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THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



THE 

BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



BY 

BASIL LUBBOCK 

Author of "The China Clippers" ; "The Colonial Clippers, 
"Round the Horn before the Mast"; "Jack Derringer, 
a Tale of Deep Water" ; and "Deep Sea Warriors" 

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS AND PLANS 



BOSTON 
CHARLES E. LAURIAT CO. 

BOOKSELLERS, IMPORTERS AND PUBLISHERS 



PRINTED !N OBEAT BRITAIN. 



Printed and bound in Great Britain by 
JAMES BROWN & SON (Glasgow) Ltd. 
Nautical Publishers 
52-58 Darnley Street, Glasgow 

First printed in 1922 



THE W£W YORK 
PUBLIC LIBRARY 
ftS'^O'b^ 1 

A'^rO'^, Li^-OX AND 






Dedication 

Dedicated to the Blackwall Midshipmite. 



PREFACE 



The Blackwall frigates form a connecting link between 
the lordly East Indiaman of the Honourable John 
Company and the magnificent P. & O. and Orient 
liners of the present day. 

They were first-class ships — well-run, happy ships, 
and the sailor who started his sea life as a midshipman 
aboard a Blackwaller looked back ever afterwards to 
his cadet days as the happiest period of his career. 

If discipline was strict, it was also just. The train- 
ing was superb, as witness the number of Blackwall 
midshipmen who reached the head of their profession 
and distinguished themselves later in other walks of 
life. Indeed, as a nursery for British seamen, we shall 
never see the like of these gallant little frigates. 

The East still calls, yet its glamour was twice as 
alluring, its vista twice as romantic, in the days of 
sail; and happy indeed was the boy who first saw the 
shores of India from the deck of one of Green's or 
Smith's passenger ships. 

Fifty years ago, the lithographs of the celebrated 
Blackwall liners to India and Australia could be bought 
at any seaport for a few shillings. Nowadays, these 
old ship portraits are eagerly snapped up by a growing 



vu 



viii PREFACE 

army of collectors and have become very hard to find 
and very expensive to buy, I therefore hope that the 
illustrations in this book will be appreciated. 

The design plans give an indication of our advance 
in naval architecture — an advance which is little short 
of amazing, when one remembers that there are still 
many men alive who served on these old ships — ships 
which were more akin to the adventurous keels of Drake 
and Dampier than to the giant boxes of machinery 
afloat to-day. 

My thanks are due to these old seamen, survivors of 
a by-gone era, for all their help and interest, and if 
this book is able to bring back a happ}'' memory to a 
single one of them, my task will not have been in vain. 



CONTENTS 



Introduction -.....--i 

PART I.— HISTORY OF THE BLACKWALL YARD. 1611- 1836 

The Blackwall Yard -24 

The Pioneer Ship of the Yard — The Globe - - - - 25 

Sir Henry Johnson the Elder - - - - - 23 

King's Ships built at Blackwall in the Seventeenth Century - 27 

Prince Rupert visits the Blackwall Yard - - - 29 

Pepysian Anecdotes - - - - - - - 29 

" Old Hob " - 30 

Johnson the Younger - - - - - - - 30 

Indiamen of the Eighteenth Century - - - - - 31 

Liberality of the East India Company - - 33 

John Perry - - - - - - - -33 

The Brunswick Dock and Masthouse - - - - 34 

The Friend of the Family - - • - - 35 

King George III. drinks with a " True Blue " • - -35 

George Green - - - - - - - -36 

Sir Robert Wigram - - • - - - - 37 

The General Goddard, East Indiaman - - - - 39 

The True Bnton, East Indiaman - - - - - 40 

East Indiamen owned by Sir Robert Wigram - - - 42 

The Last of John Company's East Indiamen - - - - 44 

Henry Green apprenticed as a Shipwright - - - 46 

The Carn Byae Castle - - • - - - -46 

The Sir Edward Paget, Pioneer Ship of Green s Blackwall Line - 46 

The Origin of Green's House-Flag - - - - - 47 

The Paget run Man-of-War Fashion - - - - - 47 

The Shipwrights' Strike on the Thames - - - - 48 

PART II.— A VOYAGE OUT EAST IN THE GOOD OLD 

DAYS. 

The Merchant Service - - - - - - - 49 

East India Shipping Notice - « • - • - 50 

An India Husband • - - • • - '50 

The Earl oj Balcarres - • • • - -51 



CONTENTS 



»A01 

Fast Passages of East Indiamen - - - • - 52 

Smuggling on an East Indiaman - - - - - 62 

Passage Money and Cabin Furniture - • - • - 53 

The London River in 1830 • - - - • - 53 

Geordie Brigs ....... 55 

The Betsy Catm • ■ - - - - 56 

The Byotherly Love > - - • - - - 57 

Geordie Characteristics - - - - - - 58 

Heavy Horsemen, Light Horsemen and River Pirates - - 59 

Shipping in the River - - - • - - - 60 

A Typical East Indiaman - - - - - 62 

The Commander of an East Indiaman and his Emoluments - 63 

Officers' Allowances in the H.E.I.C. - - - - - 65 

The Foremast Hands of an Indiaman - - - - 66 

An Indiaman leaving Gravesend - - - - - 67 

A Farmyard at Sea - ..... 69 

Getting underweigh - - . - - - - 70 

All in the Downs - - - - - - - - 7 1 

Sail Drill ........ 73 

Down Channel - - - . - - - 76 

The Last Sailing Ships in the Royal Navy - - - - 78 

The Symondites ......-- 79 

Joseph White of Cowes ■ - - - - - - 80 

Routine aboard an Indiaman - - - - - - 82 

Pirates ......... 84 

The Black Joke and Benito de Soto - - - - - 85 

Madeira ......... 95 

Tapping the Admiral - - - - - - - 95 

Calcutta and the Hooghly River m the Days of John Company - 96 
St. Helena Festivities - - - - - - - 100 



PART III— THE BLACKWALLERS. 

The Divided Interests of Green and Wigram 
Dicky Green .... 

Money Wigram & Sons 
Joseph Somes .... 
The Old Java .... 
T. & W. Smith .... 
Duncan Dunbar ... - 

The Captains of the Blackwall Frigates 
Discipline .... 

Midshipmen .... 

Crews ..... 

Passengers . . - 



102 
103 
1 04 
104 
106 
107 
109 
110 
112 
113 
120 
121 



CONTENTS xi 

TASK 

Ship Races • • - • - - • - 123 
Calcutta and its Shipping - - • - - - 127 
Madras 129 

The Australian Boom - - - - - - - 130 

The Design of the Blackwall Frigates ■ - - - - 131 

Sail and Rigging Plans - ■ - - - 133 

Seaworthiness - - - • - - - - 1 35 

Speeds of the Blackwallers compared . - . . 135 

Cyclones - - - - - - - -138 

VeywoM in a Cyclone, 1843 - - - - - - 139 

iliowarcA in the Calm Centre, 1845 - - - - -140 

Fourteen Persons Suffocated aboard the Marta Somes • - 141 

Earl of Hardwicke's Cyclone Log .... - 141 

The Dark Blood-red Cyclone Sky - - - - - 142 

Dampier's Hurricane Cloud - - - - - 143 

Calcutta Cyclone, 1864 - - 143 

Hotspur and Ainwtck Castle nde out a Cyclone at the Sandheads - 146 
S/. Lawr^Jice in the Madras Cyclone of 1871 - - - - 148 

The Old SeMM^a/)a/am - - - - - - -150 

The Mystery of the Madagascar ..... 152 

Owen Glendower — " I can call spirits from the vasty deep " - 154 

Agincouri — A Midshipman's Log - - - - - 157 

Pnnce of Wales and Queen — Armed Merchantmen ... 160 
Bucephalus and Ellenborough - - - - - - 160 

Gloriana and Tudor ....... 161 

The Lordly A/onarcA -...--- 161 
The .4 //red— Lecky's First Ship - - • - -162 

Marlborough's Fast Voyage to Australia - • - - 167 

A Race to India in 1853 - - - - - • - 169 

The Burning of the Sutlej - ' • - - 170 

The Blenheim in a Cyclone ...... 170 

Dress on the Trafalgar - - - - - -172 

The Loss of the Dalkousie • - ■• - - - 173 

Origin of Marshall's House- Flag , , . . . 176 

Toynbee's Hotspur . , ^ . . . . Ill 

Anglesey's famous Figurehead ------ 180 

Fast Voyage to Melbourne and back by the .4 n^/tf5s>' - -180 

Roxburgh Castle and Will Terris - - • - - 184 

The Northfleet Tragedy - - - ' - - 185 

The famous /£"««< - - - - - - 185 

Captain Clayton - - - - - - 191 

Rowing a Thousand-ton Ship - - - • • 196 

Captain Clayton uses Oil in a Cape Horn Gale - - - 197 

Kent's Narrow Escape from Icebergs ,-.--- 200 



xii CONTENTS 

paqb 
The Wreck of the Dunbar ...... 202 

Willis' Wonder. The Tweed - - - - - - 211 

Punjaub takes the 10th Hussars to the Crimea • 215 

The Punjaub and Assaye in the Persian War - - ■ 216 

Punjaub in the Indian Mutiny ..... 222 

Laying the Indo-European Cable in the Persian Gulf - 229 

Captain Stuart of The Tweed ...... 229 

Some Sailing Records of The Tweed - - - . . 230 

The Sunderland-built Blackwallers . . - . . 235 

The old La Hogue ....... 237 

The Agamemnon ....... 237 

The Burning of the Eastern Monarch - - - . . 238 

Alnwick Castle. Clarence d^nd Dover Castle .... 238 

Blackwallers in the Coolie Trade ..... 239 

Newcastle ----.-... 240 

Windsor Castle .--..... 245 

Extracts from the Log of the iVtndsor Castle - ■ - 246 

Dismasting of the Windsor Castle ..... 250 

The Ghost of the Norfolk - ■ - - - - 262 

The Speedy Suffolk - - - - - - - 264 

The Wreck of the Duncan Dunbar ..... 264 

Tyburnia's Pleasure Cruise ...... 264 

The old Holmsdale . = ..... 266 

A Cargo of the Lincolnshire ...... 266 

The Coolie Ship Lmcelles ...... 267 

The Lady Melville and the Great Comet of 1861 ... 267 

The Yorkshire's Madman ...... 269 

A Tragedy of Sea Sickness ...... 270 

A Shark Story - - - - - - - - 271 

Renown and Malabar - - - - - - - 272 

Passages to Melbourne 1860 (Comparison between London Frigate- 
built Ships and Liverpool Clipper-built Ships) ... 273 

Blackwallers of 1861 - - 274 

St. Lawrence ........ 275 

Shannon and the Lord Warden ...... 278 

An Apprentice's Joke ..-.-.. 278 
The two Essex's ----...- 279 

The Last of the Dunbars ...... 280 

Devitt & Moore's Pa>Ta«ja//a - - - - - -281 

The Iron Blackwaller Superb - - - - - - 282 

A Passenger's Log ....... 283 

The Salving of the Superb - - - - - - 287 

The Carlisle Castle - - - . - - • - 288 

Macquarie [ex- Melbourne) — The Last of the Blackwaiicro - - 290 



CONTENTS xiii 

VAai 
APPENDICES. 

Appendix I.— The Blackwall Frigates - - - - 299 

II.— Old Station Lists 304 

„ III. — Abstract Log of the Hotspur, London to Calcutta, 

I8G3 310 

„ IV. — Abstract Log of The Tweed. First Passage to 

Melbourne. 1873 314 

„ V. — Abstract Log of Holmsdale, Melbourne to London, 

1883 - - - - - - 317 

„ VI. — Sail Area and Spar Plan of the Clarence - - 324 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



The Commands of Captain Methven — Ships: Mor, 
Fort William. Marlborough, Valetta, Celestial, 
Blenheim, Charles Forbes and Charlotte 

Brunswick Dock and Masthouse 

George Green ------ 

Sir Robert Wigram, Bart., M.P. 

Launch of the Edinburgh at Blackwall Yard 

Earl of Balcarres — East Indiaman - 

Devonshire — East Indiaman - - - - 

L' Antonio — The celebrated piratical slaver and 
other black craft lying in the Bonny River 

Dicky Green ------ 

Captain Furnell, of the Senncapatam 

Captain Methven . - - - - 

Captain Toynbee, of the Hotspur 

Captain E. Le Poer Trench, of the Newcastle 

Captain Taylor, of the Almvick Castle 

The Esplanade Moorings, Calcutta - - - 

Model of the Sailing Ship St. Lawrence 

Shore of Ramkistopore with Newcastle and ss. 
Maurittus ------ 



lone, 1864 



Serin 



Southampton, after the Calcutta Cyc 
Western Star, tug Umon and Countess Elgi 

Calcutta Cyclone, 1864 
St. Lawrence 
Seringapatam 
Figurehead of the old ' 
Madagascar 
Owen Glendower 
Prince of Wales 
The Queen 
Barharn 
Monarch 
Alfred - 
Marlborough 
Blenheim 
Hotspur - 

XIV 



\i. after 



- Frontispiece 

To face page 34 

36 

38 

48 

64 

84 
104 
104 

no 

110 
112 
112 
128 
132 

H3 
144 

144 
148 
150 
150 
154 
156 
150 
158 
162 
162 
164 
168 
170 
178 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



XV 



Anglesey ------- 

Ke}it and the Tea Clippers — Kent in Foreground, 
Robin Hood next. £//ew Rodger and Queensbro - 
Kent in the Thames 
Captain M. T. Clayton, of the Kent 
Kent amongst the Ice in 1861 
A'gK/ passing Owen Glendower {Kent is ship to right) 
The Tweed 

The Tweed, off Gravesend 
The Tweed under all Plain Sail 
Captain William Stuart, of The Tweed 
Agamemnon 
A Wearside Shipyard 
Alnwtck Castle 
Newcastle 
La Hogue 
Windsor Castle 
Suffolk - 
Duncan Dunbar 
Holmsdale 
Yorkshire 
Malabar 
Star of India 
True Briton 
St. Lawrence 
Almnbagh 
Essex 
Superb • 
Parramatta 

Melbourne (afterwards Macquarie) 
Carlisle Castle ■ 
Macquarie [q-k- Melbourne) 



To face page 182 

186 
190 
190 
198 
200 
214 
214 
230 
230 
236 
236 
240 
244 
244 
250 
260 
264 
268 
268 
274 
274 
278 
278 
282 
282 
286 
286 
290 
290 
294 



PLATES. 



Old East India Flags 
East India Ships - 

10-Gun Brig Daring 

The Jolly Roger 

House-flags 

Key Plan, Calcutta Cyc 

Midship Section of The Tweed 

Plan of Cabins — Ship Malabar 



[one. 3th October, 1864 



To face page 



10 

32 

42 

78 

92 

118 

142 

212 

272 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

INTRODUCTION. 
«'TnE VANISHED GLORY OF THE SEA." 

What of the Ships, O Carthage ! 
Carthage, what of the Ships? 

TN considering the history and development of that 
most wonderful of all the works of man — the ship, 
one finds that the subject can be divided into six periods, 
namely : — 

The Day of the Coracle, 
The Day of the Galley Slave, 
The Golden Age of Sail, 
The Iron Age, 

The Day of Steam and Steel, 
The Oil Age. 

The sea has ever been more conservative than the land, 
for the simple reason that at sea every attempt to step 
forward has to be paid for in human life rather than 
coin of the realm. 

Thus it is that we find each of these periods bringing 
its own type to perfection just at the moment when the 
following period has become its serious rival. And 
always the old type died hard, often living on for years 
after the new had attained its passport of utility and 
had become firmly enthroned in its place. 

a 1 



2 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

It has ever been the proud boast, aye, and bitter 
cry, of old seamen that they saw their own type at its 
perfection and at its perfection vanquished and turned 
out of the high road into the low road by the new type, 
whose newness and imperfection they had been forced 
to know by bitter experience. 

But this is the law of evolution or progress — call it 
what you will. 

Think, in this batter'd Caravanserai 
Whose Doorways are alternate Night and Day, 

How Sultan after Sultan with his Pomp 
Abode his Hour or two, and went his way. 



In the evolution of the ship, I have called the third 
of these periods the "Golden Age of Sail "; and it is 
in this period that the Blackwall Frigates take their 
place. 

It was a long period, dating from Columbus and 
overlapping into the present day — a glorious period 
of heroism and adventure, of great sea fights and 
circumnavigations. Its ships dyed the Narrow Seas 
with blood from their scupper holes. Its seamen 
made traverse after traverse until all the coasts were 
charted, so that at the present day the great business of 
the world navigator is dead for want of new lands to 
discover. It was also the age when the ship, as a 
work of art and beauty, came to its perfection. We 
can hardly realise in these days the picturesque charm 
and brilliancy which were added to the seascape by 
masts and yards. Many of our artists still cling 
lovingly to the old wooden hull, the sail with its 
rainbow-like reflections, and the web-like top-hamper, 
all curving in the wind. And others, in spite of every 
clever trick of imagery, fail to conceal the ugliness of 



INTRODUCTION 8 

the present day monster, and are obliged to introduce 
the brown sails of fishing smacks or the gleaming canvas 
of a yacht in order to bring life and brightness into 
their pictures. 

No other work of man's hands can compete against 
the full-rigged ship in artistic beauty. She was ever 
a delight to the eye, not only of the seaman but of the 
landsman. Let us try to visualise her through the 
500 years of her glory, and see what a feast our artistic 
senses have missed, what a pageantry of movement and 
colour our ancestors enjoyed. 

The first ship to cross the horizon without oars is the 
ship of the Tudors. Let us imagine her surging steadily 
along before a " fair gale," a bone of white under her 
long beak-head; note the bright colours in her painted 
sails and gaudy streamers, note her crimson battle 
cloths in the waist, her gilded tops and yellow sides, 
her carved balconies and knight -heads. Her swivel 
guns on the lofty fore and after castles, her sakers, 
minions, falcons and falconets, her fowler chambers 
and curtails, are damascened and inlaid with quaint 
mottoes and royal coats -of -arms. The gunports on 
the main deck were circular in those days, and her 
cannon, demi -cannon and culverins poked their grinning 
tompions through carved wreaths of gilded foliage 
along a strake of sky-blue paint, below which her 
sides were yellow down to a narrow black band along 
her water-line. 

Her Admiral wore a bosun's whistle in token of his 
high office. Her gentlemen adventurers wore thigh 
boots of deerskin and lace-edged gauntlets, velvet 
coats and lace collars, with ostrich feathers in their 
rakish hats; her men-at-arms clanked about the deck 
in coats of mail; whilst her " musique " and trumpets 



4 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

were all gloriously apparelled in the Tudor coat -of -arms, 
and her "tarpaulins" went aloft in red sea eaps and red 
breeches. 

Such a ship as the Great Harry or the Henri Grace de 
Dieu, the Ark-Royal or the Revenge was a very kaleido- 
scope of brilliant colours. With her music playing 
" Loath to Depart " and her company saluting with a 
" great shout, " she passes with a royal pride, whilst 
all the other nations let fly their topgallant sheets and 
lower their topsails in token that she is " Mistress of the 
Narrow Seas. " 

Queen Elizabeth owed much, if not all, of her glory 
and renown to her ships and seamen. Sea power, 
then as now, was the first necessity of a great nation; 
whilst all the crooked trails to the new Eldorados led 
across the high seas — thus the education of the noble- 
man, of the young blood, and of the country squire was 
considered incomplete unless a voyage had been made to 
the Spanish Main as a gentleman adventurer. The 
talk, both in Courts and taverns, was all of ships and 
courses, cross -staffs and quadrants, bonnets and 
crowsfeet, knees and timbers — of scudding before fair 
gales and lying a-trie in tempests — of how to gain the 
weather gauge and how to avoid a foul hawse. It was 
at this date that so many of the sea terms, now part 
of the English language, first came to be used by the 
landlubber. What wonder, then, that Shakespeare 
found himself perfectly at home with the idioms of the 
sea, and used them so correctly that many a sailor has 
declared that he must have had sea experience. The 
study of navigation, of seamanship and of naval archi- 
tecture, was not only confined to the great sea captains 
and master shipwrights, but was hotly debated on by 
the Queen and her Court, the squire and his retainers, 



INTRODUCTION 6 

the lawyer and his clients, aye and by the parson and 
his parishioners. 

The innovations and improvements introduced during 
this great period of the ship's history are given by 
Sir Walter Raleigh. 

They include: — 

(1) The striking of topmasts 

(2) The chain pump 

(3) Weighing anchor by the " capisten " 

(4) New sails, such as 

{a) bonnet and drabler for the courses 

(b) topgallant sails 

(c) staysails 

(d) spritsails and sprit topsails. 

Raleigh, indeed, was one of the accoucheurs at the 
birth of the full-rigged ship. From his day to the 
present the main essentials in the sail and rigging 
plan of a ship have not altered, and a " tarpaulin " of 
Queen Elizabeth would have found little difficulty in 
handling one of Nelson's frigates or ev'en a wool clipper, 
neither would those of us who have trimmed the yards 
of a four-mast barque been much adrift with Howard's 
flagship, the Ark-Royal. 

The Elizabethan galleon was followed by the stately 
first-rate of the Stuarts, such as the Sovereign of the Seas, 
better known during the Dutch wars as the Royal 
Sovereign, one of the stoutest ships in the Navy of 
Charles II. 

Of the Stuart Navy, there is little that we do not 
know, thanks to Samuel Pepys, to the two Dutch 
marine painters, William Van de Velde the elder and 
W^illiam Van de Velde the younger, and to the many 
bea\itiful builders' models which have survived to the 
present day. The two Van de Veldes, in many a 
great canvas, have shown us Britain's battle line at 



6 THE BLACKVVALL FRIGATES 

close grips with the French and Dutch, whilst in their 
pencil drawings and sketches of individual ships we 
are able to study not only the lines but also the lavish 
ornamentation which, in those days, both in elaborate 
carving and profusion of gold leaf, was carried to such 
excess that regulations had at last to be framed in order 
to limit the money to be spent in decorative gingerbread 
work. 

During the Dutch wars the Grand Fleet of Great 
Britain often numbered as many as 80 sail of the line. 
For the first time ships were manoeuvred in the various 
formations by signals from the flagship, such as the 
following : — 

When the Admiral would have all the ships to fall into the order of 
" Battailia," the Union flag shall be put at the mizen peak of the Admiral 
ship — at sight whereof the Admirals of other squadrons are to answer 
it by doing the like. — {Duke of York's Supplementary Order, 1665.) 
To engage, a red flag on the fore topmast-head. 
To make sail, a red flag in the spritsail topmast shrouds. 
To come into the wake or grain of us, a red flag on the mizen shrouds. — 

{Spragge's Sea Book, 1672.) 

The tactics of naval warfare are specially interesting 
during the Dutch wars of the Restoration. 

Prince Rupert and General Monck, the victors of 
St. James' Day, the heroes of the " Four Days' Fight, " 
and two of the most stubborn fighters of their age, 
were also the first of British Admirals to make essay of 
the principle of " cutting off a part of the enemy fleet 
and containing the rest"; at the same time they never 
missed an opportunity of encouraging individual 
initiative and the immediate seizure of opportunities. 

For instance, Prince Rupert in his " Additional 
Fighting Instructions," July, 1666, lays down the 
following: — 

To divide the enemy's fleet. — In case the enemy have the wind of us 
and we have sea room enough, then we are to keep the wmd as close 



INTRODUCTION 7 

as -we can lie until such time as we see an opportunity by gaining their 
wakes to divide their fleet; and if the van of our fleet find that they 
have the wake of any part of them, they are to tack and to stand in, 
and strive to divide the enemy's body, and that squadron which shall 
pass first being come to the other side is to tack again, and the middle 
squadron is to bear up upon that part of the enemy so divided, which the 
last is to second, either by bearing down to the enemy or by endeavouring 
to keep off those that are to windward, as shall be best for the service. 

It was Rupert also who laid down the axiom that 
" the destruction of the enemy must always be made 
the chief est care. " f 

And in his instructions to Sir Edward Spragge, his 

Vice-Admiral in 1666, he says: — 

When the Admiral of the Fleet makes a weft with his flag, the rest 
of the flag ofiicers are to do the like, and then all the best sailing ships 
are to make what way they can to engage the enemy, that so the rear 
of our fleet may the better come up; and so soon as the enemy makes 
a stand then they are to endeavour to fall into the best order they can. 

We have to wait for 100 years or even more before 
we see Rupert's teaching acted upon without doubt or 
hesitation, for on the death of the Prince the school 
of Penn and James II., which laid down fixed and 
formal rules for every manoeuvre of the sea fight, 
to break away from which was a court-martial offeiice, 
gained the upper hand and thus killed all enterprise 
and initiative, tying the hands of our Admirals through 
years of indecisive fighting. 

It may, perhaps, surprise a good many of our sailors to 
learn that the celebrated " Nelson touch " had been 
partly thought out and acted upon as far back as the 
days of the Merry Monarch.* 

* Prince Rupert's tactics on the fourth day of the Four Days' Fight 
were entirely Nelsonian. Rupert, in fact, was a long way ahead of his 
times. Most people, who have only half studied the period, look upon 
him as a mere swashbuckling General of Horse, who knew nought of 
the sea, and even history students have failed to give him his due as a 
naval tactician. In sea tactics he was one of the first masters of the 
age. He was also a skilled navigator and the inventor of the vernier 



8 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

I seem to have wandered a long way from the 
pageantry of the sea and to have become enmeshed 
in naval tactics. 

Let us imagine then what a grand sight this mighty 
fleet of the Merry Monarch 's must have been when under 
sail with all its attendant fire-ships, bomb-ketches, 
yachts, hoys and shallops. How the great yellow hulls 
must have gleamed in the sunlight ! Fancy too the 
battle flags, as large as topgallant sails, showing like 
red flames in the sky as soon as the enemy was sighted. 

The sails of the Stuart ships, though no longer gay 
with religious and heraldic designs, were mighty 
cylinders of wind, for these ships were by no means as 
narrow in sail plan as those of later dates, for instance 
the Royal Sovereign'' s mainyard was 100 feet long. 

Sir Thomas Clifford, writing to Lord Arlington from 

on board the flagship Royal Charles on 20th July, 1G66, 

when the fleet under Rupert and IMonck was putting 

to sea, from refitting after the Four Days' Fight, 

wishes : — 

The King had seen the Fleet under sail yesterday, he would have been 
infinitely pleased. They took up in length 9 or 10 miles. Was never 
so pleased with any sight in my life. There is a new air and vigour in 
every man's countenance, and even the common men cry out, " If we 
do not beat them now, we never shall do it." 

And on 24th July, Silas Taylor wrote from Harwich : — 

At 4 a.m. the Enghsh Fleet sailed cheerfully, beating drums, and 
stood towards the King's Channel and Sledway. At 3 p.m. the Fleet 
cleared itself of victuallers and stood after the Dutch by Longsand Head, 
lying close to the wind, which was easterly. 

On the following day Rupert and Albemarle defeated 

screw on the sextant. Added to which, he was a real " tarpauhn." 
As a proof of this last, there is an account of how he once took the helm 
of his ship, when she was caught on a lee shore, and steered her to safety, 
although at the time it seemed impossible that she could weather the 
rocks and the ship's company had almost given up hope. 



INTRODUCTION 9 

De Ruyter and Van Tromp at the Battle of St. James' 
Day. 

In the days of the Stuarts our Mercantile Marine 
was small both in the number and the size of its ships, 
and we have to wait until the Napoleonic wars for big 
fleets of merchant ships. Then, indeed, the swarms ot 
French privateers in the Channel compelled huge 
convoys, of which the following reports from the Naval 
Chronicle give us but a faint idea: — 

Plymouth Report, 10th December, 1800— Passed by to the west- 
ward the immense large fleets (or Oporto, the Straits, Lisbon and the 
West Indies, nearly 550 sail under convoy of the Sea Horse, of 36 guns; 
Maidstone, 32; Alliance, 44; Chtchester, 44; Serapts. 44; La Pique. 44; 
Harpy, 18; and Dromedary, 24; a dead ealm took them aback off ths 
Eddystone, and the whole horizon was covered with the floating com- 
merce of Albion's proud Isles. The fog cleared of! about noon, and 
presented with the setting sun a spectacle from the high points of land 
round this port, at once grand, picturesque and interesting to every 
lover of his country's commerce and welfare. 

Plymouth Report, 10th August, 1801. — This day presented a most 
beautiful scene from the Hoe, 200 sail laymg to, becalmed from horizon 
to horizon, of East and West Indiamen under convoy of the Theseus, 
74 guns; Santa Margarita, 36 guns; and two other frigates. By 10 a.m. 
a fine breeze from E.N.E. sprang up, and the whole fleet by noon was 
clear of the Dodman Point. 

And here is another testimony to the beauty of a great 
fleet of sail underwcigh. It is given by Fitchett in his 
Fights for the Flag:— 

In his Autobiography Prince Metternich tells how on 2nd May, 1794, 
from the summit of a hill behind Cowes, he watched a great and historic 
spectacle. More than 400 ships — great three-deckers, smart frigates, 
bluff-bowed merchantmen — were setting sail at once. Their tall masts 
and wide-spread canvas seemed to fill the whole sea horizon. It 
was the Channel Fleet under Lord Howe, with a huge convoy of 
merchantmen. 

" I consider this." wrote Prince Metternich. " the most beautiful 
sight I have ever seen. I might say, indeed, the most beautiful that 
human eyes have ever beheld! At a signal from the Admiral's ship 
the merchantmen unfurled their sails, the fleet for the West Indies turned 
to the west, the fleet for the East Indies passed to the east side of the 



10 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

island, each accompanied with a portion of the Royal Fleet. Hundreds 
of vessels and boats, filled with spectators, covered the two roads as 
far as the eye could reach, in the midst of which the great ships followed 
one another, in the same manner as we see great masses of troops moved 
on the parade ground." 

One's imagination can hardly grasp the varied 
beauty of such a sight. I happen to possess an old 
wash drawing by Butterworth, labelled " The British 
Fleet at Spithead, 1797, " and this gives me a faint idea 
of the grandeur of our old wooden walls when seen 
en masse. 

Butterworth 's fleet lie at anchor in three lines. In 
the first line 7 three-deckers and 7 two-deckers swing to 
their great hempen cables. They hide the second line 
with the exception of 4 ships, all two-deckers; behind 
whom again lie 2 frigates, with the entrance to 
Portsmouth just open. 

There is, however, a great deal more than its mere 
beauty to interest a sailor in this drawing. The 
rigging of each ship is most carefully drawn, the figure- 
heads are worth studying with a magnifying glass, and 
more than a hint is given of the colouring. To anyone 
who has ever been to sea with masts and yards, the 
riggers' work on any ship is always a source of never- 
failing interest. Let me therefore attempt to give a 
slight sketch of the various changes which have taken 
place in the sails and rigging of a full-rig ship between 
the days of the Tudors and those of the Blackwall 
frigates. 

Let us begin forward. The Tudor bowsprit was only 
used to stay the foremast. It had a good stceve to it 
and must have been a very hefty spar — so hefty indeed 
that before very long a large square sail, called a 
spritsail, was set about half-way out undernealh it. 

The next innovation, during the reign of James 1., 



Old East India Company Flags, 

I 6 8 O - 1 7 O O . (from an O/dManuscript.) 




DRESS FLAGS FOR FORE 0RMI2EN. 




DRESS FLAGS FOR MAIN. 




SIS 



nati onal 

JACK . 




EAST INDIA 
JACK. 



ENSIGN ON FLAG-STAFF. 



INTRODUCTION 11 

was to place a round top at the end of ^he bowsprit or 
boltsprit, on which a flagstaff was stepped. This 
flagstaff was sufficiently large on the "great ships" to 
support a small square sail, and so the first sprit topsail 
came into being. This in its turn led to another 
pole being fidded onto the old flagstaff, in order to carr}'^ 
the jack, whose place had been taken by the sprit 
topsail. All this weight at the end of the bowsprit 
compelled shipwrights to not only shorten that spar 
but so increase its diameter that it was soon bigger than 
the main topmast. 

It may seem to landsmen that this giant candlestick 
arrangement at the end of the bowsprit was of more 
ornament than use. But, of a truth, spritsails and 
sprit topsails were not only of use, but they were a 
necessity. They were really steering sails, sails to 
help in the handling of the ship. They did the work 
of the jibs in helping a ship off the wind when the helm 
was put up, for except for a large fore topmast staysail, 
which came in about the middle of the Stuart period, 
headsails were not introduced until the sprit topsail 
was done away with and its place once more taken by 
the jack, which was well into the eighteenth century. 

The sprit topsail, indeed, had a reign of about 100 

years. I know of one interesting instance of a sprit 

topgallant. It is mentioned in the manuscript log 

of an old Stuart tarpaulin, who happened to be in 

charge of the " Mocha Fleet " when Captain Kidd 

committed his first piracy. The incident is thus 

described by old Barlow : — 

The Fifteenth of August being got past the small Bab Island in the 
morning betime we espied a ship more than our Company almost gotten 
into the midell of our fleet, for being a little parted there was a vacancy 
in the midell that a ship might pass allmost out of shot reach from aney 
of our fleet. He shewed no colours, but came joging on with bis coursec. 



12 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

hauled up under two topsails, having more sails furled than usually 
ships carry namely a mizen top galon sail and a spritsail top gallon sail- 
which made us judge presently what he was, he coming pretty near U3 
but scarce within shot, we perceived what like ship he was, a prety 
friggat — a ship as we understood afterwards built at Dedford called the 
Adventure galley, she carrying about 28 or 30 guns, having on her lower 
gun deck a line of ports for owers to row withall in calm wether. 

We shewing no colours neither but had only a red broad pendant 
but without any cross in it; and thinking he might take us for one of 
the Moors ships, having our ship in readiness, were willing to let him 
come as near to us as he would, for the Dutch convoy was a long way 
astarne, and we had verey litell wind and he could not come nere us. 
But seeing the pirat as nere as he intended to come, being all most 
abrest of us, we presently hoisted our colours and let fly two or three 
guns at him well shotted and presently gott both our boats ahead, having 
verey little wind. Rowing towards him, he having fired 4 or five times 
at one of the Moor's ships, striking him in the hull and through his sails. 
But he seeing us make what we could towards him, presently made 
what sail hee could from us, getting out his oars and rowing and sailing, 
we firing what we could at him, our men shouting which I believe he 
heard and that he took us for one of the Kings ships. We fired at him 
as long as ha was anything nere and judge did hit him with som of our 
shot. But he sailed far better than we did. and bemg out of shot of us, 
he took in his oars and his smal saile, hauling up his lower sailes in the 
brales, staying for us; but having no mind to engage, as we drew nere 
him made saile again from us. Dooing so twice and seeing us still 
follow him, at last set all his sails and away he went. 

It being almost sunset, we brought our ship to and lay by till the 
fleet came up to us, being 4 or 5 leagues astarne. Some of the Moors 
ships having a great deal of money abord and sartainly the fleet being 
a littele parted, had not our ship happened to have been in their 
compeney, he had sartainly plundered all the headmost ships of all their 
welth and the Duch ship could not have helpen them being a heavy 
sailor and littell or no wind 

Being secured at that time from ye pirrat, whose commander being 
called William Kid, as we heard after, and the next morning being the 
16 of August, he was gon out of our sight. 

Space forbids me from quoting any more of this 
interesting old manuscript, but Barlow has more to 
say about the pirate, Captain Kid, and his descents 
upon some of the trading ports of the Malabar Coast. 

It will be noticed from the above that the Adventure 



INTRODUCTION 13 

galley carried a mizen topgallant sail. This sail 
remained quite a rarity for another fifty years. 

When a jibboora was sent out at the end of the 
bowsprit, in order, as its name implies, to carry that 
unwieldy sail, the huge low-footed eighteenth century 
jib, the sprit topsail was set outside the spritsail under 
the bowsprit and jibboom. 

And the spritsail had no sooner gone out of fashion 
before it came in again in the shape of the tea clipper's 
" Jamie Green. " That the spritsail was a true working 
sail is shown by the fact that it was generally provided 
with a diagonal row of reef points. 

Next to the development of the modern head sails, 
the changes made in cross] ack and spanker are of most 
interest. As is well known by old seamen, no sail 
was bent on the crossjack yard until about 1840, the 
first man to set a crossjack being an American skipper. 
Indeed a crossjack did very little useful work until 
ships began to increase in length so as to allow of 
more drift between the main and mizen masts. The 
French call the crossjack yard " la vergue seche, " the 
barren yard. 

The development of the spanker from the old lateen 
mizen went through one or two interesting stages. The 
lateen yard, indeed, was still aloft on a great many 
of our ships up to the end of the eighteenth century. 
The Victory herself only gave it up in 1798, and the 
Vanguard and several of the French ships still carried 
it at the Battle of the Nile. 

But before the middle of the eighteenth century the 
part of the sail forward of the mast was cut away, its 
place being taken by the staysail on the mizen stay. 
When this was done, the luff of the shortened sail was 
tacked down to the foot of the mast, and no attempt 



14 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

was made to keep it into the mast either by means of 
hoops or screw-eyes, at the same time the foot of the 
sail was kept boomless. 

For some years before this the lateen yard had 
gradually been growing shorter and shorter, and by the 
time that it was changed into the modern gaff with 
jaws to the mast, it was so short as make the sail too 
small to do its proper work of helping the ship to bring 
her head to windward. 

Thereupon, instead of increasing the size of this 
early spanker, the old rigger bent a ring-tail outside 
it. This sail, which was called a driver, had a boom 
on its foot which was tacked down to the rail, it had a 
bowline on its luff, and was hoisted by halliards to a 
block at the peak of the spanker gaff. The next 
change was the fitting of a spanker boom, and the 
driver or ringtail was carried right into the mast, its 
head being hoisted to the gaff by three halliards at 
equal distances apart, the after one being bent on 
to the short ring-tail yard which stood out beyond 
the peak. 

To give place to this sail, the old mizen was hauled 
up and made fast to its gaff, and the new sail, which 
gradually came to be called the spanker, was hauled 
out to the end of the boom like a loose-footed mainsail 
and was tacked down to the foot of the mast by a strong 
purchase, and still there were no mast hoops or traveller 
to keep the sail into the mast. And from this the 
present day spanker was evolved. 

It is always difRcult for the reader to follow a des- 
cription of rigging, for what is easy enough to understand 
when demonstrated on a model becomes both confusing 
and wearisome in cold print. But for this, I should 
have been tempted to branch off into many a fascinating 



INTRODUCTION 15 

by-path in the evolution of a ship's rigging, such 
as bentinck shrouds, jeers and slings, gammonings, 
trusses, etc. 

Royals, stunsails or more properly studding sails, 
and other flying kites came into being as soon as our 
trade with tropical countries became so securely estab- 
lished that King's ships were sent out to foreign stations 
for long commissions, but I do not think that anyone 
has yet found out the first ship to send royal yards aloft 
or rig out stunsail booms. 

Next to rigging and sails, we require to know the 
colour schemes of hulls, masts and spars before we can 
form any picture in our minds of what our old wooden 
walls really looked like. 

And, curiously enough, though we know the colours 
favoured in the seventeenth century, those used in the 
eighteenth have been somewhat obscured through the 
eagerness of nineteenth century marine painters to 
paint every ship a la Nelson. Perhaps the most common 
colour scheme for British ships up to the date of 
Trafalgar was yellow sides with a black streak along the 
water-line. 

In my Butterworth drawing of the British fleet lying 
at anchor off Spithead in 1797, the ships are painted 
almost brown with a lighter yellow band from the level 
of the main deck to that of the lower deck. 

There are some very interesting notes and sketches, 
taken by a Colonel Fawkes at the Battle of the Nile, 
which are in the possession of my friend, Mr. Louis Paul ; 
these he published in the Mariners' Mirror just before 
the war. 

It may be of interest to give the colours of the British 
and French ships,, as noted by Colonel Fawkes, 



16 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

BRITISH SHIPS. 
Audacious. — Plain yellow sides. 

Zealous. — Broad red sides with small yellow stripes. 
Goliath. — Light yellow sides with a black streak between the upper 

and lower deck ports. 
Theseus.— Light yellow sides with a black streak between the upper 

and lower deck ports, with hammock cloths yellow and ports 

painted upon them to resemble a three-decker.* 
Vanguard. — Yellow sides with a black streak between the upper and 

lower deck ports. 
AUnolaur. — Red sides with a black streak between the upper and 

lower deck ports. , 

Orion. — Plain yellow sides. 
Defence. — Plain yellow sides. 
Leandir. — Yellow sides with a black streak between the upper and 

lower deck ports. 
Swiftsure. — ditto. 

Majestic— ditto. 

Alexander. — Plain yellow sides. 
Bellerophon. — ditto. 
CuUoden. — Yellow sides with two small black streaks between the 

upper and lower deck ports. 
Mutine (brig). — Yellow sides. 

FRENCH SHIPS. 
Le Guerrier. — Dark yellow sides, 
Le Conquerant. — ditto. 

Le Spurtiate. — Light yellow sides. 
L'Aquilon. — Red sides with a black streak between the upper and 

lower deck ports. 
Le Frafihltn.—Pla.in yellow sides. 
Le Peuple Souverain. — Dark yellow sides. 
Le Tonnant. — Broad light yellow with small black streaks in a line 

with the muzzles of the guns and two between the upper 

and lower deck ports 
L'Heureux. — Very dark yellow sides. 
Le Timoleon. — Very dark red sides. 
Le Guilleaume Tell. — Light yellow sides with a black streak between 

the upper and lower deck ports. 
Le Mercure. — Dark yellow sides. 
Le Genereiix. — Dark red sides. 

The frigates were all yellow. 



•This is interesting as showing that our ancestors were quite alive 
-o the value of camouflage. 



INTRODUCTION 17 

Mr. Louis Paul goes on to remark that yellow sides 
and black bands predominated up to Trafalgar; but I 
think they continued until long after that date, though 
Nelson was the first Admiral to order all the ships of his 
fleet to be painted alike. 

The interiors of all British men-of-war were always 
painted red, in order, as it was said, to hide the 
demoralising bloodstains. 

Nelson is generally supposed to have painted his hulls 
black with yellow strakes along the gunports and black 
port lids. This was called double-yellow or chequer 
painting, as the ships were chequer sided. But as 
regards the black hulls, I have my doubts. Captain 
Hoffman, who was present at the Battle of Trafalgar 
on board the Tonnant, has the following clear statement 
in his journal: — "All our ships' sides were ordered to 
be painted yellow with black streaks, and the masts 
yellow. " 

It would have taken some time and paint to have 
slabbed black over the yellow hulls, though painting in 
black strakes along the gunports would have been a small 
matter. There is no doubt, however, of the chequer- 
board appearance, so we can conclude that at any rate 
tlie gun strakes were yellow and the port lids black. 

There was no uniformity, however, in the painting 
of the French and Spanish ships at Trafalgar, and the 
various painters of the battle have missed a great 
opportunity in neglecting such a picturesque detail as 
the many different colours displayed. For instance, 
the huge Spanish Santissima Trinidada was painted a 
rich crimson lake with four narrow white ribbons under 
her four tiers of guns. And her figurehead, representing 
the Holy Trinity, was a Cyclopian group of figures 
painted white. 



18 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Another historic ship, the Santa Anna, Alava's 
flagship, was black from her hammock nettings to her 
water-line, the only note of colour being in the red 
robes of the Mother of the Virgin, another figurehead 
noted for its immense size. 

All shades of yellow were to be found on the hulls 
of the French and Spanish ships, and gun strakes were 
often red, so the British ships were unmistakable owing 
to the chequers. 

There was one small point — but one which a com- 
mander of Nelson's experience was quick to note and 
take advantage of— the French always painted their 
mast hoops black, so Nelson ordered his mast hoops to 
be painted white, thus making sure with his white 
mast hoops and chequered sides that none of his ships 
could mistake each other for the enemy during the 
smoke and confusion of battle. 

By the date of Trafalgar much of the gilt and ginger- 
bread had been stripped from the British ships of war 
and merchantman, and the carvers and gilders were 
only allowed to decorate the Royal yachts and one or 
two special first-rates. The elaborate coats-of-arms, 
the cupids and nymphs and golden caryatides had gone 
from the sterns of most ships. Wreaths around the 
circular gunports of the upper deck and poops with the 
bundles of carved weapons in between, gleaming yellow 
against the bright blue paint, had departed with the 
last of the Stuarts. Entry ports lacked carved pillars 
and handrails. Knight-heads had become bollards; 
and even the belfreys required only the craft of the 
joiner instead .of that of both carver and gilder. 

The figureheads and a certain amount of carving 
around the quarter galleries alone remained. 

And now, the quarter galleries have gone, and the 



INTRODUCTION 19 

few remaining figureheads, gracing the bows of the 
survivors of the golden age of sail, are looked upon as 
curiosities and photographed and sketched wherever 
they are seen. 

Leslie in that delightful but very scarce book. Old 
Sea Wings, Ways and Words, traces the figurehead 
back to the Egyptians, to the Greeks and Romans, 
who ornamented the heads of their galleys with graceful 
swans and imperial eagles : he also refers to the elabor- 
ately carved images at the heads of Maori war canoes. 
The most famous figurehead is, of course, the winged 
Victory of Samothrace, in the Louvre, which stands 
upon the bow of a trireme. There is no evidence, 
however, that this bit of sculpture was ever afloat. It 
was set up at Samothrace by Demetrius, one of Alex- 
ander's generals, in 306 B.C., in order to celebrate a 
naval victory. The first figureheads that graced 
British ships appeared about the thirteenth century. 
The Trinity Royal, of 1416, is supposed to have had a 
Royal leopard, with a crown of copper, on her beak-head. 

We have all heard of the "dragons" of the Vikings. 
Figureheads in the Middle Ages were generally in the 
shape of a dragon or monstrous fish with a projecting 
barbed tongue, which did duty as a spear-head for 
ramming purposes. 

By the time of the Stuarts figureheads were uliiversal 
and most elaborate. Indeed Leslie declares tliat the 
only people who have never adopted them were the 
Chinese and Japanese. 

Up to 1700 and even later British first-rates usually 
had kingly figures on prancing horses weighing down 
their beak-heads. The figurehead of the Sovereign oj 
the Seas was a very well-known group of statuary, 
consisting of King Edgar on horseback, tramplmg on 



20 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

those seven kings, who, according to history, were 
compelled to row the Royal barge round the Kingdom. 

In those days the woodcarver was a man of im- 
portance, both at sea and ashore, at home and abroad. 
Probably there was never more elaborate carving than 
that of the great French flagship Le Roi Soleil. Her 
figurehead was a magnificent mermaid balanced on 
the bend of her tail. Hardly less wonderful was the 
bow of a French 80-gun ship, which held a full length 
female figure in flowing draperies, blowing a trumpet 
and holding a flag. The whole of the beak of this ship 
was carved with a carpet of oak leaves, on which the 
goddess was standing. 

The smaller rates of both English, Dutch and French 
men-of-war in the seventeenth century usually had the 
"lion rampant" at the bow. This lion figurehead 
generally supported his fore paws on a shield of the 
Royal arms, and he was very often crowned. "The 
sweep of the lion," as the curve of his head was called, 
had to be absolutely correct according to the laws laid 
down in the standard shipbuilding works of the day. 

In 1703 an Admiralty regulation made this "sweep 
of the lion" the national figurehead for every man-of- 
war except first-rates; but there was no checking the 
woodcarver in this way, and the regulation was rarely 
adhered to. 

A very common figurehead in the eighteenth century 
was the Roman warrior, with his chain mail, his short 
stabbing sword and round shield. This figurehead 
adorned the bows of the Fighting Temeraire, the Warrior 
(a 74 of 1781), the Kent (a 74 of 1798), and the Canopns, 
which was captured from the French at the Battle of the 
Nile. Another common figurehead was the conven- 
tional representation of Father Xeptune, with his beard 



INTRODUCTION 21 

of oakum and Royal trident. This was, of course, the 
figurehead of the Ocean . 

The King on the prancing white horse, which was 
such a feature of the Stuart period, was replaced in the 
eighteenth century by a St. George on his charger. 
The figurehead of Kempenfeldt's Royal George, however 
was a Roman warrior supported on each side by a cupid. 

The figureheads of certain ships had, of course, to 
carry out the idea of the ship's name ; for instance the 
Centaur (a 74 of 1707) naturally had a centaur on her 
beak-head, whilst the Polyphemus (a 64 of 1782), had the 
monstrous head of the Cyclops, with a cold staring eye 
in the midst of its forehead. 

Then again ships called after Royal personages were 
given carefully chiselled full-length portraits of those 
personages. The Royal Adelaide carried a 14-ft. 
figure of the Queen on her bow. 

In the early nineteenth century there were some very 
bizarre and ridiculous figureheads. 

Fancy going to sea with the devil at one's prow, yet 
the Styx, launched in 1841, had a half-length nude figure 
of his Satanic majesty, painted a dark chocolate colour. 

And here we come to a feature about old figureheads 
which would have greatly offended the good taste of 
clipper ship seamen, who would have nought but pure 
white lead. The old timers were most gaudily coloured. 
Imagine the La Iloguc of 1811: she sported a green and 
chocolate lion, its grinning mouth displaying rows of 
white teeth and a huge red tongue. 

In the last days of the sailing man-of-war, we come 
to the Admirals — Nelson with his blind eye and armless 
sleeve, Anson in a wig, Duncan with a pigtail, and 
a host of others. IMany of these naval figureheads are 
istill preserved in the Royal dockyards. 



22 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Others, both naval and mercantile, are still to be seen 
in remote corners of the British Isles, notably at Tresco 
Abbey, Scilly, where a long verandah is supported by 
figureheads salved from wrecks. 

It is a fascinating subject, which I have merely 
skimmed; it really deserves a whole book to itself. 

After the Battle of Trafalgar huge convoys and fleets 
of ships began to grow scarcer and scarcer. But right 
up to the end of the nineteenth century a long spell 
of head winds would sometimes bring a large number 
of sailing ships together, for instance the late Captain 
Boultbee Whall in his School and Sea Days relates: — 

After a long continuance of east winds, I once counted some 300 
sail of vessels in sight of the Lizard, amongst which were such well-known 
London packets as the Saint Lawrence, Anglesey, Newcastle, Alnwick 
Castle, Shannon, Middlesex, Durham, Alumhagh, Wave of Life, Jerusalem, 
Maid of Judah, Orient and others. That afternoon the wind came fair, 
and there was a smart race who should be first up to town. 

This was in May, 1870. A few years earlier, in 1862, 
the American clipper Oracle passed TOO sail, all bound 
the same way, between Cork and Bardsey. 

On 9th May, 1897, the Shaw Savill clipper Pkione 
had 51 sail in sight from the deck in 46^* N., 27° W. On 
the next day the Atlantic transport ss. Massachusetts, 
whilst steaming along the 48th parallel from 26° to 28° 
W., passed during the afternoon 54 sailing ships, all 
close-hauled on the starboard tack, the wind being 
light from the eastward. 

The largest fleet of sailing ships which I have ever 
seen was in Table Bay towards the end of the Boer War. 
I think I counted over 150 ships, but, alas, the majority 
of them flew foreign flags. 

Leslie, the sea painter, has left a delightful account 
of our last squadron of sailing battleships underweigh; 



INTRODUCTION 23 

he was bound up Channel in a Yankee packet, homeward 

bound from America, and he remarks : — - 

Certainly England's oaken walls never looked stronger or grander 
than thej' did that evening, as those great ships came tearing through 
the black water towards us. The warm, low sunlight glowing upon the 
piled-up canvas made them look like moving thunder clouds; and one 
felt how small was the little 700-ton packet, as, some ahead and some 
astern, they swept past her, close enough to hear the boatswains on 
board the nearest ships piping orders to shorten sail for the night. As 
each ship came up, one thing looked whiter even than her creamy 
canvas, and that was the broad roll of curling foam which ran and played 
upon the dark sea in front of her stem; at times, for a moment, as she 
rose upon a wave reflected in her sea-polished copper, or as she buried her 
bows in the following sea, lighting up the handsome rails and carvings 
about the stately figurehead, giving to that of the Queen (110) as she 
passed close to, the look of a figure on the stage lighted from below by 

the m^'sterious glare of a broad row of footlights 

. . . Signals were being so rapidly exchanged from one big 
ship to the other, that it was impossible to follow them ; until, at one 
given from the Admiral's vessel, in a moment the steady pile of canvas 
of the leading ships seemed to fall into confusion, the heavy topsail 
yards came down to the caps of each mast, while fljing jibs and wing 
after wing in the shape of studding sails fell in, and were folded among 
the confused tangle of rigging, which, in an instant swarmed with men 
reefing topsails, furling royals or stowing jibs; while the great topgallant 
sails, clewed up, belly out before the wind, ready to be reset over reefed 
topsails for the night. .\s the fleet went on their way to the westward, 
they quickly changed from clouds of light into picturesque variety ol 
hne and form, showing dark against the orange glow left by the sun. 

With this vivid description of the last of our wooden 
walls, running out of the Channel in 1842, I will bring 
this introduction to a close. 



PART I. 

''HISTORY OF THE BLACKWALL YARD.'* 

1611-1836. 

At the Blackwall Docks we bid adieu 

To lovely Kate and pretty Sue, 

Our anchor's weigh'd and our sails unfurl'd 

And we're bound to plough the wat'ry world, 

Sing hay, we're outward bound! 

Hurrah, we're outward bound. 

The Blackwall Yard. 

^''HE Blackwall frigates gained their name from the 
-*- Blackwall Yard where so man}' of them took their 
shape. 

This ancient shipbuilding yard has a most interesting 
history. It owed its birth to the Spanish Armada and 
its completion to the enterprise of the first East India 
Company of IMerchant Adventurers, being first known 
as the "East India Yard. " 

Its massive gateway bore the date of 1612, and the 
coat-of-arms of these daring Merchant Adventurers 
was emblazoned upon its panels. This coat-of-arms 
was: — Azure three ships of three masts, rigged and 
under full sail, pennants and ensigns argent, each 
charged with a cross gules, on the chief of the second 
a pale quarterly azure and gules. On the first and 
fourth a fleur-de-lys. In second and third a lion passant, 
quadrant all of the second, two rose gules seeded on 

24 



THE GLOBE 25 

barbed rest. Crest — a sphere without a frame bound 
with the zodiac, in bend or, between two split pennons, 
flotant argent, each charged in chief with a cross gules. 
Over the sphere, these words:— Z)cm5 indicat. Sup- 
porters—Two sea -lions or, the tails proper. Motto — 
Deo ducente nil nocet. 

There is a fine tarry flavour about the "three ships 
with three masts, rigged and under full sail" ; a hint 
of Royal interest and patronage in the lion and fleur-de- 
lys ; of tremendous endeavour " in the sphere bound 
with the zodiac," and more than a hint of sea peril in 
the pious wording. 

The great dockyard bell is still in existence, bearing 
the date 1616 and the motto, "God be my good speed. " 

The Pioneer Ship of the Yard— the ♦* Globe." 

The first ships that were built on the Blackwall 
stocks were all East Indiamen. The first is believed 
to have been the Globe. This vessel sailed for India 
in 1611, and owing to trouble with our great 
trading rivals, the Dutch, was out nearly five years. 
But for all that the profits of the voyage came to 218 
per cent. The name of this ship, as is so often the case, 
was handed down to posterity by a neighbouring tavern. 

Sir Henry Johnson the Elder. 

The first shipbuilder connected with the yard was 
Henry Johnson, a cousin of Sir Phineas Pett. Besides 
East Indiamen, this man built seven third-rates, two 
for Cromwell, and four for Charles II., by whom he 
was knighted in 1679. Henry Johnson the elder died 
in 1683, and was buried in the East India Chapel, 
adjoining the yard. 



26 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



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KING'S SHIPS 27 

King's Ships built at Blackwall in the 
Seventeenth Century. 

The King's ships, built by Sir Henry Johnson 
the elder were all of that most useful rate, the third, 
corresponding to the 74 of the Napoleonic period. 

The Navy of Charles II. was divided up into six rates ; 
these were generally alluded to in the correspondence 
of the times as "the great ships" (first and second-rates) 
"frigates" (third and fourth-rates) and "small frigates" 
(fifth and sixth-rates), besides which the "Grand Fleet" 
was made up of fireships, doggers, galliots, hoys, 
hospital ships, pinks, yachts, flyboats and shallops. 

The great ships were treated with great reverence; 
they were kept strictly to the limits of the "Narrow 
Seas, " and every September were brought into Chatham 
or Portsmouth and laid up through the winter ; but the 
third-rates, besides fighting in the line of battle, were 
sent to every part of the world, they did convoy work, 
they cruised on their stations in the Channel, in the 
North Sea and off Ireland during the winter months, 
and they were the first ships to make the British flag 
known in the Mediterranean. 

Many people think of the Stuart Navy as consisting 
of a lot of very slow, leewardly, unhandy old wagons, 
primitive of design and rig, and but little less clumsy 
than a Spanish treasure galleon. This is altogether 
an erroneous view. In many ways these ships were 
superior and finer models than the wooden walls of 
Nelson's time. 

They had more beams to length than their successors, 
more deadrise and finer lines. The shipwrights of the 
seventeenth century were practical rather than theor- 
etical. They built by eye and by experience and were 
not hampered by Admiralty Rules and Regulations as 



28 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

to measurement and design, material, etc. In the 
eighteenth century the builder was so bound down by 
Admiralt}'' restrictions that individual skill and talent 
were allowed no scope, and thus the British man-of-war 
of that era became not only inferior in speed, weatherli- 
ness, and seaworthiness to the Frenchman but also to 
our own East Indiamen. 

The exact contrary was the case in the seventeenth 
century. Then our frigates were very much faster and 
more weatherly than those of our chief rivals, the Dutch, 
and could sail round the Frenchman, the Spaniard or 
the Portuguee, to name the other chief maritime 
nations. 

The third-rate of the seventeenth century was fit to go 
anywhere. The seamanship of those days was of a very 
fine order, and even the navigation was far from being 
as primitive as one would imagine. One has been 
accustomed to marvel at the pluck and daring of our 
ancestors in undertaking long voyages into unknown 
seas. 

One brings to mind Anson's voyage and the great 
mortality amongst his crews from scurvy and typhus. 
I find, however, that scurvy and typhus were by no 
means prev^alent amongst the Indiamen of the seven- 
teenth century. There were, of course, instances of 
great sickliness at sea, but these instances could gener- 
ally be traced to fever epidemics, mean captains and 
skinflint owners. As a general rule I find that British 
crews were better fed in the seventeenth century than 
in the early nineteenth century, and where they were 
often on short allowance was generally with regard to 
water, though this was usually discounted by an 
extremely liberal allowance of beer. 



A ROYAL SAILOR 29 

Prince Rupert visits the Blackwall Yard. 

In the seventeenth century the sea and ships were 
the fashion. The Merry Monarch and his brother, the 
Duke of York (later James II.) were both keen sailors 
and took great interest m shipbuilding. Charles II. 
constantly left his dovecots to visit his shipyards, but 
the greatest, most experienced and most practical of the 
Royal sailors of the seventeenth century was Charles' 
famous cousin, Prince Rupert, a tall dark man with an 
eagle's eye and a stern mouth, his brain full of new 
inventions and improvements both for the ships and 
their armaments, Rupert was a real "tarpaulin," 
who could stand his trick at the wheel, put his ship about 
or take the sun with equal ease. He was also a patron 
and promoter of all new shipping enterprises, such as 
the Hudson Bay Company and the African Company. 
His visits to the Blackwall Yard were those of the 
expert and the business man; and British shipping in 
the seventeenth century owed more to the keenness, 
industry and ingenuity of Prince Rupert than historians 
have ever acknowledged or realised. 

Pepsyian Anecdotes. 

Pepys, also, paid more than one visit to the yard. 
In 1661 he went to see the newly finished wet dock and 
the Indiaman Royal Oake, which had just been built and 
was on the launching ways. In 16G5 he records a second 
visit, concerning which he relates this curious story : — 

At Blackwall there is observable what Johnson tells us, that in 
digging the late Docke, they did twelve feet underground find perfect 
trees, overcovered with earth, nut trees with the branches and the very 
nuts on them: some of whose nuts he showed us, their shells black with 
age and their kernell, upon opening, decayed but their shell perfectly 
hard as ever: and a new tree (upon which the very ivy was taken up 
whole about it) which upon cutting with an " addes/' we found t« be 
rather harder than the living tree usually is. 



so THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

"Old Hob." 

There is another incident of this date, worth 
recording as curious. It is thus mentioned in Stowe's 
Survey : — 

In the time of the elder Sir Henry Johnson, Knight, shipbuilder, a 
horse wrought there 34 years, driven by one man, and he grew to that 
experience, that at the first sound of the bell for the men in the yard tc 
leave off work, he also would cease labouring and could not by any 
means be brought to give one pull after it, and when the bell rang to 
work he would as readily come forth again to his labour, which was to 
draw planks and pieces of timber from one part of the yard to another. 

This equine celebrity, "Old Hob" as he was called, 
was immortalised, like the Globe Indiaman, on the 
signboard of a well-known tavern adjoining the yard. 

Johnson the Younger. 

The second Sir Henry Johnson, besides building 
ships, was one of the leading directors of the East India 
Company and owned shares in a number of vessels He 
was a well-known figure "On 'Change" or at Lloyd's 
Coffee House, where insurances were effected and ships 
bought and sold "by touch of candle." This Johnson 
was a notorious old skinflint with the reputation of being 
a man " very hard to part from his money. " He was in 
fact a mean old curmudgeon with no attractive qualities, 
and I do not think he took much interest in the yard, 
which he left in the capable hands of his foreman, 
Philip Perry. He had a brother named William, but 
this man had no connection with the yard, being an 
East India supercargo — an important and lucrative 
job in those days. 

An interesting relic of this date was found in 187S. 
This was a brass two-foot rule, similar to rules still in 
use and bearing the name and date "Edward Cast, 1691. " 

Poplar, according to Stowe, owed its name to its fine 



NAVAL ADMINISTRATION 31 

rows of poplar trees, whilst the Isle of Dogs was so 
called because Charles I. kept his hounds kenneled there 
when in residence at Greenwich Palace, but both trees 
and dogs had disappeared by Johnson's time. 

The only King's ships built in the yard at the end of 
the seventeenth century were two fire-ships, of 260 tons, 
the Strombolo built in 1690, and the Blazes built in 1694 ; 
and a 50-gun frigate, called the Burlington, which was 
built in 1695. 

Indiamen of the Eighteenth Century. 

The eighteenth century was a century of lax 
morals, gross living, and but little advance in the 
sciences. Selfish dishonesty and corruption ran like 
a poison through all Governments and all classes. The 
chivalry, the unselfish loyalty, and the devotion to 
art and science, so freely spent in the service of the 
Stuarts, seemed to have vanished, and German mater- 
ialism ran far and wide through "Happy England." 
The Hanoverians unfortunately lacked charm ; patriot- 
ism became tainted with self-interest, and men in 
State employ thought firstly of their own pockets and 
secondly of their country's welfare. 

Thus we find the administration of the Navy eaten 
through and through from top to bottom with jobbery 
and peculation, against which a few honest men wore out 
their hearts and brains in vain. Naturally the Service 
suffered. No one could be trusted to be honest, and 
stringent rules and regulations, as a check to dishonest 
work, became the custom of the age. 

Minute measurements were laid down for the building 
of men-of-war. Elaborate fighting regulations tied 
the hands of admirals, and made hard and fast for- 
mations for the sea fight, whenever and wherever it 



32 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

took place. These restrictions, without proving much 
of a check on dishonesty, nevertheless checked all 
honest enterprise and efficiency and the progress of 
all natural genius. The Navy fell back alarmingly, 
its ships lost the sweetness of their lines; and we have 
only to read Fielding and Smollett to realise the low 
character of its personnel. 

The East India Company, however, strove hard to 
maintain the high standard of efficiency which it had 
always set for itself. Nevertheless, towards the end of 
the century, we find the East Indiaman of very much 
the same tonnage, rarely over 700 tons, as at the begin- 
ning of the century. This, though, is easily accounted 
for. With almost continuous war at sea throughout the 
century, the Admiralty's one nightmare was the growing 
scarcity of suitable timber for knees and frames. Sub- 
stitutes were sought for in every direction, but it was 
easily proved that no wood grown could equal English 
oak. And every oak knee and elbow, above a certain 
size, was required for the Navy. This naturally kept 
down the size of merchant ships and led to the early 
adoption of iron knees, brackets, etc., in the ships of 
the East India Company. Thus we see the Indiaman 
was in one respect further advanced than the man-of- 
war. And it was by no means the only way in which 
they were superior to the Royal Navy. 

The capstan with iron spindle and pauls was fitted 
into Indiamen long before the Admiralty adopted it. 
The Sou-Spainer also rejoiced in Hush upper decks 
when the naval constructors still clung to deep waists. 
Another improvement of the East India Company 
was the round headed rudder. 

At last towards the end of the century the Admiralty 
asked the surveyor of the East India Company, one 



EAST INDIA SHIPS. 



Length 146-1. Beam 36. Burthen in tons SiSt/j 




Length 1250^. Beam 32. Burthen in tons 544T7X 



[To face Page 32. 



EAST INDIA COMPANY 83 

Gabriel Snodgrass, to report upon any defects he ob- 
served in naval ships and suggest improvements. He 
accepted their request with alacrity and replied at 
length. He was very right in most of his criticisms: 
for instance he declared that all men-of-war were too 
short and stepped their masts too far forward. He 
went exhaustively into the subject of the seasoning and 
preservation of timber, advised building ships under 
cover, and commented on the thinness of the bottoms of 
British ships compared to foreign, and also the thinness 
of their sheathing. 

And this brings us to a most important subject. In 
1673 a trial was made of lead sheathing, but this did 
not find favour for more than a few years. Next came 
nail filled bottoms; and it was not until 1761 that 
copper was tried, the first ship to be coppered being the 
Alarm, a frigate of 32 guns. 

Liberality of the East India Company. 

The East India Company was probably the most 
liberal, generous, and public-spirited concern that ever 
held a trading charter. Their treatment of both officers 
and petty officers was truly royal in its munificence. 
Gifts of valuable plate and thousands of pounds of 
money were invariably awarded to captains who 
successfully defended their ships against the foe, and 
the E.I. Co. was constantly helping the Admiralty 
with both money and ships. In 1779 they offered a 
bounty for the raising of 6000 seamen, and not content 
with this built three 74 's, the Ganges, Carnaiic and 
Bombay Castle, at their own expense. 

John Perry. 

All this time the Blackwall Yard was in the 
hands of a very clever and remarkable man. The 



84 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

second Johnson, who died in 1693, was succeeded by 
Philip Perry, and in 177G John Perry, Philip Perry's 
second son, became the head of the firm. This John 
Perry was one of the most notable men of his day. He 
was educated at Harrow, and afterwards became a 
strong politician and supporter of Pitt. His eloquence 
was notorious, and his son used to relate the following 
anecdote to show his father's cleverness at the hustings : — 

At a Middlesex election, Mr. Perry proposed Mr. Mainwaring in 
opposition to Sir Francis Burdett. When he came forward on the 
hustings, the mob hooted and called him a Government contractor. 

" Yes," replied Perry, " I contract with the Government to build 
ships. I built, for instance, the Venerable, which was Lord Duncan's 
flagship at the Battle of Camperdown. I built such and such ship" — 
mentioning various other famous vessels and the victorious battles in 
which they had been engaged. He had touched a true chord of 
national feeling: the people began to cheer and he sat down in a tempest 
of applause. 

The Brunswick Dock and Masthouse. 

In this John Perry's time, the yard reached its 
zenith. It was then known as "the most capacious 
private dockyard in the Kingdom and probably in the 
world." In 1784 Perry had his great year. The end 
of the American War of Independence had most un- 
expectedly brought a great revival of trade in its train. 
An old picture, in the poasession of Mr. Perry's descend- 
ants, shows the yard in thks year. Seven vessels are on 
the stocks, the Venerable, Victorious, Hannibal and 
Theseus, 74 's; the Gorgon and Adventure, 44-gun 
frigates; and the West Indiaman Three Sisters. The 
Bushridge has just been launched, and four vessels are 
in dry dock under repair. 

In 1789 Mr. Perry began building the famous Bruns- 
wick Dock, now the East India Export Dock. It was 
divided into two basins, each with its own exit to the 



BRUNSWICK DOCK 85 

river. The largest held 30 first-class Indiamen, and 
the other 30 smaller vessels. At the west end of the 
dock he put a masthouse, such a building as has long 
now gone the way of all things. This masthouse 
became one of the most well-known landmarks on the 
Thames. For sixty years it showed against the smoke- 
laden London sky — the anxiously-looked for symbol of 
home to hundreds of returning Indiamen. It was 
shaped something like an American grain elevator, 
with a long projecting body, in which the sails and gear 
of East Indiamen were stowed. From the top of its 
tower a crane for handling the masts reared its head 
above the vessels lying alongside the wharf. 

The first ship masted here was the East Indiaman 
Lord Macaulay, on the 25th October, 1791. Tlie yard 
records state that "the whole suit of masts and bowsprit 
were raised and fixed in three hours and forty minutes. " 

The Friend of the Family. 

In 1800 and war time, the Brunswick Dock and 
Blackwall Yard were the scene of many a national event, 
for here the troops embarked on transports for the war. 
Well-known public men were constantly present on 
these occasions, including the great Pitt himself. 
King George, also, was a frequent visitor, and was so 
courteous to Perry that, amongst the latter 's intimates, 
the King was jokingly referred to as "The Friend of the 
Family. " 

King George III. drinks with a *'True Blue.'* 

On one occasion King George was inspecting the 
embarkation of some cavalry before a large number of 
spectators, when a jolly tar, who was described as "three 
sheets in the wind and brimful of loyalty," forced his 



86 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

way to the side of the King and held out a quart mug 
full of porter. Then after "tonguing his quid, un- 
shipping his skyscraper and hitching up his canvas, " 
he expressed the hope that His Majesty would not 
refuse a drink with a "true blue." 

George III. , as may be imagined, was somewhat taken 
aback; the undaunted tar, however, again urged him 
to " take a sup. " Whereupon the King good humouredly 
took the mug, and giving the toast, "The Army and 
the Navy, " drank down the porter ; then presenting the 
jolly tar with a guinea, desired him to drink success to 
the campaign and long life to the King and Queen. 

George Green. 

About this time the boy, George Green, became 
an apprentice in the yard, at the age of fifteen. And he 
used to relate with pride how he had once buckled on 
King George's spurs. The boy soon proved himself so 
keen a worker that he attracted the notice of Mr. Perry, 
and he was often to be found in the workshops long after 
everyone had left, busily studying the higher elements 
of his profession. 

Such a boy, under a good master, was bound to get on ; 
and we soon find him, like Hogarth's model apprentice, 
marrying his employer's daughter and being taken into 
partnership. This happened in 1796, and not long 
afterwards Perry married George Green's sister. 

George Green was the second son of a brewer in Chelsea 
named John Green, and was born in 1767. John Green 
died in 1772, leaving his business in rather a bad way, 
and it was for this reason that George Green had to 
fend for himself and thus became an apprentice in the 
Blackwall Yard. George Green was as charitable and 
popular in the East End as his son Richard. Besides 




GEORGE GREEN 



\ To face Page 26. 



SIR ROBERT WIGRAM 37 

building almshouses and schools in Poplar, he erected 
Green's Sailors' Home in the East India Dock Road, 
in 1840-1. He also built the Trinity Schools and 
Trinity Chapel. He married twice and was eighty-two 
years of age when he died in 1849. 

Sir Robert Wigram. 

With the death of Mr. Perry in 1810, the yard 
again changed hands, Sir Robert Wigram buying the 
Perry shares. This man, the founder of the Wigram 
fortunes, was one of the greatest business men of his day. 
Though of good descent, he was a self-made man like 
his partner, George Green, and his history is worth 
relating. His father, John Wigram of Wexford, was 
born in 1712. Little is known about him except that 
he was a sailor and the commander of a privateer called 
the Boyne. In 1742 he sailed from Bristol bound for 
Malaga, but was compelled to put back for repairs to the 
Wexford coast ; here he met Miss Clifford staying with a 
Mr. Tinche at Ballyhally. Again he sailed but again 
put back owing to bad weather, and this time he used 
the opportunity to marry Miss Clifford. 

Robert Wigram was born at W^exford on 30th January, 
1744, but he never saw his father who was lost at sea, 
and he was brought up by his uncle and mother. On 
his eighteenth year he set out for London with £200 in 
his pocket and a letter from his mother to a certain 
Dr. Allen, both his uncle and his mother being anxious 
that he should be taught medicine by their friend Dr. 
Allen. Robert Wigram arrived in London in 1762, and 
as he did not know a soul in the great city, went off 
early the following morning to Dulwich, where Dr. Allen 
lived, in order to present his mother's letter, and in 
hopes, as he said, of being offered some breakfast. 



38 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

He arrived at Dr. Allen's about 9 o'clock and was 
greeted with the words: — "So, young man, you are 
come to London. It is a place where, if you fall down, 
no one will pick you up.'' But when the boy was 
leaving, the kindly old doctor softened and said :— 
"Come any morning you like before 8 o'clock and I will 
give you some breakfast." This Robert Wigram often 
did, and used to relate how he hurried across the open 
ground about Kennington in order not to be late. 

Robert Wigram was undoubtedly a boy of unusual 
character; very shrewd, long sighted and business like, 
yet he w-as noted for his generosity. 

When quite a boy, having been given a few pence, he 
once saw a man being carried off to prison for debt. 
He immediately ran up to the man and offered him the 
pennies. In after life whenever one of his numerous 
children was born, he made a practice of going and 
releasing some prisoner confined for debt by paying up 
for him. And he had such a rare sense of gratitude 
that he always tried to shoAv acknowledgment in kind 
for any gift or help from man, and any mercy or blessing 
from God. 

Dr. Allen showed himself a true friend. He took the 
boy as his apprentice; and in two years Robert Wigram 
took his diploma and started his career by sailing for 
India as surgeon of the East Indiaman Admiral Watsoti, 
of 400 tons. William Money, who became Robert 
Wigram 's life -long friend, w^as second officer of this 
ship. The Admiral Watson sailed from Portsmouth 
on 24th February, 1764, and arrived home on 21st 
November, 1766. 

Wigram 's second voyage was made in the Duke of 
Richmond, of 499 tons, to Bencoolen. She left the Downs, 
2nd March, 1768, and arrived home 16th June, 1769. 




SIR KUBIIKT WUiKAM, Bart., M.P. 



[To face Page 38. 



SIR ROBERT WIGRAM 39 

His third and last voyage was made in the British 
King, of 499 tons, to Bencoolen and China, sailing from 
Plymouth on 21st February, 1770, and arriving back in 
the Downs on 25th May, 1772. 

Whilst in China during this voyage, Wigrara con- 
tracted ophthalmia, which so injured his eyesight that 
he gave up all idea of going to sea again, as it unfitted 
him for a surgeon's work. But a man of his brain had 
not been to sea for eight years and visited the wonderful 
East for nothing. He had indeed gained such a know- 
ledge of the drug trade that he was able to set up for 
himself as a drug merchant. 

He relates that the Dutch and Germans bought 
nearly all their wholesale drugs in London, and that 
with his knowledge of the trade he was able to turn his 
small capital to advantage. This capital was only 
£3000, and the year he started business he also married 
a wife, Catherine, daughter of John Brodhurst, the 
wedding taking place on 19th December, 1772. Sixteen 
years later he adventured his whole capital in buying 
his first ship; this was the celebrated General Goddard, 
of 755 tons, which he purchased from his old friend, the 
well-known Commander William Money, in the East 
India Company's employ. 

The ''General Goddard," East Indiaman. 

Robert Wigram bought the General Goddard after 
her arrival home from her second voyage. She turned 
out a very good investment, being taken up regularly 
every voyage by the East India Company. On her 
fifth voyage she was commanded by William Taylor 
Money. She sailed from England on 2nd May, 1793. 
In the year 1795 she was waiting for a convoy home 
from St. Helena, when news arrived then that the 



40 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Dutch Revolutionary Party had joined France in the 
war. A Dutch fleet of seven East Indiamen were 
expected to arrive at St. Helena at any moment. 

Captain Money hastily fitted out the General Goddard 
as a 30-gun frigate, and started on a cruise with H.M. 
ship Sceptre, 64 guns, the Burbridge an East Indiaman, 
and the Swallow packet, in order to intercept the Dutch- 
men. The General Goddard was the first to sight the 
Dutch East Indiamen, and after chasing them all night 
he came up with them and at daylight captured 
the lot of them, the other three ships being too far 
off to give him any assistance. The prizes were 
carried into St. Helena, where Captain Money received 
the thanks of Vice-Admiral Sir William Essington 
and a sword of honour from the Governor of the Island, 
Colonel Brooke. 

The prize money, two-thirds of the value of the 
Dutch ships and their cargoes, came to £76,664 14s., of 
which £61,331 15s. 2d. was awarded to the General 
Goddard, Sceptre, Burbridge, Swallow and Asia, whilst 
Governor Brooke and the St. Helena garrison and a 
number of other ships in the Roads were given 
£15,332 18s. lOd. I cannot attempt to explain the 
queer vagaries of the prize court, though their cal- 
culations were so exact as to involve the use of shillings 
and pence. 

The General Goddard made one more voyage to India 
for the company in 1795-6 under Captain Thomas 
Graham. 

The ''True Briton," East Indiaman. 

The ship, however, which really founded the 
large fortune of Robert Wigram was the True Briton, 
whose name was kept up in the Wigram fleet to the end. 



TRUE BRITON 41 

She was built for Wigram in Well's Yard, Deptford, in 
1790, and measured 1198 tons. 

Her voyages under the East India Company's gridiron 
were as follows : — 

1st voyage — season 1790-1 — Capt. Henry Farrer, to Coast and China 
2nd ,, ,, 1793-4 — „ ,, Bombay and China 
3rd „ „ 1795-6— Capt. Wm. Stanley Clarke, to China 
4th „ „ 1798-9 — Capt. Henry Farrer. to Coast and China 
5th, „ „ 1800-1— Capt. Wm. T. Clarke, 

On this voyage Sir Robert Wigram gave her to his son 
Robert Wigram, junior. 

6th voyage — season 1803-4 — Capt. Henry Hughes, to China 

7th ,, ,, 1806-7 — Capt. Wm. T. Clarke, Bombay and China 

8th ,, ,, 1808-9 — Capt. George Bonham, 

On this voyage she parted company with the other 
East India ships in the China Seas on the 18th October, 
1809, and was never heard of again. 

The second True Briton was nothing like as fine a ship 
as the first. She was built in the Blackwall Yard in 
1835, and only measured 646 tons, and I find I have the 
following note of her appearance: — "Very ugly bow, 
almost straight stem, foremast pitched right in the eyes, 
galleried stern, an ugly ship." 

The third True Briton, of 1046 tons, built in 1861, 
was, however, a very fine ship and the last thing in 
Blackwall frigates. 

On the opposite page I give a list of the East Indiamen 
owned by Sir Robert Wigram and taken up by the East 
India Company. 

Robert Wigram was possessed of far too much energy 
to content himself with his drug business and that of 
being an Ind ia -husband ; and besides becoming a ship- 
builder by acquiring the ruling interest in the Blackwall 
Yard, he became a partner in Reid's Brewery (now 
Watney, Combe, Reid & Co.) was the promoter of 



42 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



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SIR ROBERT WIGRAM 43 

Huddart's patent for hemp cables — a patent by means 
of which every strand in a cable received its fair share of 
work — and got elected to Parliament as member for the 
little seaport of Fowey, in Cornwall As if this was 
not enough occupation for one man, he became chairman 
of the new East India Docks, which were opened in 1810. 

Incidentally he became the father of twenty-three 
sons, and in later years it was his custom to ride to 
business attended by a bodyguard of never less than 
seven of these sons, to the admiration of the neighbour- 
hood. Many of these sons became well-known men of 
their time, notably William, immortalised by Macaulay 
as "the most obstinate of the East India Directors," 
who was for many years Master of the Puckeridge 
Foxhounds. Another became Bishop of Rochester: a 
third was a Q.C. and member for Cambridge University. 
Two of them. Money and Henry Loftus, became partners 
in the Blackwall Yard. 

Robert Wigram was made a baronet by Pitt, of whom 
he was a most staunch supporter. One day, before Pitt 
had become acquainted with the member for Fowey, he 
was leaving the House after making an important speech, 
which was very strongly opposed, when he noticed 
Robert Wigram amongst the few members, who showed 
him their support, by attending him to the door. And 
turning to one of his friends Pitt asked, "Who is the 
little man in shorts?" 

This incident probably refers to April, 1805, when the 
attack on Lord Melville was carried by the Opposition 
with the aid of the Speaker's vote. 

In 1819 Sir Robert Wigram retired from business and 
sold the whole of the Blackwall Yard estate to George 
Green and his two sons. Money and Henry Loftus 
Wigram. for £40.500. Green took a half share and the 



44 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

two Wigrams a quarter each. Before his death Sir 
Robert Wigram made handsome provision for each of 
his sons, besides leaving his second wife a house and 
estate at Walthamstow and about £5000 a year. He 
died on 6th November, 1830. 

The Last of John Company's East Indiamen. 

The early years of the nineteenth century found 
the Hon. John Company's East Indiamen at their 
zenith, as has invariably been the case with every type 
of ship just before her eclipse. 

The first-class East Indiaman. during the first twenty- 
five years of the nineteenth century, was of about 1325 
tons burthen, mounted 26 guns and had a complement 
of 130 men. These ships were fit to be compared with 
naval corvettes, not only in the perfect way in which 
they were kept up and run, but in their discipline, in 
the social status of their officers and in the fine quality 
of the men before the mast : they were, in fact, run like 
men-of-war, and to be in the employ of the Hon. John 
Company was considered fit for any man, be his blood 
never so blue. Indeed the younger sons of the nobility 
contested with the moneyed scions of merchant princes 
and the offspring of the professions for the honour and 
privilege of becoming officers in the "Merchant Service" 
as that of the East India Company was called, in order 
to distinguish it from the Navy and the free-traders. 
And when the E.I. Co. 's charters expired and their ships 
were sold, it was a long time before the Mercantile 
Marine of Great Britain recovered its lost status, if 
indeed it ever has, for not only was there a tremendous 
falling off in the size and efficiency of the ships and the 
quality and professional capacity of the officers and 
men, but the dignity of trade also collapsed. 



EAST INDIAMEN 45 

Up to the last days of the East India Company, trade 
was still considered in the romantic light of Elizabethan 
days. Those who opened up new trades were still 
distinguished as social lions and called "gentlemen 
adventurers." And it was only after the East India 
Company had lost its privileges and its power that 
merchants and shipowners came to be considered dull 
and prosaic money-makers with no quality of romance 
about them. 

The following of these splendid first-class East 
Indiamen were built in the Blackwall Yard during the 
last days of the Hon, East India Company: — 1813, 
Lady Melville, 1321 tons; 1816, Waterloo, 1325 tons; 
1817, Canning, 132Q tons; Duke of York, 1327 tons, and 
Thomas Coutts, 1334 tons; 1818, Kellie Castle, 1350 
tons, and Dunira, 1325 tons; 1820, Repulse, 1333 tons; 
Royal George, 1333 tons, and Kent, 1332 tons; 1821, 
Duchess of Aihol, 1333 tons; Surat Castle, 1223 tons; 
1825, Abercrombie Robinson, 1325 tons, and Edinburgh, 
1325 tons. 

Probably the best known of the above was the beauti- 
ful Thomas Coutts, of which there is a well-known 
aquatint by Huggins. She crossed three skysail yards 
and would have been a fast ship in any company. 

In 1826, under the command of Alexander Chrystie, 
she went out to Bombay in 82 days from the Channel, 
arriving in Bombay harbour on 2nd June. From 
Bombay she went on to China, calling at Singapore, and 
she finally arrived in the Downs on 2nd March, 1827, 
having made the quickest voyage on record, being out 
ten days less than a year. 

The Kent is celebrated for a very tragic reason ; for in 
1825 she was destroyed by fire in the Bay of Biscay 
when carrying troops — her end being always given a 



46 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

very prominent place in all books dealing with diiasters 
at sea. 

Henry Green apprenticed as a Shipwright. 

In 1822, Henry Green, George Green's second son and 
the future partner of the firm of R. «& H. Green, was 
apprenticed as a shipwright at the age of fourteen, and 
he made such progress that in 1824 he was appointed 
assistant foreman in the building of the ship Simon 
Taylor, of 408 tons. The following year he was sent 
to sea as fifth officer of the East Indiaman Vansittart, 
Captain Dalrymple, and in 1827 he went a second 
voyage in the well-known Charles Grant. It will thus 
be seen that he had an all-round training. 

The "Carn Brae Castle." 

The year 1824 was a notable one in the fortunes of 
the Blackwall Yard. Besides the Sural Castle, two 
smaller East Indiamen were launched — the Lord 
Amherst, 506 tons, and the Cam Brae Castle, of 570 tons. 
This last vessel was the first of her type. She was 
designed by Captain Huddart specially for the passenger 
trade to Calcutta and was considered the finest vessel of 
her day. She was afterwards lost in Freshwater Bay, 
Isle of Wight, on the day she left Portsmouth, having 
stood in too close to the land whilst the captain and 
passengers were at dinner. She was owned, by the way, 
by Captain Davey, a retired John Company officer. 

The "Sir Edward Paget," Pioneer Ship of 
Green's Blackwall Line. 

In this year, also, the Sir Edward Paget was 
purchased by Mr. George Green on his own account and 
thus was the first of Green's Line of passenger ships to 
Calcutta. 



GREEN'S HOUSE-FLAG 47 

The Paget, as she was usually called, was a very smart 
ship and most elaborately fitted. She was commanded 
by Captain Geary, a Captain in the Royal Navy. 

The Origin of Green's House-Flag. 

The Paget hoisted a square white flag with a St. 
George's Cross through the centre as the house-flag of the 
new line. This, however, was not allowed to fly for 
long. On her arrival at Spithead, when outward bound, 
she flew her new flag at the main. The Admiral of the 
port immediately sent off to inquire what ship it was 
that dared to fly an Admiral's flag. On learning the 
facts of the case, he at once ordered it to be hauled down. 
The story goes that the chief oflicer of the Paget, on 
hearing of the peremptory command of the port Admiral, 
dashed aloft, swarmed the flagpole, and cutting off the 
tail of his blue coat, pinned it in the centre of the flag. 
This makes a good story — but it was also said that a 
sailor's blue handkerchief was sewn in the centre of the 
flag in order to satisfy the Admiral and comply with 
the Navy Regulations. Of the two, this seems the 
more likely yarn, but whichever way the difficulty was 
overcome this makeshift flag henceforth became the 
house-flag of the Blackwall Line: and when the two 
families of Green and Wigram dissolved partnership in 
1843, they settled the matter of altering the flag in a 
very neat way. Wigram retained the flag in its old 
form, of blue square over red cross, whilst Green put 
the red cross over the blue square. 

The "Paget" run Man-of-War Fashion. 

After this slight set-back the lordly Paget 
continued her voyage. On her arrival back in the 
Thames, she brought up off the yard, and George Green 
immediately went on board to inspect her. To his 



48 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

amazement he was received in real man-of-war fashion. 
The yards were manned, a sakite fired and the ship's 
band played "The Conquering Hero," And he soon 
found that down to the smallest detail the ship was run 
Navy fashion. However, Captain Geary's heavy man- 
of-war style of carrying on was far from being a financial 
success, and on her second voyage the Paget received a 
new captain and a new set of ships' regulations. 

The Shipwrights' Strike on the Thames. 

In 1825, besides the sister ships Abercrombie 
Robinson and Edinburgh, Green & Wigram built the 
Roxburgh Castle, of 565 tons, and chartered her to the 
H.E.I.C. 

In 1826 they built the Hudson Bay trader Prince 
Rupert, of 229 tons. 

In 1829 George Green's eldest son, Richard, was 
taken into partnership. In this year the firm, now 
styled Green, Wigram & Green, began to take an 
interest in the whaling trade to the South Seas, and 
bought the whaler Matilda, and also laid down the 
Harpooner, of 374 tons. 

In 1830 a great shipwrights' strike began on the 
Thames, This lasted so long that grass grew on the 
building slips at Blackwall, and the foreman and 
apprentices worked together at any odd jobs that came 
in. The shipwrights eventually gained the day, and 
their union dates from that year. 

By this time the building of large Indiamen for the 
service of the H.E.I.C. had practically ceased, in view 
of the approaching expiration of their charter. But 
several private firms were preparing to enter the lists in 
competition for the Eastern trade, and not least of these 
were Green & Wigram. 



PART II. 
' * A VOYAGE OUT EAST IN THE GOOD OLD DAYS * ! 

A hundred years is a very long time, 

Oh-ho! Yes ! oh-ho ! 
A hundred years is a very long time, 

A hundred years ago. 

They hung a man for making steam, 

Oh-ho ! Yes ! oh-ho ! 
They cast his body in the stream, 

A hundred years ago. — (Old Chanty.) 

The Merchant Service. 

TDEFORE we bid goodbye to the stately ships of the 
Hon. East India Company, let us take a voyage 
out East in the "Merchant Service, " as the company's 
employ was called. Up to the eighteen thirties, if you 
said you were in the Merchant Service you were con- 
sidered an exceedingly lucky person, with a smooth path 
through life in front of you and an eventual fortune. 
Socially you were considered the equal of your confreres 
of the naval service; and you looked down with the 
most disdainful eye upon anyone in any other kind of 
sea trade. 

We will, however, ship as passengers, and take cuddy- 
berths for Calcutta in a first-class ship along with the 
"nabobs" and the "griffins." The first thing to do is 
to look down the shipping columns, to find out what 
ships have been taken up for the ensuing season. Ah I 
here is an East India shipping notice of 1830. 
£ 49 



50 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

East India Shipping Notice. 

"On the 15th of May a Court of Directors was 
held at the East India House, when the following ships 
were taken up, viz. : — 

Duke of York, Scaleby Castle, Warren Hastings, Kellie Castle, 
Buckinghamshire , Castle Huntley, and Vansittart, for Bengal and China. 

The Marquis of Huntley, Duke of Sussex, Herefordshire, Farquharson, 
and Lady Melville for Bombay and China. 

The Waterloo, Thomas Grenville, Minerva and Prince Regent, for 
China direct. 

Captain Bryan Broughton of the ship Earl of Balcarres 
took leave of the Court previous to departing for China 
direct. " 

An India Husband. 

The first point to remark on is the fact that the 
ships were not as a rule owned by the East India 
Company. They were "taken up" for one voyage or 
more — that is to say, they were chartered from private 
owners. 

A private owner was called a "ship's husband," and 
an "India husband" was the term applied to a man who 
chartered ships to the H.E.I.C., which ships were 
specially built for the East India trade and conformed 
in every particular of design and building material to 
the rules and regulations laid down by the company. 
An India husband was usually a very rich man and a 
large shareholder in the East India Company itself. 
The East India Company was a monopoly in the hands 
of a few men, and an outsider had little chance of getting 
inside the ring. 

To return to our shipping notice, all the above ships 
were well known Indiamen. It will be noticed that 
they were mostly called after historic castles and titled 



EARL OF BALCARRES 51 

men, but there was never any uniform method of naming 
Indiamen, as is the fashion with every shipping line 
nowadays. 

The "Earl of Balcarres." 

The Earl of Balcarres, mentioned above, was one 
of the best known ships of her day, and no finer specimen 
of an old type Indiaman was ever built. She was 
constructed entirely of teak in the company's dockyard 
at Bombay in 1815 and measured 1417 tons. In her 
early days she carried two tiers of guns, and in most ways 
was hardly at all inferior to a two-decked man-of-war. 
Her ship's company consisted of commander, 6 mates, 
surgeon and assistant surgeon, 6 midshipmen, purser, 
bosun, gunner, carpenter, master-at-arms, armourer, 
butcher, baker, poulterer, caulker, cooper, 2 stewards, 
2 cooks, 2 bosun's mates, 2 gunner's mates, 2 carpenter's 
mates, 1 cooper's mate, 1 caulker's mate, 6 quarter- 
masters, 1 sailmaker, 7 officers' servants and 78 seamen 
—130 in all. 

In 1831, owing to the coming expiration of their 
charter in 1833, the H.E.I.C. and the India husbands 
began gradually to sell their ships, but it was not until 
17th September, 1834, that this old favourite was sold. 
Though nineteen years of age, the Earl of Balcarres was 
by no means past her prime, and she realised £10,700, 
an amount only equalled by the Thames, which had 
been sold two years earlier, and exceeded in the case of 
the Lowther Castle, which fetched £13,950. Both the 
Earl of Balcarres and the Lozvther Castle were bought by 
Joseph Somes. The Earl of Balcarres, after over fifty 
years of active service, eventually ended her career as a 
hulk on the West Coast of Africa. 



62 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Fast Passages of East Indiamen. 

Though speed was far from being the first 
desideratum in the building of these old timers, and sail 
was always reduced at night, they were often very fast 
before the wind with stunsails set. That the Earl of 
Balcarres was unusually fast for her type may be proved 
by a passage of 79 days which she made to Bombay in 
the year 1836. 

The Thomas Coutts, also, was a fast ship. She 
arrived in Bombay, 82 days out from England, on 2nd 
June, 1826. She went on to China, and sailing for home 
via St. Helena arrived in the Downs on 2nd March, 
1827, having made the quickest voyage to the East on 
record. 

The Lord Wellington as far back as 1820 went from 
London to Calcutta in 82 days, without ever doing more 
than 200 miles a day. 

The Castle Huntley left Torbay, 1st April, passed the 
Lizard 6th April and arrived Bombay 22nd June, 77 
days from the Lizard. 

The Thames left China on the 18th November, 1831, 
passed Java Head on 5th December, St, Helena on 28th 
January, 1832, and arrived off Portland 13th March 
115 days from China. 

This Thames was built in London in 1819, measured 
1425 tons, and was one of the finest ships in the service. 
Cook, R.A., made a beautiful etching of this ship 
getting underweigh from the Isle of Wight, which has 
often been reproduced as an illustration. 

Smuggling on an East Indiaman. 

At one time in her career the Thames became the 
cause of a rather unusual case in the Law Courts. Her 
chief officer was prosecuted and heavily fined for 



THE LONDON RIVER 53 

smuggling. It appears that on her arrival off the 
Scillies from the East a pilot boat brought off six or 
seven men who immediately repaired to the mate's 
cabin. Here they found a rich display of silks, which 
they proceeded to wind round their bodies under their 
clothes. But, not content with this, the mate lowered 
a further supply, neatly packed in cases, into the boat 
alongside, which thereupon returned to the islands 
with its crew of living mummies. Unluckily for this 
enterprising mate, these proceedings were spied upon 
by an unsportsmanlike passenger, who informed against 
him on the ship's arrival at Gravesend. 

Passage Money and Cabin Furniture. 

Our passage money of something over £100 
having been paid, we next have to buy furniture for our 
cabin, for though the ship provides table wines in the 
most liberal fashion, it does not supply linen or furniture 
for the tiny cabin, and the traveller to the East was 
accustomed to move about with a small house on his 
back. We send our mountain of luggage and cabin 
furniture aboard while the ship is in dock, but wait 
before going aboard to arrange our home for so many 
months, until the ship has left the docks and is anchored 
off Blackwall Stairs. 

The London River in 1830. 

One fine spring afternoon we decide to take a 
waterman at Temple Stairs, drop down on the ebb and 
take a look at our ship. It is one of those days which 
shrouds London in wreaths of blue mist and turns the 
smoky metropolis into a very city of mystery, where 
sudden shafts of gold from a hidden sun pierce the haze 
and reveal towers and steeples of a fairy -like beauty, in 
the midst of which St. Paul's gleams like a globe of silver. 



64 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

There was no Embankment with its trim rows of 
electric lamps in those days, only a muddy foreshore 
littered with barges. Some of these are in tiers, made 
fast to piles in the river; others have their noses on the 
ground, and their lofty spritsail yards with the rich 
brown sails rise above the squalid slums which lie at 
the back of the Strand. 

Around the well-worn steps of the Temple Stairs 
cluster a crowd of wherries, all rich in yellow varnish 
and each with its name gaily painted across the stern 
sheets. As we approach, the nodding watermen 
suddenly spring into eager rivalry and speedily deafen 
us with the hoarsely shouted merits of their boats. 
Which shall we choose— "the Will of the Wise," the 
"Rose in June" or the "Victory" — wisdom, beauty or 
glory ? 

The last of these has a boatman with the real old 
tarpaulin cut about him. His face is rugged and tanned 
to leather by the winds. His grizzled hair is tied in a 
pigtail — a mode long since gone out of fashion. Silver 
hoops adorn his ears. And the straiglit white scar of a 
boarding cutlass stretches across his cheek to the very 
edge of his mouth, which is ceaselessly at movement 
upon the "chaw of tobaccy, " which was almost more 
than meat and drink to the sailor of his day. 

He wears a well-oiled sou'wester hat, a blue coat, 
brass -buttoned and very wide in the skirts, and white 
bell-mouthed breeches. Below the lapel of his coat a 
couple of faded ribbons can be seen roughly pinned to 
the cloth by a seaming needle, whilst on his left arm is 
buckled the badge of his calling. 

Without hesitation we beckon this old shellback 
alongside and step aboard. And Ave are scarcely under- 
weigh before our glance at a hairy tattooed fist which 



THE LONDON RIVER 55 

lacks two fingers brings out the glorious story of 
Trafalgar. 

Then, as we listen to his yarn, the wherry swings out 
through the swirling tide beneath London bridge, and 
we find ourselves hemmed in by shipping on every side. 
Forests of spars block out the sky, and well-tarred hulls, 
bluff-bowed and barrel-sided, hide the yellow waters of 
the busy river. With a stroke here and a backwater 
there, our waterman cleverly dodges through the 
confusion of the Upper Pool. 

Here he slips under the well-steeved jibboom of a 
Geordie brig, taking care to keep well to windward of 
the cloud of black dust which fills the air around her, for 
she is unloading her coal into a dumb-barge alongside — 
coal-whipping, as this process was called. Here he 
swings under the stern of a free-trade barque; then has 
to pull across the tide to avoid a veritable battle of the 
coals, in which something like a hundred of these grim 
weather-beaten North -Countrymen are taking part. 

Geordie Brigs. 

These same rough-looking colliers have for long 
been one of the finest nurseries for British seamen. 
As far back as the Stuarts, in the Dutch wars, the 
Admiralty always relied on the arrival of the North- 
Country coal fleet in the Thames to complete the 
manning of the Red, Blue, and White squadrons, which 
lay off the buoy of the Nore, in readiness to put out after 
de Renter or Van Tromp. 

Many a famous merchant seaman served his time 
in an East Coast brig. It was always the custom to 
carry seamen apprentices in the Geordies, indeed it was 
impossible for a greenhorn who had not signed appren- 
ticeship articles — a " half -marrow, " as he was called — 



56 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

to get shipped in a Tyne collier. When these appren- 
tices had served their time — a matter usually of seven 
years — they had to pass an examination in seamanship 
before a committee of foremast hands before being 
considered able seamen. It was a real marlinspike 
examination, in which the candidate had to prove his 
skill in putting a clew or reef cringle into a sail, turn up 
a shroud, graft a bucket rope, fit a mast cover, fish a 
spar, gammon a bowsprit, and make all the many 
kinds of fancy, stopper and ornamental knots. The 
most famous of all Geordie apprentices was Captain 
Cook, who was not only brought up in a collier, but 
deliberately chose a collier in which to make his voyages 
of discovery. 

The Discovery was built by Langborne, of Whitby, in 
1774, measured 229 tons burthen, and, at Cook's desire, 
was purchased into the Navy at a cost of £2450. In 
1830, the date of our voyage, she lay moored at Deptford, 
ignobly used by an ungrateful country as that horror of 
horrors, a prison ship. Yet she was by no means as old 
as some of those vessels whipping coal to leeward or 
tiding down the river with our wherry. Many of these 
Geordie brigs with "stem and stern sawed off square 
like a sugar-box" were close on 100 years old. 

The *' Betsy Cains." 

The most historic of colliers was the Betsy Cains, 
which went to pieces in a gale of wind off Tynemouth in 
February, 1827. At the time of her wreck, the New- 
castle C our ant published the following statement : — 

In 1688 the Betsy Cains brought over to England William, Prince 
of Orange, and was then called the Princess Mary; for a number of years 
she was one of Queen Anne's Royal yachts; and at that time was 
considered a remarkably fast sailing vessel. 



BETSY CAINS 67 

The Betsy Cains was certainly a very old vessel, and 
the amount of carving and gilding about her stem and 
stern proved that she had not always been a collier. 
For years it was believed that she had been the vessel 
that brought the Prince of Orange over, and there was 
even an old prophecy which said that the Papists would 
never get the upper hand whilst the Betsy Cains 
remained afloat. 

But it has since been proved from old shipping lists 
and Admiralty Court reports that she could not have 
been the vessel which brought over the Prince, yet may 
possibly have been the Royal yacht Mary, which brought 
Queen Mary over. At her wreck so many legends were 
current about her that she was practically pulled to 
pieces by relic hunters. 

The Betsy Cains measured 83 ft. 3 in. long by 23 ft. 
beam. She was brig-rigged, but carried the old mizen 
yard, setting a lateen sail. Before she was turned 
into a collier she is supposed to have run for many 
years as a West India sugar ship. 

The "Brotherly Love." 

Another North-Country centenarian was the 
collier brig Brotherly Love, which was run down and 
sunk off the Yorkshire coast in 1878. This vessel 
was built at Ipswich in 1764, and measured 214 tons; 
86.5 ft. length, 24 ft. beam, 17 ft. depth. She is 
thus described in Fairplay of 27th June, 1890: — 

One of the most remarkable of the wooden ships I have known was 
the Brotherly Love, of South Shields. This ship was built in the early 
part of the last century and was owned by the late Mr. James Young of 
South Shields, who inherited her from his father, to whom the brig 
descended, I believe, from his father. 

The amount of care which Mr. Young bestowed on this venerable 
brig was the talk of the Tyne, and her goings and comings we^e retailed 



58 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



from hand to hand as items of personal news, in which the whole 
community was interested. 

She made her voyages between the Tyne and Thames as faithfully 
and regularly as any of her younger sisters, and quaint as was her build, 
there was a business-like air about her, which shewed that the old 
builders knew what they were after. 

Never was private yacht more carefully overhauled, repaired and 
painted than was the Brotherly Love. Mr. Young made a perfect pet 
of her, and "Old Jimmy," as he was called, must have expended her 
value over and over again on her upkeep. Still she was the pride of 
his fleet and the wonder of the port. 

Geordie Characteristics. 

One is tempted to linger amongst these fascin- 
ating old ships, but space forbids ; the following however, 
deserve a place alongside the Betsy Cains and Brotherly 
Love, as belonging to the ancient order of "Geordies. " 



Date 
Built 


Name 


Tons Leng'h 


Beam 


Depth Where built 


1765 
1776 
1792 


Kitty 

Amphitrite - 
Cognac Packet 


130 
303 
169 


79.2 

103.6 

84.4 


22.3 ! 13.5 
27 16.6 
23 14.6 


Whitehaven 
North Shields 
Bursledon, 
Hamble River 



The Kitty foundered in 1884, when crossing from 
Dieppe to Runcorn with a cargo of flints, at which time 
both the others were still afloat. The Cognac Packet 
was built for the French brandy trade, as her name 
indicates; she was still in the coasting trade in her 
hundredth year, and ended her days in Harwich harbour. 

It would be a mistake to think that these ancient 
Geordie brigs and snows were specially slow, though 
their bows were as round as an apple and stem piece 
often a square baulk of timber. 

JNIr. Joseph Conrad, who saw one of the above cele- 
brities on the mud having her bottom scraped and also 
encountered her at sea, whilst in a Geordie himself, 
bears the following testimony to her speed. " That 



NORTH-COUNTRY COLLIERS 59 

old ghost used to beat all the coasting fleet fairly out of 
sight with the wind free, simply because of the amazing 
fineness of her run. " 

Those who were brought up in these old North- 
Country colliers learnt their trade in a rough school, 
yet it was a very fine one. The decks of some of these 
old timers were so full of ups and downs that one was 
obliged to wash them down in several places at once to 
avoid leaving "holidays," yet they were solid as so 
much rock. There was no chance of growing soft 
aboard such vessels. The ordinary method of boarding 
a ship by a gangway ladder was considered effeminate 
in a Geordie, and even their captains used the chain 
cable as their entry port. 

These old skippers were a race to themselves. One 
of the best known made a practice of going ashore in 
his out port, barefooted, his excuse being that he was 
not known in the place; yet he traded there regularly 
voyage after voyage. Their one failing was drink, and 
it is to be feared that under its influence they were often 
most brutally cruel to the wretched ship's boy, who 
was also a feature of the times. 

Heavy Horsemen, Light Horsemen and 
River Pirates. 

But to return to our wherry. We pass Billings- 
gate, round whose wharves a cluster of smacks are 
hustling to land their catches. On the other side we 
notice a row of gaily painted Dutch eel-boats. These 
were granted their privileged moorings abreast of the 
Fishmarket by no less a person than Queen Bess. She 
made one condition, however, namely that the mooring 
was never to be left vacant, and that is why the Dutch 
eel-boat became one of the best known sights in the 
London River. 



60 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

All around us river craft, large and small, ply their 
oars or urge their sweeps. A boat passes, half-covered 
by a tarpaulin, and we catch the words "heavy horse- 
men" grumbled beneath our waterman's breath, and 
we realise that, in spite of the newly opened docks, the 
river thieves still carry on a roaring trade. These 
"heavy horsemen" are ship burglars. They ply their 
trade boldly in broad daylight; and with the "light 
horsemen," the nightriders of the river, are the "top 
sawyers" of its large criminal population. 

They looked down upon the "scuffle -hunters," who 
pilfered pettily by means of large aprons; upon the 
bumboat-men and the rat-catchers, who used their 
trade as an excuse to rob; and, above all, upon the 
"mudlarks," who swarmed round a "game ship" at 
low water and grubbed for plunder in the mud. These 
river pirates feed hundreds of receivers, whose dens line 
the river banks ; and they load hundreds of "jew carts, " 
which drive off inland to dispose of their spoils. 

Under the tarpaulin of those heavy horsemen we 
should no doubt have discovered several bulging black 
bags, known in the trade as "black strap." These 
bags contained the day's loot. 

Shipping in the River. 

And now as we progress down stream, the river 
begins to grow slightly less crowded, and the ships 
themselves larger. 

Here are the timber droghers from the Baltic; there 
the wine ships from the Portugals: whilst, snuggling 
close to a high-sided, lofty-rigged sou-Spainer nestles 
a rakish-looking coast-of-Guinea-man, a low black 
Baltimore clipper with a murderous long torn between 
her masts. She looks for all the world like a pirate 



THE LONDON RIVER 61 

hooked on to a scared West Indiaman, and Yankee 
slaver is writ large all over her from her clean-scraped 
topmasts to her well-scrubbed copper. A little further 
on one of the bright-green Gravesend packets passes us 
with a tremendous clatter of paddle wheels and a noisy 
" chunk-chunk " of engines. She is crowded with 
people, for she shares the passenger traffic of London 
with the " growler " and the ridge-roofed omnibus, and 
of the three provides by far the most interesting ride. 

Her predecessor, the old hoy, is still, however, in 
evidence, for there are many in these early days of 
steam who refuse to trust themselves to the throbbing 
steam monster. One of the most regular passengers 
in these Diamond and Star paddle boats was Turner, 
the artist. From them he watched London sunset 
effects and took notes of the shipping. From one of 
them he is said to have watched the fighting Temeraire 
being towed to her last berth and thereby gained inspir- 
ation for the historic painting. 

We swing past the Tower, past Wapping Old Stairs, 
past Limehouse with its quaint old bow windows and 
flowered balconies; and now we are in Limehouse 
Reach with the Isle of Dogs, so called because a King 
once kept his kennels there, on our port hand, bristling 
with the masts of tall ships, which tower above the 
warehouse roofs of the West India Docks. 

Passing Greenwich, we soon find ourselves in Black- 
wall Reach. Here there is a big bend in the river. 
Right ahead of us several large ships lie anchored in 
the stream off the old Brunswick Dock, whose famous 
masthouse towers 120 feet in the air, a well-known 
mark for miles around and one eagerly looked for by the 
homeward bounder. 

Still beyond, our eyes are caught by another landmark 



62 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

jutting upwards from Blackwall Point. It is a cross- 
headed gibbet, from which the bodies of four pirates 
hang creaking in their chains, a gruesome warning which 
cannot fail to be noted by the crew of every passing ship. 

The vessels anchored ahead of us are the season's 
China and India ships, the very pick of the Mercantile 
Marine, and amongst these aristocrats of the sea floats 
the object of our journey. 
A Typical East Indiaman. 

We will suppose that we have chosen the Thames 
for our voyage. She was a typical first-class Indiaman 
of the last years of the Hon. John Company, and the 
non-nautical eye would have had some difficulty in 
distinguishing her from a crack frigate. Yet the 
difference was plain enough to a seaman. 

Our boatman has no difficulty in picking her out from 
the rest of the ships at anchor, each one of which he is 
able to name by small differences of sparring or rigging 
long before we can distinguish their hulls. In a few 
minutes we are alongside the gangway ladder, but as 
there are several boats crowding round the bottom step we 
have ample time to examine her before going on board. 

The first thing to strike modern eyes is her shortness — 
the great proportion which her beam bears to her length ; 
this with the tumble-home of her sides, the swelling 
cheeks of her bows, and the heaviness of her stern make 
us wonder how she is able to make such good passages. 
Then her channels are tremendous platforms, which 
would take 2 or 3 knots off her speed, if dipped when 
heavily pressed, with their huge dead-eyes trailing in 
the water. 

There are nine shrouds to her lower rigging, her fore 
and main topmast and lower stays are double. Her 
maintop would give space enough to dance in; but her 



A TYPICAL EAST INDIAMAN 63 

yards appear very light spars to eyes accustomed to the 
great steel tubes of a modern sailing ship, and but for 
her long stunsail booms she would show a very narrow 
sail plan. 

We count no less than 18 windows in her stern, in 
two stories. The upper tier look on to a narrow stern 
walk, surrounded by the white painted stanchions of a 
balcony. She lacks, indeed, a great deal of that 
lavish gingerbread work which was such a feature in 
her ancestors, and the gilded carving of her quarter 
galleries and stern is quite simple in design. 

There was a transition stage, to which the Thames 
belongs, when floridly elaborate carving and gilding 
were considered bad style, whilst the inlaying and 
capping of all deck fittings with brass had not yet come 
into fashion. She is painted a la Nelson in severe 
black and white, with a double row of ports. Her figure- 
head is a full length figure of Father Thames, holding 
his trident as if to spear a porpoise under the bows. 
She is riding to one anchor, the other with its ponderous 
stock and immense ring hangs from the fourfold purchase 
of the cathead. Two spare anchors are lashed in her fore 
rigging. Her upper row of ports are open, and we can 
see the red tompions of her guns. 

At the moment of our arrival her decks are crowded 
with people, amongst whom we can easily pick out 
the officers of the ship by the company's uniform. 
The Commander of an East Indiaman and 
his Emoluments. 

We are lucky enough to find the commander of 
the ship on the poop, as he rarely comes aboard before 
the ship reaches Gravesend ; and those who want to see 
him must needs search him out at the Jerusalem Coffee 
House, where the East India merchants and captains 



64 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

meet to transact business. However, he has evidently 
come aboard to show a distinguished passenger round 
the ship and is in full rig. His uniform coat is of blue, 
with bright gold embroidery, black velvet lapels, 
cuffs and collar; his waistcoat and breeches are of deep 
buff. He wears a black stock round his neck, a cocked 
hat on his head and side arms. The buttons of his 
coat and waistcoat were stamped with the lion and 
crown of the Hon. East India Company. Such was 
the dress of a commander in the Merchant Service, a 
man who ranked on an equality with a post captain in 
the Royal Navy. 

When a company's ship arrived in Calcutta, she 
was received with a salute of 13 guns, and the guard 
of the fort turned out and presented arms to her captain. 
His post was sought after by the best-born in the land, 
and was often bought for a large sum owing to its 
rich perquisites; and those who possessed H.E.I.C. 
nominations were men of power in the City. 

When the East India Company lost its monopoly, 
Captain Innes of the Abercrombie Robinson memorialised 
the company for compensation. He estimated the 
income and emoluments accruing from his appointment 
as commander upon an average of his last three voyages, 
exclusive of profits or investments, as £6100 per voyage. 
This was made up as follows : — 

Eighteen months' pay at £10 per month £180 

56 tons privilege outward at £4 per ton . . . . . . 224 

From port to port at 30 rupees per candy . . . . 336 

Homeward at £33 per ton 1848 

Two-fiiths tonnage from port to port, 478 tons at 30 rupees 

per candy, less charged by the Hon. Coy. £2 per ton 1912 

Primage 100 

Passage money after allowing for the provisions and stores 

provided for the passengers . . . . . . . . £1500 

Total per voyage £6100 



OFFICERS' ALLOWANCES 



65 



I have taken this out of Lindsey. I fear it will make 
the modern shipmaster sigh for the good old days. 
Captain Innes undoubtedly put his figures a good deal 
lower than he need have, for Lindsey gives an instance 
of a commander making no less than £30,000 out of the 
"double voyage," meaning from London to India, 
thence to China and home. Indeed to make from £8000 
to £10,000 a voyage was quite usual with those com- 
manders of East Indiamen who were clever business men. 

It is certain that no commercial concern ever treated 
its employees so handsomely as the Hon. East India 
Company did its commanders and officers. 



Officers' Allowances in the H.E.I.G. 

The extra allowances to officers, besides their 
proportions of freight and provisions, are almost 
unbelievable. 

Take the liquor allowance for instance. The com- 
mander was allowed 11 tons of wine, beer and other 
liquors, reckoning 36 dozen quart bottles to the ton. 
He also had permission to import two pipes of Madeira 
wine. 

The chief officer was allowed 24 dozen of wine or beer, 
and a puncheon of rum for the wardroom, where he 
messed with the second mate, surgeon and purser. 

The second mate was allowed 20 dozen of wine or beer. 



The third 


16 


The fourth ,, 


12 ,, 


The fifth 


10 ,, 


The surgeon , , , , 


14 ,, 


The purser , , , , 


16 


The surgeon's mate 


12 



The gunroom mess, headed by the third mate, was 
also allowed a DuncheoJ^ of rum. 



66 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The chief officer was allowed 2 firkins of butter, 1 cwt. 
of cheese, 1 cwt. of grocery, and 4 quarter cases of 
pickles as extra provisions ; the proportions of the other 
officers being on the same scale as the wine. 

The captain was given two personal servants; the 
chief officer, second officer, surgeon, bosun, gunner and 
carpenter were each giv^en a servant. No wonder that 
the Merchant Service was sought after by the highest 
in the land. 

The Foremast Hands of an Indiaman. 

The crew of the Thames are not yet on board, 
though they had been chosen before she hauled out of 
dock. The business of signing on had been carried out 
on board, for the day of shipping offices had not arrived. 

The time — 11 a.m. — had been posted up in the main 
rigging, and when the hour arrived there were perhaps 
two or three hundred men on the docks ide. Most of 
these men owed their advance notes to Hart, the Jew, 
a noted Ratcliffe Highway slopshop keeper and cashier 
of advance notes at high rates. His runners usually 
contrived to get their men in the front rank so as to 
catch the eyes of the first and second officers and boat- 
swain, who, in picking the crew, soon showed themselves 
to be expert judges of sailormen. 

The pay for foremast hands was 35s. a month; the 
advance, which was two months' pay, was at once 
pounced upon by the Jews, but Jack boasted that on a 
sou-Spainer bound to a warm climate he only needed a 
stockingful of clothes. However, it was noticeable 
that even if a man came aboard without a sea chest, he 
always had his ditty bag, which contained his marlin- 
spike, fid, palm and needles, bullock's horn of grease 
and serving board. 



FOREMAST HANDS 67 

In those days there was no mistaking a seaman for 
a landsman. He may perhaps be best described as 
a full-grown man with the heart of a child. His 
simplicity was on a par with his strength of limb, and 
his endurance was as extraordinary as his coolness and 
resource in moments of emergency or stress. 

In appearance he was recognisable anywhere, not only 
for the peculiar marks of the sea and the characteristics 
of his kind, but for his length and breadth of limb. 

In height he towered over the landsman of his age, 
whilst his shoulders occupied the space of two landsmen 
in a crowd, and his handshake was something to be 
avoided by people with weak bones. 

His dress was distinctive of his calling, the nearest 
approach to it being the rig of the present day man-of- 
war's man. He had, however, a fondness for striped 
cotton in shirt and trouser, and when he did consent to 
cover his feet sported pumps with big brass buckles 
instead of clumsy boots. The black neckerchief came 
in of course at Nelson 's funeral, being a sign of mourning 
for the little Admiral. 

As to headgear, his shiny black tarpaulin hat seems 
to have become entirely extinct, and the gaily coloured 
handkerchief, which was usually wound round the head 
in action, would cause one to suspect its wearer of aping 
the pirate in these sober-bued days. 

Having had a prowl round the ship, seen our furniture 
placed in our cabin, and drunk a glass of wine with the 
purser, we finally leave the Indiaman and pull back 
through the shipping on the first of the flood. 
An Indiaman leaving Gravesend. 

A fortnight later we find the Thames lying at 
Gravesend with the Blue Peter flying. We get aboard 
and then spend our time watching the busy scene. 



68 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Boat loads of passengers and luggage come alongside, 
one by one; the decks grow more and more crowded; 
raw young cadets jostle irate indigo planters; high- 
spirited youth bumps against testy old age; yellow 
skinned bearers and khitmagars, passengers' servants, 
glide hither and thither, chasing the elusive cabin 
baggage; whilst forward the bosun's pipe trills con- 
tinually in answer to the sharply called orders of the 
chief officer. 

Upon the poop a fiery faced old nabob struts pompously 
to and fro, stopping at every turn to shout fluent 
Hindoostanee over the poop-rail at his unfortunate 
bearer, who is vainly trying to disentangle his sahib's 
voluminous kit from a pile of hold baggage, which, 
under the superintendence of an energetic third mate, 
is disappearing bit by bit down the main hatch. 

Down on the quarterdeck a line of red coats are being 
mustered and numbered, with much shuffling and stamp- 
ing of heavily shod feet, rattling of accoutrements, and 
the roared out commands of a red -faced ramrod of a 
sergeant . 

From bumboats, which hang off the bows and 
quarters but are not allowed up to the gangway, East- 
End Jews attempt to smuggle liquor aboard under 
cover of much apparent confusion, and noise, but the 
sharp eyes of the mates are upon them and they have 
no success. 

Above the pipes of the bosun's whistle and those of his 
mates, above the "tenshun" and "stand -at -hease" of 
the sergeant, above the nabob's Hindoostanee and cries 
of boatmen and crew, rise the well-known sounds of an 
English farmyard, which plainly denote that the ship 
has got its live stock on board. 



LIVE STOCK ON AN INDIAMAN 69 

A Farmyard at Sea. 

Here is Captain Marryat's description of live 
stock on an Indiaman: — 

The Indiaman was a 1200-ton ship, as large as one of the small class 
seventy-fours in the King's service, strongly built with lofty bulwarks, 
and pierced on the upper deck for 18 guns, which were mounted on the 
quarterdeck and fo'c'sle. Abaft, a poop, higher than the bulwarks, 
extended forward 30 or 40 feet, under which was the cuddy or dining- 
room and state cabins appropriated to passengers. 

The poop, upon which you ascended by ladders on each side, was 
crowded with long ranges of coops, tenanted by every variety of domestic 
fowl awaiting, in happy unconsciousness, the day when they should be 
required to supply the luxurious table provided by the captain. 

In some, turkeys stretched forth their long necks, and tapped the 
deck as they picked up some ant who crossed it, in his industry. In 
others, the crowing of cocks and calling of the hens were incessant; or 
the geese, ranged up rank and file, waited but the signal from one of the 
party to raise up a simultaneous clamour, which as suddenly' was 
remitted. 

Coop answered coop, in variety of discord, while the poulterer 
walked round and round to supply the wants of so many hundreds 
committed to his charge. 

The booms before the mainmast were occupied by the large boats, 
which had been hoisted in preparatory to the voyage. They also com- 
posed a portion of the farmyard. The launch contained about fifty 
sheep, wedged together so closely that it was with difficulty they could 
find room to twist their jaws round, as they chewed the cud. 

The sternsheets of the barge and yawl were filled with goats and two 
calves, who were the first destined victims to the butcher's knife; whilst 
the remainder of their space was occupied by hay and other provender, 
pressed down by powerful machinery into the smallest compass. 

The occasional baaing and bleating on the booms was answered by 
the lowing of the three milch cows between the hatchways of the deck 
below; where also were to be descried a few more coops, containing fowls 
and rabbits. The manger forw^ard had been dedicated to the pigs; but, 
as the cables were not yet unbent or bucklers shipped, they at present 
were confined by gratings between the main deck guns, where they 
grunted at each passer-by, as if to ask for food. 

The boats, hoisted up on the quarters, and the guys of the davits, 
to which they were suspended, formed the kitchen gardens, from which 
the passengers were to be supplied, and were loaded with bags containing 
onions, potatoes, turnips, carrots, beets and cabbages, the latter, in 
their full round proportions, hanging in a row upon the guys, like strings 



70 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

of heads, which had been demanded in the wrath or the caprice of some 
despot of Mahomet's creed. 

Though the Thames was a larger ship than Marry at 's 
Indiaman, I much doubt if she carried goats and rabbits 
or even cabbages on the guys of her quarter-boats ; but 
Marryat was a man-of-war's man and no doubt seized 
the opportunity to poke a bit of fun at the farmyard 
appearance of an outward bound Indiaman. 

Presently the Downs pilot comes aboard and reports 
himself to the chief officer, and informs him that the 
tide will serve at 8 bells on the morrow. Slowly the 
afternoon draws in, the confusion aboard sorts itself out 
and the clamour dies down. 

Then at 8 bells, 8 p.m., we passengers and the 
officers of the troops retire to the cuddy for that most 
important hour called "grog time." 

Getting underweigh. 

At an early hour in the morning the order to man 
the capstan goes forth. The Thames has no windlass, 
the anchor being hove up by the capstan on the quarter- 
deck. A stout messenger is passed round the capstan 
and taken forward on each side of the deck. The ends 
of the messenger are lashed together, the cable being 
secured by short lengths of rope called "nippers." 
With the aid of the troops every bar on the capstan is 
double banked. At a nod from the captain, the pilot 
gives the order to "Heave round. " The fiddler mounts 
the capstan-head and strikes up: "The girl I left 
behind me." All hands "stamp and go." The 
mate in the head begins to watch the cable grow. The 
bosun pipes "topmen aloft. " The anchor is hove short. 
Another moment and the anchor is off the ground. 
"Sheet home" rings down from every mast. Slowly 



GETTING UNDERWEIGH 71 

the Indiaman gathers way and begins to roll up the 
yellow river in front of her fore foot. 

Cries of farewell pass between the ship and the boats, 
which are now rowing hard to keep alongside. The 
usual late comer is hooked in over the mizen chains. 
The ship lists gently as she feels the wind. There is a 
sudden gust of cheering from the black heads along the 
rail and the red coats in the rigging. A carronade on 
the poop bangs off a last farewell. The flag is dipped 
and we are off. 

Barking Creek soon heaves in sight; the Nore is 
passed; we run through the Queen's Channel with a 
nice breeze ; and presently we prepare to anchor in the 
Downs for the night. 

As soon as the North Sandhead Lightship is passed, 
the royals are clewed up, then down comes the jib and 
up go the courses. The pilot rounds the ship to and lets 
go off Deal. 

All in the Downs. 

On all sides of us ships of every degree are brought 
up, from the Guardship, a three-decker, down to a 
billy-boy. Close to us on our weather bow rolls a 
country -built trader — so close aboard indeed that the 
old Anglo-Indians swear that they can catch a whiff of 
the Jaun Bazaar, and the griffins spend much time 
peering at her in turn through the ship's telescope. 
Indeed there is no mistaking her— with all her yellow 
varnish, her gilt mouldings, bamboo stunsail poles and 
coir rigging, not to mention her lascar crew and golden - 
hued country canvas. 

Astern of her lay a very different ship. There was no 
gilt work about her, no weird carvings round her ugly 
sawed-off stern, no scroll work to relieve her clumsy 



72 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

white figurehead. A flush-decked ship, her decks are 
overcrowded with unsightly white-leaded box-like 
erections, and as she rolls we can see iron gratings over 
her open hatchways. On her main deck a line of 
slouching human cattle parade slowly in Indian file, 
watched over by red -coated despots, with muskets at 
the shoulder. A growl, as of wild beasts, and the 
clanking of chains is born to us on the wind. We gaze 
fascinated and then turn our eyes away with a shudder. 
The poorest imagination can picture the tragedy of that 
ugly black hull with its white deck houses, barred 
hatchways and red -coated sentries. It is that horror, 
a convict ship, bound for Botany Bay. Further off 
again lay a clinker-built Revenue cutter, the foam 
flashing up against the muzzles of her pop guns as she 
rolled. A powerful looking boat of some 150 tons, she 
evidently carries a rare press of sail. Her jibbooms 
equal her hull in length whilst her mainboom is so far 
over the taffrail as to make a footrope a necessity when 
reefing. She carries her lower yard cock-billef\ instead 
of loAvered down on the rail, on account of the sea running. 
Stunsail booms show on her topsail yard, and her 
topgallant yard is aloft with sail bent. She is ready, 
without doubt, to slip off at a moment's notice: the 
vessel that flew Revenue stripes had an arduous task in 
the thirties and very little rest if her commander knew 
his job. 

We turn our eyes away from the sprightly cutter in 
order to watch a beautiful frigate bring up astern of us. 
As she comes to the wind, her cloud of canvas seems to 
melt into nothing, as if by magic, for these are the 
days of extraordinary smartness in sail drill, when such 
evolutions as reefing topsails in stays, sending mainyard 
alongside the flagship, downing topgallant masts and 



SAIL DRILL 73 

then making all plain sail, stripping to a gantline, 
etc. , etc. , were carried out in an incredibly short space of 
time. 
Sail Drill. 

The rivalry between smart ships was tremendous 
and cost many a promising bluejacket his life. The 
men were like monkeys aloft. The order to lay aloft 
was the signal for a wild stampede up the ratlins in 
which the midshipmen, who were supposed to show the 
way, had to race for their lives ; for, if they were caught 
by the avalanche of topmen behind them, their backs 
were used as stepping stones by hundreds of eager feet. 
This smartness is sail drill reached its zenith just as 
masts and yards were giving way to the smoke stack. 

Many an old sailor in writing his reminiscences gives 
examples of evolutions which are little short of mar- 
vellous. Here is a specimen from Martello Tower's 
School and Sea Days : — 

In the Cuba we took great pride in displaying our smartness to the 
good people of Sydney; our favourite being to let them see the frigate 
approaching Farm Cove under canvas, when suddenly shooting forth 
from the side with vivid flash and cloud of white smoke, the loud bang 
of the first gun of a Governor's 19-gun salute would startle them. 
Simultaneously the lofty tower of sail began to disintegrate; and very 
slowly, but at timed and regular intervals as Mr. Fuzecap, the gunner, 
called out to his mates, "Starboard, port, starboard, port," successive 
shoots of flame darted out from alternate sides, the corresponding loud 
reports penetrating every corner of the city and into country districts 
for miles around, announcing to the Governor in Government House, 
to the magistrate on the bench, to children at school, to men hoisting 
bales of wool at the quays, to squatters on their periodical visit to the 
capital, to unfortunate noblemen languishing in Wooloomooloo jail that 
H.M.S. Cuba had returned. 

Meantime if there was but a light wind, the ship was considerabl> 
obscured, but when the smoke cleared what saw the observers then ? 
The surprising spectacle of a frigate quietly at anchor in the Cove, with 
sails furled, yards squared, no men aloft, lower booms out with boats 
attached to them, with the general appearance in short of having lain 
there qvJetly for weeks. 



74 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



The late Lord Charles Beresford records another 
example of sail drill before the eyes of wondering 
landsmen. He writes : — 

When we were sailing into the Bay of Naples under all possible sail, 
order was given: — " Shift topsails and courses, make all possible sail 
again," which really means that the masts were stripped of all sails and 
again all sails were hoisted. 

The time taken for this evolution by Beresford 's ship, 
the Marlborough, was 9 minutes 30 seconds. All wxnt 
without a hitch within 400 yards of the anchorage. 
Lord Charles Beresford gives a very interesting table of 
times made by the Marlborough in 1861, and adds: — 

When Sir William Martin was captain of the Prince Regent she was 
considered the smartest ship in the Navy, he brought the times of all her 
drills to the Marlborough; he allowed the Marlborough six months to get 
into trim before drilling with the Fleet, but she started to drill alongside 
the Fleet in three months and beat them all. 

Her times were as follows : — 



Evolution. 


Time allowed 


Time of 


by Admiral 


Marlborough 


Cross topgallant and royal yards 


7 m Os 


6m 30s ] 


Down topgallant yards with royal yards 






1 


across . . 


2 





1 13 


Up topgallant mast, cross upper yards 








and loose sails . . 


2 


30 


1 27 


Shift topgallant masts from royal yards 








across . . 


7 





5 40 


Up topgallant masts and make all plain 








sail 


4 





2 40 


Up topgallant masts and make all 








possible sail 


6 





3 


Shift topsails from plain sail 


G 





4 50 


In all boom boats from away aloft 


7 





6 


Out all boom boats 


7 





5 40 


Away lifeboats' crew 





30 


20 



Lord Charles Beresford mentions one or two of the 
smartest topmen he had known, and gives the palm to 
George Lewis. His best time from the order "Away 
aloft, " from his station in the maintop to the topgallant 



SAIL DRILL 75 

yardarm, a distance of 64 feet, was 13 seconds ; this was 
never beaten but it was equalled by another famous 
topman, Ninepin Jones. 

At one time the upper yard men had to go double that 
distance, for at the order "Way aloft" they had to 
start from the deck, and on the Marlborough the distance 
from the deck to the maintop was 67 feet. But starting 
from the deck was done away with when it was realised 
how many men injured their hearts and lungs by racing 
aloft to such a distance at their utmost speed. 

Gymnastics of the most dangerous description were 
indulged in by these agile topmen, and the following 
was one of the most common : — 

When a ship was paid off out ol Malta harbour, it was the custom 
that there should be a man standing erect on each of the trucks, main, 
inizen and fore. Many a time have I seen these men, balanced more 
than 200 feet in the air, strip off their shirts and wave them. And once 
I saw a man holding to the vane spindle set in the truck, and I saw the 
spindle break in his hand and the man fall. 

We have a different type of bluejacket in these days ; 
Beresford's topmen were lean, greyhound-waisted 
athletes, all gristle and bone, and as hard as nails. I 
wonder what they would think of the well-fed, bull- 
necked Hercules of the twentieth century. 

After this long digression, we must return to our 
Indiaman, as she rolls majestically in the short Channel 
sea which is making through the Downs. To the right 
of the frigate a Prussian snow rides buoyantly at the 
end of an old hemp cable; and, all around, vessels 
sweep their spars across the sky as they plunge and roll : 
almost every rig is represented, and the Red Ensign, 
the famous old "Red Duster, " is by no means the only 
national emblem present, though the ships flying it are 
by far the most numerous ; but a few, like the Prussian 
snow, are flying flags which have long since left the seas. 



76 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Amongst the ships, the well-known Deal galley punt 
flies hither and thither, reaping a harvest which I fear 
has long since failed; a harvest which has followed 
sails and without sailing ships has become extinct. 
But in 1830 the galley punt was a comfortable living 
for a number of boatmen and brought a fortune to not 
a few. All weathers came alike to the Deal boatmen 
in these sturdy open boats. They took anchors and 
cables out to vessels in distress; they saved uncounted 
lives from wrecks on the Goodwins; they brought 
provisions alongside famished ships; they landed the 
important King's Messenger and took off the belated 
passenger. And in slack times they dragged their 
creepers for many a lost anchor and chain left behind 
by ships which had had to cut and run to avoid dragging 
on to the Sands. 

At sunset the line-of -battle ship fires a gun, and 
instantly the colours flutter down from every gaff and 
masthead. For a while we stay on deck watching the 
yellow after-glow darken into night and then, finding it 
growing chilly, we retire to the cuddy to write letters, 
which will be posted in Deal by our attendant galley 
punt in the morning. 

Down Channel. 

We are awakened before daybreak by the steady 
tramp of feet over our heads, they are washing down the 
poop. This rouses us up, and we slip on deck in time to 
enjoy a beautiful sea effect — a fleet of ships getting 
underweigh at dawn. 

In the East a flush of rosy light paints the sky along 
a horizon of deep indigo. Nearer at hand the foaming 
crests show like yellow soapsuds. Against the growing 
light the spars of the ships to windward stand out like 



DOWN CHANNEL 77 

clean-cut jet, while to leeward they gleam as if touched 
with fire. It is cold and clear, with the wind almost 
round to north: such a morning as makes one glow with 
health and long for the breakfast hour. 

Aboard our Indiaman the bustle of getting under- 
weigh is in full swing. The capstan revolves to the 
sound of squeaking catgut. 

"Stamp and go ! Stamp and go ! Breast the bars and 
run her round, boys !" 

All around us we can hear the clink, clink of the pawls 
as the outward bounders hasten to take advantage of the 
slant. It is an inspiriting scene, and the idle passenger 
longs to take a hand instead of having to blow on his 
fingers and stamp his feet to keep himself warm. It is a 
close race as to who will be first away. Our bosun trills 
on his pipe, and away go the topmen aloft ; at the same 
time black midgets can be seen clambering up the 
shrouds of our neighbours. The gaskets are cast off; 
and, as the anchor leaves the ground, our topsails drop 
simultaneously and are sheeted home together. The 
Thames makes a slow courtesy as she feels the wind in 
her sails, crushes a sea into froth, and taking a long 
white bone in her teeth sets off down Channel. 

"Out studding sails !" is the next order; and before 
the breakfast bugle goes, the kites have been set, the 
anchors stowed and the decks cleared up. 

Just before stepping below we take a look round at 
our neighbours. The country ship is already far astern 
and the sinister vessel for Botany Bay still further. 
Even the frigate is doing no more than holding her own, 
for the Thames has a clean pair of heels. 

The Channel held more of the picturesque in the 
thirties than it does at the present day. There were no 
trails of smoke along the horizon, no ugly steam tramps, 



78 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

no squat coasters with bridge and funnel on the poop, 
no giant liners or grey destroyers, but the sparkling 
waters were dotted with sails in every direction. 

There, down to leeward, is a powerful cutter with a 
large "P" in her mainsail below a number, a pilot boat 
cruising back and forth across the traffic. 

There goes a three-masted lugger, "ratching*' along 
the land. With her huge dipping lugs she needs a 
number of men : the water boils under her forefoot and 
she is making great way under the pull of those heavy 
lugs, which are cut with a much greater bag than is ever 
seen nowadays. She is only half -decked, and as one 
watches her, tales of smugglers rise to the mind. 

Coasters of all sorts are taking advantage of the 
off-shore wind — brigs, brigantines, topsail schooners, 
snows, galliots, ketches, yawls, spritsail barges and 
heavy cutters with great square-headed topsails. 

The Thames makes a quick run of it to the Mother 
Bank, where she brings up for mails and despatches. 

The Last Sailing Ships in the Royal Navy. 

Whilst we are brought up a beautiful full-rig ship 
sails majestically by us under all plain sail. She is the 
celebrated yacht Falcon, flagship of Lord Yarborough, 
Commodore of the Royal Yacht Squadron. In those 
days the members of the R.Y.S. took the chief object 
for the founding of their club very much to heart. 
This object was the improvement of the armed sailing 
ship. Lord Yarborough, the Commodore, was more 
salt than his own shellbacks ; he fitted the Falcon as an 
armed corvette and put his crew under strict naval 
discipline. And when the experimental squadron was 
fitted out, he gained the Admiralty's permission to join 
them during their cruises in the Channel. His example 



Vim %\ 




43 



r^ "Ti "* 

^ ^ 1. 

S - ^ 

- O W 



Oh 




SAILING MEN-OF-WAR 



79 



was followed by Lord Vernon, who built the Harlequin 
to the designs of Captain Symonds, R.N., and fitted her 
as a 10 -gun brig. 

In 1829 the Falcon and Harlequin joined the cruises 
of the experimental squadron under the Trafalgar 
veteran, Sir Edward Codrington, and the Harlequin 
soon proved to be of superior speed to the other ships. 
Whilst he was having the Harlequin built, Lord Vernon 
persuaded the Admiralty to give Captain Symonds a 
contract for a gun brig, the result of which was the 
Columbine. Then the Duke of Portland gave Captain 
Symonds an order for a still larger gun brig. This was 
the Pantaloon. The Duke of Portland took her out with 
the experimental squadron in 1831, and the Admiralty 
were so impressed by her sailing that they bought her 
and made her the model for future 10-gun brigs. At 
the same time Captain Symonds succeeded Sir Robert 
Seppings. 

During the last years of sailing men-of-war Symonds 
turned out the following vessels which were far and 
away superior, both in strength, speed and sea-going 
qualities, to the famous wooden walls of the war period. 

The Symondites. 



Built 


Name 


Tons 


Length 


Beam 


Depth 


No. of 
Guns. 








ft. in. 


ft. in. 


ft. in. 




1831 


Pantaloon 




323 


91 11 


29 4 


12 8 


10 


1832 


Vernon . . 




2082 


176 


52 8 


26 5 


60 


1834 


Pique 




1633 


160 


48 11 


14 7 


40 


1835 


Vanguard 




2609 


190 


57 


23 4 


80 


1838 


Ptlot 




485 


105 


33 6 


14 10 


16 


1839 


Queen 




3104 


204 2 


60 


23 9 


110 


1841 


spartan . . 




918 


131 


40 7 


10 9 


26 


1842 


Cumberland 




2214 


ISO 


54 3 


22 4 


70 


1844 


Flying Fish 




445 


103 1 


32 5 


14 4 


12 


1847 


Bntomart 




330 


93 


29 4 


13 6 


8 



80 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

These measurements are interesting as a comparison 
with those of merchantmen of the same period. The 
strength of these ships was wonderfully demonstrated 
by the famous Pique frigate. On her way home from 
Canada in 1835, under Captain the Hon. Henry John 
Rous, she stranded near Point Forteau, Labrador, and 
bumped heavily on a rock bottom for eleven hours with 
a nasty sea running, which ground away all her false 
keel and a good deal of her outer skin. Yet she was 
floated and brought home in twenty -one days in spite 
of very bad weather and the fact that she leaked at the 
rate of nearly 3 feet an hour the whole way across the 
Western Ocean. 

The Pique was known as a " fancy frigate, " on board 
of which a seaman's lot was by no means a soft one, to 
which the well-known song, " Oh, 'tis a fine frigate," 
gave testimony in an unending number of verses; one 
of these showing the Pique's powers at sail drill I 
cannot resist from quoting: — 

And now, my brave boys, comes the best of the fun. 
It's " Hands about ship and reef topsails in one," 
So, it's lay aloft, topmen, as the helium goes down. 
And clew down your topsails as the mainyard goes round. 

Joseph White, of Cowes. 

It would not be fair to leave out the name of 
Joseph White, of Cowes, in speaking of improvements 
in design and build whether in men-of-war, merchant 
ships or yachts. Besides building several experimental 
brigs for the Navy, he and his successors John and 
Robert White were responsible for man}^ a speedy 
yacht and slippery opium clipper. 

In 1832 Joseph White built the brig Waterwitch for 
Lord Belfast. Though a yacht, she was fitted as a 
10-gun brig with very high bulwarks, heavy scantling 



WATERWITCn 81 

and a solid bottom, but she had a finer entrance, 
greater beam, and in every way was more strongly 
built than the celebrated Pantaloon. 

In the summer of 1832 with five months' stores and 
provisions, she joined the experimental squadron and 
speedily showed herself able to out-point and out -sail 
them all. Though she easily beat such crack ships as 
the Vernon, Castor, Stag, Prince of Wales, and Snake in 
light breezes, she displayed an even greater superiority 
in a strong breeze and head sea; at the same time she 
made a practice of carrying less sail than they did. 

These sailing trials raised a great deal of interest in 
naval and yachting circles, and sides were taken for 
and against the Waterwitch. Her detractors claimed 
that her foremast was stepped so far forward that she 
plunged like a collier; that her bows were without 
sufficient flare and that she rode so heavily that she was 
very hard on her ground tackle. Her supporters that the 
apple cheeks of naval bows must be superseded by the 
Waterwitch bow; that her stability, as proved by the 
inclination or heel, was far superior to that of her chief 
rival the gun brig Snake and that she could out-sail 
anything afloat. 

In 1833 Lord Belfast amused himself by waiting for 
King's ships coming out of Portsmouth harbour. He 
would then sail ahead of them, take in his mainsail and 
topgallant sails and still sail all round them; or he 
would make tack for tack and show the superior quick- 
ness of his vessel when in stays. He specially delighted 
in catching the Pantaloon, which was tender to the Royal 
yacht, and giving her a dressing down. The Water- 
witch only measured 330 tons, 100 less than the ordinary 
gun brig, and this was brought forward in her favour; 
at last, the Admiralty bought Waterwitch in September, 

Q 



82 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

1834. She was the last vessel which was built by private 
enterprise and afterwards taken into the Navy. 

All these famous experimental brigs, Harlequin, 
Columbine, Pantaloon, Waterwitch, Snake, and Flying 
Fish played a most important part in the suppression 
of the slave trade. 

One of the best known was the Daring, built by White 
Bros, in 1844. This was a very popular ship in the 
Navy and never had any difficulty in getting manned. 
Admiral Fitzgerald records how she hoisted her pennant 
on one occasion at 9 a.m. in Portsmouth and was fully 
manned by a picked crew at noon. Three times her 
complement offered themselves, there being boatloads 
of men laying off waiting for her pennant to go up, and 
so great was the rush that petty officers gave up ratings 
in order to enter as A.B, 's. 

This Daring was the rival of the Flying Fish, and 
measured 425 tons, 104 ft. length, 30 ft. breadth and 
15 ft. 2 in. depth. 

After this rather lengthy digression on the last of the 
sailing men-of-war let us now return to our Indiaman. 

Routine aboard an Indiaman, 

The Thames, having picked up her mail, makes a 
fine run down Channel and is soon out of soundings. 
By this time things have begun to settle down in their 
places. The commander and the nabob bring out a 
wonderful chessboard of carved ivory pieces; the 
planters smoke their cheroots, talk shop and spin 
marvellous yarns for the edification of the griffins, the 
cadets make love to the ladies, the troops sleep off their 
seasickness, and the ship's routine goes its regular round. 
As in a man-of-war, the crew are divided into two 
watches and the officers into three. 



ROUTINE ON BOARD 83 

The day's work begins at 5 a.m. when the third 
officer serves out the fresh water. This was no small 
labour before the days of water tanks. The water was 
carried in casks, often old rum puncheons, which soon 
turned the water, if, as was often the case, they were 
not properly charred inside. London River water would 
foul and sweeten again several times on a voyage to the 
East. It has been described as being as thick as treacle, 
blue as indigo, with a smell that you could not stand up 
against. The allowance on an Indiaman was 6 pints to 
each person and it was served out by the slow method of 
a hand-pump through the bung-hole of the cask. 

At 6 . 30 a . m . the decks were washed down and swabbed. 

At 7 bells the hammocks were piped up and stowed in 
their nettings, being piped down again at 3 bells in the 
afternoon. 

At 8 bells 8 a.m. all hands went to breakfast, but those 
who had had the morning watch had to come on deck 
again for the forenoon, when all hands were kept at 
rigging and ship's work. 

At 5 p.m. the decks were cleared up, sail trimmed 
for the night, and the hands were then allowed to knock 
off and skylark till 8 bells. 

Sail was handled as in a man-of-war, all three masts 
being worked together. The log was hove every two 
hours. On Fridays clothes were scrubbed and v/ashed 
in the ship's time. 

On Wednesdays and Saturdays the 'tween decks 
were cleaned and holystoned, after which they were 
inspected by the commander, surgeon and O.C. of 
troops, when troops were aboard. 

On Sundays no work was allowed, except the necessary 
sail trimming. In the morning the crew were mustered 
and inspected before church, as on board a man-of-war. 



84 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Besides other duties, the crew of an Indiaman had to 
devote some time to gun and small arms drill. Though 
the Hon, John Company no longer had to fear the French 
picaroon, the Seven Seas were still infested with the 
adventurer who preyed on merchant shipping. 

In Eastern waters the Chinese and Malay pirates were 
a menace right through the nineteenth century, whilst 
up to late in the thirties the picturesque European 
pirate was still to be met with. 

Pirates. 

In the nineteenth century, the true pirate had 
generally served an apprenticeship in a slaver, and his 
ship was always a heeler, usually built in Baltimore or 
Havannah for the slave trade. It was only the most 
daring ruffian who dared show his colours, the black 
flag with skull and crossbones ; and he almost invariably 
sneaked down on his prey with some little known ensign 
at his peak. 

The following notices, taken from the shipping papers 
of the year 1838, will give a good idea of his usual 
methods : — 

20th June, in 35° N., 7" W., the Thule was brought to by a brig 
carrying a red and white flag; deck covered with men, most of whom 
were black; weather heavy; cargo not tempting enough. 

25th June, in 34° N., 67° W., the William Miles was boarded by a 
piratical schooner about 150 tons, under Brazilian and Portuguese 
colours, with 50 or 60 men on board. Took two casks of provisions. 

4th July, in S6° N., 47° W., the Ceylon (American brig) was boarded 
by a piratical schooner under Portuguese colours; wine, water and 
provisions taken. 

5th July, in 38° N., 44° VV., the Catherine Elizabeth was boarded by 
a schooner under Spanish colours; appeared to have 50 or 60 men. 
Took a cask of beef and one of pork. 

The Azores packet, five days from Teneriffe, was boarded by a 
piratical brig full of men, which took from her a chain cable, hawsers, etc. 

EUza Locke, o Dublin, was chased off Madeira by a suspicious 
schooner for two days in May. 




" L'ANTONIO." 
The celebrated piratical slaver and other black craft lying in the 
Bonn}' River. 



From an old Lithograph. 



[To face Page Si. 



PIRATES 85 

29th July, an American schooner was boarded off Cay West by a 
piratical schooner and plundered of 400 dollars worth of articles. 

5th July, in 39° N., 34° W., the Isabella was boarded by a Spanish 
brig and robbed of spare sails, cordage, canvas and twine. 

It is noticeable from these reports that the corsair only- 
left traces of his path where he had met with ships from 
which there was nothing worth taking beyond provisions 
and bosun's stores. Who knows how many "missing 
ships" the above buccaneers could have accounted for. 

The "Black Joke" and Benito de Soto. 

Perhaps the best known pirate of the thirties was 
Benito de Soto, a villain whose history is worth noticing. 
Penito de Soto was a Portuguese. In 1827 he shipped 
before the mast in a large brigantine at Buenos Ayres. 
This vessel, named the Defensor de Pedro, sailed for the 
Coast of Africa to load slaves. Like all slavers she 
carried a large crew of dagoes ; the mate, a notorious 
ruffian, made friends with de Soto on the run across, 
and between them they hatched a plot to seize the ship 
on her arrival at the slave depot. The Defensor de 
Pedro hove to about 10 miles from the African shore, 
and as soon as the captain had left the ship to see the 
slave agent, de Soto and the mate took possession of 
her; 22 of the crew joined them, but the remaining 
18 refused. These men were immediately driven into a 
boat, which was capsized in an attempt to make a 
landing through the surf and every one of the honest 
18 drowned. 

The ship was then headed out to sea; the new pirates 
lost no time in breaking into the spirit room, and by 
sunset every man aboard had drunk himself into a 
stupor except B en ito . Th is super ior ruffian immed lately 
took advantage of this to put a pistol to tlie head of his 



86 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

helpless confederate, the mate, and daring the drunken 
crew to interfere promptly shot him dead. 

The whole thing was carried through in the true 
piratical spirit. The drunken crew at once declared 
that de Soto was just the sort of captain they wanted ; 
and without any more ado he took command. 

It appears that the ship had already got her cargo of 
"black ivory" on board, for Benito de Soto is next 
heard of in the West Indies, where he sold the slaves at 
very good prices. 

He remained cruising in West Indian waters for some 
time and plundered a quantity of ships, most of which 
he scuttled after battening their crews doAvn below. 

Having exhausted this cruising ground, he next took 
up a position in the South Atlantic right in the route of 
the traffic to the East. 

In a very short while his raking brigantine, which 
had been renamed the Black Joke, had become the 
scourge of those seas. 

Indeed, so great was the terror of Benito and his 
Black Joke in those seas by 1832 that homeward bound 
Indiamen began to make up convoys of themselves at 
St. Helena before heading north. 

Early in that year a whole fleet of ships was held up 
there through fear of the pirate. 

At last a convoy of eight ships was made up which 
started off homewards with the Indiaman Susan, of 
600 tons, as their flagship. Unfortunately one of these 
vessels, a barque, the Morning Star, of Scarborough, 
homeward bound from Ceylon with 25 invalid soldiers 
and a few passengers, was an extraordinarily slow sailer. 
By the third day all the ships had gone ahead except the 
Susan, which in order to keep back to the Morning 
Starts pace had i& reduce sail to topsails and foresail. 



PIRATES 87 

This progress was at last too slow for the Susan, and 
bidding good-bye to the barque she also went ahead. 

At 11 a.m. on the second day after parting with the 
Morning Star the Susan sighted a large brigantine, 
crowded with men and showing a heavy long torn amid- 
ships. The pirate immediately bore down upon the 
Indiaman, and clearing his long gun for action hoisted 
the skull and crossbones at the main. 

The Susan was only a small Indiaman of 600 tons 
and eight guns, nevertheless the sight of her four 
starboard broadside guns run out made Benito de Soto 
sheer off into her wake. Here he dodged about for over 
two hours, hesitating whether to attack or not; finally 
he sailed off in the direction he had appeared from. 
It was a lucky escape, for by some oversight the Susan 
had no powder on board though tons of shot. 

Meanwhile the Morning Star was jogging along in 
the wake of the Susan. On the 21st February, when 
abreast of Ascension, a sail was sighted at daylight on 
the western horizon. Her hull was fast disappearing 
from sight, when suddenly she altered her course and 
bore down upon the barque. The action was a sus- 
picious one, especially when a pirate was known to be 
in the vicinity, and Captain Souley, of the Morning 
Star, immediately called all hands and crowded sail to 
get away. 

The stranger proved to be a long, low black brigantine 
with raking masts. "The Black Joke'' was whispered 
round the decks with bated breath. 

The pirate, as she rapidly overhauled the slow sailing 
Morning Star, hoisted British colours and fired a gun 
for the barque to back her topsail, but Captain Souley 
held on, thereupon the Colombian colours replaced the 
British on the pirate. He was now so close to the 



88 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

barque that his decks could be seen crowded with men. 
Benito de Soto himself could be made out standing by 
the mainmast — a head and shoulders taller than his 
crew. Suddenly he sprang to the long gun and fired it. 
It was loaded with canister which cut up the rigging of 
the Morning Star and w^ounded many of her crew. 

Captain Souley held a hasty conference with his 
officers and passengers. It was decided to surrender; 
the colours were thereupon struck and the topsail 
backed. 

The Black Joke, with her long tom trained on to the 
deck of the barque, now ranged up to within 40 yards, 
and de Soto in stentorian tones ordered Captain Souley 
aboard the brigantine with his papers. A courageous 
passenger, however, volunteered to go to try and make 
terms w^ith the pirate. But he and his boat's crew 
returned to the barque, bleeding and exhausted, having 
been cruelly knocked about and beaten by the pirates. 
He brought the following arrogant message: "Tell 
your captain that Benito de Soto will deal with him 
alone. If he does not come I'll blow him out of the 
water." At this Captain Souley went aboard the 
Black Joke, taking his second mate and three soldiers 
with him besides the boat's crew. 

Benito de Soto, cutlass in hand, . silently motioned 
the wretched merchant skipper to approach. Then as 
he stood in front of him uncertain what to do, the pirate 
suddenly raised his cutlass and roared out; "Thus does 
Benito de Soto reward those who disobey him." The 
blow fell in full sight of the terrified people on the deck 
of the Morning Star. The poor skipper was cleft to the 
chin bone and fell dead without a sound at the pirate's 
feet. A shout of horror echoed across from the barque, 
at which Souley 's second mate, who had been motioned 



PIRATES 89 

forward, turned quickly in his tracks, only to be struck 
down and killed by Brabazon, de Soto's chief officer. 

The pirates, like wild beasts, having tasted blood, 
wanted more. The long gun was trained on the deck 
of the Morning Star; and as the ladies ran screaming 
below a charge of grape rattled about their ears. A 
boat of armed cut-throats next boarded the barque, but 
no resistance was offered, so Major Lobic and his sick 
soldiers were first stripped of their clothes and then 
thrown into the hold, a sick officer named Gibson dying 
from the brutal treatment shown to him. 

The ladies were fastened into the fo'c'sle, and looting 
commenced. All this time de Soto stood calm and 
composed at his vantage post by the mainmast of the 
Black Joke, directing operations with the voice of a 
tiger. Stores, instruments and cargo, including seven 
packages of jewellery, were transferred to the pirate ; and 
the cabins were looted of every vestige of clothing. 

Then the hatches were battened down, and, with the 
steward to wait upon them, the pirates settled down to 
a regular buccaneering carousal. The wretched w^omen 
were brought out of the fo'c'sle and their screams rang 
out over the sea. It was a scene of awful savagery . 

Fortunately the pirates became so drunk that they 
forgot de Soto's blood-thirsty orders to butcher every 
soul aboard. However, they first locked the women in 
the fo'c'sle again and then cut the rigging to pieces, 
sawed the masts in two, bored holes in the ship's bottom, 
and, satisfied that she would sink, tumbled into their 
boats and returned to the Black Joke, which immediately 
filled her topsail and went off after another victim. 

Meanwhile on the Morning Star there was not a 
sound to be heard. For long those below had been 
shutting their ears to the screams of their women and 



90 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

the drunken yells of the pirates, and now they suddenly 
realised that the pirate had sheered off, but at the same 
time thej^ also realised their horrible fate if they failed 
to break their way out of the hold, for in the semi-gloom 
it was noticed that the ship was slowly filling with 
water. The women, though they succeeded in forcing 
their way out of the fo'c'sle, did not dare show them- 
selves on deck for some hours, being half crazed with 
fear. And it was only after some desperate struggles 
that the men succeeded in bursting a hatch open. 

Rushing on deck they found that it was nearing sunset. 
The vessel lay rolling sluggishly, an utter wreck. 
Forward the women were discovered huddled together 
in a state of collapse. Aft the compass had disappeared, 
whilst, almost more serious still, not a bit of food or 
drop of water remained. 

The pumps were quickly manned and the leaks 
plugged. Fortunately for the unhappy survivors a 
ship hove in sight next day, and with her assistance the 
Morning Star actually succeeded in getting home, where 
her arrival in the Thames created a great sensation. 

In the meantime Benito de Soto, on learning that the 
crew and passengers of the Morning Star had not been 
butchered in accordance with his orders, put back again 
to look for her, but failing to find her concluded 
that she had gone to the bottom and thereupon resumed 
his cruising. 

He is next reported as being thwarted in his attack 
on an outward bound Indiaman by a sudden storm. 
The story is well told by one of the Indiaman 's 
passsengers and as it presents a good picture of the 
times, I herewith give it in full: — 

The gong had just sounded 8 bells, as Cap:ain M. entered the cuddy 
" care on his brow and pensive thoughtfulness." So unusual was the 



PIRATES 91 

aspect he wore, that all remarked it; in general his was the face of 

cheerfulness, not only seeming happy but imparting happiness to all 

around. 

" What has chased the smiles from thy face?" said one of the 

young writers, a youth much given to Byron and open neck cloths. 

"Why looks our Caesar with an angry frown? But poetry apart, what 

is the matter?" 

" Why! the fact is, we are chased!" replied the captain. " Chased I 

Chased ! ! Chased ! I !" was echoed from mouth to mouth in various tones 

of doubt, alarm and admiration. 

" Yes, however extraordinary it may seem to this good company," 

continued our commander, " I have no doubt that such is the fact ; for 

the vessel which was seen this morning right astern and which has 
maintained an equal distance during the day is coming up with us hand 
over hand. I am quite sure therefore that she is after no good; she"s 
a wicket-looking craft — at 1 bell we shall beat to quarters." 

We had left the Downs a few days after the arrival of the Mornins 
Star, and with our heads and hearts full of that atrocious affair rushed 
on the poop. The melancholy catastrophe alluded to had been a 
constant theme at the cuddy table and many a face shewed signs of 
anxiety at the news just conveyed to us. On ascending the poop 
assurance became doubly sure, for, certain enough, there was the beauti- 
ful little craft overhauling us in most gallant style. She was a long, 
dark-looking vessel, low in the water, but having very tall masts, with 
sails white as the driven snow. 

The drum had now beat to quarters, and all was for the time bustle 
and preparation. Sailors clearing the guns, handing up ammunition 
and distributing pistols and cutlasses. Soldiers mustering on the 
quarterdeck prior to taking their station on the poop, we had 200 on 
board. Women in the waist, with anxious faces and children staring 
with wondering eyes. Writers, cadets and assistant surgeons in 
heterogeneous medley. The latter, as soon as the news had been 
confirmed, descended to their various cabins and reappeared in martial 
attire. One young gentleman had his " toasting knife " stuck through 
the pocket-hole of his inexpressibles — a second Monkbarns: another 
came on exulting, his full-dress shako placed jauntingly on his head as a 
Bond Street beau wears his castor: a third, with pistols in his sash, 
his swallow-tailed coat boasting of sawdust, his sword dangling between 
his legs in all the extricacies of novelty — he was truly a martial figure, 
ready to seek for reputation even at the cannon's mouth. 

Writers had their Joe Manton and assistant surgeons their mstru- 
ments. It was a stirring sight and yet, withal, ridiculous. 

But, now, the stranger quickly approached us, and quietness was 
ordered. The moment was an interesting one. A deep silence 
reigned throughout the vessel, save now and then the dash of the water 



92 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

against the ship's side, and here and there the half suppressed ejacniation 
of some impatient son of Neptune. 

Our enemy, for so we had learned to designate the stranger, came 
gradually up in our wake. No light, no sound issued from her ; and 
when about a cable's length from us, she lufied to the wind, as if to pass 
us to windward; but the voice of the captain, who hailed her with the 
usual salute, " Ship ahoyi" made her apparently alter her purpose, 
though she answered not, for, shifting her helm, she darted to leeward 
of ns. 

Again the trumpet sent forth its summons; but still there was no 
answer, and the vessel was now about a pistol shot from our larboard 
quarter. 

" Once more, what ship's that ? Answer or I'll send a broadside 
into you,' was uttered in a voice of thunder from the trumpet by our 
captain. 

Still all was silent; and many a heart beat with quicker pulsation. 

On a sudden we observed her lower steering sails taken in by some 
invisible agency; for all this time we had not seen a single human being, 
nor did we hear the slightest noise, although we had listened with 
painful attention. 

Matters began to assume a very serious aspect. Delay was danger- 
ous. It was a critical moment, for we had an advantage of position not 
to be thrown awaj'. Two maindeck guns were fired across her bow. 
The next moment our enemy's starboard ports were hauled up and we 
could plainly discern every gun, with a lantern over it, as they were run 
out. 

Still we hesitated with our broadside, and about a minute afterwards 
our enemy's guns disappeared as suddenly as they had been run out. 
We heard the order given to her helmsman. She altered her course and 
in a few seconds was astern of us. 

We gazed at each other in silent astonishment, but presently all was 
explained. Our attention had been so taken up by the stranger, that 
we had not thought of the weather, which had been threatening some 
time, and for which reason we were under snug sail. But, during our 
short acquaintance, the wind had been gradually increasing, and two 
minutes after the pirate had dropt astern, it blew a perfect hurricane 
accompanied by heavy rain. 

We had just time to observe our friend scudding before it under bare 
poles, and we saw him no more. 

After this audacious attempt Benito de Soto steered 
north, with the intention of running into Corunna to 
refit and dispose of his plunder. Off the Spanish coast 
he captured a local brig, and after plundering her sank 



THE JoLLv Roger" 






PENDANT STrFFENED 
WITH LIGHT BATTENS, 




I70^. 




1719. 



7^6. 




ENSIGN AT MIZEN-PEAK, 
BARTHOLOMEW ROBERTS . 



PIRATES 93 

her with all on board except one man, whom he retained 
to pilot the Black Joke into Corunna. As the pirate 
neared the harbour, with this man at the helm, de Soto 
said to him: — 

"Is this the entrance?" 

The reply was in the affirmative. 

"Very well, my man," went on the pirate captain, 
"you have done well, I am obliged to you," and 
drawing a pistol from his belt he shot the wretched man 
dead. 

At Corunna the pirate managed to sell his plunder 
without arousing suspicion, and obtaining ship's 
papers under a false name shaped a course for Cadiz. 
But the weather coming on, he missed stays one dark 
night close inshore and took the ground. All hands, 
however, managed to reach the shore safely in the boats, 
and de Soto, nothing daunted by his misfortune, coolly 
arranged that they should march overland to Cadiz, 
represent themselves as shipwrecked mariners and sell 
the wreck there for what it would fetch. At Cadiz, 
however, the authorities were more on the alert than at 
Corunna, and arrested six of the pirates on suspicion 
that they were not what they represented themselves to 
be. They were not quite quick enough, however, 
de Soto and the rest of the pirate crew getting clean 
away. The pirate captain made his way to Gibraltar, 
where some of the invalid soldiers out of the Morning 
Star, on their way to Malta, happened to recognise 
him in spite of the fact that he wore a white hat of the 
best English quality, silk stockings, white trousers and 
blue frock-coat. He was thereupon arrested and in 
his possession were found clothes, charts, nautical 
instruments and weapons taken from the Morning Star. 
This was enough to convict him, but under his pillow 



94 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

at the inn where he was staying, the maid -servant 
discovered the pocket-book and diary of Captain Sou ley, 
which settled matters. 

He was tried before Sir George Don, Governor of 
Gibraltar, and sentenced to death. The British 
authorities sent him across to Cadiz to be executed along 
with the pirates captured there. A gallows was 
erected at the water's edge. He was conveyed there in 
a cart, which held his coffin. He met his death with 
iron fortitude. He actually arranged the noose round 
his own neck, and finding the loop came a little too high, 
calmly jumped on to the coffin, and settled it comfort- 
ably round his neck as cool and unconcerned as if it had 
only been a neckcloth. Then, after taking a final look 
round, he gazed for a moment steadfastly out to sea. 
As the wheels of the tumbril began to revolve, he cried 
out "Adios todos !" (farewell all), and threw himself 
forward in order to hasten the end. 

Thus died Benito de Soto, the last of the more notable 
pirates, and a true example of the old-time sea rover. 

Curiously enough, in the autumn of the very year that 
finished Benito de Soto's career, a man of the same name 
was also taken for piracy. This man was the mate of 
the pirate schooner Pinta, which brought to the brig 
Mexican, of Salem, on 20th September, 1832. The 
Mexican was on a passage from Salem to Rio Janeiro; 
when in 33° N., 34° 30' W., the Pinta ranged up along- 
side flying Brazilian colours, and launched a horde of 
ruffians on to her decks. After robbing the American 
of 20,000 dollars in specie, the pirates stripped her 
officers and crew and, fastening them down below, set 
fire to the brig. 

Captain Batman and his men, however, succeeded in 
forcing the scuttle and reached the deck in time to put 



PIRATES 95 

out the flames. The case was reported to the U.S. 
Government, who sent out a cruiser after the pirate 
without success. However, the Pinta was captured 
shortly afterwards on the African coast by the British 
gun brig Curlew, and the pirates Avere sent over to 
America for trial. They were all duly hanged at 
Boston with the exception of de Soto, who was pardoned 
by President Jackson because some years before, when 
in command of the Spanish brig Leon, he had saved 72 
persons from the ship Minerva, of Salem, which was on 
fire. This he accomplished at great risk to his own life. 
The two cases form a peculiar paradox; after saving 
one crew from fire, de Soto straightaway turns pirate 
and at the first opportunity helps to set fire to another 
crew ! A strange man ! 

Madeira. 

Our Indiaman only makes one stop on the out- 
ward passage, and that is at Funchal, Madeira, for the 
purpose of taking up wine, which it was the regular 
custom to ship out East and home for the sake of 
maturity. 

This was a welcome halt for the passengers, who 
enjoyed their run ashore as much as those on the Union- 
Castle boats do at the present day. Sometimes the 
captain of an Indiaman gave a ball, at which the griffins 
and writers made great play with the beautiful signoritas 
of the island. As a rule, however, the Indiaman only 
waited long enough to ship some 50 or 60 pipes of 
Madeira wine before heading away on her course south. 

Tapping the Admiral. 

The pipes of Madeira were supposed to benefit 
by their long voyage, but it very often happened 
that they also considerably diminished in quantity, 



96 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

especially if there happened to be some cunning old fore- 
bowline amongst her thirsty crew. Indeed "tapping 
the admiral" was the constant endeavour of an India- 
man's crew. It consisted of boring a hole in a pipe of 
wine and sucking out the contents through a goose quill. 
In this way many a pipe of Madeira disappeared on its 
voyage of maturity. 

Calcutta and the Hooghly River in the Days 
of John Company. 

The Thames, in heading south, sails rather a 
different course to what Maury, the great American, 
and other later navigators advise. She crosses the 
line, where the usual rough and tumble ceremonies take 
place, as far to the eastward as possible, and forces her 
way south well over on the African side of the South 
Atlantic; hauls rather close round the Cape, receiving 
a severe battering in the process; then as soon as it is 
practicable heads away north. In the light winds 
and hot sun of the Bay of Bengal, the ship is prepared 
for port. She is painted inside and out, the rigging 
is set up, tarred and carefully rattled down, the decks 
are oiled and the bright work varnished. 

A day comes when the deep blue of the ocean changes 
to a reddish tint; a cast of the deep sea lead finds 
bottom and brings up black mud in the arming, and 
old-timers swear they can smell the land. 

Next a lone brig is sighted standing down to the 
Indiaman under easy sail. 

"Hurrah! there's the pilot brig!" sings out Jack, and in 
a moment the ship is humming with excitement. Some of 
the soldiers run up the shrouds in competition as to which 
will see the land first, but though one or two of them 
goes high as the royal yard, they come down defeated. 



SIGHTING LAND 97 

Presently the rail is lined as a large boat pulled by 
natives puts off from the brig. The pilot gives the ship 
its first whiff of the East, in the shape of Bengal cheroots, 
which he hands round to the captain and the passengers. 

He proves to be a tall, refined- looking man, neatly 
dressed in whites. He brings with him his leadsman. 
a smart young fellow sporting a silk jacket with anchor 
buttons. The leadsman is the half -fledged pilot. His 
function is a very important one in the shifting sands 
of the Hooghly mouth and his lead line is not marked in 
the usual way but at every 3 inches of its length. 
The last of the lordly Calcutta pilot's appendages is his 
silent Hindoo servant. 

It is a beat in, which will make it heavy work tiding 
up the river, but the crew are cheered up by the news 
that they will get "pilot's grog" served out three times 
a day. 

As we near the Sandheads, the colour of the water 
begins to be influenced by the bottom. Here it is 
violet, there to leeward pale green, and where the 
current seems swiftest a reddish brown. 

The first land sighted is Saugor Point. We are soon 
in the hard business of the Saugor Channel, and going 
about every 10 minutes. In the intervals of 'bout ship, 
the only sound aboard is the sing-song voice of the 
leadsman as he gives the water under us. 

And there is not much to see: low distant land, a 
sandbank here with the ribs of some unfortunate ship 
sticking out of it : there a solitary red or white buoy. 

Presently we pass Tiger Island, and then anchor off 

Kedgeree whilst the ebb runs. Night falls and the 

noises of the waking jungle bring the Anglo-Indians, like 

war horses scenting the battle, to the weather-rail. 

At the same time the raw recruits in the waist are 
a 



98 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

soon fighting their first Indian battle as the skirmishers 
of the tropics invade their ranks. Yes, the noise of 
slapping and damning gives evidence of the mosquito 
feasting on the fresh -faced boys from England. 

Natives from Saugor and Kedgeree were the next 
arrivals, bearing vegetables, fruit and eggs, and the 
bargaining for these dainties filled the ship with a shrill 
clamour. 

Morning finds the Thaynes underweigh again, running 
up with the stream, low muddy shores with a background 
of jungle on each side of her. The river is now a turbid, 
mud colour; upon its rapid waters an occasional native 
dinghy is seen fishing, but to eyes accustomed to the 
ceaseless traffic of modern Calcutta, the Hooghly would 
have seemed strangely empty and deserted. 

At Fort Diamond two large row-boats filled with 
naked Hindoos pull off to the ship. They are to supply 
the place of the modern tug-boat and their business is to 
help the ship's head round in the ticklish navigation 
before us. By their aid we successfully negotiate the 
famous James and Mary Shoals and at length arrive off 
Garden Reach, where several splendid Indiamen are 
lying moored in tiers, the inner ships with wooden 
gangways on to the muddy shore. We land at Mud 
Ghaut in a dinghy wallah and are soon busy exploring 
the city, ending up with a driv^e on the Esplanade at the 
fashionable hour of the day. 

In Calcutta the captain of a first class Indiaman is a 
man of some dignity. He generally lives ashore in a 
house of his own. He is rarely seen on board his ship, 
though he occasionally pays it a visit of state in company 
with some high official of the company. On these 
occasions he is received with a salute of seven guns and 
the ship is specially prepared for company. 



IN PORT 99 

Whilst ashore he entertains largely. Nor are the 
palanquin or gharry fit for his high-mightiness when he 
drives abroad. He must needs have a splendid carriage 
drawn by four horses, at the heads of which gorgeous 
native footmen can be seen, armed with long fly whisks, 
whilst ahead runners sing a continual chant, beseech- 
ing everyone to make way for the great sea captain. 
Whilst the commander pursues his triumphant way 
ashore, aboard the crew with the aid of a gang of coolies 
work cargo and take in silk, spices, indigo, saltpetre 
and hides. 

We know of one Indiaman which took a whole 
menagerie aboard at Calcutta, including a Bengal tiger, 
a present to King William IV. Unfortunately she ran 
into a cyclone off Mauritius, fell into the centre where 
the sea was like a boiling pot, and all the wild beasts 
with the exception of the tiger were drowned. 

Whilst the ship is in port, a bumboat is allowed 
alongside at certain times, and each A.B. is allowed so 
many rupees credit — a dozen or so — to buy fruit and 
curios, and silks and cottons, but no spirits. 

There is one very unpleasant morning duty in the 
Hooghly, that is the clearing away of dead Hindoos 
which have been caught in the ship's moorings. In 
those days the river was always full of bodies over which 
the vultures flocked in endless numbers. 

The middies were not allowed to run wild ashore, but 
were only given liberty like the men; a first-voyager 
generally found himself heading for Tank Square on his 
first trip ashore, in order to see the Black Hole of 
Calcutta, a dungeon in wh ich 147 English men and 
women were suffocated during the hot weather of 1756. 

As soon as the cargo is aboard, the ship is got ready 
for the passengers. VYe are to have sick troops in the 



100 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

'tween decks, and the usual mixture of Anglo-Indians 
in the cuddy, with one or two great personages such as 
a judge and a brigadier. 

The Thames has a more or less uneventful run home. 
A welcome halt is made in Simon's Bay, where the 
passengers are diverted by the exciting spectacle of a 
whale hunt. This used to be quite a profitable business 
in Simon's Bay at one time. 

The usual kindly south-east trades were experienced, 
and we went "rolling down to St. Helena" with every 
kite set that could be hung out. 

St. Helena Festivities. 

At St. Helena we stayed a couple of days; and 
the captain gave a grand ball to the inhabitants and the 
officers and passengers of other Indiamen. 

The Scaleby Castle returned our hospitality by a most 
cleverly staged performance of "Black-eyed Susan. " 

The play was introduced by some very fine sailors' 
dancing of reels, jigs and hornpipes; then, as the whole 
crew were singing : — 

All in the Downs the fleet lay moored 
When Black-eyed Susan came aboard, 

a very pretty Susan skipped lightly aboard from the 
main chains, and after bowing deeply to the captain and 
the big-wigs in the front of the audience, burst into; — 

Sailor, sailor, tell me true. 

Does my Sweet William sail among your crew? 

This was the signal for the smart captain of the 
maintop, on the Scaleby Castle, who immediately came 
hurtling down from aloft by means of the first rope that 
came handy and at a speed which must have burnt even 
his calloused hands. 

William is dressed up to kill from his black pumps to 
his shiny tarpaulin hat. His luxuriant curls are over- 



FESTIVITIES ON BOARD 101 

powered with bear's grease, his kerchief is all the 
colours of the rainbow, and his short blue coat has 
guinea buttons. His waistcoat is white with blue 
spots, and his trousers of white duck are so drawn in 
over the hips that he has a waist like a ballet-dancer. 

Oh, Susan dear, how came.you here? 

thunders William, as if he were hailing the topgallant 
yard. Then the pair dance a fandango with great 
energy. The performance ends with a grand sing-song 
in which both performers and audience join. Then as 
the last verse of "Spanish Ladies" echoes through the 
ship, the chorus is taken up by the crews of the neigh- 
bouring vessels : — 

We'll rant and we'll roar, like true British sailors. 
We'll rant and we'll roar across the salt seas ; 

Until we strike soundings 

In the Channel of old England 
From Ushant to Scilly is thirty-five leagues. 

The next morning with a thunder of guns, much 
bunting and much cheering between the ships and shore 
boats, the homeward-bound Indiamen let fall their 
topsails and set out on the home stretch. 

A week later we hove to off Ascension and traded a 
case or two of spirits for some turtle with a boatload of 
soldiers. 

The equator is crossed with the usual ceremonies, 
and we are soon close-hauled in the north-east trades. 
A spell of doldrums, a night or two made bright with 
lightning, and out of a heavy squall bursts forth the 
brave west wind which carries us foaming into soundings. 

Finally the anchor is dropped in Plymouth Sound, 
where, after a great deal of leave-taking, for life -long 
friends are made on these leisurely passages, we bid a 
last farewell to the gallant old Thames and take coach 
to London town. 



PART III. 
' ' THE BL ACKWALLERS . ' ' 

And the beauty and mystery of the ships 
And the magic of the sea. — Longfellow, 

The Divided Interests of Green and Wigram. 
'T'HE owners of the Blackwall Yard made one great 
•*• mistake, and this in the end brought about their 
separation. Instead of buying and building ships for 
the firm, the partners played their own hands. Ship 
after ship was built in the yard: generally a pair of 
sister ships being laid down together, one for the family 
of Green and the other for the family of Wigram, but 
rarely one for the combined firm, until in a very few 
years the Greens had a considerable fleet running to the 
East in competition with an equal Wigram fleet, whilst 
the ships of the firm had been allowed to drop away so 
fast that in 1841 there were only two left, the old 
Roxburgh Castle and the Py ramus. 

In 1843, the term of partnership having expired, the 
two families severed connections for good and divided 
the famous old yard between them, Money Wigram and 
Sons taking the western portion and R. & H. Green the 
eastern portion. 

The arrangement meant the breaking up of all the 

old associations, and we are told of the distress of one 

of the firm's old captains, when, on returning from a 

voyage, he found "a brick wall running through the 

yard and the red cross through the flag. " 

102 



DICKY GREEN 103 

Dicky Green. 

The famous Dicky Green, the elder of the two 
brothers, R. and H. Green, was an example of the very 
best type of private shipowner. His name was known 
and revered in shipping circles all over the world. 

The bronze statue before the Public Baths in the East 
India Dock Road stands as a proof of his popularity in 
Blackwall. His charities indeed were wholesale. He 
was a bit of an invalid from birth and thus left a great 
deal of the practical side of the business to his brother 
Henry, who had been trained both as a shipwright and 
a seaman. Thus Dicky Green had more spare time, 
and he delighted to wander about Poplar, his favourite 
hound, Hector, at his heels and a crowd of ragged street 
urchins in his wake. He always wore waistcoats with 
very capacious pockets and from one of these pockets he 
was wont to distribute sixpences to the old people at the 
almshouses, whilst from the other he produced sweets for 
the children. In his charities and philanthropic work 
he worthily upheld the name of his father George, to 
whom Poplar was indebted for Green's Sailors Home, 
the Trinity Schools, the Trinity Chapel and the alms- 
houses, to mention the chief only of his gifts to the East 
End. 

With such a man as Dicky Green at the head of the 
firm, it is not surprising that the comfort of the officers 
and men was of more consideration than the balance 
sheet. Indeed no ships were ever more staunchly 
built or more generously kept up than those of the 
Blackwall Line. 

Dicky Green died 1863. Whilst he lived iron ships 
were not even hinted at in the Blackwall Yard, and it is 
probable that the Superb, Carlisle Castle and Melbourne 
would never have been countenanced by the staunch 



104 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

old Conservative. Iron shipbuilding has never 
flourished on the Thames and I think one may say that 
it was partly the introduction of iron that ended 
Green's famous Blackwall Line. 

Money Wigram & Sons. 

The family of Wigram rivalled the family of 
Green in its influence upon London shipping. 

It is always difficult for two strong personalities to 
run in double harness, and this was probably the chief 
reason why the old firm of Green & Wigram broke up. 

Yet the yard continued for some years to build sister 
ships in pairs, one for Green and one for Wigram, and 
Money Wigram was no wit behind Green in the way in 
which he ran and maintained his ships. The rivalry 
must liave been very keen, yet I can find no traces of 
bitterness. 

Money Wigram was one of the first of London owners 
to transfer ships from the Indian trade to the Australian 
trade. And as far back as 1837 we find him launching 
a little barque of 293 tons called the Emu, which he 
had specially designed for the Australian trade. 

Wigram 's fleet was never quite as large a one as 
Green's; and like many other enterprising shipowners, 
the firm were enticed into trying to run auxiliary 
steamers; this led to the rather early demise of their 
sailing ships. 

Joseph Somes. 

In writing of the old-time shipowners, one can- 
not help being struck by the way in which personalities 
rather than companies swayed the destinies of British 
bhipping. 

iNo doubt this is always the case, but iu tliose days the 





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CAPTAIN FURNELL, OF THE " SERINGAPATAM." 

[To face Page 104. 



JOSEPH SOMES 105 

personality was not so hidden from the public eye — 
hidden amongst the names of a full board of directors. 

These old shipowners ruled their firms like autocrats, 
and built up the great British Mercantile Marine of the 
present day just as the great Empire builders built up 
the British Empire. Amongst such owners we find 
the names of Green, Smith, Wigram, Joseph Somes, 
Duncan Dunbar, James Baines, Wilson, Willis, 
Thompson and Anderson looming up head and shoulders 
above their fellows just as amongst the Empire builders 
we find those of Clive, Raffles and Rhodes. 

With the demise of the old John Company, these men 
found their opportunity and amongst the first to seize 
this opportunity was Joseph Somes. Joseph Somes 
began his career as an India husband. But with his 
enterprise it was not long before he had ships trading 
to every part of the world. Some of his earliest ships, 
such as the Perseverance, 423 tons, built at Quebec in 
1801, were South Sea whalers; others were West 
Indiamen; and he was also well known for the number 
of his ships taken up for various purposes by the Govern- 
ment. Many of his ships were hired for the transport 
of convicts, and Lieut. Coates gives a list of rates 
paid to him for the years 1840 and 1841 in this gruesome 
traffic, viz. : — 



Maitland 


648 tons £5 





jer 


ton 


per voyage 


Asia 


536 , 


. £5 9 











Eden 


522 , 


, £5 13 


9 








Lord Lyndoch 


638 


, £5 14 











Mary Ann 


394 , 


, £6 4 


4 








Mexborough 


376 , 


. £6 6 












His house-flag, which only differed from the White 
Ensign in having an anchor instead of the Union Jack 
in the canton, is supposed to have been granted to him 
as a reward for his many services to tlie Government 



106 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

in time of need. When the H.E.I.C. sold their fleet, 
Joseph Somes bought some of their finest ships such as 
the Earl of Balcarres, Thomas Coutts, Abercrotnhie 
Robinson, Lowther Castle, George the Fourth and Java. 
This latter had a particularly interesting history. 

The Old " Java." 

She was built at Calcutta in 1813, and presented, 
fully equipped, to a British officer by a grateful father, 
for saving his daughter who had been carried off by 
savages. The British officer, apparently, landed a 
party in pursuit and eventually found the girl, lying 
stripped of all her clothes but unhurt, in the jungle. As 
a confirmation of this story the Java^s figurehead 
represented a naked woman with her hands clasped as if 
praying for deliverance. 

The Java was built of teak and mounted 30 guns. In 
1856 or 1857 she was sold to John Hall, of London, and 
in 1865 she sailed to Gibraltar to end her days as a coal 
hulk. On her passage out she struck on the Pearl Rock, 
but got off and reached Gibraltar safely. The under- 
writers, however, insisted on her returning to London 
to be examined, when it was found that a large piece of 
rock lay embedded in her teak bottom. She then 
returned to Gibraltar and was turned into a coal hulk. 
Lieut. Coates saw her there in the nineties, she was then 
83 years of age and her only leak was where she had been 
repaired after the piece of rock had been removed. 
Lieut. Coates' description of her is full of interest. 
After remarking on her shortness, her low bluff bow, 
tumblehorae sides, and double row of gunports, he goes 
on to say : — 

The waist from the break of the poop to that of the forecastle was 
so short as to seem almost a square. On the upper deck were 12 gun- 



THE JAVA 107 

ports, and in the stanchions on either side of them were still to be seen 
the heavy iron eye-bolts for securing the breeching of the guns. 

One mast still stood, which, being of teak, might be reasonably 
assumed to have been the original stick. 

On her forecastle were still showing her knight-heads; a stump of a 
bowsprit protruded from the bow, and one of the original cat-heads 
still remained; the other, I was told, had been shorn off by a passing 
steamer. Her windlass, though antiquated, seemed massive enough 
to have held the Great Eastern. 

We descended then on to her main deck. On this deck she had 
apparently carried 1 2 guns, and here, as on the upper deck, the breeching 
bolts for securing her guns to the side still remained, a silent testimony 
to the stirring times in which she had been afloat. 

We found during our wanderings the old pair of double steering 
wheels, which formerly had their place, as was a custom in those days, 
under the break of the poop. Now, in the closing days of this grand 
old ship, they had been removed from their place and been utilised as the 
wheels of the hand winch. The upper and main deck beams were 
supported by massive teak stanchions handsomely turned. 

Joseph Somes was one of the promoters of Lloyd's 
Register. In his old age he was partnered by his sons, 
and the firm at his death disguised itself under the name 
of the Merchant Shipping Company. 

T. & W. Smith. 

In the history of the Calcutta and Madras 
passenger trade, T. & W. Smith, of Newcastle, rank on 
an equality with Green aud Wigram, 

The firm was founded as far back as the beginning 
of the nineteenth century by Thomas Smith, one of 
the Smiths, of Togstone, in Northumberland, who, 
having served an apprenticeship with a Newcastle 
ropcmaker, eventually, like George Green at Blackwall, 
married his master's daughter and succeeded to his 
business. This example of the good apprentice had 
two sons, Thomas, born in 1783, and William, born in 
1787. The elder joined his father as a ropemaker, 
whilst the youngest was apprenticed to William Rowe, 
at that time the largest shipbuilder on the Tyne. 



108 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

In 1808, the year William Smith completed his 
apprenticeship, Rowe launched the largest ship ever 
built on the Tyne — H.M.S. Bucephalus, a 32 -gun 
frigate, measuring 970 tons. 

Two years later old Thomas Smith bought Rowe's 
business and, taking his two sons into partnership, 
founded the shipbuilding firm of Smith & Sons, though 
he still continued the ropemaking business with his 
eldest son. 

The Smiths had not been long in the business before 
they turned their attention to the bu'.lding of Indiamen, 
at that time almost the monopoly of the Blackwall 
Yard. Curiously enough, their first Indiaman was the 
Duke of Roxburgh, of 417 tons burthen, built to the 
order of their rivals. Green & Wigram. 

She was followed by the George Green, also to the 
order of the famous Blackwall firm and launched on 
Boxing Day, 26th December, 1829. This ship, accord- 
ing to a contemporary account, was considered the finest 
passenger-carrying merchantman ever built on the Tyne 
at that date and the equal of any London-built ship. 
She measured 568 tons burthen on a length of 135 feet, 
was "frigate-built" and "fitted up with much elegance 
for the carrying of passengers." Her life, however, 
was a short one, as she was lost on her way to 
London from the Tyne. Smith's next Indiamen 
was the Duke of Northumberland, of 600 tons burthen, 
launched 28th February, 1831. It was soon after this, 
however, that the Newcastle firm commenced running 
ships of their own to Madras and Calcutta in competition 
with Green and Wigram. 

In 1836 old Thomas Smith died, and the firm then 
became Thomas & William Smith, and began to develop 
in every direction. 



T. & W. SMITH 109 

They soon owned the largest shipbuilding business 
on the Tyne, and besides running their own ships in the 
East Indian trade had a fleet of colliers jogging between 
the Tyne and London. At Gravesend they owned coal 
hulks; at Blackwall a sailmaking loft, and in the East 
India Dock a warehouse. 

Smith's Indiamen were always pierced for guns so that 
they could readily be converted into war vessels, and 
they always carried a couple of 32 -pounders. 

Their two largest and finest ships, the Marlborough 
and Blenheim, were specially surveyed for the Govern- 
ment and reported as frigates fit for carrying armaments, 
and at the Great Exhibition of 1851 they were presented 
with silk ensigns and house-flags as being the finest ships 
in the British Mercantile Marine. 

About this date the designation "Line" came into 
fashion amongst shipping firms, and eventually Smith's 
became known as the Blue Cross Line, the name being 
due to their house-flag. 

When the Suez Canal was opened, the Smiths joined 
another Newcastle firm and started sending steamers 
through the Canal, their Blue Cross being the first 
steamer through that ditch, which did so much to kill the 
sailing ship. Indeed, it was owing to the Suez Canal 
that T. & W. Smith decided to give up sailing ships 
and sell their fleet. 

Duncan Dunbar. 

The only other owner of frigate-built passenger 
ships of any note was the famous Duncan Dunbar, who 
died in 1862 leaving a fortune of a million and a half. 

His ships, however, were not built in London. A 
number of them were built at his own yard in Moulmein, 
and except for two or three of the later ones, the rest 



110 THE BLACKWALL FRTCxATES 

came from Sunderland. Duncan Dunbar was a great 
believer in India-built ships, and the vessels he built at 
Brema, Moulmein, were noted for their stoutness. 
They were all built of teak, cut from the forests that 
lined the banks of the river and surrounded the yard, 
which is now owned by a timber exporter though the 
old dock gates are still in existence. As a proof of the 
staunchness of his Moulmein built ships, I find that his 
Marion, 684 tons, launched in 1834, was wrecked oi'f 
Newfoundland, in 1877, after many years in the North 
Atlantic trade. And the Lady Macdonald, 678 tons, 
launched in 1847, was still afloat in the nineties. 

Duncan Dunbar succeeded his father, who came to 
England before the end of the eighteenth century and 
started shipowning in a small way. Duncan Dunbar, 
the elder, died in 1825, and his famous son, on taking 
over the business, very soon made his name familiar 
both in the Indian and Australian trades, and many 
of his ships remained in these trades until long after 
his death though they had been dispersed under other 
house-flags. 

The Captains of the Blackwall Frigates. 

A man who had gained the command of a Black- 
wall frigate was considered to have reached the topmost 
pinnacle of his profession, and a very comfortable 
pinnacle it was, being worth to its lucky possessor often 
as much as £5000 a year. It allowed a man to put 
"Esquire" after his name and to add to it "Commander, " 
as is well seen in the dedications on the numerous 
lithographs and paintings of these stately ships. 

One has but to mention such names as Sir Allen 
Young, Henry Toynbee, John Sydney Webb, Methven, 




CAPTAIN METHVEN. 




CAPTAIN TOYNBEE, OF THE "HOTSPUR." 

\ To face FageJlO. 



BLACKWALL COMMANDERS 111 

Parish, Wilcox, C. Johnson, and Studdert to recognise 
that these Blackwall captains were past masters of the 
sea. 

In the science of navigation they were far in advance 
of the ordinary shipmaster of their day. Lunars with 
them were a recreation, and they regularly used the 
stars at a date when most navigators were quite content 
with a meridian altitude. At the same time they were 
noted for the good tracks which they made both out and 
home. Many of them seemed to have a quite uncanny 
talent for finding fair winds and for avoiding calm 
patches, and though the painstaking Maury showed the 
navigator the longitude to cross the line, the parallel 
to run the easting down on, etc., etc., these experienced 
Blackwallers did not need him— they were true ocean 
pilots whether in the Channel, to the southard of the 
Cape or in the Bay of Bengal. 

But they were far more than mere scientific navigators, 
they were many of them sea naturalists and oceano- 
graphers of no mean calibre. 

With the passing of the sailing ship, the sea naturalist 
has lost his opportunity. The sailor of to-day knows 
very little of the teaming life under his keel and on all 
sides of him — no dolphin, albacore, bonita, or porpoise 
can keep up with a modern steamship for more than a 
few moments, and even an albatross is soon tired out by 
a steady lo-knotter. Still less is there opportunity to 
examine the smaller inhabitants of the ocean, but such 
a man as Toynbee took dredge and trawl nets to sea 
with him and preserved and classified his specimens 
al^oard his ship like a scientist in his laboratory. 

The wonders of the deep ! Such men as these Black- 
wall captains had every opportunity of studying these 
w<)nders, and they did so to some advantage. In fact 



112 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

they knew the sea; and there are not many men who 
earn their living on the great waters who can say the 
same to-day. How many seamen are there alive to-day 
who have seen a whale harpooned from a boat, who have 
watched a fight between whales, swordfish and killers, 
or who have seen porpoises migrating in lines which 
stretch from horizon to horizon ? How many seamen 
have seen the ice blink, or the white water or the 
ripples or the red patches or the fiery sea ? 

Not only were all these wonders experienced but they 
were studied scientifically by these Blackwall com- 
manders. As for weather, they were professors of the 
weather. Not only were they wise to every doldrum 
squall, every sudden shift of wind and changing current, 
but they were expert cyclone dodgers. 

Discipline. 

Smart discipline is the first sign of all round 
efficiency, and this fact was thoroughly recognised by 
the old Blackwall captains, who not only upheld their 
own dignity but insisted on such strict discipline 
throughout their ships as was worthy of the Royal 
Navy. 

The side was always manned when the commander 
of a Blackwaller came aboard. The midshipman on 
the bell was never permitted to leave the lee side of the 
poop. All orders were carried out to the tune of the 
bosun's whistle and even chanties were not allowed by 
certain martinets. The crew had their regular stations 
and regular sail drill so that whether the flying jib or 
the spanker, a royal or a staysail had to be handed, 
there was no confusion. Every man knew his job and 
jumped to it. 

The India ships kept up this semi-naval discipline 




CAPTAIN E. LE POER TRE^XH. OF THE " NEWCASTLE. 




CAPTAIN TAYLOR, OF THE " ALNWICK CASTLE." 

[ To face Page 1 1 2. 



MIDSHIPMEN 113 

to the end, but the Australian ships were rarely as 
strict, this of course depending a great deal upon 
their commanders. These autocrats were also quickly 
down upon the slightest lapse from "genteel". behaviour 
on the part of their passengers. Here again Australian 
ships were generally more easy-going than Indian ships. 
In one of my old Australian ship newspapers there is 
a very indignant letter complaining of the indecent 
behaviour of some of the passengers, who, in the hot 
weather of the line, had dared to take off their coats, and, 
horror of horrors ! had even removed their stocks. 
The writer declared that "such gross indecorum" 
would never have been permitted on an India ship. 
Needless to say that the captain of a Blackwaller was 
never seen off his poop, and even in the Bay of Bengal 
wore his starched stock and tight buttoned uniform 
frock-coat. 

Midshipmen. 

The Blackwall frigates differed from other 
British sailing ships in that they carried midshipmen 
and not apprentices. 

It may be argued that this is only a difference in 
terms, but as a matter of fact, as we shall see later, the 
two were quite distinct; indeed certain ships were 
known to carry both midshipmen and apprentices. 

The midshipmen were drawn from the same class as 
those in the Royal Navy and paid a premium of £60 a 
voyage, whereas, where apprentices were required to pay 
a premium, it was never anything like so much. To 
enter sea life as a midshipman in a Blackwaller was 
considered a very fine opening for a boy in the mid- 
Victorian era. Guardians of orphans, especially, were 
fond of disposing of their wards in this way, for they 



114 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

were well satisfied with the prospects before a boy who 
learnt his trade in such well run ships and knew at the 
back of their minds as well that he would prove less 
troublesome than if they had to educate him at a Public 
School and then find a land profession or business for him. 
These midshipmen were called "the young gentlemen" 
and they were treated as such, and knew very little of the 
drudgery, the hardship and the want of food and sleep 
undergone by the apprentice in other sailing ships. In 
fact, they had quite as good and happy a time as their 
contemporaries in the Royal Navy ; and when it came 
to skylarking, monkey-like mischief and practical 
joking they were quite the equals of Marry at 's Peter 
Simple or Midshipmaji Easy. That it was the happiest 
time in their sea life many of them have freely acknow- 
ledged in their later days; and what would not the 
modern apprentice give to be able to start his sea-going 
under such conditions. 

Besides the premium the parents and guardians of 
these Blackwall midshipmen had to provide a few pounds 
of pocket and mess money and of course the usual sea 
outfit with its badge cap and brass-bound uniform, 
which has caused so many a boy to fancy himself 
beyond all reason. 

In the early days Green & Wigram's officers were 
allowed to wear tlie lion and crown of the old E.I. Co., 
but this gave place eventually to the house-flags of the 
companies themselves. 

Boys, like women, are the slaves of fasliion. And not 
only did they have a strict etiquette regarding dress, 
which it was criminal to offend, but each ship had its 
own particular customs. Thus a "mid" on some 
strictly disciplined ships had to wear his cap straight 
and so it grew to be the proper thing to do; whilst m 



MIDSHIPMEN 115 

other ships the young gentleman like our friend the 
apprentice v.ould wear his cap on its beam ends if he 
did not wish to be accused of putting on side. 

His buttons on some ships had to shine like stars, 
but on others it was the thing to have them green with 
verdigris. Again on some ships he must be barefooted, 
whether the pitch in the seams was bubbling or a cold 
nor 'caster blowing, whilst on others such a sight as 
barefcet was an offence against mid-Victorian 
"gentility." 

But whether "mid" or apprentice, the base of the 
nature of every sea boy has always been the same. 
He had an imp's passion for mischief: of practical 
joking he was never tired; and if he could escape an 
unpleasant duty by any possible ingenuity he never 
failed to try to do so. He had a peculiar code of 

honour which made stealing from a shipmate a deadly 
offence but stealing from the ship a merit. 

He took a pride in doing his work well yet looked 
down upon any companion who openly took pains to 
learn it. The boy who had been a voyage or two and 
yet was a poor seaman was held in contempt by his 
mates, yet he had to pick up his knowledge by round- 
about methods, by any way rather than the straight- 
forward one of working at it. 

And the boy who was slow aloft was the object of 
ridicule and abuse, though the boy who could be quick 
enough if he chose and yet malingered in order to 
exasperate his officers was considered a stout fellow. 

Yet withal every midshipman possessed such a keen 
pride in his own ship that he would rather suffer death 
than that she should be disgraced. 

And now let us look at the duties required by these 
high-spirited Biackwall midshipmen. Firstly, all the 



116 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

working of the mizen mast was considered theirs. 
That mast, next to the ship itself, was their chief pride, 
and greatly did they feel the disgrace if during a storm 
or sudden squall they could not reef or furl without the 
aid of any foremast hands. However "the young 
gentlemen" were excused from greasing and tarring 
down, which was done by ordinary seamen. 

A boy in the Hotspur under Toynbee had little excuse 
for not turning out a scientific and clever navigator. 
Every morning at 10 some of his "mids" had to attend in 
the cuddy for navigation lessons, whilst at the same time 
his bosun on the main deck held classes in knotting, 
splicing, using a palm and needle, etc. And the boy 
who learnt his marlinspike seamanship under a Black- 
wall rigger was lucky indeed. 

"We were put in three watches," writes the late 
Captain Whall, "like the officers; thus we had four 
hours on deck, then eight below, which gave us sufficient 
sleep. We kept our watch on the poop in uniform, 
being treated as junior officers." Every day one of 
Toynbee 's midshipmen had the honour of dining at his 
captain's table; and here one can see how more nearly 
allied they were to Marryat's creations than to the 
present day apprentice. 

In their sleeping quarters they also were more akin 
to the Navy "mid," for they berthed on the lower 
deck in semi-darkness. They slept in hammocks and 
each "mid" had his hammockman, whose only pay 
very often was an occasional glass of grog, for these 
lucky young gentlemen were even allowed their wine. 
When the spirits were issued at dinner time for the 
officers' mess, a wineglassful was the share of each 
midshipman. There was also a midshipmen's steward, 
commonly called "the midshipmen's devil." 



MIDSHIPMEN 117 

These lads soon found themselves in places of respon- 
sibility. Each of the boats was placed in charge of a 
"mid," who was responsible for its condition and for 
its readiness in case of emergency. Then, too, the 
midshipman of the watch always called over the names, 
and reported to the officer of the watch. "Watch all 
on deck, sir: so-and-so sick: so and so first look-out: 
wheel relieved.*" The senior midshipmen did duty as 
foc's'le officer, the remainder, as I have said, being 
responsible for the mizen mast except for greasing, 
scraping and blacking down. 

They had to see that the dead-eyes of the topmast 
rigging were turned in square : and the topmast and 
topgallant rigging kept well pulled up; gaskets made 
up snug and seized in at equal distances along the yards 
and in fine weather cheesed up all to the same length: 
bunt-lines overhauled and stopped with a split rope- 
yarn; "Scotchmen" seized on between the futtock 
shrouds and the mizen rigging, on topmost backstay 
in the way of the cross] ack yard, and wherever else a 
chafe might occur. They had to make paunch and 
quarter mats for the yards, and make sure that they 
were laced well on so as not to shift, breeches mat on 
the collar of mizen stay, and point all new ropes. 

Then they had to do all the rattling down, cover and 
graft block strops: keep services and roundings in 
repair; make spare gaskets, etc., etc. When top- 
gallant stunsails were cleared away or topmast stunsails 
set the midshipmen took charge of the tacks, and had 
the easing away of the tacks and halliards when these 
sails were taken in. 

Another duty given to midshipmen was that of going 
aloft ten minutes before sunrise on to the main royal 
yard, to remain there until the sqn had risen, on the 



118 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

look-out for any sail, that being the time when the 
horizon is clearest and objects more easily picked up. 

Their one punishment seems to have been the humane 
and often enjoyable one of "mast-heading." Their 
amusements were as varied as those of Marryat's 
mischief-loving shavers. Where the present day 
apprentices' sole relaxation is a sing-song in the dog 
watches, these privileged "hard bargains" were allowed 
to take part in concerts and theatricals. And when 
becalmed in the tropics they were allowed to put a 
boat over the side and bathe; then tliere were the usual 
deep sea fishing, shark catching, dolphin spearing and 
that exciting sport bonito fishing from the jibboom, 
such sport indeed as the steamboat hand knows not. 

In place of the usual shark hook towing astern, 
such scientific seamen as Captain Toynbee instituted a 
wonderful little bag which, when hauled up, generally 
contained some minute wonder of the sea world. This 
was duly examined under the microscope and catalogued 
with perhaps the ultimate honour of being described in 
one of Toynbee 's natural history papers on the lower 
forms of ocean life. Collections from stamps to beetles 
are always a large factor in a normal boy's life, so it 
can well be imagined how popular \yas this dredge-bag 
of Toynbee 's. 

Then there were the usual deck sports such as slinging 
the monkey and cock-fighting. Another favourite game 
was a "follow my leader" chase aloft, which generally 
led to such dangerous acrobatic feats as running along 
the yards, standing on one's head at the main truck and 
coming down from the royal yard to the deck by the 
leeches of the sails. 

From the results as seen by the success of these 
midshipmen in their profession, there is no doubt that 





MONEY WIGRAM& SONS. 




T AND W.SMITH, 
(BLUE CROSS LINE.) 




DEV ITT ANO MOORE. 



MIDSHIPMEN'S PREMIUMS 119 

the premiums asked by the Blackwall firms were well 
worth the money. Perhaps I should give these 
premiums in greater detail and compare them with those 
of one or two of the best firms taking apprentices at 
about the same date. 

Dicky Green's "hard bargains" paid £60 first voyage; 
£50 second voyage; £40 third voyage; no premium 
fourth voyage and n)ade their fifth voyage usually as 
fifth mate dt £1 a month. 

T. & W. Smith asked £150 for three voyages plus 
£10 mess money. Midshipmen signed no indentures 

and could leave at the end of a voyage. 

The caterer of the midshipmen's mess generally had 
about £80 to expend per voyage, which was gathered in 
subscriptions from the middies concerned. Then the 
parents of each boy usually placed £10 to £15 in the 
hands of the captain as shore money in India or Australia. 

As an example of the best run cargo carriers of 
that time, I will take the little City ships running to 
Calcutta. They carried six apprentices as a rule as 
against about ten midshipmen in the Blackwallers. 
These apprentices were paid £2 first year, £4 second 
year, £8 third year and £12 fourth year, for which 
their parents had to put down a deposit of £26 as 
a guarantee that they would serve their full time, 
the deposit being returned with full interest at the 
completion of their indentures. 

In the Aberdeen White Star Line there was no 
premium and no pay. 

Both classes, midshipmen and apprentices, turned 
out fine seamen, though the middies generaljy made the 
better ofiicers and uu\ iijatcjrs. 



120 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Crews. 

The crews carried by the Blackwall frigates both 
in numbers and quality far surpassed those of any 
other British merchant ships, they were in fact almost 
equal to those in the corvettes of the Royal Navy. 
The petty officers and men before the mast were always 
very carefully selected by the mate, aided as a rule by 
the bosun, and then submitted to the captain for his 
approval. Thus there was seldom a man aboard a Black- 
waller who was not an expert rigger, a practical sail- 
maker, a neat marlinspike workman, a burly sail-fister 
and a good helmsman. 

When we consider the numbers carried by these little 
1000-ton ships we cannot but feel that sometimes the mate 
must have had a difficulty in finding work for them all. 

As late as 1875 the Newcastle carried 4 mates, 
surgeon, 8 to 11 midshipmen, bosun, carpenter, sail- 
maker, donkey man, 3 quartermasters, 4 fore topmen, 
4 main topmen, 6 forecastle hands, 6 after -guard, 
4 ordinary seamen, 4 boys, chief and second steward, 
about 7 other stewards (the number of these varied with 
the number of passengers), 2 cooks, butcher and butcher 's 
mate, baker and baker's mate. 

The Trafalgar carried 5 mates, and besides the usual 
petty officers a ship's fiddler and a cooper. The cooper 
was a most necessary man in the days when all the 
ship's water was carried in casks. The fiddler vanished 
when patent windlasses and steam donkeys came in ; 
before that date his was one of the most important duties 
when heaving up the anchor. This, with the old- 
fashioned endless messenger, was a long job, and the 
fiddler on the capstan head kept the life in the men on 
the capstan bars. He was also an invaluable aid to 
dog-watch sing-songs and ship's concerts. 



THE PASSENGERS 121 

The old station lists in use aboard the Blackwall 
frigates are of interest to show the semi-naval discipline. 
I have placed a set in the Appendix. 

Passengers. 

The crack Black wallers only made one voyage a 
year between London and Calcutta, generally calling 
at Madras on the passage out and at Cape Town when 
homeward bound. There was always a marked differ- 
ence between these two passages with regard to 
passengers. On the way out the ships were alive with 
joyous young people such as the "griffins" (young 
civilians going out to start a career in the Indian Civil), 
the subalterns going into the Indian Army, and by no 
means least the debutantes, on their way to the conquest 
of social India. 

On this passage concerts and theatricals filled the 
hours of the tropic nights; amateur astronomers paired 
off in secluded corners; active middies, swinging over 
the ship's quarter at the end of a brace or leech -line 
conducted whispered serenades before certain portholes. 
The commander in his best uniform coat took his con- 
stitutional with a girl on each arm ; and the mates 
conducted carefully selected parties of one to the 
jibboom end for the sole object of showing off the ship 
from a point where it could be seen to the best advantage. 

And when the Blackwaller finally brought up off the 
Esplanade moorings, what a number of wet eyes and 
flushed cheeks ! and what passionate speeches ! No 
one cared how long the outward passage took except the 
captain. It was very different on the homeward. 
Then the 'tween decks were filled with invalid troops ; 
too often the tolling bell and backed topsail drew 
attention to a grating at the gangway, on which lay 
something covered by the Union Jack. 



122 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Pale-faced women and tired, haggard men wandered 
listlessly about the decks — women torn in two between 
their husbands in India and their children at home, 
men with broken health spent in their country's 
service, some of them leaving the government of 
millions for a dull little house at either Tunbrid^e 
Wells or Southsca; others leaving the stir of frontier 
campaigning for a smoking-room chair at the "Rag. " 

Then instead of dances and theatricals, chessboards 
and Avhist tables were the fashion, where peppery, red- 
faced colonels contended with yellow -cheeked, imperious 
nabobs, whisky pegs at their elbows and silent -footed 
khitmagars hovering behind their backs. Then 
lean, hard-bitten squadron leaders played shovel board 
and told each other of wonderful games of polo, of 
record days pig-sticking and of all the slaughter they 
had made of tiger, sambur, bear and buck, of duck and 
quail, partridge and snipe ; whilst the women discussed 
hill stations or the merits of native servants. There 
were generally some children also going home under 
the care of the captain and their boisterous spirits 
not only upset card tables and deck chairs but the 
irritable tempers of brigadier-generals and judges and 
native commissioners. 

This was the passage when the commander had to 
listen to the eternal criticism of "Things weren't done 
like this on the — , last time I came home." Angry 
fretful voices rang through the homeward-bound ship 
complaining of lack of air in the cuddy or of too much 
air in the cuddy; of the stamping overhead when the 
watch freshened the nip or of water splashing through 
portholes when decks were being washed down. 

The homeward passage, however, was sometimes 
enlivened by troops, and this was specially the case when 



SHIP RACES 123 

two ships left about the same time, each with a half of 
the same regiment on board. Then, indeed, the little 
Blackwallers resembled racing tea clippers, and the 
interest and betting as to which half of the regiment 
would arrive home first being at fever heat from the 
Bay of Bengal right to the Channel. 

Ship Races. 

The late Captain \Yhall tells some good stories of 
these races. 

In 1867 the Winchester and the St. Lawrence left 
Calcutta homeward bound, the former with the right 
wing and the latter with the left wing of the 98th on 
board. The two ships did not meet until close to St. 
Helena, when the St. Laurence sighted the Winchester 
ahead and, slowly overhauling her, presently passed 
close by her, both ships being extremely busy with their 
signal halliards. 

Here let me quote Captain Whall. 

As we drew ahead we began to chaff, using the vocabulary we hoisted 
bit by bit. 

" How — do — you— like — the— look — of — our — stem ? " 

Winchester immediately began her reply. 

" Very— like — a — " 

What on earth are they going to say? 

Up went the Hags. 

" L A U N D R Y." 

For a moment we were nonplussed. Then the chief officer climbed 
over the tafirail and looked down. The puzzle was solved : the stern- 
cabiners had been having a private washing day, and their windows 
were decorated with several indispensable articles of feminine attire I 
Our triumph was marred. 

Both ships intended stopping at St. Helena, and 
the Si. Lawrence managed to make Jamestown anchorage 
12 hours ahead of her rival. The Winchester, however, 
hurried her stay and got away from St. Helena 15 hours 
before the St. Lawrence. 



124 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Ten days later the two ships met again and eventually 
reached Spithead almost together. 
The entries in St. Lawrence's log are as follows. 

Jan. 18, 1867. — -Hauled out and dropped down to Garden Reach. 
,, 21. — Dropped pilot, made sail to a light S.W.ly breeze. 

March 11. — 24° 5' S., 3' It' E. Distance 237 miles. Frcsli breeze 
and fine. 1 p.m., Winchester in sight on starboard bow. 

March 12. — Distance 214 miles, Winchester spoken, reported losing 
nine children from measles. P.M., Winchester astern. 

March 13. — -Distance 209 miles. Squally. Winchester half courses 
down astern. 

March 14. — Came to anchor off Jamestown, St. Helena. 

15. — 8 a.m., Winchester anchored. 10 p.m., Winchester left. 
,, 16. — Shortened to 45 fathoms. 1 p.m., hove up and proceeded 
to sea. Made all plain sail and all stunsails, both sides at the main. 

March 28. — 1° 47'N., 22° 15' W. Distance 21 miles. Calm, constantly 
trimming sail to catspaws. Three sail in sight, one of them Winchester. 
Signalled British ship Talevera from Calcutta to London, 72 days out. 

March 29. — Distance 29 miles. Light variable airs, Talevera on 
starboard quarter. Winchester right astern. 

Captain Whall gives another interesting account of 
a race between the Hotspur, with troops on board, and 
the Adelaide clipper Murray. The two ships met in 
Table Bay and fraternised, and, as naturally happened, 
many bets were wagered as to which ship should get 
home first. The two ships left Capetown together, 
and amidst tremendous excitement made sail against 
each other, stunsail for stunsail as they felt the trade. 
For the next eleven days they remained in sight of each 
other, and so nearly matched in sailing were they that 
for hours their bearings never altered, the trade blowing 
very steady. 

But the Hotspur always gained during the night; no 
one could say what was the reason for this, until at last it 
was suggested that the difference in sailing at night was 
due to the troops being in their hammocks. The 
commanding officer was consulted and the troops offered 



SHIP RACES 125 

an extra pint of beer if they would go to bed for an hour 
or two. The troops were only too willing, the ham- 
mocks were piped down and the men turned in. At 
once the Hotspur began to gain, surely but very slowly, 
as shown by the azimuth compass. Directly this 
experiment was proved a success the hammocks were 
piped down every afternoon for an hour or two: and 
Captain Whall remarks: — 

I never heard of a similar method of winning a race; but there's 
something in it when j-ou come to think of it. Our 500 odd troops 
would weigh, say, 35 tons, and it is possible that such a weight, swinging 
steadily to the roll of the ship would make a difference to her; more 
especially as, otherwise, they would be distributed about the decks 
and all on the move. If you are a boat sailor you will know how 
important it is, particularly in light winds, to sit still. 

With the aid of the troops. Hotspur at length dropped 
the Murray behind the horizon astern. But in 26° N. 
the two ships met again, in squally weather, the wind 
easterly and the log slate showing 12 knots at times. 

This time they were together for six days; then once 
more the Hotspur managed to get away from the Murray, 
and she made the Channel about 24 hours ahead. 

Sir William Butler records another exciting troop- 
ship race in his autobiography. 

In February, 1864, the Trafalgar and Lord Warden 
embarked the 69th Regiment at Madras. Trafalgar, 
with the right wing on board, sailed on the 10th, the 
Lord Warden, with the left wing, ten days later. Both 
ships were bound for Plymouth, calling at St. Helena. 
General Butler was on board the Lord Warden. This 
ship published the usual shipboard newspaper, which 
was called the Homeward Bound. From this journal 
we find that on the first fortnight at sea the Lord Warden 
averaged 80 miles a day, on the second 124 miles and on 
the third 18-^ miles. On the run down to St. Helena 



126 THE BLACKWALL FRICxATES 

she averaged 212 miles a day. The Lord Warden 
arrived at Jamestown on 15th April, and found a 
number of American whalers in the anchorage, hiding 
from the Alabama. 

Butler relates how he visited one of these South 
seamen. She was three months out from Maine, her 
captain and crew both in looks and clothes resembled so 
many Robinson Crusoes, all wearing long beards. It 
was early morning and her skipper insisted on Butler 
having breakfast with him. This consisted of a "black 
bottle of terrible spirit" and a plate of hard tack biscuits 
on a table which had been " lubricated with blubber. '' 

The Lord Warden found that the Trafalgar liad 
gained a week on them, having left St. Helena seven- 
teen days before. But the Lord Warden made a good 
run home, and on the 21st May anchored at Plymouth, 
90 days out from Madras. An hour later a full-rig ship 
was sighted hull down beyond the Eddystone. The 
captain of the Lord Warden, who had only one eye, but 
that, like Nelson's, a good one, laid his glass upon the 
distant vessel and pronounced her to be the Trafalgar. 
And so it was. And on the 22nd May the two ships 
sailed in company up the Channel to Portsmouth before 
a delightful westerly breeze. 

The times of the two ships to Plymouth were as 
follows : — 

Left. Traj'algar Lord Warden 

Madras 10th February 20th February 

St. Helena 29th March, 47 days out 15th April, 54 days out 

Plymouth 21st May, 100 days out 21st May. 90 days out 

The IjOrd Warden^ s best 24-hour run was 320 miles 
between the Azores and the Lizard. 

Amongst troops there were generally from 70 to 80 
invalids, wrecks due to the Indian climate. For these 
invalids the "chops of the Channel" held a sinister 



CALCUTTxV SHIPPING 127 

meaning, for it was a well-known experience that many 
of them died as soon as they reached soundings, 

Calcutta and its Shipping. 

At Calcutta the proud Blackwallers moored in 
tiers, two ships abreast, on the Esplanade moorings 
opposite the "Course," where, in tlie evening, many a 
smart turnout was to be seen driving up and down or 
pulled up listening to the band at the Eden Gardens. 

This driving was much favoured by the old East 
India captains. Many of them drove their own turn- 
outs and there was plenty of chaff as they dashed by 
each other, for a sailor always likes speed and mettle- 
some horses. Indeed, on occasions the horses were 
almost too much for the skippers— then you would hear 
such comments as these, sung out in reef-topsail 
voices : — 

"Peppercorn's carrying sail to-night, time he clewed 
up some of his kites;" or "Old Thompson's making 
heavy weather of it." 

And often the indifferent coachmen were greeted by 
cheery shouts of "Port your helm, mate !" or "Heave 
round in stays or you'll be into us. " 

Toynbee and his popular wife drove in some state 
w^th one of his mids seated on the front seat like a 
diminutive aide-de-camp. 

Meanwhile the ships were unloading. A strip of mud 
separated them from the shore at low water. This was 
sometimes bridged by planks, but often the only way of 
getting ashore was on the back of one's dinghy wallah. 
The ship's name and house-flag were painted on a board 
and set up at the landing. This told the inquirer where 
she lay. 

The Blackwallers discharged to the tune of a fiddle, 



128 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

their own crews working the tackle and slings which 
hoisted the cargo into the lighters alongside. The 
mids did the tallying. But when the time came for 
loading, it was done by coolies, the ship's company 
being busy painting and smartening up for the home- 
ward passage. 

And before their passengers came aboard these crack 
Indiamen were spick and span as men-of-war from the 
swallow-tail whip at the main truck to the well holy- 
stoned troop deck, from the shark's tail on the jibboom 
end to the gilt and gingerbread round the stern windows. 
Awnings were stretched fore and aft, and a man 
stood on duty at the gangway. 

The P. & O. steamers lay at Garden Reach, and the 
Liverpool ships, Brocklebanks and the Glasgow "Cities" 
at Prinseps Ghaut. 

The Calcutta River was also choked with other craft, 
"country wallahs," most of them, in which service 
many a proud Indiaman passed her declining years. Of 
such was the Earl of Clare, built for the H.E.I.C. in 
1768; and 96 years of age when the 1864. cyclone shrieked 
the death song through her rigging. Then there were 
a few tough Yankees, many of them with "Wenham 
Lake ice" from Boston, the most, inflammable cargo 
there is. This sounds a strange statement to a lands- 
man, but ice sets up gases below, the sawdust in which 
it is packed catches fire as easily as cotton or jute, and 
there is an end of the ice ship. 

The old time Yankee mate was a tough individual, and 
in Calcutta they took a pride in the swiftness with which 
they got rid of their outward bound crews by the 
system of hazing, known to seafarers as "running a 
crew out of a ship." 

Captain VVhall, when a mid in the Hotspur, witnessed 




THE ESPLANADE MOOKINGS, CALCUTTA. 



[To face Page 128. 



HAZING 129 

this operation carried out by a Yankee mate wlio was 
an artist at the game, and he thus describes it:— 

On one occasion a fine Boston packet lay outside us, the mate of 
which was a genius : this fellow took most refined methods to drive his 
crew away. They were Scandinavians, who are naturally a meek and 
mild race. He hazed these poor devils around until they were almost 
crazy but they hung on well. At last he hit on a grotesque refinement 
of cruelty which had the effect he wanted. 

One morning, at sunrise, whilst we were washing decks, we heard 
this character howl out: — 

" Naow ! Up thar ! Crow ! And crow lively or I'll let fly at ye." 

There stood mister mate on the roof of the deckhouse, revolver in 
hand, looking aloft. Following his gaze we beheld, perched on the 
main royal yard, six of these unhappy beings ; and, as we looked, there 
came down to us the faint strains of " cock-a-doodle." He had 
actually made them climb aloft and crow like roosters when they saw 
the sun rise. This sufficed. The next day they were missing and 
safe ashore in the hands of the crimps. 

No story that I know of so perfectly illustrates the 
power of ridicule, unless it is the Virginian's fooling 
of his rebellious cowboys by his frog story in Owen 
Wister's masterpiece. 

Madras. 

Next to Calcutta, Madras was the chief port of 
entry to India in the days of the Black wall frigates, for 
Bombay owes its importance as a port to the Suez 
Canal. 

Madras Roads have been the scene of many stirring 
events in our naval and mercantile history, the last 
of which was the bombardment by the Emden. The 
Blackwallers lay about 3 miles out, and the connecting 
links with the shore were the catamarans and the 
massullah boats. The catamarans are simply rafts of 
three logs lashed together, their bow ends being bent in 
and slightly turned up. The massullah boats had 
their planks sewn together with cocoanut fibre and were 



130 TKE BLACKWAIJ. FRIGATES 

pulled by oars with blades as circular as gramophone 
records. They are splendid surf boats as they need to 
be, and their crews arc past masters at surf work, the 
only time when a capsize in the surf is at all likely being 
when there is some difference over the fare. 

A spring on the cable was very necessary in Madras 
Roads, there being generally a swell tumbling in from 
seaward. During the cyclone months — in fact, at the 
first sign of bad weather — all sailing ships put hastily 
to sea; and the bottom being stiff mud, anchors were 
not always easy to get; indeed, there must be a great 
number of anchors of all sorts, from the old wooden 
stocked with their great rings for hemp cables to the 
modern creepers, lying at the bottom in ^Madras Roads. 

The Blackwall frigates in the Indian trade rarely used 
any other ports besides Calcutta and Madras, calling 
in generally at Cape Town and St. Helena on the way 
home. 

The Australian Boom. 

The discovery of gold in Australia had its effect 
upon the Blackwall frigates just as it had on every other 
class of ship. The demand for passenger ships for 
Australia had by 1858 far outstripped the supply. 

In London ships \vere specially wanted for first 
and second class passengers rather than for emigrants, 
and the only British ships which were fitted for such 
passengers were the famous Blackwall frigates. 

The Greens, with tlieir large fleet, had no difficulty 
in diverting some of their ships from the Calcutta run 
to the Australian, but Money Wigram was not a large 
shipowner when gold was discovered in Australia, and 
he immediately set about building ships specially for 
the Melboume trade — the first of these, the famous 



GOLD IN AUSTRALIA 131 

little Kent, being one of the fastest of all the Blackwall 
frigates. 

Duncan Dunbar, also, turned his attention to the 
gold rush, and the ill-fated Dunbar was the first of his 
Australian passenger ships; she was launched the year 
after the Kent, and was one of Laing of Sunderland's 
finest efforts. 

With Green shortening his East Indian sailing list, 
and Money Wigram turning entirely to Australia, 
T. & VV. Smith found themselves in the first place at 
Calcutta and Madras, for they were never tempted to 
leave their first love. This, in some respects, was 
their misfortune, for when the Suez Canal opened they 
found their beautiful little frigates cut out by the 
steamers, and no longer fitted to contend against the 
many new and up-to-date clippers which had been 
built specially for the booming Australian trade. They 
thereupon sold their sailing fleet and adventured into 
the ranks of the early steamship companies. 

The Design of the Blackwall Frigates. 

In design the Blackwall frigates would appear 
very bluff-bowed and apple-cheeked to our modern 
eyes. Their shape, indeed, has been compared by 
those who knew them well to that of a serving mallet. 
But the tumble-home, which was so pronounced in the 
earlier ships, gradually became modified, though even 
the last of them could never have been called wall-sided. 
Midship sections were full with little deadrise. In 
the mid-Victorian era only the most extreme of the 
American and Scottish tea clippers had any deadrise, 
and these extreme ships were not always the fastest. 
I have the actual rough pencil draft of the lines of 
the epoch-making American tea clipper Oriental, as 



132 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

they were taken off when she was in the dry dock at 
Blackwall. 

As is known to a few, Greens built the Challenger 
with the help of these lines — and the first point to be 
noticed in both the lines of the Oriental and the Chal- 
lenger, which I also possess, are the fullness of their 
midship sections. I may say that in other ways the 
resemblance between the two ships is unmistakable. 

The early Blackwallers had the heavy stern frames, 
massive quarter galleries, much carved balconies and 
stern windows of the old East Indiamen. The first 
design to depart from the double stern and galleries was 
that of the old Seringapatam. She was always 
considered the first of a new class, and a great advance 
both in size and design on all her predecessors. 

None of the Blackwallers had any sheer, but they were 
too bluff in the bows above water to dish up much 
heavy water over the fo'c'sle-head. The poops were 
long, the main decks, to our ideas, very short and much 
encumbered with the longboat, pig-pens, cow-stalls, 
hen-coops, first and second class galleys, etc., etc. 
The large modern midship house, which ousted the long- 
boat from its traditional place, was originally intended 
and used for the second class cabin. 

The wheel of these little frigates was forward of the 
mizen mast, and the tiller was on the lower deck, as it 
had been since the days of the Tudors. They were 
beautifully built of the finest hard woods in the world, 
English oak and Malabar teak. You could not wear 
them out and you could hardly strain them, however 
much you drove them into a head sea; whilst all deck 
and cabin fittings showed the same fine workmanship 
as the old furniture which we rush after so eagerly in 
these days of shocjdy and gimcrack. 



BLACKWALL SAIL PLANS 133 

Sail and Rigging Plans. 

A glance at one of the illustrations shows the 
Blackwall sail plan with its high steeved bowsprit, 
long willowy jibbooms, huge man-killing jib, large 
spanker, single topsails and bare crossjack yard. 

The Blackwallers were very short in length, and con- 
sequently their masts especially, the main and mizen, 
were very close together, so that a crossjack could 
never be got to stand. The rigging was hemp, though 
the country-built ships were recognisable by the 
amount of coir used aloft. A good deal of real sea- 
manship disappeared when wire replaced hemp for 
standing rigging. In the days of the Indiaman and 
the Blackwall frigate never a watch passed without 
some shroud or stay requiring setting up, and the handy 
billy was never idle for long. The tops were large, and 
the topmen spent their watches aloft. The spar plans 
were still narrow, and so stunsails were of the greatest 
importance and were always carried to the last moment ; 
fore topmast and square lower stunsails being hung on 
to when the first reef was in the topsails, and the fore 
and mizen topgallant sails handed. 

In the earlier ships the main topmast stay set up 
through the foretop, but as the staysail increased in size 
so did the stay come down the foremast, until at last 
the main topmast staysail rivalled the jib in the number 
of its cloths. 

Flying kites such as skysails and moonsails were 
never popular in the Blackwallers; Green's Windsor 
Caslle, however, crossed three standing skysail yards, 
but this was after the advent of double topsails. 

Dunbar Castle is said to have been the last ship to carry 
a single topsail at sea ; but most of the frigates continued 
the single mizen topsail when they adopted the double 



134 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATF.S 

topsails at fore and main. The later ships split the 
gigantic jib in two, and so spread four head sails. 

Before the advent of wire, the most important of the 
stays were double, and preventer backstays and pre- 
venter braces were the usual thing. Shrouds on the 
fore and main were usually six a side, with four back- 
stays. Channels to spread the rigging came just above 
the line of square ports, and they were so massive 
that they seriously interfered with a ship's speed 
when she was heavily pressed with a beam wind. 
Quarter-boats swung outside the mizen rigging, and 
a small boat generally hung over the stern from wooden 
davits. 

They were always conservative ships, and new fangled 
notions whether in design or sail plan were very thor- 
oughly tested before they were adopted. Double 
topsails, which most of the ships exchanged for Cunning- 
ham 's patent single topsails in 1865, were looked upon 
with great disfavour at first, for they were considered by 
these most critical and particular Blackwall seamen to 
spoil the look of their ships aloft. Thus it was the 
custom for some years for ships, when making a harbour 
stow, to hoist the upper yards halfway between the lower 
and the topgallant. These little frigates had their 
foremasts stepped so far foreward that, wiien on a wind, 
the foretack came down to a projecting bumkin out of 
the head, and the foresail had to be cut with a very 
much shorter foot than is usual nowadays. 

The Blackwallers prided themselves on their weather- 
liness, and in this resembled the American Atlantic 
packet ships. The fact was that they could brace their 
lower yards up well. The Hotspur and an old Black X 
packet once left the Downs with a large wind-bound 
fleet, and by nightfall they had worked so fitr to wind- 



SEAWORTHINESS 135 

ward that the rest of the ships were under the horizon 
to leeward of them. 

Carrying away spars and even sails was considered 
bad seamanship on a Blackwaller, where everything 
was of the best, and their singular freedom from 
accidents was no doubt due to this cause. 

Seaworthiness. 

The Blackwall frigates belonged to an era when 
seaworthiness was a sine qua non in a first class passenger 
ship. Beautifully kept, regularly overhauled, and 
with every beam and plank of picked wood, every rope- 
yarn strong enough to hang a man, and every sail 
without a patch, it is not to be wondered that accidents 
w^erc few and far between. 

Built of imperishable teak, and ribbed with Sussex 
oak, leaks were so negligible that one hears little of that 
man-killing work at the pumps, the nightmare of soft 
wood ships. 

No Blackwaller ever had to shorten sail to prevent 
straining in a heavy sea. And with their swelling bows 
and rounded quarters they were as lively, buoyant and 
dry as so many corks. Their crews had no such 
experiences as were the common lot of seamen in the 
later iron ships. A flooded main deck would have 
filled them with alarm. Such a sight as a whole watch 
being hurled to and fro as the ship rolled and each 
following wave poured back and forth over the top- 
gallant rails, would have sent the officer of the watch 
flying to the captain with a request that the ship might 
be hove to. 

As for the idea of a Blackwall frigate broaching to 
and sweeping her lower yardarms through the boiling 
surge to leeward, it would have been unthinkable. 



136 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Yet these little ships were heavy steerers. Captain 
Whall recounts seeing Captain Toynbee, his chief 
officer and two quartermasters steering the old Hotspur 
for a whole four hours, when she was running before the 
westerlies with double reefed topsails on the caps. 

The early Blackwallers modelled their ways on the 
old John Company, preferred comfort to speed, and 
snugged down for the night, but this was very far from 
the custom of the later commanders, who with their 
strong crews liked carrying on on occasions and thought 
nothing of stunsail booms. 

Whall tells how in the Hotspur they carried away the 
topmast stunsail tack three times on one watch, a new 
one being instantly rove on each occasion. And he 
remembered beating into Table Bay against a south- 
easter under double-reefed topsails, reefed foresail, fore 
topmast staysail and balance -reefed spanker. 

It was wonderful the runs that were got out of these 
little bluff-bowed frigates. 

Here is a week's work of the Hotspur running easting 
down in 42° S. in September, 1864 : — 204, 238, 328, 
252, 280, 257, 174. And she was a long way from 
being the fastest of them. 

Speeds of the Blackwallers compared. 

Green's ships were not considered to be so sharp - 
ended as Smiths or Wigrams, and the earlier ships of 
Joseph Somes and Duncan Dunbar were real old stylers, 
wbich pushed a heavy wave in front of them. 

But each firm had one or two extra fast ships. Willis's 
wonder. The Tweed, was, of course, in a class by 
herself. She was the equal of any clipper, and would 
have given Cutty Sark or Thennupylac all they could do. 



BLACKWALLERS' SPEED 137 

Green 's fastest ships were probably the A Inwick Castle, 
Clarence, Windsor Castle and Anglesey. 

The little Kent was the pick of Money Wigram's, 
though the Suffolk once went out to Australia in 68^ 
days. 

The La Hogue was the crack of Dunbar's fleet, though 
she was not as fast as her great rival, Devitt & Moore's 
Parramatta. 

Dunbar's Northfleet, also, from her records must 
have had an unusual turn of speed. 

Joseph Somes possessed two or three very fast ships, 
such as the Northampton, which went from the start to 
the Ridge Lightship in 72 days, and the famous Leander ; 
but they were not Blackwallers but composite clippers. 
Smith's last ship, the St. Lawrence, was also their 
fastest. But in 1853, in the height of the Australian 
gold rush, they sent out the famous old Marlborough 
to Melbourne. She went out in 78 days and came 
home in 83 J, and what was the most astonishing 
part of this performance was the fact that she had 
an entire crew of Lascars. Sir Allen Young was her 
commander. 

There is no doubt that, taken on an average, the 
Blackwall frigates were a great deal faster than people 
supposed. They never made any huge 24 -hour runs, 
it is true, but they were all-round ships, and, being 
perfectly sailed, they frequently beat ships which had 
the reputation of being far their superiors. 

If I had to place the first three in an ocean race for 
true Blackwallers I should give them as follows: — 

First — The Tweed. 
Second — Parramatla 
Third — La Hogue. 



13^ THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Cyclones. 

There is one great enemy of all Indian traders, and 
that is the dreaded cyclone. Yet the number of Black- 
wall frigates which came to grief in cyclones was 
extraordinarily small, though scarcely one of them 
escaped this fearful experience. 

Commanders of East India ships were great experts in 
cyclone seamanship; and they were greatly helped by 
the mass of data collected by Piddington in his Sailor's 
Horn-book, not the least of this data being the various 
atmospheric warnings and curious phenomena which 
accompanied cyclones. 

A cyclonic storm, variously called cyclone, hurricane 
and typhoon, is the greatest example of Nature's forces 
in action that is known to us. And the results on our 
atmosphere are exhibited in many ways, which are both 
terrifying, awe-inspiring, of vast interest to the meteor- 
ologist and of wonder to the ordinary spectator. 

A cyclone seems to upset all Nature's laws— the 
lightning often darts straight upwards as well as down- 
wards; the wind comes in squalls which are bitter with 
ice at one moment, hot and stiffling as a sirocco at the 
next. Besides the scream of the ordinary gale there 
occurs at certain periods, generally just before a sudden 
shift of the wind, a fearful booming sound, which once 
heard is never forgotten. Then too, at the very worst 
period when the centre is close aboard, though the sky 
may be as black as night and as thick as a London fog, a 
curious patch of light, the colour of brick dust, will 
suddenly appear and linger above the horizon. There 
are many other wonderful sight and sound effects. But 
they are not the only senses affected. A curious strong 
smell of the sea, of seaweed and fish, is a very usual 
characteristic ; and there are instances of the well-known 



CYCLONES 139 

smells of certain chemicals — such as sulphur, brimstone 
and carbonic oxide. 

Even the fishes of the sea and the birds of the air 
are affected by cyclones. Turtle have been found 
stupefied just before a cyclone; birds in a dazed con- 
dition have settled in the rigging of ships and refused 
to fly away, even spiders and flies, rats and mice have 
behaved in curious fashion just before and during 
cyclones. 

Let us now turn to our little frigates and see how they 
behaved during these tremendous convulsions of Nature. 
I will take them in order of date, and quote actual logs 
or the personal accounts of those aboard. 

*♦ Vernon" in a Cyclone, 1843. 

The Vernon, Captain Voss, was bound for 
Madras from England, and the following is her 
commander's account : — 

Ship Vernon 26th November, 1843. — It began to get gloomy and the 
clouds were whirling about above in a remarkable manner, wind variable 
from the eastward below and in puffs. Barometer not much under 30.00 
(about 29.95). 

.27th November. — Barometer had fallen to 29.85, dark and gloomy 
weather, still variable from N.E. to east with squalls, confused swell all 
round, clouds very low and lowering, with appearance of bad weather. 
Lat. 9° 6' N., long. 85° 0' E. Barometer 30.0, thermometer 83°. Clouds 
still moving in all directions; kept snug at night; very squally with rain 
from east to N.E., sea getting up. 

28th November. — At daylight, barometer at 29.70, every appearance 
of bad weather, wind increasing, variable and threatening from E.S.E. to 
N.E., double reefed, etc., and sent down royal yards towards noon. 
Lat. by acct. 10° 46'N.,long. 84° 7'E. Barometer 29.80, thermometer 
78°. We appeared to have got between three clouds, wind then came in 
hard squalls (ship with topgallant sails furled and courses up, topsails on 
the cap and reef tackles close out). Forked lightning but not much 
thunder, squalls from N.E., then north and N.W., and right round, and 
thus the ship went round six turns in aboul 30 minuies fjlJ^wing liie 



140 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

wind, with after yards square and head yards braced up. The rain 
faUing Hterally in heavy sheets, so that it was hardly possible to stand: 
the men obliged to hold on, decks half full of water. The wind not 
moderating with the rain but blowing in severe gusts. After this the 
wind steadier, but still about N.E. to E.S.E., with sharp squalls obliging 
us to lower the double-reefed topsails, very dark and gloomy. 

29th November. — More moderate, still blowing hard with gloomy 
weather till sunset, when it became finer. 

"Monarch" in the Calm Centre, 1845. 

The Monarch, Captain Walker, when homeward 
bound on her maiden voyage and midway between the 
Western Isles and the Lizard, encountered a North 
Atlantic cyclone, and the following is the commander's 
memorandum. 

22nd April, 1845.— At 10 a.m. under double reefs. Barometer 29.70. 
2 p.m., breeze freshened from S.W., every appearance of bad weather. 
Barometer 29.50. Ship steering E.N. E., all preparations made. 7 p.m., 
barometer 29.30. Blowing very hard, high sea and atmosphere very 
threatening. 8 p.m., barometer 28.95. Furled everything but storm 
mizen trysail. 8.30 p.m., wind suddenly lulled to a dead calm, which 
lasted a quarter of an hour, ship not steering, and sea striking the 
counter in an awful way, shaking her fore and aft, the appearance of 
the weather stormy in the extreme, with rain and lightning. 9 p.m., 
instantaneously from dead calm it blew a most terrific gale from the 
north with rain and hail. 10 p.m. to daylight, wind settled to a strong 
gale and gradually veered to N.W., barometer rising steadily. 

Captain Walker declared that when the wind came 
out of the north the ship would have been dismasted 
if every sail had not been firmly secured. 

Many a strong ship has been overwhelmed by the 
calm centre of a cyclone. In November, 1846, Captain 
Lay, of the Tudor, ran into a severe cyclone in 13° S., 
83° E., when bound to Calcutta. He hove to in order 
to allow the centre to pass north of him, but got so near 
the centre that he drifted 56 miles in 16 hours, being 
carried alons; bv the storm wave. 



CYCLONES 141 

Fourteen Persons suffocated aboard the 
*'Maria Somes." 

The Maria Somes, with troops on board, ran 
headlong into the centre of a cyclone in March, 1846. 
She was dismasted and nearly foundered, and being 
battened down ''fourteen persons were suffocated for 
want of air during the tempest.'^ 

•' Earl of Hardwicke's " Cyclone Log. 

The Earl of Hardwicke, Captain Weller, was 
bound to Calcutta, and the following are Captain 
Weller 's notes: — 

26th December.— Lat. 28° 42' S., long. 80° 46' E. Barometer 29,95. 
Strong breezes from S.E. and north. Squally, thick, heavy, wild 
looking weather, upper clouds coming from N.W., the next stratum N.E., 
and the lower scud and wmd fast from S.E. Midnight, from 10 knots 
ran into a dead calm. 

27th December.— Lat. 26° 14' S., long 81° 5' E. Barometer 30.00, 
Confused sea, heaviest from S.W. Wind east to E.S.E. and strong trade 
throughout. 

28th December.— Lat. 22° 37' S,. long 81° 0' E. Barometer 29.95. 

29th December.— Lat. 19° S., long. 81° GO' E., barometer 29.71. 
Strong trade still but squally and confused sea, barometer falling, 
prepared for bad weather; upper clouds from N.E. 

30th December.— Lat. 17° 6' S., long. 81° 41' E., barometer 29.75. 
To 8 a.m., running at 6 and 8 knots to the northward, but appearances 
threatening, hove to. Dense lurid atmosphere, very peculiar appearance 
at sunset the last two evenings. P.M., continued dark appearance to 
the north-westward, ran twice to the north and found the wind increasing 
and drawing to the eastward with thick weather, but always fine when 
going south. Kept her south till it should clear off a little ; a thick 
lurid appearance over the heavens, the sun only showing as through a 
dense veil with heavy leaden-looking clouds to the north and N.W. 

31st December. — 4 a.m., barometer not falling any more, made more 
sail to the nort.Nward, weather became more squally with thick weather 
and heavy rain. 8 a.m., a heavy squall from the N.E.. shortened sail to 
close-reefed main topsail, light easterly air with a heavy arch to the 
northward, which kept nearly in the same position till noon, ship 
drawing to the southward 3 knots. Noon, lat. 16° 26' S.. long. 85° 39' 
E., barometer 29 80. 1 pm., made sail again to north and east. A? 



142 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

we advanced weather became thick and squally, 4 p.m., smart squall with 
rainy weather, not able to see 50 yards from the ship, wore to the south 
and shortened sail to close reefed fore and main topsails ; weather 
clearing a little, but an immense mass of heavy leaden looking clouds, 
and over the whole of the heavens a very murky threatening appearance. 
Sun at setting gave the whole a red lurid appearance, and everything 
on board had a red tint. 8 p.m., a fresh gale S.E. Although the sun 
and moon were visible during the day, yet they were only .seen as through 
a thick veil. After midnight the stars began to show, and the thick 
lurid haze went off. Blue sky was visible at daylight, but still a heavy 
leaden appearance to the northward, with a heavy confused swell, 
heaviest from the east. 

This account is a splendid instance of a commander 
seeing the cyclone ahead of him, turning tail and 
avoiding it. The red lurid appearance was a sure sign; 
this is constantly reported by ships on the edge of or in 
cyclones. 

The Dark Blood-red Cyclone Sky. 

This terrible sky, the blood red cyclone sky, is 
one of the most awe-inspiring sights that sailors can see, 
and many an observer has described it with the graphic 
pen of deep emotion. 

Here is the account of Captain Norman McLeod, of 
the ship John McViccar, 5th October, in 14° 50' N., 
89|° E., the moon being ten days old. I take it 
from Piddington. 

At sunset the sea and sky became all on a sudden of a bright scarlet 
colour (I do not remember ever seeing it so red befoxe) even to the very 
zenith, and all round the horizon was of this colour. The sea appeared 
an ocean of cochineal, and the ship and everything on board looked as 
if it were dyed with that colour: the sky kept this appearance till 
nearly midnight, and it only diminished as it came on to rain. No 
sooner was this phenomenon over than the sea became as it were all on 
hre with phosphoric matter. We took uj) several buckets of water, 
but even with the microscope few or no animalcules were detected. 

In October, 1848, the Barham, Captain Vaile, 
encountered a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal, and 



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CYCLONES 148 

describes how the red cyclone sky was visible from 2 to 4 
a.m., the moon, the day before full, shining at an 
altitude of about 45° through a v'cil of clouds. He 
states that the whole sky from horizon to horizon was 
a mass of dense, heavy clouds. The red was everywhere 
apparent, but in patches deeper in some parts than in 
others, and some of the clouds opposite the moon were of 
a very deep orange red. 

The lightning burst forth from these clouds like 
flashes from a gun and sparks from a flint and steel. 
At the same time several stars were visible along 
the horizon, both rising and setting, and these were 
unusually bright and twinkling. 

Dampier's Hurricane Cloud. 

Dampier's unexampled gift for recording detail is 
well shown in that buccaneer's picturesque account of a 
hurricane cloud in his Discourse of Winds. He writes: 

The Hurricane clouds tower up their heads, pressing forwards as 
if they all strove for precedency ; yet so linked one within another, that 
all move alike. Besides the edges of these clouds are gilded with 
various and affrighting colours, the very edge of all seems to be of a pale 
fire-colour, next that of a dull yellow, and nearer the body of thetloud 
of a copper-colour, and the body of the cloud, which is very thick appears 
extraordinary black : and altogether it looks very terrible and amazing 
even beyond expression. 

Calcutta Cyclone of 1864. 

The terrible force of a cyclone is seen best when it 
strikes inland or upon a harbour, then indeed its blast 
lays everything flat, piling up ships and houses into 
rubbish heaps in the twinkling of an eye. 

In the Calcutta cyclone of otii October, 1864, a 
fearful destruction was wrought upon the port and its 
shipping. Luckily it was a small area, fast-moving 
storm or Calcutta would have been no more. 



144 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The opium steamer Riever, one of the few vessels 
which survived, kept the best meteorological log of the 
storm : — 

4th October. — 8 p.m.. heavy rain. Midnight, strong N.E. gale, heavy 
rain. 

5th October. — 6 a.m., strong N.E. gale, heavy rain. 9 a.m., strong N.E. 
gale, heavy rain. Barometer 29.70. 10 a.m., wind increasing, east. 
2 p.m., hurricane E.S.E. Barometer 2S. 27. 2.4a p.m., hurricane at its 
height. Aneroid 27,97. 3 p.m.. hurricane S.E. Barometer 28.10. 
3.30 p.m., tremendous gusts, wind veering to south. 4 p.m., occasional 
lulls S.W. Barometer 28.50. 5 p.m., gale decreasing S.W. by VV. 
Barometer 29.20. 6 p.m., hurricane over. 

The wind was not perhaps as strong as in the 1842 
cyclone, but the storm wave helped by the flood tide 
turned the river into a roaring torrent and did the most 
terrible damage. 

Ships began to break adrift soon after noon, the first 
being the old Mauritius* of the General Screw Steamship 
Company. Only two ships held on in the stream, the 
Blackwaller Alumbagh and the Sir Robert Lees; the rest 
drove helplessly up the river or piled one on top of 
another upon the shore. All the Esplanade moorings 
were torn away except those of the opium steamers 
Riever and Renown, Harry Warren and War Eagle, 
which saved themselves through the use of coir springs. 

Altogether about 200 sea -going ships went adrift, and 
all but a dozen of these piled up on the shore. The 
Lady Franklin, Ville de St. Denis and Azemia foundered 
in mid stream. A country ship, the Ally, capsized 
and drowned about 300 coolies. The steamer Thunder 

♦This steamer had an adventurous career; ten years earlier, when 
fitting out tor the Crimea, she was nearly destroyed by fire in dock at 
Southampton. When the G.S.S.Co. failed, she was converted to a 
sailing ship, and her name changed to Russia. She proved an excellent 
windjammer; and was still afloat in the nmeties, under the Norweg^ap 
tJag. 




■' SOUTHAMPTON " AFTER THE CALCUTTA CYCLONE 1864. 




AFTER THE CALCUTTA CYCLONE, 1864. 



[To face rage 144. 



CYCLONES 145 

drove right over the wreck of the American barque 
North Atlantic and settled down across her poop. The 
Govindpore and another vessel, which had broken from 
the Esplanade moorings, collided and sank opposite the 
Custom House. The Newcastle and Renown of Green's, 
Marshall's Winchester and the deep watermen Knight 
Commander, Great Tasmania, Camperdown, Childwall 
Abbey, Aphrodita, Broiighton Hall, Astronomer, Aaron 
Brown, Ann Royden, and many others, together with 
the P. & O. steamers Nubia, Hindostan, Bengal and 
Nemesis were all stranded and badly damaged. 

Deeds of the most heroic in life-saving took place 
unrecorded during this scene of wild confusion and 
wreckage. The driving rain was so thick that no one 
could see more than a few feet beyond his own centre of 
trouble. Whilst the big ships drove lurching and 
cannoning up stream, on all sides of them dinghys, 
cargo wallahs and other native boats were being over- 
whelmed and destroyed in their thousands. 

Ashore 92 European houses were laid flat and 2296 
damaged according to the police reports, whilst of 
blown-down native huts and go-downs no count was ever 
attempted. Church steeples buckled and fell; roofs 
lifted off and took wing : the air was thick with jalousies, 
punkahs, awnings and sun blinds; whilst well stayed 
topgallant and royal masts cracked like carrots. 

It was due to this cyclone that the order was given 
for all topgallant masts to be struck in Calcutta during 
the cyclone months; our illustration of the Esplanade 
moorings shows this order in full force. 

Down the river the cyclone wave swept over the 
banks and far inland. At the Sunderbunds thousands 
of natives and thousands of wild beasts were drowned. 
\t Saugor Island every hut was swept away and only a 



146 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

few natives saved themselves by climbing trees, the 
sea covering the land to the depth of 16 feet. 

*'Hotspur" and 'Alnwick Castle" ride out a 
Cyclone at the Sandheads. 

Less than three weeks after this storm, Calcutta 
was again visited, but this time escaped the full force, 
but off the Sandheads the newly arrived Blackwallers, 
Hotspur and Alnwick Castle, had the brunt of it. 
Captain Toynbee's notes are worth quoting : — 

21st October. — 6 p.m., came to an anchor. 10.30 p.m., turned the 
hands out. Down topgallant and royal yards. Veered out al! the 
cable on port chain. Midnight, barometer 29.82. Wind gradually 
increasing with heavy squalls and tremendous rain. 1 a.m., wind E.S.E. 
A cyclone was manifestly passing over us. The lightning was beyond 
description. The rain fell in a sheet rather than in drops, and one may 
truly say that the darkness could be felt except when the red glare of the 
lightning made all visible. 2 a.m., wind began to shift to south, and 
round to N.VV. The hardest gusts from S.W. lay the ship over as if she 
had been carrying a heavy press of canvas, and it must have been then 
that our topgallant masts blew over the side. Considering that each 
of these masts was supported by three stays and six backstay's, and that 
the yards were down on deck, one could hardl}- have believed it possible 
that it could blow hard enough to carry them away : the sound of their 
fall was not heard from the deck. I had sent the crew below to get 
some coffee, and had told the boatswain and his mates that after they 
had drunk it we must strike our masts. During a flash of lightning I 
looked aloft and saw the three hanging in the topmast rigging. 4.30 
a.m., after a furious clap of thunder the wind shifted to N.VV. and blew 
only a hard gale. The ship's stern was now exposed to the S.E. sea, 
which was coming up in great rollers and topping tremendously like 
awful breakers : this filled our stern cabins full of water, but it decreased 
quickly. 

The loss of the topgallant masts is thus vividly 
described by the late Captain Whall, who was a midship- 
man on board, in his most interesting book School and 
Sea Days: — 

In the midst of this terrific elemental war we went on with our work 
aloft. Another hour's hard labour and we got the topgallant yard on 



CYCLONES 147 

deck. Still we had not done ; the masts follow, for it was a matter of 
life or death, though we youngsters did not realise it. If our cable 
parted we should be on the sands in half an hour, and if once we touched 
there was no chance of life. 

We were almost spent, but the three of us again clambered aloft to 
the mizen top to wait till the mast rope was sent up to us. Hardly had 
we got there when a terrific gust blew the furled mizen topsail adrift, 
which for a few moments bellied and flapped out in the storm. Some 
men were sent from the deck to resecure it : the first of them showed 
his face up through the lubber's hole, his face ghastly white in the glare 
of the lightning. 

" Hurry upl" I yelled to him. He gave one scared look round at me, 
at the slattering sail, at the surroundings generally, then, with a cry of 
" Oh, blazes! I'm off ! " he disappeared. 

At that moment came another fierce gust, the topsail gave one huge 
flap ; then, torn from the yard, it flew into the darkness to leeward like 
a gigantic bird. The lightning was now beyond description, and as the 
fearful force of the wind made any kind of work impossible, we lay 
clinging where we were, between sea and sky, and watched the awful 
spectacle. At the mastheads sat three blue globes of flame — which 
sailors call corposants — and the flashes of lightning came down in a way 
I never saw but once before or since, in straight lines from sky to sea. 

I suppose we ought by rights to have gone down to the deck, but we 
had not been called down, and so there we remained, hanging on for 
dear life. Suddenly the middy by my side, having happened to look 
aloft during a lightning flash, roared out: — " The topgallant masts are 
gone ! " I looked up. Yes, they were hanging in the rigging, having 
broken short off at the topmast caps, and though we lay not 20 feet from 
the broken mast we did not hear its fall in the roar of the storm. 

" Jolly good job ! " cried I. " Let's get down out of this." And 
down we went." 

The Almvick Castle had her topmasts blown clean out 
of her just as she was anchoring two miles from the 
Hotspur. Her fore and main lower mastheads and 
half the mizen lower mast as well as the jibboom went 
with the topmasts. 

But like the Hotspur she weathered it out, though she 
must have had a still worse time. She had troops on 
board, who were, of course, battened down below and 
one hesitates to think what that troop deck was like 
through that long and terrible night. 



148 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

*'St. Lawrence" in the Madras Cyclone of 
1871. 

Madras Roads in a cyclone are a mass of boiling 
suif for as far as 4 miles from the beach, and ships 
caught here are usually doomed. Amongst a number of 
fine ships the famous Hotspur came to her end during a 
Madras cyclone, as we shall see later in the book. 

And in November, 1871, the St. Lawrence nearly 
shared her fate. The late Captain Whall kept a very 
complete account of his experience in this cyclone, 
which is worth preserving: — 

4th November, 1871. — Noon, 9 miles south of Madras. As soon as 
the anchorage came in sight, braced sharp up and headed for the 
shipping. 3 p.m., could not fetch in owing to the strong current. When 
5 miles south of Madras Light and two miles off shore tacked off, nearly 
missing stays. Midnight, tacked, heading up about N.N.W. \ W. 

5th November. — 5.30 a.m., found ourselves close in below Sadras 
having been set nearly 30 miles to the southward. Tacked (missed stays) 
and stood off . Noon, lat. 12" 3' N.. long. 80° 44' E. A heavy sea from 
N.E.ward, and increasing breeze north, fine clear weather. 4 p.m., 
hard gusts ; in topgallant sails. 6 p.m., beginning to look squally. 
Wind N. by E., head sea getting heavier. 9 p.m., wind unsteady, N.N.E. 
to N. by W. 11 p.m., heavy squalls from north, stowed courses, kept 
away S.E. Midnight, fresh gale. Wind N. by W. Barometer 29.90, 
thick weather. 

6th November. — 1a.m., N. 1°W. toN. 2° W. wind. Hard squalls with 
rain and thick weather. A red brick dust glare, stowed upper topsails. 
Barometer 29.87. 4 a.m., wind north. Barometer 29.82. 5 a.m., 
very severe squall with a strong sulphurous smell accompanying it and 
heavy rain from N.E. 6 to 8 a.m., wind N.E. to N.N.E. and N.^ E. 
Moderate gale, dirty thick weather. Wind gradually hauling. We 
have been keeping off gradually since midnight and are now steering 
S. by E. Dirty leaden appearance to eastward and sea still getting up. 
9 a.m., wind N. by W. Barometer 29.84. Heavy gale. 10 a.m., wind 
N.N.W. increasing fast and sea rising very quickly to a tremendous 
height. Sent down fore and mizen topgallant yards. Got up mast 
rope for main, but were obliged to call the hands down. Barometer 
29.81. 11 a.m., in lower topsails, ship labouring fearfully and awful 
sea running, hove to on port tack, hauled down foretopmast staysail and 
put a boat sail in mizen rigging, which however we soon took down 
again. Barometer 29.72. Noon, wind N.W. blowing a hurricane. 



CYCLONES 149 

Lat. by ace, 10' 44' N., long, by ace. 82" 35' E. Ship laying to very 
well, lee side of main deck in the water. 1 p.m., wind N.W. blowmg 
furiously. Barometer 29.40. 2 p.m., wind N.W. blowing furiously. 
Barometer 29.25. 2.30 p.m., wind N.W. blowing furiously. Barometer 
28.96. 3 p.m. (about), a tremendous gust from W.S.W. which laid the 
lee side of poop in the water, starboard cutter and the main rail washed 
away; jibboom went, in the cap taking with it fore topgallant mast. 
Barometer 28.80. 3.30 p.m., wind at greatest force between 3 and 3.30. 
By 3.30 wind began to decrease and haul rapidly to southward. Baro- 
meter 29.02. 4 p.m., wind S.S.W. decreasing. Barometer 29.22. 
5 p.m., called all hands to clear the wreck. Barometer 29.39. 6 p.m., 
wind S. by W. Barometer 29.50. 10 p.m., wind south, lightning to 
westward . 

9th November.— Came to anchor in Madras Roads. 

In reading these terse accounts of cyclones, one 
should let one's imagination go to its limit, and even 
then it will fail to give one any real inkling of what a 
cyclone is really like. 

The cyclone breath not only has a thousand claws 
which tear at you, but it hits you as well like a sledge 
hammer; it freezes your marrow, and yet chokes you 
with suffocating fumes; it screams at you like a lost 
soul and booms sullenly like a caged demon. It blinds 
you with flying scud, drowns you with rain, stuns you 
with hail, and sets you tingling with electric fluid. 

But beyond all this, there is something about a 
cyclone which is akin to the earthquake and volcanic 
eruption. It is more than a convulsion of Nature, it 
transcends all ordinary natural phenomenon in a way 
which science with its laws has not yet been able to 
satisfactorily explain. It is as supernatural as a ghost. 
And those who have experienced it have a feeling that 
it is an expression of Divine force, operating from beyond 
our planet's atmosphere to the limits of the solar system 
itself. 

And it is this feeling which oppresses the sailor in a 
cyclone, which subdues his spirit and grips his uneasy 



150 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

heart, until his being vibrates with nerve-shaking 
superstitious fears. 

The Old ♦♦Seringapatam.*' 

It is now time to turn to the famous old Blackwall 
frigates themselves and treat them separately. 

We will commence with the year 1837, when a new 
and improved type of Blackwall passenger ship came 
into being, which marked a considerable step forward 
in ship designing and made the old East Indiaman of 
the Hon. John Company an out-of-date back number. 
From this year to 1870 runs the era of the Blackwall 
frigate, as distinct from the era of the East Indiaman 
as it was distinct from the era of the iron passenger 
Clipper. 

The first of these Blackwall frigates was Green's 
famous Seringapatam. An advance in size by some 
200 tons from the earlier ships of Green & Wigram, 
she was a still greater advance in design. 

In her the heavy double stern and quarter galleries of 
the old "tea waggons" were done away with and a very 
much lighter stern substituted. This at the time was 
considered a tremendous innovation. . And the im- 
provement in speed, which was proved by Iicr long 
record of quick and regular passages, caused her to be 
used as a model for many of Green's later vessels. She 
once left London on 26th June, passed the Lizard 7th 
July and reached Bombay oOth September, making 
an 85 -day passage from the Lizard, and this was by no 
means an exceptional passage. Many others were 
equally good. 

The old "Seringy," as she was always called, had a 
figurehead that caused her to be known all over India. 




" SERINGAPATAM. 



From an old Lithograph 




FIGUREHEAD OE THE OLD " SERTNGY." 

\Toface Page 150. 



SERINGA PA TAM 1 51 

It represented Tippoo Sahib, with a drawn scimitar in 
his hand, and was always kept carefully painted in the 
proper colours. 

Natives, when passing the old "Seringy," when she 
lay in the Calcutta River, would always salaam to this 
figurehead and, raising their oars in salute, would 
exclaim aloud with admiration as they gazed up at 
Tippoo, crying out: — "Wha, wha ! bhote atcha ! bhote 
atcha !" 

The Seringapatam was commanded on her first voyage 
by Captain George Denny, then she was taken by 
Captain James Furncll, later the well known superin- 
tendent of Green's Sailors Home, where he remained 
until his death in 1S78. 

The famous old ship weathered out a cyclone in 70° S. , 
58° E,, in September, 1851. Captain Furnell hove to 
and allowed the centre to pass him. Ten years earlier 
she was surrounded by icebergs when running her 
easting down but came to no harm. The Seringapatam 
was still afloat in the sixties. 

George Cupples, the author of the Green Hand, 
mentions passing her on his way up the Hooghly in the 
Westminster. He writes:— 

As we opened one broad, bright reach, where the mouth of another 
river seemed to enter, we came in sight of a noble Indiaman, with sides 
like a frigate's, canvas stowed on the yards and anchor down, lying 
stationary about a quarter of a mile in from our course : the 
Seritigapaiani, of 1200 tons. She had troops on board, and the sounds 
of a military band, playing for dinner-time, floated to us across the 
water in the well-known notes of " Rule Britannia." While we glided 
slowly by her numerous crew greeted our ship with a hearty three 
cheers, which was responded to from the Wesiminsicr. 

So let us leave the old "Seringy," her band playing 
"Rule Britannia" and her company cheering. 



152 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The Mystery of the "Madagascar." 

The Madagascar, built on the same lines as the 
Seringapatam, was also known for her speed, and on one 
occasion ran from the Cape to the Channel in 43 days. 
The disappearance of this ship when homeward bound 
from Melbourne in 1853 is still more or less of a mystery. 
When Green began sending ships out to Australia, in 
the boom of the gold excitement, Madagascar, under 
Captain Fortescue Harris, became very popular with 
passengers. 

In July, 1853, she lay in Port Phillip Avith the Blue 
Peter flying, a full complement of passengers and 
68,390 ounces of gold dust on board. Just as she was 
about to sail, Melbourne detectives hurried on board 
and arrested two of her passengers for being concerned 
in the Mclvor Gold Escort roboery, which had been the 
latest piece of robbery under arms to excite the Colony. 
The passengers were tried, and though a great deal of 
gold dust was discovered in their baggage on the 
Madagascar, the crime could not be brought home to 
them. After being delayed a month by this affair, 
the Madagascar sailed. And when time passed and she 
did not arrive, all sorts of rumours began to circulate in 
order to account for her disappearance, but the most 
general belief was that she had been captured by a 
number of desperadoes, who, it was said, had taken 
passages in her for that very purpose. 

Years afterwards the following story went the round 
of the Colonies. A woman in New Zealand, being on 
her death -bed, sent for a clergyman and said that she 
had been a nurse on the ill-fated Madagascar. Accord- 
ing to her, the crew and several of the passengers 
mutinied, when the ship was in the South Atlantic. 
Captain Harris and his officers were all killed; and the 



MADAGASCAR TRAGEDIES 153 

rest of the passengers, with the exception of some of the 
young women, were locked up below. The boats were 
then lowered, and the gold and young women put into 
them. Finally the mutineers followed, having set 
fire to the ship and left their prisoners to burn. 

However, they soon paid for their crimes with their 
own lives, for only one of the boats, containing six 
men and five women (the narrator amongst them) 
succeeded in reaching the coast of Brazil, and even this 
boat was capsized in the surf and its cargo of stolen 
gold dust lost overboard. 

The sufferings of its crew had been severe enough on 
the sea, but on land they grew more terrible day by day. 
At last a small settlement was reached. But this 
proved a death trap, for yellow fever was raging. In 
a very short time only two of the mutineers and this 
woman remained alive. They, after more hardships 
and privations, at last reached civilisation. Then the 
two scoundrels, after having dragged the woman with 
them through every kind of iniquity, eventually 
deserted her. One of them disappeared entirely, but 
the other, according to her, was hanged in San Francisco 
for murder. 

The woman described herself as having been a nurse 
on board the Madagascar; and this may have been 
possible as there was a Mrs. de Cartaret with her 
children on board. 

This brings up another tragedy connected with the 
Madagascar. 

Whilst the Madagascar lay in Port Phillip and her 
captain was having the usual difficulty in procuring a 
crew for the run home, the Roxburgh Castle arrived from 
London. This was on 21st July. On board the 
Roxburgh Castle was a certain Mrs de Cartaret with her 



154 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

three children, who had come out to join her husband, 
a well-known member of the Melbourne Bar. 

As the Roxburgh Castle approached her anchorage 
Mrs. de Cartaret obtained a local paper from the pilot, 
and the first thing that caught her eyes on glancing at 
the Melbourne news was the announcement of the death 
of her husband. Prostrated by the blow and at the 
same time stranded in a strange country, her only idea 
was to get home again. And so the captain of the Rox- 
hurfih Castle arranged for her passage on the ill-fated 
Madagascar. No mention is made of a nurse, but it 
would be very unlikely to find a well-to-do woman with 
three children travelling without a nurse. 

Mrs. de Cartaret 's father and sister lived at Yelverton, 
and for long years after the Madagascar was given up 
kept her rooms ready prepared for her. 

In 1899 a Plymouth solicitor, who had travelled out 
to Melbourne on business in the Roxburgh Castle, met the 
surviving sister, and the whole story was retold. 
Apparently the devoted father and sister of Mrs. de 
Cartaret refused to give up hope, and waited and waited 
until at last death took them also. 

The nurse's story can never be proved ; but it is likely 
enough, for before Madagascar sailed there were many 
sinister rumours in Melbourne concerning the objects 
and antecedents of her crew and many of her passengers. 

Besides the Madagascar, the Earl of Hardimcke, 
Owen Glendower, Vernon and Agincourt were all closely 
modelled on the lines of the Seringapatam. 

♦♦Owen Glendower" —"I can call Spirits 
from the Vasty Deep." 

The Owen Glendower was specially noted for her 
good looks, and so much was she admired that she had 



OWEN GLENDOWER 155 

the words, "I can call spirits from the vasty deep," 
painted across the front of her poop. 

She gave a proof of her splendid sea-going qualities 
when she weathered out the great Royal Charter gale 
without suffering any damage. And passengers always 
found her a most comfortable ship. 

In her early days foreign merchantmen were in the 
habit of lowering their topsails to the Owen Glendower 
as if to a man-of-war. Indeed this compliment was 
paid to many of the Blackwall frigates both before and 
after her time, and is a proof of the close resemblance 
they bore to frigates of the Royal Navy. 

Owen Glendower and Vernon were both launched with 
side paddles, but the machinery did not prove a success 
and it was removed before sailing. 

Both ships were put on the Australian run during the 

gold rush. Below I give an Australian shipping 

advertisement from the Melbourne Herald of 5th March, 

I860:— 

BLACKWALL LINE OF PACKETS 
For LONDON Direct. 

To sail with strict punctuality ou Thursday, 
22nd March. 
The favourite frigate-built ship, 
OWEN GLENDOWER 
1200 tons, Henry Thomas Dickenson, commander. 
(Belonging to Messrs. Green, of Blackvvali) 
The Owen Glendower, which is generally allowed to be one of the 
most comfortable ships of the Blackwall Fleet, will be positively 
despatched for London direct at the above mentioned date. 

Her thorough sea-worthiness was tested under adverse circumstances 
in the gale which proved fatal to the Royal Charter, on which occasion 
she weathered the storm without sufiering any damage whatever 
and arrived in Hobson's Bay after a very successful passage. 

Chief Cabin. 
The cabins in the first class are of tfiat superior order which has 
gained for tlie vessels of the Blackwall Line the reputation of being tiie 




156 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

most comfortable passenger ships afloat. They are remarkable for 
their unusual height between decks, and are admirably adapted to suit 
the convenience of families. A milch cow is placed on board. 

Second Cabin. 

The berths in the second-class department are more than usually 

spacious, and the distribution of provisions will be on an exceedingly 

liberal scale. Arrangements have been made for providing passengers 

in this class with the regular attendance of stewards. The provisions 

enumerated in the dietary scale will include a liberal supply of ale, 

porter or spirits and a weekly allowance of wine. 

Third Cabin. 

The third-class passengers will be supplied with a liberal variety of 

the best provisions, and will find that the cabins set apart for their use 

are lofty, commodious and judiciously fitted up. The advertised 

sailing appointments will be adhered to with the same degree of 

punctuality which has hitherto been observed. 

Boats are in attendance at the Railway Pier, Sandridge, to convey 

intending passengers to the ship for the purpose of inspection. Free 

orders to be obtained from the undersigned. 

A surgeon accompanies the ship. 

Fares. 

First Cabin . . . . . . . . . . Per Agreement 

Second Cabin . . . . . . . . . . . . £35 

(Including stewards' attendance). 

Third Cabin £18 to £25 

(Including stewards attendance). 

For plans of cabins and second and third class dietary scales, apply 

to— 

W. P. White & Co., Agents, 

10 Elizabeth Street South^ Melbourne. 

This advertisement is the last notice of her under the 
Blackwall flag, for the Greens sold her when she arrived 
home. 

Of her sister ships the Earl of Hardzvicke was wrecked 
on the coast of South Africa in 1863, whilst the Vernon 
became a reformatory ship in Sydney harbour. 

In 1894, the Vernon was purchased by a Mr. Rae for 
breaking up purposes, but whilst she was being dis- 
mantled a fire broke out aboard. Near her, in Kerosene 
Bay, lay another hulk, the old Golden South. The 




OWEN GLENDOWET?. 



Lent by F. G. Layton. 




" PRINCE OE WALES." 



from an old Lithogniph. 



[To face Page 156. 



A MIDSHIPMAN'S LOG 157 

sparks from the Vernon blew over the Golden South, and 
both ships were soon blazing so furiously that they lit 
up the whole harbour all that night. 

The "Agincourt." — A Midshipman's Log. 

It will be noticed in the list of Blackwall frigates, 
given in the Appendix, that the owners of the Blackwall 
Yard were very fond of building ships in pairs, one of 
the ships going to Green and the other to Wigram. 

In 1841 they built the Agincourt for Green and the 
Southampton for Money Wigram. These two ships 
were also after the model of the Seringapatam — good, 
wholesome 10-knot frigates. 

The following notes from a midshipman's log of a 
voyage in the Agincourt to Melbourne and back in 
1861-2 may be of interest. She was commanded by 
the well-known Captain George Tickell, one of the old 
sort, who could not be called a hard sail carrier. Our 
mid begins by listing the cuddy passengers, adding a 
thumbnail description of each in pencil. I have some- 
what disguised the names, as follows: — 

Mrs. Jayes. — Fat, fair and fifty. 

The Misses Jayes. — Mary, benevolent; Ellen, buxom; Kate, bashful 
very ! ! Annie, beautiful ! ! ! 

Mr. John Jayes. — Carrotty stick, withal a decent fellow. 

Mr. Cornflower. — Red-nosed old sinner — first rate old dog. 

Mrs. Desmond and Child. — Jolly woman; pretty child. 

Mr. Clowes. — Fat counter-jumper, good tempered and jolly. 

Miss Houghton. — Fanatical, happy in dancing (would not put her 

lights out.) 
Rev. Fred Nason. — Best clergyman ever went to sea. 

The Agincourt left the East India Dock on 6th October, 
1861, in tow of the steam tug Robert Bruce. At 4 p.m. 
she came to anchor off Gravesend in 8 fathoms ; mustered 
the ship's company, squared yards and piped down. 

The following day was employed in taking in livestock 



158 THE BLACKWATX FRIGATES 

and preparing for sea. The captain and passenijers 
came on board, and at noon the surgeon inspected the 
ship. At 1 p.m. on the 8th the anchor was hove up 
and the Agincourt again taken in tow by the Scotia, but 
they were obliged to anchor for some hours in the Lower 
Hope owing to thick fog. At 2 a.m. they proceeded, 
only to anchor again at 1.80 p.m. on the 0th in Margate 
Roads, where a heavy thunderstorm with vivid lightning 
and heavy rain was experienced. At 6 a.m. on 11th 
October, the anchor was once more at the bows, and the 
Agincourt proceeded round the Foreland before a light 
easterly wind. That evening the royal yards were 
sent aloft and crossed and the sails set. At 3 p.m. they 
were off Dungeness, off Beachy Head at 7.30 p.m. and 
passed St. Catherine's at 1 a.m. 

With the wind increasing and drawing through south 
to west, in squalls, sail had to be reduced. 

Off the Wight the main topgallant sail was taken in, 
and the tiipsaiis double reefed. A hard puff split the 
jib. At 5 a.m. the mainsail was reefed, and third reefs 
taken in the topsails. 

It was now a beat down Channel, the wind being 
strong at S.W. Between the Wight and Plymouth, 
Captain Tickell wore his ship five times and tacked once, 
coming to anchor in Plymouth Sound at 11 a.m., 13th 
October. The Agincourt left Plymouth on IGih 
October and, keeping well to the eastward, sighted 
Porto Santo, Pal ma and Teneriffe. 

On 31st October she exchanged signals with the Great 
Britain, bound to Melbourne from Liverpool. In 
these early logs it is very noticeable how much more 
shipping was to be met with than in later logs. In 
the North Atlantic ships, barques, brigs and schooners 
were daily met or passed. British brigs were specially 



A MIDSHIPMAN'S LO(i 159 

plentiful. "Exchanged colors with" was a constant 
entry, and I notice that "colours" was always spelt 
without the "u" in these old logs, so perhaps the 
Americans have some right on their side when they 
leave out the "u" in such words. 

The line was crossed on 17th November in 27° 26' W. 
The AgincourV s best run up to that date was 209 miles 
before a fresh N.E. trade. She crossed the Greenwich 
meridian in 41° S. on 7th December, and went no 
further than 43° S. in running her easting down. Agin- 
court's best run was made on 6th January, 1862, in 
41° 53' S., 123° 24' E., before a steady and fresh N.W. 
breeze. Her best log reading was 10.4 knots. She 
anchored in Hobson's Bay on 16th January, 92 days 
out from Plymouth, and 102 from the East India Docks. 

The homeward passage was without incident. Agin- 
court passed through Port Phillip Heads on 18th March. 
On her run to the Horn her best 24 hours was 237 miles, 
and her best speed logged 10.4 knots. The usual ice- 
bergs were passed and on 17th April in 53° 54' S., 97° 59' 
W., she was hove to on the port tack under close -reefed 
fore and main topsails for 20 hours in a fresh N.E. gale. 
The Horn was rounded on 22iid April, 35 days out. 
The line was crossed on 26th May. Dover Castle, 88 
days out from Melbourne, spoken on 26th June in 45° 
50' N., 18° 37' W., and the Lizard sighted on 1st July. 
On 3rd July comes the last entry : — "3 a.m., arrived off 
Blackwall Pier; 4, made all fast in E.I. Docks. Piped 
to grog." 

The last entry in a Blackwaller's log book was 
invariably "Piped to grog." No doubt it was much 
preferred by the ship's company to that laconic "That'll 
do, men," which gave a period to the voyage of the 
more modern sailing ship. 



160 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

*' Prince of Wales " and " Queen "—Armed 
Merchantmen. 

The two sister ships Prince of Wales and Queen 
marked the next great advance in ship designing by the 
owners of the Blackwall Yard. At their launch these 
two vessels were considered to be the finest examples of 
armed merchantmen that had ever been built. They 
were pierced for 50 guns and ranked with 50-gun frigates, 
to which they bore a very close resemblance. They were 
specially fitted for troops . They were also flush decked — ■ 
this being considered a great attraction for passengers as 
providing a "delightful promenade. " A further attrac- 
tion for first-class passengers was a "ladies' boudoir." 

In size and appearance they were a return to the 
grandeur of the old John Company's East Indiamen. 
To modern eyes their 'tween decks would have appeared 
very low and dark, their bows very apple-cheeked, 
their channels vast platforms and their sterns lumpy 
and heavy, yet these old frigates were by no means slow, 
especially in light winds. In 1860 I find the Prince of 
Wales with a crew of 78 men and 120 passengers making 
the passage out to Hobson's Bay in 77 days. 

As wooden merchantmen, capable of being converted 
in a moment to warships, the Prince of Wales and 
Queen ranked with Smith's Blenheim and Marlborough 
and Green's Monarch. They were built with the 
scantling of frigates of war, and compared favourably 
with any ship of their date produced in the Royal 
dockyards. 

The Prince of Wales was sold in 1864. 

•♦Bucephalus" and ♦*Ellenborough.'* 

T. & VV. Smith's rivals to the Prince of Wales 
and Quien were the two fine 1000-ton ships Bucephalus 



T. & W. SMITH'S SHIPS 161 

and Ellenboroitgh. These ships were designed by the 
well-kno-vvn Charles I^aing, of Sunderland. They had 
square ports on both main and lower decks, 12 of a side 
on the main and 14 on the lower deck. 

The registered dimensions of the EUenborough were 
159.6 ft. length, 34.5 ft. beam, and 23 ft. depth. She 
was eventually sold to George Marshall and long out- 
lived her sister ship, being still in the India trade in 
the seventies. 

*'Gloriana" and '* Tudor." 

These two ships were improved upon in 1843, 
when Messrs. Smith launched the Gloriana of 1057 tons, 
followed in 1844 by her sister ship the Tudor. Im- 
provements in design are rather hard to distinguish; 
they were confined chiefly to the bow and stern lines, 
whilst the relations of length to beam and depth showed 
little alteration, shipbuilding in the forties being very 
conservative in this respect. 

The Lordly "Monarch." 

All the above ships were outclassed by Greens' 
Monarch, of 1444 tons, the first ship built by Green 
after the dividing of the yard. Mr. George Green had 
already retired in 1838, and the firm was now entirely 
in the hands of the two brothers, Richard and Henry 
Green, whilst a third brother, Frederick, did their 
broking for them. 

The lordly Monarch is thus described in the Illustrated 
London News of 15th June, 1844: — 

This splendid mercantile frigate was launched on Saturday from Mr. 
Green's yard at Blackwall. The Monarch is 1400 tons burthen; length 
of keel 168 ftet ; length overall 180 feet; depth from upper deck to 
keelson, 32 feet. The breadth of her beam is 40 feet, and it is only in 
this particular that she is inferior to the first-class frigates of H.M. Navy. 

She has an entire flush deck fore and aft ; is pierced for 50 guns, and 
M 



162 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

capable of carrying a greater number, for besides 16 ports on a side upon 
the main deck there is also an equal number of large scuttles on the 
lower deck. 

Her timbers and planking are chiefly of teak ; the planks next the 
keel are American elm 5 inches thick, above this is teak to the whaler, 
which are formed of African oak: the topsides are entirely of teak, 
and her bitts, capstan and most of the interior work are of the same 
wood. 

There are 12 cabins, averaging 11 feet by 10 each, and a dining-room 
36 feet by 18 on the main deck, the fore part of which is bulkheaded off 
for the crew accommodation. 

The lower deck has 18 cabins (making 30 in all) of similar dimensions, 
the two after ones being the largest, 18 by 16 feet each, with stern 
v/indows. Before the lower deck cabins is a roomy space for troops. 

Captain W. H. Walker took her from the stocks and 
commanded her for many years. 

In 1876 the old Monarch was posted on the missing 
list when bound from Bombay to Rangoon. 

The ♦♦ Alfred," Lecky's First Ship. 

The next big ship was the Alfred, launched in 
1845. Tradition relates that she was built to be a 
36 -gun frigate in the Royal Navy, but that the Admir- 
alty changed their minds and sold her to Messrs. Green 
whilst on the stocks. At any rate she carried six guns, 
which were always supposed to be some of those intended 
for her by the Admiralty. In the manning report of 
1849 the Alfred, with a crew of 90 men including 5 mates, 
3 boatswains, and 2 carpenters, earned the recommenda- 
tion of the Government as an example of a well-manned 
ship. 

Two years later, that most celebrated seaman, 
Lecky of Wrinkles, started his sea life as a midshipman 
on the Alfred at the age of fourteen years. Lecky only 
went one voyage, then, without his mother's knowledge, 
he left Green's employ and went off to Liverpool in order 
to get rid of brass buttons and be able to dabble his 




From an old LitJiogruph. 



" BARHAM. 




" MONARCH.' 



From an old Lithograph . 



[To face Page 162. 



THE ALFRED 163 

hands in tlie tar bucket. In fact, even at that age, he 
wanted a more strenuous and less easy life. Yet he 
always had a tender memory of tliosc what he called 
"almost pre-historic times when the frigate-built 
Indiamen of Green, Wigram, Smith and Dunbar entered 
the Blackwall Docks in all their glory, with yards and 
gunports squared to a nicety, bunt -jiggers bowsed up for 
a harbour furl, studding sail l)ooms rigged out to the 
mark, hammock nettings neatly stowed and a welcom- 
ing crowd of both sexes cheering and waving greetings 
from the pierheads." 

In the late fifties when homeward bound from the 
Bay of Bengal, the Alfred had a narrow escape from 
being burnt at sea; in fact, the passage was an exciting 
one from start to finish. In the Bay of Bengal after 
contending with six weeks of head winds, the Alfred had 
to turn tail to a cyclone and lost in 48 hours of mad 
scudding all that she had made in this beat to windward. 
Having survived the cyclone, she next had to fight with 
fire, that most dreaded of all sea perils for wooden ships. 

The Alfred was carrying troops, and the watch below 
had to keep below% as she was battened down so as to 
smother the fire — but these wretched troops nearly 
suffered suffocation as well, the heat being beyond any 
" hot weather" they had experienced in India. However 
the fire was got out and the Alfred at length got into 
soundings. Here a hard east wind was encountered 
and she took another month of zig-zagging wearily 
back and forth across the Channel before she landed her 
hard -tried troops. 

In these days when every memory of the old sailing 
ships is treasured by those who have served in sail, 
pictures of them are sought after in the most out of the 
way places. A friend of mine made a speciality of 



164 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

collecting the lids of old sea chests, which were adorned 
by foc's'le portraits, painted with the scrapings from 
the ship's paint pots. One day to his great delight he 
heard of what was said to be a very fine representation of 
the Alfred on the lid of a sea chest. With infinite pains 
and some expense he at last tracked down the widow of 
the old seaman to whom the chest had belonged. On 
reaching her cottage, he at once asked her if she had an 
old chest. 

She replied: — 

"Yes, I still have my husband's old sea chest." He 
asked how much to buy it. She told him he could have 
a look at it. That he was not the first to want to buy 
it, but that she had recently had it cleaned up and so 
wanted a good price for it, being of camphor wood. 

She took him up to her attic and there stood the sea 
chest. Eagerly and with surpressed excitement he 
opened it, then fell back with disappointment, for the 
lid was bright with new varnish, and there were no signs 
of the celebrated old Alfred. 

"I thought there was a painting of a ship on the lid ? " 
he questioned in disgust. 

"Yes," replied the woman, "there was. But it was 
so grimy that I got the carpenter to plane it off when he 
repaired the chest." Curtain! 

During her last years under Green's flag, the Alfred 
was commanded by Captain George Tickell. Her last 
voyage of which I have any record was to Australia and 
back in 1862-3. 

On 5th August she left the East India Docks for 
Melbourne in tow of the well-known tugs, Robert Bruce 
and Robert Burns. She passed the emigration in- 
spection and took on board passengers and live stock 
at Gravesend on the following day. 



THE ALFRED 165 

On 15th August the Lizard lights bore N.E. by E. 
Keeping well to the eastward on her run to the line, she 
had very light winds, sighting the Desertas on 25th 
August, and Palma on 27th August. On the 28th she 
took the N.E. trades, and on the following day signalled 
the tea clipper Chrysolite. 

As a proof that these frigate-built Blackwallers were 
by no means slow when compared with other ships of 
their time, the Alfred kept in company with the 
Chrysolite from 29th August to 7th September, from 
lat. 23° 18' N., long. 21° 34' W. to lat. 9°40'N., long. 
25° 4' W. Two other tea ships were spoken by the 
Alfred on her run to the line, the Fiery Cross, 82 days 
out from Foochow on 4th September, and the Robin Hood 
105 days out from Foochow on 11th September. Other 
sailing ships of every description of rig were constantly 
in company, as many as eight ships being in sight at once 
on 21st August. 

On 20th September, the Alfred crossed the line in 
26° W., 46 days out. She crossed the meridian of 
Greenwich in 87° 49' S., on 9th October. Her best 
run, 265 miles, was made on 28th October in 41° 41' S., 
75° 53' E. ; her best speed logged being 10.4 knots. 

On 8th November at nooiA a midshipman named 
Reynolds fell overboard from the foc's'le head. The 
ship was going 9 knots before a strong westerly wind. 
The flying jib, royals, fore topgallant sail and staysails 
were immediately taken in, the mainyard backed and 
the starboard lifeboat lowered. At 1.30 p.m. the main 
topgallant sail was handed and the port lifeboat sent 
after the starboard one. 

The midshipman was sighted by the boats, struggling 
to protect his face and eyes from the attacks of albat- 
rosses and mollyhawks, Cape hens and the many other 



166 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

kinds of sea birds, so numerous in the Southern Ocean, 
but before the boats could get up to him he had sunk, 
and it was the opinion of those in the boats that the 
sea birds had been the cause of his death. At 2.30 p.m. 
the boats returned and the ship was put on her course. 

Curiously enough, this midshipman Reynolds fell 
overboard from the Agincourt on 1st, May, 1862, in 
44° S., 49° W. This time it was 7.30 a.m., a strong 
head wind was blowing with a heavy sea, and in heaving 
to the main topgallant yard was carried away. Rey- 
nolds was very lucky in being picked up, for before noon 
on that day the ship was lying hove to under close-reefed 
fore topsail and main topsail in a strong gale. 

To return to the Alfred, she arrived in Hobson's 
Bay on 16th November, 93 days out from the Eizard. 

She went to Sydney for her homeward bound 
passengers. An epitome of her log from Sydney to 
London reads as follows : — 

13th February, 1863. — Noon, up anchor and were taken in tow by 
steam tug Bungaree. 2 p.m., passed through the Heads and made all 
plain sail. 3 p.m., cast off the steamer. Light easterly breeze. 

4th March.— Lat. 53° 30' S., long. 140° 58' W. 10 p.m., fresh N.W. 
breeze with very thick fog. In main royal and flying jib. Speed 
9 knots. 11.30 p.m., an iceberg close to on starboard bow, luffed up 
and just cleared it, the ship's side scraping the ice. Shortened sail to 
topsails and jib. 

9th and 10th March. — A great number of icebergs passed in 52= S., 
120° to 115° W. 

19th March.— Passed Cape Horn, 34 days out. 

13th April.— 20° 34' S., 29° 44' W. Signalled ship Coldstream 
standing to southard. Sighted Island of Triiiidada. 

25th April. — Crossed equator in 30" 49' W., 37 days from Cape 
Horn. 4 p.m., signalled and were passed by Sardinian polacca barque, 
Correo. Monte Video to Genoa, 20 days out. 6 a.m., signalled and 
were passed by British ship Sussex, Melbourne to London, 63 days. 
Noon, light east breeze and fine. Sussex hull down on port bow. 

2nd May.— Lat. 13° 50' N., long. 42° 26' W. Fresh N.E. trade. 
Washed the gun deck and lower deck. 



THE MARLBOROUGH 167 

4th May. — Hove to and boarded the British brig Volante. Liverpool 
to Porto Rico out 32 days, for sugar, etc. 

10th May. — Daybreak, ship Sussex on port bow. 9.30 a.m., hove 
to and boarded ship Sussex for wine; was supplied. 11 a.m., up boat, 
filled and stood on. Sunset, Sussex topsails down ahead. 

28th May. — Passed and signalled several ships, including Victory. 
Whampoa to London, 120 days out. 

30th May. — 8 a.m., Lizard N.N.E., spoke Sussex. Copenhagen on 
lee bow. 

1st June. — Several passengers left ship in a Deal lugger. 

The Alfred was 106 days to the Lizard and the Sussex, 
which was Wigram's Blackwaller, 98 days. 

** Marlborough's" Fast Voyage to Australia. 

T. & W. Smith were not long in replying to the 
gauge thrown down by Green and Wigram, when they 
built the splendid frigates, Prince ofJVales, Queen and 
Monarch. 

Indeed, by building the Marlborough and Blenheim 
the Smiths strained every effort to excel the perfect 
work of the Blackwall Yard, and it was generally 
conceded at the launch of the Marlborough in 1846 that 
they had succeeded, whilst at the Great Exhibition of 
1851 the Marlborough and Blenheim were presented with 
silk ensigns and house-flags as being the finest ships in 
the British jMerchant Marine. These two ships were 
specially surveyed by the Government and reported as 
frigates fit for carrying armaments. Though strength 
and solidity were considered of the first importance in 
their construction, yet the voyage of the Marlborough 
in 1853 shows that they were by no means heavy sailors. 

Owing to the rush to Australia in that year both the 
Marlborough and the Blenheim were taken off the Indian 
run and sent out to Melbourne. The Marlborough 
left London with 325 passengers and arrived m Hobson's 
Bay, 7S days out from the Lizard. 



168 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

From Melbourne she made a quick cross voyage to 
India and back, and sailing from Port Phillip on the 
4th July with 60 passengers and 72,000 ounces of gold, 
valued at £288,000, was only 83| days to the Channel. 

This fine passage is thus described in the Illustrated 
London News: 

The Marlborough (Allen W. Young, commander) weighed from the 
Port Phillip Head, on the evening of the 4th July, and passed out the 
same night through Bass's Strait to the westward, with a strong north- 
west gale, which increased until 6th July, at 4 p.m., when it blew a 
perfect hurricane, and the ship was in a most perilous position ; whilst 
running with the wind quarterly, she broached to, from a heavy sea 
striking her on the quarter, the main topsail blew to ribbons, and the 
ship was thrown almost upon her beam ends; the lee side and lee 
quarter boat being buried in the water. The gusts of wind were also so 
terrific that it was impossible to stand against them, whilst the tops of 
the sea were blown completely over the ship. The barometer stood at 
28.90 during the height of the gale. This happened in lat. 39° 55' S., 
long. 142° 10' E., off the south-west coast of Van Diemen's Land. 

On the morning of 6th August in lat. 58° 50' S., long. 80^ 26' W., a 
huge iceberg was seen ahead, the ship passing about a quarter of a mile 
to leeward. The thermometer fell to 29° Fahrenheit, when the 
Marlborough was close to the berg, and it was with difficulty that she 
steered clear of the large loose pieces of ice that were floating around 
the mass. The height is stated at about 525 feet; length half a mile; 
north side abrupt and bold; lee or south side, undulated surface and 
opaque, resembling frozen snow. The wind was blowing fresh from the 
N.N.W., and the sea was moderately rough. The sky was cloudv; 
and the temperature, when about two mUes from the berg, not very- 
cold, the thermometer being at 32°. The iceberg was visible from the 
deck of the ship about three hours. The Marlborough passed Cape 
Horn on the 8th August, and experienced strong gales until in lat. 35° 
south. She passed the tropic of Capricorn 30th August, and arrived in 
the Channel on the 26th September, thus making the rapid passage 
from the southern tropic of 27 days; and 83 J to Start Point. The 
ship had an entire Lascar crew (the first Lascars who had ever been 
round Cape Horn); and there is little doubt that, had the crew beca 
European, the voyage would have been accomplished in a week less 
time. 

This is a passenger's account, as one can readily see. 
It is the earliest account of Lascars in the roaring 




.AIAKLiJUlvULuH." 



From an old JAthoyraph. 



[To face Page 16S. 



A RACE TO INDIA 



169 



forties that I have come across. Whether it was an 
experiment of her celebrated commander or of her 
owners I have been unable to find out. 

The Marlborough, like many another Blackwaller, 
ended her days as a coal hulk, and until 18S8, when 
she was broken up, she was a familiar sight at Gibraltar, 
the last anchorage of so many celebrated ships. 



A Race to India in 1853. 

It may be wondered how the Blackwall frigates 
made passages which were as good as those of the 
clippers. The truth is that their captains had not only 
their own experience of winds and weather, but that also 
of nearly 150 years of carefully preserved East India 
voyages to go upon. They knew all that ]Maury was 
able to discover, but they had to consider their slower, 
more leewardly, ships where Maury was advising the 
captains of close-winded clippers. The Blackwallers, 
though quite fast in medium and light winds, were only 
lO-knotters in winds which would send Maury's clippers 
along at the rate of 15 and more. Thus it was the old 
East India captain's custom to keep well to the east- 
ward on the passage from the Channel to the line, for he 
had a very wholesome dread of being back-strapped or 
set to leeward of Cape San Roque. 

The following passages from Cork to the Sandheads 
in 1853 are therefore of interest as bearing out the 
East India captain's contention: — 



Ship 


Owner 


Left 

Cork 


Crossed the line j ^^n^,^ 
on in long. !ji„ilian 


Arrived 

Sand- 
heads 


Dayi 
out 


Southamfton 
liarh/im 
ntUeAfy 
Camper loun 
Collingwuod 


Wigraoi 
Green 

Dunbar 


Tune 30 

July 1 

2 

2 


July 31 ' 13'30'W. 

„ 30 ' 19"" W. 

„ 31 : 19" W. 
Aug. 12 , 20°30'W. 

„ 8 1 22" W. 


Aug. 19 
„ '-1 
„ 20 

Sept. 6 
5 


Sept. 29 
„ 29 
„ 29 

Oct. 11 
.. 19 


91 

90 

89 

101 

107 



170 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Of these five ships, the Southampton was disposed of 
by Money Wigram in 1863. Green sold the Barham 

about the same date. In 1873 she was still trading to 
India, owned by J. Prowse, of London, but a year later 
she had disappeared from the register. The Wcllesley 
was sold to Vanee Gooloo, of Calcutta, in 1876, and 
became a "country ship." The Camperdoivn was sold 
to H. Andrews, of London, and eventually was run 
down and sunk in the Atlantic by the ss. loxva, when 
owned by Haley, of Sydney, C.B., whilst Collingwood 
disappeared before the seventies. 

The Burning of the "Sutlej." 

Another Blackwaller of 1847, Green's Sutlej, was 
one of the four ships lost under the well-known house-flag. 
She was destroyed by fire in January, 1859, when she 
was about to leave Calcutta, homeward bound, with a 
cargo of saltpetre and jute. The jute became ignited 
by spontaneous combustion, and after smouldering all 
night burst into flames in the morning when the hatches 
were opened. Loud explosions took place as soon as 
the fire reached the saltpetre in the hold ; and these so 
terrified the crew that most of them jumped overboard, 
five being drowned. 

The "Blenheim" in a Cyclone. 

Marlborough's sister ship the BlenheJm was very 
nearly lost in a cyclone in 1867, and was so strained 
and damaged that she had a very big repair bill. 

The following account was given to tiic late Captain 
Whall by one of her officers, and is so interesting and 
curious that I have taken the liberty of quoting it in 
full :— 

We had discharged part of our cargo at Madras and were bound to 
Calcutta ; but, on the passage up, we ran into a hurricane, which 



\ 



\ 




BLENHEIM IN A CYCLONE 171 

finished the career of the good old Blenheim, though she reached Calcutta 
in safety. In brief, it came on worse and worse, till, in the height of the 
storm, she suddenly went on her beam ends. This was her position: 
passengers all down below paralysed with fear. Captain — -well — he 
lost his nerve — and there we were without a leader. It seemed to be 
only a question of minutes ere she foundered with all hands. I was 
only a young officer and scarcely realised our position : these terrific 
storms beat all sense and feeling out of one. Well, I came across the 
boatswain, with whom I had been very friendly on the voyage. 

" Look here, Mr. Murdoch," (I withhold his real name), he roared in 
my ear, for that is the only way you can speak to anyone in the 
height of a hurricane. " Them h'officers is all dazed. Come along 
o' me and we'll save her yet." 

" All right," I cried in answer, recovering my senses now I had got 
a leader. 

He scrambled along, I following, till he reached the carpenter's 
berth. It was tenantless. He groped about and presently cried, 
"Here! catch a hold!" and I found an axe in my fist. " Now, follow!" 

Again we scrambled aft through the howl and scurry of the storm. 
At the gangway, abreast of the mainmast, he stopped and began to 
climb out on to the ship's upper side through one of the gunports. Now 
I knew what we were going to do — cut away the masts — and without 
orders! We clambered out on to the channels. 

" Now, sir," he yelled in my ear, " hack away! " We hacked ; but 
it was awful work out there, with the flying spray and rain beating on us 
like whips, and the screaming hurricane almost hurling us from our 
hand-clutch, whilst the great hull beneath us rolled and wallowed in the 
seething waters. 

In about ten minutes Ave had got five of the lanyards cut. Suddenly 
he held my arm. " Look out ! " he cried, " Mind when she rights I " 
And all in a moment the black snakes of rigging seemed to be drawn up 
swiftly into the dark heavens — silently, for no sound could be heard of 
cracking ropes, of ripping decks or breaking masts — all was drowned in 
the one horrible roar of the storm: but, instantly the ship's great spars, 
rigging and all, vanished. Slowly she began to right herself. 

" Come on," cried the bosun, and we crept inboard again. " We 
must take these axes back and no questions will be asked." 

Once more we regained the carpenter's berth. He dragged the 
door to, which shut out some of the din, and, in a comparative silence, 
he said in my ear: " Now, sir, never you say a word to anyone about 
what we've done ! The old packet's a proper wreck now; the whole 
three sticks are gone. Mind you ! No one gave the order and if we was 
found out there'd be the devil to pay, so keep quiet." 

Well, it saved the ship. Had she not been relieved of her spars, 



172 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

she would soon have foundered ; as it was, when morning broke and the 
hurricane had ceased, we found that she had 12 feet of water in the hold : 
and she still lay over with her lee scuppers in the water, and no wonder, 
for 900 tons of railway bars in the hold had gone over to one side ; 
that alone would have destroyed a less strongly built ship. 

As the storm decreased, the crew began to wake up. The captain 
remarked that it was a good job the masts had blown out of her and 
that it had saved the ship. (Bosun and I said nothing — indeed, this 
is the first time anyone else has heard of the affair.) 

We rigged jury masts and got to port. Later on a tug came and 
towed us to Calcutta, where crowds came to see the wreck, the Governor- 
General amongst others. 

T. & W. Smith sold the Blenheim in 187 i, tliough 
she was still as tight as the day she was launched. 
She eventually became a coal hulk at the Nicobars. 

Dress on the "Trafalgar." 

The style of a ship depends entirely upon her 
commander. The Blackwallers, following in the wake 
of the lordly East Indiamen of the Hon. John Company, 
were no whit behind them in their grand ways of carrying 
on. "Blackwall fashion" was a recognised term for 
this grand manner. 

Most of the captains were exceedingly particular 
with regard to the dress of their officers, A certain 
captain of the Trafalgar was one of the few sailormen 
who wore an eyeglass. He was a tall, thin aristocrat, 
a prime sailor and scientific navigator, and with all a 
very strict disciplinarian. As for dress, his steward 
was sent to inform the midshipmen's berth every 
morning as to what dress they should wear for the day, 
whether blues or w^hites. 

The following amusing anecdote of this man is told 
by W. I. Downie in his Reminiscences of a Blac/itvail 
Midshipman : — 

I had only two cloth caps with the badge and band on them, but 
had three or four more naval caps without the gliitenng adornments, and 



DRESS ON THE TRAFALGAR 173 

unfortunately, before I had been a month at sea, I lost the two former 
overboard. Consequently, one morning, at eight bells, I was obliged to 
go on deck in a plain cap to keep my watch. I noticed the skipper 
looked very hard at me, but put it down to his short-sightedness. At 
last, however, after screwing his eyeglass into his eye, he came over to 
leeward and said: — 

" Are you ashamed of the Service, sir ? " 

" No, sir," I replied; " certainly not." 

" Well then, why have you not the company's flag on your cap ? ** 

I told him both my badges were overboard. 

" Then, sir," he said, " go down on the main deck, and keep your 
watch there ; I cannot have half-dressed officers on the poop of this 
ship." 

With rueful steps, I descended the poop ladder, and, poor little 
wretch that I was, I thought I should sink under the disgrace. For a 
quarter of an hour I walked dismally up and down the stretch of deck, 
between the cuddy awning and the mainmast, feehng very sick. At the 
expiration of that time, the captain's steward came to me, and, holding 
out a small parcel, said, "The captain's compliments, sir; and will 
you please place this badge and band on your cap. You can then 
resume your duties on the poop. He would suggest you attach a 
lanyard to it." 

This was a piece of kindness I had altogether failed to anticipate, and 
I joyfully proceeded to ship the brass binding, not forgetting to secure 
it as suggested. Then, no longer an outcast, I gleefully once more 
mounted the poop ladder, touching my cap as I stepped again into that 
sacred piece of deck, which must not be trodden save by those suitably 
decorated with the company's house-flag. 

The Trafalgar was still afloat in 1873-4 under Green's 
house-flag, but she is missing from the register in 1875-6, 
the year Rose's iron wool clipper Trafalgar was launched. 

The Loss of the "Dalhousie." 

It speaks well for the Blackwall frigates, their 
owners, officers and crews that, at a time when every 
gale strewed the shore with innumerable wrecks, 
tliere should have been so few of their number lost. 
During the whole era of the Blackwall frigates there 
w^ere only four really big tragedies, those of the North 
Fleet, Cospatrick, Dunbar and Dalhousie; the first 
through collision, the second from fire, the third from a 



174 THE BLACKWALL FRTCxATES 

mistake in navigation, and the fourth due probably 
to faulty stowage of cargo, which rendered the ship 
crank and unsafe. 

This last, the loss of the Dalhousie, occurred in 1853. 
The ship, frigate -built of teak, was launched at 
Moulmein in 1848. She measured 800 tons and was 
owned by Mr. Allan, of London. It will be noticed that 
she did not belong to one of the first-class BlaokAvall 
firms, nevertheless she was undoubtedly a fine ship, 
well found and well manned. 

On 12th October she left the E.I. Docks bound for 
Sydney under the flag of the White Horse Line of 
Australian passenger ships, with a cargo valued at 
£100,000 and a crew of 48 hands. Luckily only a 
dozen of her passengers joined at Gravesend, the rest were 
to be picked up at Plymouth. The Dalhousie arrived 
in the Downs on the 15th and was detained there by 
strong head winds until the 18th. At 7 a.m. on the 18th 
she sailed from the Downs, the wind being fresh at 
N.W, At 7 p.m. when the ship was 10 miles west of 
Dungeness, the wind shifted to the S.S.E. and freshened. 
At 10 p.m. the topgallant sails were taken in. At 
midnight all hands were called to reef topsails, the 
wind and sea increasing rapidly. At 2 a.m. Joseph 
Reed (the only survivor) took the helm, Beachy Head 
light being in sight abeam. By 4 a.m. it was blowing 
a gale; the ship was rolling very heavily and seemed to 
have a difficulty in recovering herself: the starboard 
quarter boat was washed away. At the change of the 
watch the fore and main topsails were double-reefed 
and the mizen topsail stowed: shortly afterwards 
a sea swept the ship and actually washed away the long- 
boat. At 5 a.m. the ship was hauled to the wind a)ul 
the crew commenced throwing overboard water casks, 



LOSS OF THE DALHOUSIE 175 

sheep pens, etc. At 5,30 the larboard quarter boat was 
washed away, the ship went over on her beam ends and 
lay there. 

I will now quote from the sworn account of the 
seaman Reed, the only survivor: — 

At half-past five a.m. she rolled right over on her starboard beam 
ends, and remained in that position with her mastheads in the water, 
lying at the mercy of the sea, which then made a clean breach over her, 
and washed away the larboard quarter boat. A great many of the 
crew took refuge in the maintop, and I got outside the ship on the 
weather gallery, it being impossible to stand on deck. 

Captain Butterworth, the chief and second mate, the carpenter, 
cook, and some of the crew, joined me on the weather quarter, and they 
dragged through the gallery window four passengers, consisting of a 
gentleman, his wife and two children, who took refuge with them. I 
and another seaman also succeeded in getting out of the water a young 
lady, who had come out of one of the poop cabins, and I lashed her to a 
large spar, and placed her with the rest of the party on the gallery 
Immediately afterwards a large sea broke over the ship, which washed 
off the gentleman above mentioned with his wife and children (four in 
all) and they perished together. At about this time a schooner was 
observed about half a mile to the eastward, bearing down upon the 
wreck. 

Our ship was at that time settling fast in the water, and it was 
evident that she could not remain afloat many minutes longer. I cut 
the lashings of the spar to which the young lady had been made fast, 
in order to give her a chance for her life. As the spar went adrift. 
Captain Butterworth, the second mate and one or two of the seamen 
quitted the sinking ship and held on to the spar in the hopes of saving 
themselves, I being left on the quarter with the cook and carpenter. 

Many of the people had by this been drowned, but others remained 
holding on as they best could on the weather side of the wreck. She 
lay thus for about ten minutes after Captain Butterworth had left 1 er, 
and then sank, going down head first. I scrambled from the quarter 
to the mizen mast, which I ascended as the ship sank, I found the 
surgeon in the mizen top, and we went up together to the mizen 
cross-trees. 

When we were submerged I lost sight of the surgeon, and I swam to 
some deals which were floating about. I got hold of one of them, but 
shortly afterwards I saw near me one of the chocks of the longboat, 
capable of affording me better support than the deal, which I therefore 
left and placed myself on the chock. 

Tke schooner was then within shouting distance, being about IQQ 



176 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

yards to leeward of rae. and I hailed her, begging her crew to go 
about to windward and afterwards drift down among the Dalhousic's 
people, of whom several were still alive. (The schooner's people 
declared that they did not hear the hail, nor could they work to 
windward and get near the men struggling in the water ; and 
after waiting for half an hour they were obliged to make sail for their 
own safety, as they were drifting down upon a lee shore and it was 
blowing hard.) In the course of the morning several other vessels passed 
near me, both going up and down Channel, without seeing us. My 
companions gradually perished one after the other, and I was repeatedly 
washed oS my frail support. At about 1 p.m. the wind veered to the 
S.W., and towards 4 o'clock a brig hove in sight to windward, standing 
down towards where I was floating : I made signals to her with my 
handkerchief in the best way I could, which were fortunately seen. The 
brig soon came alongside me, and having lowered a rope with a bowline 
in it, I made it fast round my body and sprang from the chock into the 
sea. Although the crew of the brig observed every precaution in their 
power, I was unavoidably dragged under water for a minute or two 
before I could get on board, and when I at length reached her deck I 
was nearly senseless. 

The brig was the Mitchel Grove, bound from Little- 
hampton to Sunderland witli timber, and she landed 
Reed at Dover on the following day. 

Great quantities of wreckage were washed ashore at 
Hastings and Rye, and the body of Mrs. Underwood, 
a passenger, washed up on the beach at Dymchurch. 

In these sole survivor tragedies, the sole survivor is 
always proved to be a man of most extraordinary strength 
and endurance. Not many men could have held on to 
that longboat chock and lived through those long hours 
in that rough, cold, Channel sea and autumn gale of 
wind. 

Origin of Marshall's House -Flag. 

George Marshall came into prominence as an 
owner of first-class frigate-built passenger ships about 
the time of the discovery of gold in Australia. Marshall 
was a Sunderland shipbuilder and built all his own 
ships, running them both to India and Australia. The 



STATESMAN AND HOTSPUR 1T7 

fiTsi of his ships to make a name for herself was the 
Statesman, of 874 tons, launched in 1849. She made 
several very rapid passages out to Australia, and one 
especially, of 76 days from Plymouth to Melbourne 
before Marco Polo had astonished the world, was the 
cause of the blue circle in Marshall's house-flag. On 
this occasion the Statesman was commanded by the 
celebrated Captain Godfrey, a great exponent of Great 
Circle sailing, who also made two 77-day passages in 
Beazley's Constance. 

Marshall celebrated Captain Godfrey's feat by 
adopting as his house-flag the St. George's Cross with 
a blue circle in the centre. 

Toynbee's "Hotspur." 

The Hotspur, which followed the Blenheim off 
the stocks, was one of the most popular passenger ships 
trading to Calcutta. And this was in great part due to 
her commander, Captain Toynbee. 

Smith's ships were a good deal fuller in the ends than 
those of Green and Wigram, though they had plenty 
of dead -rise; and the Hotspur had bluff bows like a 
Geordie, but with the Geordie's fine run. Her utmost 
speed was about 12 knots, yet under Toynbee she was 
sailed so hard and made such good tracks that she 
averaged : — 

Pilot to pilot — outward passage . . . . . . 90 days. 

homeward ,, ., ., .. 91 ,, 

Best passage out — Lizard to Madras . . . . 79 ,, 

,, ,, home— Madras to Lizard . . 85 

She made her best run on 12th September, 1864, in 
42° S., 56° E., when she covered 328 miles in the 231- 
hour day; whilst running her easting down she once 
averaged 230 miles a day for 19 days. 



178 THE BLACKWALL FRTOATES 

These performances meant hard driving. With a 
ship's company of CO to 65, and a watch consisting of 
the officer of the watch, 3 midshipmen, a bosun's mate 
and 17 men, sail was never taken in till the last minute 
and set again at the first possible moment. Shaped 
as she was like a serving mallet, the Hotspur owed 
more than a little of her reputation for good and regular 
passages to her celebrated commander. 

Captain Henry Toynbee was one of the most scientific 
navigators of his day, and many were his valuable 
papers to the Nautical Magazine and other shipping 
periodicals on such subjects as "lunars," "star naviga- 
tion, " " rating chronometers, " " trade routes, " etc. "He 
was always sure of his longitude within five miles, " 
writes one of his officers. And his wonderful landfalls 
were the admiration of his passengers, 

Toynbee was the son of a gentleman farmer in 
Lincolnshire, and went to sea in 1833 at the age of 
fourteen as a midshipman on the East Indiaman 
Dunvegan Castle. 

On his second voyage he went in the free -trade barque 
Eleanor, to China, and then got a third officer's appoint- 
ment in the Duke of Argyle, belonging to T. & VV. 
Smith, his first commander in Smiths being John 
Sydney Webb, afterwards Deputy Master of the Trinity 
House. 

Toynbee 's first command was the Ellenborough; and 
he had also commanded the Gloriana and Marlborough 
before he took over the Hotspur, the command of which 
he resigned in 1866 in order to succeed Admiral Fitzroy 
as Marine Superintendent of the Meteorological Office. 
He retired in 1888, and lived to be over ninety years of 
age, an example of all that an officer in our Mercantile 
Marine should be. 



HOTSPUR 179 

Toynbee was succeeded in tlie Hotspur by his first 
officer T. L. Porteous, and the following is the last 
mailing notice in the Times of the famous old ship: — 

FOR MADRAS DIRECT 
T. & W. Smith will despatch the fine, fast-sailing ship Hotspur, Al 
13 years, 1045 tons register. T. L. Porteous, Commander : to load in 
East India Docks. Last shipping day, 30th October. Has excellent 
accommodation for passengers. For freight or passage apply to Messrs. 
Grindlay & Co., 55 Parliament St., S.W., or T. & VV. Smith, No. 1 
Crosby Square, E.C. 

On that voyage the Hotspur went ashore and became 
a total wreck in the Madras cyclone of 2nd May, 1872. 
The storm is thus reported in the log of the ship I nvernesSf 
Captain Thomas Donkin, R.N.R., which managed to 
ride it out in Madras Roads: — 

1st May. — Noon, wind N.E.ly, force ti. Barometer 29.567. Ob- 
served signal at the Master Attendant'.s Office — " Surf impassable." 
4 p.m , wind N.E.ly, force 7. Set sea watch. Towards evening squally 
weather, heavy showers, wind coming in gusts. Veered to 90 fathoms. 

8 p.m., secured everything about the decks, etc., for bad weather. 
Close-reefed topsails, foresail and lower staysails ready for setting. 
Midnight, wind N.E.ly, force 8, Barometer 29.527. Heavy squalls 
and heavy rain. 

2nd May. — 2 a.m., wind N.E., force 9. Barometer 29.436. 4.15 a.m., 
wind N.E., force 11. Barometer 29.343. Daylight very heavy squalls 
and very threatening appearance: waited for a lull and paid out to 130 
fathoms of chain, letting go second anchor before doing so, and veering 
to 35 fathoms. 5.30 a.m., observed the Burlington drifting. 7 a.m., 
the Ardbeg drifting. 8 a.m., wind N.E., force 11.5, Barometer 29.266. 

9 a.m., wind N.E., force 12. Barometer 29.267. 9 and 10 a.m.. 
Sir Robert Seppuig dragging. Jnvershie, Hotspur, Kingdom of Belgium, 
Ariheman, Mary Scott and other country ships parted. 11 a.m., the 
wind began to veer easterly and knowing then that the centre was 
passing south (though very close) felt convinced that if the chain only 
held on another hour we should be safe. The ship did not drag at all: 
we were prepared to cut away should she have commenced. During 
the morning the sea was fearfully heavy, and now and then the head of a 
sea came aboard, but no large body of water. 8 p.m., wind S.ly, force 
6, decreasing. The Inverness was in a favourable position for riding 
out tii= Sturm, but the Hotipur was too close in. It would not have 



180 THE BLACK WALL FRIGATES 

been safe to put to sea at the first indication, as the ships would have 
had to beat off a lee shore whilst they were getting stronger and stronger 
winds as they neared the centre of the cyclone. 

"Anglesey's" Famous Figurehead. 

Green's Anglesey was noted for her wonderful 
figurehead, representing the Earl of Anglesey. This 
work of art was very much admired, and so carefully 
looked after that it was always kept covered up whilst 
in harbour except on holidays and special occasions. 

The Anglesey was a very smart little ship, and holds 
the record for the biggest 21 -hour run ever made by a 
Blackwall frigate. She was also exceedingly fast in 
light airs, which was due according to her officers to the 
beautiful modelling of her counter. 

The following is a epitome of the voyage, in which 
she made the big run, taken from her log-book. 

Fast Voyage to Melbourne and back by the 
'♦Anglesey." 

Ship's Company — Commander J. Maddison; 3 mates, 5 midshipmen, 
bosun, carpenter, steward, butcher, cook, 17 A.B.'s (all British names), 
2 O.S.'s, 3 boys, 1st cuddy servant.— Total 4ti. 

London to Melbourne. 
5th April, 1871. — 1.30 p.m., hauled out of East India Docks. Draft of 
water forward, 18 ft. 3 ins. aft., 18 ft. 11 ins. ; well 19 ins. Taken in 
tow by Scotia. 5.30 p.m., made fast to buoy at Gravesend. Took 
in livestock and one bull. 

6th April. — 5.30 a.m., mustered all hands. 3.30 p.m.. Captain 
Maddison joined the ship. 4.15 p.m., passed emigration survey, and 
proceeded in tow. 

7th April. — 3.30 a.m., cast off tug and made all plain sail. Mod. 
E.ly breeze. 1.20 p.m., passed Beachy Head. 10.30 p.m., St. Cathenne's 
Light, N.N.E. 

8th April. — 9 a.m., hove to for pilot cutter. 10.30 a.m., Mr. Joues, 
pilot, left the ship off Berry Head. P.M., falling calm. 

19th April. — Sighted Island of Lazarote, one of the Canaries. 

22nd April.— Lat. 26° 10' N,. long. 16^ 21' W. Took N.E. trades. 

1st May.— Lat 3"' 19' N., long. 22' 50' W. Lost N.E. trades 



ANGLESEY'S LOG 181 

2nd May. — Crossed the Equator, 24 days from Start. Took S.E. 
trades. 

4th May.— Lat. 5° 57' S., long. 26° 10' W. Course S. 19° W. Distance 
230 miles. Fresh trade and squally. Carried away fore top-gallant 
backstay bolt. Split flying jib and shifted it. Ship pitching heavily. 

14th May.— Lat. 32° 17' S.. long. 17° 36' W. Course S. 46° E. 
Distance 241 miles. Fresh westerly wind with sharp squalls. 11.45 
p.m., struck by a sudden gust giving no previous warning. Carried 
away jibboom and three topgallant masts, main topgallant mast going 
in three pieces, one piece damaging port boat in its fall. Also blew 
away main topmast staysail out of bolt-ropes. 

15th May.— Lat. 34° 47' S., long. 13° 50' W. Course S. 52° E. 
Distance 240 miles. Unsteady W.S.W. breeze and squally. At 
daylight commenced clearing away the wreck. Sent down all the 
yards and pieces of topgallant masts. 

16th May.— Lat. 36° 45' S., long. 11° 00' W. Course 5, 50° E. Dis- 
tance 182 miles. Wind westerly, unsteady and gusty, ship rolling 
heavily, tremendous sea. 

17th May. — Lat. 39° 5' S., long. 7'' 35' W. Course S. 49° E. Distance 
240. Unsteady westerly breeze and gusty. Employed getting 
jibboom and spritsail yard rigged. P.M.. mod. breeze and puffy. Sent 
jibboom out and set the jibs. 

18th May.— Lat. 39° 56' S., long. 5° 34' W. Course S. 61° E. Dis- 
ance 108 miles. Light W.S.W. wind. Ship rolling heavily at times. 
Employed getting fore topgallant rigging aloft. Shifted mizen topsail 
with best. P.M., moderate breeze. Sent up fore topgallant mast. 

19th May.— Lat. 40° 46' S., long. 1° 54' W. Course S. 75° E. Dis- 
tance 176 miles. Wind west, unsteady and gusty, threatening appear- 
ance all round. A.M., crossed fore topgallant yard and set the sail. 
P.M., light breeze, sent up mizen topgallant mast, crossed the yard and 
set the sail. 

20th May.— Lat. 41° 3' S., long. 0° 50' E. Course S. 81° E. Dis- 
tance 125 miles. Wind S.W. Moderate and squally. (Crossed 
meridian of Greenwich 18 days from line.) 

(I have given this week fully, as it is a fine example 
of what could be done in re-rigging at sea on a 
Blackwaller.) 

28th May.— Lat. 47° 30' S., long. 23° 31' E. Course S. 73° E. Dis- 
tance 232 miles. A.M., strong wind N.N. E. and gusty. Set main royal. 
P.M., moderate decreasing breeze S.W. Made all plain sail. 

29th May.— Lat. 48° 29' S., long. 32° 51' E. Course S. 83° E. Dis- 
tance 380 miles. Wind W.N.W., unsteady and gusty, light rain. 
P.M., increasing with hard gusts. 



182 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

(The log gives this run as 418 miles, but worked out 
rigorously it only comes to 380. This is the biggest 
day's work ever made by a Blackwall frigate.) 

30th May.— Lat. 48° 7' S., long. 39° 9' E. Course N. 83" E. Dis- 
tance 254 miles. Fresh W.ly and N.W.ly winds. Squally, snow at 
times, split first jib and shifted it. 

31st May.— Lat. 48° 7' S,, long. 45" 35' E. Course east. Distance 
258 miles. Wind N.W., strong and gusty with thick misty weather. 
Shipping much water overall. P.M., strong and gusty with rain. 
4 p.m., heavy sea struck ship, flooding the cuddy and poop. Reefed the 
mainsail and took in main royal. 

1st June.— Lat. 47° 58' S., long. 52= 45' E. Course N. 88° E. Dis- 
tance 288 miles. Strong N.W. wind and gusty with snow and hail 
squalls. Tremendous sea following astern. Ship rolling heavily and 
shipping seas. 

2nd June.— Lat. 47° 2' S., long. 58° 45' E. Course N. 89° E. Dis- 
tance 241 miles. Wind N.W., fresh and gustv, set main royal. Found 
fore lock of main topgallant backstay had carried away. Rigged and 
set it up again. P.M., unsteady and squally with snow. Made sail to 
main topgallant sail. 

3rd June.— Lat. 47° 34' S., long. 65° 4' E. Course S. 83° E. Dis- 
tance 256 miles. Fresh W.ly wind with hard squalls and hail. Split 
fore topmast stunsail. In light sails. P.M., strong wind and squally 
with snow. Furled mizen topsail. Heavy sea. 

4th June.— Lat. 47° 11' S., long. 71° 10' E. Course N. 48° E. 
Distance 256 miles. Wind W.S.W., unsteady, fresh and squally with 
hail at times. Made sail to main roj'al. 

(The week's work from 28th May to 4th June totals 

1925 miles. This is a very fine -performance indeed 

for a little Blackwall frigate.) 

lOth June.— Lat. 47° 10' S., long. 104' 52' E. Course S. 80° E. Dis- 
tance 306 miles. Wind N.N.E. to N.N.W., increasing to a strong gale. 
Split the mainsail and took it in. 

18th June. — 8 p.m., sighted Otway Light. 

19th June. — 2 a.m., sunk Otway Light bearing W.S.W. 6 a.m., 
hauled the mainsail up. In a heavy gust carried away new main 
topmast staysail sheet and split the sail, at same time carried away new 
jib pendant and split the sail. 7 a.m., sighted Port Phillip Heads and 
pilot boat. Wore round on port tack and hove to for pilot. Mr. Hanson 
came on board and took charge. Piped to breakfast, during which 
rope of fore topmast staysail carried away, also starboard upper fore 
topsail sheet. Tacked to N.E., shifted stavsail. Got the anchor o3 the 



ANGLESEY'S LOG ^83 

boards and got up more chain. 2 p.m.. put helm up and stood for 
Heads. 3 p.m., passed through the Rip. 3.30 p.m., let go starboard 
anchor, and paid out 60 fathoms of chain. Found ship dragging, 
carried awa}'^ lip of starboard hawse and started the chock. Let go 
port anchor and paid out 45 fathoms to hawse. Continuing to blow 
from S.E. all night with heavy gusts. 

21st June. — 4 p.m., hauled alongside Sandridge Railway Pier. 
(Start to Port Phillip, 72 days.) 

Melbourne to London. 

10th August. 187L — Noon, anchored off QueenscliSe. 8 p m.. 
Roberts, third-class passenger, taken out of the ship by police, his wife 
accompanying him. 

11th August. — 8.30 a.m., passed through the Heads. 

16th August.— Lat. 48° 26' S., long. 163° 28' E. Wind S.VV. Baro- 
meter 3 a.m., 29.22. 7 a.m., shortened sail to lower topsails, now 
blowing with terrific violence, ship laying over so that the water was 
over lee rail. P.M., strong gale with hard squalls, very heavy sea. 
6 p.m., made sail as required, split upper fore topsail. 

22nd August to 3rd Se-ptemhcT.— A nglesey ran from 51° 50' S., 162' 
25' VV. to Cape Horn. 3397 miles in 13 days, an average of 261 miles a 
day. 

31st August.— Lat. 58° 42' S., long. 95' 48' W. Distance 294 miles 
(best run of the passage). Winds N.W. to S.W., strong breeze with 
hard squalls. Ship taking a great deal of water overall, starboard boat 
on skids washed to leeward. Lee rail constantly under water. 6 a.m., 
struck by a heavy sea on weather quarter, much of it finding its way 
below, filling cuddy and cabins. 8 a.m., heavy untrue sea running, set 
main royal to keep her before the tremendous sea running. Shipping 
much water over poop and main deck. P.M., hard squalls of snow. 
Ship rolling heavily, taking much water over both rails, frequently 
floating lifeboat on starboard davits. 

3rd September.— Lat. 57° 29' S., long. 70° 47' W. Distance 286 
miles. Wind S.W. Barometer at 4 a.m., 28.50. Wind increasing with 
hard gusts, and squally with hail. Tremendous sea running, shipping 
green seas all over main deck. Furled mainsail. 4 a.m., increasing 
with hard squalls. Furled main topgallant sail but loosed it before the 
men were ofi the yard and set it, finding she would not keep ahead of 
the sea without. 6 a.m., a terrific high sea running, washing over poop 
and rolling in on main deck. Sometimes 3 feet of water on the decks, 
pressing in port awning cabin and damaging front of cuddy and filling 
cabin. 8 30 a.m., struck by a heavy sea on stern, staving in deadlight 
in port cabin and starting quarter gallery. P.M., very heavy gale with 
hail. Ship with difficulty keeping ahead of the sea and rolling quantities 
of water over everywhere, pumps kept constantly going all day, the 



184 THE BLACK WALL FRIGATES 

men never leaving them. Skylight washed off the poop. 5 p.m., struck 
by heavy sea on starboard side, completely staving in lifeboat, un- 
shipping davits and starting the whole starboard rail. Cut remainder 
of boat away to save the rail. Port upper fore topsail sheet going at 
same time, turned the hands out and rove sheet and set sail again. Set 
fore topgallant sail. 7.30., blew fore topgallant sail away. Sighted 
Islands of Diego Ramirez, ported and passed them. 8 p.m., shipped a 
tremendous heavy sea, smashing main booby hatch. Furled foresail 
and remains of fore topgallant sail. Midnight, pumps sucking. 
(Port Phillip Heads to Cape Horn, 23 days.) 

30th September. — Crossed the line in 27" 58' W. 

29th October.—Wind S.W., 7.15 p.m.. sighted Start light on port 

beam. 

(Melbourne to Start, 79 days.) 

This voyage is a most remarkable performance, and 
has never been beaten by a Blackwall frigate. 

Captain Maddison was a real sail earrier, as can easily 
be seen by the few extracts which I have made. 

The Anglesey was a short, deep little ship with her 
mizen pitched very far aft, her measurements being 
182 feet long, 34 feet beam and 22 feet depth. To look 
at she was very like Green's second tea clipper, the 
Highflyer, which was launched nine years later, both 
ships having the same cut away bow ; it is indeed highly 
probable that Anglesey had some influence on the 
design of Highflyer, though I have no evidence that 
this was the case. 

Anglesey was sold by Green about 1874, and she 
disappeared from the Register in 1882. 

*♦ Roxburgh Castle" and Will Terris. 

The Roxburgh Castle, launched the same year as 
Anglesey, was a slightly larger ship, having 3 inches 
more length, 5 inches more beam and 1 inch more 
depth. 

Will Terris started life in her, but his desire for a sea 



THE NORTHFLEET TRAGEDY 186 

life was soon quenched and lie left the ship as soon as 
she reached the Downs outward bound. 

The Roxburgh Castle was a well known ship in the 
Melbourne passenger trade, and along with the Anglesey, 
Dover Castle, Monarch, Prince of Wales, and Lady 
Melville formed one of Green's Blackwall Line of 
Packets to Australia during the sixties and early 
seventies. 

She was wrecked on the Goodwin Sands in 1876. 

The "Northfleet" Tragedy. 

The Northjlect, which made some remarkable 
passages in the China trade, is chiefly notorious for the 
tragedy of her end. In January, 18T3, she anchored 
off Dungencss when bound out to Tasmania with a large 
number of emigrants, mostly railway navvies. During 
the night she was run into by an unknown steamer and 
sunk. The steamer, which was afterwards identified 
as the Spanish Murillo, steamed away and left her to her 
fate. The Northfleet sank in half -an -hour, 293 of her 
350 emigrants being drowned. INIany of these would 
have been saved if a panic had not started amongst 
the emigrants, who tried to rush the boats. Captain 
Knowles went down, revolver in hand, having done 
his best to save the women and children ; and his wife, 
who was saved, was granted a Civil List pension in 
recognition of his bravery. 

The Famous "Kent." 

The best known, perhaps, of all Wigram's 
fleet was the grand little Kent, whose passages out to 
Australia were simply marvellous considering her size 
and build. 

She was Wigram's pioneer ship in the booming 
passenger trade to Melbourne, the port of entry for the 



186 THE BLACK WALL FRIGATES 

wonderful Eldorado of the mid -Victorian fortune 
seeker; and as such she was the finest specimen of a 
first-class passenger ship that Wigram's Blackwall 
Yard could turn out. 

Measuring 927 tons, she was 186 feet long with a beam 
of 33 feet. Her poop ran almost to the mainmast and 
she had a large topgallant foc's'le. She was, of course, 
full in the bow compared to the Liverpool clippers; 
she had the heavy square frigate stern with large stern 
windows and quarter galleries, and great heavy channels 
to drag through the water. 

Her main royal masthead was 130 feet above the deck, 
which gave her a tall sail plan for her size and length, 
and her bowsprit and jibboom were of unusual length, 
even for a Blackwall frigate. She came out with 
single topsails, with the usual four rows of reef points- 
Her yards Mere banded every 3 feet with iron, and 
strength was given to her for sail carrying by every 
device of the riggers' art then known. 

For many years she was considered one of the finest 
ships trading out of the port of London, which was 
tantamount to saying that she was one of the finest 
ships in the world. 

And during her whole career she was always a "pet 
ship" and a great favourite, both of her owners, her 
passengers and crew. 

Here is a Melbourne shipping notice of the year 1850 : 

Blackwall Line of Packets.— For 

LONDON direct— To sail in May— 

The Magnificent armed Clipper ship 

KENT. 

Al at Lloyd's, 1000 tons, George Coleman, commander, belonging 
to Messrs. Money W'lgram & Sons. 

This renowned Blackwall clipper now stands unrivalled in the 
accomplishment of no less than eight passages to and from Australia, 
the average duration of which has not been equalled by any vessel afloat. 




THE KENT 187 

She will be despatched from this port for London at the time 
indicated above, and intending passengers should therefore ensure 
superior accommodation by making timely application at the offices 
of the undersigned. 

An experienced surgeon will accompany the ship. 

Fares. 
Cabin passage, including wines, beer and spirits, SO guineas. 
Second cabin . . . . . . . . . . £35 

Third cabin £25 

For plans of the cabins, dietary scales, etc., apply to W. P. Whit^ & 
Co., agents, Wharf. 

The first point to notice in this advertisement is the 
tall claim about the Kent's first eight passages. The 
writer of a shipping notice was no expert at his job 
unless he knew some way of showing up his ship and her 
wonderful qualities: yet he dared not go beyond the 
truth in claiming sailing records, or he would soon 
have an irate correspondence to deal with. 

The Kent, according to the testimony of her captains, 
was a 12 -knot ship, and never logged 13 except for a few 
minutes in some passing squall. 

How then did she make her passages? In light 
weather she would fan along in the faintest of airs 
when other ships of her type were motionless, and like 
another historic ship, the George of Salem, was rarely 
known to lose steerage way. Twice she was 49 days 
to the line from Melbourne, and once she was 63 days 
to the Western Isles, truly wonderful work for a ship of 
her type. 

This little frigate had the scalps of many famous 
ships in her locker. Twice she beat the Marco Polo. 
On the first occasion the two ships left Port Phillip 
Heads together on 4th December, 1854 ; and after the 
usual strong fair winds to the Horn they encountered 
very light weather in the Atlantic, never reefing topsails 
from Cape Horn to soundings. 



188 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

This light weather was, of course, the little Black- 
waller's opportunity, but the Marco Polo could slip 
along in any kind of weather, and in the end the two 
contestants arrived within a day of each other. 

Kent landed her mails off Hastings on 27th February, 
1855. 81 days out from Melbourne, whilst the Marco 
Polo arrived in the Mersey on Wednesday evening, 2Sth 
February, 85 days out. 

The champions of Marco Polo argued that the 
Blackballer carried 1000 tons of cargo besides her 
passengers and drew 22 feet of water, whilst the Kent 
had no cargo and only drew 14| feet of water. In 
1859 the Marco Polo again had to lower her flag to 
the Kent, and this time she had the celebrated Blue 
Jacket as a companion. The three ships left within a 
day of each other, Kent from Plymouth and Marco Polo 
and Blue Jacket from Holyhead, all bound for Melbourne. 

When off the Island of Trinidad, the Kent entered the 
northern semi-circle of a cyclone, and Captain Clayton, 
whose first voyage it was in command, altered his 
course so as to pass to the northward of the storm circle. 
In this way he held a strong fair gale which kept the 
Kent going at her top speed right down to the Cape. 
Meanwhile the Marco Polo and Blue Jacket, steering to 
the south of the centre, were held up by head winds and 
made a very slow run between Trinidad Island and the 
Cape meridian. 

This gave the little Kent a lead of several days over 
her huge and powerful antagonists; and making a 
good steady average running the easting down, she 
arrived in Hobson's Bay, 83 days out, beating the two 
Liverpool clippers by several days. 

The Kent's average to Melbourne was about 80 days. 
On her maiden passage she left London 27th January, 



THE KENT 189 

1853, and arrived at Port Phillip on 20th April— 83 
days out. On her second passage she left London on 
26th October, 1853, and arrived Melbourne on 12th 
January, 1854 — 78 days out. On one occasion she 
beat the clipper Empress of the Seas on the outward 
passage ; this ship had a record of 66| days to Melbourne 
in 1861. Her greatest feat, however, was in beating the 
tea clippers home from the line, which I have described 
fully in my China Clippers. 

It will also be noticed in the sailing notice above 
that a cabin passage on the Kent cost 80 guineas. As 
a rule with other ships this passage was a matter of 
arrangement, the price depending a good deal on how 
the ship filled up, but the little iiTenf was such a favourite 
that a stiffish amount had to be asked for a first-class 
cabin. Passengers had in those days to provide their 
own bedding, linen and soap, but drinks were free, 
champagne being provided twice a week on Thursdays 
and Sundays. And Captain Clayton describes how on 
these days the dinner finished up with a famous plum 
duff which was always ablaze with brandy. 

The Kent was a favourite treasure ship, the gold 
being stowed in a strong room in the run beneath the 
captain's cabin. A hatch led to this room through the 
floor of the captain's cabin. This was caulked down 
for the passage; then, on the ship's arrival in the 
docks, the gold was transferred to the Bank in waggons, 
protected by an armed escort. On one occasion she 
had half-a-million in gold bars on board. 

During the Trent excitement, at the outbreak of the 
American Civil War, the North actually sent a cruiser 
to the Channel with orders to seize any gold ship if 
war broke out with England. This was in 1861, and 
the Kent arrived home soon afterwards with her usual 



190 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

cargo of bullion, and Captain Clayton was considerably 
surprised when old Money Wigram asked him anxiously 
if he had seen anything of the Yankee cruiser. 

Tlie Kent was always a strictly disciplined ship and 
a thorough Blackwaller in all her routine. No chanty- 
ing was allowed ; orders were carried out to the tune of 
the bosun's whistle. Her bosuns were most important 
petty officers, there being two bosun's mates, one of 
whom had charge of the main and the other of the 
foremast. They were always addressed as Mister. 
The Kent's bosun, when in port, would always go off 
in one of the boats, as soon as the decks had been 
washed down, ropes coiled up and awnings spread, in 
order to square up the yards. This was a most im- 
portant function and required a most correct eye, for 
the bosun would be sure to hear from the mate if one 
of the yards was pointed the least bit too much or too 
little. 

For a number of voyages a tall, active, powerful, 
hard bitten seaman of a mahogany cast of countenance, 
named Walker, was chief bosun of the Kent. This 
man was such a sailor as it would be quite impossible 
to find nowadays. His breed is as extinct as the dodo; 
he was the beau -ideal of a sailor, a real Tom Bowling, 
and could only have been produced in the foc's'le of a 
sailing ship. 

The Kent carried a crew of about 60, and from 8 to 10 
midshipmen. The fiddler supplied the place of the 
chanteyman. Topsail }'ards were always walked up 
to the mastheads on the order to hoist topsails — passen- 
gers joining with the crew in tailing on to the halliards. 
Setting sail was always an inspiring scene, with the 
fiddler scraping his best and the lines of men at "stamp 
and go" on the main deck. The three topsails were 




CAPTAIN M. T. CLAYTON, OF THE " KENT. 




KENT" IN THE THAMES. 



[To face Page 190. 



THE KENT 191 

always reefed simultaneously. Ten minutes was 
considered time enough to put in the first reef, haul 
out the reef tackles and hoist away. The Kent's first 
captain was Captain Coleman ; he was celebrated as a 
polyphonist. He took her from the stocks until 1856. 
Then Captain Brine had her for three years, with 
Clavton as his chief officer. 

Captain Brine was one of the real old sort. His 
masts and yards had to pass the test of a plumb-line or 
a sextant. The Kent had hemp rigging in his day, and 
his masts had to be stayed to a hair ; so the handy billy 
was not allowed much rest. 

Captain Clayton succeeded Brine in 1859, and 
celebrated his first passage out by beating Marco Polo 
and Blue Jacket. He was a young man then, hardly 
more than a boy, and the command of a Blackwall 
frigate was one of the plums of the Merchant Service, 
so one may be sure that old Money Wigram valued 
his capabilities very highly. 

Captain Clayton. 

Captain Clayton, who is still alive, is one of the 
few left who saw sea life at the zenith of the Golden Age 
of Sail. He belongs to a different order of seamen to 
that of the present day. All days, all periods have 
their romance and great adventure, but that romance 
was purer, less sordidly tainted by the desperate 
struggle for existence in the days of sail. If more 
strenuous in some ways it was less in others. The 
equation of time was not so all important and conse- 
quently human nerve was less strained, less overworked: 
and experience soaked into one, it did not come in a 
flash and depart leaving only a blurred impression. 
These old seamen had great memories of great adven- 



192 THE BLACK WALL FRIGATES 

tures: their lives were not a jumble of incidents, 
tumbled one on top of the other, but were an orderly 
procession of events, stirring enough indeed but 
separated by periods of calm, when the soul of man, 
his nerves and tissues had time for rest and recuperation. 

Captain Matthew T. Clayton came of old sea stock: 
his great-grandfather, William Duke, commanded his 
own vessel, in 1750, and incidentally arrived in Lisbon 
two or three days after the earthquake. 

His home was at Selsea, in Sussex, and from this 
quiet English home Clayton and his three brothers 
went out into the wide world as British sailors at an 
age when the present day boy is still at school. 

Though Captain Clayton is still alive in sunny New 
Zealand, one brother lies buried in the island of Lombock, 
another at Singapore and the third in Chili, and the 
Sussex homestead stands deserted. 

Can we have a better example of Kipling's verse ? 

We have fed our sea for a thousand years 

And she calls us, still unfed, 
Though there's never a wave of all her waves 

But marks our English dead: 
We have strawed our best to the weed's unrest 

To the shark and the sheering gull. 
If blood be the price of Admiralty, 

Lord God, we ha' paid in full ! 

Captain Clayton went to sea at the age of thirteen in 
October, 1844, and before he had reached man's estate 
he had lived through more adventures, seen more wild 
places and suffered more hardships than any imaginary 
hero of the romantic writer. 

He knew the storm wind of the South, the stark calm 
of the line, and the smiling trades. He knew the 
treacherous currents of the China Seas, the waterspouts 
and "williwaAVs" of the Java Straits and the coral reefs 
of the Islands. He had faced death in the night, and 



CAPTAIN CLAYTON 193 

death at morn: death from the sickness, from Java 
fever and yellow jack: death from the poisoned arrow 
and shark 's tooth sword of the savage South Sea Islander : 
death from drowning and from sharks; death from the 
eager, clutching fingers of the storm fiend. 

His first ship was the London, a 480-ton Moulmein 
built barque, belonging to the Port of London. He 
was apprenticed to her owners for five years, during 
which time they undertook to teach him navigation and 
train him into a sea officer. And the captain of the 
London was a man who stood to the letter of his owners' 
contract. From 10 to 11.45 a.m. every morning he 
taught his apprentices navigation in the cabin; and 
at 11.45 he took them on deck to shoot the sun. 

Clayton's first voyage was out to Bombay with 
general cargo and home again with ivory, cotton, 
rubber and spices. 

On her second voyage the London went out to Sydney 
where she was chartered to take a load of bullocks 
across to Wellington. This passage was one of the 
nightmares of the old captain's memory. 

The first night out it came on to blow: the cattle 
were thrown about by the rolling and pitching of the 
ship, they broke their legs, they bellowed with fright 
and gored each other in their terror; they broke adrift 
and fell in struggling heaps ; and one by one they died. 
And during that ten -day passage of bad weather the 
crew of the London were kept busy heaving dead bullocks 
up out of the hold, until on their arrival at Port 
Nicholson there were not many bullocks left to swim 
ashore. In Wellington harbour the London nearly 
drove ashore during a gale. It was a pitch black 
night which young Clayton spent aloft sending down 
topgallant masts and yards, 
o 



194 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

From here the ship went across to Java in ballast, 
and as usual on that coast the whole crew fell down with 
Malay fever, from which young Clayton did not recover 
until the London^ s arrival at Hongkong. The next 
port was Manila, whence they went to Sydney, where 
the ship was sold in 1847. 

In June of that year, Clayton joined a South Sea 
trader, the British barque Statesman, of 343 tons, 
Captain David Dewar. 

The South Seas in those days were much as they were 
in Cook's time. The chief trade was sandalwood, 
which fetched £40 a ton in the Chinese market and 
was chiefly used for idols and rich men's coffins. 
Copra was not yet known as merchandise. 

The agent of the Statesman was the celebrated Captain 
Bobby Towns, one of the early merchant princes in the 
South Seas. His interests ramified through all the 
Islands. His white traders ruled heavenly paradises 
or existed on sufferance in savage atolls throughout the 
whole Pacific, before the advent of the missionaries. 
Some of them soaked themselves in gin. The unfortun- 
ate or those lacking in tact were eaten by their neigh- 
bours; the fortunate lived in fatty degeneration as 
petty kings; but few broke with the life; they could 
not leave it in spite of months of isolation, of lack of 
contact with their own kind. 

Into the midst of this life the boy Clayton found 
himself and in three years of peril and adventure grew to 
be a man; a man of cool nerve and infinite resource, 
and a prime seaman. 

On her first voyage the Statesman went to the wild 
New Hebrides for sandalwood; and at Aneityum, one 
Captain Paton, a white king, filled her up for the 
Hongkong market. 



CAPTAIN CLAYTON 195 

On her second voyage she was fitted for a more 
adventurous undertaking. Her 'tween decks were 
turned into a trade room containing old iron tomahawks, 
bright calicoes, blue beads, knives of all sorts, gaspipe 
muskets, fish hooks and a plentiful supply of pipes and 
tobacco. And she shipped five whaleboats for trading 
among the reefs ; one being a longboat fitted with mast 
and sail. Four apprentices, well-born Colonial boys 
all athirst for adventure, joined the ship — boys whose 
names were afterwards well known in Colonial history. 
And lastly she took aboard a number of time-expired 
Loyalty Island natives from Bobby Towns' Lifu Island 
plantation. 

Space will not admit of all Clayton's adventures in 
the South Seas, of escapes from hostile savages, of 
capsizes on boating voyages within the reefs, of narrow 
squeaks from drowning and from sharks. Nor can we 
detail the method of trading with a hostile shore, the 
boat crews armed, and the boats kept with their heads 
seaward, ready to pull clear of arrow flights or hurtling 
spears. 

The natives looked upon white men sometimes as 
gods, sometimes as devils. The ship was considered 
to be a giant canoe, and it was a never-ending source 
of wonder that she did not tip up when the secretly 
frightened islanders were induced to step aboard. 
The cabin mirrors terrified all dusky visitors, and were 
dubbed "black magic. ' ' The water showing transparent 
in the Statesman's rudder trunk was another cause for 
savage amazement. Indeed it was a life of danger and 
excitement, of new experiences for both white and 
coloured, of new wonders, new worlds, new peoples, 
such as is no longer possible in these days when every 
corner of our planet has been explored. 



196 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

But Clayton was not of the mould of an island trader, 
savage kingdoms with all their charms could not hold 
him; he was too virile for the do Ice far niente island 
existence, and so we find him in October, 1856, signing 
on as chief mate of the crack Blackwall frigate Kent, 
back again in civilisation, back in the whirlpool of life, 
the calm, lazy backwaters of the islands with their 
sudden tragedies and primitive passions a thing of the 
past. 

Rowing a Thousand -ton Ship. 

Clayton, when he took over the little Kent, had a 
difficult task. She was a very favourite first-class 
passenger ship and so he had to find favour with his 
passengers ; secondly, she was a very steady passage 
maker, and he had to maintain her reputation. In 
both of these points he was eminently successful. He 
was also a sailor of ideas, who was not easily beaten by 
adverse circumstances. 

This was well shown on the passage when he reached 
the Western Isles in 63 days, and then ran into a flat 
calm. He at once decided to try and row his 1000 -ton 
frigate across the calm belt, and the experiment is thus 
described by a witness in a newspaper interview: — 

There was a slow undulating swell from the westward: the ship just 
had steerage way and no more. 

Captain Clayton told his chief officer that he intended to try and 
pull the Kent along until he got wind, and instructed him to rig stages 
outside on both sides of the ship, about 2 feet above the water and get 
out every oar on board. The carpenter and crew soon had stages 
firmly secured on each side, with stunsail booms rigged along for gun- 
wales. There were about 30 oars belonging to the ship's boats. These 
made fifteen a side and they were quickly at work. 

All the passengers who could pull went down to help the crew, and 
they pulled away right cheerfully. The ship's fiddler was stationed 
at one gangway, and one of the second class passengers, who had a 
fiddle, on the other; and there they fiddled away to the toiling oarsmen. 



CAPTAIN CLAYTON 197 

The oars were relieved at frequent intervals, for there were plenty 
of hands; and grog was served out regularly. So with the help of 
music and judicious splicing of the mainbrace, Captain Clayton kept 
his people at the oars for two days. 

The jollyboat was towed astern in case any of the oarsmen fell 
overboard. 

"By the evening of the second day," says Captain 
Clayton, "we had pulled into a light breeze. I set all 
possible sail and pulled the rowing stages up, and away 
we went, as the wind gradually increased in strength. 
Anyway that rowing notion of mine kept the ship's 
company amused even if we did not move the old Kent 
very far. " 

Captain Clayton uses Oil in a Cape Horn 
Gale. 

A few years later the commander of the Kent 
again showed his enterprise and resource by using oil 
to save his ship when she was hard pressed by a furious 
Cape Horn gale. 

The Kent sailed from Melbourne in July, 1862, with 
250 passengers and a full cargo, including about 
£400,000 in gold ingots. 

Just before she sailed a steamer arrived from Adelaide 
with a large consignment of wheat and copper ore, 
which the agents insisted in transhipping into the Kent 
in spite of Captain Clayton's remonstrances. 

It was soon found that Captain Clayton was right, for 
the additional cargo began to strain the ship's topsides 
before the Horn was reached, and the pumps had to be 
manned to keep the ship clear of water. 

At last, when the Kent was within 200 miles of the 
Horn, the glass fell to 28.10 and it was evident that dirt 
of the usual Cape Horn kind was ahead. 

In a very short while the wind was blowing with 

urricane force, whilst a huge sea of Cape Horn greybeards 



198 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

threatened to wash the overladen ship from stem to 
stern. Captain Clayton sent down his upper yards and 
made every preparation he could, well knowing that 
the extra cargo would severely handicap the brave little 
frigate in her fight for life. 

Then shortly before dark a regular Cape Horn snorter 
came whistling down upon the ship ; and a greybeard 
came rolling up as high as the topsail yard. This sea 
struck the ship fair amidships on the port side and hove 
her down on her beam ends. The poop skylights were 
smashed in, and the poultry coops were washed down 
into the cuddy. The first-class cabins were flooded, 
whilst drowning hens and wildly cackling ducks and 
geese swam about the flooded saloon. The first-class 
passengers, who were in their bunks and many of them 
seasick, found themselves in danger of drowning as 
the cataract of water poured into their berths ; and they 
were compelled to rouse out and make a fight for life. 
At last, with the help of the stewards and the stronger 
aiding the weaker, they managed to shift themselves by 
means of the after companion to the vacant second 
class cabins on the lower deck. 

Meanwhile it was going hardly with the ship. Things 
began to go and the great rollers of Cape Stiff began to 
loot the ship. The cow, house and all, went clean over 
the lee rail; the galley was washed out and reduced to 
a wreck; many of the men were seriously injured; and 
sails began to blow adrift from their gaskets and go to 
shreds, whilst the close-reefed main topsail blew clean 
out of the bolt-rope. 

It was a terrible night and Captain Clayton, who at 
the commencement of the blow had lashed himself to 
the mizen fife-rail, had the greatest difliculty in keeping 
his ship from being overwhelmed. 



CAPTAIN CLAYTON 199 

Shortly before daybreak there was a lull in the fury 
of the storm, and by noon it was found possible to open 
the fore and main hatches so as to jettison the additional 
cargo. Helped by the passengers the crew tossed bag 
after bag of wheat overboard, the copper ore followed, 
until that extra consignment, worth about £4000, had 
all gone to feed the fishes. 

This eased the ship, but still it was not enough, for 
she was straining badly, and passengers and crew had 
to keep the pumps going without ceasing. 

There happened to be some casks of sperm oil in the 
cargo. Apiece of pump hose was led to these and the 
oil pumped up into canvas bags, in which holes had been 
pricked. These bags were hung out to windward, and 
one was kept dribbling from the quarter galleries, 
v/hilst to lessen the danger of being pooped, a sail of 
storm canvas was stretched over the stern. 

The result of using the oil was instantly perceptible. 
The Cape Horn greybeards ceased to break within the 
.range of the oil. Yet as the ship, which was, of course, 
hove to, slid down into the trough between each of these 
hills of water, the sperm oil like congealed fat was 
blown over her, torn from the crests of the seas by the 
hurricane, until everything reeked of whale oil from the 
lower mastheads down. And weeks afterwards, when 
the ship had reached the tropics, the oil still dripped 
from aloft to the vast discomfort of those on the deck 
beneath. 

However by this timely use of oil Captain Clayton 
saved his ship. Indeed the oil bags had hardly been 
rigged out before the wind shifted and it came on to 
blow harder than ever. 

Captain Clayton, who had the additional anxiety of a 
young wife with an infant in arms on board, never left 



200 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

the deck for two days and two nights. Sustained by 
occasional cups of coffee, he never relaxed his vigilance 
until the wind had moderated and the danger was past. 
On the KenVs arrival home, the general average 
struck on the cargo for the jettisoned wheat and copper 
ore came to only about a penny in the pound. Great 
praise and also something more substantial than praise 
was given to Captain Clayton by the owners and 
underwriters for the way in which he had brought his 
ship through the Cape Horn gale. 

♦♦Kent's*' Narrow Escape from Icebergs. 

On the Kent's previous homeward passage, she 
nearly got embayed by icebergs. 

She left Melbourne on 15th October, 1861, with 22 
cabin passengers, 172 steerage passengers and 105,603 
ounces of gold. 

On 27th October in 52° S., 162° VV., she ran into a 
regular nest of icebergs which stretched across hej 
course as far as the eye could see. Sixty -one large bergs 
were counted blocking her way. Night was coming on 
and there was every appearance of thick and dirty 
weather approaching. The question to be decided was 
should the course be /altered to the north or to the south. 

By inspiration, as he always considered. Captain 
Clayton altered his course to the south, running to the 
S.S.E. under double reefs until 7 p.m. By 9 p.m. it 
was blowing a heavy gale, but no more ice was seen. 

A few days later Captain Clayton dreamt that he 
passed the Owen Glendower, which had sailed from 
Melbourne two weeks before him. The next morning 
a ship was sighted ahead and the Kent was seen to be 
rising her fast. It proved, sure enough, to be the 
Owen Glendower, and the Kent passed close by her. 



CAPTAIN CLAYTON 201 

The old "charmer" was no match for VVigram's little 
flyer and was soon left out of sight astern. She event- 
ually arrived in the London River two weeks after the 
Kent, though it must be confessed that the latter made 
an unusually fine passage. 

She rounded the Horn on 11th November, crossed the 
line on 7th December, and hove to off Plymouth at 7 a.m. 
on 6th January, 1862, 83 days out. 

Captain Clayton gave up the command of the Kent 
in order to settle in New Zealand. But it was a great 
wrench and though comfortably circumstanced, he often 
regretted it. "A bonny ship she was. I felt my soul 
when I resigned the command," he wrote to me some 
years ago. 

He took the new paddle steamer, Citij oj Brisbane, of 
the A. U.S.N. Co., out to New Zealand under sail and 
steam, making the passage in 87 days. 

Her owners begged him to remain in command but he 
had decided on a shore billet, and became the marine 
surveyor for Auckland of the New Zealand Insurance 
Company. For twenty years also he was the Examiner 
in Seamanship for Masters and Mates, whilst in 1875 
he was appointed Lloyd's surveyor for Auckland; be- 
sides these posts he acted as agent for Money Wigram's 
ships. 

Just before the outbreak of the Great War Captain 
Clayton retired to his dairy farm at Manurewa. The 
grand old sea capbain is now over 90 years of age. Up 
to within four years ago he still continued to paint 
with all his old skill, a skill which is well shown in the 
illustrations of his paintings which are given in this book. 

In 1915 he still continued his duty as a lay reader 
of Auckland Cathedral, though he wrote me that he 
feared he would soon have to give it up. 



202 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



He had seven sons on active service during the war. 
Long may he live to enjoy his retirement at Manurewa. 

As for the old Kent, I believe she is still afloat as a 
hulk on the West Coast of America. 



The Wreck of the "Dunbar." 

On 30th November, 1853, James Laing launched 
the first-class passenger ship Dunbar for Mr. Duncan 
Dunbar. This ship broke the record by some 300 tons 
for ships built on the Wear, and was considered at her 
launch to be the finest merchant ship that the yards of 
Sunderland had ever produced; her addition to the 
Dunbar fleet raised its tonnage to close on 35,000 tons. 
The followirg are some of the Dunbar's chief measure- 
ments : — 



Registered tonnage 


.. 1321 tons. 


Burthen .... 


.. 1980 ,, 


Length 


.. 201ft. 9 in 


Breadth 


.. 35 ft. 


Depth of hold 


. . 22 ft. 7 in. 


Height between decks . . 


.. 7 ft. 3 in. 


Length of poop . . 


. . 82 ft. 


Height of poop . . 


7 ft. 


Weight of mainmast 


9 tons. 



As was always the case with Blackwall frigates, 
strength was sought after before all else. With 
timbers of the best British oak, she was planked, 
decked and even masted with teak. She was extra 
copper-fastened and strengthened throughout with 
enormous iron knees. 

Lighting and ventilation were the chief difficulties 
which beset the mid-Victorian shipbuilder, and in 
the case of the Dunbar these two necessities received 
such attention that every berth in the 'tween decks 
was separately lighted and the 'tween decks themselves 



THE DUNBAR 203 

were so large and airy that they were compared to a 
public hall. 

As regards finish, we are told that the break of the 
Dunbar'' s poop was tastefully panelled and ornamented 
by a row of polished teak pillars. The new ship was 
generally admitted to be the finest in Duncan Dunbar's 
fleet; her name will ever be remembered both at home 
and in Australia as that of one of the most tragic wrecks 
in the annals of our Merchant Marine. 

The Dunbar was put on the run to Sydney, and under 
Captain Green soon became a very favourite ship. 
In the spring of 1857 she left London for Sydney with 
a cargo valued at £22,000, 30 cabin passengers, 33 
steerage passengers and a crew of 59, making 122 souls 
all told. She sailed soon after the Duncan Dunbar^ 
a new ship of the firm, which was on her maiden voyage; 
there were also two other ships on their way to Sydney 
in front of her, the Vocalist and Zemindar. The 
Dunbar made a splendid run out and passed all these 
three ships. 

Late on the afternoon of 20th August, she made the 
Heads. The weather was very threatening with the 
wind fresh from S.E. The sea had been rising all 
the morning and by 3 o'clock a mountainous surf 
was breaking against the Heads, whilst heavy rain 
was falling from a black pall of dirty, leaden storm 
clouds. 

The Dunbar had come along in sight of the Coast, 
and just before dark she was picked up by the signalman 
on duty at the South Head, named Packer, who was 
soon able to distinguish her painted ports and red lion 
figurehead. He immediately reported "Sail ho !" 
by a flag signal to the Sydney Post Office. 

Packer next attempted to get into communication 



204 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

with the ship, and hoisted the following signals in 
Marryat's code: — 

1910— What ship is that.'' " 

1495 — ' Where do you come from? " 

1893 — ' How many days are you out ? " 

Packer declared fifty years after the event that he got 
answers from the ship; but it is hard to reconcile this 
statement with the fact that, for some hours after the 
discovery of the wreck on the following day, it was 
supposed to be either the Duncan Dunbar or else one or 
other of the two emigrant ships, Vocalist and Zemindar. 

It was soon too dark to distinguish the ship, but 
when last seen, according to the signalman, she was 
standing to the northward. With the wind blowing 
directly on shore and with every appearance of a very 
dirty night. Captain Green had no relish for beating on 
and off at the very door of one of the finest harbours in 
the world, so he determined to run in, open up the light 
on the rocks, called the "Sow and Pigs," within the 
entrance, and let go his anchor in the shelter of Watson's 
Bay. 

Sending his first and second officers and three sharp- 
eyed seamen on to the foc's'le head, he bore away and 
headed for what he supposed to be the entrance between 
the Heads. 

It was a pitch dark night, and the hard S.E. gale was 
blowing stronger in every squall, but the shore lights 
must have been clearly visible. We shall never know 
how the mistake was made or whose mistake it was, 
but for some reason or other the South Head light was 
kept on the starboard bow instead of on the port bow, 
and the ship w-as steered for a dent in the cliffs which 
was known as the Gap. 

Suddenly there came the terrible cry of "Breakers 



THE DUNBAR 205 

ahead !" from the lynx-eyed second -mate. All hands 
were on deck, and all was ready for going about, but 
before the helm could be put down the ship was in the 
grip of the breakers, and was washed on to the rocks 
which stretch out in flat -topped ledges from the base of 
the precipitous sandstone cliff. 

The passengers were all below, having retired for the 
night; but when the ship struck many of them made 
a desperate attempt to gain the deck, but were forced 
back again by the boiling surf which was making a clean 
breach over the vessel. 

A survivor's account of such a terrible scene of 
destruction must needs be hazy and disconnected, and 
we know little of the heart-rending incidents which 
took place whilst the Dunbar was being torn to pieces 
by the surf. 

According to Johnstone, the only survivor, the ship 
took a full hour breaking up, during which time those on 
deck were swept overboard by the looting seas, whilst 
those below were drowned like rats in a trap. Johnstone 
and two others were the last to hang on to the wreck, 
then a big roller came in and took them and the part of 
the ship to which they were clinging away with it. 

Johnstone warj washed up on to a ledge along with the 
old bosun; tho bosun had not sufficient strength and 
endurance to hang on, but Johnstone clung like a 
limpet and survived. His own account was as 
follows : — 

I was eventually washed of! the wreck, and driven up under the 
cliffs, where I succeeded in securing hold of a projecting rock. I 
remained there until such time as the ship broke up. Up to this time 
the Dunbar acted as a breakw^ater, but as she broke up I had to clear out. 
I managed to scramble from one ledge of a rock to another, till I reached 
one 20 feet high from where I was washed up. It was about midnight 
on a Thursday when I first caught the rock, and I remained there until 



206 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

noon on the following Saturday (in all thirty-six hours). On the Satur- 
day the sea went down, and I dropped from one ledge of rock to another 
till I could see the top of the cliffs overhead. I saw one man there in 
the morning, but before I could attract his attention 1 was forced to 
return to my retreat owing to three big seas following one another, 
Jooking as if they would wash me away. 

We will now take up the tragic story from the shore 
end. 

During the night of the wreck, Mrs. Graham, the wife 
of the signalmaster, woke up and called to her husband : 
"Go down, Jim, and rescue the poor fellow in the sea. " 

The wind was screaming, the roar of the surf was 
deafening, and the spray swept in gusts against the 
signal station, so that the small house was shaken to 
its foundations. The fury of the gale was enough to 
unnerve any woman. So thought the head signalman, 
he soothed his wife and lay down again. She dozed 
off, but in an hour or so, again awoke her husband and 
urged him to rescue the man, whom she had dreamt 
about. 

Again a third time she had a vivid dream or vision — 
one cannot say which — of a man struggling in the surf 
at the base of the cliffs. This time she knocked on the 
partition separating the Graham's room from Packer's, 
and besought Packer: " For God 's sake to help that man 
under the cliffs. " 

But both men knew that with such a storm raging 
there was no possibility of rescue work, even if there 
were a man drowning in the surf. Two days later 
when Mrs. Graham saw Johnstone she recognised him 
as the man of her dreams. 

On the following morning the wind was still blowing 
with terrific force. The boom of the tremendous surf 
could be heard for miles and clouds of spray blew over 
the cliffs and even over the top of the lighthouse, 75 



THE DUNBAR 207 

feet high. The top of the cliffs were drenched with 
salt water, to stand out in which was like a shower bath. 
The kitchen garden of the signal station was ruined by 
the salt; the water in the fresh water tanks was so 
contaminated by the salt spray that it was rendered 
undrinkable, whilst the flying spume reached as far as 
the Marine Hotel, half a mile away. 

The signalmen fought their way to the edge of the 
cliff to see if there was any sign of the vessel which had 
been sighted the night before. But the expected sight 
of a ship hove to under lower topsails or running in for 
the entrance was nowhere visible. Their eyes, however, 
were caught by something tossing in the surf, which 
looked like a bale of wool, but which afterwards turned 
out to be the bodies of Mrs, Egan and her daughter, 
locked fast in each other's arms. 

Then, indeed, they looked down instead of out to sea; 
and there lay the ship, a hollow shell in the wash of the 
rollers, with her head to the south and her back broken. 

The news was immediately signalled to Sydney that 
a ship had gone ashore in the Gap, and crowds of 
anxious people, including the Mayor of Sydney and 
Mr. Daniel Egan, the Postmaster-General, were soon on 
their way to the South Head. By this time wreckage 
of every description including a broken mast was seen 
tossing about in the broken water along the edge of the 
cliffs. 

And there was worse than v/reckage. The first body 
seen was that of a woman, nude, with both legs cut off 
above the knees. 

This horrible sight was revealed by the backwash 
as it rushed out over the fiat table rock which almost 
fills the Gap. Then in came another comber and it 
was seen no more. 



208 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES ' 

At first there was no idea that anyone could be living 
down in that maelstrom of raging seas, but evidently an 
attempt was made, probably during a lull, to rescue 
some of the bodies, for the Mayor wrote the following 
account to the Sydney Morning Herald: — 

At the Gap a brave fellow volunteered to go down to send up some 
of the mangled corpses now and then lodged on the rocks beneath us; 
now a trunk of a female from the waist upwards, then the legs of a male, 
the body of an infant, the right arm, shoulder and head oi a female, the 
bleached arm and extended hand, with the wash of the receding water, 
almost as it were in life, beckoning for help; then a leg and thigh, a 
human head would be hurled along; the sea dashing most furiously as 
If in derision of our efforts to rescue its prey. One figure, a female, 
nude, and tightly clasping an infant to the breast, both locked in the 
firm embrace of death, was for a moment seen; then the legs of some 
trunkless body would leap from the foaming cataract, caused by the 
returning sea, leaping wildly with feet seen plainly upwards in the air to 
the abyss below, to be again and again tossed up to the gaze of the 
sorrowing throng above. We provided a rope, lowered the man, with 
some brave stout hearts holding on to the rope above, and in this 
manner some portions of the mutilated remains were hauled up to the 
top of the cliff until a huge sea suddenly came and nearly smothered 
those on the cliff, wetting them all to the skin. 

Little, however, could be done that day. And the 
one numbing anxiety of everyone was to know the name 
of the ship. At first a rumour went round that it was 
the Duncan Dunbar, as a gangway panel with a lion 
rampant carved upon it had been- discovered jammed 
high up on the rocks. At last one of the ship's head- 
boards with the name Dunbar upon it was picked up 
inside the Heads and all doubt was set at rest. 

By this time thousands had battled out the 9 miles 
from Sydney in spite of the storm in their faces and the 
road converted into a quagmire. The news that it was 
the Dunbar spread from mouth to mouth amongst the 
mournful crowd on the cliffs. 

The poor Postmaster-General, who had inadvertently 
watched his own wife and child tossing in the sea, fell 



THE DUNBAR 209 

back in a faint. Low cries of anguish ran quivering 
through knots of people, whose eyes seemed to be glued 
to that grim table rock, over which the mutilated bodies 
of their friends and relatives washed to and fro. Many 
of the best known families in Sydney were return- 
ing in the Dunbar after a holiday in the Old Country, 
and even its humble steerage held many a Sydney -sider. 

Friday night fell upon a city in mourning — and upon 
a young sailorman, clinging to a rock, alive in the 
midst of the mutilated remains of his dead shipmates. 

On the morning of Saturday the sea had gone down 
considerably. A man named Palmer walked out along 
a ledge in order to be able to see further under the cliff, 
with the result that Johnstone was discovered lying 
on the rocks. 

The next question was how to get at him from the top 
of the cliff. Whilst the signallers were arranging a 
derrick contrivance with a signalling yard for lowering 
someone down over the face of the cliff, a hat went 
round for whoever should volunteer, and £15 was 
collected. 

A volunteer was found in an 18 -year old Icelander, 
named Antonio Woollier. Curiously enough he was 
not a sailor, but a watchmaker's apprentice. He 
gallantly refused the money, saying his only wish 
was to help a fellow-being in distress. 

A signal for hauling up was arranged and over 
the edge went the boy. There was an anxious wait 
and then the signal to haul up was received. The 
seamen on the rope at once declared that they 
were hauling up something much heavier than the 
boy they had let down. 

The excitement culminated when a huge sailor of 
6 ft. 2 ins. poked his head above the edge of the cliff. 
p 



210 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

It was James Johnstone, A.B., aged 23, the sole 
survivor of the Dunbar. 

He was undoubtedly a man of the most unusual 
strength and endurance, for in spite of his terrible 
mauling in the breakers and 36 hours on the rocks 
Avithout water or food, he was able to walk to the Marine 
Hotel, where he was given restoratives and put to bed. 
Sympathy of a very practical nature poured in upon 
him and for some days he was the lion of Sydney, with 
his pockets full of money, a girl on each arm, and a 
crowd of admirers in his train, he soon became a familiar 
figure in the streets and at the theatres and music halls. 
Years later the Cawarra, a fine new paddle boat of 
the U.S.N. Co., with a full list of passengers, struck, 
on the Oyster Bank off the Knobbys at Newcastle, 
New South Wales. It was the middle of the night and 
all hands went down with the ship except one little 
foremasthand named "Hedges." Hedges was washed 
on to a buoy at the mouth of the harbour, from which 
he was rescued by the harbourmaster's boat, whose 
coxswain was Johnstone of the Dunbar. 

Johnstone was for many years chief lighthouse 
keeper at Newcastle. He was still hale and hearty 
though over 70 years of age, and was Jiving at Petersham, 
Sydney, on the fiftieth anniversary of the wreck of the 
Dunbar. 

On the Saturday which saw the rescue of Johnstone, 
the Black Swan, steamer, with the Superintendent of 
Police, Captain McLerie, on board, commenced a 
search of the harbour. 

The searchers picked up several bodies in the harbour, 
three were found on the beach at Manley, others at 
the Quarantine Station, whilst two coffins were filled 
with the remains which were found on the rocks of the 



THE DUNBAR 211 

Gap. Most of the bodies were unrecognisable, and out 
of the 122 on board numbers were devoured by sharks. 
The body of a man was picked up quite undisfiguerd 
except that it lacked the head, and as it was supposed 
to be that of an heir to some property, the fact that his 
identity could not be entirely proved caused years of 
litigation. 

The inquest was a most distressing affair. The 
little dead-house near the Mariners Church was quite 
full of the mangled remains and more than one juror 
fainted. 

The funeral was long remembered in Sydney ; a long 
line of hearses, headed by a band playing the "Dead 
March" in "Saul" and followed by every kind of 
vehicle from private carriages to omnibuses, wound 
its way along George Street. Every ship half-masted 
her ensign, minute guns were fired and bells tolled, 
w^hilst all Sydney mourned. 

Willis' Wonder, "The Tweed " 

Some ships seem to have the finger of God in 
their design, the supreme of man's craftmanship in 
their building and the touch of genius in their character. 
Such ships stand out above all their contemporaries. 
Old seamen speak of them with the affection of lovers. 
Poets sing of them. Chanteymen glorify their qualities 
and their deeds in hundreds of verses. Journalists 
pigeon-hole the pages of their log books as if they were 
public men. And those who have sailed in them lord 
it regally over their fellows and begin every yarn with 
the stock phrase, "When I was in the old so and so." 
These divinely inspired ships sail like witches, come 
unscathed through the severest storms, bring up fair 
winds and break up calms, coin money for their owners. 



212 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

and are never sick or sorry from their launch to their 
demise. 

Of such was Willis' wonder The Tweed, which for the 
first eight years of her existence was the paddle wheel 
frigate Funjauh of the Indian Navy. 

Lloyd's Register gives the date of her launch as 1857. 
This is indeed a curious slip, for the Punjauh had a 
well-known share in the making of history at the 
bombardment and capture of Bushire during the Persian 
War in 1855. 

In 1852, the Punjauh and Assarje, the last two frigates 
to be built for the old Indian Navy of the Hon. East 
India Company, were laid down in Bombay Dockyard 
by Cursetjee Rustomjee, master builder, and the fifth 
of the famous Parsee family of Wadia to hold that post. 
The world has seen many great shipbuilding families, 
and by no means least of these were the Wadias. 

In 1735 Lowjee Nusserwanjee was foreman of the 
East India Company's yard at Surat. Mr. Dudley, the 
Master Attendant of the company, sent Lowjee in this 
year to Bombay to start a yard there. 

Lowjee, like all the Wadias, combined great skill in 
his profession with great honesty of work and great 
integrity in the purchase of materials and handling on 
moneys. And from the first the ships built in the 
Bombay Dockyard by the Wadia family were celebrated 
for their strength, for their durability, and for their 
speed. 

The workmanship of the Wadias could not be excelled 
in Europe; their material, Malabar teak, owing to its 
natural oil was the best and most long wearing of all 
the woods used in shipbuilding, and in the design 
their ships were kept well abreast of the times. 

There was, however, a touch of romance in the design 



HALF MIDSHIP SECTION 

O T 

The 1\A^£ED"<!t Assa\ie: 




Half Midship 



[To face Page 212. 



THE PUNJAUB AND ASSAY E 218 

of the Pimjaub. Actually the credit for her lines has 
been aiven to Oliver Lani^, but he Avas always supposed 
to have drawn his inspiration from the hull of an old 
French frigate, one of those beautiful shapes from the 
pencil of the French naval architect, which were the 
wonder, envy and despair of our own designers during 
the eighteenth century and early part of the nineteenth 
century. 

If Ave compare the measurements of the Punjaub and 
the Assaye, Ave at once see in the additional overall 
length of the Punjaub for the same gross tonnage a 
reason for her greater speed. 

Tons length length beam depth engines 



length 
overall 


length 
regd. 


beam 


dept 


285 


250 


39.6 


25 


277 


250 


39.6 


25 



Punjaxib 1745 net 285 250 39.6 25 700 h. p. 

Assaye 1800 gross 277 250 39.6 25 650 h. p. 

Both ships were built of carefully picked Malabar 
teak, and no ships were e\'er better or more honestly 
constructed. Their engines seem to have gi\'en little 
trouble, but the cumbersome paddle-wheel boxes 
undoubtedly took off from their speed through the 
water and spoilt their appearance Avhen under sail. 
They Avere armed Avith ten 8 -inch 68 -pounders. 

The Assaye was launched on the loth March, 1854, 
at midnight, in the presence of Lord Elphinstone, 
Rear -Admiral Sir Henry and Lady Leeke and nearly 
300 guests, who had been celebrating the occasion by a 
ball at the dockyard. 

The Punjaub Avas launched on the 21st April, 1854 
but her glide into the water does not seem to have 
attracted so much attention, though she was the finer 
ship of the two. 

Both ships were some months fitting out, the Assay<i 
oAving to the non -arrival of her engines from England 
not being ready for sea until October. 



214 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

On the 1st November, 1854, Bombay was devastated 
by a cyclone, which nearly finished off the Assaye 
though the Punjaub escaped damage. The pressure of 
the wind registered 35 lbs. per square foot; the gardens 
of Bombay were flattened out as if a roller had passed 
over them, houses were unroofed and otherwise damaged, 
whilst the shipping had the worst time of all. Five 
square-rigged ships and three steamers went ashore, 
most of them dismasted, and 142 native craft were 
wrecked or sunk. 

The Assaye broke adrift and carried away her bowsprit 
against the Castle walls, and with difficulty was saved 
from total shipwreck. 

The Hastings, receiving ship, sprang a leak and drove 
from her moorings. The Queen got a line aboard her 
but failed to hold her. She fouled the ship Mystery, 
and then battered herself almost to pieces against the 
Castle walls. All the yachts and the state barges of 
the Governor and Sir Henry Leeke, moored off the 
Apollo Bunder, were lost. 

The Elphinstone was only saved by the skill of her 
crew. She grounded off the Custom House basin, but 
managed to back off, and with only a staysail set, 
contrived to get clear of the crowd of distressed ships and 
make the outer anchorage . 

The surveying brig Palinurus was dismasted and 
grounded off the dockyard breakwater. 

The cyclone burst over the city at midnight on 
1st November, was at its worst at 3 a.m., and with the 
usual shifts round the compass lasted till daybreak on 
the 2nd. 

It was The Tweed^s first baptism by the elements and 
she came out of it unscathed. I shall refer to her as the 
Punjaub until her name was changed. 




From a Painting 



THK T\VKl-.l). 




THE TWEED," OFF GRAVESEND. 



[To face Page 214. 



THE PUNJAUB 215 

On the 2nd January, 1855, she was taken over by 
Commander John W. Young, who afterwards distin- 
guished himself on the Assay e at Bushire and Mohamra. 
He had already been employed in the fitting out of the 
two ships, but the time had now arrived when they were 
to begin their sea lives. 

**Punjaub" takes the 10th Hussars to the 
Crimea. 

In the winter of 1854 orders came out from home 
for the 10th Hussars and 12th Lancers to go to the 
Crimea. They were badly wanted as reinforcements in 
the 'Struggle before Sebastopol, and the quickest 
possible despatch was urged. 

To the Punjaub was assigned the honour of carrying 
the Colonel and nearly half the 10th Hussars. 

In six days she was fitted with stalls for 250 horses : 
and on the 9th January, 1855, she sailed for Suez with 
the steam frigate Auckland, steam sloop Victoria and 
sailing transport Sultana with the rest of the regiment 
and their horses. 

On the 21st February, the Queen, Precursor, Earl oj 
Clare, Earl Grey and Jessica embarked part of the 12th 
Lancers at Bombay and also sailed for Suez. The 
rest of the 12th were picked up at Mangalore by the 
Assaye and S emir amis ; the Assaye, however, broke 
down, and had to tranship her men on to the 
Semiramis. 

On the passage to Suez the Punjaub first gave a taste 
of her sailing powers; and so superior did she prove 
herself to her consorts that though she put out her 
fires and lowered her topsails on the cap whilst they 
staggered along under full head of steam and press of 
sail, she ran them hull down in spite of the impediment 



216 THE RLACKWALL FRIGATES 

of her great paddle boxes. Coniniander Young and 
his first officer, Lieut. VVorsley, were both in despatches 
by the Governor of Bombay, for the part they played 
in this important piece of transport work. 

The "Punjaub" and "Assaye" in the 
Persian War. 

On the return of the ships from Suez, there was a 
general shift over of the commanders in the Indian Navy. 

Young was transferred to the Assaye on 11th May, 
1855, and a very well-known officer, Commander 
Montriou, was given the Punjaub. He had hardlv 
taken over before he was made .blaster Attendant of the 
Dockyard and the command of the superb frigate fell to 
the luck of Lieut. Alexander Foulerton, who was made 
Acting Commander. 

In June, 1855, the Indian Navy commenced fitting 
out a squadron for the Persian War: the fighting ships 
consisted of: — 

Assaye — Flagship of Rear- Admiral Sir. Henry J. Leeke, Captain 

Griffith Jenkins (Captain of tfie Fleet). Acting-Commander 

G. N. Adams. 
Punjaub — Acting-Commander A. Foulerton. 
Semiramis — 1031 tons, 250 horse-power, 6 guns. Captain J. VV. 

Young. 
Ferooz — 1450 tons, 500 horse-power, 8 guns. Commander J. Rennie. 
Ajdaha — 1440 tons, 500 horse-power, 8 guns. 
Falkland — 494 tons, 18-gun sloop of war. Commodore Ethersey 

Lieut. J. Trouson. 
Berenice — 756 tons, 220 horse-power; 4 guns. Lieutenant A. \V^ 

Chitty. 
Victoria — 705 tons, 230 horse-power, 5 gun.>. Lieut. E. Giles 

(and later Lieut. Manners). 
Clwe — 387 tons, 18-gun sloop of war. Commander Albany Grieve. 

The expeditionary force consisted of 5670 combatants 
(2270 Europeans), 3750 camp followers, 1150 horses 
and 430 bullocks. 



THE PUNJAUB 217 

Some of the Infantry were taken by the warships; 
but 20,000 tons of transports were also required. 

Perhaps their names may be of interest ; there were 
6 steamers and 23 sailing ships. 

The steamers consisted of the Precursor, Pottinger 
and Chusan, all belonging to the Peninsular and Oriental 
Co. ; and the Sir J. Jejeebhoy. Ladij Falkland and 
Bombay, of the Bombay Steam Navigation Co. 

The sailing ships for the transport of the Artillery 
were: — Rajah of Cochin, Melbourne, Madge Wildfire, 
Sibella, Dakota, Merse and Mirzapore. 

For Light Cavalry — Abdulla, Bayne, Alabama and 
Fair lie. 

For the Poona Horse — Arthur the Great, Thames City 
and Clifton. 

For the Infantry (besides the warships — Result and 
Maria Grey. 

For Stores — Futtay Salam and Philo. 

Colliers — Bride of the Seas, British Flag, Somnauth, 
Defiance and Rhoderick Dhu. 

The expedition sailed from Bombay during the 
second week in November, 1855, the way being led by 
the Punjaub which left on the 8th. 

On 24th November the whole force rendezvoused off 
Bunder Abbas. By the 6th December the ships, 
which left Bunder Abbas in three divisions, had all 
arrived in Hallilah Bay, where the troops were landed 
under the fire of eight 24-pounder howitzer gun-boats, 
which drove off a column of the enemy, who were 
evidently meant to dispute the landing. On Sunday, 
9th December, the troops, aided by the fire of the ships^ 
stormed the Fort of Reshire, 4^ miles below Bushire. 

The following quotations from the despatch of 
Commander Felix Jones, the Political Agent, to the 



218 THE BLACKW ALL FRIGATES 

Government of Bombay, give a graphic account of the 
storming of Reshire and capture of Bushire. 

After relating the difficulties of landing the Cavalry 
horses and Artillery equipage owing to the lack of 
native boats, he goes on to say : — 

Forty-eight hours sufficed to put the troops in motion northward, 
the ships of war, led by the Admiral, advancing along the coast to their 
support. This was on the morning of the 9th, and by noon the enemy 
were observed to be in force in the village of Reshire. Here, amidst 
the ruins of old houses, garden walls, and steep ravines, they occupied 
a formidable position; but, notwithstanding their firmness, wall after 
wall was surmounted, and finally they were driven from their last 
defence (the old fort of Reshire) bordering on the cliffs at the margin 
of the sea. This was carried at the point of the bayonet, the enemy 
then only flying in despair down the cliffs, where many met their death. 
. . . Brigadier Stopford, C.B., met his death here, and other loss was 
experienced. The wounded were received into the ships the same 
evening, and provisions were thrown into the fort from seaward during 
the night. 

An attempt was now made to parley with Bushire, 
but Commander Jones with the flag of truce was fired 
on and had to retire, and he goes on — 

While this was going on, a note from the Major-General (Stalker) 
commanding announced his intention of advancing on the town the 
following morning, and the Admiral disposed his fleet in order of battle, 
first dismantling the newly erected outworks, and then moving with a 
view of breaching the south wall of the town. 

The following morning, as the tide served, the ships were in the 
positions assigned to them. A second flag of truce had come off, 
begging 24 hours' delay, but this was promptly rejected, and at near 
8 o'clock the signal was hoisted to engage. Shot and shell were aimed 
at the redoubt south of the town, but with little effect owing to the 
great range, though eventually the enemy assembled there to oppose 
the troops were dislodged and beat a retreat with their guns into the 
town. The ships, in the meantime, had moved upon the town, and 
such was the ardour displayed to get close to the works, that every ship 
was laid aground at the turn of high water, and for four hours continued 
to cannonade the defences, which were active in replying the whole 
time. Many of their guns, however, were not of sufficient calibre to 
reach the ships, but the perseverance of the Persian gunners in firing from 
the more heavy pieces was admired by every one. 



THE PUNJAUB 219 

Their shot told very often on the hulls of the Victoria, Falkland, 
Semiratnis and Ferooz, which latter vessels under Captain John Young 
and Commander James Rennie had the posts of honour for the day. 
Details of the affair it is unnecessary for me to enter upon. It will 
suffice for me to report that, some of the guns being silenced, on the 
approach of the army, under Major-General Stalker, C.B., to breach the 
wall on the gate side before the assault the Persian flagstaff was felled 
in token of submission. 

The British colours were hoisted at the Residency 
flagstaff in the town at 4.30 p.m., with a salute of 21 
guns from the fleet, the ships being dressed. 

The Governor of Bushire and his staff were sent on 
board the Punjaub, which with the Assay e sailed for 
Bombay three days after the capture of the town. 
Admiral Sir Henry Leeke and staff, the three principal 
prisoners and the captured Persian flag being on the 
Assaye. 

Whilst running through the Bassadore Gulf the 
Assaye was boarded by a friendly Arab chief, who 
told the Admiral of a Persian division, 3000 strong, 
assembled at Lingah, with the purpose of capturing 
the depot station on the Island of Kishm. 

When the ships drew abreast of the Persian camp it 
was bombarded by their 68-pounders; the Persians 
thereupon drew off out of range. 

The Admiral thereupon left the Punjaub and a force 
of Marines to protect the island, and took the prisoners 
on the Assaye to Bombay. 

This diversion deprived the Punjaub of any partici- 
pation in the gallant little action of Mohamra on the 
Shatt-ul-Arab, where the Assaye so distinguished herself. 
This took place on the 26th March, 1856, the Punjaub 
arrived at Bombay on 9th March and left for the Gulf on 
the 20th, too late to take part in this operation, which 
was a hot one. 



220 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The casualties on the bombarding ships would have 
been very much heavier but for an idea of Commander 
Rennie's, that of placing trusses of pressed hay round 
the bulwarks of the ships to stop the Persian musket 
balls. Vast numbers of bullets were shaken out of 
these trusses, and no less than 300 bullets were buried in 
the sides of the Ferooz. 

All the ships, namely — Assaye, Ferooz, Semiramis, 
Clive, Ajdaha, Victoria, and Falkland, anchored within 
100 yards of the Persian earthworks, with the exception 
of the Assaye, which owing to her length had not 
sufficient room to swing on the ebb, so Commander 
Adams kept steaming her up to the Ferooz, next ahead, 
and then dropped back on the tide to the next astern, 
all the time engaging the Persian batteries at pistol 
shot range. 

The Victoria grounded 200 yards off Huffer Creek 
and being exposed to concentrated fire received 18 shots 
in her hull, her rigging also being much cut up. 

The sailing sloops of war Clive and Falkland drew the 
admiration of all eyes as they took up their stations 
under all sail. Simultaneously they hauled down and 
clewed up every sail, dropped their anchors and fired 
their broadsides into the opposing batteries. 

At 10 a.m. the magazine in the north fort blew up 
amidst deafening cheers from each ship ; this was 
followed by three other explosions and the Persian fire 
began to slacken. By 1 o'clock the chief works were 
silent, and the steam transports, headed by the Berenice 
with General Havelock and the 78th Highlanders on 
board, moved up and began to land the troops. But 
the honours of the day were entirely with the seamen, 
the Union Jack being hoisted on the northern fort by 
the First Lieutenant of the Assaye, whilst sean^en from 



THE PUNJAUB 221 

the Semiramis, Victoria, Clive and Falkland stormed 
the southern forts after they had been silenced. 

The Persian army of 13,000 men and 30 guns broke up 
and dispersed as soon as they saw the troops advancing 
through the date groves. The leader Agha Than Khan 
and 300 men Avere killed; but the state of the Persian 
camp was nothing to that of the Persian forts which were 
filled with dead and wounded. The British loss was 
only 10 killed and 30 wounded. As General Havelock 
wrote : — " The gentlemen in blue had it all to themselves, 
and left us naught to do. " 

"Mohamra" was one of those gallant little affairs 
which have hardly been noticed by our military or 
naval historians. 

The retreating Persian army was pursued by a com- 
posite force of seamen and Highlanders in small gun- 
boats and the ships' cutters as far as Ahwaz, where large 
stores of provisions, arms and transport animals were 
captured. This force returned to Mohamra on the 
4th April to learn that peace had been made with 
Persia. 

Lord Canning in a General Order thus expressed his 
appreciation of the little campaign : — - 

The surrender of Bushire on the 10th December, after a brief and 
inefTectual opposition ; the operations against the Persian entrenched 
camp at Borazgoon: and the complete victory obtained over the Persian 
army at Khooshab on the 8th February, th6 bombardment and 
capture of Mohamra on the 26th March, and the brilHant attack by a 
few hundred men against Ahwaz on the 1st April, followed by the 
precipitate flight of the whole Persian army serving in that quarter 
have signally instanced the vigour, the enterprising spirit and the 
intrepidit}' with which the operations against Persia, both by sea 
and land, have been directed, and have earned for those who had a 
share in their execution the cordial approbation and the thanks of the 
Government of India. 



222 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

*'Punjaub " in the Indian Mutiny. 

The war with Persia ended just in time to allow 
the ships and troops to get back to Bombay and take 
their part in the terrible struggle caused by the Indian 
Mutiny. 

If the Assaye had been more in the limelight than 
her sister ship during the Persian operations, the 
Punjauh and her commander and crew came brilliantly 
to the front during the Indian Mutiny. The Punjauh 
arrived at Bombay from the Persian Gulf on the 
22nd May, 1857, and was at once ordered with 
all speed to Calcutta in the M-ake of the Assaye and 
transports which had the 64th and 78th Regiments on 
board. 

The Assaye left Bombay on the 23rd and the Punjauh 
on the 25th May. They arrived in the Hooghly to find 
Calcutta in a state of panic, which their 21 -gun salute 
of the Viceroy did somewhat to allay; and we are told 
that no complaints about broken windows due to the 
salute were made, as was usually the case. 

This was on the 4th June, and the Assaye was turned 
short round and left for Bombay with treasure belonging 
to the Government that very night, so great was the fear 
of a rising. 

The panic and excitement in Calcutta came to a head 
on the 14th June, 1857, called afterwards "Panic 
Sunday." A report had spread that the Sepoys at 
Barrackpore had risen in the night and were marching 
on Calcutta, also that the King of Oude's forces at 
Garden Reach were to join them in a loot and massacre 
of the city. 

From an early hour the streets were filled with the 
laden tongas and carts of fleeing citizens — all rushing 
for refuge to the fort and ships. 



THE PUNJAUB 223 

Sir John Kaye in his Sepoy War thus describes the 
panic : — 

Within great long boxes on wheels, known as palanquin carriages, 
might be seen the scared faces of Eurasians and Portuguese, men, 
women, and children ; and without piled up on the roofs, great bundles 
of bedding and wearing apparel, snatched up and thrown together in 
the agonised hurry of departure. Rare among these were the carriages 
of a better class, in which the pale cheeks of the inmates told of their 
pure European descent. Along the Mall on the water-side or across the 
broad plain between the city and the fort the great stream poured itself 

The fugitives poured in at the gates of the fort, and at 
the ghauts shrieked for rowing boats to take them off 
to the ships in the river. 

Whilst Commander Foulerton, who was then Senior 
Naval Officer at Calcutta, was at church, he received a 
note ordering him to wait immediately on Lord Canning. 

On proceeding to Government House he found an 
Emergency Council sitting, consisting of the Governor- 
General, the Foreign Secretary (George Edmonstone) ; 
]\Iajor-General Richard Birch, the Military Secretary ; 
Colonel Powell, Commanding the Troops ; Colonel 
Cavenagh, Town-lNIajor ; and Major Herbert, com- 
manding the Calcutta Militia. 

Commander Foulerton was then let into the secret. 
He was ordered to take his ship down to Garden Reach 
and anchor off the King of Oude's palace at daybreak, 
when he was to land and assist the land party in seizing 
the King and preventing anyone from leaving the palace. 

He replied that he was not able to move the Punjaub 
as her floats were off and she could not be fitted in time, 
but that he would take the Semiramis and all the 
Punjaub^s company in her boats. This Lord Canning 
agreed to and Commander Foulerton was dismissed to 
make his arrangements, with instructions to report by 
9 o'clock that evening. 



224. THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Commander Foulerton first of all procured a reliable 
pilot, whom he took with him aboard the Semiramis. 
The pilot at first made objections to taking the Semiramis 
down without orders from the port authorities, but 
Commander Foulerton would stand no nonsense and 
gave in sailor-like language the various things which 
would happen to him if he remained obstinate, and 
thereupon he gave in. 

Lieut. Stradling commanding the Semiramis was 
next warned to be ready to sail at daylight and to stop 
all communication with the shore. Finally the First 
Lieutenant of the Punjnub received instructions to have 
all boats manned and armed ready to betaken in tow by 
the Semiramis. 

A little before daylight the Semiramis with the 
Punjaub^s boats in tow got underweigh and presently 
anchored off the King of Oude's palace at Garden Reach. 

Leaving the boats of the Semiramis to guard the 
landing, Commander Foulerton with the Punjaub's 
crew disembarked and closed in on the palace. Here 
he was presently joined by Colonel Powell and the 
5.3rd Regiment, some Artillery and the Governor's 
bodyguard. 

The huge compound and enclosure of the palace 
was now completely surrounded — 1500 armed men were 
said to be within, but the surprise was complete. It 
was left to Mr. Edmonstone, Commander Foulerton, 
and Colonel Powell to tackle the wretched King himself. 
They found him reduced to a state of semi-imbecility 
by fright and past excesses. He was sitting on his bed 
surrounded by some of his wives and attendants. 
Mr. Edmonstone told him to get ready to go aboard the 
steamer. At this there was a general howl from the 
wives and the King began to cry and stutter out all sorts 



THE PUNJAUB 225 

of excuses and protestations, and seemed prepared for 
any obstinacy. 

But his beliaviour was more than the sailor could 
stand, and he told Mr. Edmonstone that he would soon 
settle the matter, if he would allow him, by hoisting the 
King of Oude aboard the Semiramis by a whip on the 
mainyard. 

But the Foreign Secretary, who had been used to 
dealing with Indian princes with much etiquette and 
ceremony, would not stand for this proposal, and a 
carriage was sent for from Government House, though 
Commander Foulerton was allowed to take the King's 
rascally Minister, Ali Nuckee Khan, and several other 
Court dignitaries on board the Semiramis, to be landed 
at the fort. 

This was the first important part played by the 
Punjaub's crew during the Indian Mutiny, and it was 
by no means the last. 

For the next few days panic still reigned at Calcutta. 
Both civilians and soldiers slept with swords handy and 
revolvers under their pillows. 

Most of the mem-sahibs slept aboard the ships. 
Commander Foulerton very often slept ashore, but one 
night he happened to come aboard his ship and to his 
surprise found a lady occupying his bed. 

The first naval detachments for active service were 
landed from the ships in June and July, 1857, and were 
soon scattered over Bengal doing most yeoman service. 
The chief detachment from the Punjaub was known as 
Number 4. It was commanded by Lieut. T. E. Lewis, 
the First Lieutenant of the Punjaub, with the following 
officers under him, Acting-Master Connor, Midshipmen 
W, Cuthell and A. Mayo, and Mr. Brown, the ship's 
boatswain. It was composed of 85 picked seamen, 



226 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

who had been trained to the highest efficiency by Lieut. 
Lewis, an otJicer " remarkable for military attainments. " 
The detachment was armed with two 12 -pounder 
howitzers; and the men carried Enfield rifles. 

The Punjaub's detachment was the first to distinguish 
itself in the field . They saved Dacca from the mutineers 
on 22nd November, 1857. It was a hot action in which 
a few sailors had to face many times their own number 
of Sepoys and their sympathisers. Space will not 
admit of a full account of this gallant affair, but the 
following is Lieut. Lewis's despatch: — 

The Treasury, Executive Engineers and Commissariat Guards wert 
disarmed without resistance. We then inarched down to the Lall 
Bagh : en entering the Hnes the Sepoys were found drawn up by their 
magazine, with two 9-pounders in the centre. Their hospital and 
numerous buildings in the Lall Bagh, together with the barracks, 
which are on top of a hill, and are built of brick and loopholed, were 
also occupied by them in great force. Immediately we deployed into 
line, they opened fire on us from front and left flank with canister and 
musketry. We gave them one volley, and then charged with the 
bayonet up the hill, and carried the whole of the barracks on the top of 
it. breaking the doors with our musket butts and bayoneting the Sepoys 
inside. As soon as this was done we charged down the hill, and, taking 
them in fiank, carried both their guns and all the buildings, driving 
them into the jungle. 

While we were thus employed with the small-arm men, the 
two mountain train howitzers, advancing to within 750 yards, took up 
a position to the right, bearing on the enemy's guns in rear of their 
magazine, and unlimbering, kept up a steady and well-directed fire. 
Everyone, both officers and men, behaved most gallantly, charging 
repeatedly, in face of a most heavy fire, without the slightest hesitation 
for a moment. I beg particularly to bring to notice the conduct of 
Mr. Midshipman Mayo, who led the last charge on their guns most 
gallantly, being nearly 20 yards in front of the men. 

I regret to say our loss has been severe, but not more, I think, than 
could have been expected from the strength of the position and the 
obstinacy of the defence. Forty-one Sepoys were counted by Mr. 
Boatswain Brown dead on the ground and 8 have been since brought in 
desperately wounded. Three also were drowned or shot in attempting 
tQ escape across the river. I enclose a list of killed and wouaded. Dr 



THE PUNJAUB 227 

Ijfst being ill, Dr. Green, Civil Surgeon, accompanied the detach- 
ment into action and was severely wounded. I was ably seconded by 
Mr. Connor, my second in command. Lieutenant Dowell, Bengal 
Artillery, volunteered and took command of one of our howitzers, 
which he fought most skilfully to the end of the action. We were also 
accompanied by Messrs. Carnac, C. S. Macpherson and Bainbridge, 
and Lieutenant Hitchins, Bengal Native Infantry, who rendered great 
assistance with their rifles, and to whom my thanks are due. 

The gallant middy Arthur Mayo was awarded the 
Victoria Cross, and Lieut. Lewis and his detachment 
were praised in every direction from Lord Canning 
downwards. 

From Dacca the detachment was sent up to Sylhet in 
Assam, Acting-Master Connor being left behind at 
Dacca with a small party, chiefly of time-expired men, 
the original force under Lieut. Lewis being made up to 
100 men by reinforcements. The detachment remained 
at Sylhet from 2nd October, 1857, to January, 1859, 
when Lieut. Lewis and his men were sent toDibrooghur 
and in November, 1859, an expedition was sent out 
against the Abor hillmen. 

This was very hard service in a fever and jungle 
country, the hillmen defending themselves from stock- 
ades, which had to be taken at the point of the bayonet. 

After five hours of continuous fighting, during which 
the force was opposed by flights of poisoned arrows, 
the final village was captured. During the assault on 
the last stockage, the eighth, Lieut. Davies was severely 
wounded in left breast and arm, and Mayo in the hand 
by poisoned arrows. An arrow also lodged in the cap 
pocket of Lieut. Lewis but failed to penetrate the leather. 
" Luckily the cap pouch was one of the Punjaub 's Bombay 
one's," writes Lieut. Lewis, "the leather of which is 
like a board. " 

Four seamen were killed and 21 wounded by the 



228 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

poisoned arrows, but Lieut. Lewis saved many lives by 
sucking the wounds, (The poison was made from a 
vegetable gum obtained from cutting into the bark of a 
certain tree, and this was mixed with tobacco into a 
paste. Its effect was most deadly.) 

Besides using these poisoned arrows, the Abors 
defended themselves by planting "punjies" or small 
poisoned stakes on the jungle paths; and they also 
rolled down stones and rocks, the hills being extremely 
precipitous. 

Again the Punjaub's detachment received the thanks 
of the Governor-General in Council. It was their last 
fight. Worn out by fever, hard service and wounds, 
the original members had nearly all to be invalided. 
Lewis and Mayo, both in shattered health, were com- 
pelled to leave India; and Lewis, who never received 
any reward for his gallant services, died shortly after- 
wards in England. 

Whilst the pick of his officers and men were fighting 
ashore Commander Foulerton was busy at sea racing 
here and there with troops. 

The Punjaub was back in Bombay on 21st September, 
1857, left for Kurrachee on 8th October, returned to 
Bombay on the 18th and left for Vingorla on 11th 
November, after which she was kept continually on the 
move trooping. 

During June of 1860 we find her taking the Muscat - 
Zanzibar Commission to Muscat and the Kooria-Mooria 
Group. Off Ras-ul-Had the Punjaub fell in with the 
Omanee Squadron of seven ships of war full of armed 
men ; these were bound on a punitive expedition 
undertaken by the Wali of Muscat against his brother, 
the Wali of Zanzibar. This expedition was turned back 
to Muscat by the Political Agent, Major Russell (after- 



THE TWEEh 229 

wards Sir E. L. Russell, K.C.S.I.) who was on board 
the Punjaub. 

In 1862 it was decided to convert the Punjaub and 
Assaye into screw steamers, and they w^ere ordered to 
England, the Punjaub sailing on the 8th February and 
the Assaye on the 31st March. 

By this date the old Indian Navy had become merged 
into the Royal Navy; and on the arrival of the two 
famous frigates in the Thames they were sold. 

Laying the Indo-European Cable in the 
Persian Gulf. 

Old John Willis, with his wonderful eye for a 
ship, bought both frigates and converted them into 
sailing ships. He sold the Assaye soon after he had 
bought her at a large profit; but he held on to the 
Punjaub, which he rechristcned The Tweed, in honour 
of the beautiful river on w^hich he was born. He also 
gave her a fine new figurehead, representing Tam o' 
Shanter, the hero of his favourite poem. 

In the autumn of 1863 the two e,r-men-of-war once 
more returned to their old haunts. Together with the 
Cospairick they were taken up by the Government and 
sent out to Bombay with the Persian Gulf Telegraph 
cable on board, and between January and May, 1864, 
were employed in laying the sections between Cape 
Mussendom and Bush ire, and between Bushire and Fao 
on the Shatt-ul-Arab. 

Captain Stuart of *' The Tvi^eed." 

Old John Willis was so pleased with his new 
purchase. The Tweed, that he took his favourite captain, 
W. Stuart, from the Lammermuir and placed him in 
conmiand of the splendid old frigate. 



230 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The Tweed and Captain Stuart, her commander, at 
once began to make that name for themselves which 
has caused them to be the subject of veneration 
wherever old seamen congregate. 

I have given a short account of Captain Stuart in my 
China Clippers, but I may perhaps be permitted to 
supplement this by a few more details. 

Stuart came of Viking stock, the name Stuart being 
originally Skigvard — just as the name Shewan, of a 
fellow townsman and sea captain whom he succeeded in 
the Lammermuir, was originally Sigvan or Shigvan. 
Both captains were certainly Vikings in looks as well 
as in certain characteristics of temperament. 

Stuart's father was a prosperous leather merchant 
in Peterhead. The boy was sent to sea at an early age 
as an apprentice in the clipper barque Lochnagar, 
trading to Launceston. Having served his time, he 
became mate and then master of the clipper schooner 
Vivid, running between Peterhead and London. Then he 
obtained command of a small barque in the Cape trade, 
and after two voyages was promoted to a larger ship. 

He entered Willis' employ as successor to Captain 
Andrew Shewan in the command of the Lammermuir. 
Captain Stuart commanded The Tweed from 1863 to 
1877, during which time he never lost a man or a spar, 
and made quite a fortune for John Willis. 

Some Sailing Records of "The Tweed." 

On her first passage under Willis' house-flag. 
The Tweed went out to Bombay with the Indo-European 
cable on board in 77 days. 

On her return to Bombay from the Persian Gulf, she 
was completely refitted as a first-class passenger ship, for 
which with a poop 66 feet long she was very suitable. 




CAPTAIN WTLHAAI STUART, OF " THE TWEED. 




" THE TWEED," UNDER ALL PLAIN SAIL. 
From a Painting. [To face Paye 230. 



THE TWEED 231 

After her refit she Avent to Vingorla, and, taking the 
Seaforth Highlanders on board, brought them home 
round the Cape in 78 days. 

Ventilation was not understood on the early steamers 
as it is now, and as a consequence the passage home 
from India via Red Sea and Suez Canal was proving 
very fatal to troops worn out by a long term of service in 
India. Thus it came about that The Tweed was 
taken up year after year during the sixties by the 
Government in order to bring home invalid troops 
round the Cape; and in this service she acquitted 
herself with distinction by the quickness of her passages 
and the comfort of her accommodation. 

On her outward passages during these years she 
either went to Sydney or Calcutta, and often made an 
intermediate passage up the China Coast. Being very 
fast in light winds, some of these passages to China 
were astonishing. On one occasion she beat the mail 
steamer between Hongkong and Singapore, and IMr. 
Joseph Conrad tells us that naval officers used to board 
her in order to examine her charts, take measurements 
of her sail plan and the placing of her masts. Later on 
during the Indian famine of the seventies she made 
some very smart runs between Rangoon and Madras 
with rice for starving Indians. 

I give the abstract log of her first passage to Melbourne 
in the Appendix. She made the return passage, 
Melbourne to London, 3rd February to 27th April, 
1874, in 83 days. In June, 1874, like many another 
first-class ship, she was taken up to carry emigrants 
to the booming colony of New Zealand. She left 
the Thames in the middle of the month, and on 
the 17th of June took her departure from St. Catherine's 
Point. 



232 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

8th July. — Crossed the line, 21 days out. 

On 19th July in 34° S,, 28° 46' W., with a strong north breeze, 
she ran 324 miles in the 24 hours; and on the 24th in 36° 52' S., 12° 
49' W., she made a run of 304 miles. 

29th July. — Crossed the Greenwich meridian in 38° S. 

oth August. — In a strong to fresh N.E. gale, she ran 320 miles in 
40° 41' S., 33° 26' E. 

15th August in a fresh north gale, she ran 316 miles in 44° 45' S., 
90° 20' E., and on 18th August made 302 miles before a fresh westerly 
gale in 44° 50' S., 97° E. 

3rd September. — The Tweed arrived at Otago, 78 days out. 

From New Zealand she went across to Sydney, and 
leaving Port Jackson on 11th January, 1875, made the 
Lizard 86 days out. 

In June, 1875, The Tweed was loaded very deep with 
general cargo and passengers for Sydney, her draft 
being 21 feet. As she had eiglit fine stallions on her 
main deck, Captain Stuart dared not drive as he would 
have liked. She left the docks on 12th June, and took 
her departure from the land on the 21st. 

She crossed the line in 28° W., on 13th July, only 
22 days from the land, and crossed the Cape meridian 
on 12th August. Twice she had to be hove to whilst 
running her easting down ; on the first occasion on 
18th x\ugust, and the second time in a violent N.N.E. 
gale on 4th September, when the starboard lifeboat 
was washed away. 

She passed King's Island on 8th September, 79 days 
out, but was becalmed off Montagu Island on the 
following day and arrived at Sydney on 11th September, 
82 days out. 

On her homeward passage from Sydney she left on 
10th December, 1875, and took her pilot off Dungeness 
on 17th February, 1876, having made the magnificent 
passage of 69 days. 

In 1876 she was 87 days to Sydney, after being off 



THE TWEED 233 

the Otway 80 days out, having only calms and faint airs 
up the coast. 

Her abstract log records the following: — 

2nd May. — 1 p.m., Lizard N. 4 miles. 

23rd May. — Crossed the line, 21 days out. 

14th June. — Crossed Greenwich meridian, 43 days ont. 

7th July.— In 41' S., 78° E., with wind north and N.W. Distance 
322 miles. 

8th July,— In 41° 26' S., 85° 27' E., with wind north and N.W. 
Distance 312 miles. 

21st July. — Passed the Otway. 

28th July. — Arrived Sydney, 87 days out. 

From Sydney she went to Hongkong in 50 days, and 
home from there. 

In 1877 Captain Stuart handed over The Tweed to 
Captain Byce in order to take command of the new 
Clyde clipper Loch Etive. 

Captain Byce loaded for Sydney and landed his 
pilot off St. Catherine's at 4 p.m. on 8th January, 1878. 

The line was crossed on 29th January, 21 days out, 
and the meridian of Greenwich on 23rd February. 

On 6th March in 44° 42' S., 64° 24' E., The Tweed 
ran 325 miles in the 24 hours, the wind being strong at 
N.N.E. ; and on the following day she made 300 miles. 

On 31st March, at 7 a.m., the pilot was taken on 
board and the ship reached her anchorage 81 days out. 
Again she crossed to Hongkong, leaving Sydney 2nd 
June, and arriving Hongkong, 15th July, 43 days out. 

In 1880 Captain J. M. Whyte (late of the Black- 
adder) took her out to Sydney. 

12th May. — Left London. 

15th May. — Passed the Lizard. 

8th July.— Crossed the line in 27' W.. 24 days out. 

24th June. — Crossed Greenwich meridian. 

27th June. — Crossed Cape meridian in 42° S. 

9th July. — Made a run of 362 miles. 



234. THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

21st July. — Passed South Cape, Tasmania. 67 days out, cveraging 
240 miles a day from Equator to South Cape. 
29th July. — Arrived Sydney, 75 days out 

The Tweed left Sydney on 1st October, and arrived 
in London on 28th, December, 88 days out. 

In 1881 she still remained in the Sydney trade, but 
went across to Hongkong for her homeward cargo. 
Leaving Hongkong on 29th October she arrived home 
on 1st March, 123 days out; a very good passage for 
post-racing days. 

In the seventies and eighties The Tweed was loaded in 
London by Bcthell & Co., who also loaded the Thomas 
Stephens. These two magnificent ships, Avhich drew 
admiration from all nautical eyes wherever they went, 
were great rivals. 

Several times they raced each other out to Sydney, 
and home again from India or Australia; and though 
the Thomas Stephens was one of the fastest iron ships 
afloat The Tweed generally had the best of it. 

In 1885 Captain Moore left the Cutty Sark in order to 
command old Willis' beloved flagship. Moore was one 
of the old type, a safe, steady-going, experienced 
shipmaster, but he was no sail carrier, and under him 
The Tzveed's days of records came to an end, and instead 
of passages of 70 to 80 days the old ship took 90 to 100. 

But she continued to earn big dividends for Willis. 
On one occasion in Sydney she lay opposite the old 
"Dead House" at Circular Quay for two months, when 
she loaded somewhere about 30,000 bullock hides and 
thousands of casks of tallow, blocked off with cased meat. 
These went into the loAver hold, whilst her 'tween decks, 
which had so often accommodated troops, were screwed 
tight with bale upon bale of wool. 

The end came in July, 1888, This year she had left 



END OF THE TWEED 235 

Sydney for China and loaded a cargo for New York. 
On 18th July when off Algoa Bay she was dismasted. 
The ss, Venice got a rope aboard her and towed her 
into Algoa Bay, but the old ship had received serious 
injury and leaked so badly that she was not considered 
worth repairing, and was eventually broken up. Who- 
ever broke her up must have made a good thing of it, 
for no finer teak-built ship had ever left the shipwrights' 
hands. Her frames and timbers may still be seen 
forming the roof of a church in Port Elizabeth. 

The Sunderland -built Blackwallers. 

The rise of shipbuilding on the Wear is forced 
more and more upon our attention as we notice the 
builders of the later Blackwall frigates. 

Duncan Dunbar was one of the earliest patronisers 
of the Sunderland shipyards. As far back as the early 
forties we find Laing of Sunderland turning out nice 
little 800-ton frigate-built ships for Dunbar — such ships 
as the Crc55t/, Hyderabad, Poictiers, Agincourt, Trafalgar, 
Blenheim and Ramillies; w^hilst in 1853 he launched 
the Dunbar of over 1300 tons, the largest ship ever built 
on the Wear at that date. 

The Greens started their connection with Sunderland 
by ordering the Roxburgh Castle from Pile in 1852, 
whilst Marshall built his celebrated Statesman in 1849. 
These frigate-built ships, though the finest and largest, 
\^ ere by no means the most numerous of the many ships 
built on the Wear. A host of small wooden ships w^ere 
turned out annually, whilst it was not long before iron 
ships were being built. 

The chief of the early builders were Laing, Pile, 
Marshall, Doxford, Haswell and Briggs. 

Pile built all Green's ships except the Lady Melville^ 



236 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



which was built by Haswell. Besides building all 
Duncan Dunbar's, Laing built the Merchantman for 
Joseph Somes, and the well-known Parramatta for 
Devitt & Moore. 

In 1858 110 ships were built on the Wear, totalling 
42,000 tons and averaging 380 tons each: in 18G8 i;38 
ships were built, totalling 70,300 tons and averaging 
509 tons each, whilst in 1872 122 ships were built 
totalling 131,825 tons and averaging 1080 tons. These 
figures show the development of Sunderland shipbuilding 
very clearly. 

Pile's frigate-built ships were very much alike in 
appearance, and the following table of their measure- 
ments may perhaps be of interest: — 



Date 
Built 


Name of Ship 


Tonnage 
Regd. 


Length 


Breadth 


Depth 


Length 

of Poop 

Feet 


Length 

of FoVIe 

Fnet 


1852 


Roxburgh Castle 


1049 


182.5 


34.5 


22.1 






1855 


Walmer Castle 


1064 


192,8 


35 


22.5 






1856 


Alnwick Castle 


1087 


195 


35.3 


22.5 


68 


m 


1857 


Windsor Castle 


1074 


195.5 


36.2 


22.5 


67 


33 


1858 


Dover Castle 


1003 


185 


34 


22 


73 


31) 




Clarence 


1104 


198 


36.5 


22.5 


44 




1859 


Newcastle 


1137 


196.5 


36.5 


22.5 


77 


37 


1860 


Malabar 


1219 


207.2 


36.6 


22.5 


raised q' 


ter deck 


1862 


The Lord Warden 


1237 


210.3 


36.6 


22-6 


72 


40 



With these it may be of advantage to compare Laing 'j 
eight finest ships. 



Date 
Built 


Name of Ship 


Tonnage 
Kcgd. 


Length 


Breadth 


Depth 


Length 

of I'onp 

Feet 


Length 

of Ko'cle 

Feet 


1851 


Vimiera 


925 


165.7 


33.6 


22.9 


57 


29 


1862 


Merchantman 


885 


175 


34 


22 






1853 


Dunbar 


1321 


201.9 


35 


22.7 


82 




1855 


La Hague 


1331 


226 


35 


22,9 


96 


42 


1857 


Duncan Dunbar 


1374 


229.2 


36.3 


23 






1863 


Alumbagh 


1138 


190 


36 


23.8 


59 


40 


1864 


Dunbar Castle . . 


925 


182.7 


33.9 


21.5 


60 


31 


1866 


Parramatta 


1521 


231 


38.2 


22.8 


raised q' 


tcr deck 



•"'■"^iTHHI y«aaM 



^^*'^/- 



AGAMEMNON. 



From a Wa^h Drrvrinc 




A WEARSIDE SHIPYARD. 



[Tofaci: Pa;/e 2.3tj. 



OTHER FAMOUS BLACKWALLERS 237 

The illustrations will show the difference in the 
appearance of these ships. All Pile's ships show a 
great resemblance to each other and might almost be 
sister ships; but Laing's ships were by no means alike 
and at the same time could not be mistaken for any of 
Pile's. 

The Old "La Hogue." 

The best known of all these ships was probably 
the old La Hogue. She was specially built for the 
Australian passenger trade, and for many years was a 
favourite ship to Sydney. She had splendid accom- 
modation, and with a poop 96 feet long, a big midship 
house and a long topgallant foe's'le might almost be 
said to have an extra deck. 

Her passages to Sydney were extraordinarily regular, 
averaging about 90 days outward and a few more days 
coming home. In 1874 in the New Zealand boom, she 
was diverted to Wellington and took out 443 emigrants. 

Her best known commanders were Corvasso and 
Wagstaff, both of whom were very experienced in the 
colonial trade. La Hogue was also celebrated for her 
immense figurehead. She ended her days as a coal 
hulk at Madeira, and was broken up in 1897. 

The "Agamemnon." 

In the same year that Laing built the La Hogue, 
Green built his largest ship in the Blackwall Yard. 
This was the Agamemnon of 1431 tons register, 252.3 
feet in length ,36.2 feet length and 23.2 feet depth . She 
had a poop 85 feet long and a topgallant foe's'le of 50 
feet. There were two "Aggie's," the smaller one of 
973 tons being built at Sunderland and owned by 
Potts Bros, 



238 > THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Green's Agamemnon ran to India until 1870, when 
she was put into the Australian passenger trade: and 
about ten years later she also became a coal hulk. 

The Burning of the ♦♦ Eastern Monarch." 

The Eastern Monarch was a trooper. She 
caught fire on her arrival at Spithead in 1859 with 
troops on board. The ship was destroyed, but everyone 
was saved except a few invalids, who could not 
be got at. 

" Alnwick Castle," " Clarence " and " Dover 
Castle." 

It is difficult to say which was the fastest of 
Green's Sunderland built ships; probably there was 
very little difference between them. 

The Alnwick Castle held the record from the Channel 
to the Sandheads, which she twice did in 68 days. 
During the early sixties, when she was commanded by 
Robert Taylor, she usually left Calcutta with coolies 
for Georgetown and Port of Spain, and made the run 
in well under 80 days. On 6th January, 1862, when 
within two days sail of the Bocas, with a strong N.E. 
trade, she ran 302 miles in the 24 hours. This ship 
was sold by Green in 1873, to a Mr. Bagshot, later a 
man named Swyny owned her, and finally Sir John 
Arnot, of Cork, ran her until 1881, when she was 
wrecked on the Mexican Coast while bound to 
Manzanillas from Rotterdam. 

The Clarence, which was also sold in 1873. possessed 
the peculiarity of sailing best by the head. She is 
credited with a run of 372 miles in 24 hours, when 
bringing the 69th Regiment home from India in 1S64. 

Her sail plan, which I give in the Appendix, was a 



OTHER FAMOUS BLACKWALLERS 239 

big one, and the following measurements of the Nile^s 
mainmast will show the increase of length of spars 
in ten years : — 

Truck to crosstrees .. 61 ft. 

Crosstrc;,: ic maintop . . 43 ft. I ins. 

Maintop to nettings .. 47ft. Gins. 

Nettings to copper .. 16 ft. 2 ins. 

The Clarence's records would, no doubt, have been 
still better if she had not been commanded by Daddy 
Vaile, who was one of the old-fashioned type and no 
carrier of sail. 

The Dover Castle, under Captain J. H. Ayles, once 
came home in under 80 days from Hobson's Bay, but 
I know of no unusual sailing in her records. She was 
sold to Shaw Savill, and sold again to C. F. Boe, of 
Arendal, and renamed Kem ; after living to a good old 
age she was finally broken up. 

Blackwallers in the Coolie Trade. 

During the sixties, when the West Indies were 
importing coolie labour for their plantations, many of 
the fastest of the Blackwall frigates were employed 
in carrying coolies from Calcutta to Georgetown, 
Demerara, and Port of Spain, Trinidad. The chief of 
these ships were the.4//i3X)ic/<; Castle, Clarence, Newcastle, 
and Tyhurnia. 

In 18G0, the Alnwick Castle took 225 men, 102 
women, 26 boys, 20 girls and 10 infants, from Calcutta 
to Georgetown in 83 days ; 31 coolies, an unusual 
proportion, dying on the passage. 

In 1861, Alnwick Castle took 340 men, 89 women, 
81 boys, 11 girls and 7 infants to Trinidad in 71 days. 
She received a freight of £12 18s. Od. per adult, the 
478 souls being equal to 450 adults. The passage 



240 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

money thus amounted to £5805. Besides the coolies, 
she loaded 4350 hags or 450 tons of Ballam rice, and 
4050 hags or 297 tons of Moonghy rice at £2 7s. Od. per 
ton. She made sail from the Sandheads on 31st 
October, rounded the Cape on 10th December, 
anchored at St. Helena on 19th December, and 
anchored at Port of Spain on 10th January, 18G2. 

The Clarence left Calcutta on 20th December, with 
450 coolies, of which 6 died on the passage, and 
arrived Trinidad on 5th March, 1802, 75 days out. 
There were some fast ships in competition with 
Green's, such as the well-known early iron ship 
Accrington and the beautiful Tijburnia, but the Alnwick 
Castle and Clarence were hard to beat. In 1865, the 
Clarence made the best passage out of a number of 
ships, including the Newcastle, being 46 days to St. 
Helena from Calcutta, arriving there 11th January, 
1865 ; but she had an unusual number of deaths, 46 
out of 469. 

I find, as a rule, that these early coolie ships did not 
lose more than six to a dozen on the passage, and a 
large proportion of these were usually infants. 

" Newcastle." 

The Newcastle was not a fast ship, yet she 
made some very fine passages. Her best homeward 
runs from Calcutta were 81, 83 and 84 days : on one 
occasion she arrived at St. Helena only 38 days out 
from Madras. 

During the sixties the Newcastle was employed 
trooping to Calcutta, but, on the opening of the Suez 
Canal in 1869, she was transferred to the Melbourne 
passenger trade. 

The Newcastle was such a dry ship that she 



THE NEWCASTLE 241 

would run under lower topsails before a Cape Horn 
snorter with her wash deck buckets on the quarter 
galleries. 

Under Captains Robert Taylor and C. E. Le Poer 
Trench, all the old East India iiiles and discipline were 
kept up in the Newcastle ; and she carried a ship's 
company of 62 men. The midshipmen had their 
"devil," and also a hammock-man, who, for £1 per 
voyage from each "young gentleman," mended and 
washed their clothes, cut their hair, and did his best to 
attend to their multifarious wants. The crew had their 
"fiddler," whilst in every second dog watch the bosun 
used to pipe "Hands to dance and skylark." 

I can give no greater testimony to the strength of 
these old Blackwallers than to record the escape of the 
Newcastle in the famous Calcutta cyclone of 5th October, 
1859, when upwards of 200 ships were driven from their 
moorings. The Nezvcastle was lying in the tier, fully 
loaded and ready for sea, when the storm burst upon 
Calcutta. 

The following is Captain Taylor's account of what 
happened to the Nezvcastle, taken straight out of his 
own private log book : — 

5th October. — At daylight, fresh breeze from N.N.E. and gusty with 
heavy rain. Barometer 29.75. About 9, wind increased in squalls and 
weather very thick : veering to N.E. and rapidly increasing ; furled 
awnings, pointed j'ards to the wind, put on extra lashings, attended 
cables, etc., thick blinding rain and squalls very severe. 11 a.m., 
squalls more severe. Barometer falling fast with wind veering to N.E. 
by E. Secured sails with extra gaskets. 

Noon, barometer 29.18: wind E.N.E: main topsail and main try- 
sail blew to pieces from the gaskets. Tremendous bore and storm wave 
came up at this time. 1.30 p.m., wind east. The ring of the inshore 
bow mooring carried away and we sheered alongside the ship Winchester, 
carrying away our port cathead, jibboom and fore topgallant mast. 
Hove in starboard cable and bent on to starboard anchor and 
let i: go — both port boats smashed. 2 p.m., ship Manilla swung 



242 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

across our stern, much injuring quarter galleries. 2.30 p.ra., squalls 
tremendously severe, main and mizen topgallant masts blew awav. 

Ships Clytemnestra and Calwood parted and drove across our bows, 
carrying away our port bow mooring and the Winchester's bow mooring. 
The bridle of the ii. shore stern mooring then parted and the remaining 
stern chain tore out of the timberheads from the poop, where it was 
secured. 

The ship then drove across the river, taking the cable from the 
locker to about 95 fathoms, when it parted. Wind E.S.E. and veering 
to S.E. At this time the wind was blowing most severely and the 
weather so thick that vessels could not be distinguished, except those 
quite clo.se. 

At the moment of the ship starting from her moorings, the (uttock 
hoop of the foremast broke and the fore topmast went over the side, 
taking the lower masthead with it. The ship drove across the river 
touching many other vessels also adrift, and took the other shore oS 
Ramkistopore Ghaut, laying right over on her port broadside. 

Sounded and found 17 feet on the inshore side at 3 p.m. Barometer 
28.46. Wind began to veer fast, the strength of the gale to decrease a 
little and the barometer to rise. 

At 3.50 a ship drifted by us and took away starboard cutter and 
accommodation ladder. 4 p.m., barometer 28.63. The steamer 
Mauritius at this time came alongside with great force, driving us 
further on shore and much damaging everything on our starboard side. 
The Bolton Abbey then came in ahead of us (apparently from up the 
river) smashing our figurehead and carrying away port anchor. 5 p.m., 
barometer 29.07. The wind about this time was south and decreasing 
fast. Squalls less frequent. The ship gradually righted ; lashed the 
ship to the Mauritius to keep the ship upright. At 6 p.m., barometer 
29.62 and rising very fast and quite calm with an occasional gust from 
S.W. At low water had 2 feet alongside. 

From 6th to 15th October, all hands were busy dis- 
charging the cargo in order to lighten the Newcastle 
for the next spring tides ; a raft was made of spare 
spars upon which the cargo was piled. At noon on the 
15th, the Bolton Abbey was towed off, and the tug 
Sestos tried to move the Newcastle, but only broke 
the hawsers. 

However, after several attempts and the laying out 
of many anchors, the Newcastle was safely floated at 
2 p.m. on the 17th. In spite of her batterinii in the 



THE NEWCASTLE 243 

cyclone and the fact that for over a week she had been 
lying across a ghaut, with her bows and stern in soft 
mud, so that her wliole weight was sustained amidships, 
the Newcastle proved to be quite tight, drawing 12 feet 
1 1 inches aft and 13 feet 1 inch forward. 

After lying for some days on the P. & O. moorings, 
tl e Newcastle was taken into the Government Dock at 
Kidderpore to undergo repairs, which took three weeks. 
She was then re-masted and re-rigged and left Calcutta 
on 28th January, with over 500 coolies for Trinidad. 

One gains a good idea of the speed of different vessels 
by their performances in company. 

In December, 1865, in the Bay of Bengal, bound to 
Calcutta, the Nezvcastle and Dunbar Castle were four 
days in company, the Newcastle at length leaving the 
Dunbar Castle out of sight astern. 

In 18G9, when outward bound to Calcutta, the 
Newcastle fell in with the Donald MacKaij in 42° N., 
11° W. The Donald MacKay was seven days out from 
Cardiff for Callao, whilst the Nezvcastle was eight days 
out from the Start. This was on the 1st August ; on 
the 11th August, in 17" 58' X., 25° 58' VV., the Donald 
MacKay and Neiccastle were again in company, and the 
Newcastle's log read : — 

nth Aug. Dona:d MacKay in company on port beam. 



12th 
13th 

14th 
15th 
16th 
17th 
ISth 
leth 



exchanged colours. 

on port beam. 

astern 4 miles. 

N.E. i E. 5 miles. 

hull down astern, 

courses down astern. 

on port bow 6 miles. 

on starboard bow 6 miles. 



The ships parted company on opposite tacks. 

On her first passage out to Melbourne in 1870, the 



244 THE BLACKVVALL FRIGATES 

Newcastle was in company with several well-known 
ships ; the following are the extracts from her logs : — 

19th September.— 42° 54' N.. 13° 43' W. Light wind N.W. to east, 4 
days out from Start. Signalled Bfittsh Monarch, London to Sydney, 4 
days out. 

20th September. — British Monarch on starboard beam. 

21st September. — Signalled Renown, London to Madras, 9 days out, 
strong south breeze. 

6th October.— In 12° N., 27° VV., a.m.. wind fresh Sly. P.M., calm. 
Signalled Abergeldie, London to Sydney, 24 days out, signalled Poonah, 
London to Calcutta, 24 days out, signalled Kent, London to Melbourne, 
21 days out, signalled Indian Empire, London to Calcutta, 18 days out_ 

7th. — Indian Empire on port bow, wind east. 

8th. — Indian Empire on port bow, wind light E. to S.E. 

9th. — Indian Empire ahead (16 sail in sight). Signalled Carlisle 
Castle and Renown. 

10th. — Indian E»2pire and Renown on starboard quarter. Wind 
strong S.VV. 

11th. — Renown and Carlisle Castle bear W. and W.N.W. 

12th. — Renown and Carlisle Castle bear N.W. by W. and W.N.W. 

13th. — At daylight Renown astern on opposite tack. 

16th— Crossed the line in 23° W. Took S.E. trades. 

20th. — Signalled Khersonese, London to Calcutta, 49 days. 

22nd. — Khersonese on weather beam. Sighted Trinidad. 

23rd. — Khersonese on lee beam. 

2nd November. — Crossed Greenwich meridian. 

9th.— Sg^" 18' S., 18° 24' E. Barque Spirit of the North in company. 

10th November.- 39° 47' S., 19° 32' E., S, 66° E., 74 miles. Wind 
light Sly., Khtrsonese on weather beam. 

12th November. — Signalled British Monarch. Carlisle Castle 
on lee bow. 

13th November. — Carlisle Castle astern. 

14th November.— 39° 6' S., 28° 38' E., N. 80° E., Ill miles. Light 
airs Carlisle Castle on starboard beam. Boarded by a boat from 
Carlisle Castle. She passed close under our stern, flying boom over 
our poop ! 

15th November. — Carlisle Castle on port bow. 

16th November. — Carlisle Castle hull down ahead. 

17th November. ^ — Carlisle Castle hull up on starboard bow 

18th November. — Carlisle Castle out of sight ahead 

(Newcastle made her best runs, on 20th and 2 1st November, in 42° 
30' S., both being 290 miles.) 

10th December. — Cape Otway, N.E. 15 miles: 

11th December. — Passed through Heads, 87 days out; 




NEWCASTLE." 






wmmm 



^t^^--?.-™- 



I il \ iijiii *iiiT Ti«iiiniii— iBliir 



LA HOGUE. 



[ To face Page ?44. 



i'HE NEWCASTLE i45 

{Newcastle's best passage to Melbourne was in 1871.) 

On 8th June. — Took her departure from the Start. 

2nd July.— Crossed the Hne in 29' W. 

10th July.— Sighted Trinidad Island. 

20th July. — Crossed Greenwich meridian in 37° S. 

19th August.— Signalled Cape Otway, 73 days out. (A hard gale, 
however, kept her hove-to off her port for 5 daj^s, and she did not 
pass through the Heads until the 24th.) 

Her best homeward passage from Melbourne was 
in 1875. 

r2th July. — 9 a.m., passed through Port Phillip Heads in company 
with Cardigan Castle. 

8th August.— Rounded the Horn. 

2nd September. — Crossed the equator. 

29th September.— 1.15 a.m., sighted the Wolf. 

1st October. — Docked in Blackwall Docks. (The Cardigan Castle 
arrived the same tide.) 

In 1873, Newcastle crossed from Sydney to San 
Francisco in 54 days. 

27th September. — Left Frisco in company with British Consul. 
21st October. — Crossed the line in 118° W. 
15th November. — Passed Diego Ramirez (49 days out). 
30th November. — Passed Isle of Anglesey, Frisco to Queenstown, 
73 days out {Newcastle 64 days out). 

•♦Windsor Castle." 

Probably none of these ships were quite as fast as 
the little Windsor Castle. The Windsor Castle was usually 
in the Melbourne trade, but in 1873 she came home 
from Manila, and in 1874 from Sydney, when she was 
dismasted and almost lost. Her last years under 
Green's flag were spent in the Brisbane trade, in which 
with a young and energetic commander she made 
some very fine passages. 



246 THE BI.ACKWALL FRIGATES 

Extracts from the Log of the "Windsor 
Castle." 

London to Melbourne, 1871. 

6th February. — Left East India Docks with 19 first-class passengprs 
including 7 nuns, 12 second class and 15 third class, commanded by 
Captain Charles Dinsdale, with a crew of 45 all told. 

9th February. — 11 p.m., off Dungeness. 

11th February. — 4 p.m., Lizard bore N.N.W. 

23rd February. — Signalled the Bayard, London to Calcutta, 23 days 
out, in 33°36'N., 19° 18' W. 

24th February. — Sighted Madeira. 

6th March.— 10° 45' N., 25° 46' W. Distance 185 miles. Fresh 
trade blowing. Signalled Jerusalem, London to Melbourne. (This 
was the Aberdeen White Star clipper.) 

11th March. — Crossed the line, 28 days out. 

13th March. — Jerusalem in company. Variable airs and calms. 

14th March. — Jerusalem in company. Variable airs and calms. 

loth March. — Found a dead sheep in the chain locker. 

3rd April. — Crossed Greenwich meridian in 40° 40' S. Distanca 
295 miles. (Best run of the passage.) 

5th May.— Cape Otway bore N.N.E. 

6th May. — Noon, hauled alongside Sandridge Railway Pier. 

Melbourne to London. 

20th June. — Passed through the Heads. 

26th July. — Sighted Diego Ramirez E.N.E., 36 days out. 

10th August. — Signalled Moravian, Melbourne to London, 54 days 
out. (This was the Aberdeen White Star clipper.) 

19th August. — Brought up off Ascension. 

20th August. — Left Ascension in company with the Flying Squadron. 
Topaz, Narcissus, Immorialite, Inconstant and Volage. 

24th August. — Crossed the line. 

r2th September. — Flores N.E. by N. 

18th September. — Moravian hull down astern. 

19th September. — Lizard light E.N.E. 

21st September. — Hauled into E.I. Docks. 

The above was a steady average voyage for a Black - 
waller in the Australian trade. Captain Dinsdale was 
a fine seaman of great experience but no carrier of sail. 

London to Melbourne, 1871-2. 
5th December. — Hauled out of East India Dock, under command 
of Captain N. Harriion, with a crew of 4l' and 38 passengers- 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLE 247 

lOth December.— Delayed by a gale in the Downs. Sent down 
main skysail mast. 

13th December. — Noon, Lizard N. 64° W., 26 miles. S.W. gales to 
26th December. 

2oth December.— Lat. 38= 19' N.. long 10' 50' W. Course S.12'' 
E. Distance 72 miles. Wind W.ly. 1.30 a.m., shift of wind in a 
furious squall. 8 a.m., struck by a terrific squall, carried away cross- 
jack yard; turned the hands out and secured the wreck. P.M., fresh 
gale and squally. Ship rolling tremendously. 7.45 p.m., whilst 
the ship was rolling very heavily, John Kendall, midshipman, having 
just come up after companion, lost his balance and fell through the 
poop-rail overboard. As it was blowing a gale and very dark, nothing 
could be done to save him. 

29th December. — Island of Palma sighted. 

13th January, 1873. — Crossed the line in 24° 40' W. 

14th January. — 2 p.m., lowered a boat and boarded English ship 
Guinevere, Foochow to New York. (This was the well-known tea 
clipper.) 

20th January. — Sighted Trinidad Island. 

3rd February. — Crossed Greenwich meridian in 42' 21' S. 

18th February. — Distance 313 miles. Wind strong N.N.E. Lat. 
44° 55' S., long. 78° 12' E. 

19th February. — Lat. 44° 57' S., long. 85' 25' E. Course E. Dis- 
tance 307 miles. Wind N.E. strong. 

6th March. — Signalled Cape Otway, 83 days from Lizard. 

7th March. — 7 a.m., passed through the Heads. 

(From Melbourne the Windsor Castle went to New- 
castle, N.S.W., where she loaded coal for Hongkong.) 

The following vessels w^cre loading at Newcastle:— 

Ships — Knight Commander, Forward Ho (tea clipper), 
Kota, Zemindar, Nelson, Solo, Inverness, Vernon, 
Golden Spur {tea, clipper). 

Barques — Rainboiu, Florence Nightingale, Lyttleton, 
Esk, Annie, Bus ton Vale, Escort. 

Brig — August. 

Schooner — Lulu. 

Newcastle to Hongkong. 

6th May. — 6.30 p.m., made all plain sail and stood away. 

12th May. — 24° 12' S., 155° 39' E. Distance 152 miles. Wind 
east, moderate. A look-out stationed in fore topmast crosstrees 
observed a total eclipse of the moon, passed a whaler. 

\ 



248 THE BLACKVVALL FRIGATES 

18th May. — Sighted the Island of Bougainville. 

19th M.'w.— 11 a.m., si?;hted the Island of New Ireland. Strons; 
smell of flowers and hay blown off the land. Natives cannibals and 
treacherous. Every precaution had to be taken against an attack. 
Two carronades loaded and primed. 

20th May. — Two native canoes with 14 men came off from New 
Ireland with fruit and vegetables. 

27th May. — Passed large quantity of floating trees, some 100 feet 
long. 

28th May. — Crossed the line in 139° E. 

30th May. — Signalled British barque Aberdeen, of Newcastle, from 
Morton Bay to Mindoro Island, 61 days out. 

10th June.— Babuyan Island bore N.W. 

11th June. — Passed through very strong ripples. 

12th June. — Signalled German brig August, Newcastle to Hongkong 
44 days. Signalled British barque Helen Malcolm, Newcastle to Hong- 
kong. Signalled British ship Inverness, Newcastle to Hongkong, 49 days. 

14th June. — Inverness on port quarter. 

loth June. — Passed Inverness. 1 p.m., moored in Hongkong, 
40 days out. 

(From Hongkong the Windsor Castle proceeded to 

jNIanila, sailing on 25th June, she anchored in Manila 

on 5th July.) 

Manila to LivERrooL. 

30th August. — 7.30 a.m., weighed and made all plain sail. Weather 
very threatening, wind increasing in hard squalls. 6.45 p.m., brought 
up under Mareveles Mountain. 

(On the following morning the hands refused to man 
the windlass. Captain Harrison addressed tliem but 
there was evidently some serious grievance, for thev 
persisted in their refusal ; two of the men were then 
put in irons, and the mate was sent away in the life- 
boat to a Spanish brigantine. At 10.30 a.m. the after- 
guard of the Windsor Castle, assisted by 6 men from the 
brigantine, hove into SO fathoms, then the men gave in, 
were logged for refusal of duty and the episode closed.) 

1st September. — 7.30 a.m., weighed and made sail. Weather very 
threatening, wind increasing, fresh and squally, barometer falling. 

(Th^ Windsor Castle had the usual trving time of 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLh 249 

squalls and calms down to Alias Staits ; and she was 
evidently very short of provisions, for on 30th 
September, she anchored off the town of Bally, where 
she obtained two bullocks, a goat and other stores.) 

2nd October. — Passed out of Alias Straits. (Her best run in the 
S.E. trades was 265 miles on 10th October.) 

1st November. — Several sail in company. Signalled Golden Spur. 

4 p.m., sighted land about Buffalo River. 

5th November. — Signalled County of Berwick, Sourabaya to 
Rotterdam, 39 days. 

6th November. — Signalled British Envoy, from Calcutta. 

9th November. — Signalled Contest, Moulmein +o Queenstown, 48 
days. 6.15, Agulhas E. ^ N. 3 p.m., bore up for C^pe and signalled 
signal station. 4 p.m., kept ship on her course again. 

(The run from the Cape is chiefly interesting lor the 
sailing contests with the shipping encountered. The 
stores must have been very low, by the way in which 
tar, oil and pork were bought from passing ships.) 

16th November. — Signalled Connemara, Calcutta to Dundee, 54 
days. 

17th November.— 20° S., 2° 22' \V.. at daylight Connemara astern 

5 miles. 9.30 a.m., in stunsails. hove to and boarded Connemara for 

6 sillons tar and 2 gallons oil, 1 1 a.m., boat returned, made all possible 
sail. 8 p.m., exchanged rockets with Connemara. 

18th November.— 6 a.m., Connemara, on port quarter. 6 p.m., 
Connemara on starboard quarter. 

19th November. — Daylight, Connemara on starboard quarter. 

20th November. — Connemara on starboard quarter, hull down. 
Sighted St. Helena. 4 p.m., signalled George Gtlray, Calcutta to Dundee. 

{Connemara, 1293 tons, built New Brunswick, 1867; 

owners — Sinclair of Liverpool.) 

21 at November.— Daylight, George Gilrny on starboard quarter. 
8 a.m , signalled German ship Herschell, Java to Falmouth, 57 days. 

24th November. — 8 a.m., signalled County of Berwick. 1.30 p.m., 
boarded her for 1 barrel of pork and 2 gallons boiled oil. Sunset, 
County of Berwick S.W. 6 miles. 

25th November. — Daylight, County of Berwick S.S.W., hull down. 
Noon. County of Berwick S. by W., hull down. 2 p.m., sighted Ascension. 
6 p.m.. County of Berwick right astern 6 miles. 

2Gth November. — Daylight, County of Berwick on starboard quarter. 



250 THE RLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Noon, County of Berwick abeam, starboard side. 4 p.m., County of 
Berwick 1 point before the beam. 

27th November. — Daylight, County of Berwick 1 point before the 
beam nearly out of sight. 

28th November. — County of Berwick on starboard quarter. 

{County of Berwick, 996 tons, built by Connell of 
Glasgow, in 1868 ; oAvners — R. & S. Craig of Glasgow.) 

30th November. — Crossed the line in 21° 47' W. 

2nd December. — Signalled Glenlora, of London. Several sail in 
sight. Signalled Ann Duthie, of Aberdeen, outward bound. 

3rd December. — Signalled French brig Architecte Renard, Hongkong 
to Hamburg, 111 days out. 4 ships, 2 barques and 2 brigs in sight. 

4th December. — Exchanged colours with Italian ship Lycka Till, 
French barque P.W.V.S., British barque Fusilier, of Liverpool. 5 p.m., 
signalled British barque Colchaqua, of Liverpool. 

6th December.— 12° 48' N., 29° 16' W. Course N.E., 153 miles. 
Passed through strong ripples. 

10th December.— 20° 17' N., 32° 13' W. Signalled Star of Scotia, 
Calcutta to London, 79 days. Noon, Star of Scotia on lee quarter. 

{Star of Scotia, 999 tons, built by Harland of Belfast, 
in 1864 ; iron ship owned by Corry & Co. of Belfast.) 

I7th and 18th December. — Moderate E.N.E. gale, heavy sea. 

19th December. — Sent down crojjick yard to strengthen it. P.M., 
fresh N.N.E. gale. 

21st December. — Fished crojjick yard and crossed it. 

22nd to 24th December. — Strong to moderate S.W. gale. 

24th December.— 47° 54' N., 21° 21' W. Distance 284 miles. (Best 
run of passage.) 

27th December. — 50° 03' N., 8° 26' W. - Sounded in 65 fathoms, fine 
sand. P.M., signalled ships Oberon, Adelaide, and Marphexa, barques 
Psyche, Charlotte Ann and Venus, all standing to S.W. 

29th December. — 10 a.m., abreast of Holyhead, strong gale from 
southward. 

30th December. — 2 a.m., dropped anchor in Mersey, 121 days out. 

Dismasting of the "Windsor Castle." 

In 1874 the Windsor Castle had a most disastrous 
voyage. On the passage out to jNIelbourne she lost her 
mizen topmast and main topgallant yard, again she had 
trouble with her men, whilst her chief officer went mad 
and on arrival in Australia had to be taken to an asylum ; 



r 
1 




WINDSOR CASTLE." 



From an old Lilho^raph. 



I'Jofacc Page 200. 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLE 251 

whilst on the homeward passage she was not only 
dismasted but could with difficulty be kept afloat until 
she was got into a Brazilian port. 
Her log records as follows : — 

London to Melbourne. 

Commander N. Harrison, 13 first-class passengers, 13 second-class 
and 5 third; ship's complement 49 souls including 2 stewards, 2 cuddy 
servants, captain's servant, midshipman's servant, baker and butcher, 
5 O.S.'s and 4 boys. 

16th February. — Hauled out of E.I. Docks. 

17th February. — 2 p.m., left Gravesend in tow of tug Rescue. 

21st February. — 3.15 a.m., Lizard E. by N. 

24th to 26th February.— W.S.W. gale. 

5th March. — -Madeira abeam. 

20th March.— Crossed the line in 22° 41' W. 

11th April. — Crossed Greenwich meridian in 38' 37' S. 

4th May.— 44° 2' S., 88° 2' E. Distance 198 miles. Winds fresh to 
strong, N.W. 8 p.m., carried away mizen topmast and main topgallant 
yard. 

5th May.— 44° 25' S., 93° 10' E. Distance 222 miles. Winds west, 
and N.W. All hands employed clearing away the wreck. 

6th May. — 45° 19' S., 99° 3' E. Distance 256 miles. Winds west 
strong. Carpenter working on new main topgallant yard. 

10th May.— 44° 20' S., 121° 159'E. Distance 282 miles. WindS W. 
and west. 

12th May.— Crossed new main topgallant yard. 

10th May. — Hove to ofi Heads for pilot. 84 days out. 

20th May. — 11.30 p.m., brought up in Hobson's Bay. 

21st May. — Sent ashore men who refused duty on 27th and 28th April. 

22nd May. — Seven men sent to prison for one month, two for six 

vreeks. 

Melbourne to Sydney. 

14th June. — Left for Sydney. 
24th June. — Hauled alongside Circular Quay. 

20th July. — Chief officer pronounced insane, singing and talking 
nonsense; second ofi&cer discharged by mutual agreement. 
24th July. — Chief of&cer taken to Gladsville Asylum. 

Sydney to London. 

2nd August.— 10 a.m., tug Mystery came alongside; proceeded in 
tow. Draft 18 feet 8 ins. forward, 18 feet 10 inches aft. Moderate 
gale and heavy sea. Ship labouring and straining heavily. 

lUth August.— Lat. 31' 8' S., 172° 56' E. Distance 109 miles. Wind 



252 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

E.S.E. increasing with heavy squalls. P.M., fresh gale with hard squalls J 
reefed topsails, a tremendous sea broke aboard between starboard for« 
and main rigging, breaking in a great part of the bulwarks. 

11th August. — Moderate gale and heavy squalls. Employed 
sending in flying boom. 

13th August. — -On taking out some cargo forward, discovered a 
leak about 10 feet fore side of fore channels and about 6 feet below. 

15th August. — Fresh and squally east wind. Carpenter over the 
side on an iron stage endeavouring to stop the leak. 

16th August. — Moderate and fine. Hove to, carpenter over the side 
again endeavouring to stop the leak. Ship making 3 or 4 inches an hour. 

23rd August.— 48" 6' S.. 145° 51' W. Distance 263 miles. Wind 
N.W. strong with squalls. Whilst reefing the mizen topsail, Stratford 
(.A..B.) fell from aloft on deck, but being so heavily clothed he was not 
much hurt. 

3rd September.— 55^^ 50' S., 98" 0' W. Distance 273 miles. Wind 
W.S.W. strong with smart snow squalls. 

4th September. — Strong gale and very heavy snow squalls. Ship 
knocking about tremendously and shipping much water. A great part 
of starboard bulwark washed away between fore and main masts. Fire 
engine pump rigged in 'tween decks and worked by the passengers. 

9th September. — 52° 51' S., 56° 60' W. Distance 240. Wind 
west, moderate gale with passing snow squalls. The men are now able 
tc stand at the pumps without being washed away, as they have been 
during last week. 

(Best run to Horn on 22nd August, 279 miles.) 

16th September.— Lat. 38° 57' S.. long. 37° 50' W. Distance 175 
miles. Wind north. Moderate with heavy swell from N.W. Caught 
quantities of mollyhawks. P.M., wind increasing and barometer falling, 
S p.m., in topgallant sails, outer jib and crossjack. 

17th September.— Lat. 38° 57^' S., long. 37-' 50^' W. Midnight, turned 
the hands out to reef the mainsail, but finding the wind increasing very 
rapidly with a fast falling barometer, handed it. reefed the upper main 
topsail and left the yard lowered on the cap. The foresail was handed 
soon after midnight, the inner jib hauled down and main topmast 
staysail reefed. 1.45 a.m., gale increasing rapidly from nor'ard. Bar- 
meter 29.71. 5 a.m.. handed mizen topsail; the fore topmast staysail 
was blown to pieces. The ship now under lower fore and main topsails 
and reefed main topmast staysail. 6.30 a.m., barometer 29.30. The 
squalls were now coming down with violence beyond description. 
During a lull the reefed main topmast staysail was hauled down and 
immediately after the wind came with such awful force that the main- 
mast was carried away, close off to the deck, bringing with it the mizeu 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLE 253 

topmast. The ship was for some little time with her lee rail under 
water, but as the squall pas3ed over she righted. 8 a.m., barometer 
29.20. The passengers were immediately set to work the pumps, not 
knowing what damage might have been done to the hull, when the 
mainmast was carried away. 

It fell across the ke bulwarks; breaking them. The 
weather bulwarks were carried away by the ropes 
belayed on the weather side ; the lee channels were very 
much torn to pieces ; one of the skid boats was knocked 
down and stove m; nearly all the chain plates of the 
weather mizen rigging were broken at the same time 
that the mainmast went, and the driver gaff came down 
with a run. 

The sJiip was now in a sad plight with the mainmast 
and all its gear alongside, and the mizen topmast with 
its yard and topgallant mast lying over the lee quarter, 
with the lee quarter boats davits bent down and the 
boat dragging in the water. The foreyard and topsail 
yards were flying about without braces, as the ship 
rolled (and as the sea was now getting up, this she did 
heavily), causing her to strain very much. 

As many axes as could be found were brought into 
use at once; the ship fortunately was soon disentangled 
from the wreck ; the lee quarter boat was cut away, oars 
and everything belonging to her were lost : the mizen 
top was much broken on starboard side with falling of 
topmast. 

Soon after the mainmast went, the weather cleared up, 
although the ship, having no sails to steady her, rolled 
and laboured very heavily. A royal was cut up to nail 
over the partners of the mainmast to prevent the water 
from getting on the lower deck, but before this could 
be done a great lot of w^ater got below from the heavy 
seas which constantly broke aboard. 

It was found that the ship, although straining fear- 



254 THE BI.ACKWALL FRIGATES 

fully, had not received any immediate damage to hull, 
as the pumps sucked in about an hour and a half. 

The after skvliffht and gratings were broken when the 
mizen topmast fell. 

At the latter part of the afternoon, the wind had 
veered to N.W. As night came on it again began to 
blow very heavily with a high sea. The fore topgallant 
mast came down, breaking the topmast cap. 

Barometer again going down with much lightning. 11 p.m., 
barometer 29.40. 

Friday, 18th September. — Midnight, wind blowing a heavy Wly. gale 
with a high sea. Ship rolling and labouring fearfirlKy, laying in the 
trough of the sea, a tarpaulin placed in mizen rigging to keep her to, 
but it had no effect. 

2 a.m. — The fore topmast came down with a run 
falling on port fore rigging ; the upper topsail yard 
went through the forecastle deck ; the foreyard was 
canted over end : the port yardarm had a bit of a lashing 
put on, but as the ship was rolling so heavily, it could 
not be properly secured, consequently it was knocking 
about very much : the starboard yardarm banging hard 
against the trestle trees and breaking them all to pieces : 
the foretop smashed when the topmast came down. 

Daylight, blowing very heavily, tremendous sea on. Ship rolling 
to such an extent that at times it was impossible to get along the decks. 

The foreyard was all this time swinging about very 

much. Getting aloft to secure it was out of the question. 

Succeeded in getting a lashing round the lower yardarm and the 
foremast, which partially steadied it. Lashings were also passed 
round the broken topmast and yards, w lich were, in a manner, locked 
in the fore rigging. 

As the ship was rolling and labouring so heavily the 
captain had a consultation with the chief officer and 
carpenter about throwing cargo overboard, to endeavour 
to ease her, for it appeared certain that the ship could 
not last long with the violent straining; consequently 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLE 255 

parties were set on at both ends of the ship to discharge 
overboard cases of preserved meats or whatever came to 
hand. 

Two drags were got over the bows with long lengtlis 
of hawsers to keep her to the wind, but they appeared 
to have no effect, for the sea was so high that her head 
could not be got up to the wind in spite of the main 
topmast staysail which was set on the mizen stay, as 
well as one or two other sails set aft in the best manner 
possible. 

During this time the ship was labouring and straining 
most violently; gear, etc., was flying about the decks; 
also, hencoops, skylights and other fixings — all being 
broken to pieces, notwithstanding everything being 
lashed as well as possible under the circumstances. 

Afternoon. — The gale still very heavy with a fearful sea, and the 
ship labouring to such an extent that it seemed impossible that she 
could hold together ; but for all that the pumps were sucking constantly 
throughout the day, the passengers working the fire engine in the 
'tween decks. 

19tli September. — Midnight, blowing heavily from westward. 
Barometer 29.70. Found both forestays carried away, but the foreyard 
had locked itself securely in the trestle trees. Got a large tackle to the 
masthead and set it up to the bowsprit and secured the foremast. 
Daylight, turned to^up driver gafi. The ship being a little steadier, 
succeeded in getting it up and set a reefed driver 

This had the desired effect, brought the ship to the 
wind, and as there was less sea on, the ship became 
easier. 

Afternoon. — Set up a preventer mizen stay, rendering the mast 
tolerably secure. 

Evening. — Set the crossjack, the wind being from S.W. and the 
squalls less heavy. The sea still continues very high causing the ship 
to roll frightfully. 

20th September.— Lat. 38^ 35' S.. long. 32° 28' W. Distance run 
from 16th September 257 miles. In the morning managed to get up a 
]ib forward. 



256 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

This was the first fine day since being dismasted. 
The wreck had by this time been cleared away, a jury 
mizen topmast sent up, on which was set a reefed mizen 
topsail: and a lower stunsail was set forward for a 
foresail. It was impossible to rig up a jury mainmast 
on account of the severe rolling of the ship. 

Pumps constantly attended and everything apparently going on 
well. Crew in health. 

21st September.— Lat. 37'' 20' S., long. 32° W. Distance 72 miles, 
winds S.W., south, S.E. Got up stream chain, two parts of which were 
taken for a forestay. 

22nd September.— Lat. 36° 37' S,, long. 32° 27' W. Distance 
53 miles. Winds S.E., east, and N.E. Employed sending down 
foreyard and sending up jury foreyard (lower foretopsail yard). P.M., 
set mizen topsail for a foresail. 

23rd September.- — Strong N.W. wind and rainy. Heavy sea, ship 
rolling frightfully at times. A.M., people employed putting extra 
lashings on spars, etc., passed lashings round the engine house. P.M. 
commenced to work the condenser. 

24th September. — Wind N.W. Ship rolling and straining very much. 
Ship making about 7 inches of water per hour, pumped principally by 
passengers. Sent up jury mizen topmast. 

25th September. — Wind west. One of the iron brakes for the pumps 
was broken last night. Carpenter employed making a wooden one. 
Set a reefed main topmast staysail on mizen topmast stay; pas.senger3 
working at the pumps as well as crew. Ship laying withm 7 and 7 J 
points of the wind. 

26th September.— Lat. 34° 31' S., long. 28° 31.' W. Distance run 
during last four days 229 miles. Wind N.W. Employed ^bout 

rigging- 

27th September.— Lat. 32° 40' S., long. 27° 8' W. Distance 131 
miles. Wind N.N.W. Ship rolling and straining very much. People 
getting mizen topsail yard ready for sending aloft. 

28th September. — Wind N.W.. fresh and overcast. A.M., sent 
mizen topsail yard aloft. P.M., ship rolling heavily. This constant 
rolling strains the ship very much, for she makes more water when 
rolling heavily, necessitating one hour's pumping at least every 4 hours. 

29th September.— Lat. 31° 0' S.. long. 25° 43' W. Distance in 
two days 123 miles. Wind S.W. Bent and set mizen topsail, double 
reefed, on jury mizen topmast. Light wind and fine. Reduced a 
foresail and bent it on jury foreyard. 

30th September,— Lat. 29° 40' S., long. 25° 29' W. Distance 81 



LOG OF WINDSOR CASTLE 257 

miles. Light S.W. wind and fine. Carpenter repairing boat which 
was stove in when mainmast went. Up to this date from time of 
being dismasted issued to each adult 2 quarts of water per day (on 
Sundays 3) this day issued 5 pints to each adult. Ship making about 
8 inches of water per hour. Evening, kept the ship up to N. by W. for 
the purpose of taking her into a Brazilian port to repair, Captain 
Harrison considering that it will be for the benefit of all concerned to 
do so, for the ship in consequencs of the heavy straining she has lately 
received begins to feel th« effocts, as shs make* more water than usual. 
In fact, the present crippled state of the ship and the impossibility of 
getting up 2«od jury masts, so much of the rigjjing beinf lost, with the 
increased tendency of tha ship to make water, beinj considered, the 
captain is of opinion that it would be running a very great risk to 
proceed on the voyage, a.i some damage might have «ccurred to the 
hull, which, in further bad weather, might prove fatal to her. 

1st Octob«r.— Lat. 28* 22' S., long. 26" 3' W. Distance S4 miles. 
Wind drawing into the S.E. with fine weather. 

2nd October.— Lat. 27" 4' S., long. 26* 49' W. Distance 87 miles. 
Wind easterly. People employed rigging a mast (fiying jibboom) to 
set a sail (main royal) above the foresail. Full allowance of water 
issued again. 

3rd October.— Lat. 25'' 52' S., long. 28° 21' W. Distance 1 10 miles. 
Wind N.E.ly. Distance to Bahia 9S4 miles. 

Towards evening it was found that the ship (notwith- 
standing the sea being perfectly smooth) was making 
upwards of 1 foot of water per hour — 'evidently from 
some fresh place having broken out in consequence of 
the heavy strain at the time the ship was dismasted. 

Got water kegs filled and saw everything ready with boats, etc.. for 
an emergency: passengers and crew working at the pumps throughout 
the night. Ship's course set for port of Bahia. 

4th October.— Lat. 25" 15' S., long. 27* 23' W. Distance 64 miles. 
Winds S.W., south and S.E. Ship now making 16 to 17 inches an hour, 
notwithstanding the sea being quite smooth. 

As the leak was increasing rapidly a pair of shears 
was rigged over the main hatch for purpose of throwing 
overboard cargo and hoisting the longboat out. 

In the forenoon we sighted the brig Eastern Star of London, Captain 
Warren, bound for Port Natal, from whom we procured a longboat and 
«ome Tope, as further seetrity for passene;ers and cvew: the ^)st altered 



258 TKE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

her course and kept in company with us all night. People employed 
throwing overboard cargo from main 'tween decks and fore hold. 

oth October.— Lat. 23° 55' S.. long. 27° 23' W. Distance 80 miles. 
Light S.E. wind and fine. Daylight, brig Eastern Star proceeded 
on her course on our signalling that all was well, the ship not making 
more water than yesterday. 9.30 a.m., signalled British ship Amaranth' 
from Liverpool to Bombay. 

Captain, chief officer, carpenter, and Stewart, Campbell and New 
(A.B.'s) held a consultation in captain's cabin when it was decided to throw 
over more cargo and lighten the ship forwanl. One watch put on to dis- 
charge cargo from forehold and kept at work till 4 p.m. Other watch at 
work in 'tween decks squaring up and securing cargo after yesterday's 
work at discharging. 

6th October.— Lat. 22° 39' S., long. 27" 33' W. Distance 77 miles. 
Wind S.E. Employed clearing out longboat, passengers working the 
pumps. Rigged stunsail boom in starboard waist for a derrick for 
getting out longboat. Crew and passengers working in turn at pumps 
pumping about 3 minutes in 7. Ship making 1 foot of water per hour. 

7th October.— Lat. 21° 1' S., long. 28° 19' W. Distance 107 miles. 
Wind S.E. Employed setting two small staysails from fore topmast 
head out to fore yardarms. 3.30 p.m., sighted Martin Vaz Rocks. 

(Six more days of hard pumping and slow progress 
brought the battered Windsor Castle safely into Bahia.) 

14th October. — Moderate wind and fine. 9 a.m., rounded the light- 
house. Noon, dropped anchor in 10 fathoms. Pumps constantly 
going till 4.30 p.m. when a suck was obtained. 8 p.m., natives came off 
and worked the pumps all night. 

15th October. — -Began discharging cargo. 

17th October.— Disrov'.ired a large leak a little abaft the starboard 
forechains. 

20th October. — Passengers left in steamship Galtleo. 

13th November. — A diver employed replacing copper underwater 
that had been torn off by the wreck, 17th September. 

16th November. — A gassoon nggcd over the side and ship caulked 
below water mark where necessary. 

29th November. — Got foreyard alongside from Jaquitara. 

1st December. — Mainmast towed alongside from Tapishipe. 

2nd December. — Hove in and stepped new mainmast. 

nth December. — Ship making about 1 inch water pet hour. 

15th December. — Mr. G., chief officer, deserted. 

18th December. — Mainyard towed alongside, lashed to a boat, not 
being tloatabl9. 



LOO OF WINDSOR CASTLE 259 

20th December. — Second officer left for home, and third appointed 
second. 

27th December. — New chief officer joined. 

29th December. — EfTects of late chief officer, who deserted, sold by 
auction. Ship making 1 A inches of water per hour. 

(A steam engine and new pumps had been embarked.) 

9th January, 1875. — Unmoored ship and towed to Franguia. 

13th January. — Surveyors came off. Hands came aft wishing to 
know if anything was going to be done to the boats before going to sea. 

20th January. — 5.30 p.m.. up anchor and stood to sea on port tack. 
When underweigh fired two guns. 

(All went well except that the ship gradually made 
more water, and on 2Gth January, as the ship was making 
6 or 7 inches of water an hour, the captain decided to 
put into Rio de Janeiro.) 

27th January.— Lat. 15* 8' S., long. 34= 47' \V. Distance 163 miles. 
Wind easterly. Moderate trade and fine. Ship making 8 inches 
an hour. 4 to 6 a.m.. pumps not worked, the steam pump was then 
started and continued till 11 a.m., before .she was pumped out. 3 p.m., 
steam pumps again started and worked till 8 p.m., at which time with 
aid of an hour's pumping at main pumps ship was dry. 5 p.m., well 
showed 21 inches. 6.30 p.m., well 22 inches, showing that steam 
pumps alone would not keep her clear. 

28th January. — Ship making 1 foot an hour. Steam pumps (which 
now throw very much more v/ater) going nearly all day. 

2nd February.— Arrived at Rio, where the cargo was 
discharged, the ship dry docked and seams in the floor, 
each side of mainmast, discovered much opened. 

The poor old Windsor Castle was not to get out of Rio 
without further ^roubles : after nearly drifting on to a 
ledge of rocks off Mocangur Grande, she was at last 
considered fit for sea, but owing to yellow fever raging 
in the city and the fact that several of the crew were ill 
with fever symptoms, Captain Harrison had further 
anxieties now^ that the leak had been conquered. 

7th March. — Towed to sea. 

23rd March.— Lat. 1° 18' N., long. 34° 2' W. Distance 102 miles. 
Wind N.E. 12.30 a.m., passed the ship Tyburnia. At daylight backed 



260 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

crossjack yard and waited for Tyburnia, 60 days from Sydney to London. 
Noon, visited by Captain Colder of Tyburnia. Dr. Woodhouse visited 
Tyburnta and performed some operations. 6.30 p m., filled and stood 
on. Ship Cape Horn in company. 

(The rest of the pas.sage passed without incident 
except that the bobstay parted in an S.S.E. gale in 
50° S. 14' W.) 

The Windsor Castle had easterly winds in the Channel, 
after making Cape Clear on 17th April, and did not 
reach Gravesend until 28th April, 52 days from Rio, 
ai*i 269 days from Sydney. 

On her refit in London, she was only lightly sparred, 
with no skysails or stunsails; nevertheless, under 
Captain John Smith who was a young man with good 
nerve and a great sail carrier, she made some very good 
passages. 

Henceforth she generally loaded for Brisbane, her 
best passages to Moreton Bay being 89 days from the 
Start in 1879 and Si days from Plymouth in 1881. In 
1879 she was in company with the Jessie Readman for 
14 days running the easting down. 

In 1880 Windsor Castle was 78 1 days from Plymouth 
to Cape Wickham light, then had calms and light airs, 
arriving Rockhampton, 90| days out; 

She usually loaded wool home. At 10 a.m. on 13th 
November, 1880, she dropped her pilot outside Port 
Phillip Heads ; on the 5th December she was in company 
with the Arisiides until the 9th, when Aristides was 
astern. On the lltli Aristides was again in sight, and 
the two vessels passed the Horn together on the following 
day. On 17t]i December Windsor Castle sprang her 
mainyard which had to be fished. The equator was 
crossed on the 5th January. On 12th January Mermerus 
was in company on the port beam; on the 16th she was 



Mermerus 


, 11 


„ 5 


Salamis 


Geelong 


.. 9 


Windsor Castle 


flielbourne 


., 11 


(Green's) 






Windsor Castle ,, 


Sj'dney 


„ 13 


(D. Rose) 






Arisiides 


Melbourne 


., 17 



WINDSOR CASTLE 261 

still in sight on starboard quarter, but disappeared 
beneath the horizon on the 17th. At 8 p.m. on 4th 
February, Windsor Castle sighted the Lizard lights, 84 
days out, picked up her pilot on the 5th and docked on 
the 7th. She had beaten three of the most famous wool 
clippers home, namely, Ben Voirlich, Mermerus and 
Salamis, but had been beaten in her turn by Arisiides 
and her namesake, Donaldson Rose's Windsor Castle. 
The times of the six ships were as follows: — - 

Ben Voirlich left Melbourne Nov. 5 arrived Feb. 7 94 days. 

4 91 „ 

., 5 88 „ 

.. 5 86 „ 

Jan. 31 79 „ 

,, Feb. 4 79 

In 1881 she loaded wool home from Sj-dnej; passed 
through the Heads on 7th November ; rounded the Horn 
18th December ; on the 23rd was in company with Loch 
Garry and on the 5th .January with Samuel Plimsoll and 
Baron Aberdare, which ships remained in sight until the 
9th ; crossed the equator on ISth January ; 1st February 
Baron Aberdare again in company on starboard quarter. 
On the 8th February, with the wind fresh and increasing 
from west, Windsor Castle sprang her mainmast at the 
spider-band below the top. The ship was kept away, 
all sail was furled on the mainmast and the main royal 
and topgallant yards sent down. At 3 p.m. a spare 
jibboom was sent aloft for a fish and well secured with 
chain lashings and tackles from main masthead to 
mizen masthead. This was a smart piece of work, for 
by that time it was blowing a strong W.S.W. gale with 
hard gusts and heavy sea, the ship lurching and taking 
much water overall. 



262 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Her passage was spoilt, and she limped up to the 
Eddystone on 23rd February and docked on the 2Gth. 
Greens sold the Windsor Castle in 1882. 
In 1884 she foundered 40 miles south of Algoa Bay. 

The Ghost of the "Norfolk." 

It is curious that with all the wealth of evidence 
regarding ghosts and supernatural apparitions ashore 
there are very few cases of ghosts aboard ship, which 
have not a comic explanation. 

The sailor has always been considered one of the most 
superstitious of mortals, with fixed beliefs as to bad 
iuck or misfortune being due to the presence of a great 
variety of objects, from parsons to black cats. 

One could wTite a large book on the superstitions of 
sailors, dating from the earliest ages, and of their causes, 
of phantom ships and giant ships, of monstrous canoes 
and spectre junks, of extra hands on yardarms, of 
corpses following ships, and of the killing of sea birds. 
Literature already possesses certain masterpieces on 
such superstitions, such as those of the Flying Dutchman 
and the Ancient Mariner, which is founded on the 
killing of a black hen in Shelvocke's Journal. 

Ghosts, however, which have not been explained 
away are very scarce. And of these the extra hand 
is the most common. He was usually the apparition 
of an old shipmate, who had lost his life on some 
previous passage or voyage, and was so attached to his 
old ship that he would always appear and lend a hand 
in dirty weather or when she was in difficulties. 

In a few cases this extra hand was considered to be the 
devil by the more superstitious of the ship's crew, who 
declared that he smelt of brimstone, blew smoke from 
his nostrils, had a tail curled under his jacket, and a 



THE NORFOLK'S GHOST 263 

cloven hoof which burnt a mark on the deck; and, if 
accidentally touched, scorched the fingers of the man 
who touched him. 

Several ships were supposed to sail with an extra 
hand on board, whilst one ship, a passenger steamer, 
rejoiced in an extra steward. 

Masefield in his Tarpaulin Muster has a charming 
essay on ghosts aboard ship, and mentions the case of 
a ship with a haunted poop. That ship was the well- 
known John Elder, built in 1870 by Elder, of Glasgow, 
for the Pacific S.N. Co. 

The following account of the ghost on the Black waller 
Norfolk I have taken from Remminisccnces of a Black- 
Kail Midshipman. Whilst the Norfolk was hove to off 
the Horn, a curious noise was heard, which the super- 
stitious members of the crew declared to be "the rattle 
in a dying man's throat. " The noise was plain enough 
to all ears, but though a search was made it could not 
be located. Shortly after this noise had started, 
during one of the niglit watches, a frightful yelling 
broke out forward. The officer of the watch immedi- 

ately went to see wliat the hullaballoo was about, and, 
on mounting the foe 's'le -head, was astounded to see a 
white figure, with uplifted arms and black hair streaming 
in the wind, standing on the windlass and screeching 
out "The Vision of Judgment," whilst the lookout 
man crouched at the end of the weather cathead in a 
piteous state of terror. 

The apparition proved to be a third class passenger 
who had gone off her head. She was taken below and 
handed over to the ship's doctor. 

The mysterious "rattle in the dying man's throat" 
was presently discovered to be the play of the wind upon 
a loose gallcv funnel stay. The two incidents, however. 



264 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

must have raised a crop of nerve-thrilling yarns in the 
dog watches during the remainder of the passage. 

The Speedy "Suffolk." 

The Norfolk has been credited with a run of 68 
days to Melbourne, but she was probably not as fast as 
her slightly larger sister, the Suffolk, which in 1860 
made the same run in 70 days. 

The Norfolk was one of the last of the sailing ships 
retained by I^Ioney Wigram when he went in for 
auxiliary steam, but the Suffolk was sold to H. Ellis & 
Son in the early seventies and her new owners stripped 
the yards off her mizen mast. In the eighties she 
became a country ship, but was lost in 1890. 

The Wreck of the "Duncan Dunbar." 

The largest ship of Dunbar's fleet was called after 
her owner. She did not, however, have a very long 
life, as she was wrecked on the Roccas Reef in 1865. 
She left London under Captain Swanson on 8th August 
and Plymouth on 2nd September, 1S05. She struck the 
reef on high water at 8.00 p.m. on 7th October. As soon 
as it was discovered that the ship was hard and fast, 
the passengers and crew were landed on the desolate 
sandspit, whilst Captain Swanson set off to Pernambuco 
for help in a lifeboat. After making 120 miles, he was 
picked up by the American ship Ilayara and dropped 
15 miles from Pernambuco, where he obtained help 
from the Onnda, Royal Mail; and every one on the 
sandspit, in number 116 souls, was safely rescued. 

*'Tyburnia's" Pleasure Cruise. 

One of the grandest looking ships in Somes' fleet 
was the Tijharitia, a well-known trooper in her day. 



TYBURNIA'S CRUISE 265 

This ship had a curious adventure in 1884, which was 
thus reported in the Times. 

In 18S4, the Pleasure Sailing Yacht Company chartered a ship 
named the Tyburnia for a trip to different parts of the world at the rate 
of a guinea a head per day. 

The yacht on arriving at Madeira a fortnight ago was anchored near 
the Loo Eat-tery in the quarantine ground, and was ballasted with goods 
such as cement, etc., which might yield a profit at the various ports 
touched at. Owing to a misunderstanding with the Portuguese 
Custom-house authorities, on account of their system of extortion, 
Captain Kennaley was informed that hi« ship would be seized and 
confiscated, whereupon he told them that when the Portuguese officers 
attempted to board his ship they would be flung into the sea. 

The Military Governor then gave orders to fire upon the yacht when 
she attempted to leave the moorings. Captain Kennaley, who had 
successfully run the American blockade thirteen times, did not fear the 
threat, and being assured of the confidence of his passengers, made sail 
at 8.40 a.m., and getting her head round the fort fired two blank charges. 

As soon as she was underweigh the fort fired at her with ball, carrying 
awaj' some ropes on the bowsprit. The passengers, both ladies and 
gentlemen, declined to go below in spite of the continuous firing from 
the fort, many balls from which dashed the spray over those on board, 
though no loss of life ensued. The British Ensign was dipped as each 
shot went singing by, and the yacht proceeded to Barbados. 

This was the first of Tyburnia' s adventures as a 
yacht, but it was by no means the last. She had 
several well-known people amongst her passengers, 
but her cargo could hardly have been profitable, for 
she had a store of knives, mirrors, and other trifles, 
which would have been quite suitable in the trade room 
of a South Sea islander but were hardly the right thing 
for the West Indies. Indeed, the queerncss of her 
cargo caused her further trouble in New York, where 
she was detained under suspicion of being a smuggler 
or something of the kind. 

The Tyburnia ended her days in Australian hands, 
timber-droghuing until the late eighties, when she went 
to Townsville, Queensland, and was converted into a 
transhipment hulk. 



266 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The Old "Holmsdale." 

One of the best known of the Blackwall frigates 
hi the Australian trade was the old Holmsdale. This 
gallant old ship was launched from J. Reed's yard at 
Sunderland and sailed the seas for just on forty years. 
She measured 1250 tons, 206.8 ft. long, 37.7 ft. beam, 
22.4 ft. depth, with a poop 73 ft. long; one of the 
finest specimens of the wooden passenger ship. 

Her early years were spent in the Indian and China 
trades, when she was owned by Phillipps & Co. In 
the early seventies she was bought by Bilbe, and from 
that date became an Orient liner, her usual voyage 
being out to Adelaide and home from Melbourne. 
Her best known captains were D. Reed and Daniel R. 
Bolt ; her passages, without being anything out of the 
way, were always very regular, one of her best being 
83 days from Melbourne to London in 1874-5. The 
abstract log in the Appendix will give a very good 
idea of her capabilities. She M'as eventually sold by 
the Andersons to the Norwegians and went on the 
missing list in 1897. 

A Cargo of the "Lincolnshire." 

The following cargo of the Lincolnshire may be 
of interest as showing the usual homeward carcro of a 
1000-ton Blackwaller from Australia. 

On 10th November, 18G4, she left Melbourne under 
Captain H. Shimer with 2000 bales of wool, 125 casks of 
tallow, 115 quarter cases of whisky, 30 tons of case goods, 
9800 ounces of gold dust, and 130 passengers. 

She had 141 tons of kentledge and 150 tons of stone 
ballast, levelled with tallow stowed foreward, spirits 
aft and the wool dumped and screwed the whole length 
of the hold. 



LINCELLES AND LADY MELVILLE 267 

She sailed drawing 16 ft. 9 in. forward and 17 ft. 2 in. 
aft and arrived in London on 25th January, 1865, 
drawing 16 ft. 10 in. forward and 16 ft. 9 in. aft. 

This fine ship was sold by Wigram in 1880 and 
wrecked three years later. 

The Coolie Ship "Linceiies." 

At the death of Duncan Dunbar the Moulmein- 
built Linceiies was sold to S. H. Allen, of London, and 
became one of Allen's coolie ships, which transported 
coolies from India to Mauritius. Allen sold her in the 
late eighties to Genoese owners, but the splendid old 
ship did not disappear from the Register until 1906-7. 

The "Lady Melville" and the Great 
Comet of 1861. 

Green's Blaekwall Line only contained four ships 
which had not been built in the Blaekwall Yard or by 
Pile at Sunderland. 

Two of these were the large Boston-built, soft-wood 
ships. Result, of 1565 tons, launched in 1853, and the 
Szviftsure, of 1826 tons, launched in 1854. These 
ships were ordered at the height of the Australian 
boom, and were intended to carry a large number of 
emigrants to Melbourne. 

Some years ago a rumour got about that the Result 
was really the famous American clipper Challenge. 
Another rumour was that she was the prize won by the 
Greens when their CiiaUenger beat the Challenge in a 
specially arranged race home from China. Neither of 
these rumours had any foundation, and the Result, like 
the Szviftsure, had been bought by Green owing to the 
growing demand for large emigrant ships. 

The Result v.as burnt in Hobson's Bay in 1866. 



268 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The Srvifisurs was sold to Newcastle owners and was 
eventually wrecked at Tripola in 1884. 

The third ship belonging to the Greens, which could 
not strictly be called a Blackwall frigate, was the 
Orwell, of 1079 tons, built at Harwich in 185 1. This 
ship was also put in the Australian trade. Her last 
owner was Goodwin of Ardrossan, and she went missing 
in 1873 when on a West Indian voyage. 

The fourth ship was the Lady Melville, of 967 tons, 
built by Haswell, of Sunderland. This ship was 
frigate-built and Greens kept her in their Indian 
service except during the height of the gold boom. 

The Lady Melville was a steady going 11 -knot ship 
with no very fast passages to her credit. I have a copy 
of her 1861 log, when she went from the Scillies to the 
Sandheads in 119 days and came home from Calcutta in 
124 days. 

During her passage home the great comet of 1861 
appeared and the following notices of it in her log may 
be of interest. 

2nd July.— Lat. 27' 14' N., long 43° 40' W. Distance 112 miles 
Wind N.E. light. 10 p.m., a large comet observed stretching across 
two-thirds of the sky, bearing N. by W. J W. 

3rd July.— Lat. 29° 45' N., long. 45° 12' \V. Distance 178 miles. 
Light to fresh N.E. breeze. 8 p.m., comet bearing N. by W. A W 
Altitude 22° 36'. 

4th July.— Lat. 32° 32' N., long. 45' 31' W. Distance 163 miles. 
Moderate N.E. breeze. Fore and mizen royals in. 8 p.m., comet, 
bearing N. by \V. Altitude 32° 2'. 

5th July.— Lat. 34° 10' N., 45° 2' W. Light E.S.E. wind. S p.m., 
comet bearing N. by W. Altitude 40°. 

This was a most remarkable comet; its tail was fan 
shaped with six distinct streamers, the outer of which 
apparently covered 120", and the earth was immersed 
in the material of its wonderful tail to the depth of 




HOLMSDALE." 




VOKKSHIRE." 



Photos, lent by F. G. Layton. 



[To face Page 268, 



LADY MELVILLE 269 

300,000 miles. Its period was reckoned to be 400 
years. 

On 14th July, lat. 45° N., long. 38° 57' VV., with light 
easterly airs and calms, the Lady Melville had 38 sail in 
sight from the deck, and for the next two days her 
midshipmen were kept busy with the signal halliards. 

The Lady Melville was sold by the Greens to King, 
Watson & Co., of Calcutta, and became a country ship. 
The well-known Aga Said Abdul Hoosein, of Moulmein, 
had her during the seventies, and on his death in 1880 
she was sold to the Norwegians. She brought home a 
cargo of teak and on her arrival in Norway was renamed 
Anna. She Avas still afloat in the late eighties, when 
she was converted into a hulk. 

The "Yorkshire's" Madman, 

The illustration of the Yorkshire is one of the 
best photographs of a Blackwall frigate that I have 
ever seen. It tells one more about the ship than any 
word description. In her we see the last development 
of the first-class wooden passenger ship. 

The advertisements of the day were fond of describing 
such ships as clippers; they were by no means clippers 
as far as their ends were concerned, but they had a 
certain amount of dead -rise and sweet enough lines, so 
that they were far from being slow in light and moderate 
winds where they easily had the legs of the later iron 
clippers. 

There have been many cases aboard ship of either a 
passenger or one of the crew going suddenly mad and 
starting a short but exciting reign of terror. Sometimes 
the madman went aloft with an axe and defied capture 
for hours and often days; at other times he ran amok 
qn deck and often ended up by leaping overboard. 



270 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

The Yorl'shire, on one of her passages to Melbourne, 
had a case of this kind. Amongst her crew was a man 
half -Irish, half-Italian, who suffered horribly from 
chronic neuralgia. When in pain, he would sit 
holding his head in both hands and glaring madly 
around. To anyone who approached him he had 
but one remark to make: — "Don't pity me! Don't 
pity me !" In vain the ship's surgeon tried to ease 
his suffering. A day came at last when all the 
passengers were on deck rejoicing in the fine weather. 
Suddenly the neuralgia victim appeared on the 
poop, brandishing a knife in one hand and a Bible in 
the other and with madness in his eye. 

The captain and the surgeon tried their best to coax 
him away from this sacred part of the deck and the 
terrified lady passengers, but to no purpose. The 
madman insisted on delivering a sermon on all the 
Sorrow and pain in the world, and offered to stab all 
and sundry to the heart and so put them out of their 
miser3^ The sermon ended, he discarded the Bible 
and waving his knife over his head, proceeded to dance 
a jig to the further terror of the ladies, who by this time 
were mostly in hysterics. 

The mate, however, succeeded in creeping up behind 
him, while his attention was engaged by the surgeon, 
and dropped a running bowline over his head and 
shoulders. The madman was then confined, and on 
arrival at Melbourne sent to an asylum where he very 
soon died. 

A Tragedy of Sea-sickness. 

Very few passengers on sailing ships failed to 
conquer their sea-sickness after the first few days, 
but there were occasionally one or two unfortunates 



A SHARK STORY 271 

whom neither time nor smooth water could cure of 
this distressing malad^^ 

One such lady passenger on the Yorkshire, after being 
ill through a ninety-day passage, was so weak when the 
ship arrived in Hobson's Bay that she had to be carried 
on deck. Her husband, who happened to be the 
commander of a large steamship in port, came on board 
to greet her and take her ashore, but before they had 
been able to speak a word to each other she fell back in 
his arms in a state of collapse and died, 

A Shark Story. 

One could fill page after page with the sudden and 
extraordinary tragedies of the old shipboard life in 
sailing ship days — of death in so many and ghastly 
ways, and there are few more impressive sights than 
a burial at sea. But there is always one anxiety 
connected Avith a burial at sea which is absent from 
the shore ceremony, and that is that, for some reason 
or other, the body may not sink. Whether the war-like 
32-pounder shot or the more humble fire-bars are used, 
there is always the dread that the weights may break 
adrift and the body bob up instead of sinking. When 
this dread is fulfilled, the superstitious foretell the doom 
of the ship and crew, and back their assertions with 
yarns of bodies following ships with raised and pointing 
arms or with sinister and accusing eyes, that bring 
disaster upon all concerned. 

But the following tragedy which occurred on the 
Yorkshire when north of the line homeward bound 
has a peculiar horror of its own. 

There was a little boy on board, about five years old, 
the child of two of the second cabin passengers. This 
boy was the pet of both passengers and crew. One day 



272 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

he was taken suddenly ill and within forty-eiglit hours 
was dead. This was far from being an occasion for a 
callous sailmaker, who would finish his gruesome job 
by a stitch through the corpse's nose. Instead the 
carpenter went to work and made a small wooden box, 
which he pierced with holes so that the water might get 
in and allow it to sink; and in this box the tiny body 
was placed. 

The burial service was trying enough, with tears in 
every eye, but when at the usual signal the box was 
launched overboard, to the horror of the assembled 
ship's company it refused to sink. 

A large shark had been following the ship from the 
moment the boy had been taken ill, with that uncanny 
knowledge which sharks seem to possess, and, on seeing 
the floating h»ox, it at once swam down upon it. Then 
tearing it open, the brute dragged out the child's body 
and devoured it before the eyes of every one on board. 

The wretched mother, with maddened screams, tried 
her best to jump overboard and share the fate of her 
child's body, but was held back by her trembling 
husband, who was almost as distracted as herself. 
For some time after this the woman was off her head, 
whilst a deep gloom was cast over the ship. 

"Renown" and "Malabar." 

Two fine 1200-ton ships were launched for 
Green's Blackwall Line in May, 1860, the Renown from 
the Blackwall Yard and the Malabar from Pile's Yard 
at Sunderland. 

Renown was mostly in their Australian trade, but 
Malabar was a favourite trooper at one time and in 
1867 came home from the Bay of Bengal to Dover in 
§9 days. The difference in their mea,sui'ements may 



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PASSAGES TO MELBOURNE 



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274 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



be of interest. Renown 1293 tons, 216.6 ft. length, 
37.5 ft. beam, 22.7 ft. depth; Malabar 1219 tons, 
207.2 ft. length. 3G ft. 6 ins. beam. 22.5 ft. depth. 
Malabar was sold to Foley, of London, in 1878; and 
Renown to Bremen owners in 1882, being wrecked a fc^v 
years later. 

Blackwallers of 1861. 

Five very fine frigate-built ships were turned out 
in 1861 and a comparison of their measurements may be 
of interest. 



Ship 


Tons 


Length 


Beam 


Depth 


Remarks 


Highflyer 
Star of India 
True Briton . . 
Middlesex 
St. Lawrence 


1012 
1045 
1046 
1191 
1094 


193.7 

190.4 

198 

203 

180 


35.5 

34.2 

32.4 

36 

37 


20 poop 42 feet 
22.1 
20.8 

22.6 poop 76 feet 
22.5 poop 72 feet 



The Highflyer, though frigate -built, was given 
extra fine lines and put into the tea trade under the 
celebrated Captain Anthony Enright, but she was not 
really fast enough, and after a few passages averaging 
about 130 days from Shanghai she dropped out of the 
competition for the first teas. She was sold to H. 
Ramien, of Elsfleth, in the late seventies and abandoned 
at sea about 1898. 

Star of India after a long career as a first class passenger 
ship in the Indian and Australian trades also went to 
the Norwegians and was abandoned in the X. Atlantic, 
timber laden in 1893. 

True Briton, the last of that historic name, was sold 
about 1880 to W. J. Smith, of London, and ended her 
days as a coal hulk. 

Middlesex was still under Marshall's flag in 1880, 
but in 1884 she was replaced by a fine iron ship of 1742 
tons, built by Barclay, Curie, 




" MALABAR." 




STAR OF INDIA." 



To face Page 274. 



THE ST. LAWRENCE 275 

••St. Lawrence." 

Si. Lazvrence, the last of Smith's fleet, was 
considered the finest and latest thing in wooden passenger 
construction. She had so much rise of floor that 
she required 60 tons of ballast to keep her upright. 
She was very short and beamy when compared to the 
other ships of her year, but was a very fine, sea boat, 
dry and yet easy in her movements. In point of speed 
she was not equal to the later ships of Green and Wigram, 
and but little if anything superior to the Hotspur. 
But she was a beautiful ship in every way, and well 
upheld the reputation of the Biackwall frigates. 

The following extracts from her logs will give a good 
idea of a Blackwaller's work in the last days of the 
Calcutta troop and passenger carrying sailing ships : — 

ST. LAWRENCE— LO'^DOS TO CALCUTTA. 186G. 

14th July. — Hauled out of East India Dock and proceeded to 
Gravesend. 

18th July. — Proceeding down Channel. Moderate W.ly breeze and 
fine. 

23rd July. — N.W.ly airs and fine. Cape Finisterre on port beam. 
More than 50 sail in sight from deck. Lowered jolly-boat and boarded 
Drogheda, from Shields to Alexandria. 

28th July. — N.E. by E. moderate. Madeira abeam. Distance 8 miles. 

21st August. — 16° S., 31° S3' W., run 236. Theatricals in cuddy. 

18th to 27th August. — From 5" 49' S. to 32° 35' S.; runs 230, 235, 
245, 236, 233, 226, 233, 244, 204, and 203. 

18th September.— 40' 39' S., 53" 10' E.; run 275. Fresh gale with 
hard gusts. 

22nd October. — Anchored ofi floating Lightship. 

23rd October. — Pilot came aboard, made sail and stood up. 
(94-day passage.) 

CALCUTTA TO LONDON, 1867. 

18th January. — Hauled out and dropped down to Garden Reach. 

21st. — Dropped pilot, made sail to light S.W.ly breeze. 

11th February.— 24° 5' S.. 3° 14' E.; run 237. Fresh breeze and fine. 
Signalled Winchester off Cape Recife. 1 p.m., Winchester in sight oq 
starboard bow. 



276 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

12th February. — Run 214. Winchester (with right wing of 98th Regt. 
on board spoken (lost 9 children from measles). P.M., Winchester astern. 

13th February. — Run 209. Squally. Winchester half courses 
down astern. 

14th February. — Came to anchor off St. Helena. Winchester 
anchored 8 a.m. next morning. 

16th February. — 1 p.m., hove up, made all plain sail a-nd all stunsails, 
both sides at the main. (Winchester left St. Helena 10 p.m. on loth.) 

28th March.— 1° 47' N., 22° 15' W.; run 21. Calm, constantly 
trimming sail to catspaws. Three sail in sight, one of them Winchester; 
signalled British ship Talavera from Calcutta to London, 72 days out. 

29th March. — Run 29. Light variable airs. Talavera on starboard 
quarter. Winchester right astern. 

5th April.— 13° 28' N., 33° 26' VV., run 188. N.E. by E., fresh and 
pufiy. Sails covered with a fine red sand. 

8th April. — Run 179. N.E.ly fresh. Signalled British ship 
Jehangeer, Foochow to London, 89 days out. 

lOth April. — Run 148. E.N.E. fresh. Jehangeer astern. 

16th April.— Shift of wind from N.N.W. Taken flat aback. Top- 
mast and lower stunsails went to ribbons. Main and mizen topmast 
staysails split. 

20th April. — Lizard distant 700 miles. 

On this passage the St. Lawrence had one wing of the 
98th Regiment and the Winchester the other. The two 
ships left Calcutta together and reached Spithead almost 
simultaneously. 

LONDON TO CALCUTTA, 1867. 

15th July. — Hauled out of East India Docks. 

17th August.— 00° 35' N., 26° 17' W.; run 196. S.E.ly, puffy. 
Signalled Flying Venus, Liverpool to Bombay. 27 days out. 

18th to 23rd August. — Flying Venus in company. 

nth September. — Run 253. Strong and heavy gusts, W.S.W.iy. 
Found 28 ducks and 6 geese drowned. At daylight found part of port 
hammock nettings washed away and several bales of cargo damaged 
from deck leaks 

C.\LCUTTA TO LONDON. 1868. 

1st January. — Pilot left us at Sandheads. 

9th February.- — .\nchored in Table Biy, 40 days out. 

23rd February. — Anchored off St. Ilelena. 

0th April. — Start. N. 45° E. 80 miles. 



THE ST. LAWRENCE ±11 

LONDON TO CALCUTTA, 186S. 

28th July.— Pilot left ship. Start bore N.N.E. Fresh N.W. gale. 
25th August. — Crossed the line in 19° W. 

31st October.— Took tug to Calcutta. The passage was spoilt by 
20 days of calms from 3° N. to Sandheads. 

CALCUTTA TO LONDON, 1339. 

19th February.— Dropped pilot and made sail. 

18th to 21st March.— On edge of cyclone. 

21st March.— 28° 21' S.. S. 2" 12' E., run 288. E. and E.N.E. gale. 

30th May. — 4 p.m., sighted land abeam. 10 p.m., Start light. 

LONDON TO CALCUTTA, 1869. 

27th August. — Cast ofiE and made sail. 
30th August.— Start bore E. f N. 14 miles. 
23rd September. — Crossed the line in 29° 35' W. 
25th November. — Tug took hold. 

27th November. — Made ship fast No. I. Esplanade moorings. 
(89 days. Best run 297.) 

CALCUTTA TO LONDON, 1870. 

21st January. — 8 p.m., cast o2 tug and made all plain sail to a light 
N.E. breeze. 

11th March. — Anchored St. Helena. 

10th May. — Noon, Lizard 18 miles. About 200 sail in sight in- 
cluding Anglesey, Newcastle, Alnwick Castle, Shannon, Middlesex, 
Durham, Alumbagh, Wave of Life, Jerusalem, Maid of Judah and 
Orient. The City of Glasgow and Golden Fleece, v/hich were in company 
north of the line, arrived about three weeks before us, having gone inside 
the Western Isles. 

By the time that the Suez Canal had been opened a 
couple of years, it was perceived by the owners of the 
Blackwall frigates that their days in the Calcutta 
passenger trade were numbered. Messrs. Smith sold 
their ships and went in for steam. 

The St. Lawrence was afloat well into the eighties, 
running between Puget Sound and Sydney with lumber, 
her square ports filled in, and her cabins turned into 
store-rooms. 



278 rHE BLACKVVALL FRIGATES 

"Shannon" and the "Lord Warden." 

In May, 18G2, two 1200-ton ships were again 
launched for Green's Blackwall Line, the Shannon 
from the Blackwall Yard and the Lord Warden from 
Pile's Yard at Sunderland. The Lord Warden was all 
wood, but Shannon had iron beams. Whilst the 
Shannon was being built, Highflyer, on her maiden trip 
to Sydney, put back having lost her rudder. It was 
of the greatest importance that tea ships should get out 
to China in time to load the new teas of the season, so 
there was no time to make a new rudder, and Greens 
solved the difficulty by unshipphig the rudder from 
their new ship and fitting it on Highflyer-, thus High- 
flyer sailed the seas with Shannon^ s rudder on her 
sternpost. 

The Shannon was a smart ship and once did the round 
voyage to Melbourne, including time in port, in 5 
months 27 days. She ran steadily to Melbourne until 
Greens sold her in May, 1883, to J. C. Ellis, of Sydney, 
N.S.W., and as late as 1879 she arrived in Hobson's 
Bay on 12th January, 77 days out from the Downs. 

The Lord Warden started life in the Calcutta passenger 
trade, but was afterwards transferred to Green's 
Melbourne service. She also made some fine passages 
of under 80 days outward, and as late as 1881 she 
arrived out on 3rd October, 79 days from Prawle Point. 

Greens sold her in 1884- to Ossoinak, of Fmme, and 
she foundered four years later. 

An Apprentice's Joke. 

With regard to the Shannon, an amusing fraud 
was perpetrated by some British windjammer apprentices 
in 1887. The Shajinon was taking in a cargo of lumber 
at Vancouver, On Jubilee Day, these young rascals 




• TRUE BRITON.' 
From a Painting by Captain Clayton. 




ST. LAWRENCE.' 



[To face Page 278. 



THE TWO ESSEX'S 279 

spread the report that the old Blackwaller was the 
original Shannon which had fought the Chesapeake; 
the old ship with her ratlier seaworn appearance and 
painted ports looked quite the part to the unsuspecting 
landsmen, and the apprentices were soon busy showing 
a number of people over her. 

Many of these visitors were much impressed and 
showed it by tipping the boys handsomely, whilst one 
of thern remarked sagely that she was the finest specimen 
of a wooden warship he had ever seen. Thus the 
fraud passed off without being detected. In the 
following year the Shannon sprang a leak when bound 
from Newcastle, N.S.W., to Wellington, and putting 
into Papeete was condemned there. 

The two "Essex's." 

The Counties of England have always been 
favourite names for ships, and this has over and again 
caused confusion. Thus both Wigram's and Marshall's 
ships were counties, and in 1862 W'igram launched a 
1000-ton ship at Blackwall which he called the Essex, 
whilst in 1SG3 Marshall launched a 1200-ton Essex 
from his 3'ard at Sunderland. 

Wigram's ship was built of wood throughout, but 
Marshall's ship had iron beams, The latter dis- 
appeared before the eighties, at which date Wigram's 
Essex was owned by C. B. Walker, of Gloucester; she 
afterwards became a coal hulk. 

It was on Wigram's Essex that Commander Crutchley 
made a trip home before the mast in a foc's'le full of 
men holding Board of Trade certificates. This was one 
of the smartest crews a ship ever had, but one which it 
was not wise to mishandle or humbug about. They 
soon taught Commander Crutchley how to spit ^vown 



280 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

and carry on according to "Blackwall fashion"; and 
one of them, who was working his passage home in order 
to buy a ship of his own, afterwards offered Crutchley a 
second mate's job. 

The third mate was unpopular with these experienced 
shellbacks, and they showed it in a most significant 
and disconcerting v/ay — they refused to sing out on a 
rope and hauled in silence; at last Captain Attwood, a 
Blackwaller of the old style, who had the dignity of his 
officers at heart, was obliged to interfere and caution 
his officer to show more tact with his croAvd. 

I remember reading of one other case of such a crew. 
This lot were in an Aberdeen barque, and made 
a practice of bringing their sextants on deck before 
8 bells and shooting the sun, to the astonishment and 
scandalisation of their officers. 

Captain Attwood had a chief officer who was extremely 
popular with all hands, but who was of an unusual type 
even for a Blackwaller, for he carried his own valet with 
him. This, however, must have had its effect on 
the tone of the ship, which was noted for that "grand 
manner " peculiar to these aristocrats of the sea. 

*' The Last of the Dunbars.'* 

The Dunbar Castle was ordered just before 
Duncan Dunbar died, and was one of his ships acquired 
by Devitt & Moore, who put her into the Sydney trade, 
where she was always knoM'n as the " Last of the Dunbars." 
Her best known commander was David B. Carvosso, a 
martinet of the old style, a splendid seaman and one of 
the most successful shipmasters in the Australian trade. 
Many queer things happen at sea, but few of them 
have surpassed the women's mutmy on the Dunbar 
Castle for quaintncss. She was taking out emigrants to 



THE DUNBAR CASTLE MUTINY 281 

Sydney, consisting of 10 married couples and 9C single 
girls. One evening towards the end of the second 
dog watch a tremendous hullaballoo broke out below, 
and the girls' matron presently came chasing up on 
deck in a state of pan ic ; she was followed a few moments 
later by the ship's medico, a nervous little man who 
narrowly escaped having al! the clothes torn off him. 

Captain Carvosso was then compelled to take a hand. 
At the foot of the hatchway he was met by a strapping 
North-Country girl, who, stripped to the waist and with 
fists clenched, stood like a boxer ready for battle. But 
the little captain had an impressive personality, and 
with his reef-topsail voice soon succeeded in silencing 
the furious mob of women 

"What the devil next?" he roared. It was his pet 
expression, and when they heard it, those who knew 
him prepared to stand from under. He threatened 
to turn the hose on the girls unless they went to 
their bunks at once, and knowing only too well that 
he would be as good as his word they quieted down 
and this women's mutiny was quelled. 

This story is told by Captain W. G. Browning in the 
Nautical Magazine. He also states that the Dunbar 
Castle was one of the last ships to carry a single topsail. 
The Dunbar Castle was converted to a barque in 18S0, 
and a few years later was sold to Bremen owners, who 
renamed her Singapore; she belonged to Rostock in 
1900, but about 1901 was converted into a coal hulk. 

Devitt & Moore's '*Parramatta." 

The fastest of all the Blackwall frigates, with the 
exception of The Tweed, which was in a class by herself, 
was probably the splendid old Parramaiia. She 
was also one of the largest, measuring 1521 tons, 231 ft. 



282 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

length, SS.2 ft. beam and 22.8 ft. depth. She had the 
usual passenger ship's length of poop, but in her case it 
was so low that it was called a raised quarter-deck, and 
it extended as far forward as the mainmast. 

Under Captain J. Swanson, who had her until 1874, 
and Captain Goddard, who commanded her for the rest 
of her existence under the British flag, she was a very 
favourite passenger ship to Australia and the La 
Jlogue's great rival in the Sydney trade. 

She usually left London about the beginning of 
September, calling at Plymouth for her passengers, and 
was seldom much over the 80 days to Port Jackson. 

In her earlier days, before she took to coming home 
round the Cape and calling at St. Helena, which was 
by far the most popular route with passengers, she 
made some very fine homeward passages round the 
Horn. 

In 1876 she left Sydney on 1st February, and arrived 
home 79 davs out. This fine passage she equalled in 
1879, when she left Sydney on 5th February and arrived 
at Plymouth on 26th April, only 21 days from the 
equator, 

Farramatta was sold to J. Simonsen in 1888, and was 
still afloat ten years later under Norwegian colours. 

The Iron Blackwaller "Superb." 

Dicky Green was a lover of teak and Bvitish oak, 
and would have nothing to do with such a material 
as iron in shipbuilding, and until his death in 1863 
there was no chance of the Blackwall Yard building an 
iron ship; but his death removed all opposition, 
and the firm were not long before they laid down their 
first iron ship. 

This was the Superb, launched in 1SG6, and for many 




" ALUMBAGH." 



,ir 



..;irO=*r'T 



.^:*3r.-=i- 




" ESSEX." 



Fhoio lent by F. 'V. Layton 



[ To face Page 282. 



THE SUPERB 283 

years a favourite passenger ship to Melbourne. Siie 
usually sailed from Gravesend at the beginning of the 
summer and left Melbourne homeward bound at the end 
of the year. 

She measured 1451 tons, 230.3 ft. length, 37.9 ft. 
beam, 23.1 ft. depth, with a poop 77 feet long and 
foc's'le 45 ft. long. Superb had a number of fine 
passages to her credit, one of the last of which was 74 
days to Melbourne in 1886. In 1881 she arrived 76 
days out, and in 1878 79 days out. In 1883 instead 
of coming home as usual from Melbourne, she crossed 
to Frisco from Newcastle, N.S.W., in 51 days; and 
leaving Frisco on 7th December arrived Queenstown 
20th April, 134 days out. 

A Passenger's Log. 

I have a passenger's log, kept on the Superb, on 
the passage home round the Horn from Melbourne in 
1882. She was then commanded by Captain Berridge, 
who had his wife aboard; there were 12 first-class 
passengers and a ship's company of 55, including 4 mates, 
9 midshipmen, 3 quartermasters, usual petty officers, 
engineer, 24 A.B.'s, 3 O.S.'s, and 5 boys. A few 
extracts from this log may be of interest. The writer 
was a young Australian making his first visit home; 
his log is very neatly written in a copper-plate hand 
and embellished with the ship's house-flag, commercial 
code and national flags in colours. 

141h September. 1882. — Left Sandridge Railway Pier at 4 o'clock 
and anchored in the Bay. Ship drawing 20 feet forward, 22^ feet aft. 

16th September. — When I awoke this morning we were in tow for 
sea by the WilHa7}is. Passed through Port PhiUip Heads at 12 o'clock 
noon. The pilot left shortly after we had gone through the Rip. 
Scarcely any wind. One passenger sick already. 

17th September. — Wind N.W. fresh. Ship rolling very much, so 
much so that it was quite impossible to get any sleep. 



284 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

ISth September. — Fresh gale from S.W. with high sea. Sails set — 
Inner and outer jibs, foresail and fore topsails, main topsails and top- 
gallant sail, mizen topsails and main topgallant staysail. Ship taking 
in a lot of water. Heavy squalls accompanied with rain. 

19th September.— Lat. 45' 19' S., long. 147° 31' E. Distance 204 
miles. A little music, principally selections from " Billee Taylor " 
and " Carmen." Took in staysail and set mainroyal. 

2Ist September. — One of the passengers caught a large mollyhawt 
with a piece of string. A piece of stick is attached to the end of the 
string which is coloured and allowed to hang over the stern, the bird 
does not notice it and, diving under it, gets its wings entangled. Very 
fme on deck though exceedingly cold. 

23rd September. — A terrible day and as bad a night. Captain says 
he never saw such big seas. Wind blowing a gale with furious squalls. 
Ship taking in water over all parts. On main deck it is on a level with 
mam hatch. About 10 o'clock a great sea came up astern and went 
clean over the poop ; at same time the ship's head went into anothdr 
big one, flooding the foc's'le, smashing the cuddy in several places and 
washing some buckets overboard. Hen coops with contents all floating 
and sliding about the poop. On main deck seamen's chests, clothing 
and boots washing about. One of the sailors whilst asleep in a top 
bunk was washed out and struck his head on one of the beams, 
giving it a frightful gash. The quartermaster was washed under the 
wheel and hurt his back. It would not have been so bad for him if he 
had let go, but he hung on to his post and wrenched his back. He had 
to be carried forward. All the men and midshipmen got washed out. 
Lat. 48° 47' S., long. 167° 42' E. Distance 235 miles. Barometer 29.89. 

24th September. — Anotlier awful day with furious squalls every 
twenty minutes. Plenty of spra5'S and small seas on the poop. Ship 
rolling 60° at times. No church but short service of sacred songs in thi 
evening. We are running under fore, main ^nd mizen lower topsails. 
The seas are terrible. I don't like looking at them at all. Lat. 47° 37' 
S., long. 173° 38' E. Distance 247 miles. Barometer 29 34. 

27th September. — Antipodes Day. No wind and smooth sea. 

28th September. — We are to have a grand concert in the saloon on 
Friday, so to-day there are a few rehearsals, such harmony, especially 
of the quartette. It mustn't be mentioned though I wish they would 
go somewhere else to prac .ise, the voices are all like lions, but a nearer 
comparison is like carroi grating. 

30th September. — Horrible noise in the mate's cabin, through this 
being his birthday, and like all civilised people, he is " keeping it up." 

2nd October. — The grand concert came off at 7.30 p.m. The 
finest song was a duet. " 1 would that a single word," by Mrs. Berridgs 
and Mr. Kowe. 



A PASSENGER'S LOG 285 

3rd October. — A splendid day : sea quite calm : wind comes in 
catspaws, sails flapping very much. P.M., a game of cricket was 
played on the main deck. A whale came right up under the stern to 
b]ov>'— a beautiful sight. Lat. 48° 02' S., long. 153° 42' W. Distance 
35 miles. 

6tb October. — ^ly berth companion, Paterson, had an apoplectic fit 
to-day. 

9th October. — Whilst sawing wood for a shelf in my cabin, in the 
lazarette, the chief steward chalked me, putting two crosses on each 
boot. I saw it coming and tried to get away but the way was barred 
by the other stewards. It cost me three shillings. 

11th October. — Miserable wet day with little or no wind. After 
tea, gambling was carried on in shape of half-penny points at vingt-et-un. 

21st October. — The mate caught a lot of Cape pigeons and one Cape 
dove to-da}': he let them go again, but tied red bunting round the necks 
of three, who were chased about by scores of their brethren. The lead 
was cast at 7 p.m. and found mud at 65 fathoms. Lat. 53° 40' S., long. 
72° 32' W. (dead reckoning). Distance 8S miles. 

22nd October. — We were abreast of Diego Ramirez Islands at 
quarter-past three. W'e were off Cape Horn at half-past seven within 
15 miles. Sighted two barques outward bound. A school of porpoises 
passed us and the hands tried to harpoon them at the bows. We also 
saw a bird called a " Cape Horn bird," a very pretty one. only to be seen 
oft the Horn. 

23rd October. — 8 am., land on port beam with snow capped 
mountains. 

24th October. — Passed over 100 albatross resting on the water. 
Wind rising, going along about 8 knots ; mizen royal taken in. 

25th October. — Squally with snow and hail. 5 p.m., squalls got 
furious, and we had to run off before them for some time. Middle 
staysail sheet gave way and sail ripped clean up. Three men at the 
wheel. 

27th October. — Wind S.W. Reefs shaken out ship rolling and 
lurching violently at times. Heaviest roll 38°. 

30th October. — Royals taken in and mamsail reefed. I caught a 
whale-bird to-day. 

5th November.— Lat. 33° 37' S., long. 34° 38' W. Distance 135 
miles. Course N. 24 E. Sea smooth, only a hght air, awfully hot on 
deck and terribly close in the cabins. Caught an albatross weighing 
14 lbs., measuring 9 ft. 8^ in. from wing tip to wing tip and 4 ft. 6 in. 
from bill to end of tail. 

8th November. — I was up at G o'clock. After having some coffee — 
so it is called, but I don't know why! — I assisted to scrub the poop down. 
Wind shifted ahead with hard squalls and heavy rain ; reduced sa.''- I 



28(5 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

was at the lee wheel for an hour to-night, and as the ship kicked 
dreadfully it was long enough. Sighted three sperm whales; about 
half-past eight the}' were right under our stern. Two of them blew 
at distance of 10 yards from the stern. Chief officer calculated that 
they were 60 feet long. All the birds have left us except four little 
petrels, but a sand-martin followed the ship for three hours this morning. 
Lat. 31° 26'S., long. 30° 4rW. Course N. 67 E. Distance 57 miles. 

10th November. — Wind S.E. just enough to fill the sails. We 
played cricket on the main deck, lost a few balls, and split a bat. 

12th November. — A fiying fish, 7 inches long, flew aboard and 
smashed itself all to pieces. The darkness of the night was so great 
it was impossible to see the mainyard from break of the poop. Kept 
blowing the horn all night. Divine service held in the saloon. 

14th November. — Remained on deck till 12 when I saw the comet 
rise in the S.S.E. In a short time it was nearly overhead. Its tail 
covered one-third of the sky. Its head was very bright and nucleus 
quite plain. 

15th November. — Signalled full-rigged ship Sierra Morena, of 
Liverpool, 45 days out from Southend to Corque, Patagonia, came up 
on our starboard quarter only a quarter of a mile off. 

16th November. — 8 p.m., heavy squall struck us and we luffed for 
a few minutes. The darkness was like a thick inky fog. Just as the 
darkness was lifting, a large ship, half as big again as us, came right on 
to us : she was reported bv the man on the lookout when about 200 yards 
right ahead. Immediately she saw our lights, she put her helm up ; 
she had all sail set and stood away to the southard. Everyone got a 
terrible fright. Lat. 16' 68' S., long. 31° 52' W. Distance 118 miles. 

17th November. — Passed an American whaler about noon under 
lower topsails. Two of her boats were after a large whale which we 
saw several times. Concert held in the saloon to-night — very poor indeed. 

23rd November. — Played against Rowe and Eden in quoit tourna- 
ment with captain as my partner. We won the heat which made our 
opponents awfully wild. Passed a large homeward bound two-masted 
steamer, square-rigged, funnel painted blue with white stripe under 
black top. Signalled her but she declined to answer. 

25th November. — Messrs. Jones, Mann, and Stephens formed 
themselves into a negro group and gave us a lew comic songs, proceeds 
going to Merchant Seamen's Orphan Asylum bo.-^. I began to make 
a small model of the ship. 

26th November. — Passed the barque Tchernaya, 1222 tons, of 
Calcutta, bound from Severndrog to New York, 88 days out, with lower 
stunsails set. 

27th November. — At 9.18 p.m. by lunar observations we were 
exactly 1 mile south of the line. Long. ST 15' W 




" SUPERB." 




PARRAMATTA." 



[To face Page 286. 



A PASSENGER'S LOG 287 

1st December. — Entered my name for draught tournament. Lots 
of bonita about and seamen fishing for them from the boom. 

3rd December. — Strong N.E. breeze and high sea. At quarter to 
seven a big sea came over the break of the poop, wetting some of the 
passengers. I managed to get out of the water bnt was caught hold of 
by Elkington, who was shding down to the lee poop. I tried to save 
myself by holding on to the skylight, which caused him to jerk the sleeve 
out of my coat. 

6th December. — Saw the transit of Venus to-day through coloured 
glasses. 

13th December.— Lat. 31' 15' N., long. 37" 38' W. Distance 29 
miles. Course N. 7 W. A dolphin passed us, also three whales. 
Plenty of gulfweed about and we managed to get a lot of it. 

16th December. — Great talk and betting as to the day of our arrival. 
Fresh N.W. breeze, ship going along beautifully. 

17th December. — Abreast of Flores this morning. 

25th December. — At 12.30 at night made Lizard lighthouse. 

27th December. — 11 a.m., pilot came aboard oif Dungeness. 
Engaged tug Universe, of London, for £50, to pick us up further on as we 
could sail faster than he could tow. 3.30, tug took hold. All square sails 
stowed away with a "harbour stow." Packing up has begun with a 
vengeance. 

I have quoted this passenger's log rather fully, as it 
gives a good idea of how sea life has changed from the 
passenger's point of view. How much more of an 
adventure was this man's passage from Australia than 
the present day run in a palatial Orient liner ! How 
far more interesting to the naturalist and to the 
meteorologist ! How far more health-giving to the 
invalid ! 

The Salving of the " Superb." 

The following account from a shipping paper 
describes the last days of the Superb : — 

The sailer Superb, of London, has had quite a curious experience 
since passing out of the control of her original owners. It is said that 
she ran away with her scanty crew on the first outward passage after 
tlie sale and had to return for more men. 

Under the Norwegian flag, bound to Europe with manganese ore, 
she wai dismasted and left to her fate on 27th April, 19u0. The 



288 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

crew were brought to England by the British barque Seafarer. Eleven 
days later the derelict was fallen in with by the British ship Senator, 
bound from British Columbia to Liverpool, when in 36° N., 32" W. 
Mr. John H. Wilson, chief officer of the Senator, son of a Liverpool pilot, 
volunteered to attempt salvage of the Superb with the aid of five men 
from the Senator. Sails and provisions were put on board the prize, 
the ships parted compan}', and the first news of the undertaking reached 
England with the Senator. 

On 27th May the Superb was spoken by the steamer Biicsros, 
struggling bravely along, in 36° N., 20" W., and on 14th June the 
Union liner Galeka reported her as in 38° 20' N., 12" 44' W. She got 
within 70 miles of Cape Trafalgar and then accepted ordinary towage 
services of the Spanish steamer Julio, to bring her for £100 to Gibraltar, 
where she was safely brought to anchor on 22nd June. Mr. Wilson is 
but 24 years old, served his apprenticeship with W. Thomas & Co. and 
has since sailed out of Liverpool. 

At Gib the old Superb was converted into a coal hulk, 
and was broken up a year later. 

The " Carlisle Castle." 

The second iron ship built in the Blackwall Yard 
was the Carlisle Castle, measuring 1458 tons, 229.8 ft. 
length, 37.8 ft. beam and 22.8 ft. depth. She also liad a 
frigate-like appearance and in no \v'ay resembled the 
Clyde-built iron clippers, which about this time were 
developing into a splendid type of their own. 

The Carlisle Castle was very heavily rigged, crossing 
three skysail yards; and had a double set of stunsails, 
including storm lower stunsails for running easting 
down. She also had a yard half way down the main 
topgallant sail, to which the sail was laced, so that she 
could run under half the topgallant sail if required. 
She was a fine steady-going ship and rarely ran over 
300 miles in the 2-i hours, being very wet if heavily 
pressed. 

Her best passages were 80 days, Lizards to Melbourne 
in 1877, and 8G| days from Port Phillip Heads to East 
India Dock on her homeward run. 



THE CARLISLE CASTLE 289 

On the passage out Carlisle Castle sank the Lizards 
on 11th July, 1877, the same day that Loch Garry left 
Queenstown, and the two ships were in company till 
the '22nd. 

On the homeward passage Carlisle Castle was amongst 
the wool fleet, having been dry -docked and otherwise 
carefully prepared for the race home. She passed 
through Port Phillip Heads at 7 a.m. on 23rd 
November, 1877, rounded the Horn with skysails, 
topmast and lower stunsails set on 20th December, 
Mermerus, Miltiades and Salamis being in company, 
crossed the equator 21st January, 1878. Sighted the 
Bishops at 2 a.m. on 16th February, and docked on 
the 18th. 

The result of the race between the four vessels was 
as follows : — 

Miltiades left Melbourne Nov. 18 arrived London Feb. 21 — D7 days 

Carlisle Castle „ „ „ 23 ,. „ ., lii— 87 ,. 

Salamis „ „ „ 24 „ „ ,. 19— S7 „ 

Mermerus „ „ „ 24 ., ,, „ 12 — 80 „ 

Carlisle CastWs best run was 270 miles, but she never 
had a really good chance. In the spring of 1880 she 
went out to Melbourne from the Lizards in 74 days. 

Green's sold her in the nineties, and soon afterwards 
she was wrecked with all hands on the West Coast of 
Australia. 

The P. & O. Oceana, Captain L. H. Crawford, C.B., 
passed under her stern when it was noticed that she was 
carrying a very heavy press of sail for a vessel on a lee 
shore with heavy weather coming on, and she was 
never seen again. Some wreckage was afterwards 
picked up which identified her, but none of the crew 
escaped and she probably struck and went down with 
all hands that night, 12th July, 1899. 



290 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

"Macquarie " (ex -" Melbourne ") , the last of 
the Blackwallers. 

The last of Green's Blackwall Line of sailing 
ships was the Melbourne, better known as the Macquarie, 
to which her name was changed when Devitt & iMoore 
bought her and transferred her from the Melbourne to 
the Sydney run. 

The success of their two previous iron ships, the 
Superb and Carlisle Castle, made Messrs. Green decide 
to build the very finest iron passenger sailing ship in 
their power : and the result was called the Melbourne. 
She was undoubtedly one of the strongest merchant 
ships ever launched, for she was built from the surplus 
plates of a man-of-war which happened to be under 
construction in the Blackwall Yard at the same time. 

The Melbourne measured 1857 tons, 269.8 ft. long, 
40.1 ft. beam, 23.7 ft. depth with a 42 ft. foc's'le and 
69 ft. poop. Her cabins were larger than those of any 
earlier passenger ship, at the same time they were 
completely furnished. Like all the Blackwall ships, 
where the comfort of passengers was the first consider- 
ation, the Melbourne was more noted for freedom from 
accident and dry decks than for record passages, yet she 
was driven hard with good results on many occasions. 
She had a beautifully carved figurehead of Queen 
Victoria, was launched in June, 1875, and when ready 
for sea cost £42,000. 

On her maiden voyage the Melbourne left the East 
India Docks, drawing 19 ft. 11 in. forward and 20 ft. 2 in 
aft in tow of the tugs Prince and Eienzi on Monday, 
16th August, 1875. 

She was commanded by Captain Marsden, her com- 
plement included 4 officers and 6 midshipmen and she 
had a full passenger list. 




MELBOURNE" (AFTERWARDS " :MAC0UARIE ") 




CARLISLE CASTLE.' 



[To face Page 290. 



THE MELBOURNE 291 

The new ship was swung at Greenhithe for compass 
adjustment and then proceeded. 

The passage down Channel was slow, she was oM the 
Start in company with the well-known iron clipper 
Duntrune, bound to Sydney, on 22nd August. She had 
very light winds to the trades. The South Australian 
clipper St. Vincent was in company on 1st September in 
45° 51' N., 10° 47' W., also on the 8th, 14th and 15th. 
On 16th September in 161° N., 26° 17' W., the wind 
hauled from east to S.E. and began to freshen with 
threatening appearance of weather. The flying jib, 
royals and topgallant staysails were taken in, and the 
crossjack and driver furled, and the men were laying 
forward to clew up the fore topgallant sail, when the 
fore topmast went by the cap, taking the main topgallant 
mast with it. All night the hands were employed 
clearing away the wreck: at 7 a.m. on 17th they were 
piped down for two hours, then at it they went again. 
At 6 p.m. on the 17th the barque I thuriel, of Swansea, 
was supplied with a cask of pork. 

18th September the stump of the fore topmast was 
sent down, the carpenter being at work on a new fore 
topmast; the ship running before a moderate trade 
under courses, lower fore topsail, jib and main and 
mizen topsails. 

The new fore topmast was fidded on the 20th and the 
new main topgallant mast sent up on the 2ith. On 
the following day the upper main topgallant yard was 
crossed and both topgallant sails set. 

On 28th September the Melbourne crossed the line 
in 2G° 3' W., 87 days out from the Start. 

On 23rd October the Melbourne made her best ran, 
286 miles, in 43° 43' S., 24° 23' E., a hard westerly gale 
blowing with terrific squalls and heavy sea. 



292 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

On 4th, 5th and 6th November, the ss. Northumberland 
was in company, on 4th on starboard quarter, 5th 
starboard beam and 6th starboard bow, the wind 
moderate from west to N.W. and the Melbourne's runs 
for those days 239, 238 and 208, from 78' 51' E. to 95^ 20' 
E. in lat. 43° 50' S. 

16th November at 2 p.m. the Melbourne was off the 
Heads and at 7 p.m. she anchored in Hobson's Bay, 
84 days out, her passage being spoilt by the dismasting 
and poor run to the line. 

On 8th January, 1876, the Melbourne passed through 
the Heads, homeward bound. Her best run 292 miles 
was made in 50° 58' S., 125° 55' W. before a stroncrN.^y. 
wind on 29th January. On 10th February at 4 a.m. 
she passed outside the Diego Ramirez, 33 days out. 
Fernando de Noronha was sighted on 10th March and 
the equator crossed on the 12th. 

On 18th April the little Si. Viiicent was met in the 
mouth of the Channel, homeward bound from Adelaide. 
The two ships had seen each other last on 15th September 
when both were outward bound. 

On 19th April the Melbourne passed the Start, and 
at 9 p.m. on 20th took steam, arriving in the East India 
Docks on 22nd April, 104 days out. 

The Nautical Magazine gave an account of the 
Melbourne's second passage to Melbourne, which was 
as follows: — 

The Melbourne left the East India Docks on 10th June, 1876, and 
Gravesend on 12th June, the pilot leaving her off the Start at 6 p.m. on 
15th June and a departure irom the land being taken on the following 
day. Ordinary winds and weather prevailed to the tropics, which were 
entered on 2nd July, and after a tedious drag through the N.E. trades 
which were exceedingly light, the equator was crossed at midnight on 
l4th July in long. SC 30' W. The tropics were quitted on 24;th July 
and so little easting was there in the S.E. trades, that the ship had to 
tack three times before clearing the South American coast. 



THE MELBOURNE 293 

The meridian of Cape Agulhas was crossed oa 10th August, and 
after that the ship had it all her own way, strong fair winds prevaihng. 
In running down the easting she sailed 5129 miles in 17 consecutive daj'S 
or an average of about 300 miles a day, the best runs being 374, 365 and 
352 miles a day. Cape Otivay light was sighted at 3 a.m. on Thursday, 
31st August, and the Heads were entered at 11.30 a.m. and but for the 
bad northerly wind which headed her coming up the bay she would have 
reached the anchorage on the evening of the same day. She was taken 
alongside the Sandridge railway pier to discharge her cargo on 1st 
September. 

The three 24 -hour runs mentioned are very big runs 
for a vessel o? the Melbourne's speed, and I should 
have considered them beyond Iier capabilities, if 
this newspaper account had not been taken, as was 
usual with Australian reporters, straight from her 
log book. 

The Melbourne sailed regularly to 3Ielbourne until 
1887, during which time her outward passages averaged 
82 days. She was then bouglit by Devitt & Moore to 
replace their Sydney passenger ship, the old Parramatia, 
whose commander, Captain Goddard, transferred to the 
Melbourne and took her out to Sydney with 50 passengers. 
She arrived in Port Jackson on the 27th December, 
1887, for the first time, 94 daj'^s out from London; and 
henceforward she sailed as regularly to Sydney as she 
had done to IMelbourne. 

In 1888, when she was about to sail on her second 
voyage to Sydney, Messrs. Devitt & Moore changed her 
name to Macquaric. 

In 1897 she succeeded the Harbinger as one of Devitt 
& Moore's cadet ships and Captain Corner received the 
command. In 1903, after six successful voyages as a 
cadet ship, her owners, to their subsequent regret, 
sold her to the Norwegians, who renamed her Forturuiy 
and stripped the yards off her mizen mast. Her 
first passage under the new flag was from Frederickstadt to 



294 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Melbourne, where she arrived on the 13th January, 1906, 
after an absence of more than nineteen years. 

After running her for five or six years, the Norwegians 
sold the staunch old ship to Messrs. Lund, who moored 
her in an Australian port as a store hulk. 

The grand old Macquarie was perhaps the best known 
of all the Blackwall frigates to the present generation, 
for magnificent photographs of her under sail were very 
common not many years ago in every marine optician's 
shop window. These photographs were taken by 
Captain Corner and reproduced by Messrs. Hughes, of 
Fenchurch Street, and they not only show one the beauty 
of the old sailing ship, but at the same time they clearly 
indicate the majestic appearance of the old Blackwall 
frigates. 

Yet a photograph can tell one very little, and the 
world will never again know the exhilaration of watching 
a Blackwaller under sail, bowing in stately fashion to 
the short Channel seas as she surges along, the sprays 
flying over her foc's'le, the wind making music in her 
rigging and a white bone of foam spread on either side of 
her cutwater. 

Imagination can only carry us a little way ; it cannot 
put the whole picture together from the few striking 
pieces in its possession, such as the sheen of wet wood 
in the sun, the creamy iridescent sparkle of the foam to 
leeward and the swirling wake, the lights and shades 
and shadows on the sails, the curves and lines of standing 
and running rigging, the varnish of blocks and paint of 
spars and such bright patches of colour as the transparent 
green of the curling sea, the yellow glint of copper 
against the bow wave, the flash of gaudy bunting and 
the red jackets of troops dotting along the snow-white 
hammock nettings. 



FINIS 295 

The modern eye has no knowledge of this vanished 
wonder of sea life except from pictures. Nor can the 
modern ear vibrate with the thunder under the forefoot; 
the sharp flogging clap of shaking canvas; the hiss of 
the surges and the suck and gushing through clanging 
deck-ports and gurgling scuppers; the rattle of sprays, 
like small shot on the deck; the singing of the shrouds 
and the whining hum of the backstays; nor yet with 
all the groans and creaks and cries of the wooden ship 
in a seaway. 

The old Blackwall frigate has followed Nelson's 
wooden walls into the mists of the past. The lithograph 
and the faded photograph, the sea stained log-book, and 
the letters of a few dead and gone shellbacks — letters 
with a foreign aroma and world-wide postmarks — are 
all that remain to us of a period which no sailor can 
think of except with a sigh of regret and a hope that, in 
the Port of Kingdom Come, he will find 

" . . . . riding in the anchorage the ships of all the world. 
Having got one anchor down 'n' all sails furled." 

Finis. 



APPENDIX 



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304 THE BLACKWALI. FRIGATES 

APPENDIX II. 



OLD STATION LISTS. 



(1) Watch List, 1S5S. 
Port. 

1 boatswain's mate 

3 able and 1 ordinary)^ 

seamen j 

2 able and 1 ordinary) 

seamen / 

2 able seamen 

4 able seamen -v 
2 ordinary seamen 

1 boy J 

Midshipmen of the 



forecastle men 

foretop men 
maintop men 

after- guard 



watch and 1 boy/ mizentop men 



Starboard. 

1 boatswain's mate 

t 3 able and 1 ordinary 
\ seamen 

/ 2 able and 1 ordinary 
^^ seamen 

2 able seamen 
,-4 able seamen 

, 2 ordinary seamen 
U boy 

I midshipmen of the 
\ watch and 1 boy 



Fore topsail yard men 



(2) Stations for Resflng Topsails and Shortening Sail. 

On the Forecastle. 

Second Officer and Boatsxvain. 

Boatswain's mate of the starboard watch. 
Forecastle men of both watches. 
Foretop men of both watches. 
Sailmaker. 

Carpenter and his mate to the fore topsail 
hallyards. 

In the M.mntop. 
Third Officer. 

'' Boatswain's mate oj the port watch. 
Maintop men of both watches 
.'Vfter-guard of both watches. 
Two quartermaszers. 

^ Baker and butcher to main topsail halyards 

In the Mizentop. 

Fourth Officer. 

f All the midshipmen and boys of both 
(_ watches. 



Main topsail yard men 



Mizen topsail yard men 



(3) Stations for Man overboard. 

Volunteers 



for Boat s Crew. 



All others 



If on a wind, to their stations for working ship 
If running, to their stations for shortening sail 



APPENDIX 



305 



(4) Signals to Boats. 

In the daytime 
1st distinguishing pen- "\ 



dant 



2nd distinguishing pen- '^ 
dant J 

Rendezvous flag 
Blue Peter 



pull more to 
starboard 

pull more to 
port 



/ 



Whiff 



J 



At night 

-' 2 lights vertical at peak 

2 lights horizontal at 
peak. 

.,, . J .u u- r 1 lii^ht forward, and 1 

pull towards the ship ! '^ .. 

give way as you head 

r 2 blue lights fired to- 

hip '. gether — 1 from for- 

^ ward, 1 from aft. 



return to the si 



Forecastle men of the weather 
watch 



Foretop men of the lee watch 



Foretop men of the weather 
watch 



(5) Stations for Working Ship. 

On the Forecastle. 
Second Officer and Boats'ii<ain. 

r Let go headsheets. 
, , , . u Brace mainyard round. 

Forecastle men of the lee watch . ^^^^^ foretack. 

[ Pull forelift up. 

Let go breast backstays. 

Overhaul foretack. 

Haul over headsheets. 

Board foretack. 

Set up breast backstays. 
C Raise lee fore clue-garnet. 

Haul forward maintop bowline, and 
brace round mainyard . 

Brace round fore topgallant and 
I royal yards. 

j Raise weather fore clue-garnet. 
Let go mainbrace and bowline. 
I Haul aft foresheet. 

In the Waist. 
Third Officer. 
Boatswain's mate of the star- '\ 
board watch [ 

Sailmaker, baker, carpenter and j 



Work maintack and foresheet. 
aa I 

mate, butcher and mate 

On the Qu.\rter-deck. 
Fourth Officer. 



Maintop men of both watches 
One of the lee watch 
Boatswain's mate of port watch 

After-guard of both watches 



Haul aft mainsheet and brace 

round forej'ard. 
Letting go mainsheet. 
Check headbraces, and attend 

main topsail brace. 
Raise main clue-garnets. 
Brace round main topsail yard. 
Brace roiii'i forevard- 



306 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

After-guard of lee watch Pull up mainlift. 

After-guard of weather watch Set up breast backstays. 

Two midshipmen work the poop, boom topping lift and main topgallant 
braces. 

, Brace round cross] ack yard. 
All other midshipmen and boys J. Take in slack of breast backstays. 

I Brace round fore topsail yard. 
One boy of lee watch Overhaul mainsheet 

(6) Stations for Quarters, 1858. 

To command, captain; A.D.C.'s, two midshipmen. 

On quarter-deck, first officer; To work guns, second officer. 

1st gun and opposite. 
(Carronade) 

Boatswain's mate 




HANDSPIKE 

A.B. 



- o.s. -* 

•^ HANDSPIKE 



6 ^==^5 



SPONGE 

One boy Serve cartridge 

2nd gun and opposite. 
(Long gun). 

Boatswain. 

N9 /\ N? 

A.B. 2 c^r^==^? I A.B. 

Match ^ y j ' Vent 



O.S. 4'4==j='3 o.s. 

^Handspike \ / handspik* 



A.B. " J—\ o A.B 

SPOJ^GE i^=L.-3 LOAD 



ONE BOY Serve cartridge 




APPENDIX 807 

3rd gun and opposite 

(Carronade). 

Boatswain's mate. 



A.B. ^2,^-7 A.B. 

A.B. . L_-J -a A.B 
■Handspike ^ i i "-* Handspike 



O.S. 6 4==4 5 O.S 




^•S: „ LJ 7 A.B. 

SPONGE ° I I ' LOAD, 

ONE Boy Serve car,tridce 

iV.B. — Boys to stand on the side of the deck opposite to that engaged. 

In the magazine To hand up cartridges At the wheel 

The steward The cuddy servants 2 quartermasters. 

Sail trimmers and boarders, 1st Division, to muster on quarter-deck 
with cutlasses and pikes. 

Third ofl&cer. 
Saiimaker. 

1 quartermaster. 
8 A.B.'S 

2 O.S.'s 

Baker, butcher, and mate. 

Small-arm party to muster on the poop with muskets and bayonets. 
Fourth officer. 
The midshipmen. 

Surgeon to occupy the gunroom platform, and be prepared with 
tourniquets,, etc. 

Carpenter and mate to batten hatches down, rig pump and fire engine 
and prepare plugs. 

Passengers, with their arms, to reinforce small arm party; or, should 
the enemy gain the deck, occupy and defend cuddy or awning cabins. 

In repelling boarders, if the men are not required at the guns, the 
crew of the foremost gun with pistols and cutlasses to reinforce the 1st 
Division of boarders; and the crews of the two after-guns to fall in, two 
deep, across the quarter-deck with muskets and fixed bayonets, and 
from the 2nd Division of boarders. 



808 THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 

Remarks on Defending Ship. 

If boarded from forward, the after-guns to be slewed inboard, 
and pointed to sweep the forecastle, loaded with slugs, nails, old iron, etc. 

Every exertion should be used to prevent the enemy from getting 
a footing on board; but in the event of the defenders being driven from 
the forecastle, they should occupy the galley or rally under the topgallant 
forecastle, ready to act in rear of the enemy should they advance to meet 
the 2nd Division on the quarter-deck. 

If the enemy is driven back, and to be boarded, the 1st Division to 
board under cover of a volley from the small-arm party, and endeavour 
to hold the deck until the 2nd Division can form two deep behind them 
with fixed bayonets; a few men, two deep and shoulder to shoulder, 
■will make a far more effectual charge than a larger number scattered 
and acting independently. 

In boarding the enemy the attack should be made with all the avail- 
able force, except a few cool marksmen to pick off the most active, or 
cover a retreat. 

An active junior officer should accompany the boarders with spike- 
nails and a hammer, to spike any of the enemy's guns he can get near 
during the struggle. 

If the wheel is exposed to musketry, the quartermasters may stear 
with the relieving tackles, lying down on the deck. 

The bulwarks of the topgallant forecastle are generally high enough 
to shelter the small-arm party, when firing lying down; bales of hay 
afford a ready means for forming a loopholed barricade across the poop. 

Grummet wads are best for service. Spare chains or topsail sheets, 
cut into lengths of 4 or 5 feet, and stopped together, are an excellent 
substitute for canister shot. In close quarters, or to repel a boat 
attack, guns loaded to the muzzle with the bottoms of empty bottles 
will do good execution should grape be scarce. 

(7) Stations for Fire. 

Two midshipmen, as aides-de-camp, attend Captain's orders. 
First officer — To the place of fire. 
Second officer — Work gangway whips and burtons, and superintend 

passing water along. 
Third officer — Work fire engine. 
Fourth officer — With cuddy servants, to muster blankets and bedding, 

soak them well, and pass to place of fire. 
Carpenter and mate get hoses up, and rig engine. 

W.^TCH ON Deck. 
Boatswain's mate — Get suction hose guyed and attend nozzle. 
Forecastle men — Work head pump, and pass water from forward. 
Foretop men —Proceed to place of fire under chief officer. 



APPENDIX 309 

Maintop rnen — Rig whip at gangway, and fill tubs. 

After-guard — Muster quarter deck buckets to the gangway, and take 

the engine to the most convenient place and work it. 
Boys — Fill cistern. 
Midshipmen — Pass water from the poop. 

Watch Below, 
Boatswain's mate — Sling provision casks like ballast tubs for drawing 

water. 
Forecastle men — Muster under boatswain to get tackles rove and act as 

required. 
Foretop men — To place of fire. 

Maintop men — Get burtons on the mainyard lor water tubs. 
After-guard — Pass water along from the gangway. 
Saiimaker, 2 quartermasters baker, butcher and mate, draw water at 

gangway. 

Should the Fire Gain Ground. 
Third officer — Get powder ready to throw overboard. 
Fourth officer — With cuddy servants, get scuttle casks into boats and 

fill them with water. 
Midshipmen — Get boats ready for lowering. Each midshipman in 

charge of a boat should be provided with a list of articles required, 

and endeavour to procure everything necessary. 
Steward — Get bags and tins of biscuits, tins of preserved meat, some 

spirits and wine, ready for each boat. 
Boatswain, with forecastle men — Get tackles aloft ready for long-boat, 

and cast off lashings of spars. 
Saiimaker — Get light sails ready. 
Carpenter — Collect tools, nails, etc., for each boat. If the crew get 

un3teady, the second officer and two steady petty officers should 

be stationed at the spirit-room door with a revolver each. 

(S) Boat Stations for a lC03-ton Ship. 

1st Cutter. — Captain, Carpenter. 2 midshipmen, 5 A.B.'s, 3 O.S.'s, 

1 boatswain's mate, 8 or 10 passengers besides children. 
Second Cutter. — Second officer, saiimaker, 1 boatswain's mate, 6 A.B.'s, 

3 O.S.'s, 2 midshipmen, S or 10 passengers besides children. 
Long-boat. — First officer, boatswain, carpenter's mate, 6 A.B.'s, 2 O.S.'s. 

mi Jshipmen.H to 20 passengers besides children and servants. 
First jolly-boat. — Third officer, 1 quartermaster. 4 A B.'s, I O.S,, 

1 midshipman, 2 cooks, servants. 
Second iolly-boat. — Fourth officer, 1 quartermaster, i A.B.'s, I O.S., 

1 midshipman, butcher and mate, servants. 



310 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



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318 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



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= 3 






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■n Ml i? ^ m 

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= •«;?; §3 1* i; 



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APPENDIX ^19 







to o irt •-'SO »-' <c>r^o »r5c-Jccco^t* r» go co^ 



M-. r--l-iCjO^ 



eo CO eo coco « ^VV "<»'^^'*"»'^ 





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C^ ift iO O lis O 

eo ei »< ■* CO o 

O) OD Ok 0> Ob Cb 

N N M <N (N 94 



o r~ OD a> 3 i-i 

M C^t 94 CM CO 



= S tn ^ H fc< as 



320 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 







a 




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c 


to 

CO 






o 


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3 
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APPENDIX 



321 



i'-^ 
g ^ 



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= ^ 



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ca j_ 



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rt 5j -O 



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c »■ a 



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C — m ^ 

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72 •§ T3 

ii £ 5 

S 2 -f 



= 3 S 

^ '5. s 



^ I I ^ " 

S = == -> . 



5 ^ „- 5 

fe -^ 2 S S 

^ cj = •" 60 

•o ii i" T) u 



6C 



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i'^«-sg|ris!l«li!:^|J! 



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o T-H o o n 



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322 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 




a a 



o * iJ 

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c - o 

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:= •§ I i .| I 

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3 



APPENDIX 



323 



a a ::: to 

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g i_» w <u 

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s :-^£ 5 



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824 



THE BLACKWAI.L FRIGATES 



CO 






3 



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1-^ ^^ C J f-^ C:^- 


Q 






Z 


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W 


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Oh 


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PU 






<; 






8 


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o o o o o 



'^ :;: 






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o a c c n n 

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H, s s § s s 



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u 


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o 


















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a ^ S 2 



INDEX 



INDEX. 



Aaron Brown 

A hdiilla 

Abercrombie Robinson 

Aberdeen 

A bergeldie 

Aboukir 

Accriiigion 

Adelaide 

Admiralty restriction 

sign 
Agamemnon . . 
Aga Said Abdul I 

shipowner . . 
Agincourt (Green's) 



64, 



I on de- 

237, 

oosein, 

54, 157 
6G, 273. 
235 
216 



Agincourt (Dunbar's) 
Ajdaha (Indian Marine) 
Alabama 
Albi'.era 

Alfred .. 1G2-166 

Allen, S. H., shipowner 
Allowances of officers in 
H.E.I.C. 



Alnwick Castle 



Alumhagh 
Aniphiirite 
A nglesey 



137, 146, 147, 
238, 239, 277, 
144, 236, 277, 



137, 180, 184, 185, 

277, 
Ann Duthie . . 
Ann Roy den . . 
Arabian 

Aristides . . . . 260, 

Asia (convict ship, . . 
Assaye 212-216, 219, 220, 

Attwood, Captain . . 
Auckland (Indian Marine) . . 
Ayles, Captain J. H. 



PAGE 

145 
217 
106 
248 
244 
300 
240 
250 

31 

301 

209 
159, 
299 
209 
220 
126 
301 
299 
267 

65 
236 
302 
303 

58 
273, 
301 
250 
145 
273 
261 
105 
222 
280 
215 
239 



Barliam 
Baron Abet dare 
Bayard 
Bayne 



B 

142, 169. 170, 



300 
261 
246 
217 
327 



Ben Voirlich 
Bengal (P. & O.) . . 
Benito de Soto (pirate) 
Berenice (Indian Marine) 
Berridge, Captain 
Bethell & Co. 
Betsy Cams . . 
Blackadder 

Black Joke (pirate ship) 
Blackwall 

Blenheim (Smith's) 109, 
170, 172 
Blenheim (Dunbar's) 
Blue Cross 
Blue Jacket 



PACK 

.. 261 
.. 145 

85-94 
216, 220 
.. 283 
.. 234 

56, 57 
.. 233 

85-89, 93 
.. 300 
160, 167, 
, 177, 300 
235, 300 
.. 109 
188, 191, 273 
Bolt, Captain Daniel R. . . 266 
Bolton Abbey .. ..242 

Bombay (Bombay S.N. Co.) . . 217 
Bride of the Seas .. .. 217 

Briggs of Sunderland . . 235 

Brine, Captain .. .. 191 

British Consul . . . . 245 

British Envoy . . . . 249 

British Monarch . . . . 244 

British Trident . . . . 273 

Britomart . . . . . . 79 

Brotherly Love . . 57, 58 

Brown (boatswain of Punjaub) 225 
Browning, Captain W. G. .. 281 
Broughton Hall .. .. 145 

Brunswick Dock and Masthouse 34 
Bucephalus .. .. 160,299 

Burlington . . . . . . 179 

Buston Vale 247 

Butterworth, marine artist 10, 15 
Butterworth, Captain .. 175 

Byce, Captain . . . . 233 



Calwood 
Camperdown 
Canning 
Canterbury 
Cardigan Castle 



145, 1G9, 170, 



242 

300 
301 
301 
245 



328 



THE RLACKWALL FRIGATES 



13 



52 

81 

84 

210 

84 

2G7 

2(57 

273 

145 

165 

217 

201 

277 



Carlisle Castle 103, 244, 288, 289, 
290, 303 
Castle Huntly 
Castor, H.M.S. 
Catherine Elizabeth . 
Cawarra (U.S.N. Co.) 
Ceylon 
Challenge 
Challenger 

Champion of the Seas 
Childxvall Abbey 
Chrysolite 

Chiisan (P. & O.) . 
City of Brisbane 
City of Glasgow 
Clarence 137, 23o, :^38-240, 302. 

324 
Clayton. Captain .. 188-201 

Ch/ion . . . . . . 217 

Chve (Indian Marine) 216. 220. 221 
Clytemnestra . . . . . . 242 

Cognac Packet . . . . 58 

Coldstream .. .. 166.300 

Collingwood 169,170,300 

Columhine.nM.S 79,82 

Coleman, Captain George 186,191 
Connernara . . . . . . 249 

Connor (acting-master of 

Punjanh) .. . . 225,227 

Corner, Captain 
Conrad, Joseph 
Constance 
Contest 
Cornwall 
Corvasso, Captam David B. 237, 
280. 281 
Cospatrick 

County of Berwick . . 
Crawford, Captain L. A. 
Cressy 

Crutchley, Commander 
Ctiba. H.M.S. 
Cumberland, H.M.S. 
Cupples, George 
Curlew, H.M.S. 
Cuthell, W. (midbhipman of 

Punjaub) . . 225, 227 



293, 294 
.. 231 
.. 177 
.. 249 
.. 300 



173, 302 
.. 249 
.. 289 
235, 299 
279 
73 
79 
151 
95 



Dakota 
Dalhousie 
Daring. H.M.S. 
Dartmouth 
Dawn of Hope 
Deal galley, work of 



.. 217 
173, 174,300 

82 
. . 302 
.. 273 

76 



Defensor de Pedro 

Defiance 

Denny, Captain George 

Devitt & Moore 

Devonshire 

Dickenson, Captain T. H. 

Dicky Green 

Dinsdale, Captain Charles 

Discipline on Blackwaller: 

Discovery 

Donald Mackay 

Donkin, Captain Thomas 

Downie, \V. I. 

Doxford of Sunderland 

Duke of A rgyie 

Duke of Northumberland 

Duke of Roxburgh 

Dunbar 131.173.202- 

Dunbar Castle 236. 243, 

Duncan Dunbar 



210, 
236 
2S0, 



203, 208, 

264 

Duncan Dunbar, Mr. 109, 

235 

Duutrune 

Dunvegan Castle 

Durham . . . . 277 



E 

Eagle . . 

Earl Grey 

Earl of Balcarres 

Earl of Clare 

Earl of Ilardwicke 141, 



PAGE 

85 

217 

151 

236 

300 

155 

103 

246 

112 

56 

243 

179 

172 

235 

178 

108 

108 

235, 

301 

281. 

303 

236, 

, 302 

131, 

,236 

291 

178 

, 303 



273 
215 
106 
215 



51 

i:!S 

154, 156, 
29s) 
238, 308 
257. 252 



Eastern Monarch 
Eastern Star . . 
East India Company, effici- 
ency of . . 32, 33, 44 
East Indiaman, description 



of .. 
Eden (convict ship) 
Egan. Daniel 
Eleanor 
Eliza Locke 
Elizabeth Ann Bricht 
Ellenborough 
Elphinstone . . 
Emu . . 

Empress of the Seas 
Escort 
Esk.. 
Essex (Wigram's) 



02 

. 105 

. 207 

. 178 

84 

. 273 

78. 299 

. 214 

. 104 

189, 273 

247 

247 

273, 279. 299. 
303 



161. 1 



INDEX 



329 



Essex (Maishair?) . . 
Europa 


PAHK 

279, 303 
.. 301 


F 




Fairlie 


.. 217 



Falcon 78,79 

Falkland (Indian Marine) 216, 2?0, 

221 



Farmyard at Sea 

Fast Passages of East India- 



69 



men 


52 


Ferooz (Indian ?.Iarine) 


216, 220 


Fiery Cross . . 


.. 165 


Figureheads . . 


19 


Fire Queen . . 


. . 303 


Florence NigkHngalc 


.. 247 


Flying Fish . . 


79, 82 


Flying Venus 


.. 276 


Fat ward Ho . . 


.. 247 



, , 


39 


55-5^ 




187 




106 




108 


, , 


249 




273 


. , 


250 




25 


, 178, 


209 


282, 


293 




177 




277 


247 


249 


156, 


157 


, , 


302 




61 


145 


273 


103 


282 




161 


•36 


161 


of 


47 


, 161, 


237, 




23S 



Foulerton, Commander Alex- 
ander .. 216.223,224 
Furnell, Captain James .. 151 
Fusilier . . . . . . 250 

Futtay Salam ,. .. 217 



General Goddard 

Geordie brigs, account of 

George (of Salem) 

George the Fourth 

George Green 

George Gilray 

Gipsy Bride . . 

Glenlora 

Globe 

Glortana . . 161 

Goddard, Captain 

Godfrey, Captain 

Golden Fleece 

Golden Spur . . 

Golden South 

Gosforth 

Gravesend packet . . 

Great Tasmania 

Green, Dicky 

Green, Frederick 

Green, George 

Green's houseflag, origin 

Green. R.& H. 100, 131, 



Haley of Sydney, C.B. . . 1 70 
Hampshire .. .. .. 3C1 



PAOB 

Hampshire 303 

Harbinger . . . . . . 293 

Harlequin . . . . 79, 82 

Harris, Captain Fortcscue .. 152 
Harrison, Captain N. 246, 248, 259 
Harry Warren (opium steamer) 144 
Hastings (receiving ship, Bom- 
bay) 214 

Haswell of Sunderland . . 235 
Hayara . . . . . . 264 

Helen Malcolm .. . . 248 

Highflyer 184, 274, 278, 303 

Hindostan(P.&0.) .. 145 

Holmsdale . . 266, 302, 317, 323 
Hooghly River, account of . . 96 
Hotspur 124, 125, 128, 134, 136. 
146-148, 177-179,275.301,310-313 
Hougomont .. .. .. 301 

Hyderabad .. .. 235, 299 



Immortalite, H.M.S. . . 246 

Inconstant, H.M.S 246 

India husband . . . . 50 

Indian Empire . . . . 244 

Inverness . . 179. 247, 248 

Invershie . . . . . . 179 

Isabella , . . . . . 85 

Isle of Anglesey .. .. 245 

Isle of Dogs, origin of name 31 



Java, East Indiaman 

Jehangees 

Jerusalem 

Jessica 

John Elder . . 

John McViccur 

Johnson, Sir Henry, 

builder . . . . 25, 30 

Johnstone, sole survivor of 

Dunbar .. .. 205,210 



246, 



ship- 



106 
276 
277 
215 
2G3 
142 



K 



Kent 



131, 137. 185-191, 196, 
200, 202, 244, 273, 
Kent, East Indiaman, des- 
troyed by lire 
Kennaley, Captain . . 
Khersonese 

Kidd, the pirate, fight with. 
Kingdom of Belgium 
King, Watson & Co. 
Kitty 



197. 
301 

45 

265 
244 

12 
179 
269 

58 



330 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 









PAGE 


Knight Commander . . 


145 


247 


Knowles, Captain 




185 




L 






La Hague 133, 


137,236, 


237, 


282, 
301 


Lady A n n 






301 


Lady Falkland 


Bombay 


S.N. 




Co.) 






217 


Lady Franklin 






144 


Lady Macdonald 


110 


300 


Lady Melville 


18o, 235 


,267- 


269, 
302, 


Laing, Charles 






161 


Laing of Sunderland 


235 


237 


Lammcrmuir 




229 


230 


Lang, Oliver 






213 


Lay, Captain 






140 


Lecky, Captain 






162 


Leon 






95 


Lewis, T. E. (1st lieuti^i 


ant 




of Punjaub) 




225 


-227 


Lightning 






273 


Li nee lies 




267 


302 


Loch Etive 






233 


Loch Garry . . 






261 


London 




193 


194 


Lord Lyndoch (convict sh 


•P) 


105 


Lord Warden 


125, 


126, 


236, 






278, 


303 


Lord Wellington 


, . 




52 


Lo'wther Castle 
Lulu . . 


•• 


51 


106 
247 


Lyttleton 






247 



M 

Macquarie {see Melbourne) 
McLeod, Captain Norman .. 142 
Madagascar . . 152-154, 299 



Maddison, Captain J. 




180 


184 


Madge Wildfire 






217 


Maid of Judah 






277 


Maidstone 




273 


299 


Maitland (convict shi 


P) 




105 


Malabar 236, 2 


72, 


274, 


302 


Manilla 






241 


Marco Polo 177, 187, 


"l88 


191 


273 


Maria Grey . . 






217 


Maria Somes 






141 


Marion 






110 


Marlborough (Smith's 


) 


109, 


137, 


160, 167 


169 


178 


300 


Marlborough, H.RI.S. 




. . 7 


J, 75 


Marpheza 




. . 


250 


Marsden, Captain . 






290 



Marshall, George 

Mary Ann (convict ship) 

Alary Scott 

Mauritius 

Maurj', Commander 

Mayo, A. (midshipman 

Punjaub) . . 
Medivay 
Melbourne [Macquarie) 



PAGP 

101, 176, 235 

.. 105 

.. 179 

144, 242 

. . 169 

of 

225-227 

299 

103, 290- 

294, 303 

Mf/feoM/'Hf (transport) .. 217 

Merchant Adventurers, arms of 24 
Merchantman . . 236, 301 

Mermerus . . . . 261, 289 

Merse 217 

Mexborough (convict ship) 105 

Mexican . . . . . . 94 

Middlesex .. 274,277,303 

Miltiades 289 

Minden . . . . . . 300 

Minerva . . . . 95, 300 

Mirzapore . . . . . . 217 

Mitchel Grove .. .. 176 

Monarch 140, iuU-i62, 167, 185, 

273. 299 

Montriou, Commander .. 216 

Moore, Captain . . . . 234 

Moravian . . . . . . 246 

Morning Star, captured by 

pirates . . . . 86-90 

Moulmein shipyard 109. 110 

Murillo 185 

Murray . . . . 124, 125 
Mystery 214 

li 

Narcissus 

Navigation, in Blackv.'all 

gates 
Navy, in the Dutch Wars 
Navy, of the Stuarts, 
Nelson 

Nemesis (P. & O.) . . 
Newcastle 120, 145, 236, 



246 



fri- 



Nile (Green's) 
Nile (Dunbar's) 
Norfolk 
North Atlantic 
Northampton 
Northfleet 
Northumberland. 
Nubia (P. & O.) 

Oberon 



262-264, 



137. 173, 





Ill 




6 


5, 


B, 27 




247 




145 


239-245, 


227 


302 


239 


300 




300 


273, 


302 




145 




137 


185 


301 


, . 


292 


, . 


145 







250 



INDEX 



331 











PAGE 


Ocean Chis , . 






273 


Octavia 








301 


Orient 








277 


Oriental 






131 


132 


Oneida (R.M.S 


) 






264 


Orwell 






2(58 


273 


Owen Glendoiver loi 


155. 


200, 


273, 










299 



Palinunis (surveying brig) .. 214 
Pantaloon, H.M.S. . . 79, 81, 82 
Parramatta 137, 236, 281, 282. 293 

303 
Patrician . . . . . . 302 

Peeress 302 

Pepys, Samuel, visits Black- 
wall 29 

Perry, John, shipbuilder . . 34 
Perseverance .. .. ■■ 105 

Philo 217 

Phoebe 299 

Phoebe Dunbar . . . . 300 

Pile of Sunderland . . 235-237 

Pilot. H.M.S. .. .. 79 

Pinta 94, 05 

Pique . . . . 79. 80 

Pirates of 19th century . . 84 
Poictiers . . . . 235. 299 

Poonah 244 

Porteous, Captain T. L. . . 179 
Pottinger (P. & O.) . . .. 217 

Precursor (P. & O.) .. 215.217 

Prince of the Seas . . . . 273 

Prince of Wales (Green's) 160, 107, 
185, 273, 299 
Pri7ice of Wales. n.M.S. .. 81 

Prov.'se, J 170 

Piinjaub [see The Tivccd) 212-229 
Pyramus . . . . . . 102 

Q 

Queen, H.M.S 79 

Queen (Wigram's) 160, 167, 299 
Queen (Indian Marine) 214, 215 



R 

Rajah of Cochin 

Raleigh, Sir Walter, authority 



217 



on ships 


5 


Rainbow 


.. 247 


Ramilltes 


235, 300 


Red Jacket . . 


. . 273 


Reed, J. 


. . 2G6 


Reed, Captain D. 


.. 266 



PAOB 

7?ewoz£;w (opium steamer) .. 144 
Renown (Green's) 145, 244, 272, 
274, 302 
Resolute , . . . . . 301 

Result . . . . 217, 267 

Revenue cuttter, description of 72 
Roderick Dhu .. .. 217 

River pirates . . 59-60 

Robin Hood . . . . . . 165 

Rodney 300 

Rota 247 

Routine aboard an iiiJiamdu 82 

Roxburgh Castle 102, 153, 154, 

184. 235. 236, 273, 301 

Royal Albert 299 

Royal Charter . . ■ ■ 155 

Rupert, Prince, fighting in- 
structions of . . . . 6 
Rupert, Prince, interest in 

shipbuilding . . • . 29 

Russia (see Mauritius) 



Sails, evolution of . . 

Sail drill on men of war 

Salamanca 

Salamis 

Saldanha 

Salisbury 

Samuel PlimsoU 

Scaleby Castle 

Sea naturalist 

Seafarer 

Semiramis 

Senator 

Seringapatam 



2i; 



261, 



10 
. 74 
301 

289 
.. 273 
.. 303 
. . 261 
. . 100 
.. Ill 
. . 288 
216, 220 225 



132, 150-154. 



Shakespeare's knowledge of 

sea terms . . 
Shannon . . 277-27 

Shewan, Captain Andrew . 
Shuner, Captain H. 
Shipwrights' strike .. 
Sibella . . 
Sierra Morena 
Sir J. Jejeebhoy (Bombay 

S.N. Co.) 

Str Robert Lccs 
Sir Robert Sale 
Sir Robert Sepping . . 
Smith, T. & \V., shipowners 
107, 1 
Smith, Captain John 
Snake. H.M.S. 
Snodgrass, Gabriel . . 



157. 
299 

4 
, 303 
230 
266 
48 
217 
286 

217 
U4 
299 
179 



), 131 

2G0 

81-82 

33 



S32 



THE BLACKWALL FRIGATES 



Solo 

Somes, Joseph 

Southampton 157, 169, 

Sovereign of ike Seas, No. 
Spartan. H.M.S. 

Stag, H.M.S 

Star of India 

Star of Scotia 

St. Helena festivities 

St. Lawrence 12.3, 124 



P.\OE 

. . 247 
104, 236 



170, 



274 



273, 
299 
273 
70 
81 
303 
250 
100 
148, 



13 
274-277,303 

St. Vincent 291 

Statesman (Marshall's) 177, 235. 

300 
Statesman (South Sea trader) 

194, 195 
Stuart, Captain, of The Tweed 

229, 233 
Suffolk .. 137, 264, 273, 302 

Sultana . . . . 215, 301 

Superb 103, 283. 287, 288, 290,303 
Surrey . . . . . . 302 

Susan, East Indiatnan 86, 87 

Sussex . . 166, 167. 273, 301 

Sutlej, burning of . . 170, 300 
Swanson, Captain J. 264, 282 

Swiftsure . . . . 267, 268 

Symondites, account of . . 79 



Talevera .. 124,276,301 

Tapping the admiral . . 95 

Taylor. Captain Robert 238,241 

Terris, Will 184 

Thames 51.52.62,63,66,67,70. 

78, 82, 96, 98, 100, 101 

Thames City . . .. .. 217 

Thermopylae . . . . . . 136 

The Tweed 136, 211, 212, 230 234, 

281, 301. 314-310 
Thomas Coutts .. 45, 106 

Thomas Stephens . . . . 234 

Tkule 84 

Thunder . . . . . . 144 

Tickcll, Captain George 157, 164 
Topaz . . . . . . 246 

Toynbcc, Captain Henry 116, 118 
133, 146, 177, 178 
Trafalgar (Green's) 120, 125, 126. 
172, 173, 300 
Trafalgar (Dunbar's) 235, 300 

Irue Briton (No. 1) . . 40 

True Briton (No. 3) 274, 303 

Tudor .. 140, 161, 299 



Tyburma 239, 240. 259 



PAPB 

260. 264 
265 320,, 

.. 142 

79 

154, 155, 

247, 299 

79, 81 

215, 216, 

220, 221 

.. 167 

.. 144 

236, 301 

.. 302 

203, 204 

.. 246 



Vaile, Captain 
Vanguard, H.M.S. . . 
Vernon (Green's) 139, 
156, 157, 
Vernon, H.M.S. 
Victoria (Indian Marine) 

Victory 

Villc de St. Denis 

Vimiera 

Vittoria 

Vocalist 

Volage. H.M.S. 

W 

Wadias, master shipbuilders 212 
Wagstafif, Captain . . . . 237 

Walker, Captain .. .. 140 

Walker, C. B 279 

Walker, Captain W. H. . . 162 
W aimer Castle . . 236, 301 

War Eagle (opium steam?r) 144 
Watevwitch, R.Y.S. . . 80, 82 

Wave of Life . . . . 277 

Webb, Captain John Sydney 178 
W'cller, Captain .. .. 141 

Wellesley .. 169,170.273,290 
Westminster .. .. .. 151 

Whall, Captain W. Boultbee 166, 

123-125, 128, 136, 146, 148 

White of Cowes, shipbuilder SO 

White Star 273 

Whyte, Captain J. M. . . 233 

Wigrain, Sir Robert . . 37 

Wigram, Mbney 104, 130. 131 

Vy'tlliam Miles . . . . 84 

Willis, John . . . . 229, 234 

Wilson, John H 283 

Winchester 123. 12 4, 145, 241, 243 

275, 276, 302 

Windsor Castle (Green's) 133, 137, 

236 245-250, 258-262, 302 

Windsor Castle (D. Rose's) 261 



Yorkshire . . 269-273. 302 

Young America .. ., 273 

Young, Captain Allen W. . . 163 
Young, Commander John W. 215 



Zemindar 



203, 204 247 



CENTRAL CIRCULATION 

CiliLDRlLN'3 ROOiVI 






"•