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GGGrandPa's Scrapbook pt 1
From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated March 28th, 1846. As usual, the owner's name would be appreciated.
Barquentine, owner unknown, Captain Henry Patterson. On passage from Manila to England, put into Table Bay on the 3rd January for replenishment and was to have sailed on January 7th. However, on Wednesday morning, January 7th, she parted from her anchors in a gale and, in attempting to beat-out, grounded broadside-on to the beach. The surf was tremendous, breaching right over the vessel and carrying away the bulwarks, long boat, main hatch and part of the deck with one crew member. A line was sent from the shore but it broke. Rockets were fired, with lines attached, and one landed on the foremast stay but the crew were unable to reach it. The vessel was fast breaking up and the spars were expected to go at any moment. There was an unaccountable delay until a surf-boat arrived from town, on a wagon, manned with a volunteer crew of 6. They gained the side of the stricken vessel and fifteen persons boarded. As they pushed off and got astern, to leeward, the boat capsized. Of the 21 in the boat, 18 were drowned. After this, another surf-boat, towed by a smaller one, attempted to reach the wreck but one boat was thrown over the other and 2 men were drowned. The ship''s carpenter, James Robertson, had refused to be taken off in the first boat and, almost when the ship had been completely smashed to pieces, he was rescued, along with another seaman, by a small boat which bravely went alongside. These 2 were all of the crew that were saved. 15 lost their lives, plus the 8 crew of the surf-boats.Return to Index
This snippet from GGGPa's scrapbook is posted because it contains a name which might fill a gap in somebody's family history. The cutting is dated February 7th, 1846.
few months ago, a convict named John Potter surrendered himself at the Mansion House and alleged that he was an escaped convict from New South Wales. He said that he had had a great chance of continuing his liberty but he wished to surrender and be sent back to the Colony. He was, he said, aware of the dreadful sufferings of convicts yet he would not shrink from suffering if he could effect good to others.
The fact was, that since he had escaped, he had been converted and, knowing the sinful and degraded state in which convicts lived, he thought that if he again went over amongst them, he should prove an instrument of much good.
Great sympathy was felt and Sir James Graham was applied to for a pardon. This, he said, could not be granted in the first instance for the prisoner had to be dealt with in the ordinary way.
At the November Sessions (1845), Potter pleaded guilty before Mr Commissioner Bullock when the judgement of the Court was held in abeyance. On Tuesday, February 4th, 1846, though, he was brought into the New Court and pronounced guilty of being unlawfully at large.
The sentence was that he be further confined in Newgate gaol for three calendar months and then be transported beyond the seas for the rest of his natural life.Return to Index
From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated March 13th, 1852, this clipping records crew disobedience on the 'Queen of the West'. Was this a Blackball Line ship?
Captain : Mors, a German. Emigrant ship.
"On Saturday last", at 11:00, hauled out of Wellington Dock, Liverpool, for a voyage to New York. Whilst anchored in the river, awaiting the turn of the tide, one of the officers was engaged in calling the role of emigrants whilst the Captain and 1st Mate were mustering the crew. 20 had answered to their names, 28 being the ship's complement, when one of the crew, George Freeman, stepped forward and said to the Captain that, in his opinion, they were short-handed and that a proper complement for a ship that size would have been 30 hands. Freeman swore that he would not sail in a vessel that was thus defective in crew.
The Captain replied that he had previously gone to sea with less men and asked Freeman if he could do more than the work of one man ? He said he could and the Captain observed that, in that case, he would have to do so. Freeman was told to go forward, which he did, but then joined three other seamen named Alexander, Jack and Henry Downes and they began muttering together. The Captain followed the men to the fore-rigging to see if they would go to work. When he had arrived forward, Freeman said it was time to go for breakfast and told the Captain to go to hell.
The Captain then grabbed hold of Freeman by the collar but, before he could do anything more, he was attacked by Freeman, Jack, Downes and a sailor named Fowler who began to beat him with handspikes and belaying-pins, knocking him down. When he was down, they struck him about the head. The Captain managed to struggle to his feet and ran to the wheelhouse where he armed himself with a revolver. He then went forward again, took hold of Freeman, told him he was his prisoner and ordered the others to stand well back or he would shoot them. Upon this, two of them closed in upon him and he fired at Jack. The pistol mis-fired and, before he could do anything else, he was viciously attacked and severely wounded.
With that, the 1st Mate arrived with a cutlass and began to strike at the crew. The 2nd and 3rd Mates also came up and defended the Captain with knives and belaying-pins, enabling him to regain his feet. As soon as he was on his feet, the Captain shouted for the 1st Mate to hand over his cutlass and go and get another one, which he did, and together they slashed-away at the crew who rapidly cleared the decks. One seaman, Thomas Ryan, managed to reach the forecastle with an arm hanging-off.
The Government Surveyor, Lieutenant Fryer, was aboard at the time and he hurried ashore in a steam-tug to summon the police. When they arrived, eight of the crew including seamen named Brown, Drouer, Thompson and Penny were put into custody and conveyed ashore. The ringleaders were still on the ship and the Captain ordered them to be secured. Downes became so violent, though, that on being brought aft, the three Mates could not handle him. The Captain was in the wheelhouse getting his head-wounds attended to, at the time, but he leaped out and assisted in securing the berserk sailor before having him tied to the rigging and personally flogging him. Soon after, Lieutenant Fryer arrived back onboard and took Downes and some others into custody.
In a cross-examination at the Magistrate's Court, Captain Mors admitted that he had twice before been before the Magistrates, in New York, for ill-treating emigrants. He had also appeared, on a prior occasion, in a Court in England for ill-treatment of his crew but had been cleared of any charges. The Captain's evidence was corroborated by the Mates and two passengers.
Notwithstanding the seriousness of the affair, the Magistrates disposed of the charges against the crew so that the ship could proceed on its voyage. Freeman was sentenced to pay a fine of 5-pounds or be imprisoned for two months; Jack, Trainer & Fowler were fined 3-pounds each or six weeks custody in default; Brown, Alexander, Drouer, Thompson, Penny and Downes were ordered to pay costs, only, or be imprisoned for fourteen days in default. A charge against the Captain for attempting to shoot one of the crew was dropped. Thomas Ryan was taken to hospital with a severe wound, one arm being almost severed below the elbow by a blow from the cutlass-wielding Captain. All the other prisoners, although more or less injured, made a good recovery.Return to Index
In mid-19th century London, living conditions in the Metropolis were appalling for the vast majority of its inhabitants who were, quite literally, without hope. Transportation, preferably to Australia or New Zealand, became a dream for many who deliberately broke the law in the hope of being sent there. This clipping from GGGPa's scrapbook illustrates the point.
At Queen Street Office on Tuesday, November 25th, 1845, John Bedsted, a poor, miserable, attenuated being, was charged with felony.
He had been observed on the previous evening, by the waiter at the Pineapple Inn, William Street, Pimlico, carrying a quart pot partially concealed in a bag and, on being stopped, the pot was found to belong to the proprietor of the Phoenix Inn in the same neighbourhood. It was further proved that he had been seen in possession of another pot a night or two previously.
The prisoner, when asked by the Magistrate, "How do you answer to the charge?" replied, "I'm afraid I haven''t done enough. I wish to be transported. I'm starving, I've scarcely a rag to cover me and I've no food to eat. It isn't true that I stole the pot -I found it in the street and took it to get a little milk in. I''m tired of my existence and beg you to transport me, if you can"
The Magistrate committed him to prison for a month and the prisoner said: "I am very much obliged to you, even for that, but I was in hopes that you would have done more and transported me."Return to Index
Emigrants who sailed in the so-called "coffin ships" were fortunate, in as much as they made only one voyage to their destination. The crews of these vessels suffered more than any emigrant ever did, as witnessed by this clipping from GGGPa's scrapbook dated November 29th, 1845. I would be interested to know the name of the shipowner.
Arrived in London from Brazil. The Captain, Alexander Gordon and the 1st Mate, John Cummings, were brought before the magistrate Mr Broderip, at the Thames office, on Wednesday, November 26th, 1845, charged with assaulting William Scott, an apprentice, on the high seas. They were defended by Mr Pelham.
William Scott, aged 16, stated that on the outward voyage, the day after crossing the Equator, he was rather late in turning out of his berth and the Mate came down with the end of the fore bowline and flogged him with it as hard as he was able. He was driven on deck and sent aloft, wearing nothing but his shirt, to tar the rigging. The Mate followed him and, while he was on the foreyard, again beat him with the rope. After receiving three or four lashes, he ran further out on the yardarm. The Mate, though, again followed and continued striking with the rope. He then jumped off the yardarm, made an attempt to catch the backstay, missed, and fell into the sea. The ship, making 7 knots, was put about and he was picked-up almost insensible. He had scarcely recovered before the Mate recommenced flogging him with the same rope. The Captain then dragged him to the after part of the ship and, exhibiting a heavy cat, said it was made for him and gave him one stroke with it.
The Mate sent him aloft with the tar bucket again, after being allowed to put on a dry shirt, and he accidentally spilled some of the tar on the top gallant sail in consequence of the rolling of the ship. He was then ordered to go to the wheel and, as he was about to do so, the Mate seized him and made him fast to the mizen rigging. Then, taking down his trousers and hauling his shirt over his back, the Captain gave him two dozen lashes with the cat on his bare back. After he was released, and whilst he was still bleeding profusely, the Captain ordered him to go on his bended knees and beg for mercy. He did so and the Mate seized him again, tying him to the mizen rigging for a second time. He said he should give him another dozen lashes but the Captain would not allow him to do so. Instead, one of the ship's boys was ordered to give him a dozen lashes which were inflicted in the presence of the Captain and the Mate.
He was not ill-used any more that night but, on the following night, the Captain said that he intended to put some vitriol on his back and called upon the Mate to pour it because he was afraid of burning his fingers. The Mate said he, too, was afraid of burning his fingers and ordered him to go down on his hands and knees . When he had done so he was stripped and the Mate poured a quantity of vitriol out of a phial onto his back. The pain was excruciating and he sang out for mercy.
That night, it was his watch on deck and the Mate compelled him to walk about on the poop with a handspike over each shoulder and also made him count the number of tails of the cat and how many knots there were. The cat had eight tails, and was very heavy. His back was sore and inflamed for some time and he could not bear anything to touch it.
In cross-examination by Mr Pelham, the lad said the Captain ordered him to return thanks to God for being saved from a watery grave and, when he was upon his knees, directly afterwards, the Captain flogged him again.
Joseph Morris, a seaman who was discharged from the ship in South America, confirmed the evidence OF Scott in every particular and said there were three overhand knots on each tail of the cat. The lad's back was dreadfully lacerated. Morris rubbed the vitriol off his back with a flannel but the lad could not bear it to be touched and he shrieked aloud with pain. The boy was very badly used all the outward voyage by the Master and the Mate. Two lads belonging to the 'Methesis' were also examined and corroborated the whole of Scott's evidence.
The prisoners, by the advice of their solicitor, said they would reserve their defence and were ordered to find bail, each in their own recognisance, of £200 and two good and sufficient sureties of £100 each. They were to appear and take their trials at the present session of the Central Criminal Court.Return to Index
This clipping from GGGPa's scrapbook is posted because it contains names and may help fill a gap in someone's family tree.
On Tuesday, January 6th, 1846, Charles Bowen, 22, waiter, George Lake, 22, waiter, were indicted for stealing a Bank of England note of the value of £50, and various other notes, altogether of the value of £150, the monies of the Rev. William Price Lewis. John Dancock, 22, waiter, and George Bates, 26, jeweller, were also indicted for feloniously receiving the money, well knowing that it had been stolen. The jury returned a verdict of "Guilty" against all the prisoners. The Recorder sentenced Charles Bowen to be transported for 15 years, George Lake for 10 years and Dancock and Bates for 14 years.Return to Index
Another one from great-great grandad's scrapbook, the original newspaper cutting being dated May 22nd, 1880, publication unknown:
AMERICAN: Union S.S. Co. Campbell Howarth, Chief Officer, gave the following details: Occurred at 05:00 on April 23rd, 1880, in 1.52 N, 9.50 W. The main shaft broke, it was supposed, in the pipe and water ingressed very rapidly in the after hold and the tunnel. The 3rd Engineer attempted to go up the tunnel to make an inspection but was prevented from doing so by the water. The 3rd Mate went over the stern on a bowline and reported that the propeller was ''drooped'' and the rudder-post bent. Pumps were immediately put into operation with some of the passengers assisting. The Master gave orders to water and provision eight lifeboats and bring them under the lee.
At 08:00 the passengers, at the Master's request, sat down to breakfast in the saloon. By this time there was 18'' of water in the after-hold and coals and cargo were thrown overboard. By 11:30 the sea was breaching over the quarter-deck and word was given to abandon ship. At 12:20, the ship sank, going down stern-first. The boats made sail for Cape Palmas, 210 miles distant. The boats were well provisioned with food, lemons and limejuice but the quantity of water was limited. All were in good spirits, on the first day, although hungry. Rainwater was caught in umbrellas. As the second lifeboat and the first and second cutter out sailed the remaining five boats, they shortened sail and at dusk, with the other boats out of sight, they hove-to so they might catch up. By 19:30 there was no sign of them so they proceeded. The three boats kept company during the night until noon on the 24th April when the first and second cutters parted company. The second lifeboat was carried on by a strong breeze until the night of 24th April. The first and second cutters saw a steamer at daybreak on the 24th which they could not raise although she was only 3 miles off and signals were made. They sighted land at 06:00 on 25th April, between Grand Testas and Cape Palmas and steered for it. The two cutters were then picked up at 15:00 by the steamer ''Congo'', of Glasgow, Captain Liversedge. On being told of boats to the south, the ''Congo'' posted lookouts and picked-up the second lifeboat at 18:00. During the night of the 25th April until 06:00 on the 26th, the ''Congo'' searched and burned night-signals every 30 minutes. The ''Congo'' then landed the survivors at Madeira. The three other boats had been picked up on the 24th and 25th by the American barque ''Emma Herriman'' which transferred the survivors to the ''Coanza'' (the steamship seen by the others) which, being outward-bound, landed them at Grand Bassa. Here, they waited three days until the African Company''s steamer ''Senegal'' took them to Gran Canaria. Unfortunately, the ''Senegal'' struck a rock and had to be beached. The lifeboats were launched and one of them capsized, throwing one of the ''American'' survivors into the sea where he drowned. This was the Hon. John Patterson, a Member of the Cape Legislative Assembly. The remaining survivors got safely ashore and were subsequently taken to Madeira in the Union s.s. Co.''s ''Teuton'' which had been searching for them.Return to Index
Another one from my aged relative's Victorian scrapbook, this one dated May 16th, 1863, publication unknown:
ANGLO-SAXON. Allan Line. Laid-down as the ''Saxon''. Built by W. Denny & Bros., Dumbarton. Length 283''. Beam 35''. Speed 10 knots. Accommodation for 75 1st-class and 350 3rd-class passengers. Sailed from Liverpool on April 16th, 1863, under Captain Burgess, at 17:00, with more than 400 persons onboard, bound for the St. Lawrence River, Canada. Thick fog was encountered for most of the passage and, on April 27th, 1863, at 08:00, it was calculated the vessel was 40 miles off Cape Race. Her course was altered to west half north and half-speed was rung on the engines. This course was calculated to take the vessel 17 miles South of Cape Race. There was thick fog. At 11:10, breakers were reported on the starboard beam and emergency full-astern was ordered. However, before headway could be lost the ship struck flat on the rocks off Clam Cove, about 4 miles North of Cape Race. A heavy sea rolling in drove her quarter onto the rocks and carried away the rudder, sternpost and propeller. Both anchors were let go, to keep the ship on the rocks. The carpenter reported the forepeak filling fast and the Chief Engineer reported the forward stokehold doing the same. He opened the valves and blew the steam out of the boilers. All boats were immediately lowered with exception of No''s 2 and 3 which could not be lowered because the ship was so close to the rocks. Boat No.2 was sent to find a place on which to land the passengers. Some of the crew being landed on the rocks by means of a studding-sail boom, with the help of some of the passengers, got a hawser secured to a rock to keep the vessel from listing out. Female passengers commenced to be landed on the rocks by means of the foreyard arm. The 1st-class passengers were put into a boat. About noon, the stern swung-off from the rocks and sank very fast, listing to port. The Captain and a great many passengers were on deck at the time and, with part of the crew, were lost. Accounts were conflicting but figures at the time said that 33 cabin passengers, 103 steerage and 21 crew were saved : total 157. It was also estimated that 237 lives were lost.Return to Index
Great-great grandfather, again, this time the report being from a publication of April 26th, 1873:
ATLANTIC: White Star Line. Built 1871, 4-masted ship of 3,607 tons and 600 HP. On her 19th voyage from Liverpool to Canada, "on Tuesday morning", at about 02:00, whilst attempting to make Halifax NS, the ship struck on Meagher's Head, Prospect Harbour. The ship struck heavily, several times, rolled off and sank. 934 persons were onboard on leaving Liverpool and accounts said that 560 were lost, including 350 women and children. 415 persons were saved of which 60 were crew. The suddenness of the disaster gave no time to prepare the ship's lifeboats. The Captain and the 3rd mate did succeed in launching one boat and placed two women in it. However, the boat was rushed by male passengers who filled it. Some of the upper rigging remained above the water and a rope was passed from this to the shore by which means between 200 and 300 persons were rescued. No women and children were saved. It was said the Captain was putting into Halifax because coal supplies were running short with another version being that engine repairs were needed. The night was dark but the weather was not thick and it was intimated that Captain James Williams, or another officer, mistook one light for another. However, Captain Williams had retired at midnight. The Captain, the third mate, Cornelius Brady, the fourth mate Brown and the ship's doctor were saved. The 1st Mate, J.W. Frith (or Firth) , remained by the steamer to the last and drowned in the rigging. There was an official inquiry at Halifax and the verdict was delivered "last week". The Captain was deprived of his certificate for two years. The 4th Mate was suspended for three months. The 1st Mate and the 3rd Mate were blameless.More information is available on the sinking of the Atlantic.
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This is from an unknown newspaper published June 11th, 1887.
BRITANNIC: White Star Line. Captain Perry. On passage from New York to UK, on May 19th, was struck on the port side, aft, by the ''CELTIC'', also White Star Line, bound for New York from the UK. The collision occurred about 18:00, in fog, about 300 miles east of Sandy Hook. The Brittanic''s boats were lowered and filled with women and children from the cabin and steerage, although several men forced themselves into the boats. Some firemen seized one of the boats but were brought under control by a pistol-wielding Captain Perry. An examination of the ship proved she was unlikely to founder. Boats within hail were recalled and their occupants taken back onboard A collision mattress was placed over the hole. The Britannic and the Celtic kept company during the night and on the morning of May 20th, the ''Marengo'' of the Wilson Line and the ''British Queen'' of Inman''s appeared on the scene and the four vessels proceeded to New York.A roll-call showed that 4 of the Britannic''s steerage passengers were killed and 13 injured, mostly on deck. Those who died were sewn-up in sacking and buried at sea. There were no serious injuries on the ''Celtic''.More Information is available on the collision from the NY Times and Illustrated London News. Return to Index
GGPa's Victorian scrapbook comes up with the following, dated March 31st, 1860:
GREAT TASMANIA The East India Company, Crimean troop transport. Chartered to return Indian troops to their homeland, after fighting in the Crimea, the mortality that occurred onboard the ship gave rise to accusations of mismanagement, neglect, corruption and criminal blunder against the Government.The jury stated that, in the first place, the provisions supplied by the Government as stores for the use of the troops was bad and unfit for human consumption, with the exception of tea, pork, pickles and rice. There was an absence of disinfectants. The limejuice had lost its medicinal properties, the beef was putrid, the biscuits maggoty and blue-moulded, and the vegetables rotten. As these foodstuff had passed inspection, then those who signed the general inspection report had to be held responsible for the disease and death which resulted from their "careless and slovenly conduct". The newspaper said that if the case rested only on the uselessness of the limejuice, there would still be grounds for the severest censure, if not actual punishment, of the inspecting officers who were instrumental in causing the outbreak of scurvy. Even more, every single article of food which they passed and approved was so far advanced in putrescence that its use was sure to bring about that very disease against the approach of which, of all others ,it was their duty to provide. Common justice, said the newspaper, demanded their immediate dismissal and regretted that they could not be placed on trial for manslaughter. The paper continued that, if in the days of transportation, men had been sent to Botany Bay so crowded and so ill-provided, philanthropists would have showered denunciations upon the heads of those answerable for the business.The only bright spot in the affair was that the Captain and officers of the ship were entirely blameless and that the surgeon and military officers did their best, under the circumstances, to promote the health of the men under their charge. However, continued the newspaper, retribution had to fall on the heads of those responsible.Return to Index
Regarding the 'Thingvalla', GGGPa's scrapbook has produced the following newspaper report dated August 25th, 1888:
THINGVALLA / GEISER : On the morning of August 14th, about 30 miles east of Sable Island, Nova Scotia, the ship was in collision with the 'Thingvalla' of the same company. The 'Geiser', of 1818 tons, was steaming eastward from New York to Copenhagen, carrying 107 passengers and a crew of nearly 50. The 'Thingvalla's' course lay westward to New York, a little south of the 'Geiser's' course. The 'Thingvalla', of 1630 tons was lightly laden and carried 61 cabin passengers and 394 in steerage. There was mist and rain. Under these conditions, the 'Thingvalla's' bow struck the 'Geiser' amidships, abaft the starboard main rigging, nearly at right-angles to the keel, and cut the 'Geiser' almost in two. Neither vessel had sighted the other until just before the collision. Neither of them could take effective means to prevent the catastrophe as both engines were put astern, unable to reverse the movement of the vessels quickly enough. The 'Geiser' starboarded her helm, throwing the bow to the north, but the 'Thingvalla' ported her helm instead of passing the 'Geiser' to the south. The 'Thingvalla's' bow was torn away, leaving a hole measuring 20-feet square open to the sea. The bulkhead, however, kept her afloat. She rocked like a cradle and, within seven minutes, sank like a stone. As she settled more and more onto her starboard side, she careened so that some of the passengers stepped into the sea. Others, dashing along blindly, fell into the hole made by the 'Thingvalla'. Many were crushed in their berths. The 'Geiser' launched three boats, one of which capsized whilst another floated so far away that no-one could jump for it. The third boat was over-laden and was sucked down, reappearing seconds later with no occupants. Meanwhile, the 'Thingvalla's' boats rescued those who were floating on wreckage, namely 14 passengers and 17 crew. The 'Thingvalla', disabled and overcrowded with survivors, was relieved at noon by the German steamer 'Wieland' which took the passengers to New York, leaving the 'Thingvalla' to steam slowly for Halifax, 100 miles distant, where she arrived safely. Captain Moller, of the 'Geiser' stood-by his vessel until the last. Just as the stern of his ship disappeared, a wave swept over the bridge and carried him away. He was nearly drowned by the suction of the sinking vessel but managed to fight his way to the surface and clung to an oar for half-an-hour until being rescued by a boat from the 'Thingvalla'.More Information is available on the Geiser and the Thingvalla.
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From GGGPa's notorious scrapbook:
HMS HANNIBAL: Built at Deptford Dockyard and launched in January, 1854, the naming ceremony being performed by Miss Martin, daughter of the Captain-Superintendent of the Yard. Designed by Mr Wilcox, Master Shipwright of the Dockyard. Length overall: 252'. Length on upper deck: 220'. Length of keel for tonnage: 179' 7". Breadth, for tonnage: 57' 4". Moulded breadth: 56' 6". Extreme breadth: 58' 2". Depth of hold: 23' 11". Burthen, 2,658 tons NM. (NM means 'New Measurement' as distinct from the 'Old Measurement' method of establishing a vessel's tonnage.)Return to Index
This ship made a number of voyages to Australia, with emigrants, and it is to be hoped that the steward on those trips was not the same one referred to in this newspaper clipping, dated March 11th, 1860, taken from GGGPa's scrapbook:
ACCRINGTON: Owner unknown, of Liverpool. The ship was on passage from Liverpool to Calcutta with soldiers and soldiers' wives and children. The conduct of the Captain appears to have rendered him unpopular and circumstantial evidence pointed to the fact that the steward, Frederick Casman, put tartar emetic into the coffee of which the Captain and his principal officers drank. The result was that Captain Homer and Mr. Cooper, 1st Mate, died from the effects of the poison. Mr Carroll, the surgeon, narrowly escaped with his life. Casman was arrested at Pernambuco and sent to Southampton by H. Augustus Cowper, the British Consul. He was charged with wilful murder and remanded until the receipt of depositions taken before the Consul at Pernambuco.Return to Index
I am unsure if this vessel ever made any trips to Australia, but it is more than likely that many emigrants made at least part of their journey on it. This account is, once again, from a newspaper cutting in GGGPa's scrapbook and is dated July 9th, 1897.
ADEN: P & O. Left Colombo June 1st, 1897 and was wrecked on a reef 1 mile south-east of Ras Radressa, off the east side of Socotra, at 03:00 on June 9th. She was homeward-bound from Japan and China with 34 passengers and 95 officers and crew. The Captain, various officers and crew were swept overboard and drowned along with one male passenger, 4 females and 3 children. The next day, 8 females, 9 children, 2 officers and sundry crew departed in a boat which, because of bad weather, gave cause for concern as to survival. The total missing, or known to drowned, was 25 passengers, 20 European crew, all officers and 33 native crew. The total saved was 9 passengers, 3 European crew and 33 native crew. The survivors were rescued by the 'Mayo' at 07:00 on Saturday, June 26th and taken to Aden. The 'India', P & O, arrived at Suez "on Sunday morning" with the survivors from the 'Aden'. From the survivors it was learned that all the boats on the weather side were destroyed and the lee boats were prepared for lowering at daybreak. The aft lifeboat was washed away, with 3 natives. The 1st Mate swam to recover her. The 2nd Mate was sent in the cutter to recover the 1st Mate and the boat but both boats were swept away and disappeared from sight. Only one lifeboat remained. It was lowered to the rails with the 3rd Mate and some crew but the after-falls broke and everybody was swept out. The 4th Mate let-go the foremost fall, slid down and unhooked it and the boat righted. He then swam after the stewardess and got her into the boat, the 3rd Mate saving two non-swimmers. Passengers were then lowered into the boat but, because of heavy seas, the boat could not remain alongside and the Captain ordered her to shove-off. It did so and was lost to sight. The Captain broke his leg and a heavy sea swept him overboard. Those swept overboard were lost on the first day -- subsequently, no further lives were lost. Perfect discipline prevailed, throughout. This tragedy instigated calls for a light to be established on Socotra, one objection being that such a light would attract mariners to such a dangerous spot and would cause more wrecks than normal. (!)Return to Index
This may be of interest to those with connections in South Africa. From GGGPa's scrapbook (again), this newspaper report was dated June 27th, 1896.
DRUMMOND CASTLE: Castle Line. Captain Pierce. Built by Elder & Co., Glasgow, 1881. Shortly before midnight on June 16th, 1896, homeward bound from Delagoa Bay and Capetown, she struck a group of rocks called the 'Pierres Vertes' near Molene, off Ushant, and sank in three minutes with the loss of all her passengers and crew save three persons. Details were provided by the survivors, Charles Wood, Quartermaster, J. Godbolt, seaman and Mr. Marquardt, passenger.Sailed from Capetown on May 28th, 1896 with 104 officers and crew and 143 passengers. After a stop of a few hours at Las Palmas on June 12th, she continued her voyage at full speed until, on June 16th, in a dense fog and a smooth sea, she struck rocks at 23:00. Captain Pierce immediately ordered all boats to be lowered but the sea swept in so fast that the boats were swamped before they could be got out.
Quartermaster Wood was in the act of loosing the cutter when he was dragged down by the sinking ship but resurfaced to cling onto some floating debris where he found Godbolt. They were picked up the next morning, June 17th, by some fishermen and landed on the island of Molene. Marquardt was rescued by another fishing boat. Many corpses were washed up on the island and they were laid out in the houses of the village. The following day the corpses were buried, without coffins, in a number of graves. Wood was scarce on the island. Other bodies were washed up over the surrounding area. It was surmised that Captain Pierce steered for a safe distance off Ushant light so that the keepers could report his passage. With this object in view, she was carried out of her proper course by tidal currents. The survivors attested that no lights had been sighted when the vessel struck.Subscriptions were opened in London and Capetown for the relief of the families who would suffer financial distress, the Fund being headed by handsome contributions from the Castle Line and Sir Donald Currie.Return to Index
This account of its wreck is from GGGPa's scrapbook and is dated December 2nd, 1865.
DUNCAN DUNBAR: Built by James Laing, Sunderland. Launched November 30th, 1853. Length 201' 9", Beam 35', Depth of hold 22' 7", 1320 grt. At the time, was the largest ship to be built at Sunderland.
The ship left London, under Captain Swanson, on 28th August 1865 and Plymouth on 2nd September 1865, with passengers and cargo for Sydney. On the 7th October, 1865 she was wrecked on the reef Las Roccas 33.45 W., 3.52 S., on the coast of Brazil. She struck about 20:30. The Captain went in one of the boats to take soundings around her but she had gone aground at high tide. There were not enough boats to accommodate all the passengers and crew so he determined to wait until daylight to see if there was any dry land to which survivors could be taken by boat and raft. The passengers were in fear because the vessel was rolling heavily and striking violently with each roll. At daybreak on 8th October, the Captain succeeded in getting through the breakers to a landing place on one of the two sand islets which rose about 7' above ordinary high-water mark. Preparations were at once made to transfer the passengers and crew to the spot, the passengers being lowered in a chair over the stern because it was impossible to keep a boat alongside due to the heavy rolling. By 07:00, all were landed. The islet was covered with pig-weed but there was no water so this was ferried from the wreck. Four of the five water-puncheons were lost, being stove-in by debris or having drifted away. There were 117 persons on the reef. For the first two days they had ½ a pint of water each in temperatures of 112 degrees. A tent was constructed for shelter. The islet was infested with land-crabs and various vermin. They stayed on the islet for 10 days and during that period had recovered from the wreck sufficient water and stores to serve a hundred people for a hundred days. Captain Swanson had left, in the lifeboat, on 11th October, 1865, to sail towards Pernambuco. After making 120 miles he was picked up by the American ship 'Hayara' and dropped 15 miles from his destination. There, he procured the assistance of the 'Oneida', Royal Mail Steam Packet Co., which came to the island and took all hands safely to Southampton. The Captain remained in Pernambuco.Return to Index
From GGGPa's Victorian scrapbook, dated November 19th, 1853.
CALIFORNIA (1853): This emigrant ship left Sligo on the 18th September and was wrecked about 150 miles from land when she sprung a leak, sinking immediately. The passengers and crew left the ship in 3 boats, with 60 persons, one arriving at Duoch and the other at Dugert. Fifteen died, some at sea and some after landing. The survivors were put up in hotels, a hospital and private houses. At the time, nothing had been heard of the third boat but she was considered to be safe because it was well-provisioned.Return to Index
From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated January 13th, 1883.
CITY OF BRUSSELS (1883): Inman Line. Captain Land. Built on the Clyde in 1869, 3774 grt, 2434 net. On January 7th, after a voyage from New York via Queenstown, was struck by the steamship 'KIRBY HALL', of the Hull Line, near the North West lightship about 20 miles from Liverpool. The time was about 06:45. There was dense fog. The ship was hove-to because of the visibility when the 'Kirby Hall', from Liverpool to Bombay, struck her on the starboard bow, cutting her half-through. There was little confusion on the 'City of Brussels' and the boats were ordered away with passengers and only sufficient crew to man them. The 'Kirby Hall' had backed away and stood-by, the boats from the 'City of Brussels' being received by her. Some boats returned but stood-off because the ship was sinking. A number of persons, including the Captain, jumped into the water and were saved. The ship went down suddenly, bow first. The 'Kirby Hall', being enveloped in fog, was unable to offer any assistance but the boats of the 'City of Brussels' picked up survivors from the water, all crew, and took them to her. When the fog lifted, the survivors were taken to Liverpool. It was said that none of the surviving passengers even got their feet wet. A total of 10 persons were lost, being 8 crew and 2 American passengers.Return to Index
From GGGPa's Victorian scrapbook. Unfortunately, there is no clue as to the date of this occurrence but the CLAN MACDUFF sailed and sank in 1881.
CLAN MACDUFF: Cayzer, Irvine & Co., Glasgow, (Clan Line), formerly the 'City of Oxford'. 1500 grt. Captain Webster. Left Liverpool on "Tuesday the 18th" with cargo and passengers for Bombay. On Wednesday, 19th, after passing Holyhead, she encountered a severe gale which caused a leak. The bilge pumps refused to work, water entered the engine room on Thursday, the 20th, and the fires were extinguished. At 13:00 the order was given to abandon ship and the six lifeboats were prepared. The leeside boats were prepared first. The larger lifeboat was launched alongside but dashed to pieces against the side of the ship. The gig was safely launched with 4 A/B's, the 4th Mate, Mr Barclay, Mrs Barclay and her child being lowered into it. She dropped astern and drifted out of sight. The cutter was launched next with the 3rd Mate, the 2nd cook and 2 seamen. Coming alongside, Mr and Mrs Mercer, Miss Hayes, Mr Akhurst and Mrs Jacobs were given lifebuoys and jumped into the water alongside her. They were also secured by a line from the ship until they were pulled into the boat. One of Mrs Jacob's children, a little girl of 4, was then thrown to her but she fell into the water and disappeared. The Captain then threw her second child, a boy, into the arms of his mother. The boat then dropped astern and was lost to view. There then remained only one boat to take off the remaining 45 souls, the other three boats having been smashed. The remaining boat, a small lifeboat, would hold 30 at the most and the 2nd Mate with two seamen were lowered into the sea with her. The remainder of the passengers with the chief cook, 5 stewards and the stewardess were drawn-in the same way as before. Captain Webster then tied a lifebuoy to himself and jumped, to be hauled into the craft. The Chief Engineer and one of the crew then followed the Captain's example. The boat was cut away and, being without a rudder, drifted with the wind to be lost sight of in blinding spray.As soon as the last boat had disappeared, the Chief Officer took command of the 'Clan Macduff' and lights, rockets and cannon were prepared for signal purposes. As night arrived, illuminations were fired and the foghorn sounded.On Friday the 21st, the ship began to settle aft with the sea pouring in from the 'tween decks and through the saloon. The remaining crew baled furiously. By midday from amidships, aft, the deck had sunk to sea level. The carpenter then sighted a steamer to leeward and two of the crew ascended the main rigging to hoist sheets and flags to attract attention. They were seen and, in two hours, the Cork steamer 'Upupa' was within hailing distance and launched her boat.Twelve men jumped from the 'Clan Macduff' into the water and were safely drawn onboard. Three of them had become so exhausted that they had to be thrown overboard by the Chief Officer. The Upupa's boat then made a second trip and rescued 5 other men who were clinging to a capsized boat of the Clan Macduff. The position of the Clan Macduff at this time (18:00) was approximately 40 miles south of Roche's Point.The 'Upupa' stood alongside the Clan Macduff until she suddenly disappeared in a terrific squall and then made for Plymouth where she arrived with 19 survivors on Sunday, 23rd. Seven passengers and four seamen had also been picked up by the steamer 'Palestine' and taken to Liverpool.In all, 31 passengers were saved and about the same number perished. Amongst those drowned were two sisters, Miss Akhurst and Miss Alice Akhurst, the former being a popular actress known as Miss Ada Lester. These ladies, along with their brother, a Mr and Mrs Mercer (Miss Kate Thorburn), Miss Lizzie Hayes, Mr J. Turner (a stage manager) and several others were on their way to perform theatrical engagements at Bombay.Return to Index
This cutting was dated April 12th, 1856.
JOHN RUTLEDGE (1856): Captain Kelly. This narrative is by Thomas W. Nye, a young seaman of New Bedford, the sole survivor. The ship left Liverpool for New York on January 16th, 1856, with 120 passengers and a crew of 16 officers and men. During the passage she encountered heavy weather. One of her crew was washed off the bowsprit and a male passenger was carried through the bulwarks by a heavy sea and drowned. On February 20th, the ship struck an iceberg and abandoned the same evening. There were 5 boats onboard and 134 persons. Of the 13 persons in the last of the 5 boats there were 4 women, 1 little girl, 5 male passengers, Mr Nye, a Scottish sailor and the boatswain, an Irishman. For these people there was one gallon of water and eight pounds of bread. Atkinson, the Mate, had placed a compass in the boat but his wife, in leaping from the ship, had broken it. Nye's boat soon broke adrift from the others and became separated to drift alone. As soon as Mrs Atkinson entered the boat, she seized the vessel containing the water and, being a powerful woman, fought off all who attempted to gain a drink from it. Nye got only two or three mouthfuls, the rest being drunk by herself and the boatswain. There was no organisation to share what provisions they had and everyone looked out for themselves. The sailors were warmly clothed, as was Mrs Atkinson, but the others were for the most part scantily clad and suffered keenly from the cold. On the third day adrift, a male passenger died from exposure followed by a woman who died in the arms of her husband and daughter. Their bodies were committed to the sea. On the fourth day a brigantine was sighted, not very far off, but failed to respond to their signals. A burning thirst then consumed the boat's occupants and, heedless of Nye's appeals, they fell to drinking the sea water which brought-on delirium. One by one they went mad and, one by one, they died. Nye threw their bodies into the sea as long as his strength lasted. The boatswain, in his delirium, was the most violent. He attempted to throw the oars overboard and succeeded in throwing over the bucket with which the boat was bailed. Mrs Atkinson was also very violent. By the sixth day, Nye's recollections became dimmed but he recalled that there was only himself, a small woman wrapped-up in two blankets and a little girl alive in the boat. Before sunset on the sixth day, the child had died and on the following day the woman, too, expired. He had strength enough to throw the body of the child overboard but the body of the woman, together with the bodies of three others, were so coiled-up underneath the thwarts that he could not extricate them. Feeling drowsiness sweeping over him, he tied a red shirt and a white shirt to an oar and hoisted it to attract any passing vessel before dozing in the stern sheets. On February 28th a ship bore in sight, the 'Germania' from Le Havre to New York, which lowered a boat and picked him up. The bodies in the lifeboat were cast into the sea. As his rescuers approached, Nye was heard to groan : "For Jesus Christ's sake, take me out of this boat !"
Here is a little more information on this vessel. It was owned by the New York & Liverpool Packet Company. The following was extracted from the Northern Shipwreck Database:
Yet another one from GGGPa. This cutting is dated May 7th, 1859.
POMONA (1859): Clipper, owner unknown, 1500 tons, sailed from Liverpool for America on Wednesday, April 27th,1859. There were onboard Captain Charles Merrihew, 33 sailors, 2 Mates, a doctor, 2 Stewards and a carpenter. There were also 372 emigrants to give a total of 412 souls. That night, a freshening gale blew up and the Captain lost his bearings in the darkness. The ship went aground on a sandbank about seven miles off Ballyconigar on the Irish coast. During the night, and into the next morning, the wind increased to hurricane force and a desperate attempt was made to launch the ship's boats but they were stove-in and their crews drowned. The ship had remained firmly embedded on the sandbank until the afternoon of April 28th when she suddenly slipped off and slid, stern-first, into deeper water and began to rapidly fill. The whaler was then launched and a number of the crew rushed into her, of which several were washed out and drowned with 23 reaching the shore. The Captain let go the bower anchor and kept 40 men working at the pumps but she gradually settled down and gradually submerged. Over the next 48 hours, scores of bodies began to be washed-up on the coast and it was reported that local inhabitants stripped these of their clothing and valuables until the Coastguard arrived and took control of the situation. The 3rd Mate was the only survivor from the officers and his testimony offered no explanation for the disaster. Philip Mulcahey, the passengers cook from Waterford, survived the disaster and deposed that the ship's crew gave no thought to saving the lives of the passengers. At a Coroner's inquest the report was made that there was no proof of the Captain's drunkenness but the members heartily condemned that portion of the crew which deserted their passengers, occupying the boats to the exclusion of the women and children. They called for a further inquiry by the Lords of Admiralty and recommended that, in future, seamen surviving the loss of a ship should be detained until due inquiry was made into the particulars of the case. In all, more than 380 persons were drowned.Return to Index
Misfortune continues to abound in GGGPa's scrapbook, as this cutting from 1868, testifies.
HIBERNIA (1868): Captain Munro. The ship left New York for Glasgow on Saturday afternoon, November 14th, 1868, with a total of 133 souls onboard, including crew. On Monday, November 23rd, she ran into a heavy gale from the SW which caused the ship to labour. At 02:00, Tuesday, November 24th, the propeller shaft broke in the stern-pipe and the propeller, getting loose, damaged the sternpost to which the rudder was attached. The pipe itself was also damaged by the un-connected propeller and large volumes of water entered the vessel. During the whole of Tuesday the crew were engaged in jettisoning cargo, to no avail. On Tuesday night, the course was changed to NW and, on Wednesday morning, November 25th, the situation became so critical that all the boats were lowered. At 06:00, passengers began to be embarked in the boats, a certain number of ladies appointed to occupy each boat along with a proportion of the crew. At 07:00 all the crew and passengers were in their appointed places. The ladies had been lowered into the boats by ropes around their waists. The boats were brought around under the lee of the ship. No.1 boat was under the command of Captain Munro; No.2 boat, the 1st Mate; No.3 boat, the 2nd Mate; starboard-quarter boat, 3rd Mate; port-quarter boat, the boatswain. The Captain was the last to leave. After getting about a quarter of a mile from the ship, she went down stern-first at 07:20. The position was 53.20 N, 29 W., about 700 miles west of Ireland. At 07:30, the 1st Mate's boat, with 33 persons, capsized. The Captain's boat was about a quarter of a mile away but, owing to the gale then blowing, and the crowded state of his boat, he was unable to render any assistance. So critical was the Captain's boat's condition that he had two men constantly baling with buckets, with more using hand-basins, to keep afloat. Stores were even thrown overboard and some of the ladies threw off their shawls to lighten the load.In the evening, Captain Munro and those in No.1 lifeboat were picked up by the 'Star of Hope', Captain Talbot, from Quebec to Aberdeen. A search was commenced for the other boats and the boatswain's boat was rescued between 23:00 and 24:00, Wednesday, November 25th. The weather moderated on Thursday, November 26th but, after cruising the area for about 30 hours ,the search was called off and the 'Star of Hope' resumed her course. The two boats rescued contained 52 persons.The 1st Mate's boat eventually reached the coast of Donegal with the Mate and 2 hands. It had righted itself and the survivors had succeeded in getting aboard after the boat had laid bottom-up for 4 hours. The Mate stated that two of the passengers jumped overboard the first day. On the third day, another passenger leaped overboard. Five other passengers died from exposure with 16 having been lost when the boat capsized. The 3 survivors, failing in their attempts to hail passing ships, ran into Mulroy Bay on the Donegal coast. At the time, all other boats were feared lost although the possibility was held out of them being picked-up by outward-bound vessels because they were on a shipping lane.Return to Index
GGGPa's scrapbook has thrown-up this little snippet, dated October 1st, 1853.
EUPHROSYNE: Owner and Master, Captain Barris. Built 1847, in England, 600 tons, barque-rigged. Captain Barris was a wealthy and eccentric young Englishman who painted his vessel jet black, on the starboard side, with a representation of brickwork on the port side. He sailed only for his own pleasure although, by way of giving employment to his crew , he took cargoes from port to port to pay the ship's way. Upon arrival in harbour, the Captain went off to see the sights and left the vessel in charge of the crew. He had spent four years sailing the Eastern Archipelago and trading between Calcutta and Japan. He had been to most of the Pacific islands and the chief ports of India and Australia. For crew, he had brought together in harmonious relationship an amalgamation of most of the nations on earth. Numbering about 30, there were natives of Japan, Malaya, Mozambique, China, Bali, Bengal, the Sandwich Isles, England and Ireland. All sailed together in a social and democratic manner. The Japanese, five in number, had their wives and families onboard and the whole crew of men, women and children ate, drank and slept together in perfect harmony. The Captain and his Mate, Constantine D'Esonza, of Penang, were the only two who occupied the ship's cabin and lived in any way excluded from the general rules of the community. The crew was well paid and well treated and the Captain ruled over them in a patriarchal and parental manner. When in San Francisco the crew were left to their own devices, as usual, and although nearly all the ships in port were deserted by their crews, the 'Euphrosyne' lost not a single man. The women were privileged, at sea, and some of them helped their husbands to take-in sail whilst others did the cooking and cared for the children.Return to Index
A cutting relating to the American Civil War from GGGPa's scrapbook but without any indication of the year.
ROANOKE: The New York & Virginia Navigation Co. Built in New York. Length 218'. Beam 32' Dept 10' 6". 1071 tons. Provided a regular service between Cuba and New York. At 16:00 on September 29th, she left Havana with 24 cabin passengers, 16 steerage passengers and officers and crew numbering 50 - a total of 90 persons. Then, at 21:20, when 25 miles off the coast of Cuba, 10 men under Lieutenant John C. Braine, in the uniform of the Confederate Navy, went through he ship exclaiming : "In the name of the Confederate States of America, I demand the surrender of this vessel as a lawful prize." He then called upon Captain Drew to surrender, as a prisoner of war. The announcement was immediately followed by the discharge of several pistols with which the party were armed. Lieutenant Braine then secured the Captain and some of his officers on the upper deck, in irons, whilst the remaining officers and crew were secured on the main deck. In the space of 55 minutes, the capture had been achieved and the ship proceeded on her way as the Confederate Prize Steamship 'Roanoke'. There had been little violent resistance except from the carpenter of the vessel who, after surrendering, threw an axe at the head of the Confederate 1st Mate. It fell short of its mark, however, and the carpenter was shot by four musket balls, dying from his wounds. Shortly after, Captain Drew was released on parole. The passengers were treated with the utmost civility and friendship. When the vessel arrived off Bermuda, it was Lieutenant Braine's intention to take her into St. George's to lay in a stock of provisions and coal and land the officers, passengers and crew before proceeding to Wilmington. It proved impossible, however, to take the vessel into a British port so the Lieutenant gave orders for the ship to be burned. This was done, after transferring everybody to a brig five miles off the coast, from where he and the others sailed into St. George on Sunday, October 9th . On arrival, he and his compatriots were arrested by the British authorities, Braine being charged with piracy and the unlawful seizure and destruction of the United States mail-steamer 'Roanoke' upon the high sea. The charge fell to the ground, however, on the production of Lieutenant Braine's commission and his letter of instruction from Mr S.R. Mallory, Secretary of the Navy of the Confederate Government. The prisoners were immediately discharged.Return to Index
The following may be of interest, from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated June 7th, 1862.
MATILDA WATTENBACH: Wettenbach, Heilgers & Co., Mincing Lane, London. Connected with Shaw, Savill & Co. Clipper ship of 1000 tons. Took Nonconformist emigrants to the colony of Albertland, on the river Ornawharo, 50 miles from Auckland, New Zealand. The New Zealand Government had offered 40 acres to every emigrant paying his passage, with a proportionate grant to each member of his family. A Mr W.R. Brame and a number of friends organised emigration on an extensive scale. In a comparatively brief period, over 1000 persons were registered. Only those persons were selected who possessed a certain amount of capital or were proficient in some valuable mechanical avocation or had some other qualification which would benefit the colony, as a whole. The 'Matilda Wattenbach' and the 'Hanover', owned by George Marshall & Co., London, and also with connections to Shaw, Savill's, were the first vessels to sail from London Docks "on Thursday last". The 'Matilda Wattenbach' carried about 350 emigrants, including W.R. Brame, the originator of the movement, and the 'Hanover' about 280. emigrants. The "Committee of Management"" of the new settlement were also onboard the 'Matilda Wattenbach'. They were to be followed on July 10th by the 'William Miles'. The 'Ida Ziegler' also belonging to Wattenbach, Heilgers & Co., was to follow the 'William Miles'.More information is available on the Matilda Wattenbach.
Return to Index
From GGGPa's Scrapbook, dated April 13th, 1878. ("The Graphic" page 372).
The 'Cerberus', ironclad turret-ship, was purchased last year by the Victorian Government. She is now under the command of Captain Colebrooke Mandeville, lately retired as Commander from the Royal Navy, and has a full crew on board. She was recently inspected by Commodore Hoskins, R.N., who was satisfied with her efficiency. The line-of-battle ship 'Nelson' also is to be cut down so as to make a frigate of her, in which case, as her draught of water will be reduced, she will be much more useful than she is now, and will be able to take an active part in the defence of the port. The batteries at the Heads are also being strengthened, two 12-ton 9-inch guns having been sent down to Queenscliff, together with four 80-pounder Armstrong guns. The two heavy guns will be placed in position so as to command the entrance to the Heads as far round as Point Lonsdale; while the 80-pounder guns will take the place of the lighter ordnance now in the batteries.—Our engraving is from photographs kindly furnished by Mrs. Mandeville, St. James's, Tunbridge Wells.
visit the "Save The Cerberus Alliance" website for more information about Cerberus
Browsing through GGGPa's Scrapbook, I found the following cutting, dated March 12th, 1853, (journal unknown) which I think will be of interest to those in Australia. It will also be of interest to others, for similar schemes to the one described mushroomed in England in the 1840's and 1850's in attempts to relieve the grinding poverty of the inhabitants of the major cities. A semi-mythological sub-culture has developed, over the years, in relation to the Great Famine of Ireland and the ensuing emigration. It must be remembered, however, that conditions in the major towns, and in the countryside of the United Kingdom in the mid-Victorian era, were equally as appalling for those poor souls forced to seek a new life elsewhere. Bear this in mind when reading the cutting.
FUND FOR PROMOTING FEMALE EMIGRATION
Under these circumstances, it obvious that the Society must speedily discontinue its operations if the public, on being made acquainted with the vast benefit conferred not only upon the poor, friendless, emigrants themselves, but upon Australian society, should not come forward to continue the stream of bounty which, three years ago, so liberally flowed. The publications of the Society will amply prove the great success of the experiment. The eager welcome with which girls of good character were received by the various Australian colonies, the rapidity with which one and all were provided with service, and the concurring testimony, not only of their own letters - hundreds of which have been received - but of many of the principal colonists and government functionaries at the Antipodes, leave no doubt of the benefits conferred upon the emigrants themselves, or the advantage afforded by the arrival of so copious a succession of supplies of female labour to the settlements. And yet the demand continues more eagerly - more extensively than ever. The gold fever has attracted a vast male emigration and the balance of sexes in Australia is more uneven than ever; while in Great Britain the reverse is the case - the number of females, by the last census, outstripping that of the males of the population by no less than 545,762 individuals. It is evident, therefore, that reasons both of humanity and of policy combine to urge forward a system of female emigration on as great a scale as can be effected.
The tables showing the differences of wages and general position of the emigrants sent by Mr. Sidney Herbert's Society are very curious, and contain information which it would be well for the working-classes, generally, to read. The list of occupations from which women were taken in London is, in itself, remarkable. There were artificial-flower-makers, box-makers, brush-makers, carpet-bag-makers, gelatine-packers, gold-burnishers, lace-transferrers and furriers: these are, of course, exceptional employments. The vast proportion of the emigrants lived by the dreary labour of the needle. Of professed dressmakers, during the three years of operation, there were sent out 86; of needle-workers, 132; and of persons taking the designation of "servants" but, we believe, supporting themselves, as a general rule, by various species of needlework, the greater number of 494. The next class in extent to the seamstresses is that of persons without any particular employment, of whom there were despatched 84. Only 18 nominal shirt-makers proceeded to the Antipodes, but many of the 494 quasi-servants must have toiled at this most un-remunerating species of labour. So much for the proportions sent out from different female employments. A short selection from the English and Australian wage tables will complete the picture:-
Employment in England Yearly wages in Australia
With the above sums as wages, rations and lodging must not be forgotten. The table from which they were taken relates to 49 young women who landed, in March, 1852, at Port Phillip. More recent arrivals present nearly the same results and offer a cheering picture of the change in the circumstances and prospects of so many of our poorer countrywomen.
On Wednesday, March 9th, there were despatched in the 'Madagascar' 40 emigrants, of ages ranging from seventeen to thirty-two, and who had hitherto been seamstresses, stock-makers, shoe-binders, domestic servants &c. The 'Madagascar', 1200 tons, Captain Harris, one of the finest ships hitherto engaged in the East India trade, but which has just been transferred by Mr. Green (her owner) to the Australian trade, had been engaged to convey the emigrants to Port Phillip; and a most commodious and convenient cabin had been especially fitted-up, amidships, for their accommodation.
The party, having arrived at Gravesend, went onboard the 'Madagascar' where the girls were immediately mustered in their cabin and received, each in rotation, a copy of a letter of directions and advice which had been addressed to them by Mrs. Herbert.
Lord Robert Grosvenor then delivered a few parting words to them in the name of the committee and read to them an excellent letter of advice from Mrs. Herbert. The Rev. Mr. Quekett also addressed a few farewell words to the girls, in the course of which he observed that when the last party reached the colony, no fewer than 300 persons assembled to engage them. They ought to be extremely cautious and not make any engagement that the Government inspector did not sanction.
The members of the committee shortly afterwards took a final leave of the party and returned to town.Return to Index
In 1864, on May 18th, the 'NECKAR' sailed from Hamburg and arrived in Quebec on Monday, 27th June. She was carrying 538 emigrants, consisting of German, Norwegians and Poles whose destination was principally Western Canada with a few bound for the Western States of the USA.
On the night of their arrival in Quebec, the emigrants were forwarded by train towards their destination with the exception of the poorer classes who were left to make their own arrangements.
After leaving St. Hilaire station, the train proceeded towards the iron bridge spanning the River Richelieu: this bridge had a swinging span that opened to allow shipping through. At 01:15 on Wednesday, June 29th, the bridge had been swung to allow a tug, with its barges, to pass. The locomotive did not stop and plunged into the river, with all its carriages. A contemporary report said there were 'many' deaths.Return to Index
Would the 'Melbourne', in these two clippings from GGGPa's scrapbook, be the 'Melbourne' of P & O ? The first one is dated November 20th, 1852. The second one is just dated '1852'. Anyone know the actual date of the second occurrence?
'The Australian Company'. On October 9th,1852, the crew broke into mutiny and compelled the Captain and officers to take to the boats and seek protection onboard HMS 'Inflexible'. The passengers had previously gone ashore. One man, a Scotsman, was fatally stabbed. Captain Woolridge, of the 'Inflexible' immediately sent his boats, manned and armed, and removed 5 of the ringleaders who were placed in irons on the warship.
Put into Lisbon "on the 24th ult." leaking and dismasted. Several officers refused to proceed any further in her. She had left Plymouth on "the 15th ult.".
On the night of the 19th, in a high sea and a fresh breeze, the ship began to roll heavily and all the topmasts were suddenly lost. The jib booms were then carried away and nothing was left standing except the three lower masts and yards. About midday the deck was cleared of debris but, unfortunately, the mess of rigging became entangled in the propeller and the engines stopped. The situation became critical as the pieces of topmast and rigging beat against the stern post and rudder and rendered it impossible to steer. Twelve hours elapsed before the propeller could be raised and disentangled from the floating wreck of the topmast and rigging. The engines were then started and the voyage proceeded.
The following day a leak was discovered in the mail room and, at the insistence of the mail-agent, a course was made for Lisbon. After some stay in Tagus, the mail-agent required the ship to proceed to sea again, for Australia, without being docked as he affirmed the leak had stopped. The Captain refused and a survey was held by Lloyd's agent, the result of which was that the ship would be docked. The Portuguese Government placed their naval facilities at the vessel's disposal. The 'Melbourne' was declared totally unfit for the voyage to Australia and devoid of healthy accommodation for the 253 passengers and crew.Return to Index
Another emigrant-ship disaster from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated May 6th, 1854.
Owner unknown. On passage from Bremen to Baltimore with nearly 200 emigrants, on Friday, April 29th, at between 01:00 and 02:00, came into collision with the American ship 'Hesper', bound to Antwerp. A thick rain was falling and there was a heavy sea and a strong wind from the westward. The shock of the collision was so great that the Master of the 'Favourite' was thrown from his bunk. He ran onto the deck and succeeded, along with the 1st Mate and four crew, in getting onboard the 'Hesper'. At that time, the emigrants were seen running about the deck in great confusion but the vessels separated immediately after the collision and the roughness of the sea prevented any assistance being rendered to them. The 'Favourite' had been severely holed below the waterline and quickly settled down with all onboard. The 'Hesper' lay-to until daybreak but, when dawn broke, not a vestige of the 'Favourite' or any of her passengers could be seen.Return to Index
Another tale of emigrant suffering from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated May 19th, 1855.
On May 3rd, 1855, the ship sailed from Plymouth, for Quebec, with 149 adults, 98 children and 16 infants, emigrants to Canada, principally from the north of Devon.
She sailed at 16:00 on the ebb tide and with a favourable wind. At 21:30 they made the Falmouth Light. At the same time, the 2nd Mate was searching for the Lizard Light and he asked some passengers if they could see it. They said they couldn't and the Captain remarked that he couldn't either, but that they would see it fast enough when they got there. The Captain shortly afterwards went below, leaving the 2nd Mate on watch.
About 22:00 the 1st Mate came onto the poop and asked the passengers if they had seen the Captain because he, the Mate, was concerned they were too close to the land. The Captain came on deck and scorned the Mate's remark. Soon afterwards, someone forward shouted out that there were rocks ahead and, almost immediately, the vessel struck with great violence so that she bumped over the obstacle and then struck with even greater force upon the rocks further in. The Captain was then distinctly heard to call out, "Run her aground."
The vessel then had all sail on her, making strong headway at about 9 knots, and though she had been run aground, the sea washed her off again and she ran down the coast for some distance. An attempt was then made to bring her up by letting-go her anchor but she grounded heavily, broadside-on. Attention was then directed to the boats, of which she had four, three on deck and one over the side. The Captain, four seamen and one passenger jumped into the latter boat and called-out for it to be lowered. No-one answered the call. The Captain then returned to the deck, when the boat was lowered. Once afloat, it was discovered the boat had no plug and there were no thowle pins for the oars. Whilst they were waiting for these items to be found, her tackle became unhooked and the boat drifted away without the Captain. The four seamen in the boat used their knives for thowle pins and a passenger utilised his pipe as a plug. They then pulled out to sea to get around a point of rocks over which there were heavy breakers. When they had weathered this point they pulled for the land on which they saw a light. Not being able to find a landing-place, they called for help and were heard by the son of Lt. McLean. HM Coastguard, who pointed-out a landing place to them.
In the meantime, the alarm was raised that a vessel had struck on the Manacles. An attempt was then made to launch some of the Coastguard boats, without success. The passenger who had gained the shore in the ship's boat was taken aboard one of the Coastguard boats in order to act as a guide to the ship. The four crew who had landed positively refused such a request.
Efforts were postponed until the morning of 4th May when, going further up the coast, a favourable spot was found where they launched and reached the 'John' which was 200 yards from the shore.During the whole period from the ship first grounding, no attempt was made by either the Captain or the crew to save the passengers. For the most part, the crew were roaring drunk.
Some of the passengers had attempted to launch the ship's cutter but, in doing so thy stove her bottom and lost the boat. When the ship struck, the tide was two-thirds on the ebb and, although she filled with water, the decks were dry : if assistance had been made available at this time, it is likely all would have been saved. The Captain would not allow the two largest boats to be hoisted, telling the passengers to calm down because they were perfectly safe. He told them that the tide would not flood before daylight and boats from the shore would arrive and rescue them. This statement highlighted his ignorance of the facts for the tide commenced to flood at 01:00 and, before 02:00, the sea broke heavily over the ship, smashing the remaining boats and washing passengers over the side.
196 men, women and children were drowned. The crew, excepting the steward, exhibited complete apathy and made no attempt whatever to offer assistance to the passengers. When the shore-boats arrived, the crew were the first to try to get into them, with all their bags, showing a greater anxiety to secure these than to save the lives of the emigrants. Not a seaman perished.
At the inquest held on the bodies of the drowned, the jury, in recording their verdict, observed that they considered the conduct of the whole crew, with the exception of the steward, as reprehensible. They also expressed their concern that the 'John' did not carry a signal gun or distress flares. Against Captain Rawle they returned a verdict of manslaughter and a coroner's warrant was issued for his arrest, the Captain being apprehended and lodged in the Cornwall County Gaol at Bodmin.Return to Index
Take note of the short period of time spent by the 'Europa' in looking for survivors. From GGGPa's scrapbook, dated July 7th, 1849.
The Charles Bartlett had sailed on June 14th and was carrying 450 tons of general cargo, 162 steerage passengers, 1 cabin passenger and 14 crew.
About 13:00 on June 27th a dense fog set-in and at 15:00 the Captain heard the rumble of engines as a ship approached. The crew, and about 100 passengers who were on deck, all began shouting to attract the attention of the approaching steamer. The ship's bell was also rung. There was a brief glimpse of the ship and then a terrible crash as she struck the Charles Bartlett, at a speed of 12 knots, abreast of the after main-shrouds.
The Captain shouted for every person to cling to the steamer as their only hope. He, himself, caught hold of a broken chain on the bow and hauled himself up whilst shouting at the crew and passengers to follow. He considered there must have been at least 50 people killed by the collision. The Europa's boats were lowered as soon as possible , saving 12 souls, whilst thirty more saved themselves by clinging to the bow.
The passengers of the Europa appointed a committee to investigate the cause of the collision, who reported as follows : "The undersigned, having weighed all the circumstances of this painful and unparalleled disaster, whereby about 136 souls found an untimely grave, feel bound to report that no blame can be attached to either party. We feel convinced that everything was done by the commander, the officers and crew of the Europa to prevent the lamentable disaster, and everything tried after its occurrence to save lives and to minister to the comforts of the survivors."
The Europa sustained but little damage and none of the passengers or crew were injured. Upwards of 350-pounds was collected on board that vessel for the relief of the survivors. The Europa remained at the scene from the time of the collision at 15:30 until 03:30 when she sailed away.
Of the 176 persons onboard the Charles Bartlett, 134 were drowned.Return to Index
The misfortunes of emigrants were not confined to people of European descent, as this cutting from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated November 11th, 1872, describes.
Pacific Mail SS Co. Built in New York, 1869. Length 400'. 4560 tons, burden. 1000 hp. Accommodation for 400 1st-class, 800 2nd-class and 1500 steerage passengers plus crew. There were 5 decks; the orlop, freight, steerage, main and hurricane decks.
On August 24th,1879, she arrived at Yokohama from San Francisco with cargo and between-deck passengers. The "lowest class" of passengers were Chinese, returning home from California. Cargo included 1,600,000 Mexican dollars.
That night, fire broke out onboard which spread very rapidly. A witness said that the air rang with the shrieks of the passengers who, crowding the sides, threw their boxes of belongings down into the boats which had pulled alongside to effect rescue, and jumped after them. One of the ladders gave way and 80 - 90 people fell into the water and many, clinging together in fives or sixes, clutching their boxes of valuables, drowned. Some 40 lives were lost in this way.
The ship's metal lifeboats had not been lowered, such was the rapidity of the spread of fire, and lay on deck crumpled out of shape by the heat. The funnel became red-hot and flames issued from the top. The lines of the portholes glowed like the mouths of furnaces. The noise of escaping steam was deafening. The masts fell over the side and small-arms ammunition began to explode in a continuous rattle.
A warship's launch tried to sink the ship by firing into her but, after four or five shots, gave up. By daylight, the 'America' had burned down almost to her copper and had risen out of the water by 7 feet. A fleet of salvage lighters managed to beach the wreck near Kanagawa but, no sooner had she grounded, than a typhoon commenced and the vessel heeled over, filled and settled-down in the mud. The funnel, paddle-wheels and stern- and stem-posts remained above the water.Return to Index
In the days when I sailed with Cunard on the trans-Atlantic passenger ships, the crew often out-numbered the passengers. This clipping from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated 1857, makes an interesting comparison of the ratio between Purser's staff and passengers.
Collins Line. Constructed by George Steers & Co. Launched April 7th, 1856. Loa 354'. Beam 50'. Depth of hold 33'. 5.900 tons. Engines by the New York Novelty Works, 1,500 hp., speed 15 knots. Diameter of paddle wheels, 40'. Accommodation for approx. 300 1st-class and 100 other-class passengers. Crew of 188 comprising : 1 Commander; 4 Mates; 1 Surgeon; 1 Purser; 4 Quartermasters; 2 Carpenters; 1 Boatswain; 36 Seamen; 1 Engineer; 3 Assistant Engineers; 6 Superintendents of fires and boilers; 4 Oilers; 2 Engineers' storekeepers; 24 Firemen; 36 coal-passers; 1 Steward; 3 Steward's Assistants; 36 Waiters; 3 Stewardesses; 2 Storekeepers; 1 Barman; 1 Barber; 1 Chief Cook; 1 Assistant Cook; 1 Baker; 2 Pastry cooks; 2 Engineers'' messmen; 2 Keepers of lamps and oil; 1 Hose-keeper.Return to Index
*COSPATRICK* . Shaw, Savill & Co., Lombard St., London. Built at Moulmein, Burma, in 1856 and was first employed as a troopship to India. She then passed into private hands and was used in the coolie trade to Demerara. After belonging to Duncan Dunbar & Co., she was purchased by Shaw, Savill & Co. Length 190', Beam 34', Depth of hold 24', 1220 tons.The ship sailed from London on September 11th, 1874, bound for Auckland with 429 emigrants, four independent passengers and a total crew of 44. She was under the command of Captain Alexander Elmslie. At midnight on Tuesday, November 17th, 1874, fire broke out in the fore-part of the vessel. She was then in 37.15 South, 12.25 East, west-by-south of the Cape of Good Hope. The ship had no steerage-way on her, got her head to the wind and the flames quickly ran aft. The boats first lowered were capsized and all in them, 160, were drowned. The ship sank on the afternoon of November 19th, Captain Elmslie, his wife and child going down with her. Two boats kept afloat, one under the command of Mr C. Romaine, 1st Mate , with 32 occupants and the other under the command of Charles Henry Macdonald, 2nd Mate, of Montrose, with 30 occupants. Mr Macdonald's boat was picked up on November 27th by the 'British Sceptre', of Liverpool, and landed at St. Helena on December 6th. Of the 30 occupants, 25 had died of hunger, thirst and exposure. There were no women in this boat. They had no food, no fresh water, no mast or sail and only one oar. A girl's petticoat was rigged upon the oar for a sail and this enabled the boat to go before a southerly wind. Some of the occupants were driven to insanity before dying and it is known that the survivors sucked the blood and ate the liver of several of their dead companions. Two of the five survivors, one a passenger and the other a seaman, died onboard the 'British Sceptre'. The 1st Mate's boat was never seen again ,although it was hoped at the time that it might have reached Tristan d'Acunha. HMS 'Sappho' was despatched from the Cape Verde islands on December 6th to explore this possibility. The fire is supposed to have started in the boatswain's locker which contained rope, oakum, cotton waste, tar, paint, and oil. Near this were several casks of fat and some kerosene with seventy tons of coal in the forepeak. There were also forty tons of spirits onboard. The three survivors, out of the total onboard of 477, were Charles Henry Macdonald, 2nd Mate, Montrose; Thomas Lewis, Anglesey, Quartermaster and Edward Cotter, 18, of Kensington, ordinary seaman. The emigrants onboard were mostly agricultural labourers from the Midlands and Eastern Counties. They consisted of 177 adult males, 125 women, 58 boys, 53 girls and 16 babies. There were also four independent passengers.More information about the Cospatrick.
Return to Index
CATARAQUE / (Cataraqui)
The following may be of interest. It is taken from a newspaper report (publication unknown):
CATARAQUE: Owner unknown. Captain C.W. Finlay. Crew of 46, including two doctors, M.C. & Edward Carpenter, brothers. Sailed from Liverpool on April 20th, 1845, with 369 emigrants to Australia, principally from Bedfordshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Northamptonshire. About 120 of the passengers were married, with families, in all 73 children.
On August 3rd, at 19:00, the ship was hove-to because of the weather. On August 4th, at 04:30, in a heavy gale and mountainous seas, the ship struck a reef on the west coast of King's Island at the entrance to the Bass Strait. Immediately she struck she was sounded and 4 feet of water was found in the hold.
All passengers attempted to rush onto the deck and many succeeded in doing so until the ladders were knocked down by the workings of the vessel. There were shrieks for assistance from those trapped below, appealing to the deck watch to help them. The crew, to a man, were on deck the moment the ship struck and were instantly employed in handing-up the passengers. Upto the time the vessel began breaking up, it was supposed that between 300 and 400 were got onto the deck by the extraordinary exertions of the crew.
At daylight on the morning of August 4th, would-be rescuers found the stern of the vessel smashed-in with numerous bodies floating in the area and hanging-up upon the racks. About 200 persons were still clinging to the ship, the sea breaking over them and washing them away. About 16:00, the vessel parted amidships, at the fore-part of the main rigging, and between 70 and 100 souls were thrown into the waves. At about 17:00, the wreck parted by the fore-rigging and so many people were washed away that only about 70 were left, crowded onto the forecastle and held there by lashings.
At daybreak on August 5th, it was discovered that only about 30 were left alive. The sea was making a clean breach into the forecastle and the deck was rapidly breaking up. Almost immediately afterwards, the ship totally disappeared.
Out of a total of 415 souls onboard, only 9 were saved.More information about the Cataraque and passenger list.
Return to Index
Another one from great-great-grandad's scrapbook of Victorian newspaper cuttings which might be of interest:
CALEB GRIMSHAW: Grimshaw & Co., Liverpool, Captain Hoxie. Caught fire 16 miles southeast of Flores, in the Azores, on the night of November 12th,1849. An emigrant ship with 390 passengers. The ships boats were lowered and towed astern with passengers aboard, about 60 being on a raft, this situation continuing for 5 days and nights. The barque 'Sarah', Captain Cook, from London to New Brunswick in ballast, arrived on the 17th and took onboard 3 boatloads of emigrants. The next day, the 18th, a further 150 passengers were rescued. On the 19th, there was a heavy sea and no rescue attempts could be made. On the 20th, 10 persons who had escaped volunteered to return and relieve those who were still onboard the 'Caleb Grimshaw' because by this time the ship had no more water and provisions could only be got by raising the hatches. The mainmast was settling and the upper deck was working each way. On this day, the 20th, the 'Caleb Grimshaw' floated to the leeward of Flores, into smoother water, and during the night the remaining passengers were taken off. Before the last of the crew left, they lifted the hatches and the ship immediately burst into a roaring inferno. All had escaped, passengers and crew, 399 in number, remarkable when considering that the vessel had been blazing for eight days and nights.. The 'Sarah' took the passengers and crew to Fayal, the emigrants being destitute of all belongings. Captain Hoxie chartered the 'Sarah' to take the passengers on to New York.Return to Index
Another from great-great grandad's scrapbook of Victorian newspaper cuttings:
CITY OF MONTREAL: Inman Line. Captain Land. Built by Todd & McGregor, Glasgow, 1872. 2941 tons, net, 4496 grt. Length 419', Beam 44', engines 600 HP. On August 10th, 1887, at 21:00, on passage from New York to Liverpool, and when about 400 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, fire was discovered in her cargo of cotton. She had onboard 94 crew, 27 2nd-class and 126 steerage passengers. The fire raged out of control and the boats were prepared to be lowered. At 06:00 on August 11th, flames burst out of the after hatches and the boats were lowered into a high sea. All the boats got safely away when it was discovered that about 20 people had been left onboard. No. 3 boat returned and took off 6 and then No. 4 took off another 6. A German barque (name unknown), bound from Charleston to London with turpentine, arrived on the scene and the boats put all her people aboard her, returning for those left behind. One boat - No.8 - was missing after she was seen to put herself before the wind when she left the steamer. She ran away from the burning vessel, against the Captain's orders.The steamer 'York City' of the Furness Line had also been standing by and with the aid of the boats from the 'City of Montreal', survivors were transferred on the morning of August 12th. The 'York City' proceeded directly for Queenstown after a search for the missing boat. In this it was unsuccessful although it was hoped the craft would be picked up as it was in the main east-west shipping track.At Queenstown, the passengers drew-up an address which they presented to Captain Land and his officers: "We not only exonerate the captain and officers from any blame, but we bear testimony that they did all that men could possibly do in the most trying situation, and not withstanding much personal suffering." (The Captain, Chief Officer, and others, were badly affected by the smoke and flames, being rendered almost blind for quite some time).The missing boat contained the following passengers : Samuel Kaufman; George Arnott; James McKee; Kerward Woolton; Stephen Tupper; Simon Kowelsky; and S. Kachumoki. The six seamen in the boat were : Henry Frazer; Charles Riddle; William Franey; Patrick Hughes (trimmer); Charles Smith (interpreter) and Thomas Wilberforce.Return to Index
Yet again, from great-great grandad's scrapbook of Victorian newspaper cuttings:
DALHOUSIE: Owner, Allen's, Leadenhall St., London, chartered to the White Horse Line for their Australian passenger service. Built Moulmein, Burma, 1848, Captain Butterworth. Crew, 48 men and officers and twelve passengers. On the 18th October,1853, the ship sailed from the Downs at 07:00 in a fresh breeze. At 22:00 the wind had increased and all hands were turned-to to take in the topgallant sails and reef the topsails. The sea began to get up. At 04:00 on 19th October, the fore and main topsails were double-reefed and the mizentop-sail stowed. The ship began to lurch deeply and seemed to have difficulty in recovering herself from the rolls. About 04:30, the starboard-quarter boat was carried away and by 05:00 the crew began jettisoning water-casks, sheep-pens and other lumber. Whilst they were doing this, the ship gave a violent lurch to starboard and, a heavy sea washing over her at the time, washed overboard the longboat. The weather had by then got much worse and she was kept hauled to the wind on the port tack. She continued to lurch violently and, at 05:30, rolled right over onto her starboard beam-ends, remaining in that position with her mast-head in the water and the sea breaking right over her The port-quarter boat was washed away. Many of the crew took refuge in the maintop, it being impossible to stand on deck.Captain Butterworth, the 1st Mate, the 2nd Mate, the carpenter, the cook and some of the crew got onto the weather-quarter gallery and dragged through the gallery window four passengers, a gentleman, his wife and two children. A young lady appeared out of one of the poop cabins and she was lashed to a spar and placed with the others on the gallery. Immediately afterwards, a large wave washed away the family unit. The young lady was then released from the spar to give her a chance of survival and, as the spar went adrift, the Captain, the 2nd Mate and two seamen clung to it. Ten minutes later, the 'Dalhousie' sank by the head. A schooner was nearby, about 100 yards to leeward, and she was shouted at to go to windward and drift down upon the wreck to pick up survivors. The only response was a voice from the schooner shouting for the survivors to swim towards it. She was drifting to leeward faster than anyone could swim, however, and she shortly afterwards stood away to the south-west and disappeared after two hours.The sole survivor, Joseph Reed, was eventually spotted and picked up by the brig 'Mitchel Grove' at 16:00. He was taken to Dover Roads and landed there by the ship's boat the following day, October 20th. Mr Reed reported that the 'Dalhousie' had sunk in a position where the light on Beachy Head bore from NExE, 16 miles.The schooner which had been close to the wreck was the 'Exeter', Captain Hamlyn. He wrote to the press, from Cowes, to justify his actions in not rendering assistance to the 'Dalhousie'. His ship was small, he wrote, (120 tons and laden with coal), and almost unmanageable in the wind and heavy seas. At one point, they were making 6 knots going astern and the vessel would not answer the helm. Furthermore, they were drifting onto a lee shore and, for their own preservation, were forced to continue their course down-Channel. He challenged Mr Reed's statement that a voice from the schooner shouted for them to "Swim for it". He wrote if they were 200 yards to leeward of him, and blowing a gale, how could such a voice be heard?Return to Index
One for our Irish/American friends, from GGGPa's scrapbook, dated October 27th, 1860.
On Saturday, October 6th,1860, at 20:00, the ship was 150 miles east of Boston, with about 150 passengers, when a leak was reported in the engine-room. The leak was contained until 01:00, Sunday, 7th, when it gained rapidly and extinguished the fires. At 09:30, smoke was seen coming from the aft smokehole and a fire broke out which very soon drove the passengers on deck. The boats were prepared and, with a heavy sea running, the first boat to be lowered was stove-in. Six other boats were then successfully launched and filled with passengers. At 12:00 the American brig 'Minnie Schiffer' acknowledged the distress signals and, at 19:00 , passengers began to be transferred by hawser. By 21:30 everybody was safe onboard the American ship which took the survivors to Boston. The 'Connaught' sank at 05:30 on Monday, 8th October, 1860.Return to Index
This one, dated August 1st, 1874, may be of particular interest to Australian subscribers.
The Liverpool Shipowners' Co., Ltd., 1800 tons, built at Liverpool 1873. On her first voyage, she was dismasted in Biscay and returned to Liverpool to be refitted. On her second voyage to Australia, with 49 passengers, heavy seas damaged chronometers and compass so that she ran aground on rocks off King's Island off the Australian coast. This occurred at 03:00. One small boat was all that could be launched and in this the 2nd Mate, four seamen and three passengers put off. Falling spars smashed all the other boats. Most passengers took refuge by the mizen-mast but both they and the mast were thrown into the sea by the huge waves. The mainmast followed, bursting the deck, and the ship slipped off into deep water. The 2nd Mate's boat capsized in the breakers, three of the passengers clinging to the keel. The 3rd Mate had been in the sick berth and went down with the vessel but was thrown to the surface where he reached the shore on a piece of timber. He was the only officer saved. He, with seven other survivors, four passengers and three crew, made a tent of wreckage and next day came across a hunter's hut where they found another seaman who had been washed ashore. Two days later a small vessel rescued them and took them to Melbourne where they arrived on June 1st. The Victorian government despatched a steamer to the scene where the bodies which had been washed ashore were buried. At a subsequent enquiry, the Captain and officers were exonerated from all blame.Return to Index
This is another from GGGPa's scrapbook.
CANTON : Owner unknown, emigrant ship, of Hull. During a violent storm, the ship was driven onto rocks at Far-out Head, near Durness, in Scotland. A letter of August 24th, 1847, gave the first news to the outside world that the disaster had occurred, more than 300 persons being drowned with no survivors.Return to Index
Some names from GGGPa, dated November 20th, 1847.
STEPHEN WHITNEY: Red Star Line. 1034 tons burden. Built in New York in 1840. She left New York on October 18th, bound for Liverpool with 110 passengers and crew, including 20 women and 3 children. On November 10th, about 22:00, she was totally wrecked on the West Calf, an island near Skull, after her Captain, C.W. Popham, mistook the light on Crookhaven for that of the Old Head of Kinsale. The vessel was smashed to pieces in about ten minutes, only 18 souls surviving. The names of the survivors were as follows : CREW: Thomas Allen, Connecticut, 1st Mate; James D. Mackey, 3rd Mate; William Johnson, Yorkshire; Joseph Miller, American, ship''s steward; John Hatheway, American; David Ferguson, Glasgow; William Smith, Baltimore; Henry Hume, Fife; Daniel Greaves, Johnstown, Scotland; Thomas Jackson, Boston; John Pearson, New York; George Prince, New York; James Saunders, American; Adolphus Jackson, New York. PASSENGERS : Edward Ekin, Movil, Co. Donegal; James M''Glaskey , Fenny, Co. Derry; Joseph Butler, Dublin; Patrick Peterson, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.Return to Index
GGGpa was 1st Mate on the 'Far East'.
FAR EAST : Built at Dudgeon's yard, Cubitt Town, Millwall, and launched Saturday, November 31st, 1863. Intended for the China Sea trade. Captain Henry Jones. Length 227', length of keel 210', beam 34', depth moulded 22', depth of hold 20' 6", depth at LWL 17', displacement 2200 tons, builder's measurement 1270 tons, engines 150 HP (nominal).Return to Index
Two emigrant ships from GGGPa's scrapbook.
GREAT LIVERPOOL: On February 24th, 1846, the ship ran onto the Guros shoal, to the south of Corcubion, near Cape Finisterre. The weather was hazy with a heavy sea running. There were 145 persons on board and all were saved except a female passenger, a child of seven and an Indian servant girl. The vessel had grounded about 300 yards from the beach and the boats were got ready. The port boat was sent with a party of seamen and a line to haul a rope ashore, which was done with some difficulty, and then a hawser was passed and secured. The ship's launch made several trips to and from and all persons were taken off although three lives were lost when it capsized in the surf. Even as the last people were being taken off, the ship was breaking-up. By February 27th the ship had gone entirely to pieces and a great portion of the mails, luggage and cargo was plundered by the local inhabitants.Return to Index
GREAT QUEENSLAND: sailed from London for Melbourne in August, 1876, with about 70 souls onboard and 35 tons of gunpowder . Last sighted at the mouth of the Bristol Channel and then disappeared. A few fragments of wreck, identified as having belonged to the ship, were picked up. Comments were made in the press demanding that legislation should be introduced regarding the carriage of dangerous cargoes.Return to Index
According to GGGPa's scrapbook, ancestors arriving in Canada in this ship would have had a bumpy arrival. I hope the Pilot didn't give up the day job.
HUMBOLDT: Captain J.D. Lines, left Southampton on November 25th, 1853, and arrived off the entrance to Halifax, NS, on December 6th, 1853, in the morning. The ship was short of coal and the Captain bore-up for the harbour to obtain fuel. He hove-to for a pilot who came onboard and the ship set-of without delay. A dense fog came down but the pilot persisted in going on and , in attempting to make the harbour, ran the vessel onto a reef known as "The Sisters." Although only making 4 knots, the grounding was severe. Immediately backed-off, the ship was found to be making water so quickly that it was decided to run her ashore near Portuguese Cove about 12 miles from Halifax. The 'Osprey' and a local steamer rescued most of the passengers and crew but very little cargo was saved and, by night-time, the sea was breaking right over her. Eventually, her machinery broke through the hull and the vessel became a total wreck. Captain Lines had a financial interest in the ship to the extent of 10,000l and was not, unfortunately, insured.It came to light, later, that the pilot was not qualified. He was a local fisherman who represented himself as a pilot and, when being asked to produce his certificate said he had left it at home.Return to Index
This is from GGGPa's scrapbook, yet again, and the cutting is dated March 20th, 1852.
Owner unknown, of Leith. Captain Lawson. Left Shanghai for Leith in October, 1851. In addition to the Captain and his wife, there were onboard two European Mates, a steward, carpenter, cook, a Portuguese seaman, 12 Filipino sailors and a Filipino deckboy.
Four or five days after leaving Shanghai, the crew were put upon the customary food allowances which seemed to annoy the Filipinos. Before the ship had reached Angeer, they had deputed to the Captain a number of times to demand more, which was refused. The Filipinos then appeared to have devised a plan to murder all the Europeans onboard, with the exception of the Portuguese, who they thought might have helped them in their designs. They told him of the project. He, hoping to give the Europeans a chance, suggested that they be poisoned, rather than violently murdered. . This was attempted with some poisoned sugar cane, powdered into coffee, which made the Captain and his wife ill, but they soon recovered.
The Portuguese sailor gave details of the Filipino's plan to Captain Lawson and the Captain directed the Mate to muster them every night and take their knives off them. He also directed his officers to keep themselves armed at all times.
About the 25th day of the voyage Angeer was sighted but, as it was thought there were sufficient provisions and water onboard to last until the Cape of Good Hope, or St. Helena, the ship was not brought to anchor but continued on her voyage. This angered the Filipinos and on the morning of the 26th day the Portuguese sailor was alarmed at hearing his name being called on deck. He went on deck and met with some of the crew who said that they now had plenty of food and water because they had just killed the Europeans.
The Portuguese was sent to assist in clearing the cabin where he discovered Captain Lawson, the carpenter and the officers who, with the exception of the Mate, were all dead. Mrs Lawson was lying next to her husband's body, crying bitterly. The crew then attached heavy weights to the legs of the bodies and, carrying them on deck, threw them into the sea. The Mate was still alive when he was bound and cast overboard.
One of the Filipinos then appointed himself as Captain with two of his compatriots as 1st Mate and 2nd Mate.
The slaughter then re-commenced. The steward, the cook and the Portuguese were tied up and told that their last hour had arrived. The steward appealed for mercy, but the Filipino who was acting as the 1st Mate split open his head with an axe and then ran him through with a cutlass. The Portuguese sailor, and the cook who was a native of that part of the coast, pleaded for their lives and were eventually released. Shortly after, the mutineers decided to scuttle the ship and leave.
The boats were prepared and Mrs Lawson, hearing of this, appealed to be taken ashore but the Filipino 'Mate' said that his companions would not countenance such a thing. Mrs Lawson then implored them to give her a spar to cling to, but this was denied. Instead, she was battened in one of the cabins and abandoned.
About 22:00 that night, they, with the Portuguese sailor, the cook and the deckboy quit the vessel in one of the longboats and shortly afterwards the vessel foundered.Early the following morning the boat reached Java, landing at Sjilankang, where the Portuguese informed the authorities of the events. The murderers were arrested and sent to Batavia to await trial. The Portuguese seaman, the cook and the boy were also secured as witnesses.Return to Index
This famous shipwreck is well known and much has been written about it. However, the following is from GGGPa's scrapbook and gives a contemporary account.
Collins Line. On September 21st, 1854, the 'Arctic' left Liverpool for New York. She had onboard 233 passengers of whom 150 were 1st-class, together with a crew of 135, to make a total of 368 souls.
At mid-day on September 27th, when about 60 miles south-east of Cape Race, and during dense fog, she came into contact with the French steamer 'Vesta' which had left St. Peter's on Tuesday, September 26th. The 'Vesta' was, at first, thought to be so seriously injured that, in their terror and confusion, her passengers, amounting to 147, and a crew of 50 men, thought she was about to sink and that their only chance of safety lay in their getting quickly onto the 'Arctic'. They rushed into the boats and one sank immediately with another, containing 13 persons, being swamped under the ship's quarter. All onboard her were drowned. The Captain of the 'Vesta', however, after carefully examining the damage, found that the foremost bulkhead had not been sprung and he at once lightened his ship by the head and sailed into St. John's, Newfoundland, arriving on September 30th.
In the meantime, the 'Arctic' had launched a boat for the rescue of the passengers and crew of the 'Vesta', themselves thinking that their ship had sustained only superficial damage. It was soon discovered, though, that the 'Arctic' had been fatally damaged with the sea rushing in through three holes which had been pierced in the hull below the waterline. The 'Arctic's' head was therefore immediately laid for Cape Race, the nearest point of land. Within four hours, though, the seawater had reached the furnaces and she foundered soon afterwards.
As it was blowing a strong gale at the time, some of the boats into which the passengers and crew rushed were destroyed in launching ; others, which got clear of the sinking ship were never heard of again. Only two, with 31 crew and 14 passengers, reached Newfoundland. The Captain and the 2nd and 4th Mates were saved. 72 men and 4 women sought refuge on a raft which had been hastily constructed but every wave which washed over it swept the occupants away until only one was left. He clung-on for a day-and-a-half until rescued by a passing ship.
FROM A NEWSPAPER REPORT PUBLISHED OCTOBER 27TH , 1854. "The passengers of the 'Arctic' were at lunch in the cabin when the collision took place. At first, no danger was apprehended and the Chief Officer was sent with a boat to rescue the crew of the 'Vesta'. It was soon discovered, however that there was little hope of saving the 'Arctic' and the wife, son and daughter of Mr. E.K. Collins, the ship's owner, with several ladies, were put aboard a boat when, in the act of lowering, one of the tackles gave way and all, except one lady who clung to a sailor holding fast to the boat, were precipitated into the sea and lost. Another party of ladies and gentlemen were put onboard the other boat with some provisions but, as it was not manned by sailors, there was little chance of their reaching land. The ship could not be stopped to lower the boats but, after going some 15 miles, the rising water extinguished the fires and the vessel stopped. A large boat, capable of containing 50 persons was on deck, but, there not being sufficient hands onboard to launch her, it was supposed that she would be filled with persons in the hope that she might float off when the ship sank. The 2nd-Mate went to the port side and found the boats were completely filled-up with men and women with no chance of getting near them. He then went to the starboard side and ordered two of the crew to lower the guard-boat, at the same time asking the Captain if he might not take the Captain's son with him. The Captain replied that his son should share his fate and he ordered the 2nd-Mate to cut-away the boat. This he did, and dropped under the stern at which time 20 persons jumped overboard to gain access but only 17 were picked up. There was another boat on the port side so he lightened his complement by dividing the survivors to leave 26 in his own boat and 19 in the other. The last sight he had of the 'Arctic', her guard-rails were level with the water and the surface of the sea was strewn with human beings who had jumped, or fallen, overboard. He claimed he could do nothing to save them and set a course for Cape Race, the occupants pulling at the oars for 42-hours, until reaching Broad Cove, some twelve miles north of his destination."
The Captain of the 'Arctic', Captain Luce, of Yonkers, gave an account of the disaster:
FROM A NEWSPAPER REPORT PUBLISHED OCTOBER 28TH, 1854: "Finding the leak gaining very fast, I resolved to get the boats ready and place in them as many women and children as possible. However, no sooner had the attempt been made than the firemen and others rushed into them in spite of all opposition. Seeing the state of things I ordered the boats to be veered astern by ropes, to be kept in readiness until order could be restored but, to my dismay, I saw them cut the rope in the boat and disappear astern, into the fog. Another boat was broken down by persons rushing into her whilst hanging from the davits and many were precipitated into the sea and drowned. The same fearful scene occurred with the starboard boat, men leaping from the top of the rail to crush and maim those who were already there. My attention was then directed to the other quarter-boat, which was hanging by one tackle. A rush was made for her also and between 12 and 15 got into her, cut the tackle, and were soon out of sight. In the meantime, I found that not a seaman or a carpenter was left onboard and we were without any tools to assist in building a raft. The only officer left was Mr Doran, the 3rd Mate, who aided me along with some passengers. The Chief Engineer, with some of his assistants, had taken our smallest deck-boat and, before the ship went down, pulled away with about 15 persons. We succeeded in making a raft from the ship's spars and managed to get the only remaining boat into the water. I had just given charge of this boat to Mr Doran, with a number of people in it, when the ship suddenly went down: Mr Doran's boat was swept away, without oars to assist them and disappeared to leeward in the fog. I found myself on the surface, with my son in my arms, in the midst of a heart-rending scene of over 200 shrieking men, women and children. They were calling on each other for help and imploring God Almighty to help them - may God preserve me from witnessing such a thing again. I was in the act of trying to save my son when a portion of the paddle-box came rushing up from the deep, edge-wise, toppling its whole weight upon the head of my darling child and killing him. I succeeded in getting him onto the top of the paddle-box, along with 11 others. One left for another piece of wreckage but, as it would not support him, he slipped off and drowned. Others remained until they were, one by one, released by death. We soon separated from our friends on other parts of the wreck and passed a dreary night, expecting every hour would be our last. In the morning not a living soul was to be seen, except for our own party, by now seven in number. About noon, Mr Woodruffe, of New York, was relieved by death and all the others began to suffer severely for the want of water except for Mr George F. Allen and myself. Another night came on, thick and dreary, and three more died to leave Mr Allen, a young German and myself. About an hour before daylight on September 29th we saw a vessel's lights near to us but the ship disappeared to the east. Soon after daylight a barque came close but she, too, passed without seeing us. Shortly after noon a ship discovered a man on a raft near them and succeeded in saving him by the 2nd Mate jumping over the side and making a rope fast around him, by which he was safely hauled aboard. The man proved to be a Frenchman, a passenger from the 'Vesta', and he immediately informed the Captain that there were others on pieces of wreck. By going aloft, he saw us and three others. We were the first to which a boat was sent and we were safely taken aboard by 3 o' clock. The next saved was Mr James Smith, of Mississippi, a 2nd-class passenger from the 'Arctic'. The others saved were 5 of our firemen. The ship proved to be the 'Cambria', from Glasgow to Montreal."
Regarding the behaviour of the crew, according to a statement by one of the survivors, Captain Grann, (whether a Military or Naval captain is unknown): "no sooner was the ship found to be sinking than two of the quarter-boats were taken possession of by the 2nd and 4th Officers and crew. Another boat (making the third) was taken possession of by the engineers. In this last boat were only eight or nine persons. It could have safely accommodated many more but revolvers were drawn against those who were struggling to get onboard. In that fearful struggle were many helpless women and children but their pitiful appeals for life were unheeded by the robust cowards who had stolen the boats and turned their backs upon those whom it was their duty to preserve. Not one woman saved! Not one child saved! It is enough to make us all ashamed of humanity."
Every exertion was made at St. John's, by the American Consul and survivors, to procure vessels to be despatched in search of the 'Arctic's' boats. They were successful in obtaining the brigantine 'Ann Eliza', belonging to Warren Bros., which was chartered to cruise three days in the vicinity of the catastrophe. They also had the use of the Rev. Dr Field's yacht 'Hawk' for the same service.Return to Index
This might be off-topic, but as many of our Australian friends' ancestors will have been transported to that country, I thought this piece of my research might be of specific, or general, interest. The year the information refers to is 1846.
"Hulk" was a word used, originally, to indicate "the body of a ship" and has its root in the old Saxon word 'hulc'. In England, and other places throughout the world where Britain had a Judicial presence, they were used as places of 'Secondary Discipline' within the overall embrace of 'Prison Discipline.' The hulks were intermediate establishments between the common gaols and the penal colonies, for prisoners sentenced to transportation although, in many cases, they proved a substitute for that punishment. The plan of confining offenders on board hulks was first adopted in England in 1776 but, because of mismanagement, a Parliamentary enquiry of 1778 sought to bring about some changes to the system. This was mostly unsuccessful and there was, in reality, little material change. The hulks continued to be hotbeds of vice, corruption and brutality throughout their use. In England, hulks were maintained at Portsmouth, Gosport, Devonport, Chatham, Woolwich and Deptford. The vessel on the River Thames at Woolwich was named 'Warrior' and can be described thus : there were 3 decks, the Upper, the Middle and the Lower. They communicated by two large openings at the centre and in the foremost end. The openings in each deck were placed above those of the deck below to form a kind of tube which reached from the lower hold to the air above. The main hatchways were all 4' 8" square. The fore hatchway, upper deck, was 4' 6" x 3' 6". Middle deck, 4' 6" x 3' 6". Lower deck, 4' 9" x 4' 8". The Upper and Middle decks opened into the Chapel at the after end of the alleyways, the Chapel being 42' wide, 39' long and 14' high. The habitable part of the Upper deck was 84' long by 36' 6" wide and was divided into two lateral portions by a central alleyway, the inner boundary being a partition consisting of iron bars reaching the full height of the deck. There were also galleries. Each ward was subdivided by three transverse bulkheads of wood, forming eight classes, but not crossing the alleyway. Near the bow were two small rooms for the sick and an open space for the ladder and hatchways. There were four ports in this space to provide ventilation. There was a room at the after end of each ward, called the guards' galley, in which fires were kept burning until 9 o'clock in the evening. These rooms also adjoined the Chapel. The prison on the Middle deck was 79' 6" long x 45' wide. There were seven ports on each side, four bulkheads and, in all, ten classes with the dividing alleyway opening into the Chapel. Two small rooms were set aside as workshops and had two ports and four large hawse-holes opening into the forward space. The clear space for the ladder and hatchways was 19' 6".On the Lower deck, the prison was 115' 6" long x 43' 6" wide. There were 15 ports on each side, all varying in size, but all smaller than the ports on the deck above. There were six bulkheads, forming fourteen classes. The width of the alleyway was 6'. There was a 12' space, forward, with four hawse holes opening into it. From the after bulkhead to the stern ports was a space occupied by "dark cells" and store rooms, leaving the alleyway unobstructed. The 'Warrior' was rated to hold 600 men. Of those, 124 were disposed on the top deck; 192 on the Middle and 284 on the Lower deck. Beneath the Lower Deck was the hold, a large and almost unoccupied space, divided into store-rooms and divided by a passage. The openings from the hold were: (1). The Main-hatch. (2). The Fore-scuttle. (3). The After-scuttle. (4). A scuttle in one of the classes. The discipline and employment of the convicts was as follows : on board each hulk, a book was kept by the Overseer in which were entered the names of all the prisoners. On the first Sunday of every Quarter the prisoners were mustered and the behaviour of each, for the previous 3 months, marked against his name as follows : "vg" very good; "g" good; "in" indifferent; "b" bad; "vb" very bad. The convicts, after being classed, were kept in separate compartments and were not allowed to mix, after work, with those of a different class than their own. Every prisoner was required to serve a minimum of 2 years punishment without any 'reserve earnings'. After those 2 years, he was eligible to commence a probation period provided he had been mustered eight times, within the 2 years, as being "good" or "very good." This, and his subsequent character reports determined the duration of his period of probation. On entering the probation period, his 'reserve earnings' commenced, and continued until his eventual liberation subject to his earning being withheld for instances of misconduct. The cells were numbered consecutively, beginning from the Lower Deck, upwards, with prisoners of the worst character, and those in punishment, being in the Lower Deck. The highest cell numbers were, therefore, on the Upper Deck and contained men of the best character. Where convicts were allowed to earn a recompense from their labour, one third of their earnings i.e. one penny a day, was taken from them to pay for their bread and vegetables. Under no circumstances were they allowed to have any money in their own possession. Such 'reserved earnings' were only available to those who had served 2 years of their sentence and who had not misbehaved themselves. In cases of insubordination and misconduct, "mild and persuasive" methods of punishment were resorted to: there was a reduction in the allowance of provisions; confinement in the "dark cell", with only bread and water, for 7 days; the confiscation of all earnings and a "moderate" flogging of no more than 24 lashes. The Overseer, or the Commanding Officer of the hulk, was required to make a note in the occurrence-book of the name of the convict, the name of the complainant, the nature of the crime and the punishment inflicted. No convict was allowed to move freely without irons on one, or both, legs. An Overseer was on watch all night, in all the dormitories. Chaplains were appointed to attend to the prisoners' religious needs; to distribute books and tracts; to superintend basic educational instruction and to read prayers and preach on the Sabbath and holidays of the Established Church. Prayers and portions of Scripture were read in the wards every day during the week, with evening prayers being read every Thursday. A Surgeon was also employed to attend to the convicts' general health, occasionally inspect their provisions and ensure that the sick-bays were satisfactorily ventilated. The employment of the convicts consisted of shipbuilding and painting; hauling timber; removing chain-moorings; cleansing the river upon which the hulk was moored; stone-breaking for harbour defences; general maintenance of the hulk; food preparation for the prisoners, generally, and the making and repairing of clothing. Their periods of labour were from between 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours per day, depending upon the season. The total expense, per man, of the hulks in England was 18-pounds, 12 shillings and 6 pence. The average value of the labour, per man, was estimated at 10-pounds, 18 shillings and 9 pence, making the average annual expense per man 7-pounds, 14 shillings and 2 pence. The total cost, per boy, was 13- pounds, 5 shillings and 6 ½ pence. The value of the labour performed by the prisoners in the hulks of Bermuda was so great as to leave an annual profit, for each, of 13-pounds, 3 shillings and 6 pence. Onboard the 'Warrior', the daily routine was as follows : (05:00). All Hands called by the Officer of the Watch to dress and lash hammocks. The wards were then unlocked and the prisoners passed through the forecastle, in regulated numbers, to wash in permanently-fixed troughs. They then re-entered their respective wards to return with their hammocks which were stowed along the main deck to take advantage of any ventilation. Breakfast was then served, under the immediate superintendence of the Steward and Officers, after which plates were returned to the galley to be washed by two prisoners appointed as Inspectors of Weights and Provisions for the day. A thorough cleansing of the ship, including the decks, poop and forecastle then took place. (07:30). A General Muster was taken and All Hands were summoned to labour in the Woolwich Dockyard. They were assigned various duties, in Divisions, each superintended by a guard connected with the establishment and who was responsible for their conduct, safety and security when ashore. (12:00) The prisoners returned to the hulk for dinner, after which they presented their bedding for minute inspection by officers alternately appointed to the task. (13:00) Dockyard duties resumed. (17:30) Work ashore finished and the convicts went back onboard to wash and be mustered. Supper was then served, at the conclusion of which the men were again employed cleaning the interior of the ship and the various tools and utensils used by them during the day. (20:00) Duties ceased, the hammocks were handed-in to the wards, a muster was taken and All Hands retired to rest. (21:00) An appointed officer visited the decks to examine the lights, bolts and locks of each ward, interrogated the guard on duty as to the observance of the strict "general silence" rule and reported "All safe and secure" to the Commanding Officer. Should any prisoner have complained of an indisposition, prior to mustering for labour, he would have been retained onboard and ordered to the Sick Ward to await the Surgeon's daily visit.Return to Index
The following may be of some interest as it indicates that mutiny on the hulks was not unknown and that many convicts actually preferred transportation to Australia, and all it entailed, to the wretchedness of their current existence. The incident referred to occurred in 1851, on the *Warrior*, and happened, as far as I can ascertain, some time between Christmas Day and New Year's Eve.
The first indication of insubordination was given by the convicts who had been at work during the day in Woolwich dockyard, on their return to the 'Warrior' for lunch. They rushed in gangs into one of the compartments set apart for a single gang and refused to separate and go to their proper places until their grievances were redressed, the chief of which they declared to be their retention in England instead of being sent out to Australia. They had no sooner entered the ship than they rushed down and took possession of two decks, defying the guards and any of the military to go near them. At the same time they were singing, cheering and swearing and some, who had got hold of tobacco, were smoking. The guards were threatened in such a manner that they told their Supervisor, Mr Masterman, that it would be too dangerous to go out with the convicts in the afternoon if examples were not made of some of them. Captain the Hon. Montague Stopford, acting Dockyard Superintendent, was immediately communicated with and he ordered the crew of HMS 'Fisgard' to take-up arms. The Dockyard Police of the 'R' Division were also under arms and detachments of the Royal Marines and Royal Artillery were sent onboard. The guards in charge of the convicts then went below with drawn cutlasses and brought up 38 of the most dangerous mutineers. These were disarmed of knives, forks and sharpened files and placed in heavy irons. 20 of the convicts were, in the course of the afternoon, conveyed to London in police vans and secured in the Millbank Penitentiary. The remaining 18 were taken in irons onboard HMS 'Wye', lying in the Thames. The press commented that "deportation to the Antipodes is considered a boon by the criminal, who is aware of the fine climate of New South Wales. It also has the added attraction of speedy wealth for those with the strength of arm to dig or the daring to rob the digger." Criminal opinion of the day was that "transportation to Australia was a reward, not a punishment, the general public being too well aware that that outlook only served to foster crime on the home streets and corrupt the stream of social life in Australia."Return to Index
It is'nt generally understood that emigration was not just a European phenomenon, in the mid- to late-19th century thousands of Chinese labourers left their homeland to sail to the USA to find work, usually in the construction of railways. GGGPa's scrapbook gives a graphic illustration of what they could expect in this cutting of 1859. Does anybody know the ship's owner ?
FLORA TEMPLE (1859) Clipper. Captain Johnson. Sailed from Macao on the morning of October 8th, 1859 with 850 coolies, destination unknown. Her crew, including officers, was about 50. On the evening of the 14th October a cry of “Hard up !” was heard from the lookout and it was discovered the ship was within a short distance of breakers. Within minutes she struck, at first slightly and then several times with tremendous crashes with the breakers running very high alongside. Pieces of timber and planking broke away and after a few more heavy bumps she remained apparently immobile. Whilst this was going on, a fear that the coolies would rise and murder all onboard seemed to have possessed the minds of the crew. This fear rose to such a height that the Captain, having at the time no intention to abandon the ship, had the two quarter boats lowered and placed an officer and five men in each. Their orders were to remain close to the ship so that refuge and assistance might be at hand. The crew appear to have been thoroughly unmanned their only anxiety was to get out of the ship. If not for the Captain, his brother and a few others onboard, the boats would have left the ship absolutely unprovided. The boats were lowered at 2200 and by 0400 on the 15th October the longboat and the remainder of the crew had left. At daybreak the ship was seen to be almost motionless. Her masts were standing, she had a heavy list to port, her back was broken and the sea was breaching over her starboard quarter. The coolies, who had remained below all night, now clustered on the upper decks. The Captain, in his boat, passed around the northern extremity of the breakers and joined the starboard-quarter boat which had the smaller boats in company. The port-quarter boat, with the 2nd Mate in command, had deserted during the night probably due to guns which were fired from the ship and which might have seemed like the beginning of a rising by the Chinese. The crews of the dinghies were then transferred to the longboat and the quarter-boat and at 0900 on the 15th October sail was made to the westward. The boats encountered severe weather and the men suffered dreadfully. Eventually, twelve days later, on the 27th October, land was made to the south of Touron and, on the evening of October 28th they came in sight of the French squadron. They were received onboard the ‘Gironde’ and Captain Johnson begged the French Admiral Page to send in search of the missing boats and rescue the coolies. This request was complied with and the ‘Gironde’ was despatched to the scene with Captain Johnson, his brother and Mr Childs, Surgeon, accompanying them. They came in sight of the reef on the afternoon of November 2nd but there was no sign of the ship except a small portion of the port side from the main chain, forward. Of the 850 coolies, not a trace remained. The ‘Gironde’ then set course for Manila where she arrived on the evening of November 8th.It appears that the crew had grounds for fearing the coolies for one of the crew had been murdered when separated from his companions.The ‘Gironde’ placed the wreck at 10.19 N., 113.13 E. Captain Johnson made the position 10.16 N., 113.20 E.Return to Index
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