of the Chinese coolies in Cuba died before fulfilling their contracts. More than two-thirds of the Chinese coolies who arrived in Peru between 1849 and 1874 died within the contract period. ... (Emphasis added.)
“Because of these unbearable conditions, Chinese coolies often revolted against their Chinese and foreign oppressors at ports of departure, on ships, and in foreign lands."  34

There were, in fact, many reports in the press of that period describing the dismal situation of indentured Chinese laborers in Peru and elsewhere.
A July 26, 1869 article in The New York Herald, "The Chinese Labor Question." addressed the issue forthrightly.
"The Peruvian coolie trade has, without doubt, been the cause of the prejudice which most people feel against the business, especially those who do not understand how it is carried on. That great cruelty and injustice have been practiced towards coolies in the Chincha Islands cannot be contradicted. Ships engaged in this trade are mostly owned in Peru, but sail under the Italian flag and are commanded by Italian captains. They are generally old American clipper ships, and in this respect are superior to other vessels in the trade, but on account of the bad management on board there has been more trouble through mutiny, assassinations and mortality than on other ships." 35
In October of the following year, The New York Herald published a second article addressing the issues associated with Chinese emigration entitled, “That Heathen Chinee.” It reports mortality rates that amount to slaughter.
"Statements, not very trustworthy, however have come to the author from Havana (Cuba) declaring that there were less than 74,000 coolies on that island January 1, 1870. He cannot readily accept this account, because it does not seem possible that so large a proportion as one-half have died since their arrival." 
"In Peru and the adjacent islands the mortality has been much greater than in Cuba, (emphasis added) owing to the unhealthy atmosphere of the guano islands, the total disregard of the coolies' health by taskmasters, and the enormous number of suicides." 36, 37
The subtitle of a July 1873 New York Times article, The Coolie Trade, by itself suggests the status of Chinese expatriates in Peru: The Slavery Of The Present

Figure 25: Portions of an article from the New York Times. July 19, 1873.

"It can easily be seen that eight years of an existence as this, does not leave the coolie in a state of health that enables him to proceed in securing a fortune for his own use. In fact, long before his eight years have passed, he has either sunk into the grave, or become so crippled and weakened by the diseases that abound in this land, that he is only fit to beg and, to a Chinaman in Peru, beggary means death by starvation." 38
As noted earlier, "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" was most likely written during or just after the period described in the New York Herald and New York Times articles. Surely the murderous conditions in which indentured Chinese then worked in Peru ought to have made a strong impression on the worldly, sensitive Mr. D.
It is particularly noteworthy that the lot of the Chinese working on the infamous Chincas Islands, also called the “guano islands,” goes unmentioned by Mr. D. As noted earlier, the mortality rate for Chinese laborers on these islands during the 1860s and 1870s was estimated at over 50 percent.

“Among the four thousand coolies brought to the Chinchas in 1861, not a single one survived!39

In fact, by 1870 the situation of Chinese citizens delivered to Peru was apparently well-known in China. The Charleston Daily News (Charleston, S. Carolina, USA) of November 28, 1870, reported:

 “The coolies (of Macau), also, are not disposed to enter into contracts, the most of them refusing to be taken to Callao, Peru and fearing that they will be taken to that place, in breach of the agreement to be sent elsewhere.." 40 

According to the New York Herald article, “That Heathen Chinee.,” Chinese citizens, having generally concluded that the “work abroad” opportunities on offer were not worth the risk, had to be recruited by other means.

"Then began the system of kidnapping coolies, purchasing, chaining, starving, and, as it may appropriately be called, murdering, which for twenty years shocked the feelings of all human persons and cast a dark blot upon the Portuguese and Spanish escutcheons that can never be expunged. Fathers and mothers sold their sons. ... Banditti brought in their male and female prisoners and sold them in lots to the traders, for which sums never exceeding ten dollars per person were thankfully received.
"The traders organized bands of night thieves whose business it was to steal into cabins of the laborers and carry on board the ship the father and sons, and sometimes the whole family. ... Then ships ... were ... sent up the bay's and rivers to fall suddenly upon the unsuspecting inhabitants of some rural district. ... Old men were seized in the rice fields, boys in the schoolrooms, young men in the shops, and carried by force to the suffocating holds of the vessels at Macaow. Yet this dreadful traffic in coolies still goes on.
"All these coolies, voluntary and involuntary, are forced to sign a contract and labor for a term of years, and these agreements are sold at auction when the coolies arrive in Cuba, usually bringing from $350 to $600 for eight years' service, during which time and usually years after, the coolie is entirely at the disposal of the purchaser."  41 

Could money have had anything to do with George Donald Donald’s reluctance to fully report on the Chinese laborers' experience in Peru? After all, Mr. D never mentions the value proposition represented by the ship’s cargo. The omission is noteworthy.
The Charleston Daily News article cited immediately above, also reports on the profitability of the coolie trade.
“It is stated that coolie laborers landed at Havana or at Callao cost fully $200 each, and that the contracts are readily disposed of at those places for $400, in consequence of the mortality on the voyage.” 42
A year earlier, a report in The New York Herald of July 26, 1969, described a similar price range, under a sub-section of the article, The Chinese Labor Question, entitled Cost and Profit.
“Up to the year 1859 the cost of landing a coolie in Cuba was about $120, Mexican. Of course there were expenses after the landing to be added to this, but at that time the brokerage in China was seldom over five dollars head, while in 1857 it was eighty five per coolie. Coolie contracts have been sold as high as twenty-six ounces ($442) and as low as twelve ounces [or $204]. The importers make a great many bad debts, and from this cause and also from the occasional great number of deaths on shipboard (emphasis added) their profits are not so large as they otherwise would be.” 43  
Mr. D travelled to Peru on a ship “fitted up” for “about 700” coolies. 44 The values reported by the Charleston Daily News suggest his voyage could have generated a gross profit of roughly $140,000. 
The same article put the cost of feeding a single coolie for a three-month voyage at $8 to $10, total.
A modern historian calculated the net profit of an average coolie ship of the period.
 “For those American merchants that were involved in the illegal kidnapping and transportation of coolies to Peru, Cuba, or the United States profits were substantially increased." An American shipper dealing in illegal coolies could expect to net from $20,000 to $50,000 and more for a single voyage.” 45

Taking the Measure of an “Old Salt”

It is now clear that Donald’s description of his status and role during the voyage of the Dallam Tower to Australia was inaccurate and misleading. He wasn’t an inexperienced traveler departing his mother country for the first time. He was, in fact, a certified merchant shipmaster. 46
So Donald probably misrepresented his status on the coolie ship, too. Why would a sailor with the highest certification available in the English merchant marine fleet - Extra Master - sacrifice 3.5 months of income to play the role of a curious tourist with a hankering for a slave ship adventure? 47, 48  Especially, when he could make the same trip pay?
Still, proof that Captain George Donald Donald was the captain of the coolie ship - a slave ship - featured in either "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" or “Don Aldus, the Rover,” or any other, for that matter, is not available.

Captain George Donald Donald: 1836 - 1903

In the course of research, the cloud of mystery that surrounded Don Aldus lifted to reveal a more nuanced yet incomplete picture of George Donald Donald.
We know that George Donald Donald was born in (or around) Dundee, county of Angus, Scotland, in 1836.56 Other English census reports list both Dundee and Forfar, another city in the county, as the captain’s place of birth. 49  
By 1857, at age 21, he had already passed a written exam and earned certification as Only Mate, a type of first mate, it appears. 50  Two years later he earned certification, again, specifically as First Mate.51  The Scottish census of 1861 finds the 24-year-old George D. Donald (profession: mariner) living on Dura Street, Dundee, county Angus. 52   
Another two years on and George, now 25, had acquired his certification as Master. He was qualified to serve as master (captain) of a merchant ship. 53  
On February 4, 1881, at age 44 or 45, the “master mariner” married Mary Ann Mills, a widow. 54  The 1881 England census finds George D. and Mary A. G. Donald living at 11 Stamford Road, West Hackney, England. (Mary’s marriage register entry shows her father’s name as Samuel Goodman.) The Census lists the (former?) master mariner’s Occupation as shown in Figure 26. 55    

Figure 26: 1881 England Census “Occupation” entry for George D. Donald, 
age 45, husband of Mary A. G. Donald.

Donald seems to have switched careers; he is now a commercial traveler, a traveling sugar salesman. 
Oddly, the 1881 census records don’t reference children. Yet the 1891 England Census lists a Mary A. G. Donald, daughter, age 22 (born around 1869) and Mary A. Donald, as his wife. 56   
A second daughter, Lily Beatrice, was apparently born in 1880 as the 1901 England Census finds Lily living with George and Mary, in Twickenham, Middlesex. Lily’s age is 21. Lily’s birth might help explain Donald’s apparent career change in 1881. By 1901, Donald has retired. 57 

Figure 27: Detail from the handwritten “Last Will and Testement of George Donald Donald of Newstead 
Whitton Road Twickenham.” Inserts display the “D” and “my” found in the text.

Do we have the right George D. Donald?

The Pearsall (Family) Biographies, specifically the biography of Robert Pearsall of Teddington, Middlesex, England, tell us that Robert’s son, Robert Humphrey “married June 1, 1910, Lillly Beatrice, only child of Captain George Donald Donald.” 58

George Donald Donald died February 1, 1903. The balance of his estate, after settlement of his debts, went to “Lily Beatrice Donald of Newstead aforesaid spinster the Universal Legatee.” 59  

Curiously, the man compelled to count every word in his masterpiece, was, at least in his later years, given to misspelling simple words and identifying the misspelled portion with an underline.

Donald’s will provides two examples.

In the opening statement of his one-page will (See Figure 27), the captain misspelled “Testement.” He apparently recognized and underlined the vowel at issue, the e.  60

Figure 28: Detail of text from journal of Don Aldus. Inserts display the “D” and “my”
 found in this text. Compare them to those in Figure 30.

Can we be sure that the captain wrote his own “last will and testement?” Compare the capital cursive D’s in the will to the capital cursive D in the (Don Aldus) journal inscription at left (Figure 28). They are virtually identical. For that matter, the cursive D in the signature that appears beneath the drawing of Don Aldus (Figure 14) is a close match for the cursive capital D’s in the will and in the journal inscription.

In the will, the word “my” appears twice in the second sentence. Captain Donald’s approach to a cursive y, in both cases, resembles a cursive z.  The journal inscription features the very same styling. Note the forward leaning slant of both texts.
The same hand surely wrote them all.

Figure 29: Detail from the handwritten “Last Will and Testement of George Donald Donald of Newstead Whitton Road Twickenham.”(Highlights added for emphasis).

Back to the spelling issue. Two sentences later, in his will, Captain Donald writes “without mail issue” and concludes with “his mail heirs.” (See Figure 29.)

Here, too, the captain underlines the incorrectly spelled elements in each word, the “il.”

This pattern is (inconsistently) duplicated in the (Don Aldus) journal. 

Figure 30: Detail of Don Aldus journal displaying underlined words. Misspelled words are highlighted. The red rectangle holds an unidentified word (possibly “scavengers.”. The word in the blue 
rectangle was intended, it appears, to represent ‘sequel.”

In Figure 30, for example, “Superencumbant” is underlined. So is “Spectaclle.” But other underlined words are spelled correctly, such as “Staircase”.
None of the words misspelled in the will or in the journal are also misspelled in the captain’s books.

The closer you look at this, the odder it gets. In order to create the alphabetical compilation of words used in his book, the captain had to reference the book, itself. That might explain why certain words - words used only once or twice in the entire text, but in close proximity to each other - appear listed on the same page of the journal.
Sanguinary and  Superincumbent both appear only once, on page 132, in the text(s).  Spectacle is used six times, and appears on pages 130 and 134. Sewn is only used once and appears on page 133.

Figure 31: Detail of Don Aldus journal with unidentified misspellings by the author. Highlights 
added for emphasis.

Syra, on the other hand, appears just once, too, but on page 146.

Donald must have flipped through his book to identify words for inclusion in his alphabetical lists. But if so, how could he have misspelled words that are spelled correctly in his published book?
Perhaps he used an uncorrected manuscript for this purpose. Spelling errors in the manuscript would have been transferred to his journal. But why would Donald use an uncorrected manuscript when a published version – with correct spellings - was available in the form of CR&K?
Clearly, someone helped Donald correct the numerous misspellings. He had some sort of editorial support, after all.


The world described in the pages of Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping and Don Aldus The Rover is almost unrelievedly dismal. 

Feigning friendly camaraderie, Chinese kidnappers lured both their high- and low-born Chinese prey into handsome facilities with drinks and offers of hospitality, from which only the kidnappers will exit with their liberty plus a handsome finder’s fee. Once trapped inside such a “barracoon,” threats and various levels of abuse invariably convinced the captives that any fate was preferable to an extended stay. They accepted new names and agreed to acknowledge that they had “voluntarily” accepted contracts abroad when examined by a government inspector.

This farce was standard procedure in Macau, under Portuguese stewardship.

When we first meet Mr. D, the tour guide embedded within the text(s), his understanding of coolie trafficking is credibly naive.

“‘How can you make such traffic slavery?‘ I inquired,’ ‘as I have been informed that they are all shipped off voluntarily, and under a time agreement.’”

" ‘Well, sir, I believe there is some such farce as you refer to gone through ; but I am assured upon reliable authority that two-thirds of the poor things are decoyed from home and sold into the ‘barracoons,' after getting inside the gates of which the curtain drops over the victims.’"

"’Truly,’ said the doctor; ‘and the inquisitive eyes of the world fail to discover the coercive enormities committed within.’"

"‘That is so,’ resumed the captain; ‘in short,’ said he, ‘there is comparatively little known of the traffic beyond those immediately connected with it.’"  (Hong Kong; Incidents which led me to take a voyage in a Coolie ship. Page 13)

After a short trip from Hong Kong, Mr. D reaches Macau aboard the clipper ship that will be refitted to carry slaves to Peru. While there, he visits one of the notorious buildings - a “barracoon” - used to trap and hold those who will shortly be sold into slavery. His tour guide is a "friend."

“On Saturday morning a friend conducted me through one of the barracoons, which I found to be a large, commodious, county-jail-looking structure.

“At first sight of the building, this structural idea presented itself, supported and strengthened by the thoughts of ‘man's inhumanity to man, and the captured human beings within, whence, after they enter, no communication whatever with the outer world is permitted: once inside the gates, and all is over with the poor deluded creatures.” (We commence embarking Coolies. Page 41)

The “voluntary" laborers came aboard the ship not as passengers but as merchandize.

“Coolies are very unceremoniously walked, or rather dragged on board — some of them, perhaps, expostulating against going on board at all, while others are crying, and in another quarter might be seen one boldly disputing the matter, even to resistance; but it is now too late. If the cane does not drive them on board, and the gangway-ladder is too narrow for the operation of dragging, a rope is thrown from the ship, and no alternative remains but to walk quietly along, or he will forthwith be hoisted up like any other bale of merchandise. “ (We commence embarking Coolies. Page 42)

The ship was fitted out as a floating prison.

“The spiked iron barricade (eight feet in height) stands out in ominous relief ten feet from the poop front, ornamented with four pieces of artillery behind, which betoken the illegitimacy of the traffic; otherwise the sad necessity of guns with grape and canister would not exist; ... the guns placed so as to pick out any human being from the remotest corner of the main deck.”

“The barricade stretches from rail to rail of the bulwarks, rendering it a matter of impossibility, in case of mutiny, for the mutineers to scale it in the face of to the deck with bolts and bars that no combined force of men on board could bear it down. On each side a gate is fitted, and close to them are two gun ports through which as many ‘sixteen-pounders’ are sternly surveying the inhabitants of the ship, while two more are frowning gloomily from the front of the poop deck, looking over the barricade through a sweeping charge of grape shot.”  (We commence embarking Coolies. Page 47)

This was all perfectly legal as long as the ship sailed under the proper flag. (Note: Merchant ships then, as today, were subject to the rules of the country they are registered in. The “flag” of the country of registration determines what laws apply on the ship and whether those laws are enforced.) More to the point, it was necessary.

“‘Is it not better to carry off the surplus myriads in this manner, than to leave them at home to lead lives of misery, starvation, and crime?'

"’ It might be, Mr. N., if the unscrupulous kidnapper would confine himself to the starving and criminal portion of the population.'

"’ The majority of them are composed of that class and are benefited, Mr. D.’

“‘I hope these facts, Mr. D., have cleared up the necessity of the Coolie trade.’"  ("We discover signs of mutiny amongst the Coolies." Page 96)

Captain Donald’s book(s) are presented, fundamentally, as a report on and protest against the abduction and enslavement of Chinese citizens of the period (1860 - 1890). Yet, as described, there is strong reason to believe that the author’s first-hand knowledge of the “coolie trade,” as it was widely called at the time, reflects his active participation in the business. 

The high-minded lectures on morality and the proper conduct that fill the text

“ duty is to grapple sternly (yet kindly) with the surrounding circumstances amongst which I may be placed, act an honest and upright part therein, and look forward to satisfactory and pleasing results accruing therefrom ; such, sir, are the principles which guide me in all my undertakings." ("My voyage through the Mediterranean." Page 134)

fall victim to the hypocrisy implicit in the author’s unwillingness to reveal a true picture of the events, people and places he purports to have observed. This seems especially odd and inappropriate given the many newspaper articles of the period that reported on the abusive treatment of coolies in Peru, at least.

Is it possible that the author was unaware of the many newspaper articles of the period that discussed the very practices he described or omitted? Of course.

Nonetheless, in the court of literary license, ignorance of “current” affairs pertinent to one’s primary theme is not an acceptable excuse. This may explain, in part, why neither "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" nor “Don Aldus, the Rover” seem to have made much of an impression on the culture of the time nor resonated with their readers.

Given the extent to which Captain Donald either misrepresented or omitted pertinent information, it is not inconceivable that these texts were intended as a "whitewash." 61

So, to cite yet another example, The Times (of London), published a description of the nauseating abuse of coolies on board ships headed to Peru, in its July 29, 1871 issue, page 9. This occurred five years before the publication of "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" (in 1876). The following is an excerpt.

“A series of documents lately laid before the House of Commons reveals the existence in the Southern Pacific of horrors rivalling those presented by the African Slave Trade in its worst phases. It appears that there is a constant traffic  between certain European ports in China and the Western coast of South America in Chinese Coolies, nominally shipped as voluntary and indentured labourers, but really as helpless and as subject to brutal treatment as any slaves. Peru has especially resorted to this source of labour supply, and since the abolition of slavery in that Republic, sixteen years ago, many thousands of Coolies have been imported from China.

“The Dolores Ugarte, sailing under the San Salvador flag from Macao for Callao … left the Portuguese colony with a cargo of 608 Coolies, who for three weeks were stowed between decks in a stifling atmosphere with a space of no more than 16 inches for each man. ... Food and water fell short and the horrors of the Black Hole of Calcutta were repeated in this ill-omened vessel. The sailors trafficked with the dying Coolies in the necessaries of life, selling cups of water for the dollars that were eagerly thrust out in exchange through the gratings of the hatches. ... Between Macao and the last named port (Honolulu) she lost, through various causes, no less than 270 of her hapless passengers.” 62  

Throughout the text(s), the narrator goes to great effort to present the good order that prevails upon his slave ship (between mutinies) as a result of the “admirable laws and instructions provided for everyone on board,” by the ship’s captain. ("Incidents during Embarkation." Page 100)

Figure 32: Two illustrations from "Don Aldus, The Rover."

This high compliment is complemented by the bleakly humorous suggestion that publishing “a copy of the regulations (established by the slave ship captain) which have served our purpose so very admirably; such might assist others in organizing a like multitude of Coolie passengers." ("The last of the criminals." Page 229)

But, then again, if the stated objective was the delivery of able-bodied slaves to a far distant location for profit, optimization of the conditions of confinement is as logical as it is essential. Is there any form of mass transport to a gulag, concentration camp, or forced labor camp that would not benefit from such an approach?

Still, Mr. D’s description of the then common approach to floating imprisonment makes the regime instituted in the American-built ship he took to Peru (involving frequent cat-o-nine-tail lashings replete with blood gushing backs and nearly dead victims) a dramatic improvement.

“I have visited, not one but, several such ‘coal scuttles,’ on board of which I dare not embark my sow, where the 'Cruelty to Animals Act' might be in force; knowing this fact, dear reader, you will cease to wonder at the frequent mutinies of Coolies, but will ask those tender-hearted white men, dealers in human bones, why they charter such miserable rafts of rottenness and stench to carry the highest order of animal yet discovered.

“Do not, I pray thee, think for a moment that I am drawing upon the imagination, for language fails to depict the horrors experienced on board such 'boxes' dubbed with the name of ships. An acquaintance of my own here, who had command of one of those ‘rattle-traps’ for one voyage only (during a continuation of bad weather which he unfortunately encountered) declared it to be nothing but a den of death. The first few days he was registering the dead by fives then by tens until ‘My God!’ said he, ‘I buried two hundred and thirty souls.’" ["We commence embarking Coolies." (sic) Page 47]

Despite their many faults, these books are artifacts of the period and windows into the minds of those involved in the coolie trade. Donald delivered ample evidence of a wounded conscience. He tried to share what he had seen and perhaps what he had done. The product of a twisted culture gave us these twisted tales.

It is hard to overlook the fact that Donald refused to insert himself into "Don Aldus, The Rover," even though he published his first book under his own name. Why? 

Is it possible that he thought the illustrated version might succeed as a fictional narrative where the first version failed as non-fiction? Retaining the original text must surely have reduced the cost of republishing to a relative pittance.

Earlier, I suggested that certain identification of the participants in the slave trade might have been subject to prosecution under British law. It is also possible that English libel laws of the period might have given the author pause.

A famous libel case from the period (1877-8) pitted artist James McNeill Whistler (of Whistler's Mother fame) against the even more famed art critic, John Ruskin (author of the "The Stones of Venice"). Ruskin maligned a painting of Whistler's in a printed piece and Whistler brought suit. Both lived in England. Ultimately, Whistler won in court, barely, and was bankrupted in the effort. 63

Other, earlier cases would likely have been known either to the author or to his publisher, who would also have been at some risk.

Even today, English libel laws are considered "notoriously complicated and restrictive." 64

Aside from any possible fear of possible legal repercussions, Donald must have felt sufficient shame over his personal involvement in the coolie trade or other activities that he felt obliged to misrepresent the awful treatment of Chinese workers in Peru. Only shame, it seems to me, would explain why an otherwise careful observer of the human trafficking trade would boldly assert that abducted coolies were better off in Peru than in their own home countrywhen the world already knew the truth.

So far as I can tell, no one else has yet remarked upon or closely examined the issues raised by "Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping" and "Don Aldus, The Rover." This shouldn't be surprising as their authors and content are mere footnotes in world history. But what telling, troubling and provocative footnotes they are!

August 22, 2015

Table of Figures & Illustrations

Cover Art by Glenn S. Michaels. 2015.
1.        Journal of Don Aldus. Creator: Glenn S. Michaels. 2015
2.         Ibid.
3.        Ibid.
4.         Ibid. Article: The Times (London, Greater London, England) · Tue, Feb 18, 1890.· P 13
5.        Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels. Straits Settlements. (1890, April 9). The Colonies and India (London, England): Page 15.  Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
6.        Journal of Don Aldus. Creator: Glenn S. Michaels. 2015
7.         Ibid.
8.         Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels. Book: Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping. Aldus, D., 2010. BiblioBazaar
9.        Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels. © Copyright 2001-2015 OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc
10.        Journal of Don Aldus. Creator: Glenn S. Michaels.2015
11.         Screen captures by Glenn S. Michaels.  Book: Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping. Aldus, D., 2010. BiblioBazaar and Don Aldus The Rover. Donald, D. George. London: McCorquodale.
12.        Ibid.
13.            Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels.  Book: Don Aldus The Rover. Donald, D. George. London: McCorquodale.
11.             Ibid   
12.           Imperial Federation British Empire in 1886. Publisher: MaClure & Co. Queen Victoria, St. London, Eng. Reprinted by and courtesy of:  The Map Shop.
13.           Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels.  Book: Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping. Aldus, D., 2010. BiblioBazaar
14.           Ibid.
15.           Imperial Federation British Empire in 1886. Publisher: MaClure & Co. Queen Victoria, St. London, Eng. Reprinted by and courtesy of:  The Map Shop.
16.           Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels.  Book: Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping. Aldus, D., 2010. BiblioBazaar
17.           Table compiled by Glenn S. Michaels
18.           Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels.  Article: The Times (London, Greater London, Eng.) May 3, 1873, P.2.
19.           THREE STAGES IN DALLAM TOWER'S DISASTER [picture]. Copyright status: This work is out of copyright. Brodie Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection, State Library of Victoria. Retrieved on July 27, 2015 from:
20.           Ibid.
21.           Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. The Dallam Tower. (1873, September 9). Evening News (Sydney, NSW: 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved July 29, 2015, from
22.           Ibid.
23.           Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. THE DALLAM TOWER. (1873, September 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.: 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved July 29, 2015, from
24.           Imperial Federation British Empire in 1886. Publisher: MaClure & Co. Queen Victoria, St. London, Eng. Reprinted by and courtesy of:  The Map Shop.
25.            Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. THE COOLIE TRADE; THE SLAVERY OF THE PRESENT. New York Times. July 19, 1873. Copyright. New York Times. Retrieved July 29, 2015, from
26.           Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. 1881 England Census. and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Operations Inc. 2004. Provo, UT, USA. © 2015, Retrieved July 27, 2015 from:­bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&db=uki1881&h=14464853
27.           Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. See Footnote #74
28.           Journal of Don Aldus. Creator: Glenn S. Michaels. 2015
29.           Screen shot by Glenn S. Michaels. See Footnote #74
30.           Journal of Don Aldus. Creator: Glenn S. Michaels. 2015
31.           Ibid.
32. Screen capture by Glenn S. Michaels.  Book: Don Aldus The Rover. Donald, D. George. London: McCorquodale.
33. London, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Original data: Church of England Parish Registers, 1754-1921. London Metropolitan Archives, London. London Metropolitan Archives, DRO/174/A/03/008 © 2015,


1. A Gunboat Named HMS Pigmy.  Retrieved July 22, 2015, from:
2. Slave Trade: Coolie Trade.  Source Database: Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from: http: // /Slave%20Trade%20Coolie%20Trade.pdf
3. Coolie. Online Etymology Dictionary. Retrieved August 6, 2015, from:
4. The Chinese Coolie Traffic from Hongkong, The Times Archive (London, England). February 18, 1890. Page 13. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
5. Ibid.
6. Straits Settlements. (1890, April 9). The Colonies and India (London, England): Page 15.  Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
7. Slave Trade: Coolie Trade / Source Database: Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery; Retrieved July 20, 2015, from: http: // /Slave%20Trade%20Coolie%20Trade.pdf
8. Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping, by Don Aldus, 1873, McCorquodale & Co., Ltd. “The Armoury” See:
9. Coolie Traffic and Kidnapping, by Don Aldus, 1873, McCorquodale & Co., Ltd. ‘The Armoury”
10. Don Aldus, the rover; OCLC, London: McCorquodale, 1886.
11. Passage to the World, The Emigrant Experience 1807-1940, by Kevin Brown, published in 2013, by Seaforth Publishing (
12. Definition of Hypergraphia, Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
"Hypergraphia: The driving compulsion to write; the overwhelming urge to write. Hypergraphia may compel someone to keep a voluminous journal, to jot off frequent letters to the editor, to write on toilet paper if nothing else is available, and perhaps even to compile a dictionary. Hypergraphia is the opposite of writer's block."  
13. Don Aldus, The Rover, By Capt. Geo. D. Donald; Chapter 1: Japan, Page xiii. "Next to the Indian Palanquin, recommend me to the Jinrikisha of Japan for ease and comfort..." On page xii, the author expounds upon the birthplace and significance of "Siddartha Gautama ('The Holy')" aka Buddha with a conversance that suggests personal experience of the area or a strong interest in religion and history.
14. The Coolie Traffic at Macao. The Times (London, Greater London, England) Jan. 1, 1874. Page 5. Retrieved July 5, 2015, from:
15. GRAND DUCHESS OLGA CONSTANTINOVNA OF RUSSIA. Project Gutenberg Self-Publishing Press, World Public Library Association. Retrieved July 24, 2015, from: Sourced from World Heritage Encyclopedia™ licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
16. THE DISMASTING OF THE SHIP DALLAM TOWER. (1873, August 26). The Newcastle Chronicle (NSW : 1866 - 1876), p. 4. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from:
17. THE DISMASTING OF THE SHIP DALLAM TOWERS. (1873, August 29). The Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947), p. 3. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from
18.   DISASTER TO THE SHIP DALLAM TOWER. (1873, September 6). The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), p. 7. Retrieved July 31, 2015, from:
19.        Lloyd’s Register  British and Foreign Shipping of Ships, 1872-73., London,, p. 132,
20. New Zealand. The Passengers’ Line, The Times, (London, Greater London, England); May 3, 1873; Page 2. Retrieved July 23, 2015, from:
21. WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3, 1873. (1873, September 3). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 4. Retrieved September 8, 2015, from
22. The Dallam Tower. (1873, September 9).Evening News (Sydney, NSW: 1869 - 1931), p. 3. Retrieved July 24, 2015, from:
23. Ibid.
24. Ibid.
25. THE DALLAM TOWER. (1873, September 6). The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), p. 6. Retrieved September 8, 2015, from
26. THE DALLAM TOWER. (1873, November 7). Illustrated Australian News for Home Readers (Melbourne, Vic. : 1867 - 1875), p. 183. Retrieved August 9, 2015, from
27. The Ship Dallam Tower. (1873, October 24). Illawarra Mercury (Wollongong, NSW: 1856 - 1950), p. 3. Retrieved July 17, 2015, from
29. All Clear Aft - Episodes At Sea, Basil Lubbock; Cassell & Co Ltd.1936. Also, found online at courtesy of World Navel Ships Forums or
30. NEW ZEALAND. Illustrated Australian News (Melbourne, Vic. 1876 - 1889), p. 158, October 3, 1877. Retrieved July 22, 2015, from
31. Wreck Inquiry. The Colonist Volume XIX, Issue 2274 (New Zealand), p.3. August 23, 1877.  National Library of New Zealand.
34. Index to the Captains Registers of Lloyd’s of London: D; (CLC/B/149/B019/MS18567)  (Guildhall Library Ms 18567); London Metropolitan Archives, P. 152. Retrieved July 24, 2015, from:
35. Slave Trade: Coolie Trade. Source Database: Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from: http: // /Slave%20Trade%20Coolie%20Trade.pdf
36. The Chinese Labor Question. The New York Herald (New York, New York), Page 4. July 26, 1869. Retrieved August 6, 2015, from:
37. “That Heathen Chinee.” The New York Herald (New York, New York). Page 12. October 6, 1870. Retrieved August 8, 2015, from: Excerpted from the book, Why And How. Why the Chinese Emigrate, and the Means They Adopt for the Purpose of Reaching America. published by Russel H. Conwell, Boston: Lee and Shepard, Publishers. 1871.  Retrieved August 6, 2015, from:
38. "Records uncovered by historians in the People's Republic of China, using Chinese records, reveal that from 1880 to 1885, a period when many of the coolies sent to Cuba and Peru during the height (also the last thrust) of the coolie trade in the first half of the 1870s would have completed their original contracts, only 1,887 of the Chinese managed to make their way back home to China. This was an insignificant number, given the over 100,000 who left China in 1870-74 alone for Cuba and Peru."
Contributions in Black Studies, A Journal of African and Afro-American Studies, Vol. 12. Ethnicity, Gender, Culture, & Cuba; Article 5, 1-1-1994, Chinese Coolie Labor in Cuba in the Nineteenth Century: Free Labor of Neoslavery, Evelyn Hu-Dehart, University of Colorado at Boulder, page 9. Retrieved July 24, 2015, from: 
39. THE COOLIE TRADE.THE SLAVERY OF THE PRESENT. New York Times. July 19, 1873. From an Occasional Correspondent Copyright the New York Times (CALLAO, Peru,) Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:*/
40.  Slave Trade: Coolie Trade. Source Database: Macmillan Encyclopedia of World Slavery. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from: http: // Monkey_Hunting_Readings /Slave%20Trade%20Coolie%20Trade.pdf
41. News of the Day. (Second column) The Charleston Daily News. (Charleston, S.C.), 28 Nov. 1870. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
42. “That Heathen Chinee.” The New York Herald (New York, New York). Page 12. October 6, 1870. Retrieved August 8, 2015, from: Excerpted from the book, Why And How. Why the Chinese Emigrate, and the Means They Adopt for the Purpose of Reaching America. published by Russel H. Conwell, Boston: Lee and Shepard, Publishers. 1871.  Retrieved August 6, 2015, from:
43. News of the Day. (Second column) The Charleston Daily News. (Charleston, S.C.), 28 Nov. 1870. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. Retrieved July 20, 2015, from:
44. The Chinese Labor Question. The New York Herald (New York, New York), Page 4. July 26, 1869. Retrieved August 6, 2015, from:
45. The actual number of Chinese citizens (coolies) on board is unclear. The author speaks of 700 in on pages 30 and 44 and 650 on page 124. As the new of crew members is reported at 56 (page 124), it is possible that some confusion resulted.
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  1. A well written article. I look forward to following your ongoing research into this important and under-researched topic.