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 in Rio, where they spent some five months, provides much background.
RIO de JANEIRO CONSULAR CORRESPONDENCE AND REPORTS
October 6th, 1828. Letter from passengers on the American Ship “HESPERUS” to A/CG Heatherly : We, the undersigned passengers in the late Bark “Letitia” from Dublin and Cork for New South Wales beg to acquaint you that having been wrecked in the Bay of Porto Praya, St Jago, have arrived here in the American Ship “Hesperus”, in which ship they have been forwarded by the British Consul at the Cape de Verds.
On presenting you with the despatch which he has forwarded, he has doubtless represented the total loss of property we have sustained – and the consequently deplorable circumstances we have been reduced to, we have therefore to solicit that you will afford us such assistance as will enable us to prosecute our voyage and that you will also be pleased to subsist us while remaining here.
Wm Moriarty and family
H Grey and family
Alexr Clerke and family
Jos Henry Moore and family
John Ghee and family
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64]
October 6th, 1828. Consul Goodwin, St Jago to Consul General , Rio. Dated 25 August, 1828. (Handed over to A/CG Heatherly 6 Oct.): 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]
November 15, 1828. Letter from A/CG Heatherly to Lord Ponsonby:
My Lord, I have the honor to inform Your Lordship that the American Ship “Hesperus” brought into this Port of the 5th October, thirty nine passengers, composed principally of gentlemen with their families, British Subjects, who were going to settle in New South Wales, as also a part of the crew of the British Bark “Letitia” (seven of whom died on the passage) which vessel was taking out the said passengers and property, but was unfortunately wrecked on the Island of St Jago on the 19th day of August last.
As the unhealthy season was setting in, and no vessels were expected to touch at that Island for a considerable time, Mr Goodwin, HM Consul, thought it advisable to avail himself of the opportunity which offered in the “Hesperus” to send them to this Port at the expense of HM Government.
On their arrival here, they applied to me for support, and at the same time pointed out the melancholy situation they were placed in, having lost all the property they possessed at the time they were wrecked, which unfortunately they had not insured. They further requested that I would send them to New South Wales, their original destination, as they had no means of supporting themselves and families, should I oblige them to return to their native country, in conformity with my Instructions, which I shew’d them. [Extract of which I have the honour to enclose to Your Lordship.]
In consequence of the expense H M Government has already been put to for their passage to this Port, and the money daily expended for their support, I have used every exertionto get them a MerchantVessel on reasonable terms, which I however find, cannot be obtained to convey them to England for a less sum than £600 sterling, nor can one be got to take them to New South Wales under £850 to £1,000 sterling, provisions included.
As the melancholy case of these unfortunate Settlers could not have been anticipated at the time H M Government gave the Instructions regarding distressed and shipwrecked British Subjects, and taking into consideration the distance they have already come, I do not think I would be justified in sending them home at the expense of H M Government; who would most probably send them out again, thereby incurring an enormous additional expense, – without laying their case before Your Lordship, and at the same time requesting that you will be kind enough to give me your opinion whether under existing circumstances you conceive it would be most advantageous, in order to avoid putting the Government to unnecessary charge, for me to send them to England or New South Wales.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/50 Pages 317 – 320]
[NOTE: At the time Lord Ponsonby was British Minister at the Legation in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ponsonby, John (1770-1855), 2nd Baron Ponsonby 1806, Viscount Ponsonby 1839. Envoy to the Argentine Republic 1826-8, to Brazil 1828-9, joint commissioner from the conference of London to Belgium 1830-31; minister plenipotentiary to the Two Sicilies 1832-3; ambassador to Turkey 1832-41, to Vienna 1846-50.]
November 16, 1828. Lord Ponsonby to A/ CG Heatherly: Sir, I have the honour to receive your Note of 15th Instant, stating the situation in which 39 British Subjects, chiefly Gentlemen, and their families now find themselves placed, in consequence of having been shipwrecked on their voyage to New South Wales in the Bark “Letitia”, and the total loss of their property which was not insured, etc, etc.
I observed in your letter that a sufficient reason, at least in my estimation of it, is stated for the conduct of Mr Goodwin, H M’s Consul at St Jago, where the “Letitia” was wrecked. – It is said “the unhealthy season was coming on, and that no vessel was likely to be had to convey the shipwrecked persons to Europe and therefore Mr Goodwin availed himself of the opportunity which offered to send them to Rio.“ Experience fully acquaints us with the baleful nature of the bad season at St Jago, and we know that persons under the circumstances of the shipwrecked Gentlemen, must have been peculiarly exposed to its destructive influences. Mr Goodwin probably saved the lives of a large part of their number.
It is not stated in your Letter, but I have heard it said, that the Shipwrecked Gentlemen in question, had, many of them, or most of them, obtained from His Majesty’s Government grants of land in New South Wales. If such be the fact, I think it gives us a right to presume that it is the intention of His Majesty’s Government that they should reach that Country, and that by sending them back to England the views of the Government may in this case be counteracted, although done with a strict adherence on your part to the precise letter of your instructions, but which were, as you observe, possibly drawn up without the Government’s having contemplated a case like the present. It is indisputable that to send these Gentlemen to England will be a serious injury to them, and it seems very probable that the Government will think it right to relieve them so far as to send them out again to their original destination. Under this supposition, the thing first to be considered is the difference of the cost to Government between sending the Gentlemen home, and that which may ensue from their subsequent transfer by Government to New South Wales.
The expense – certain – for their return to England will be at least £600. I presume it will cost £1,400 or £1,500 to convey them from England to New South Wales. According to your statement that they can be forwarded to New South Wales from Rio for £1,000 — all expenses included, and consequently Government may, by that measure, be saved £1,000 or £1,100, and it cannot be put to a greater additional charge – over and above that it must at any rate incur – than to the amount of £400.
In matters of business generally, executive officers have no right to allow feelings of just commiseration for the sufferings of individuals to modify the strict execution of the literal meaning of their instructions, but in the present affair, it is to be considered that the Government has itself established the provisions which you apply for the relief of British Subjects, upon the principle of commiseration for misfortune, and I should think that acting in conformity with the spirit which has manifestly animated the Government, there will be found little reason to apprehend falling under its displeasure, provided a case of pressing Evil is made out, and that no great amount of expense is incurred.
The evil to the persons concerned if sent home again, is unquestionably great, and under all circumstances, including the large number of persons to be relieved, the amount of possible increased charge on the Government does not appear at all large.
In compliance with your desire, and in consequence also of the feelings I have for the situation of the sufferers, and with a view to the possible diminution of cost to H M’s Government, and from the idea that Government may prefer having the shipwrecked persons, now in question, forwarded to New South Wales, rather than sent back to England, I have answered your letter at considerable length. I hope I have made it plain that my opinion is in favour of the forwarding of these persons to New South Wales, but I must carefully explain to you, that I do not go beyond giving my opinion – I am not directly authorised by HM’s Government to interfere in business of this nature, and it must rest solely with the Consul to determine for himself how to act in such circumstances. I shall have no sort of hesitation, – if it be your wish – to write to Lord Aberdeen and tell him that I gave my opinion, in the way I have done, to you, and that I wished to see you act in the manner I think most advantageous for the distressed persons, and for the Government itself, and so forth.
You will be so good as to consider this letter private, but, short of giving it the character of official, I am quite content it should be used, without publication, in whatever manner may be convenient.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/50 Pages 321 – 326]
November 24,1828. Lord Ponsonby to Lord Aberdeen, FO, London:
My Lord, I have the honour to enclose copy of correspondence between the British Consul here and myself concerning Captain Moriarty and thirty eight other persons shipwrecked at the island of St Jago.
The Consul, after previous verbal communication with me, wrote to desire my opinion as to the conduct he should follow under the circumstances in which the Sufferers were placed and of his own duty, in affording them relief.
In my reply, I gave him my opinion very distinctly, but disclaimed equally the intention of giving him directions of any sort.
My opinion was formed mainly upon the grounds I will state.
It appeared to me from the fact that Lands in New South Wales having been granted to Captain Moriarty and his companions, that His Majesty’s Government approved of their establishment in that Colony; and I found it to be the opinion of persons more conversant with such matters than I am, that it was probable Government would send them there if they should be reconveyed to England from hence by the Consul.
It is evident that if such should prove to be the determination of Government, the return to England of those persons would occasion a a very heavy additional expense, which would be saved by giving them means to continue their voyage, now so far advanced.
According to the Consul’s statement, it would cost to send them back to England at least £600, and to forward them from hence to New South Wales £1,000, the excess being £400, whereas if they should be sent back from hence to England, and re-sent to New South Wales, the expense would be £600 to England, and (at the lowest) £1,400 from England to the Colony, making £2,000.
It seemed to be better to secure the most economical of the two modes of acting, and which could only cost Government £400 over and above the disbursement which the Consul would have to make under the strictest construction of the Letter of his orders; and feeling as I did that in establishing the resources for suffering British Subjects, which Government has placed in the hands of Consuls, it evidently had adopted as its principle, the feeling of humanity, I thought that in the present case, the Consul would be only acting in the spirit of the Government Regulations in forwarding the persons in question to their destination, a British Colony, where they are to become, with the approbation of Government, Settlers, thereby relieving thirty nine persons from distress, and indeed ruin, at a moderate additional comparative expense.
One of the sufferers is a Captain in His Majesty’s Navy, and with him are his wife and children, and they have lost the whole of their property in the Shipwreck. The greater number of others are persons well born and of education, who were in pursuit of an honorable adventure and might be useful in the Colony by their industry and information; and they also lost, as I am informed, the whole of their property, which, from confidence in the Ship and the desire to spare expense, they had not insured.
I beg again to observe that I that I have not given the Consul anything more than an opinion on this matter. At the same time I must say I believe my opinion has considerable weight with him, and I should be sorry to seek to evade any I have of the responsibility which may attach to what he may have done under that influence.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/50 Pages 311 – 315]
December 10, 1828. A/CG Heatherly to John Bidwell, Superintendant of the Consular Service, London: Sir, I have the honour to enclose the copy of a letter from Mr Goodwin, His Majesty’s Consul for St Jago, by which you will observe that he had sent to this Port, in the American Ship “Hesperus”, Captain John (sic) Allen, forty one passengers and six seamen belonging to the late British Bark “Letitia” of Dublin, which vessel was bound from Cork to New South Wales with the said Passengers and their Property, but was unfortunately wrecked on that Island.
The Hesperus arrived here on 5 October last, and on the following day the remaining passengers and crew of the “Letitia” called upon me to subsist them, being distressed British Subjects, having lost all the property they possessed at the time they were wrecked, and which unfortunately they had not insured.
I therefore found myself under the necessity of allowing them Eight Hundred and Sixty ….(Reis?) per day cash for their board and lodgings, as they could not have been able to support themselves for a …..(less sum??); particularly as the most of them are Ladies and Children. And I at the same time used my endeavour to obtain a vessel to convey them from here as soon as possible, in order to relieve His Majesty’s Government from so great an expense, in which endeavour I have not hitherto been successful, the ….(freights?) being extremely high, owing to the demands for vessels to proceed to the River Plate to load for England at £8 Sterling per ton – added to which I have not the authority to oblige the charters of Merchant vessels to receive British Subjects, not being mariners, for passages to England, as in the case of shipwrecked or distressed British seafaring men or boys, in conformity with the Act of Parliament 58 Geo 111 Cap 38.
Taking therefore into consideration the expense His Majesty’s Government has already been put to with the Passengers and Crew of the “Letitia” for their passage and provisions from St Jago to this Port, as well as other subsistence here, made me doubtful whether under the existing circumstances of their case, I should be justified in sending them to England in accordance with the General Consular Instructions; which however at the time they were made by His Majesty’s Government, could not have anticipated such a melancholy case as that of these unfortunate passengers. To remove this doubt, I judged it proper to take the advice of His Majesty’s Minister resident at this Court, and accordingly on 15th November, I addressed him a letter on the subject, copy of which, as also of his reply, I have the honour to enclose, by which you will observe that he is of the opinion that I ought to send them on to New South Wales, their original destination; since he conceives it would be the means of avoiding His Majesty’s Government being put to further expense.
I have consequently determined to follow Lord Ponsonby’s recommendation and have already been in….(touch?) with several Masters of Merchant vessels, without being able to come to any arrangement with them. I however trust that in a few days to be able to induce the Master of the British Brig “Anne” to take them to Sydney, for the sum of Nine Hundred Pounds Sterling, provisions included.
In my Despatch No 30 I informed you that His Majesty’s Acting Consul at Bahia had acquainted me of the arrival in that Port of a number of British Subjects in the Portuguese four masted schooner “SOPHIA” from the Island of St Jago. On the (gap) October a part of them viz, James T Erith and family, consisting of his wife and four children, as also the widow of a soldier named Laoney(?) Hendrickson and two children arrived here from Bahia; who produced to me documents showing that His Majesty’s Government had defrayed the expenses of their passages from England to the Cape of Good Hope with the Brig “Charles Jamieson” which vessel was wrecked on the Island of St Jago.
As these poor people are also distressed British Subjects, I have been under the necessity of supporting them until such time as a vessel sails for the Cape of Good Hope, on which I expect to be able to send them for about £50Sterling.
I have therefore been obliged to draw this day upon the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury for £500 Sterling to the order of Messrs Compton and Blyth…..so as to enable me to give subsistence to the aforementioned distressed British Subjects.
Trusting that the steps I have taken in this regard, on being represented by you, Sir, to His Majesty’s Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, will merit his approbation.
1.Consul Goodwin’s Letter of 25 August, to Rio Consul.
2.A CG Heatherly’s letter of 15 November, 1828 to Lord Ponsonby.
3.Lord Ponsonby’s letter of 16 November, 1828 to A CG Heatherly
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/51 Page 297-302 Consular Report 44.]
December 11th, 1828. Tender to A/CG Heatherly by Naylor Bros and Co, Agents of “ANNE” : Sir, As agents for the British Brig ANNE (sic) we beg to tender said Vessel to convey the passengers, 39 in number, of the late Bark Letitia, wrecked on the island of St Jago, to New South Wales for the sum of £900 to be paid in your Bill on His Majesty’s Government on the vessel commencing to be fitted for sea; for which we oblige ourselves to find them in the same allowance of salt provisions as passengers are allowed on board His Majesty’s Vessels of War and Transport. – And we further promise to put on board a quantity of fresh provisions and other things which may be considered necessary for the Ladies and Children, as well as two (sic- the?) other passengers, on so long a voyage.
We annex a Schedule of the provisions, and also of the rations daily allowed to each man, woman and child. We shall be obliged by your early answer to this, and have the honour etc., etc.
Schedule of Provisions Allowed a Seaman.
1 lb bread ) 1 lb bread )
3/4 lb salt beef ) or 3/4 salt pork ) alternatively
3/4 lb flour ) 1/2 pint pease )
1 1/2 oz sugar
1 oz cocoa or coffee
1/4 oz of tea
1 pint of wine
3 women to be considered as equal to 2 men.
2 children to be considered as equal to one woman
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/51 Pages 313,314]
December 13, 1828.A/CG Heatherly to John Bidwell, Supt. of the Consular Service, London: Sir, With reference to my Despatch 44 respecting the shipwrecked Passengers sent from St Jago by Mr Goodwin, His Majesty’s Consul, I have the honour to inform you that I have accepted the tender made me by Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co., British Merchants established in this city and agents of the British Brig “Anne” (sic) to convey the said passengers to New South Wales, in the said Brig, for £900 Sterling, provisions included – copy of which I have the honour to enclose – by which you will observe they have agreed to give the passengers the usual allowance of salt provisions granted to Passengers in His Majesty’s Vessels of War or Transport, and also a quantity of fresh provisions and other necessities, which are considered to be absolutely necessary for the Ladies and Children, as well as the other passengers on so long a voyage.
The “Anne” is now fitting out, and I hope will be ready for sea in a few days. I have therefore, in conformity with my agreement, this day given Messrs Naylor Bros and Co, a Bill on the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty’s Treasury for the aforesaid sum of Nine Hundred Pounds Sterling to the order of Messrs Naylor Brothers at the exchange of 29 ….(Reis?), which I trust will merit the approbation of His Majesty’s Government.
Enclosure: Copy of Tender of 11 Dec, 1828 by Naylor Bros. FO13/51 Page 313.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/51 Page 311]
January 13, 1829: Passenger Moore to A/CG Heatherly: Mr Moore presents his compliments to Mr Heatherly and begs to say that having reason to believe that the Brig “Anne” of Liverpool now being fitted up to convey the passengers for New South Wales which were wrecked in the late Barque “Letitia” is not seaworthy and as it would not prove a loss and inconvenience to remain in Rio (having been here upwards of three months) Mr M. entertains a reasonable hope that the Consul will not deem it too importunate if he requests to be sent to New South Wales per the “Denmark Hill” now in this Port, a Vessel capable of taking the entire of the passengers requiring to be sent forward, and which Vessel is reported to proceed to sea with the least possible delay. 28 Rua da Rohase. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64]
January 14th, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Passenger Moore: Sir, I have to acknowledge your note dated 13th Instant in which you inform me that you have reason to believe that the British Brig “Anne” of Liverpool, which Vessel I have chartered to convey yourself and other shipwrecked passengers of the late Bark Letitia to New South Wales is not seaworthy. You therefore hope that I would not deem you importunate in requesting that you be sent forward in the Denmark Hill, now inthis Port being a Vessel capable of taking the entire passengers, and is reported to be ready to proceed to sea with the least possible delay.
In reply I have to state that previous to chartering the “Anne” she was regularly surveyed and declared seaworthy by the Master builders of His Imperial Majesty’s Shipyards, since which I have no reason to think she can have deteriorated so much as to be now found unseaworthy. Nevertheless, she shall be again regularly surveyed previous to her departure for New South Wales.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 52]
January 16th, 1829 . Passengers Moore, Grey and Commander Moriarty to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, Accompanying this you will receive a copy of a Letter received by us from Captain Bingham in answer to an application for a Survey on the Brig Anne chartered for our conveyance to New South Wales, and have to request it may meet your earliest attention.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 54]
January 15th, 18 29. A/CG Heatherly to Passengers Moore, Grey and Commander Moriarty: Gentlemen, In reply to your letter of yesterdays date wherein you state that you are about to proceed to New South Wales in the Brig Anne of Liverpool, but that as you understand she is unseaworthy you request me to order a Survey on her.
I have to acquaint you that as she has been taken up by the pro-consul for the conveyance of the passengers of the late Brig Letitia, you must apply to him to have her surveyed by the proper surveying officers of His Majesty‘s Squadron present, which application will be attended to. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 55]
January 16th, 1829: Passenger Moore to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your favour of the 14th in reply to my note of the 13th, respecting the reported unseaworthiness of the Brig “Anne” of Liverpool which you have chartered for the conveyance to N S Wales of the passengers from the late Barque Letitia, and in which letter you conclude in the following manner, viz, “Nevertheless she shall be regularly surveyed previous to her departure for N S Wales. I beg to say that the passengers intending to proceed to N S Wales did apply by letter to Captain Bingham of H M Ship “Thetis” as Senior Officer at thIs port, soliciting him to have the Anne surveyed by the proper Officers of His Majesty’s fleet here being in our opinion the most competent to make the required Survey and beg to refer you to his reply, a copy of which has been sent to you this day, by which you will perceive the required survey will be held on application from you as Acting Consul to Captain Bingham to that effect. I have therefore to express an earnest hope that the necessary proceedings may be had in this case prior to the sailing of the Denmark Hill, lest so favourable an opportunity of sending us forward and relieving His Majesty’s Government from any additional expense on our account may be lost.[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 56]
January 16th, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Messrs Naylor Bros and Co: Gentlemen,
I beg leave to enclose you two letters I have received from Messrs Moore and Moriarty, two of the Passengers from the late Bark Letitia, by which you will observe that they entertain doubts respecting the seaworthiness of the British Brig Anne, which Vessel you have engaged to me to convey the said passengers to New South Wales. I have therefore to request that you give me such documents proving her sound and seaworthy, as will justify my sending so many of His Majesty’s subjects in the Anne, on so long a voyage as from this port to New South Wales. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 58]
January 17th, 1829. Naylor Bros and Co to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, We have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday, enclosing two of the same date (which we return herewith), from Messrs Wm Moriarty and Jas Henry Moore, and from Mr Jas Henry Moore, passengers in the late Bark Letitia, expressing their doubt of the seaworthiness of the British Brig Anne, which we have engaged to you to convey them and others to New South Wales; and you ask us to furnish Documents proving the latter Vessel to be capable of undertaking the voyage.
It may not be improper in reply, first to enter on some description of the Vessel in question. The Anne was launched in the British Colonies of North America in June 1825, and sent as is often the custom, to be prepared in Liverpool, where she was fitted and coppered, and may be said to have commenced her career as a Merchant Vessel, with a cargo for Buenos Ayres in February 1826. In May of the same year, she was detained by the Brazilian Squadron blockading Buenos Ayres, and brought to this Port where she was under trial for about a year, and was released. The needful repairs were made and she has since conveyed two full cargoes of salt to Santos and this Port. Circumstances causing her to be offered for sale here, and as you were very desirous of getting a vessel to convey the persons abovementioned to New South Wales, we with your knowledge and approbation, had the Anne purchased for that service, and she has since been fitted out. During the time she was up for sales she was examined by several persons who wished to purchase her and who had bid within a few Milreis of the price for which she was sold. It is therefore difficult to imagine how a vessel under such circumstances should become all at once, not seaworthy though she may have some local defect requiring a corresponding repair.
We shall have the vessel legally surveyed and shall furnish you with a Document thereof, with the least possible delay. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 60]
January 19th, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Moore and Moriarty: Gentlemen, I have to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 16th January, enclosing me the answer to a Letter addressed by you to Captain Bingham of His Majesty’s Ship “Thetis” by which it appears you have requested him to order a Survey to be held by his Carpenter on the British Brig Anne of Liverpool, in which vessel I have engaged passages for yourselves and other British Subjects who were wrecked in the late Bark “Letitia“.
It appears from his answer that he did not consider himself authorised to grant the Survey wished, without the request coming through me, for which purpose you addressed me the aforesaid letter.
I beg to observe that I am not the owner of the Vessel, but merely have engaged certain passages in her, consequently, am not authorised to call surveys on property of His Majesty’s Subjects and condemn it as unsound or unworthy without their previous knowledge or consent.
I however consider them bound to prove to me that the “Anne” is in a sound and proper state to convey as many of His Majesty’s subjects on so long a voyage as from this Port to New South Wales; for which purpose I wrote on 16th Instant to Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co who, in answer to my Letter, inform me that they will have the vessel legally surveyed and furnish me with the documents thereof with the least possible delay.
I think it further necessary to add in consequence of the applications you have made to Captain Bingham and myself on the subject, that Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co are an old and highly respectable mercantile establishment in this City, and I consider them far above risking the lives of His Majesty’s subjects by sending them to sea in a vessel unseaworthy, with the idea of saving a few hundred pounds. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 64]
January 21st, 1829. Passenger Moore to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, In acknowledging the receipt of your favour of the 19th, I must beg reference to your favour of the 14th, and the verbal communication previously had, which naturally created the necessity of applying to H B M Senior Naval Officer in this Station for that correct information relative to the state of the Brig Anne as to her seaworthiness through the medium of competent officers upon whose report we could with confidence rely.
In your favour of the 14th, you state that previous to chartering the Anne, she was regularly surveyed and declared seaworthy. That such survey was not had or made according to the usage of H B M ports the most superficial inspection will prove, and that the Survey was untrue in its report, the unworthiness of the vessel to the present hour and the repairs now being made on her are the best evidence of that fact.
Be assured, Sir, that it was not upon light or frivolous information that I took the liberty of addressing my note of the 13th to you on this subject, and satisfied by the incorrectness of the survey which you reported to be had on the “Anne” prior to her being chartered that confidence was not to be placed in any survey made by such parties it was deemed expedient to solicit from Captain Brigham that information as to her seaworthiness on which alone, confidence can be placed.
The solicitude manifested by Captain Bingham on this and every occasion on which he could promote the interest or comfort of the passengers from the Letitia demands from them their warmest acknowledgments.
It cannot and did not form any part of my duty to ascertain who may be the Bonafide owners of the Brig Anne, and in no instance have I directly or indirectly introduced or alluded to the name of that most respectable firm Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co, whose firm by public estimation stands too high to need either defence or eulogy.
I therefore owe it to myself to respectfully say that I deem the introduction of their firm in your favour of the 19th as wholly gratuitous and uncalled for- any observation made by me being exclusively confined to the incorrectness of the Survey mentioned in your favour of the 14th, and had prior to the present proprietors becoming owners of the Brig Anne; and which report if passed over and looked on as correct by the passengers would have led to the risking of their lives from her then existing unfit state for sea. I have again to repeat that I cannot place confidence in a Survey had by any persons but those connected with H B M Shipping here as being the most competent and disinterested especially as the question is one exclusively British and if permitted to be had by any but British subjects duly qualified might establish a precedent highly injurious to the interests of His Majesty’s subjects trading here. As nothing has occurred to alter my reliance on the information I received that the Anne was not seaworthy on the 13th Instant when I took the liberty of addressing my note of that date to you, I deem it necessary respectfully to request that you will keep any note, memorandum or message you may have received from any of His Majesty’s Officers on this subject, least a reference to such may be rendered necessary by future circumstances.
As you state in your letter of the 19th that you consider the owners of the Anne bound to prove that she is in a sound and proper state, and that a legal survey will be had on that vessel, I presume to say that the confidence of the Passengers in the Report of that Survey will be great, provided that the surveying officers of His Majesty’s Squadron be permitted to a fair participation in making the Survey and Report.
I therefore hope that you will avail yourself of the offer of their services as handsomely and promptly made by Captain Brigham in his letter of the 15th wherein he states that such an application will of course be attended to when made by you. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 67]
January 22nd, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Passenger Moore: Sir, I have to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of yesterday’s date regarding the British Brig “Anne”.
To which I beg leave again to assure you that I have required of Messrs Naylor Bros and Co proof of her being in a fit state to convey yourself and Family, as well as other distressed British subjects to New South Wales
On receiving Documents from them to my satisfaction proving her capable of performing the voyage.
I shall not fail to give a timely notice thereof to the passengers who may avail themselves or not of the opportunity offered them, as they may think proper.
But in the meantime, I am compelled to say that I have so much Public Business on my hands that I must decline any further correspondence at present on this subject. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 71]
January 25th, 1829 : Lord Ponsonby,to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, I have received a petition from some of the passengers who are about to proceed to New South Wales in the Brig “Anne”, also a copy of a letter addressed to you by Mr Moore in answer to one of yours wherein you declare (decline?) all further correspondence with Mr Moore relative to the “Anne”.
The abovementioned papers are in the hands of Mr Aston who will communicate their contents to you if you should wish it.
Having read those papers with due attention, I am of the opinion that it is imperative upon you to cause a Survey to be made of the Brig “Anne” by the proper officers of His Majesty’s Navy.
You will observe that this Vessel has been freighted at the expense of His Majesty’s Government; that the lives and interests of certain of His Majesty’s Subjects are dependent on the proper state of the Vessel, and that you are officially responsible for a loss to the one, or suffering to the others.
I have likewise received a petition from several of the passengers (which is also in the hands of Mr Aston) stating the hardships of being obliged to proceed direct to Sydney without being allowed to touch at Hobarts (sic) Town, the place of their original destination and where their personal Interests essentially demand their presence. It appears to me that the Interests of these persons have as strong a claim to be considered and provided for, as for those persons who partook in the general misfortune of the shipwreck, and it does not seem that there is any valid reason why the ship should not touch at Van Dieman’s Land, (which it is common practice of Ships to do, in making the same voyage) and that a portion of the Sufferers should in that manner be exposed to increased misfortunes.
I request you will furnish me officially with an answer to the two points which form the subject of this letter. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 73]
January 26th, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Lord Ponsonby: My Lord, I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of Your Lordship’s Despatch of the 25th Instant addressed to me as Vice Consul in which you inform me that you have received a petition from some of the passengers who are about to proceed to New South Wales in the Brig “Anne”, also a copy of a letter addressed by me to Mr Moore in answer to one of mine, wherein I decline all further correspondence with Mr Moore relative to the Anne.
In reply to the charge Mr Moore has thought proper to make to Your Lordship against me, I must so far intrude on your time to inform you that since his arrival in this Port he has been moore (sic) importunate and dissatisfied than any British Subject who has applied to me since I had the honour of serving His Majesty.
I am aware that it is my duty to attend to the complaints made to me by any of His Majesty’s Subjects and redress them as far as lays in my power, but having repeatedly received letters from Mr Moore regarding the “Anne”, as well as several verbal communications in which I considered he had no business to interfere; whereby my time was taken up, and the Public Business impeded, I found myself compelled to inform him in the letter alluded to by your Lordship, that I was under the necessity of declining for the present any further correspondence on the subject, which expression he turns into “all further correspondence.”
In the second paragraph of Your Lordship’s letter, you state that you have read the papers with due attention, and are of the opinion that it is imperative upon me to cause a Survey to be made of the “Anne” by the proper Officers of His Majesty’s Navy – and in the next you direct me to observe that the “Anne” has been freighted at the expense of the British Government, that the lives and Interests of certain of His Majesty’s Subjects are dependant upon the proper state of the Vessel, and that I am officially responsible for the loss of the one and the suffering to the others.
In answer to this part of your Lordship’s letter, I trust you will pardon the liberty of my stating that I see the position of the “Anne” in a different light to your Lordship. I consider her a Merchant Vessel in which I have engaged passages for sundry distressed British subjects to New South Wales and I should certainly not think of sending them without being perfectly satisfied in my own mind independent of Documental proof that she was a good and efficient Vessel for the purpose.
But I do not see myself justified in sending the Officers of His Majesty’s Squadron to survey a Merchant vessel with cargo on board without the consent of the owners or consignees, as the Officers sent on this service if they did their duty would open the Vessel in so many places that it would probably require near a month to make her fit for sea; attended with an enormous expense for which I would become personally answerable in a Court of Law, added to any losses etc that may accrue to the cargo in consequence of such detention.
As yet His Majesty’s Government has not sustained any loss in consequence of the arrangement made with the consignees of the “Anne” to convey the said passengers to New South Wales, as no Vessel has since sailed for that Port, nor do I know that any other could have been obtained to convey them prior to this; consequently the money expended for their support here could not have been avoided had such an arrangement never been made or entered into, and which unfortunately has not been carried into effect in consequence of her requiring more repairs than was anticipated. I beg leave to enclose your Lordship the copy of a letter dated 24th January from Messrs Naylor Bros and Co in which they inform me that they are ready to return the passage money received from me on the 13th Ultimo, or any proportion thereof for such passengers as may not wish to proceed in the Vessel to New South Wales; consequently His Majesty’s Government can ultimately be no losers, nor can the passengers lives or interests be at stake in consequence of the alleged unfitness of the “Anne” as not one of them have been or will be obliged to go in her if they do not think proper; nor can they want a conveyance provided your Lordship should think proper to send them in accordance with their wishes in the “Denmark Hill”, about to sail for New South Wales touching at the Cape of Good Hope.
Regarding the “Anne” ‘s going to Vandieman’s (sic) Land (providing the passengers proceed in her) it cannot under existing circumstances be insisted on, as the agreement I made with Messrs Naylor Bros and Co was direct to Sydney, no request having been made to me for her to put into the former Port, nor would your Lordship wish that they would be put to the additional expense of three weeks provisions for so many people – besides sailors’ wages etc, independent of the risk of the Vessels going in and out of Port for the purpose of landing one man and his family, and for Mr Moore’s having the pleasure of seeing the place and delivering a letter, which I am credibly informed to be the case – without the owners of the Vessel being compensated for so doing.
I however beg leave to assure your Lordship that I will use every endeavour to get Messrs Naylor Bros and Co to allow the Survey recommended by you to be held on the “Anne” the result of which I shall not fail to communicate to you.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 76]
February 17th, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Lord Ponsonby: My Lord, I have the honor to return your Lordship’s letter, accompanied by several enclosures which you have been kind enough to desire Mr Aston to give me for my perusal, being charges made against me by Mr Moore, one of the passengers of the late Bark “Letitia”. In reply as a public Officer to such accusations as Mr Moore has thought proper to make, I shall merely trespass on your Lordship’s time so far as to inform you that I have spent on Government account upwards of £500 for the support of Mr Moore and family as well as the rest of the shipwrecked passengers of the “Letitia”, and to refer you to my Despatches of 15th November last, and 26th January, as well as the Documents No 1 which I have the honor herewith to enclose so as to enable your Lordship to form an opinion of my official conduct regarding the charges of which the Documents aforesaid do not treat, I can only say that they are basely false and insidious, and in passing them at present over in silence, shall treat them and Mr Moore with the contempt they deserve. As I am convinced of the purity and uprightness of my conduct in the whole of the affair, I have to assure your Lordship that so far from wishing to let the subject drop here, I intend soliciting His Majesty’s Government to cause a thorough investigation to be made into my conduct.
And now, My Lord, I consider it my duty as a public Officer to call upon you as His Majesty’s Minister to support me in my official character from the effects of such unfounded accusations as Mr Moore makes; without which His Majesty’s Service must suffer, by his officers being so degraded in public estimation as to be altogether prevented in doing their duty .
P.S. I beg leave to draw your Lordship’s attention particularly to enclosures 15 and 16 being copies of the Surveys held on the “Anne” and the British Judge(?) Conservator’s opinion of the legality of the Surveys rec’d by the Artificers of the Brazilian Arsenal, also Nos 19, 26 and 27, being Mr Naylor’s Protest (?), the Carpenter of the “Thetis” ‘s opinion of the “Anne” at the time he examined her, and Mr Corneby’s Affidavit of the repairs and actual state of the “Anne”.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 81]
February 21st, 1829. A/CG Heatherly to Lord Ponsonby: My Lord, I have the honor to inform your Lordship that the examination of the Brig “Anne” which you considered under existing circumstances necessary to be made by competent officers of His Majesty’s Navy, took place yesterday and I have much pleasure in enclosing your Lordship a Copy of Mr Adie’s, the Carpenter of His Majesty’s Ship “Thetis”, report of the Vessel, as also Captain Bingham’s note on the same subject by which it is proved that the Brig “Anne” is fully competent to proceed to New South Wales with safety. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 86]
February 4, 1829. Certificate by certain Ships Masters: We, the undersigned Masters of British Merchant Ships laying at this Port, being requested by Messrs Naylor Bros and Co, Merchants of this City, to survey the Brig “Anne” bound to New South Wales do hereby certify that we have been on board said Vessel and minutely examined her and find her in excellent condition and we are fully of opinion that she is in every respect fit to go to any part of the World.
Dated in Rio de Janeiro this 4th Day of February, 1829.
Witness by M Hudson, Ship Broker.as being present at the above Survey:
John Thompson, Master, Brig Delight.
Wm Raisbeck, Master of the Bark Falcon.
William Addison, Master of the Brig Salacy.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 90 ]
February 7, 1829. Certificate by Charles Spence, Agent: I, Charles Spence, acting in name and behalf of Watson, Spence and Co, Agents for the Underwriters at Lloyds London do hereby certify that the signatures attached to the above document are the true and proper handwriting of John Thompson, William Raisbeck, and William Addison, British Mariners and Masters of Ships and I do further declare it as my opinion that the said persons are eligible and capable of judging of the stat e of the vessel and of her capability to undertake a voyage.
Rio de Janeiro, 7th February, 1829
Charles Spence. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 91]
February 7, 1829. Lloyds Certificate: Lloyds London do hereby certify that the above Certificate of Survey held on board the Brig “Anne” by the Master Builders, Master and Caulkers of His Brazilian Majesty’s Dockyard is the legal and competent Survey appointed by the Laws of this Country.
Charles Spencer. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 92]
February 17, 1829. Deposition by Samuel Corneby, Master of the Brig “Anne”: (First page inadvertently not copied.) ………..aforesaid voyage. That after the carpenters of His Majesty’s Ship “Ganges” were taken from the said vessel, it became necessary to employ Brazilian Caulkers and Carpenters that the said Brig was partly caulked and a part of her Stern was stripped when it was found that a part was decayed and required repair; also some of her fastning and Trenails were discovered to be bad. Whereupon this Deponent had the whole of the Stern stripped down to the lower Transom, and the bad timbers taken out or scarfed so as to make her perfectly staunched and strong. That the carpenter of the said Brig examined both the fastenings and Trenails in topsides and Wales, and all of the defective ones were taken out and replaced with new, which occupied him nearly a month. That this Deponent superintended the aforesaid repairs by orders of Messrs Naylor Bros and Co who directed him to have everything done to her that should be found necessary. And the said Deponent further declares that the aforesaid repairs have been done agreeable to his directions in the most ample and satisfactory manner.
So help me God, Saml Corneby
Sworn before me, 17th February, 1829. A J Heatherly, Vice Consul.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 98]
February 20th, 1829. Certificate by Geo Adie, carpenter on HMS “Thetis”: I, George Adie, Carpenter of His Majesty’s Ship the “Thetis”, having examined the Brig “Anne” of Liverpool on the 13th January last, repaired on board the Brig this day at the request of Alexander John Heatherly Esq, His majesty’s Acting Consul general at Rio de Janeiro, and having had exhibited unto me the Affidavit of Mr Samuel Corneby, Master of the said Brig, proving the said Repairs made in the said Brig –
Do hereby certify that I have examined the same so far as circumstances would permit and am of the opinion that the said Brig “Anne” is fit and capable of proceeding on her voyage to New South Wales with safety.
Given under my hand at Rio de Janeiro this 20th Day of February, 1829.
Geo ADIE Carpenter. H M Ship “Thetis”. [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 99]
February 21st, 1829. Bingham, Captain of HMS “Thetis” to A/CG Heatherly: Dear Heatherly, I send you with great satisfaction the Report from the Carpenter of this Ship. In addition to which he stated to me last night that he thought that the “Anne” had had very great repairs. You may make what use of this you please.
Adieu, Yrs, A B Bingham [UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 100]
[NOTE: The “TIMES” of 15.2.1831 reported the loss of the ‘THETIS’. “It appears that she sailed from Rio de Janeiro on the 4th December, 1830, and on the following day she struck the Headland of Cape Frio, and sunk in five fathoms water. She was bound for England with a large freight- 1,000,000of dollars – the whole of which is lost; and, we regret to say, about 20 of her crew, among whom is Mr Bingham, son of the late Captain Bingham, who met with a similar fate a few months before.” The “TIMES” reported on 21 March 1832 that “ following pensions and allowances have been granted: 100/- per annum to Mrs Bingham, wife of Captain Bingham, drowned on duty in the ‘THETIS’.”]
February 21st, 1829. Lord Ponsonby to A/CG Heatherly: Sir, I have received your letter dated this day, enclosing Report made by the Carpenter of His Majesty’s Ship “Thetis” stating the fitness of the ship “Anne” top make a Voyage to New South Wales, and also a copy of a letter from Captain Bingham, R N, commanding the “Thetis’ in which he says he sends you, with great satisfaction, the Report in question.
I have in consequence to acquaint you, that I see no cause whatever why you should not forthwith in execution of your official duty despatch to the place of their destination those Gentlemen, etc, etc, who having been shipwrecked were forwarded here from Cape de Verd Islands and are to be conveyed to New South Wales at the expense of His Majesty’s Government.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 Page 88]
March 14th, 1829 A/CG Heatherly to John Bidwell, Superintendent of the Consular Service: Sir, With reference to my Despatches No 44 and 45 of last year, which I had the honor of addressing to you respecting the Shipwrecked Passengers of the late Bark “Letitia”, who were sent from St Jago to this Port in the American Ship “Hesperus” by Mr Goodwin, His Majesty’s Consul.
I beg leave to say that on my agreeing their passages with Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co in the “Anne” of Liverpool I applied to Rear Admiral Sir Robert W Otway, to allow the carpenters and some seamen of His Majesty’s Ship “Ganges” to assist in laying Decks and fitting the vessel for sea with the utmost dispatch, so as to avoid His Majesty’s Government being put to greater expense for the support of the distressed people in question. This assistance he was kind enough to grant and I then fully expected she would have sailed before the first of January, this hope was however frustrated by the “Ganges” going to sea on or about the 25th December last, leaving the “Anne” in an unfinished state. Brazilian carpenters and caulkers were obtained with the greatest difficulty as the Government was pressing all they could to fit out some Vessels of War.
The work of the “Anne” was continued in consequence but slowly, when it was discovered that a part of her stern and planks were defective so that she was not seaworthy in her then present state. Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co however promised that she should be thoroughly repaired, and that they would have the Vessel legally surveyed and furnish me with Documents thereof with the least possible delay. With this assurance I was satisfied from so respectable a house, but at the same time I was fully aware that by the Laws of this Country they could retain the passage moneys paid by me, if the Vessel was declared seaworthy by the artificers of the Imperial Brazilian Dockyard; nor could I insist upon a Survey being held re the “Anne” by the Officers His Majesty’s Squadron as she could only be considered a Merchant Vessel and not a Transport.
About this time a large Ship called the “Denmark Hill” came in from New South Wales, in which the passengers wished to proceed, and as the Master owned her, he was anxious the Passengers and Cargo of the “Anne” should be transferred to his Vessel, and from this Port he intended to proceed to the Cape of Good Hope, and fill up with wine and return to New South Wales. Every exertion was then made by a part of the Passengers who declared the “Anne” was totally unseaworthy, to oblige me to insist on her being surveyed by the Officers of His Majesty’s Squadron, they being convinced she would be condemned.
But as I knew Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co would abandon the Vessel and cargo on my hands if I attempted to take such a step, whereby I should become liable to an Action at Law for the value thereof, I considered it most prudent to trust to their former promises of having her legally surveyed.
On the 24th January Messrs Naylor Brothers and Co handsomely wrote that the repair of the “Anne” having occupied more time than was expected, and being unwilling in any way to compromise me, that they were ready to return the passage money received on the 13th Ultimo, or any proportion thereof for such passengers as did not wish to proceed on the “Anne”
This offer I did not think it prudent to accept, as the repairs of that Vessel had been continued, and I had been assured by the Brazilian Carpenter and Caulker as well as the Carpenter of the Vessel that she would be perfectly efficient to proceed to any part of the World on her repairs being completed. I was more particularly induced not to accept the aforesaid offer as I was aware that no other Vessel could be obtained excepting the “Denmark Hill” which Vessel I knew to be American built, upwards of Twenty Years old and I believe off Lloyds List, consequently not a fit Vessel to risk the lives of so many of His Majesty’s Subjects in, without being Surveyed, which the owner, I understand, would not permit. On the other hand, the “Anne” although found partially defective was only three years and a half old undergoing repairs and would be legally Surveyed.
These people although I had supported them so long at the expense of His Majesty’s Government continued dissatisfied with everything I had done for them, a correspondence was the consequence, they also applied to Lord Ponsonby His Majesty’s Minister on the Subject, and made such false and insidious accusations against me, that I consider it necessary to enclose you copies of the correspondence which has taken place between His Lordship and myself as well as part of the other documents in justification of my character, as I suppose it likely they may have written against me, the whole of the Documents are so voluminous that I consider it ………………to trouble you, Sir, with them at present. I however shall …………copies of them in the event of their being required by His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.
Having intruded so far, Sir, on your time, I shall conclude by informing you that the “Anne” was surveyed on the 30th January by the Officers of the ……………
[Page of the volume – left side facing
page 43 – not copied at PRO
though the process of the Survey is
adequately explained in other letters. FCM]
………………………Captain Bingham therefore at my request was good enough to send Mr Adie the Carpenter belonging to the “Thetis” for that purpose, who after examining all the repairs made upon her, gave a Certificate stating that the “Anne” in his opinion was capable of proceeding to New South Wales with safety.
The aforesaid Passengers accordingly embarked on the 28th February, as well as eight Irishmen sent by the directions of Lord Ponsonby, on the “Anne sailed for New South Wales on the 7th Instant.
I trust my conduct in this unfortunate business may merit the approbation of His Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, as my aims throughout the whole transaction have been to prevent His Majesty’s Government being put to unnecessary expense, but at the same time paying due attention to the comforts of the unfortunate shipwrecked passengers.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 ]
Explanations to Mr Heatherly His Majesty’s Acting Consul General’s Account Current dated Rio de Janeiro 1st October, 1829.
Cash paid Mr Fell for the passage of Erith and family and
Mrs Hendrickson and family, making nine persons to the Cape
of Good Hope. Rs 413,795
Cash paid Mr James Rothwell for the passage of R Popham
to England Rs 181,150
Cash paid Thomas Watson for the passage of C Cooney and
family to England Rs 1720,800
These (three) disbursements were made by the accountant in conformity with the General Instructions to His Majesty’s Consuls abroad No 1.
It however appears that the expense of R Popham’s passage to England is extremely high which is accounted for by the Masters of the vessels having refused to receive and convey to England distressed British Subjects ( not being seafaring men and boys) nor has the accountant any authority to compel them to do so, he then considered it best to forward Popham at the above rate rather than allow him to remain for a considerable time and expense to His Majesty’s Government.
Cash paid for the support of Distresses shipwrecked
Passengers of the late Bark “Letitia” and Brig “Charles
Jamieson” (not seamen) Rs 1965,100
Cash paid Domingos Vieira Cortez for sundry earthenware
supplied distressed shipwrecked Passengers of the “Letitia” Rs 22,400
These (two) payments were made in conformity with the general instructions to His Majesty’s Consuls abroad No 1.
At the same time it is necessary to state that the reason the distressed shipwrecked passengers of the “Letitia” remained so long in Rio de Janeiro after passages were engaged for them to new South Wales in the “Anne”:, were in consequence of having discovered that her Stern was defective and required repairs which took a considerable time to effect, in consequence of the Brazilian Government having at that time pressed all the carpenters they could to repair and fit out a Number of Vessels of war to continue the Blockade of the River Plate. The people bound to the Cape of Good hope were sent by the first opportunity that offered than they would have forwarded to England. These circumstances were fully explained by the accountant to john Bidwell Esq, Superintendent of Consuls in Despatch No 8 dated Rio de Janeiro March 14th, 1829 which laid before His Majesty’s Principal secretary of state for Foreign affairs who approved of his conduct in extract of his Despatch No 2.
[UK TNA Ref. FO 13/64 of 1 October, 1829 Page 173]