LETITIA Research Notes- British Consul Cape Verde Is.



These papers were gathered during my research into the wreck of the “Letitia” in the Cape Verde Islands and the travails of its passengers. The correspondence of the British Consul provides much background. Some of the copied correspondence is less relevant but provides the context of the time of the wreck and onward despatch of the survivors to Rio de Janeiro.




23 August 1828: Contract – Consul Goodwin and Capt Jas Allan of the “HESPERUS”. It is this day agreed upon between John Goodwin Esq., His Britannic Majesty’s Consul for St Jago on the one part , and James Allen Jnr., Master and Owner of the American Ship Hesperus on the other part, that for the consideration hereinafter mentioned, that the said Jas Allen doth engaged to convey in his ship Hesperus to Rio de Janeiro in Brazil the passengers or such part thereof as shall agree to embark, of the British Bark “Letitia”, Hanbury Clements, Master, wrecked on the 19th Inst in the Bay of this Port on her voyage out to New South Wales, agreeing on his part to give the free use and reach of his ‘tween decks for the accommodation of said passengers, together with firewood and use of ….(cambouse??) only. The said Consul on his part agreeing to put on board all the necessary provisions and water for the supply of said passengers. And it is agreed that the said James Allen shall receive the sum of 45 Dollars each for such numbers of passengers as shall embark, the number when ascertained be inserted on the back of this Agreement and duly certified and signed by us. The freight on passage money payable by Mr Goodwin’s draft on the British Treasury at the rate of 4/6 per dollar at the date of embarkation. It is further agreed that that the said passengers shall embark on the Hesperus on the 25th August, 1828.

Signed at Villa de Praya, St Jago,23rd August, 1828 John Goodwin, Jnr, HBM Consul and James Allan Junr.

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/339]


Passenger List recorded on reverse of Contract.

“Contract referred to in Mr Consul Goodwin’s Letter of Notice St Jago 23 Augt 1828.

Contract for the conveyance of distressed British Subjects.”


Sgd John Goodwin, Jnr, James Allan Jnr


J H Moore John Onge
Johanna Moore Charles Pentland
Annette Moore William Foster
Dorothea Moore J McNamara
Barbara Moore John Riley
Henry Moore John Cunningham
Marcella Donnelly B….. Cunningham
Humphrey Grey Henry Gee
Margaret Grey Ellen Gee
Catherine Grey John Gee
Humphrey Grey, Jnr Mary Gee
Catherine Grey, Junr Bessy Gee
Eliza Grey Ellen Gee, Jnr
Henrietta Grey Annie Gee
William Moriarty Mosin? Gee
Aphra Moriarty Michael Popham
Sylverios Moriarty [NOTE: This is a list of 41 names. Note
Anne Huggard that the Consul’s letter borne by
Ellen Healy? Charles Pentland referred to 41, yet his
Hanbury Clements Report to the Treasury referred to 46.
Margaret Clements Furthermore this list does not include
Charles Clements some who died en route, Hamilton,
Hanbury Clements, Jnr Lowry, Lindsay and Clerke’s servant.
Alexander Clerke Perhaps they were ill on St Jago and.
Frances Clerke were last minute passengers


[UK TNA Ref. FO 63/339]


October 6th, 1828. Consul Goodwin, St Jago to Consul General , Rio. Dated 25 August, 1828. Sir, The bearer of this Letter is Mr Charles Pentland, late Super-cargo of the “Letitia” of Dublin, which was wrecked in this Port on 19th Inst.

As it is very seldom that homeward bound ships touch at this Port, and that no ships for the Coast are expected here this season, I have engaged with Captain Jas Allen Junr to convey on board the Hesperus to Rio de Janeiro 41 passengers and 6 seamen belonging to the late ship “Letitia”.

Mr Pentland has given an undertaking to deliver up to you the unexpended provisions and stores of all kind, with which he is supplied for the use of the distressed British Subjects and seamen on board the “Hesperus”.

[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/51 Pages 303,303]





25 August, 1828   Consul Goodwin to HBM Consul General for Brazil

FO13/51 Pages 303, 304


The bearer of this Letter is Mr Charles Pentland, late Super-cargo of the “Letitia” of Dublin, which was wrecked in this Port on 19th Inst.

As it is very seldom that homeward bound ships touch at this Port, and that no ships for the Coast are expected here this season, I have engaged with Captain Jas Allen Junr to convey on board the Hesperus to Rio de Janeiro 41 passengers and 6 seamen belonging to the late ship “Letitia”.

Mr Pentland has given an undertaking to deliver up to you the unexpended provisions and stores of all kind, with which he is supplied for the use of the distressed British Subjects and seamen on board the “Hesperus”.


[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/51 Pages 303,304]






I have the honor to acquaint your Lordships that on 25th August last, I drew a set of four Bills of Exchange on your Lordships at thirty days sight for £283.10.0 in favour of Captain James Allan for the conveyance of distressed British Subjects to the Port of Rio de Janeiro.

The same day I wrote a letter of advice to your Lordships in which I enclosed a duplicate Copy of the Contract.

I have also the honor to acquaint your Lordships that on the 18th of September I drew a set of three Bills of Exchange at 30 days sight on your Lordships for £220.5.1 in favour of Ferdinand Gardner for the subsistence and outfit of distressed British Subjects.

I have now the honor to transmit my Account Current together with vouchers and sub vouchers for the sums on the Creditor Side.

I am directed by my Instructions to send home distressed British Subjects, but compliance with this order was almost impossible in the case of the “Letitia” which was wrecked in this Port on the 19th August last. It is not once in three years that a homeward bound English Vessel touches at this Port, and to send the distressed people to Sierra Leone to get a passage to England was found to be a hopeless endeavour. The fever had already broken out, when the Hesperus, Captain Allen, came in and I determined, on mature consideration to send the people to Rio de Janeiro, whence they might prosecute their voyage to New South Wales, or procure a passage to England. A Contract was accordingly made (a Duplicate of which is enclosed) whereby Captain Allen agreed to take the grown up Persons to Rio de Janeiro, at 45 Dollars a head, and the others for nothing provided they were found in all stores. Forty six of the fifty passengers and six of the thirteen seamen took this passage by the “Hesperus” to Rio. Of those who staid behind, four have died of the fever, and the others are lying in a precarious state.

Under these circumstances I trust that I shall meet with your Lordships’ Indulgence for having acted in my own judgment in this melancholy case.



October 10th 1828.

I have this day drawn upon your Lordships two sets of Bills of Exchange the one in favour of Nathaniel McManus for £27, and the other in favour of Manood Joze Villela for £21.5.7 1/2 both at 30 days sight for which I transmit the necessary Vouchers.


[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/339]  





17 January, 1829 Dr. John Goodwin Jr, HBM Consul at St Jago on account with the Lords of His Majesty’s Treasury.



1828                                                             1828

25 Aug To my Bill in favour of Jas Allan £283.10.0.* 1008,000 25 Aug By payment to James Allan for transport of distressed British Subjects as per Vr A. (£283.10.0 *) 1008,000
18 Sep To my Bill in favour of   F.Gardner…£220.5.1* 783,110 26 Aug By payment to C Vergolino for supplies to distressed British Subjects as per Vr B. (£5). Exchange 810 Rs for 54d Stg. 11,799
10 Oct To my Bill in favour of J Villela…£21.5.7 ½ * 75,600 17 Sep By payment for medical attendance as per Vr CC 12,090
10 Oct To my Bill in favour of Natl McManus £27.0.0 Exchange 4/6 the Dollar. 96,000 18 Sep By payment for supplies to Distressed British Subjects as per Vr D. £46.11.6* 165,600
10 Oct To additional sum obtained from Villa for the abovementioned Bill of Exchanges. 9,460 18 Sep By payment for supplies for said Subjects embarked for Rio de Janeiro as per Vrs E, F, G. £167.16.3* 596,666
20 Oct To sale of effects of the late Mr Hill as per Vr 1 20,619 18 Sep By payment for Hills funeral as per Vr H. £1.18.3* 6,800
20 Oct To sale of effects of Edward Roberts as per VR 1 15,987 6 Oct By payment for medical attendance as per Vr I (Roberts). 12,480


17 Jan To my Bill in favour of Chas Cooper and Co. £2.0.0 Exchange 4000 Rs for £ sterling.

807,155 6 Oct By payment for board & burial of Edward Roberts as per Vr K. 8,266
9 Oct By payment of Apothecary’s Bill as per Vr L 30,216
9 Oct By payment for a bed for Dr Clerke 2,400
10 Oct By payment for blankets as per Vr N 3,600
10 Oct By payment of Surgeon’s Bill for Dr Clerke as per Vr O 2,880
17 Jan Goodwin accounts sworn before US Consul Merrill and two 10 Oct By payment of transport for Dr Clerke and George Page as per Vr P 96,000
principal Merchants of Rio as correct etc. 31 Oct By payment of F Gardner’s account as per Vr Q54,140 54,146
TOTAL 2016,931 2016,931
  • Exchange 800 Rs for 54d Sterling.

[[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]


Earlier, in 1828, Consul Goodwin had submitted his Expenditure Report to the Treasury , providing the figures in Sterling. The above was then provided outlining payments in local currency. The earlier report id set out below:


Account Current with the Lords of the Treasury


25 Aug By payment to James Allan for transport of British Subjects as per Vr A 283.10.0
26 Aug By payment to C Vergolino for supplies to British Subjects as per Vr B 5.0.0
7 Sep By payment for medical attendance as per Vrs C.C. 3.8.1
18 Sep By payment for supplies for shipwrecked British Subjects from 19 August to 27 August inclusive as per Vrs D.D. 46.11.6
18 Sep By payment for supplies of said Subjects embarked for Rio de Janeiro as per Vrs E.F.G. 167.16.3
18 Sep By payment for Mr Hill’s funeral as per Vr H 1.18.3
6 Oct By payment for medical attendance as per Vr I 3.10.2 ¼
8 Oct By payment for board, burial of Edward Roberts as per Vr K 2.6.6
9 Oct By payment for Apothecary Bill as per Vr L 8.10.0
10 Oct By payment for a bed for Dr Clerke as per Vr M 0.13.6
10 Oct By payment for blankets as per Vr N 1.0.3
10 Oct By payment for medical attendance as per Vr O 0.16.2 ¼
10 Oct By payment for transport of Dr Clerke and Geo Page to America as per Vr P 27.0.0
Total £552.0.8 ½

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/339]





February 28th, 1829 John Bidwell, Superintendent of the Consular Service at the Foreign Office, to Consul Goodwin: Sir,

Your several Despatches to No 3 of the past year have been received and laid before the earl of Aberdeen.

By His Lordship’s directions I submit to you the copy of a Letter from the Treasury, enclosing one from Mrs M A Thompson of Cork, Widow of the late steward of the “Letitia” of Dublin, which Vessel was wrecked off the Cape Verd Islands in the month of August last, praying for the Restitution of the residue property of her late husband.

As no letters have been received from you at this department of a date later than 17th August last, Lord Aberdeen is ignorant of the particular circumstances of Mr Thompson’s case alluded to in the letter from the Treasury.

His lordship has however received from the Treasury copies of your letters to that Board of the 25th August and the 2nd October last, stating the loss of the “Letitia” and that you had drawn for £552.0.8 ½ in reimbursement in sums which you had advanced for the relief of the sufferers, and for sending them to Brazil. His Lordship has also learnt from His Majesty’s Consuls at Bahia and Rio de Janeiro that the shipwrecked individuals had arrived at the latter places on the 5th October.

Lord Aberdeen desires me to refer you to your Instructions, and to remind you that it is your duty to keep this Department constantly informed of all occurrences which take place at your residence, or within your District, – and that although the communication between this Country and the Cape Verds may be uncertain, yet, in the present circumstances, the same Conveyances which brought to England your letters to the Treasury, and to Mrs Thompson, could have brought Letters from you to this Department.

Lord Aberdeen desires that you will send to this Department, a Statement of the property left in your hands by the late Mr Thompson, in order that the same may be communicated to his Widow; and that you will not in future omit any opportunity of communicating direct to this Department details of what passes within your Consulate.

You will do well, in order to ensure receipt of your communications, to forward Duplicates and Triplicates of your Despatches by separate channels.

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]


March 19th, 1829:   John Bidwell, Superintendent of the Consular Service at the Foreign Office, to Consul Goodwin:Sir,

With reference to the Letter which the Earl of Aberdeen caused to be addressed to you on 28th Ultimo, (a copy of which is herewith enclosed), I am directed by His Lordship to forward to you a Copy of a further Letter from the Treasury transmitting applications from Mr J and Miss Sarah Roberts, claiming the property of their brother Mr Edward Roberts, one of the passengers on board the “Letitia” of Dublin wrecked off St Jago in August last, and who, as appears from your Letter of 6th October 1828 to the Provost of Dublin College, subsequently died in that Island.

Lord Aberdeen desires me to repeat to you the Instructions contained in the aforementioned letter of 28th Ultimo respecting your communications with this Department. His Lordship also desires that you will forthwith transmit to him a detailed account of the Property left by the said Mr Edward Roberts in order that a communication thereof may be made to his Relations.

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]


16 January, 1829: Return of British Trade at the Ports within the Consulate of St Jago from 13th August to the 31st December, 1828. [St Jago only]

Date Vessel Master Tonnage/ Crew From Cargo/ Value


Bound For


15 Aug Letitia H Clements 351/17 Dublin




New Holland

16 Aug Mary Shuttleworth 378/22 London



20 August

New Holland

21 Aug Brahmin Rawson 127/8 London Coals 3,600 22 August Buenos Ayres
5 Oct Bury Lourie 56/14 London



5 October Patagonia
10 Oct Harmony Ireland 373/27 London


13 October

New S. Wales

17 Oct Governor Ready Young 512/43 Dublin


19 October

New S. Wales

12 Nov Frances Charlotte Talbert 296/18 London



13 Nov. Mauritius
19 Nov Amethyst Thomson 225/12 London



21 Nov.


22 Nov Ligonier Boyes 53/4 London



26 Nov.

St Helena

25 Nov Caroline Brown 198/12 London



28 Nov.

New Holland

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]




16th January, 1829: Return of British and Foreign Trade at Ports within the Consulate at St Jago from the 13th August to the 31st December 1828.


Description No of Vessels Tonnage/ Crew Invoiced Cargo Value
British 10 2569 177 79,100
Of the Cape Verds 1 240 12 Unknown
French 1 105 8 Unknown
Spanish 3 450 90 Unknown
American 9 1500 90 Unknown
TOTALS 24 4864 377 79,700

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]






6 February, 1829: Commercial Report on the Cape Verd Islands. St Jago.

The exports of St Jago consist of Bullocks Hides, Goats Skins, Coffee , Sugar, Indian Corn, Rum, Cattle, Poultry, and Orchilla.

Most of the skins and hides are exported to America. The coffee and sugar are sent to neighbouring islands. The Indian corn is sent to the same places and likewise to Madiera. The Rum is sent to guinea and to some of the cape Verds. The fruits, the cattle, the poultry and the pigs are furnished to Vessels which touch at this Port. The Orchilla, which belongs to Government, is sent to Portugal exclusively.

The average price of Indian corn is from 400 to 800 Reis (from 2 shillings to four shillings) per Alquiere (or English Imperial Bushel). Bullocks sell from ten to thirty dollars each. Goats skins from 2 to 300 Reis (one shilling to one shilling and sixpence) each. Bullocks Hides from 1000 to 2800 Reis (from 10 to 14 shillings) the arroba of 28 lb.

The Imports of this Island consist of Hardware, Cutlery, Cottons, Woollen Cloth, and Oilmen’s Goods imported directly or indirectly from England; of India Goods, Silks, Nankeens, Tea and Sugar brought from America; and wines the produce of Portugal.


[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351 of 6 Feb 1829]


7th April, 1829: Consul Goodwin to Treasury/FO re Estate of the late Charles Thompson.


Sep To cash left by the deceased ** Oct By deceased Board etc when healthy 3,600
26 Oct To sale of effects ** By ..ditto..when sick 3,000
To balance due to Govt ** By bedsack 2,400
By medical attendance 13,440
TOTAL 22,440 22,440

** illegible.

The effects of the late Charles Thompson consisted of a damaged pinchbeck watch, an old suit of clothes, an Indian pipe, two shirts, two pair and a half of stockings, some handkerchiefs and a sea chest. The same were publicly sold by auction by means of a Cryer and a Clerk of the Vendue in my presence on the 20th of October last. A Certificate of the sale signed by J B Fonseca, Clerk of the vendue, was transmitted to the Hon. The Commissioners of the Navy on the 19th of January last by me.

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]




Consul Goodwin To John Bidwell, Esq,Superintendant of the Consular Service.


I have the honor to inform you that I have disposed of a silver watch belonging to the late Mr William Hill of Dublin for the sum of eight Spanish dollars or £1.16.0 Sterling. The watch had previously put up to auction but the highest bidding being only three dollars, I determined to wait until an opportunity should offer of selling it to better advantage. I have now sold it to the mate of the Timour of London, (Jas Jones, Master), for the sum abovementioned, which I have carried to account.



30 May, 1829 Consul Goodwin to FO re Estate of the late Edward Roberts.


26 Oct, 1828   To sale of effects by auction.                       15,985Rs

To Balance due to Govt                                 4,761

TOTAL                                                                                  20,746


26 Oct, 1828 By payment for medical attention                     12,480 Rs

By payment for board and burial                       8,266

TOTAL                                                                                     20,746

The effects of the late Edward Roberts consisted of wearing apparel and a fowling piece. The wearing apparel consisted of one suit of clothes, some coloured shirts and a few pairs of stockings. These were all sold by auction. The fowling piece was delivered to George Page, now or late of 45 dame St, Dublin, accountant, it appearing by the oaths of Jonathan Clerke, M. D. of Skibbereen, Clover Hill, County Cork, Ferdinand Gardner of this Villa, Merchant, and Thomas McVeagh, late Carpenter of the “Letitia” of Dublin, that the said fowling piece had been bequeathed to the said George Page by the deceased Edward Roberts. A Certificate of the sale signed by Gregorio dos santos was transmitted to the Lords of the Treasury on 19th January, 1829, by me.

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]




Consul Goodwin’s Return of the British Trade at the ….of Villa da Praia, St Jago during the half year ending June 1829.

Date 1829







Bound For

Cargo Value
3 Jan



219 11


Cape of Good Hope

General 30,000
17 Jan



406 32


New South Wales

21 Jan



171 12



General 40,000
24 Jan



242 14


New South Wales

General 30,000
24 Jan








General 250
7 Feb



404 18


New South Wales

General 23,000
16 Feb








Wine (Blank)
2 Apr



259 16


Cape of Good Hope

General 30,000
6 Apr



136 10


Lima & Valparaiso

General 40,000
12 Apr



352 28


South Seas

Stores 5,000
13 Apr



414 33


New South Wales

15 Apr



164 11


Lima & Valparaiso

General 25,000
11 May



275 15


New South Wales

General 30,000
15 May



38 31



(Blank) 32,000
25 May

Blk Nymph/





Boa Vista/


General 1,000
28 May







New South Wales

General 20,00
29 May







Sierra Leone

General 10,00

31 May








Cape of Good Hope

Brandy 5,000
2 Jun

Marquis of Anglesea/






Swan River, New Holland

General 10,000
2 Jun







South Seas

(Blank) (Blank)
2 Jun







South Seas

(Blank) (Blank)
3 Jun







Lima & Valparaiso

General 20,000
6 Jun








Ballast (Blank)
Total 23 412 £329,350

In all cases noted in the “Remarks” column “took water and supplies”. In the case of the “Beaufoy’ the additional notation “and mules”; and the “Maria“ had “and donkeys”[UK TNA Ref. FO 63/351]




Some months after5 the shipwreck, John Goodwin wrote the following re Ferdinand Gardner.: his Vice Consul, presumably honorary, since other papers show him to be Merchant, of Villa de Praia, St Jago. He was protesting at the apparent abduction of his slave by the master of a British Whaler.

  • Mr Gardner possesses strong and peculiar claims to the attention of His Majesty’s Government, having held the situation of British Vice-Consul at Mayo, under my predecessor Mr Clarke, and having on all occasions entertained our countrymen with kindness and hospitality, but particularly on the melancholy occasion of the loss of the “Letitia”” in August 1827 (sic), when he received into his house 64 of the passengers and crew, and shewed them every attention and civility in his power.I have the honour, etc..John GoodwinFeb 6, 1830&c,&c,&c.


  • To John Bidwell Esq
  • British Consul, Cape Verde Islands
  • For the truth of the protest I have the voucher and authority of Mr William G Merrill, Consul for the United States of America in the Cape Verde Islands. Upon these grounds I beg leave to recommend Mr Gardner’s case to the notice and attention of the Earl of Aberdeen.

[Colonies and Slaves Session 14 June – 20 October 1831 Vol XIX.]



15 September 1829: Notation by Consul Goodwin that

“ only three ships have touched St Jago en route to England in the past seven years.”

[UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]






15 September, 1829 :Consul Goodwin’s Despatch 23 outlines extensively the activities, procedures of the Post and the trade, commerce , Government etc etc of the Cape Verde Islands. Copy not taken*, except the following useful description of St Jago at around the time, albeit a year later, of the “Letitia” incident:

“Porto Praya.

This is the chief town of St Jago and the Capital of the Verdes. It is situated on the southern side of the Island and contains about two hundred and fifty houses and a thousand inhabitants. It stands upon a tableland about 150 feet above the level of the sea, under a chain of barren mountains. It is the Residence of the Governor General and likewise is the chief seat of commerce in the Cape Verde Islands. Its regular trade is chiefly in the hands of the Americans but many English Vessels bound for the Indian and South Pacific Oceans touch here to take water and provisions. Water is put on board at a dollar a pipe, and livestock of all kinds, vegetables, fruit and tropical productions in general are furnished at reasonable prices. The harbour of Villa da Praia is considered to be safe from the 1st November till the middle of July when the rollers set in from the southward, and make the anchorage insecure.

St Jago is always unhealthy but it is particularly so during August, September and October in which months the rain comes down in torrents, forming large pools of water, the exhalations from which produce fever and sickness.” [UK TNA Ref. F O 63/351]





[NOTE: Goodwin wrote these notes – as part of a comprehensive briefing of the Post’s operations – for his relief Acting Consul. He wrote them on 15 September 1829, (Despatch 23) well after the “Letitia” incident in August 1828, but his actions at the time are clearly consistent with the processes outlined here. It seems clear that he would have registered deaths, disposal of property, etc at the time, though I have not so far been able to trace such records, if they exist.]


Deaths and Burials

When a British Subject dies at Praia the Consul will register his death and state whether it was natural or violent. If the life of the deceased had been insured, he will register the death according to a given form.

The Consul will attend the funeral, and if the deceased was a Protestant, read the appropriate service.



In case a vessel should be wrecked in or near Porto Praya, the Consul will in the first place, send off boats to the wreck, to bring away the people and convey them to land. In the next, he will apply to the Governor to send down a party of soldiers, under a responsible Officer, to guard the property brought ashore. He will then engage some convenient houses for the reception of some shipwrecked people. Lastly, on their arrival in town, he will billet them at these places. If he has any spare apartments of his own, he will of course, give them up to his suffering countrymen, and he will throw his house open (the office excepted) for the storage of rescued property.

The Shipmaster will lose no time in “noting his protest” by entering a brief notice of casualty in the Consular Books to serve as the groundwork of a more circumstantial account called “the Protest extended”. He will then (proforma) offer to abandon the ship and cargo to the Consul, which the latter, as in duty bound will decline to accepting.


Shipwrecked People

It is probable that the passengers and crew will have saved little money and therefore will be compelled to apply to the Consul for relief and subsistence. In this case, he will allow each of them 300 Reis per day without distinction of persons. If he has no opportunity of sending them to Great Britain, he will send them, if possible, to some of His Majesty’s Dominions. Should he charter a Vessel for this purpose, he will put on board such provisions as the town may afford; assigning each person a man of war’s seaman’s allowance: and he will make his calculations, not upon an average, but upon an outside voyage to cover all deficiencies arising from waste and leakage. He will appoint some person to take charge of the stores, and give them out to the people, and to deliver up the residue to His Majesty’s Storekeeper at the port to which they are sent. He will take this person’s obligation for the faithful discharge of his trust.



When a wreck takes place, it is usual for the natives to flock down to the beach and lay hands on whatever they can meet with. The property, once theirs, there is no getting it from them. The soldiers, who are sent there to keep guard, go halves with the wreckers, and the Officers connive at their dishonesty. The Governor, to do him justice, ever turns a ready ear to complainants, and gives order to search for the property. But ere the search can be made, the goods are handed over from one thief to another, and the latter disposes of them to what are termed respectable persons. They are then gone forever, as the house of a Portuguese citizen cannot be searched without a warrant; the purchaser has time to send them out of the way before the law can take its course.

The best plan for the Consul to adopt, to secure as much as possible of the wreck, would be to offer a reward of one third of the value, (which should be ascertained at the

sale) for every article brought to his premises. For each article so delivered, a ticket should be given entitling the bearer to claim the stipulated recompense. This would induce many of them to bring property to the Consul which would otherwise be lost altogether.


Sale of a Wreck

It is usual for the wreck to be sold at the Custom House by the Judge of the Province in the presence of the Consul. The practice is bad as involving much fraud and chicanery. The Consul must insist on conducting the sale himself , when and wheresoever he thinks fit.

Should objections be raided by the Governor, he might answer with justice that the proposed sale being made for the benefit of the underwriters; and the Party conducting it being answerable for it, it was highly desirable that it should be left to the Consul, because in that case, if any fraud should be practised, the Underwriters would have their remedy in an action against the Consul; whereas if it were conducted by a Portuguese Magistrate, and the same thing took place the Underwriters would be debarred of their remedy by the Judges not being amenable to the laws of Great Britain, and being screened by the Portuguese Government. He might add that the sale would take place in the presence of a Custom House Officer, to whom he would pay the full duties at the close of business. In the event of the Governor’s compliance, the Consul will give notice of the intended sale by placards and proclamation.

It may take place at the Consul’s own home, or wherever he pleases; so as a Custom House Officer is present.

At the appointed day, the Consul will preside at the sale, and receive the obligations and moneys of the respective purchasers. He will let nothing be sold upon credit; – payment or security must be made or given at the fall of the hammer. It is almost needless to remark that the Consul will best consult his own dignity and give satisfaction to the Underwriters by not purchasing a single article for himself or for others. At the close of sale, he will pay 15 percent duty on the gross proceeds to the Custom House Officer, and give 960 Reis to the Clerk of the Vendue, and half that sum to the cryer, if the sale be concluded in a day. He will permit no lot to be removed which has not been paid for, and he will allow three days for the removal of the whole; at the end of which time, should any lot be unremoved, he will sell it afresh.

In making up his accounts, (which should be certified by the Custom House Officer and the Clerk of the Vendue) he will charge five percent for warehousing, if the goods have been stored in his premises.


[[UK TNA Ref. FO 63/351 of 15 Sept 1829 Despatch