HMS Romney

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Romney, 1815
Type: 4th rate ; Armament 58
Launched : 24 Feb 1815 ; Disposal date or year : 18 Dec 1845 is reported to have been sold to the Spanish authorities at Havana, Cuba.
BM: 1227 tons

1820 Troopship

3 Dec 1825 arrived Portsmouth Tuesday from Quebec with men of the 37 Regt. She has since come into harbour, and the troops disembarked for the local garrison.

16 Jan 1826 in the Portsmouth harbour.

25 Nov 1826 at Spithead.

17 Dec 1826 departed Spithead for Lisbon.

6 Jan 1827 at Lisbon.

Jul 1830, Plymouth, re-rated as 30, troopship.

26 Jan 1832 has been recommissioned at Plymouth, and was taken out of Dock.

24 May 1832 will embark, at Plymouth, men from the R.M.A., from the Portsmouth Division, under Captain Clements, RM., at present on board the Brittania and Talavera, en route from Portsmouth, for service with the squadron heading for Portugal where the Miguelites have been seizing British merchant shipping at sea, and British property ashore etc., and Lord William Russell, now embarked on board the Britannia, has been sent, it is said, to demand immediate restitution of the stolen property, backed up by an appropriate force.

27 May 1832 departed Plymouth to join the squadron off Lisbon with 200 men from the R.M.A. and their field pieces.

8 Jun 1832 the packet Magnet arrived at Falmouth, from Lisbon with the following news: as stated elsewhere the Portuguese had asked the British to leave the Tagus, and the Admiral was in the process of organising his departure when the Caledonia, Britannia, Romney and Viper arrived from England. The Caledonia passed over the bar and entered harbour without any problems, but the Britannia got stuck on the bar, but after starting 80 tons of water, and with a high tide, managed to float off. No mention of them, but assume that the Romney and Viper entered harbour with no problems. In the light of the additional support the Admiral signified to the Portuguese Secretary of State, Viscount Santarem, that should he hear of any British subject being insulted he would be taking active measures accordingly.

8 Jun 1832 the Squadron based on Lisbon, having been cruising off the Tagus for a few days returned to the mouth of the Tagus and has now anchored within the bar.

16 Jun 1832 off the Tagus, with the Asia, Caledonia, Revenge, Briton, Leveret, and Viper, with the Stag in the River getting supplies, and the Romney at Lisbon, providing a refuge for British subjects should the need arise. Don Pedro is looked for, but whether he would be successful against the Miguelites is not certain.

11 Aug 1832 remains Cascaes Bay.

18 Aug 1832 it is reported at Portsmouth that the men of the RMA embarked on board the Tyne have now been transferred to the troop ship Romney at Cork.

25 Nov 1832 arrived Plymouth from Lisbon (13th) and has been taken into Hamoaze, for a refit, prior to taking detachments of the 22nd, 71st and 77th Regts., to the West Indies, but a lot depends on how long the refit is going to take.

10 Mar 1833 left Barbadoes for Jamaica.

13 Apr 1833 arrived Jamaica from Barbadoes.

1 Jun 1833 departed Halifax for Bermuda.

20 Jul 1833 in Hamoaze.

1 Aug 1833 in Hamoaze.

3 Nov 1833 arrived Portsmouth from Cork.

23 Nov 1833 Windbound at Spithead.

2 Dec 1833 dropped down to St. Helen's, in preparation for her passage to Cork.

7 Dec 1833 At St. Helen's.

13 Dec 1833 departed St Helen's for Cork with troops.

17 Dec 1833 has put into Portland Roads due to the weather. The brig Limerick, from London, has gone on shore at Preston, about a mile to the east : crew saved.

25 Dec 1833 departed Portland Roads for Cork.

1 Jan 1834 Employed as a Troop ship.

26 Mar 1835 was paid off at Plymouth yesterday.

28 Apr 1835 departed Plymouth for Cork and the Cape.

13 May 1835 departed Cork with the 27th Regiment, for the Cape of Good Hope.

17 Jul 1835 is reported to have been at Rio de Janeiro.

30 Oct 1835 is reported to have been arrived Cape of Good Hope from Rio de Janeiro.

15 Nov 1835 departed Simon's Bay for England.

23 Jan 1835 arrived at Spithead, in a gale, from the Cape of Good Hope, having stopped at Ascension to land stores.

13 Feb 1836 it is reported that the Romney is in need of repair and will be paid off in the near future.

5 Mar 1836 was paid-off at Portsmouth on Tuesday.

22 Dec 1836 Viscount Palmerston writes to the British ambassador in Spain advising that it is intended to send a hulk to Havana to be commanded by a lieutenant and provided with a suitable crew.

27 Jun 1837 Viscount Palmerston advises his Commissioners in Havana that the Admiralty have earmarked the Romney as a reception hulk for emancipated negroes i.e. slaves released by the Mixed Court of Justice.

21 Aug 1837 arrived at Havana, Cuba, in the company of the Seringapatam and to be turned into a hulk to accommodate freed and emancipated slaves, as arranged by the Admiralty and Viscount Palmerston, with a view to reducing the time they spent on board the cramped and disease ridden slave ships, on board of which more slaves would appear to have died following apparent rescue from the slave trade by allied shipping, and before they were granted their freedom, also known as emancipation, given to them by the Mixed Courts created under the various Treaties between Great Britain (G.B.)and Spain ; G.B. and Portugal etc.

21 Aug 1837 when the Romney arrived at Havana she was complemented for some 15 black soldiers belonging to the West Indian Regiment, to maintain order amongst the former slaves, many of the soldiers having been former slaves or had been rescued from slave ships. However the Spanish powers that be in Havana were not very helpful and the Governor insisted that these men should never be allowed ashore. The matter was passed to Lord Palmerston in London, who took the matter up with the Ambassador in Madrid who discussed the matter with the relevant Spanish Minister, who thought that the matter could be resolved without too much loss of face by the Governor.

Circa 10 Oct 1837 a coloured man, who was with a party that visited the ship, escaped from the party and hid in the ship. He was subsequently discovered and despite his pleas that he would be punished if he was sent ashore he was handed over to the local authorities by Lieutenant Jenkin, the Romney's commanding officer, which action subsequently received Viscount Palmerston's approval, as it was thought that the man might well have been a plant by the Cuban authorities, who made a habit of makings things difficult for the British authorities at Havana.

19 Dec 1837 254 negroes taken on board from the Matilde.

31 Dec 1837 16 negroes having been recruited into the West India Regiment and 18 being too ill to be moved, 220 negroes were sent to Belize.

8 Feb 1837 the 18 negroes who were too ill to move in December were sent to Belize in the packet Lord Melville.

13 Jun 1839 173 negroes from the slave vessel Sierra del Pilar, which was run ashore by her crew, and were brought to Havana by HMS Pickle, were embarked on the Romney.

30 Jun 1839 173 negroes sent to Granada.

29 Apr 1840 report made to Lord Palmerston regarding the numbers of negroes temporarily accommodated, plus the information that Lieutenant O'Brien, who was in command of the black soldiers on board, had been invalided home to England on 26 Jul 1839, but was reported to have died on his passage home, and that, to date, no relief would appear to have been appointed to replace him.

9 May 1840 Lieutenant Fitzgerald arrived to take the place of the late Lieut. O'Brien.

I appear to have missed the permission given for the blacks soldiers to go ashore for a limited period, strict conditions, and under strict supervision, but it would appear that approval had been given by Dec 1839, when a report appears in Government correspondence to the effect that an attempt appears to have been made by Cubans to lure some of the black soldiers away from their party, but they resisted the temptation and remained with their party and returned on board.

21 Jan 1840 representations have been made to Lord Palmerston, Foreign Secretary, regarding the expediency of retaining of the Romney hulk at Havannah and a note was sent to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty on the grounds of expense and due to the fact that she was alleged to be unhealthy at her present station, and in order to form a judgment on this question he would be glad to known how long the vessel has been at Havanna ? What has been the annual expense incurred by the Admiralty for keeping the vessel in the harbour at Havanna ? What have been the annual casualties as a consequence of sickness or removes, in consequence of sickness amongst the Officers and Men ? How many negroes have been received on board the Romney and how long have they remained on board ? If the Romney had not been at Havanna, and if merchant men had been hired to lie in harbour, and to hold the negroes during the time they were on board the Romney, what would probably have been the expense of hiring such merchant men.

12 Oct 1840 serious incident took place on shore at Havana when 6 negroes of the West India Regiment took their exercise on shore, being whipped up by a local European (literally), for no obvious reason. But the Commissioners have no doubt that this was probably pre-arranged, as was often the case, the inquiry arranged by the Captain-General being a farce, resulting in the usual lies, inventions and half-truths etc., especially as one of the people investigating the outrage was the cause of it !

18 Dec 1845 H.M. Commissioners at Havana report the vessel as having been sold to the Spanish Governmental authorities at Havana, Cuba :

Her Majesty's Commissioners to the Earl of Aberdeen. Havana, December 18, 1845.
(Extract.) (Received February 10, 1846.
We have the honour to report the sale of the hulk "Romney" to the Government of Her Catholic Majesty, which we trust will meet with your Lordship's approbation.
The surveyors of this Government have reported that it may serve well its present purposes for eight or ten years longer; and if at any time other arrangements be thought advisable, they cannot be prejudiced by the present.
(Signed) J. Kennedy, Campbell J. Dalrymple.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Aberdeen, K.T.

The Earl of Aberdeen to Her Majesty's Commissioners.
Foreign Office February 13, 1846.
Since the date of my despatch of the 21st ultimo I have received your despatch dated the 18th December, last, reporting the satisfactory termination of the question relating to the hulk "Romney," by the sale of that vessel to the Government of Her Catholic Majesty, to be used by the Government at the Havana as a receptacle for liberated Africans, the same as heretofore when the property of Her Majesty's Government ; and I have to signify to you any approval of your proceedings with. respect to that transaction.
(Signed) I am, &c. Aberdeen.
Her Majesty's Commissioners,

The Earl of Aberdeen to Her Majesty's Commissioners.
Foreign Office, February 13, 1846.
With reference to your despatch of the 18th of December last, reporting the transfer of the hulk "Romney" by sale to the Spanish Government, I have to acquaint you that the appointment of Lieutenant McClure as Superintendent of Liberated Africans at the Havana will have ceased from the date of that transfer ; and that it is considered unnecessary that this appointment should be continued any longer as a separate office.
I have further to acquaint you that, under these circumstances, it has been determined that the duties of this office shall be henceforth confided jointly to you ; and I have accordingly to desire that, upon the receipt of this despatch, you will forthwith undertake and enter upon those duties.
I have at the same time to state that, considering the small amount of business which has been to be performed by Her Ma Majesty's Commissioners at the Havana for several years past, and the little probability there is that the business will be materially augmented for the future, I do not propose that you should receive any increase of pay or allowances in consequence of your undertaking these additional duties.
You will receive from the Secretary of State for the Colonies, the necessary instructions for your guidance in all matters relating to liberated negroes placed at the disposal of Her Majesty's Government; and you will therefore correspond directly with the Colonial Office on such matters.
(Signed) I am, &c. Aberdeen.
Her Majesty's Commissioners.

Her Majesty's Commissioners to the Earl of Aberdeen.
Havana, January 13, 1846. (Received March 9),
My Lord,
We have the honour to report that Lieutenant McClure, lately commanding Her Majesty's ship Romney at this place, departed hence on the 11th instant, in the steam-ship Trent, with the officers, marines, and crew of the Romney which vessel he delivered up to this Government on the 9th instant, in accord with the sale and agreement he had made respecting it, as we reported to your Lordship in our despatch of the 18th December last.
On the same day, the 9th instant, he delivered over to us the archives of the office of Superintendent of Liberated Africans, lately held by him, in obedience to instructions from Lord Stanley of the 1st November, the (sic) which circumstance we duly reported to his Lordship in our despatch of the same date.
We observed, at the same tine, that this Government, having always had a jealousy on the subject of that office, had refused to acknowledge it from the beginning as a separate one, so that all the communications necessary for the fulfillment of its duties had passed through our means. We were consequently well informed of all its details, and of what had been transacted for the purpose, and, therefore, humbly submitted ourselves to Her Majesty's Government for whatever further instructions might be considered requisite in continuance of it.
We have, &c. (Signed) J. Kennedy, Campbell J. Dalrymple.
The Right Hon. the Earl of Aberdeen, K.T.