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The Shipping Gazette and Sydney general trade list; 1844
From the digitised version of the Sydney Shipping Gazette found at the National Library of Australia website.

Mar 23 to May 25 | Jun 01 to Aug 10 | Aug 24 to Oct 05 | Oct 12 to Dec 21

This page is a companion to Ships to Australia 1844 and contains the longer shipping related news items extracted from the Shipping Gazette, and arranged by date of publication. Many thanks to Lina Moffitt for these contributions.

Volume 1, Number 12 - 8 June, 1844

CAUTION TO MARINERS—CAPE AGULHAS—In Captain Marryat’s new code of signals (late edition) amongst the lighthouses enumerated by him as existing in “various parts of the world”, is mentioned one, as being already placed on Cape Agulhas, and which he has numbered 1248. As such a lighthouse is not yet in existence, although it was contemplated some years ago to erect one on that promontory, and liberal subscriptions were then entered into by benevolent individuals in this colony and elsewhere for the purpose, it is highly necessary that a widely disseminated knowledge of the non-existence of this light should be given to the world, in order that commanders of vessels intending to strike in with the coast on their voyage home from the eastward may not make too free with it, in the expectation of finding a light to warn and guide them round that deceitful and dangerous point—Cape paper.

SPEED OF STEAMERS—The accounts which have been published of the astonishing speed of some of the American steamers, and especially of the Swallow, have staggered the faith of the English Engineers. The Nautical Magazine contains a paper on American steam-boats, in which we find a list of twenty-two steamers—stating the names—where they were built—the length in feet—beam in feet—draught in feet—dimensions of cylinders and wheels—the dip—number of revolutions per minute—the route—average passage, loss in landing—speed in statute miles, and in nautical miles, &c.

According to that statement, several of the vessels regularly, on an average, steam in an hour from twelve to fourteen miles, and the Swallow, upwards of sixteen—that is, statute miles, which when reduced to nautical or geographical miles, gives somewhat short of fourteen. Great confusion and misunderstanding result from omitting to state, whether the distances run are in statute or nautical miles, between which there is a considerable difference—the English statute mile containing 1760 yards, whilst the nautical or geographical mile comprises 2072 ½ yards. We do not believe that any sailing vessel, large or small ever passed through the water at a greater rate than twelve knots or miles in the hour, and we have heard it doubted, by candid nautical men, whether that speed has ever been attained.

This limitation, however, does not arise from the resistance of the fluid; or how would it be possible for so huge a body as a whale, from sixty to one hundred feet long, and broad in proportion, to move through the sea at the astonishing speed which has been ascertained—a speed so rapid that the friction of the line against the boat would ignite it, if it were not kept constantly wetted? If the whale, whose bluff head is equal in size to one-third of the whole bulk of the animal, can move through the water, and that, too, at vast depths, with such extraordinary velocity, it appears to us, that all that is wanting to impel steam vessels at a much greater speed than has even yet been obtained, is improved machinery; and as the attention of the theoretical scientific men, and practical engineers and mechanics, in Europe and America, is now directed to these improvements, we do not despair of ultimately obtaining a speed of twenty miles, or more, in the hour.
Admitting that the American steamer, the Swallow, actually steams, as is stated, at about fourteen nautical miles in the hour, and taking the distances from England to New York, in round numbers at 3000 miles, such a vessel, if she could maintain her maximum speed during the whole voyage, would cross the Atlantic in less than nine days. Fourteen miles in the hour will be 336 miles in the day of 24 hours, and nine times 336 are equal to 3024 miles. If ever this speed shall be obtained, we may make the voyage from Liverpool to New York, and back again, in a month, spending about twelve days of the time on shore in either of these ports or six days in each. If our speculations should be deemed chimerical, we would remind those who so regard them, that experienced theoretic and scientific engineers, not many years ago, considered it impossible to propel locomotive carriages on railways at anything like half the rate at which they now regularly travel—Liverpool Mercury.

NAUTICAL SURVEYS
By T. Beckford Simpson

January 19, 1843—Passed close to the position of a shoal on the Middle Ground (so termed by the whalers) saw no indication of it. Norie’s Chart for 1825 places it in lat. 23º 53’ south, long. 160º 10’east. Captain Grimes of the Woodlark places it 25’ (miles) to the westward of this position, and describes it as having ten fathoms least water on it.

Shaped a course to pass to the eastward of the Brompton and Bellona Shoals, between there and New Caledonia. The passage to the westward of these dangers is to be preferred, from its being better known; but at this season the trade wind generally hangs well to the eastward, making it rather scant for weathering Cape Deliverance, and it is now almost too late to attempt either the Bouganville or any of the passages to the westward, as the Line westerly monsoon is about setting in, when heavy north-west squalls and thick weather may be expected. On January 19, altered the course in order to avoid a danger called by the whalers the New Shoal. Its position is very imperfectly laid down on the charts, which is much to be regretted, as it is directly in the track of vessels taking this route; different authorities vary considerably in its longitude. Captain Allen and others who have seen it, places it in lat. 20º 55’ south, long. 160º 28’ east. It is described as being covered with water, but the sea breaks very heavy on it.

The shoal on which the Tamar of Sydney struck on, is said to be in lat. 21º 21’ south, long. 161º 36’ east; and as it is reported to extend a long distance to the north-west, probably the two shoals are connected. There is said to be another shoal in this passage further to the northward not laid down in any chart; it is in about lat. 20º 5’ south, long. 160º 30’ east.

Saw several sperm whales in these latitudes; rose them for three successive days; observed also a quantity of their food, technically called squid. In latitude about 15º 30’ south, lost the steady trade, and the wind became variable from the westward.

January 25—Sighted the high land about Cape Deliverance to Pleasant Island, which I made on the 1st February, had for the most part westerly winds, with nearly daily violent squalls from the north-west, gradually veering around to the south-west; they were attended with much rain, and very vivid lightning; they generally commenced about an hour later each succeeding day. During one of these heavy squalls, on the 27th January, when in about lat. 6º 9’ south. Long. 164º 15’ at 11h. 45m. a.m. observed the compass-card to revolve several times without any apparent cause; this phenomenon might probably be occasioned by the effect of electricity on the magnet, the squall being charged at the time with a large quantity of electric fluid. It is worthy of remark, that during these heavy squally there was no perceptible alteration in the barometer, it showing 29.75. In these latitudes experienced a constant current setting to the eastward, averaging nearly a knot an hour; during the easterly monsoon it changes its direction, and runs strong to the westward—due allowance ought therefore to be made by navigators in shaping a course in these seas.

PLEASANT ISLAND—At 2pm on the 1st February made Pleasant Island—this island was passed by Captain Fearns in the year 1789: upon his authority, Horsburgh places it in latitude 0º 20’ S. long. 167º 10’ E. Norie gives it the same longitude, and five miles more to the southward. I make the lat. Of center 0º 35’ S. which I find agrees with several ships that have sighted it. I had no opportunity of getting observations for the longitude, my dead reckoning from a.m. sight makes it about fifteen miles to the westward of the assigned position. This island is rather low, and could not, I think, be seen more than seven leagues from aloft—two round hummocks some distance apart are first visible, and as it is approached from the SE a very remarkable solitary tree, towering above all others, makes its appearance on the eastern extremity of the island.

As I neared the island, several canoes came alongside, there were about eight or ten natives in each, they brought with them for sale, a few very small fowls some cocoanuts, and two or three straw hats, the latter they had been taught to make by the Europeans—these articles they were exceedingly anxious to barter for trinkets, beads, pipes and tobacco; the latter were most in demand: they all appeared quite adept in the art of bargaining. The men are about the middle size, well, but not robustly made, of a dark copper colour, with a very smooth sleek skin, they had no beard, hair black and straight, they have no affinity to the Papuan race, but are evidently from their high cheek bones and irregular cast of features of the Malayan descent: and from what I saw of the natives at the Island of Ascension, one of the Carolinas, North Pacific, I am of the opinion they are both sprung from the same origin. Four of the women came alongside, and if they were a sample, they may be considered rather good looking, having a very fine expression, black eyes shaded by a beautiful long dark lash, features regular, figure good, rather inclined to be stout, they appeared naturally graceful and easy in their manner; their dress consisted of a piece of native cloth round the waist; the men wore the maro—the usual dress among nearly all the Polynesian Islands, it is made of several tiers of dried grass, about eighteen inches long, strung together and fastened around the waist.

Both sexes appeared to be very mild and tractable in their manner, but much addicted to pilfering; we detected several in the attempt: when threatened they did not deny the crime, or consider the expected punishment unjust. These natives, unlike their prototypes on the Island of Ascension in this respect, have no tradition of their origin, or the manner their forefathers first came on the island; they have no religion of any kind, neither do they believe in a future state; they appear, however, to have some slight idea of an evil spirit.

They are divided into seven or eight tribes, each tribe governed by a chief and queen who presides over the whole; it is her duty to decide all disputes which may arise among the chiefs, and from her decision there is no appeal; and in her also is vested the sovereign prerogative of making peace or war among the different tribes; and on all these occasions I am told she is implicitly obeyed. From what I could learn there were about 1400 inhabitants on this island, which is only fourteen miles in circumference, and they are, I believe, rapidly on the increase, and fears are entertained that it will eventually be too small to support them. Their food consists chiefly of cocoanuts, the fruit of another description of palm, probably the pandamus, and fish, which are not very numerous. I saw none of the tropical fruits which are generally very prolific in these islands, neither had they any bread fruit, which is the principal support of the natives on nearly all the Polynesian Islands. It might, however, be very easily imported from the adjacent islands, and from the climate and soil being well calculated for its growth, it would doubtless thrive well.

When hove to off the island, an European came on board, who stated himself to be George Lovett, a deserter from the London whaler Offley. He brought off a list of the whalers, with their success, that had recently touched here.

This island, and many others in the Pacific are infested by Europeans, who are either runaway convicts, expirees, or deserters from whalers, and are for the most part men of the very worst description, who it appears prefer living a precarious life of indolence and ease with the unenlightened savage, rather than submit to the restraint of the salutary laws of civilized society; they live in a manner easily to be imagined from men of this class, without either law, religion or education to control them, with an unlimited quantity of ardent spirits which they obtain from distilling the toddy that exudes from the cocoanut-tree, this spirit is not very palatable, but it serves, to use their own expression, to tickle the brain; when under the influence of intoxication the most atrocious crimes are committed by these miscreants, who must, both by their pernicious example and advice do much injury to this naturally mild and well-disposed race of men, and will retard considerably the great work of civilization and Christianity, whenever these blessings are offered them by the servants of God. These fiends frequently urge the different tribes to war and deeds of blood, in order to participate in the spoils of the vanquished.

The following occurrences will tend in some measure to show the brutal manner in which these wretches live, they are in constant dread of each other, and by their deeds even horrify the untutored savage, I am given them on the authority of the man Lovett, and from the clear and consistent manner in which he relates them I have no doubt of the truth.

Lovett states there are at present seven Europeans on Pleasant Island, named as follows:--Frederick Fisher, William Day, both deserters from the brig CLARENCE of Sydney; William Ross, from the LADY BLACKWOOD, Sydney; James Ashford, or some such name from the RIFLEMAN of London; Darby------ from the CLARKSTON of Sydney; and the steward of the WILLIAM of Sydney, name unknown.

Lovett says--last evening (January 31, 1843) Fisher and Ashford came to visit Day and myself, and brought with them some of the island spirit to make merry with, Day got drunk and commenced quarrelling with the native woman he was living with, and beat her violently with his fist, Ashford (a lad about eighteen) interfered, and endeavoured to reconcile them, when Day went into an adjoining room, got a musket, took a deliberate aim at Ashford, and fired, fortunately the ball had been previously drawn, but this Day did not know; he acknowledged he thought there was a ball in the gun; the charge of powder entered Ashford’s left breast, and injured him severely, the muzzle being within six feet of him; his recovery is at present very doubtful.

It was notorious, more especially amongst the Sydney whalers, who occasionally called at this island, and the fact was, I believe, not unknown to the Government authorities in Sydney, that there were several runaway doubly-convicted felons who had cut a whale-boat out, and made their escape from the penal settlement of Norfolk Island, and were living in this place for several years; it appears there were four of these villains at first, two subsequently left in an American whaler, either to carry their pernicious influence to some of the adjacent islands, or proceed to America; the remaining two were well known by the names of Paddy and Jones, the former died of dysentery some time since, and Lovett gives the following account of the latter, who appears to have been a most desperate and depraved character. Lovett obtained his information from the natives who were present at the time, and I have since been confirmed in its truth by the testimony of a master of a whaler, who touched at this island shortly after the event alluded to took place.

It appears that on 15th Oct 1841, eleven Europeans were deliberately murdered by the monster Jones, in the following manner; he invited them all to visit him to partake of a feast, and when he had got his victims intoxicated with the island spirit, he gave them food in which he had previously mixed poison; this proved fatal to seven; the remaining four having refused to eat, he watched his opportunity and shot them. Most of these men are supposed to have been deserters from the Woodlark, Sydney whaler. The only cause which instigated the monster to this wholesale murder was jealousy, he being fearful that some of these unfortunate men might supersede him in his influence with the natives, over whom he had hitherto unlimited control: to remove suspicion from himself he endeavoured to make it appear that the deed have been perpetrated by some of the natives, which they indignantly denied, and in consequence withdrew their countenance from him, and he was subsequently compelled to leave the island clandestinely, in the American whaler, Gidean Hauling, and was again landed by her on a small island three miles to the eastward of Pleasant Island, called Ocean Island, where he remained for eight months, and again returned in the London whaler Eleanor to Pleasant Island; but finding from the ill-feeling the natives had towards him he could not remain with safety, he again left in an American whaler, and has never since visited this place. Captain Stokes of the whaler Bermondsey, reports having seen him since on Guam, one of the Marian Islands, a prisoner in chains, and which report has been confirmed by Captain Bunker of the Elizabeth; but whether he has been confined for any fresh crime committed there, or given up by some vessel as a runaway convict does not appear, it is most likely to be the former, as I do not think the Spanish government would interfere in the latter case.

On my passage down the China Sea, I went on board the ship William Gillies, from Macoa, and learnt from her, that Jones had arrived from Guam, and was anxious to ship for England. Jones was personally known to some of the Gillies’ crew.

It is to be feared that these horrible scenes of bloodshed and depravity are of frequent occurrence amongst the Polynesian Isles, more especially to the westward, where no effort has hitherto been made to introduce civilization and Christianity. Vain and futile will be the attempt whilst these miscreants are permitted to remain with the natives, corrupting them by their baneful example and selfish advice, introducing intoxication and disease in its many horrible forms, and teaching these naturally mild and tractable race of men the grossest depravity. In many of these places the Europeans are very numerous; on the Island of Ascension, which I visited in 1841, there were upward of sixty and will doubtless, should an opportunity offer, cut out any vessel which might be tempted to stop at this island in order to obtain refreshments, as it lays immediately in the track of ships going the eastern route from Sydney to China; masters on vessels should, therefore, be cautious how they approach—the strictest vigilance is necessary to prevent surprise.

It would be advisable for the government occasionally to send a man-of-war to visit these islands; her presence alone would be very beneficial in keeping these men in check, as there is nothing they dread more than a vessel of this description. They are generally very cautious in not boarding a vessel until they have ascertained her character and force.

Lovett also informed me there was a white man on this island, who had been living there for many years; he is quite a European in appearance, and is thought to be either one of the boys belonging to the John Bull or Princess Charlotte, both which vessels were supposed to be lost or cut out near this island, and he is thought to be either a lad named Backs or Le Burn. The following is his description:--apparently about thirty-four years of age, but probably younger, complexion is inclined to be fair, whiskers red, hair light and disposed to curl. He is not permitted by the natives to associate with the whites, nor is he allowed to go on board any vessel; he cannot speak English but appears to understand it.

THE MERCHANT SERVICE—We have more than once had occasion to remark on the negligence, ignorance and mismanagement by which vessels, whether in the Royal or the merchant service have been lost. We have published a letter on the recent loss of the Nelson, which, while it supports all that we have ventured to put forth on the subject of nautical carelessness or inexperience, at the same time offers a suggestion for the prevention of disasters similar to that which has recently occurred.

It appears from the statement of our correspondent, that although it is an established axiom with naval men that no vessel should go to sea with a crew of less than four men and a boy to every 100 tons, the Nelson had not even two men to every 100 tons. The mischief and misery of so inadequate a complement may easily be inferred. For, after deducting the master, the steward, the cook and the carpenter—none of whom keep watch—there remained only one officer, three men, and a boy, to each of the two watches—all that could be allowed to such a vessel with such a crew. “One of these three men” says our correspondent, “must be constantly at the wheel, and, supposing the officer in his place—pacing the poop or quarter-deck—we have just two men and a boy to attend the twenty sails such a ship would carry”.

A sloop of war of this size would send up fourteen men to reef one of her topsails, and if it blew hard there would not be a hand too many. How such a vessel as the Nelson, so manned, could take in canvas at all in a squall, would be a mystery to me, did I not know that nine times in ten “the wind takes it in for them,” i.e. the canvas is blown out of the bolt-ropes, and “it goes down to the underwriters”. But it was not only a deplorable, and, indeed, criminal deficiency of hands, that caused the wreck of this ill-fated ship; but, superadded to this, a most gross and grievous ignorance on the part of those to whose skill and information her safety was confided. When the Nelson was off the coast of Connemara, the captain believed that he was entering the Bristol Channel.

It is to this point that we would most especially call the attention of the public. No man that is at all connected with the shipping interests of this country, no man that has property or commercial relations in our distant colonies, no man who may be at any time summoned to any of them, can be indifferent to the means which are taken for enhancing the security of private merchant vessels. Yet—strange to say—this matter, so important to all has been neglected by all; or, when an effort has been made to insure safety, so far as safety may be insured by precautions, this has languished into obscurity from want of proper and timely co-operation. During the last session Captain Fitzroy introduced a bill for the purpose of instituting examinations of mates and masters. By a regular system of examination it would have been possible to provide a sufficient number of men, whose qualifications would have entitled them to the command of large merchant vessels, and prevented the occurrence of such fatal blunders as that which led to the destruction of the Nelson. But Captain Fitzroy was appointed to the colonial government; his bill was not a party bill; it was only an useful bill, the House of Commons cares not for useful bills; it is excited only by bills which determine the fate of the ins and the outs. So Captain Fitzroy’s scheme was abandoned and merchant vessels are still consigned to half-educated blockheads, whose ignorance predominates over their self-interest, and prevents them from saving the ships of which their money has purchased the command.
This should not be so. It is the duty of the Legislature to interfere in behalf of life and property. If the owners of vessels are content to rest on their policies of insurance, the passengers and the sailors ought to be protected. Men and goods should not be left to the tender mercies of insufficient crews and incompetent officers; and existing penalties should be strictly enforced against persons who send vessels to sea either insufficiently manned or insufficiently officered. Life is too sacred a thing to be trifled away by neglect, periled by usurious parsimony, or squandered by a sordid love of gain—London Times.

Volume 1, Number 13 - 15 June, 1844
H. M. SHIP “CLEOPATRA”—Murder of Lieutenant Molesworth and Seven of the Crew—H M Ship Cleopatra which arrived in Simon’s Bay on Sunday last, reports the following:--On the evening of the 21st March last, H M Corvette Cleopatra, touched the ground on a coral reef, on the coast of Madagascar, and whilst weighing the kedge anchor (which had been used to warp the ship off) in the pinnace, Lieut Molesworth and seven men were killed by the natives on 23rd March. This disaster was brought on from two of the natives having been forcibly turned out of the boat, for attempting to steal some of the stores, under which excitement they threw a spear, which hit Lieut Molesworth, and was the beginning of a general attack—Cape Paper, April 16.

The U.S. flag-ship Brandywine, Commodore Parker, arrived in Macoa Roads on the 24th February, having on board the Hon. C. Cushing, Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary from the United States of America to China, and suite. His Excellency has taken up his residence at Macao until the Brandywine has completed her arrangements to proceed on her voyage to the mouth of the Peiho. The Rev E C Bridgman, D.D., and the Rev P Parker, M.D., are stated to have been appointed joint Chinese Secretaries to the Legation.

THE “ALLIGATOR”—The schooner Alligator reports that on the 9th January she fell in with an unknown reef, in lat. 7° 65’ N., long. 154° 20’ E., in the form of a horse-shoe, and experienced a hurricane which threw her on her beam-ends for several hours, and washed everything from her decks, boats, stanchions, bulwarks, &c; three cows on deck were also destroyed and likewise twenty horses in the hold. They were obliged to cut away the masts, and the vessel then righted. (Barometer, 27.70.) She left Sydney on 23rd Dec. Her cargo consists of sandalwood, jerked beef, and two horses—Hongkong Register, March 5.

Captain John Wishart, of the Countess of Minto died at Canton on 4th November (1843).

this is a continuation of an earlier story...

NEWS FROM CANTON:--

SCHOONER “O.C. RAYMOND”—By the arrival of the ship Natches, from Valparaiso, arrived here on the 19th inst, further particulars have been received concerning the movements of this vessel, which arrived at that place about the 1st Sept, and previous to the Natches leaving Callao, Capt Dennison had arrived there in a whale ship, having given up the schooner to his mate, who was getting a Chilian flag with a view to employment on the South American Coast. Capt Dennison, who had also, it is said, gone by the name of Fearing, had sold the Sycee silver from his vessel for doubloons, and intimated that he had sent them to some place in China which no European had visited before, and had impressed people with the opinion that he had discovered a new field of commercial enterprise, and had profited by it; he talked of going to the United States and also of returning to China—Canton Press, 23rd December (1843)

FROM SINGAPORE:--

LOSS OF THE SHIP “PELORUS”—The brig Pelorus was lost on the 25th December, on a shoal in lat. 8º 8’ 30” N., long. 115º 30’E., and it seems from the following extract from the Singapore Free Press of January 25, that the steamer Victoria, built in this colony, was successfully engaged in taking some of the crew from the wreck, and saving some of her valuable cargo:

“We are glad to say that the steamer Victoria, Captain Banks, arrived here on Tuesday from the wreck of the Pelorus, having been successful in accomplishing the objects for which she was sent. The Victoria steamed to the wreck, 900 miles, against a strong monsoon, in seven days. She experienced a strong gale all the way with a tremendous sea breaking over her. She has thus proved her powers as a fine sea-boat, equally fitted to buffet with the rough gales of the China seas, as to skim through the smooth waters of the Straits. Twenty persons were brought away from the wreck—their situation during the time they remained on the shoal may be more easily imagined than described—left alone in the midst of the wild ocean, in the height of a north east monsoon, with a heavy rain, and blowing all round the wreck. All of a sudden the weather cleared up, and the steamer was seen within a few miles, hastening to their rescue.

It had been arranged, a few hours previous to the appearance of the steamer, that if within two days more no assistance came, they were to leave the wreck. No tidings have been received of those who left on the raft. The steamer brought away 70 chests of opium.”

HMS Dido, Honorable Captain Keppel, returned from Manila on the 7th, with His Excellency Lord Saltoun, commander of Her Majesty’s military force in China. Lord Saltoun gave over his command to Major-General d’Aguilar on Thursday last. It is said his lordship has taken his passage in the Charles Forbes for Bombay. The visit of the Vice Admiral and the General to Manila has been productive of much gaiety there, and balls and dinners were almost daily given to the distinguished visitors by Spanish and foreign residents of Manila. HMS Cornwallis had left Manila for Singapore—Free Press, Feb 8 (1844)

LOSS OF THE “CAMPECHANO”.—By accounts from Manila we regret to learn that the Spanish brig Campechano, from Liverpool bound to Manila was, on the 5th of last month totally lost on the Montufar shoal, in the Straits of San Bernadino. The sea was running high at the time the vessel struck, and she broke up almost immediately after, leaving to the crew the only alternative of saving their lives by swimming on shore, which most of them reached in safety; but four were unfortunately drowned in the attempt. The vessel had a very valuable cargo of piece-goods, worth between £30,000- 40,000—Free Press, Feb 8 (1844)

 
Volume 1, Number 17 - 13 July, 1844

WOOL CARGOES—I beg to make a few observations on wool cargoes. Can any other conclusion be drawn from the fact of the steam arising from the cargo being allowed to pass through the seamen’s berth, than that such has been permitted, because it was the most economical plan; a plan, which although it may save a few pounds to the owner, jeopardizes the health and lives of the crew! The remedy appears to be easy. Wooden flues would carry off the steam into the atmospheric air, and prevent it from affecting any person on board the vessel.

Why have not these been erected? It is deplorable to think how little care is bestowed upon the state of the seamen’s berth on board of merchant ships. In the Australian traders the bulk-head between the hold and the men’s berth is purposely left with interstices to admit the steam and fume from the wool cargo to pass through! The effect has been described and I have been assured that when a person holds his head over the scuttle, the steam condenses on his face and runs off in drops! If the captain is appealed to by the suffering crew, his answer is, that he cannot permit the bulk-head head to be closed, as, in that case, the steam would find vent aft, and annoy his passengers! Without imputing direct blame to the commander, we may assert it to have been his duty before quitting the home port, to have pointed out to the owner the result that would follow from the general plan adopted, and to have urged the necessity for remedy; the neglect of which outrages the feelings of humanity and justice.

We have been further assured that when a ship freighted with wool arrives in the docks, after a four or five months’ voyage, the beds of the men, to use their own expression are as “rotten as tinder” and fall in pieces on being lifted! Alternately steamed and cooled, exuding at all pores, and suddenly having the moisture evaporated by a freezing atmosphere, it may readily be believed, that no human being could support uninjured such vicissitudes. Disease and death are the inevitable consequences and as an awful responsibility rests somewhere it is to be hoped that a speedy remedy will be applied to the evil.—Humanitas.—Nautical Magazine.

 
Volume 1, Number 18 - 20 July, 1844

LOSS OF THE BRIG “CLARENCE”—The Sovereign which arrived on Tuesday from Moreton Bay brought the captain, second mate, and sixteen of the crew of the Clarence, belonging to Mr Cole of George-street North, which vessel was totally lost on the Chesterfield Bank, near the Bampton Shoal, on 9th of June last. The following account has been kindly furnished us by Capt McCardell, who at present suffers much from the wounds inflicted by the natives:--

June 9, ordered a good look out to be kept, and at daylight, the watch at the mast-head rose a reef ahead of the ship; ran to leeward, and one hour afterwards cleared it; at noon, found her inside of Horseshoe Reef, Bampton Shoal. At 2pm hauled to windward on the other tack, to try to get out of the bay; 7° 30’ pm breakers reported ahead; ordered the helm to be put down, and the ship came round, but before gathering headway, the sea drifted her on the reef. Every effort was then used to lighten her and run her over the reef into deep water, which was effected on the 16th, by running the anchor out, and she then appeared in a fair way of getting through the danger, when the wind suddenly rose and drove her into her former position, when she carried away her rudder. On the 17th, finding it impossible to save the vessel, the masts were cut away to ease her, and the crew and officers took to the boats on the 19th, and steered their course for Moreton Bay, where three arrived, after great hardships, but the chief mate, Mr Surtess, with the boat’s crew, were missing when the Sovereign sailed. Some idea may be formed of the sufferings endured by the following extracts from the journal:--

Tuesday June 15, at 8am, descried a reef, bearing by compass NW, three miles distant, extending E and W. At 11am landed on a sand bank, and all hands commenced digging large holes to try to find fresh water, but to no avail; made up our minds to stop on the bank all night. 26th. Left the reef; after which four days of heavy weather elapsed, during which time the boats leaked very much, and only the two containing the second mate and captain were in company. 30th. Saw the land on the east side of Harvey’s Bay, and being short of water, thought it prudent to land and obtain some, and also to repair the boats. Eight or ten native men came on the beach, and appeared to be very civil; dug a large hole to save the water that was running off the hill, and dried all the clothing that was in the boat; made two tents with the boat sails and the natives made a fire about two hundred yards from us, and made occasional visits; set two hands in a watch, and the remainder laid down, with the fire-arms ready loaded for fear of treachery. At 8pm the natives crawled towards the tents through the long grass, and before the watch noticed them, one of our men received four spears, three in the right arm and the other in the thigh. At the time the alarm was given, all rushed out, Capt McCardell being first when he also received a spear in the thick part of his right thigh, which went clean through and penetrated the other; the natives then took to the bush before any retaliation took place. Upon filling the water casks both boats left the island and on the twelfth day were proceeding up the river to Brisbane Town when they fell in with the steamer Sovereign, after being five days without food and had the gratification to find some of their shipmates on board, who had arrived six days before them.

Capt McCardell states that the chief mate and his crew were most likely fallen in with by some vessel, as the weather was very favourable for the coast. We regret to state that the Clarence was not insured. We have been informed that it is the intention of Mr Cole, late owner of the Clarence, to dispatch a schooner to the Bampton Shoal for the purpose of recovering some of the wreck. We have received the following additional particulars respecting the loss of the above vessel:

Moreton Bay July 12—I am sorry to have to communicate to you the total loss of the whaling brig Clarence, McCardell, master of and from Sydney the 14th May last. From the annexed narrative of one of her crew, arrived in a whale boat with five others, on Sunday last, it appears that after the vessel went ashore on the Bampton Shoal, the crew abandoned her after remaining by the wreck nine days, in the four whale-boats belonging to the vessel; one only as yet has arrived at this port, after being seventeen days at sea, the distance sailed being about 600 miles; from the fortunate result of this perilous undertaking, hopes are entertained that the other three boats with their crews will ultimately reach a place of safety. The following particulars you may rely upon as being correct, my informant being one of the boat’s crew, named Rule, who I believe, had charge of this boat.

Monday 10th June—At daylight in the morning, we sighted Bampton Shoals, and during the day run along the reefs, and at 6pm no dangers could be perceived from the mast head; at 8.30pm the brig struck on a reef of rocks, at the time running under double reefed top-sails, fore-sail and fore-topmast stay-sail; our latitude 19° 40’ S. and long 158° 15’ E. The brig remained pretty quiet during the night, and on the following morning we commenced starting the second tier of water to lighten the vessel, the weather continuing fine and the tides answering for getting the brig off. On Wednesday the 12th a boat was dispatched away from the brig to seek a place on the shoal to enable us to land the stores &c but returned the following day without being able to discover a single spot out of the reach of the breakers; the crew remaining on board lightening the brig; by the morning of the 14th we had so far succeeded, that the vessel floated and was hove off into deep water; but unfortunately the following day, when hauling further off the reef, the anchors came home, and the sea setting in heavy on the rocks, the vessel was again drove ashore and shortly after bilged; all hopes of saving the vessel was now abandoned, the crew for safety taking to the boats; but after laying on the reef some time, the brig worked over into comparatively smooth water; the crew then returned to the vessel, and remained by her all night, and at day-light cut away the masts to keep the hull from going to pieces; from this time to the 19th all hands were busily employed getting the boats ready for sea, it having been determined that we should endeavour to make Moreton Bay.

On Wednesday 19th the four boats left the wreck in company, under the command of the Captain, chief and second officers, and Richard Rule, seaman; the boats continued in company together coasting along the reefs until the 22nd when the other three boats were found to have parted company; a strong gale having set in from the SW during the night; not knowing whether the other boats had stood to the east or westward, we tacked and stood for two hours to the westward, and again tacked and stood SE until twelve o’clock. The whole of the 23rd we had strong SW gales, the boat standing to the SE.

On the 24th, the weather moderated, and during the day sighted and went on board the barque Tenasserim, from Sydney, bound to Batavia: not wishing to go on in the vessel, we requested the commander to stand in with the land, so as to admit of running along the coast to the southward, which request he declined, but expressed his willingness to supply our wants: after procuring a little grog, a couple of bottles of oil, a compass, and a breaker of water, we left the vessel, and again stood to the SE. On the following day we boarded the Catherine, from Sydney to Batavia, and begged the captain to stand into the land with us; but as he declined, under the plea of his assurance being affected if he ran any risk, we were compelled to take to our boat again, after getting from him six bottles of ale and four of wine.

On the 26th, we had a strong gale of wind from the SSW which compelled us to make a raft to serve us as a breakwater to windward, under the lee of which we rode until daylight of the 27th when we again made sail with a strong breeze from the SW; at five pm saw a sail standing to the SE pulled towards her, and got within a couple of miles of her, and burnt two blue lights, but she took no notice of us, and continued on her course. At eleven pm when blowing a gale of wind from the SW we hove to, by heaving a keg of water and an iron kettle overboard, by which we found she rode comparatively easy. The weather moderated on the 28th, made sail, steering SW, Moreton Bay, bearing at noon SW by S at eleven pm obliged to heave to again, as it commenced blowing hard from the SW; on the 29th made sail steering SW by W with occasional squalls from the southward, at five pm, it blew very hard, boat leaking and shipping water; hove to at eight pm, lat 25° 18 S. On Sunday 30th we made sail, heading SW by W with a heavy sea running and squally weather; at ten pm were again compelled to heave to, boat very leaky, keeping one hand constantly bailing. On the 1st July the gale having moderated we made sail, and at noon found our lat. to be 2° 514’, the land distant about 30 miles; at four pm after the clearing up of a squall, saw Indian Head distant ten miles, bearing W by N, at ten pm laid to until daylight; strong heavy squalls during the night. At daylight of the 2nd, run in for the land, wishing to have our boat up to repair the leaks, blowing hard from the SSW; got into a small bay, landed and took our things out of the boat, but were shortly afterwards nearly surrounded by a tribe of blacks; fortunately we were enabled to make good our retreat to the boat, but with the loss of some sugar, tools and a quantity of our clothes, which articles soon became distributed amongst these wretches, who continued dancing and yelling long after they had left the beach.

As the wind continued during the ensuing night to blow from the southward, we lay off at an anchor; at daylight we endeavoured to procure some fresh water, but without success; got under way and stood along the shore to the southward the whole of the 3rd with a fair wind. The 4th set in with light winds and calm weather; pulled and sailed occasionally along the coast, and on the morning of the 5th July we were, by God’s providence, enabled to get into the long and anxiously looked for Moreton Bay. The following day we were employed looking for the mouth of the Brisbane River; but did not succeed until Sunday morning, when, after finding some fresh water, we reached the township of Brisbane at four am after a passage of seventeen days”.

Such is the account of this sad affair—sad, because of the uncertainty of the fate of the rest of the crew. Capt Cape, of the Sovereign, volunteered to take the poor fellows up to Sydney and has, in a most praiseworthy manner, expressed his determination to take the north passage out this time on leaving the bay, whereby, if the boats should have approached the port, they may be relieved from their painful and dangerous situation.

 
MUSCULAR POWER OF SEAMEN
(from the Nautical Magazine)

The general opinion being that a tall stout seamen must necessarily possess strength according to his size, perhaps the following extracts from a paper on the locomotion of animals may be useful to those who have to select crews for vessels.

1. Muscles are the active organs of motion in animals, and are endowed with great power.
2. The contractile force of the muscles in a healthy man, according to Dr Young, is equivalent to about 500 pounds for each square inch of surface presented by their transverse sections. We may then easily understand why it is that the most powerful men have their muscles most developed, and why the largest muscles are placed in those parts of the body where they are subjected to the greatest quantity of work.

The remarkable stout thighs of seamen must strike the most careless observer. This arises from their constant practice of exercising the muscles in the action of going aloft and whilst upon the yards, by which they become more developed, and their power increased to a much greater degree than in men of other laborious pursuits, who do not employ the legs in ascent and descent. The muscles of the arms in the same class, from constant exercise, are also much enlarged, and their strength increased. Seamen in sound health are, probably, the strongest of men with respect to muscular power and the reason why they should be seems sufficiently obvious.

3. It is well known that the quantity of labour which the muscles will endure, and the length of time they will continue to act, increase, within certain limits, in proportion to their daily exercise.

Experience proves the above assertion. The practice, however, in the Merchant Service, of “getting the worth out of a seaman”, as the phrase is, may be carried too far, and prove detrimental to his health, if it should not ultimately lead to loss of life, especially in tropical climates.

The habit, too of supplying the seamen with drams whilst employed on some active duty which requires extra, or continued exertion, for the purpose of increasing their energy, by imparting an artificial strength to the muscles, is highly detrimental to health. The effort desired, it is true, may be produced but it will be temporary (which perhaps is all the employer cares for!) and seldom fails of creating reaction, which acts upon the whole nervous system. This practice appears to be more pernicious in cold than in tropical climates, probably on account of evaporation, &c., being stronger in the latter than in the former; but it should be discontinued altogether. From actual experiment it has been found that, if two large bodies of men, engaged in the same laborious work, the one being supplied with spirits, and the other with a strong coffee beverage—the former lost the power of exertion some hours (if I remember right, five) before the latter, who continued to work on with apparent ease.

4. If the muscles of the arms and legs, or any others, be called suddenly into action for a longer period than that to which they have been accustomed, they soon communicate to the individual sense of weakness, and evince a disposition to yield to the action opposed to them, and unless they are allowed some repose, mischief speedily succeeds.

This is a plain matter of fact exposition of an every day occurrence, over exertion; but which, when circumstances press, and authority directs, is not always attended to, or averted by timely relief from fatigue; indeed parsimony, and the utter want of that Christian feeling, the precept of which is admired but often neglected in practice, “Do unto others as you would be done by;” often, nay, generally, is the cause of such occurrences. Let the ship-owners ponder upon the consequences that may and do often occur from their ships being undermanned. Let them consider for a moment the dreadful situation of one of these short-handed ships after having weathered a furious hurricane, springing a leak ! Let them fancy the small band of stout hearts being obliged to take spell and spell at the pumps; the leak, as the muscular power of the devoted men declines, increasing rapidly, and preventing the possibility of a thrumbed sail being passed over the bows, until at last, wearied to exhaustion, they drop as the vessel sinks under them! Let them think seriously of such a result arising from the economy of sailing a ship at the least possible expense, regardless of the souls within her—and, apply a remedy.

5. But there is a limit to the amount of exertion which the muscular system will bear; if this limit is passed, the muscles lose their vigour, and lassitude and a flaccid state supervene.

This is inevitable, and addressing myself to the captains of ships, I beg to remark that when a weighty cargo is to be hoisted in, and stowed away by the crew, the performance of which would necessarily require the whole power of the muscles to be exercised, the sooner the labour is commenced after daylight the better, and it would be advantageous to all parties to lengthen the period allowed for meals by at least half an hour; and to leave off work half an hour, or even an hour sooner than on ordinary occasions. More work would be performed and what is of equal importance, performed well. The material point for the judgment to aim at, in laborious duty, being to avoid over-working the muscles, by which the change from a healthy tone or tension to one of flaccidity is prevented.

6. I have before stated that the weight of the body is proportioned to the cube, and the power of the muscles to the square, of some one of its dimensions; for instance, in two similar-formed men, whose heights are respectively five and six feet, the muscular power of the former to that of the latter will be as 25 to 36 but their weights will be as 125 to 216 or, as 25 to 43 very nearly; the weight, therefore, increases much more rapidly than the muscular power, and, consequently, a smaller man is stronger, in proportion to his size, than a larger one. And, that he will do more general work and endure more fatigue, and that for a longer time than the larger man. In our men-of-war, activity is much prized, hence in the selection of top-men this point is always attended to. What the object was for weighing lads I do not know, but if it was from an opinion that weight implied strength, the above will show that it was likely to prove erroneous! If, therefore, the ship-owner and captain would leave prejudice, which is founded on error, aside, and the former not allow his spirit of economy to interfere with the efficiency of his vessel, ships would be navigated with more ease and safety than they are at present.

MUSCLE versus WEIGHT

TROOP SHIPS FOR INDIA—The four vessels, whose tenders have been accepted for the troops, are being fitted up by Mr G Dent, for their reception on board; they will be distributed as follows: Royal Saxon (head quarters) 11 officers, 282 rank and file, 29 women and 46 children; Briton, 8 officers, 308 rank and file, 34 women and 51 children; Lloyds, 7 officers 206 rank and file, 22 women, and 33 children; Enmore, 5 officers, 142 rank and file, 17 women, and 23 children; comprising in the whole, 31 officers, 938 rank and file, 102 women and 153 children.

LOSS OF THE “MATILDA”—By the arrival of the schooner Mary Ann, from Port Macquarie, we have received news of the loss of the schooner Matilda on 24th ult; she is the property of Mr Robinson and left Sydney for the River Bellinger, at the mouth of which she was driven ashore, on a place called the North Spit; there was a heavy sea on at the time, but luckily all hands were saved. After the weather had moderated every exertion was made to get her off, but finding the hull was bilged, the rigging &c was stripped off and she is now left until the return of the floods.

THE “PETREL”—The schooner yacht Petrel, which was purchased some time since by Mr Kelly, left Jervis Bay on the 22nd June with a cargo of wheat for Sydney, having two seamen on board, since which time she has not been heard of; fears are therefore entertained for her safety.

 
Volume 1, Number 20 - 3 August, 1844

STEAM COMMUNICATION WITH ENGLAND

I t will be perceived by the following extract from a letter which has been received by a mercantile firm in Sydney, that the Government, following out what is evidently a gigantic scheme of steam communication with all parts of the empire, are making arrangements for giving this colony the advantage of communicating with England by way of India. We do not expect that anything will be done immediately, but it is gratifying to find that our wants in this respect are not lost sight of.

London 27th March 1844

Dear Sir—The Lloyds being detained at Portsmouth, by contrary winds, we think it well to mention that we have heard from very good authority, that negotiations are going on and will most probably be completed for establishing a steam communication with New South Wales, to be joined with the Indian mail. The steamer for Calcutta touches at Point de Galle, and from thence one is to be dispatched to New South Wales, another to Singapore and China, and a third to the Mauritius. The plans are not quite matured, but we are credibly informed that there are very few obstacles in the way. The steamers are to be about 900 tons—300 horse-power; they are to be fitted with tabular boilers, which occupy only one-sixth of the room, and consume two-thirds less coal than the old description. Of course some time will elapse before so extensive a system can be carried into effect; but that it will come into operation we have very little doubt, and thus bring Sydney within sixty days of London! The contract is making with the Peninsular and Oriental Company, who have already purchased the Great Western and are fitting her with the new boilers.

 
Volume 1, Number 21 - 10 August, 1844
TAHITI
The Sir John Byng left Tahiti April 7th, Sandwich Islands 3rd June and Navigator Islands 9th July. She brings, by means of an Auckland schooner, the Maid of the Mill, spoken at the Navigators, from Society Islands, news from Tahiti to middle of June. Reports—Bull at Tahiti; and a second, and by far the greatest conflict, betwixt the French, at Tahiti, and natives; in which the French, led on by he native chief at enmity with Queen Pomare, and his tribe, stormed and took the last stronghold of the natives, putting the garrison, about two hundred to the sword. No quarter given, and a most desperate resistance. The fort was deemed almost impregnable, had not the French been led up a private path by the aforesaid chief and his party, on which the natives’ field pieces would not bear. A party of natives went out to oppose the French, and died to a man. The French Governor was wounded in the shoulder, the first Lieutenant of the Uranie frigate was killed, and many sailors and soldiers, it was rumoured about fifty in all. But this last stronghold of Pomare’s party is gone, with most of their munitions de guerre, &c. Pomare was still on board the British ketch Basilisk. A French merchant ship, from the South American coast, with stores for the French troops, and specie, struck on the reef at the entrance of Papeite harbour, and on being towed off, went down, for good and all. The French establishment was very strong, and arrangements for everything very complete. The two schooners, Lady St Kilda and Challenger, bought by them from Sydney were employed as police boats, between the islands to prevent smuggling of arms or powder to the natives, about which the utmost vigilance is exerted; and although the natives all over the other islands are arming and mounting guns on their hills, the French have got their spies &c completely dispersed amongst them so that the French influence is complete.

WORSHIPPING ISLAND—Poo-to, or Worshiping is one of the Chusan group, and in latitude 90° 8’ North, 123° 6’ East longitude. This is a sacred place of Budhism, to which pilgrims resort to offer sacrifices and perform devotions. It is a romantic spot; the priests are numerous—two thousand at the least. Its solitary cages and craggy rocks on high have been excavated by human industry into fanes and niches, filled with images of Budha and of the goddess Kwanagin. There are two large and sixty small temples. The island does not exceed twelve square miles; no females are allowed to live on it, nor any laymen, except in the service of the priests; but a great number of fine young boys reside there, the greater part of whom have been bought by them, and are early initiated in the mysteries of Budhism. To maintain this numerous train of heathens, lands, on an opposite island have been given for their use which they farm out. Great profits are also derived from its being a place of pilgrimage; rich persons and especially successful trading captains repair thither to express their gratitude to the idols. But as priests go on begging expeditions, not only in the surrounding provinces, but even as far as Siam—Diary of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellis, C.B., Royal Marines.

The barque Renown, which left Launceston for London on 23rd July contained the following cargo—2549 bags wheat, containing 1030 quarters, 574 bales wool, 20 casks 2 tons and 50 bags flour, 10 bundles whalebone, 1 box curiosities, 36 pieces plank, 6 tons bark, 3 hogsheads tallow, 1 box apparel, 4 cases slops, 1 cask head matter, 3 boxes writings.

We have been favoured with the perusal of a letter from Mr Joseph Abrahams, formerly of William’s Town, who, it will be recollected, left this port as chief officer of the Warlock and subsequently accompanied the Hon. Mr Murray, on his ill-fated expedition to Borneo. Mr Abrahams’ letter, which is dated 7th April, does not give the particulars of the unfortunate affray in which Mr Murray fell, reference being made for details to letters previously written, which have not yet come to hand. Speaking of the battle, which it seems took place about the 15th February in the River Cote and lasted thirty-six hours, Mr Abrahams says:

“Mr Murray was shot; we had three killed, and seven wounded. I was slightly wounded but thank God I am all right again. A portion of the calf of Mr Abrahams’ leg was carried off by a splinter wound. It was truly horrible to see my messmates, who were stationed at the same gun, some with their fingers shot off, some with their arms broken, and hanging on merely by the flesh. Of all that were stationed at our gun, only another besides myself escaped without serious injury”.—Port Phillip Patriot, July 29.

ENGLISH SHIPPING—The Constant, hence 23rd December, arrived at Gravesend the 22nd April. The Mona from Launceston, arrived off Deal the 21st April. The Montezuma, hence 18th November, touched at St Helena on the 17th February and sailed again for London the following day. The Nelson left Gravesend for New Zealand on the 22nd April; same day, the Leander left Shields for the Mauritius and Hobart Town, and the Elizabeth and Jane sailed from Gravesend for Launceston. The Lord William Bentinck for Port Phillip arrived at Plymouth from Gravesend on 23rd April. Sir G F Seymour has been appointed to the Collingwood as a Rear Admiral on the South American station. The Eweretta, from London for Sydney touched at Portsmouth April 23.

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