A big thank you to James Youle, Senior Information Assistant in the Library, who has gifted an item to Special Collections. The item is an account of the adventures of George Hamilton-Gordon, 6th Earl of Aberdeen (1841-1870). The account originally appeared in the Banffshire Journal in 1871, and was re-printed as a pamphlet in 1934 for circulation amongst members of the family. It is based on the report of the Commissioner who visited America for the purpose of collecting evidence of Lord Aberdeen’s death without issue to enable his younger brother John to succeed him as 7th Earl.
Gordon had succeeded to the title on the death of his father, the 5th Earl, in 1864, but in January 1866 sailed to the United States, assumed the name of George H. Osborne, and for the next four years followed a sea-faring life. His travels from his base in America took him all around the world, either as a member of the crew on board different vessels or as a traveller, including the Canary Islands, the Bahamas, Mexico, Spain and Barbados. After an initial posting as an ordinary seaman on board the R. Wylie to the Canary Islands, he studied navigation at the British Nautical College in Boston for four months in his efforts to gain a post as First Officer in the merchant navy, and was registered as an Approved Shipmaster by the Shipmasters’ Association in 1868. He later was appointed Captain of the schooner Walton from December 1868-October 1869 transporting goods to different ports across America but drowned in January 1870 while serving as first mate on the schooner Hera of Boston, six days into a voyage to Australia and China.