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Type: Watch vessel ; former Brig / Sloop ; Armament 8
Launched : 6 Apr 1840 ; Disposal date or year : 1877
BM: 359 tons
Machinery notes: 80
Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1840 the Brig Cygnet, 6 guns, Complement: 65, was involved in combatting the Slave Trade.
11 Jul 1840 Lieutenant Edmund Wilson, (1824!) ; Second Master J. W. M. Hall ; Master's Assistant Charles Parsons ; Clerk-in-charge J. Little, appointed to the Cygnet. 21 Jul 1840 Mr. William Warren Wright, from half-pay, has been appointed to active service, as assistant surgeon of the Cygnet, commissioned at Woolwich. 11 Aug 1840, Woolwich, Mr. William Hobbs is appointed assistant surgeon, vice Wright, whose warrant has been cancelled. Cygnet is under orders to leave for Spithead and the Cape of Good Hope. 11 Sep 1840 Woolwich, has gone round to Portsmouth. 18 Sep 1840 Spithead, departed for the coast of Africa, calling at Plymouth. 1 Oct 1840 Plymouth, departed last Thursday for the coast of Africa. 9 Dec 1840 is reported to have called at Cape Coast Castle. Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1841 was involved in combatting the Slave Trade and experienced 7 Deaths, 3 by Accident etc.
Circa 12 Dec 1841 at Cape Coast Castle, and subsequently departed on a cruise. 30 Mar 1841 was reported to be cruising for slavers some 6 days sailing from Fernando Po. Per a report made to Parliament in 1842, at some time during 1842 was involved in combatting the Slave Trade.
22 Nov 1841 Cygnet and Persian detained in lat. 6° 2' N. Long. 3° 4' E. in the Bight of Benin, off Lagos, after a chase of 12 hours, the Portuguese slave brig Senhora De Boa Viagem, (aka, F. J. Carreiras), which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone, and on 14 Jan 1842 sentenced to be condemned. 15 Feb 1844 proceeds arising due for payment.
23 Nov 1841 detained in lat. 5° 2' 30" N. Long. 2° 58' 15" E., in the Bight of Benin after a short chase the Brazilian slave schooner Galianna, late Hugh Boyle, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 11 Jan 1842 sentenced to be condemned. 2 Nov 1843 proceeds arising due for payment.
5 May 1842 was reported to be cruising between Wydah and Cape St Pauls when the Termagant departed Princes Island for England.
4 Sep 1842 detained off Whydah after a 12 hour chase the Brazilian slave brigantine Resolucao / Rezolucao, B. X de Castro, master, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 8 Oct 1842 sentenced to be condemned. 2 Nov 1843 proceeds arising due for payment.
7 Oct 1842 detained the slave vessel Pureza de Conceicao, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone, and on 18 Mar 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
10 Oct 1842 detained the slave vessel Se Deos Quizor, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone, and on 15 Mar 1843 sentenced to be condemned, with one slave being emancipated.
18 Mar 1843 detained in lat. 5° 35' N. long. 2° 30' W., en route from Loanda, probably for Brazil, the Brazilian slave schooner Brilhante, Leonardo Jozé de Souza Pinto, master, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 6 May 1843 sentenced to be condemned.
25 Oct 1844 detained in lat. 6° 5' N. long 2° 8' E., the Brazilian slave vessel Ave Maria, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 26 Dec 1844 sentenced to be condemned.
26 Oct 1844, off Whydah.
1 Nov 1844 salvage services rendered to the Charlotte Wylie. 9 Apr 1847 the proceeds arising due for payment.
17 Dec 1844 detained in lat. 6° 15' N. long 8° 00 E., off Badagry, the Brazilian slave vessel Carolina, Jozé Bento da Silva, master, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 13 Feb 1845 sentenced to be condemned.
5 Apr 1845 rescued the survivors from the Felicidade previously captured by the Wasp and then by the Star - see p. 364 at www.archive.org/details/royalnavyhistory06clow 4 Jan 1845 detained a slave brig, Name Unknown, supposed Alabes, alias Polmyra, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 17 Jul 1845 sentenced to be condemned.
25 Jan 1845 detained off Badagry the Brazilian slave vessel Diligencia, Antonio Joaquim Tiburcio, master, which was sent for adjudication to the British and Brazilian Court of Mixed Commission, Sierra Leone, and on 2 Apr 1845 sentenced to be condemned.
14 Apr 1845 detained the Sardinian slave vessel Sansone, which was sent for adjudication to Sardinian Court at Genoa and sentenced to be restored to her Master.
28 Aug 1845 detained the slave schooner Merchant, Loren Larkin, master, and under American colours, when at anchor in Cabenda Bay, she being fitted out to carry slaves.
28 Aug 1845 detained the Sardinian slave Sommariva, which was sent for adjudication to the Sardinian Court at Genoa and sentenced to be restored to her Master.
24 Sep 1845 attempted to detain the slave ship Rosa, voyage ID 4662, lately departed under the fictitious US name of Calhoun, Pedro Poger, master, in a chase in the River Congo, but was run ashore by her crew and set on fire. Evidence from the vessel was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 2 Dec 1845 she was sentenced to be condemned.
9 Oct 1845 ship's boats boarded the Lady Sale up the River Congo.
10 Oct 1845 up the River Congo, boarded the Brazilian slave schooner Aquilla, but was under orders not to interfere with Brazilian vessels until further notice, despite the fact that under normal circumstances she would have been detained, but see 11 Nov below.
24 Oct 1845 off Cabenda, detained a slave schooner, Name Unknown, without papers or colours, and fully equipped for the slave trade, and whose crew had abandoned her on the approach of the ship's boats. She has been sent to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena for adjudication.
3 Nov 1845 whilst at anchor off Cabenda Bay, observed a vessel running down the coast, and was detained after a chase of 5 hours and was found to be the slave brigantine Isabella, Joaze Pierrera, master, bound from Pernambuco to Molembo without colours of papers, having on board provisions and being in every respect fully equipped for the slave trade was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 11 Dec 1845 sentenced to be condemned.
11 Nov 1845 off Cabenda Bay, detained the Brazilian slave schooner Aquilla, bound from Pernambuco to Molembo without colours of papers, having on board provisions and being in every respect fully equipped for the slave trade, and was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 19 Mar 1846 sentenced to be restored to her master.
17 Nov 1845 chased and detained a slave brig, Name Unknown, to the leeward of Molembo, and then observed her crew deserting her, leaving the brig drifting towards the surf and the beach. A boarding party was put on board, but despite letting go the one remaining anchor, the surf and tide were so strong she soon parted her cable and the boarding party, for the sake of their own lives, had to leave the ship, which by the following day was bilged. A party was sent ashore to cut away the one remaining mast, and she was left a total wreck. The case was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, and on 29 Jan 1846 sentenced to be Vessel condemned.
9-10 Dec 1845 at St. Paul de Loanda, taking on board the Master and crew of 17 (including 4 kroomen) of the British brig Lady Sale, of Liverpool, condemned on 24 Nov 1845 on suspicion of being engaged in the Slave Trade by a majority vote of the British and Portuguese Court of Mixed Commission, at Loanda, and due to sail immediately for St. Helena.
17 Dec 1845 detained a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 15 Jan 1846 sentenced to be condemned.
18 Dec 1845 detained the Brazilian slave brigantine Quatro de Marco, with 564 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 12 Jan 1848 condemned and the surviving 540 slaves emancipated.
7 Jan 1846 detained in lat. 10° 40' S. long. 2° 30' E., a slave brig, Name Unknown, supposed Lidador, alias Doze de Novembro, with 549 slaves on board, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.
11 Mar 1846 detained in lat. 12° 53' S. long. 12° 33 E., while cruizing off Salinas, a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 18 Apr 1846 sentenced to be condemned.
12 Mar 1846 detained while at anchor in Loash Bay the slave brigantine Clara, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 20 Apr 1846 sentenced to be condemned.
27 Mar 1846 off St. Paul de Loanda
7 Apr 1846 destroyed in lat. 11° 23' S. long. 13° 44' E. off the south point of Quicombo Bay, between Loanda, a slave brig, Name Unknown, supposed Triumpho do Brazil, which case was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 7 Sep 1846 sentenced to be condemned. 19 Jul 1848 the proceeds arising due for payment.
28 Jul 1846 when in company with the Ferret detained in lat. 10° 24' S. long. 13° 0' E., in the vicinity of Ambriz a slave brigantine, Name Unknown, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and on 3 Sep 1846 sentenced to be condemned. 19 Jul 1848 the proceeds arising due for payment.
27 Oct 1846-47 paid to the officers and crew £22 2s. 1d., for excess of expenses above the proceeds on the capture of the brig Alabes, taken to St. Helena.
28 Oct 1846 detained the slave vessel Paquete de Rio, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at Sierra Leone and sentenced to be condemned. 27 Dec 1848 proceeds arising due for payment.
1 Nov 1846 Slaving - see various reports below.
30 Jan 1846-47 paid to the officers and crew £45 2s. 0d., excess of expenditure beyond the proceeds of a slaver, name unknown, taken to St. Helena.
30 Jan 1846-47 paid to the officers and crew £41 11s. 4d., excess of expenditure beyond the proceeds of the slaver Rosa, taken to St. Helena.
30 Jan 1846-47 paid to the officers and crew £17 1s. 1d., excess of expenditure beyond the proceeds of the slaver Isabella, taken to St. Helena.
7 June 1847-48 officers and crew paid £34 11s. 2d. in respect of expenses of seizure respecting another vessel, name unknown, at St. Helena.
5 August 1847-48 officers and crew paid £44 15s. 1d. in respect of expenses for the prosecution of a brig Clare, at St. Helena.
5 August 1847-48 officers and crew paid £76 17s. 5d. in respect of expenses for the prosecution of a brig Quatro de Marco, at St. Helena.
5 August 1847-48 officers and crew paid £33 3s. 7d. in respect of expenses for the prosecution of a brig, name unknown, at St. Helena.
25 October 1847-48 officers and crew paid £25 3s. 2d. in respect of expenses for attending the capture of a brig, name unknown, at St. Helena.
25 October 1847-48 officers and crew paid £35 10s. 2d. in respect of expenses for attending the capture of another brig, name unknown, at St. Helena.
19 Mar 1848 detained the Brazilian schooner Nereide, with 327 slaves on board, and was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena where she arrived on 2 Apr and was sentenced to be condemned. 27 Nov 1949 Proceeds arising due for payment..
1 May 1848 detained the Brazilian slave schooner Meltemao / Mette Mao, which was sent for adjudication to the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena and sentenced to be condemned.
Jun-Jul 1848 Off the Slave Coast (Sierra Leone). See the vessel Amphitrite for article from the Morning Chronicle, for 11 Sep 1848.
12 Dec 1848 detained the Brazilian slave brig Vingador, Francisco Pontes Pereira, Master, and subsequently condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court, at St.Helena.
26 Jan 1849 detained in Lat. 6° 47' S. Long. 11° 29' E., the Brazilian (late American) slave brig Harriet, aka Herriette, 283 tons English new admeasurement, with 785 slaves on board, 61 of whom subsequently died.
14 Jul 1849 detained in Lat. 12° 1' S. Long. 13° 20' E. the Brazilian slave vessel Emprehendedor.
18 Jul 1849 detained in Lat. 11° 56' S. Long. 13° 28' E. the Brazilian slave vessel Maria Jozé.
8 Nov 1849 detained off Quicombo a slave vessel, Name Unknown, 92 tons, Antonio José Tavares, master ; being unseaworthy she was destroyed, and her figurehead and a shackle being taken to St. Helena for adjudication ; she was condemned on 24 Jan 1850, by the Vice-Admiralty Court at St. Helena, it being considered she was liable to forfeiture and condemnation at the time of seizure.
5 Feb 1850 Proceeds of hull &c. and tonnage bounty due on Mette Mao now payable.
25 Jul 1850 Proceeds of hull &c. and tonnage bounty on Vingador and slave and tonnage bounties due on Herriette, now payable.
24 Feb 1851 Seen at Sierra Leone
14 May 1851 14 May 1851 Account of proceeds from prizes Emprehendedor and Maria Joze will be paid on 27 inst.
2 Jun 1851 At Sierra Leone.
30 Aug 1851 Coast of Africa
22 Oct 1851 payment of tonnage bounty due on vessel captured 8 Nov 1849 due to be paid.
28 Feb 1853, off Lagos, attended the water front at Lagos with a view to sorting out differences with Europeans in respect of their land holdings, which, at the end of the day, were not resolved, to the satisfaction of those seeking a resolution.
23 May 1861 Portsmouth. Commissioned.
1864 North America and West Indies Station. Number of Cases of Disease and Injury.
Late 1860s Reported to have been converted for use as a Coastguard Watch Vessel,
19 May 1847 The Slave Trade.
The following is an extract of a letter dated Sierra Leone, December 15, 1846 :
On the 1st ult., arrived Her Majesty's brig Cygnet, having in tow the Brazilian brigantine Paquete do Rio, of about 70 tons burden, with 647 slaves on board, captured off Sherbro on the 27th October, and brought to this port for adjudication in the Vice Admiralty Court. The following are the authentic particulars relative to this vessel :-
About the middle of last August the Paquete do Rio arrived at Sierra Leone with a cargo consisting of merchandise and rum, and having on board as passenger Mr S. P M. Campos, His Imperial Brazilian Majesty's Vice Consul at this port. After remaining a short period in this harbour, she departed to Yawry Bay; a short distance to the southward where the timber is collected, and there landed her spirits (it being out. of the jurisdiction of this colony.) After this proceeding, the Paquete do Rio again returned to Sierra Leone, whence she subsequently (on the 6th of October) departed for the southward and Rio, in ballast, and water and provisions for her passengers, twenty in number, consisting of some of the crews of former slavers. Before her departure however, she underwent a careful overhauling by an officer from the [HMS] Wanderer, but nothing could be found on board to expose her real intentions. In beating down to the southward she subsequently made acquaintance with Lieutenant __________, who boarded her, from Her Majesty's sloop Contest, on the 24th of October, off Sherbro, but even Lieutenant ________'s lynx eyes saw nothing whereby he could detain the vessel. [Lieutenant _________ , was formerly in Her Majesty's brig Lynx, and has had some experience in these matters] ; though, no doubt, from his experience, he soon guessed her in-tention. The slaver, having got safely over this last encounter, ran in for the shore, and on the evening of the 26th, or rather from the 24th to the 26th of October she shipped the whole of her equipment, water-casks, &c., with 556 slaves ! and immediately bore up for the northward, thinking I presume, to escape the Contest. In this she was successful (had she gone southward, it would not have been the case), but unluckily, Her Majesty's brig Cygnet hove in sight ; and gave chase, and, while the slaver made all sail to escape capture, a French brig of war was observed in the distance to the northward, but her Majesty's brig Cygnet was not long in coming up, and ere long the famous Paquete do Rio was a prize, and the. glad shouts of 549 human beings "were echoed o'er the briny deep," invoking blessings on. their deliverers. Many of these poor wretches were chained by iron rods passed through iron rings fastened round their necks.
Together with the slaves, numbering 549, were the passengers and crew, about 30, making in all about 579 human beings packed in a small vessel of only 70 tons. I shall dispense with giving a more detailed description of the horrible sight which presented itself, and merely state that the Cygnet arrived in Sierra Leone on the 1st November, towing the prize, which was subsequently adjudicated in the Vice-Admiralty Court .-London paper
The Slave Trade.
A letter has been addressed to the editor of the Sierra Leone Watchman, dated the 15th of Nov., 1846, relating to the Brazilian brigantine Paqueta de Rio, captured on the 27th of October, 1846, off the Sherbro. There were on board this vessel at the time of capture 556 slaves, of whom nine died on the passage to Sierra, Leone. The appearance of the Paqueta on its arrival there is thus described by the writer who went on board of her :
The five hundred and forty-seven human, beings, besides the crew and passengers (as they styled themselves), twenty-eight in number, were stowed in a vessel of 74 tons. The slaves were all stowed together perfectly naked, with nothing but the surfaces of the water-casks, which were made level by filling in billets of wood, which formed the slave deck. The slaves who were confined in the hold (it being utterly impossible for the whole of them to remain on deck at one time), were in a profuse perspiration, and panting like so many hounds for air and water. The smell on board was dreadful. I was informed that, on the officers of the Cygnet boarding the slaver, the greater part of the slaves were chained together, with pieces of chain, which were passed through iron collars round their necks ; iron shackles were also secured round their legs and arms. After the officers had boarded, and the slaves were made to understand they were free, their acclamations were long and loud ; they set to work, and, with the billets of wood which had hitherto formed their bed, knocked off each other's shackles, and threw most of them overboard.
There were several left, which were shown to me. We will leave it to the imagination of your readers what must have been the feelings of those pour people when they found they were again free - free through the energy and activity of a British cruiser. On examining the poor creatures, who were principally of the Kosso nation, I found they belonged to and were shipped to different individuals: they were branded like sheep. Letters were burnt in the skin two inches in length. Many of them, from the recent period it had been done, were in a state of ulceration ; both males and females were marked as follows: on the right breast, J ; on the left arm, P ; over women's right and left breasts, S. and A; under the left shoulder, P ; right breast R. and R. J.; on the right and left breast, S. S.; and on the right and left shoulder, S.S. She was captured off the Sherbro, not eighty miles from this place, on Tuesday, the 27th of October. This is the same vessel that cleared out from here about three weeks previous to the capture, for Rio de Janeiro. The slaves were all embarked from the slave factories at Gallinas, under the notorious Don Luiz, and the vessel under way in five hours ; and had there been the slightest breeze she would have escaped. Amongst the slaves there were two men belonging to Sierra Leone ; a man named Peter, once employed by Mr. Elliott, the pilot : he stated that he had been employed by a Mr. Smith, a Popohman, to go to the Sherbro to purchase palm oil, and that whilst pursuing that object he was seized and sold by a Sherbro chief named Sherry. The other man who stated his name to be James, had once worked for Mr. Hornell, merchant of this town: whilst at the Gallinas, he was sold by a chief, named Mannah. During the day, the Marshal of the Vice Admiralty Court landed 297 men, 67 women, 154 boys, and 29 girls.
The following is the estimate made by the writer of the letter, of the profits upon the cargo in Brazil, had the Paqueta reached her destination: "The captain of this vessel was to have had sixty dollars per head, freight. Let us examine what the profits on this human cargo would have been, had the vessel got clear to the Brazils. Presuming the deaths to have amounted to one third, of the whole number (556) 371, at sixty dollars, £4637 10s. 7d. obtained for freight. Allowing £637 10s. 6d., which is far too much for water, rice. and firewood, there is a clear profit of £4000 ! ! for twenty to twenty-six days' passage. The profit on the cargo would have been nearly as follows:- The price given for a slave is about £4 sterling, in the following goods, viz. :- One piece of blue baft, one piece satin stripe, one piece romal, one musket, and one cwt. tobacco. The price of a prime slave in the Brazils, is from 400 to 500 dollars. We will, however, take an average value of 240 dollars, or £ 50 each. Cost of 556 slaves embarked at £4 each, £2244.
Value of 371 slaves at £50 each £18,550
Freight, &c . 4637 6,861
A clear profit of £11,689
15 Aug 1846 Particulars Respecting the Late Rollers at St. Helena.
To the Editor of the St. Helena Gazette.
Sir,-I do myself the honour to forward a few observations which I made on Tuesday, the 17th instant, as to the occurrences of the day, and should it be deemed worthy a place in the St. Helena Gazette, it will recompense me for the little time it has cost. I, however, earnestly hope, that the want of language adequate to express the grandeur, as well as the awfulness of what every spectator witnessed, will be in a measure atoned for by the accuracy of the statement.
St. Helena has ever boasted of the safety of its roadstead, and that most justly, as no individual upon the island can remember a solitary instance of a vessel having been wrecked upon its shores. Those who witnessed the scene presented on Tuesday, the 17th instant, alas will have a different tale to tell. The roadstead, which only the day previous was like a mill pond, was on this day (Tuesday, 17th instant,) a sea of troubled waters.
During Monday night, the rollers, for which St. Helena has ever been celebrated, the cause of which is altogether unaccounted for, began gradually to rise, and on Tuesday had increased to an awful height, like so many rolling mountains, one after the other, driving everything before them. The English schooner Cornelia. condemned at this port a short time since, and purchased by Mr. Cole, was the first vessel driven on shore, being, no doubt, not so securely moored as the other vessels, although in any other weather equally safe. If the person in charge of this vessel had been left five minutes longer than he was on board, it would have been out of the power of all human aid to have saved his life, as the vessel, some distance from the shore, was buried in the tremendous seas, and ultimately came in upon the beach in a few minutes she was a mass of splinters. Immediately after the Cornelia disappeared, the Brazilian brig Descobrador, (127 tons) brought to this island under the charge of Lieutenant Moynell, and condemned on the 16th January, 1846, as being fitted for the slave trade, as a prize to H.M. sloop Star, lifted her anchors and was driven by the force of the rollers on to the beach, between the drawbridge and upper crane; the shipkeeper Robert Seale, his wife, and two other persons were on board at the time she touched. Sea after sea broke over the vessel, and she fell broadside on to the shore the larboard shrouds ultimately gave way, and the lives of the poor creatures on board were in imminent danger, not only by the vessel separating fast, and the seas rolling over, but by the falling of the masts. At this times two persons from on board swam to the shore, leaving the shipkeeper (Seale) and his wife holding on by the rail on the leeward side of the vessel, appealing to the numbers on shore, within hearing of them, for assistance. The Town Major endeavoured to convey a rope by means of a rocket to the vessel, but by some unforeseen circumstance it failed. Mr. Chatfield, master's assistant of H.M. sloop Flying Fish, attempted to swim off with a spar attached to a rope, and after arriving alongside of the vessel was taken by the sea under her counter, roller after roller breaking over him, which buried him for a time, and finally threw him on the beach in an exhausted state. A whale boat belonging to Mr. Rolfe was launched, in hopes of being taken alongside the vessel, but she was no sooner in the water than she was dashed to pieces. At this period an American seaman, named Roach, who has been upon the island some time, and is employed as a boatman, most nobly plunged into the sea and swam to the vessel, which he reached in gallant style, taking with him a rope, the end of which was secured on shore. Upon gaining the deck he hauled on board a sufficiency of the rope, and after attaching the end which he took to the side of the vessel, to enable him to regain the shore, without depriving Seale of the means of escape, he then tied a rope round Mrs. Seale's body, and immediately plunged into the water, when they were dragged on shore by the spectators, amongst whom were Dr. Tweedale, of H.M. steam sloop Prometheus, and Lieutenant Grant, R.A., who plunged in to the assistance of Roach as he approached. The rollers having knocked him with Mrs. Seale over several times. Mrs. Seale was landed almost senseless, but prompt medical aid being afforded, she soon rallied, and was conveyed to her home about two hours after. Seale, when he saw his wife was safe, tied the rope round his waist, and was drawn on shore without sustaining any injury. From the time the Descobradar touched the rocks to the period of the people being taken out of her, ten minutes could not have elapsed, and within five minutes afterwards she separated and went to pieces. The hand of Providence showed itself most conspicuously, for when the mast went even with the deck, it fell towards the shore, by which any number of persons could have saved themselves with common care and energy. How. ever, those persons who witnessed the. scene must be fully satisfied that the saving of the lives of Robert Seale and his wife must be owing (with the aid of Divine Providence) to the exertions of Joseph Roach.
The shipkeepers on board the other condemned slavers were immediately removed and conveyed on board of a vessel lying at anchor outside of the influence of the rollers.
Whilst the Descobrador was on her beam ends upon the beach, the schooner, name and nation unknown, captured by H.M. steamsloop Prometheus, on the 22nd November, and condemned in the Vice-Admiralty Court on 29th December last, parted from her anchors, and, as if propelled by steam, ranged herself on the outside of the Descobrador. This vessel was partly demolished, having been purchased by Mr. Stewart at auction.
About 12 o'clock, the Brazilian schooner Acquilla, with another prize, lifted their anchors and were driven upon the beach, in front of the town. The Acquilla remained perfect for some time, but the other very soon went to pieces. The Acquilla was detained by her H. M. sloop Cygnet, but the result of the seizure is as yet uncertain, as her case is defended. The vessel that broke adrift with the Acquilla was the Brazilian brigantine St. Domingoa, captured by U.K. steam-sloop Prometheus, on the 25th of December, brought to this island by Mr. Clark, Naval Cadet, and condemned on the 2nd instant.
About 1 o'clock, a tremendous heavy roller, which seemed determined to sweep away everything before it, broke over the Rocket hulk, which was lifted stern uppermost, and disappeared. This sea swept away the lower crane and verandah, the latter being placed some distance from the landing place against the hill, for the accommodation of captains of ships and others waiting at the wharf for boats The crane was carried bodily by the sea into the Commissariat Coal hard, a distance of fifty yards, where it now lies buried with rubbish and stone. Previous to this sea breaking over the verandah or balcony, a great number of persons had resorted there for the purpose of gaining a good view of this awfully interesting but magnificent scene ; but as a warning, a previous sea had washed in, and they fortunately took the hint, otherwise many must have been sacrificed, either by the falling off the building, or being taken away by the receding sea.
Up to this hour almost every passage and luggage boat had been swept from their moorings - some thrown on shore and others taken out to sea. The Glacis in front of the fortifications, James' Town, is impassable from the immense quantity of wood, masts, casks, bunks, and other materials, thrown up by the sea from the wrecked vessels.
About 1 o'clock, the Brazilian schooner Eufrazia, captured by H.M. steam sloop Prometheus on 25th December, 1845, brought to this island for adjudication by Lieutenant Pollard, and condemned on the 29th January, and the Brazilian brigantine Esperanza, captured on 26th December, 1845, by H.M.S. Actaeon, and brought to this island by Mr. Lowe, second master, condemned on the 29th January, were buried by a tremendous roller breaking over them ; the former disappeared in an instant, having sunk at her anchors ; the latter, after her masts went by the board, drifted out to sea, a total wreck ; and whilst off Munden's Battery was boarded by some of the merchant vessels' boats, when sails, spars, and other articles were removed. This vessel ultimately drifted out to sea.
The rollers still continuing at as awful height, great fears were entertained for the safety of the English barque Lavinia, from Fernando Po, the crew of which vessel during the night previous had abandoned her, taking with them their cheats and hammocks on board of a merchant vessel lying at anchor off the influence of the rollers. All communication with the shore and shipping was impossible, as it was dangerous for a boat to approach the landing place, much less to afford a communication. The fishing boats fortunately escaped, as they were all out during the night of Monday, and on Tuesday morning, finding it impossible to communicate, remained out, and received assistance from the different merchant vessels then riding at anchor in the Bay.
About half-past five o'clock in the afternoon, the sea still continuing mountains high, the condemned Brazilian brigantine Julia, captured by H.M. sloop Star, was separated from her companion the Quatro de Marco, and thrown up by a succession of heavy rollers upon the West Rocks, and in an instant not a particle of her was to be seen. Almost immediately after, the Brazilian brig Quatro de Marco was, with four anchors down, lifted by the gigantic rollers, and, although buried for a time in the sea, was ultimately, by a heavy wave, lodged on the shore under Patten's Battery, near the West Rocks, the masts having been previously carried away by the force of the seas breaking over her. The Quatro de Marco was captured by H M. Sloop Cygnet, on the 18th December, 1845, and was brought to this island under the charge of Mr. Jones, Purser, on 26th December last, with 540 slaves. The remains of the hull of this vessel were sold on the 26th instant, by public suction, for £30 ; the greater part of her starboard side and the after part of the stern of this vessel were totally destroyed. Previous to her being thrown up to where she remained, she came in contact with an old anchor, which has been for nearly a century upon the projecting point of the West Rocks, and carried it away.
Thus ended the scenes of this memorable day, a day that will ever be remembered by all who witnessed what took place. In addition to the vessels already stated, there were three other condemned slave vessels in the act of being broken up washed ashore. The loss of the boats has thrown many out of employment, and deprived them of their little all. and the means of supporting their families. Thus, after the savings of many a hard day's toil. they are deprived of a living; but God's will be done! and what has this day been experienced only reminds us of our frail state, and how little we ought to think of our earthly possessions.
The most painful put to be recorded of what this day has brought forth, is the loss of three of our fellow-creatures. who have met with a watery grave, and summoned, it is to be feared, in an unprepared state, to appear before their Maker.
On the evening previous, John Maggott, an old and experienced rock fisherman, with James Craig, a shoemaker, and Robert Bath, went to the rock under Sugar Loaf, in a boat for the night. At this season of the year many persons are induced to enjoy this sport, being invited by what is termed upon this island, "Bulls-eye fishing," a delicate fish which abounds during the months of January, February, and March. The rock under Sugar Loaf has always been celebrated for the abundance of this description of fish, and being near the town it is accessible by a very narrow path, and with the assistance of a rope to descend, affords the means of escape in the event of the sea suddenly rising. On this night Henry Trim and others, when the sea became rough, made their escape and returned home; not so with Maggott, Craig, and Bath, who were separated by a small cove, and although in sight of the others, had no means of saving themselves, or those opposite rendering the slightest assistance. The boat that had landed these three poor creatures the evening previous, called according to promise on this morning, and although within hailing distance dared not venture too close. The boatmen were informed that Maggott had been swept away about five o'clock, and they, Craig and Bath, said - "we must soon follow."
The circumstance of these poor creatures being in this perilous state was soon known in town; a boat was immediately at a great risk despatched, and Mr. H. Doveton went by land with ropes, in order to descend to where they were last seen, and, at the hazard of his life, to endeavour, if possible, to save them; but they were gone, and no more to be seen !
Bath has been for the last ten years cook to Mr. Solomon, and for eight years previous, cook to General Dallas, Governor of the island. He has left a widow with seven children to lament his untimely end. There were other persons who, during the night of Monday and all this day and night, were prevented returning to their homes in consequence of the unprecedented heavy sea.
The Wharf, from the lower steps to the drawbridge, together with the Glacis, is almost totally destroyed. The Commissariat coalyard, which was erected at a heavy expense in 1834 by General Dallas, also the iron tanks under the verandah upon the wharf, for the supply of water to shipping, totally destroyed. The fortifications at Lemon Valley much injured ; and great damage sustained at Rupert's where the Liberated Africans are located.
To attempt to give a correct idea of the violence of the rollers on this eventful day is impossible, but as this humble effort towards a description of the same may meet the eye of many who have spent happy years upon the Old Rock, and are now in England and elsewhere, they will be enabled to judge of what I am at a loss fully to describe, and I will simply close by stating that the sea rolled as far as the officers' quarters at Rupert's, and that a 24-pounder carronade was taken from its platform from the Lower Chubbs Battery into the sea, as well as destroying the parapet on both sides. A boat was also drifted from James's Bay to the extreme point of the island to windward, Deep Valley, where it is now to be seen a wreck. The wind for many days previous to the setting in of the rollers, was from the northward and westward, with close sultry weather. The property lost by individuals, together with the expense of repairing the wharf, coal-yard, &c., is estimated at upwards of £20,000. St. Helena, 27th February, 1846.