Falmouth Packet Archives 1688-1850
Spain - Corunna, Gijon, Vigo, Cadiz
| Packet Routes
| Portugal, Lisbon, Faro & Oporto
| Mediterranean - Gibraltar, Malta +
| Portugal: Madeira & the Azores
| Barbados, Jamaica & Bahamas
| Leeward Islands
| Trinidad & Tobago
| Pensacola & Charlestown
| Florida, Carolinas, Virginia
| New York
| N. Atlantic, Halifax & Bermuda
| Brazils - Perna, Bahia & Rio
| Argentina (Buenos Aires) & Uruguay (Montevideo)
| Egypt & India (via Malta)
| Branch Packets
| Other Packet Routes - Europe
| Ionia (via Malta)
Other Packet Routes - Europe
England - France Dover - Calais / Dunkirk
Flanders Dover - Ostend / Nieuport
Holland Harwich/ Yarmouth to Hellevoetsluis/ Brill (Brielle)
Germany Yarmouth to Husum (for Hamburg) / Bremen / Cuxhaven (1793-1802)
America Bristol (1709-1712) [William Warren's Royal Anne]
Wales - Ireland
Milford to Waterford/Dunmore [Samuel Newport, contractor]
Scotland - Ireland Greenock (Clyde) - Belfast
Channel Islands Weymouth - Jersey / Guernsey
Connections to the Continent:
During this (17th) century England was engaged in three wars against the Dutch, and Harwich was prominent as a base where ships could be stored and repaired. Reports of its efficiency in repair work during the first war led the Government to decide to establish a shipyard at Harwich, which ran from 1657 to 1660. Again in 1664, when there were fears of further hostilities, it was decided to revive the yard, and Samuel Pepys
and Anthony Deane, a shipbuilder of considerable renown and a native of Harwich, set up a thriving yard, which although the war ended in 1667, remained under Admiralty control until 1713 when it continued as a private concern.
During the latter part of the 17th century the packet boat service began and trade increased.
The 18th century was a time of great prosperity, packet boat captains and customs officers prominent in the control of the borough.
It was not to continue in the 19th century, when fishing was reduced and the packet boat service was transferred to Tilbury, which had the railway connections which Harwich lacked. The Napoleonic threat caused some improvement in its defences, and in 1808 the Redoubt fort was built to protect the town against possible invasion by the French. A new industry, the making of cement from stone taken from the Beacon Hill cliff, brought a revival of fortunes, but necessitated the building of a stone pier in 1849 to prevent the silting of the harbour. The Ha'penny Pier was built in 1853 and the railway service began in the following year.[9 years ahead of the Truro-Falmouth line being opened. Note, though, the similar parallels with Falmouth's loss of the packet station.]
Ireland's packet communications
CALENDAR OF STATE PAPERS, DOMESTIC SERIES, CHARLES II. (1666-1667)
(Extracts from a directory available at the RIC, Courtney Library, Truro)
Holyhead, March 16, 1667. 27. Robt. Leigh to Williamson.
(Extreme weather) It still continues so that no packet boats have come from Ireland these three weeks, and those in harbour dare not venture to sea, till the winds grow less. Will go with the first that ventures to sea. Forgot to deliver the cyphers in his hands; they are in his desk at his office.
Begs his letters forwarding to Dublin.
(p.200) June 17, 1667. 5. Earl of Anglesey to Williamson.
Wants Lord Arlington's confirmation to John Swift of his employment about the packet-boats in Ireland. His salary is £400 a year for three boats, and proportionality (sic) for a fourth, if required.
Endorsed, "Packet boat at Holyhead."
SM Monday May 20, 1799. London, May 13.
Government, through the agency of the Post-office, has established a daily express between the metropolis [London] and Holyhead, [ North Wales] for the conveyance of their dispatches. These expresses are to perform the journey in 30 hours; and when the Post-Office packets are not ready, bye-boats are to be employed between Dublin and Holyhead. This arrangement is to commence on Monday, [May 20] and to continue for 36 days.
In 1819, Thomas Boyd, of the The New Steam Packet Company, wrote Sir Francis Freeling to say they were about to introduce steam vessels on the Holyhead to Howth route. Trials with Talbot of 150 tons, and Ivanhoe of 170 tons indicated steamers would half the seven sailing packets' passage time.
He failed to obtain the mail contract and the company later sold the Ivanhoe to the Post Office.
June 1821: Steam packets entered packet service at Holyhead, employing the steam paddle-ships Meteor (189 tons).and Lightning (205 tons), Captain Skinner. Following King George IV's crossing to Ireland in 1821, under Skinner, the Lightning was renamed Royal Sovereign.
FP 24/10/1829: Irish Post Office contracted with Sir James Anderson - he undertakes to take the mail through Eire at 12 mph in coaches impelled by steam, calculated to carry 1-3 passengers as well as coachmen & guard. A 14-year contract and the only pecuniary stipulation made by Sir James is that he shall receive half the money which the Government shall save by adopting his system. Sir James will commence operations by carrying the mails between Howth & Dublin during the present month. The road is level and good and the distance not more than 9 - 10 miles. (Same issue: The quantity of whiskey consumed at Wick during the herring season exceeds 500 gallons per day!)
FP 18/4/1829: Falmouth Packet List
Arrived on Sunday last, the Meteor, Post-office steamer, Connor, from Weymouth, for Holyhead, for which place she sailed on Monday.
FP 11/1832: Accidents re: Capt. Skinner RN, commander of Post Office Packet Escape, sailed from Howth on Tuesday am at 9 a.m. Between 2 - 3 p.m., 5 miles from the Head, the packet was struck by two very heavy waves following each other, the second dashed Capt. Skinner & his Mate, William Morris (a stout and able seaman) through the bulwarks overboard, carrying the binnacle & compass, knocked down the man at the helm, who fortunately got entangled in the chain of the wheel which was broken, by this means he was saved. It is supposed both were killed in that moment as they were seen for 20 minutes floating face downwards with no appearance of life.
See further under Packets database for vessel Escape
FP 6/6/1835: Alarm in Falmouth, House of Commons committee quietly sitting for two months recommended Valencia harbour for the Packet Establishment. "Would approve "Irish" mode of expedition" - suggest the London Post Office & Bank of England should be moved to Dublin!
FP Sat 19/9/1835: Captain Evans, late of (Packet)-Steamer Tartarus, directed by Government to make a survey of Western Harbours of the Irish coast, with a view to the most eligible for a Packet Station to communicate with America.
FP 31/10/1835: Qf. Limerick Chronicle 1835. Milford [Wales] to renew point of packet communications with Waterford in summer & Dunmore in winter, vessels of 200 HP to be used. [Wooden steam paddle 'packets' ]
FP 26/12/1835: The Arab steam-packet sailed Belfast - Greenock [Clyde, Scotland] in 9 hours 5 mins the shortest time ever
(March 29) EL Montevideo to London, charged 5s9d (Ship 8d, Dublin-Holyhead and Menai Bridge 3d, Holyhead-London 1s, treble letter, x 3 = 5s9d), on reverse *** framed SHIP LETTER/DUBLIN, Robertson S.4, (used only in 1839 and exceedingly rare) and London receipt cds of June 19, light file folds, very fine. Ex Bedell Click for Photograph
(Plate III) £800 [Whytes
FP 18/7/1840: Costs of Mail Steam Packets to 31/12/1839:
Liverpool. 5 packets, £55,751, Running/Coal £10,856 + extras £82,748. 5s2d Receipts for 1839, £20,407.0s 6d
Holyhead - Kingston £19,405. 10s 2d receipts £ 3,584. 5s 2d
Milford - Waterford £ 31,270. 15s 0d " £ 1,229.14s10d
Portpatrick-Donaghadee £ 5,122. 4.s 0d " £ 1,001. 13s 6d
FP 8/4/1843: Contract for building mail coaches in Ireland, just taken on by Mr. Croall, a Scotsman, having underbid Mr. Purcell & Messrs. Bowne who had the contract for many years, the cannie Scot it appears has been buying up in England, lots of coaches which had been rendered useless on the arrival of the railways. This will throw a great number of good coach builders in Dublin on the unemploy..
OTHER PACKETS - text references
HARWICH & East Coast Packets . (brief information)
1661 Agreement between Henry Bishop PMG and Syman van Horne, the Dutch Ambassador, on behalf of the city of Amsterdam, a service of regular packet boats was established for the carriage of 'Common Mayle' between Harwich and Hellevoetsluis.
1665-1667 War with Holland. Harwich packet service suspended.
1668 London Gazette gave notice of "the restoration of service, with convenient pacquet boats of 60 tons, leaving (Harwich) on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
1671 Agreement between Rocloff Meulnaer and Wigbolt Muglman of Amsterdam, and Andrew Carr of Harwich, for Thomas Langley of Harwich "to equip fully and victual 3 galliot hoys, for £76 per month, to convey the ordinary mails from Harwich to Holland twice a week" (presumably to Hellevoetsluis, because in 1676…
1676 Silas Taylor, storekeeper at the Harwich Naval Yard wrote, "the pacquet boats on every Wednesday and Saturday, carry over the publick mails, and passengers, and return from Briel which heretobefore has been from Helvoetsluis."
1686 New Post Office packet contract opened for Harwich to Brill.[Briel]
The contractor to receive £900 a year for 3 boats, 2 hoys of 60 tons, 1 of 40 tons.
1689 Outbreak of war with France
Three small hoys replaced by four boats "of force" armed, and each carrying 50 men.
The conveyance of mail tended to become a secondary consideration, when commanders of these larger armed vessels were tempted to give chase to a possible 'prize' enemy vessel.
1694 The Post Office, assisted by EDMUND DUMMER (Surveyor of the Navy) built four small packet boats "of no force, but remarkable for speed" which apparently ran additionally to the four larger "boats of force."
1697 Treaty of Rysswyk ended the first stage of the war with France.
The four smaller boats (huys/hoys) maintained the Harwich service, now running to Helvoetsluis. (The Dover packets resumed peacetime service to Calais.)
* 1702 Robert Lovell born (in Norfolk?) - later a Falmouth Packet Captain
1702 Renewal of war with France - Dover packets withdrawn
Harwich - Helvoetsluis once more the sole continental mail route. To speed up news from Europe, "Wartime" packets, in addition to the four Post Office packets, put on at Harwich.
1710 Post Office packets increased to five, in addition to the "wartime packets"
1712 End of hostilities
1713 Treaty of Utrecht. Packets at peacetime strength of 5 Post Office packets.
SM 4/3/1751: Exmouth 1/3/1751: Since my last, sailed the JAMAICA packet, Leatt, for Waterford & Newfoundland. (Not a Falmouth packet)
Falmouth 28 Feb. Since my last, arrived the JAMAICA packet from Topsham [Exeter] for Waterford. (Seeking shelter ?)
(same edition) The EXPEDITION (Falmouth) packet from Lisbon, is forced into Plymouth by a violent storm on Monday night (25 Feb.).
SM 18/6/1772: Arr. the BRISTOL packet, to Falmouth & Plymouth
SM 3/9/1772: Arr. the CORNWALL packet from Cork to Cork (?)
SM 1/2/1773: The VENUS`packet, Lorett, from Bergen to Venice, was lost going into Venice.
SM 20/9/1773: Falmouth Sept. 19th. Since my last, sailed the ROTTERDAM packet, from Teignmouth, for Glasgow.
SM 25/10/1773: Falmouth Oct. 21. Since my last, arrived CORNWALL packet from Cork fro Falmouth.
SM 3/2/1766: At S. Carolina, the DOMINICO packet, French, from Dominique.
SM 17/3/1766: Bristol March 14, arr. BRISTOL packet, Honnywill, from Jamaica & S. Carolina
SM 17/3/1766: At Bilboa, the BOSTON pacquet, Kennedy for Boston
SM 31/3/1766: Bristol March 17. BRISTOL packet, Viesy, from Philadelphia, and, arrived at St. Kitts, JAMAICA packet.
SM 23/6/1766: The PHILADELPHIA packet, Capt. Eustace, is arrived at Bristol.
SM 6/10/ 1766: The BELFAST packet, Capt. Nash, from Bristol to S. Carolina.
SM 19/1/1767: Harwich Jan. 1. Three months detained here, the packets are all this side, the rivers in Holland are frozen.
SM 28/12/1767: Falmouth Dec. 24th, arrived the BARCELONA packet, Pollard, from Lisbon (route & destination?)
SM 5/8/1776: Falmouth 1 Aug., since my last, sailed TUNIS packet from London, for Leghorn. (collecting cargo of pilchards?)
SM 12/5/1777: Refers to "the late PRINCE OF ORANGE pacquet lying in the Gorre Gut, in the track of the trade bound to Helvoetluys or Rotterdam. She has six 4-pounders and ten swivels mounted, and thirty men. Orders are said to be sent to our Ambassador to France, to demand of the French Court to deliver up the PRINCE of ORANGE packet-boat carried into Dunkirk."
SM 26/5/1777: The French have restored Captain Kelly's vessel, and the PRINCE OF ORANGE packet-boat taken by the Lugsail vessel without commission.
SM 23/6/1777: Extract of a letter from Brussels dated 9th June, 1777. Mr. Cunningham, Captain of the American Privateer SURPRIZE, hath sent from Dunkirk to Dr. Franklin at Paris, the mail with the letters from London of 29th April last, which he took in the PRINCE ORANGE packet-boat, Captain Storey, which Dr. Franklin, having with Mr. Dean, opened, read the greatest part of the letters contained in it
SM 15/6/1778: The CAROLINA packet, McCullen, from Corke to New York is taken near (illegible) harbour, within a few leagues of New York, by a rowboat privateer. (!)
SM 8/2/1779: Falmouth 4. Feb.; Since my last, arrived the ST. JOHN, Capt. Smith, packet from Corke to Gibraltar.
SM 31/7/1780: An express arrived at East India House, brought by the purser of the SWALLOW packet from Bengal, which put into Limerick in Ireland. SWALLOW left Bengal in February last, touched at St. Helena the beginning of May. Governor Berwell and his family are come over in the above ship, and paid £1,000 for their passage. About 50 Leagues from the coast of Ireland, the SWALLOW fell in with the DART Privateer, of Dartmouth, and offered the Captain £2,000 if he would convoy her to the first port in that Kingdom, but the Captain told them, he could not without a breach of orders, quit that on which he had been placed by the proprietors.
(This) East India packet hove under Cape of Good Hope 24th April to 14th May, sheltering from violent and N.N.W. winds.
[Note, due to square riggers' poor performance to windward, clearing the Cape often required waiting for favourable wind to reach well clear in order to be able to tack and gain ground to the northwards. )
SM 2/4/1781: A French packet from Martinique, carried into Kinsale by the PAUL, English privateer. During the action the Frenchman threw her principal packet overboard, but a number of letters happened to be overlooked in the confusion, which were brought to town (London) yesterday and confirm the following very disagreeable intelligence; ..... etc.
SM 2/4/1781: Falmouth 31 March. Arrived Falmouth, captured by a Dartmouth privateer and H. M. cutter PILOT, a Spanish packet said to have £20,000 in specie on board .... in a hard East gale last night, (was) driven on shore on a ledge of rocks in (Falmouth) harbour... Spanish vessel still remains above the water, was seen, with glasses, perceiving that some men are in the tops of the Spanish vessel.
SM 6/8/1781: Advice is received from Brest that a Spanish packet-boat, the N.S. ANDALUZIA, Captain Cordova, bound from hence to Cadiz with dispatches, ran on a rock near the mouth of the harbour and was lost and most of the crew drowned.
SM 17/8/1781: The FORTUNE sloop, one of Admiral Rodney's cruizers, has taken and carried into Barbadoes a Spanish packet with dispatches for the Governor of Havannah to Cadiz; but the dispatches were thrown over board.
SM 3/8/1788: Q. Gaz. 1 Aug. Madrid July 9th. The (Spanish) Government has sent orders to Corunna to fit out and hold in readiness the two pacquet-boats belonging to the King, which are in the best condition, and most excellent sailors. It is observed that the Ministry has made choice of sea-officers, who speak English and know the coat of Ireland & Scotland. The choice of the pilots has been left to the commanders of the pacquet-boats, and the apartments in the stern of the vessels are decorated in a very extraordinary manner. These circumstances, compared with the continual augmentation of the Cadiz fleet, give room to an infinite number of conjectures.
SM 1/2/1773: The VENUS packet, Lovett, from Bergen (Bagen?) to Venice, is lost going into Venice.
SM: 19/4/1773: Falmouth April 15, arr. LAPWING, East India Packet, Gardner, from the East Indies. for London.
SM 21/6/1773: Falmouth June 17, arr. EAGLE packet-boat, Wilson, from London.
SM 20/9/1773: Sept. 16, sailed ROTTERDAM packet, from Teignmouth for Glasgow.
SM 25/10/1773: Oct 21, arr. CORNWALL packet, from Cork, for Falmouth.
SM 9/5/1774: Falmouth May 5, arr. MERCURY packet, from Cardiff, for London.
SM 14/11/1774: Falmouth Nov. 10, arr. the BOSTON packet, from Salem.
SM 15/12/1777: Q. Pennsylvania Evening Post of Sept. 2.
Boston Sept. 11. Thursday arrived a prize, the richest taken this war, having on board 247 bales of first and second clothes. She was taken by Captain lee of NEWBURY. The same day arrived the OLIVER CROMWELL, Capt. Seth Hawkins, with a prize ship, which had been employed as a packet from Jamaica to London, she mounts 16 carriage guns. She had on board a number of dollars and a large quantity of wrought plate.
SM 30/7/1798: London July 28.
Arrived at Yarmouth, the PRINCE OF WALES, extra packet, having on board a foreign messenger, with dispatches for government and about £22,000 in specie.
SM 9/11/1778: Same edition; An order is stuck up at the Post-Office that no passengers are to go in the packets from Dover to Calais, without an order from the Secretary of State.
SM 8/2/1779: Falmouth 4 Feb.; arr. the EDWARD, and the ST. JOHN packet, Capt. Smith, from Corke to Gibraltar.
SM 3/5/1779: Advice is received from Harwich that the PRINCE OF ORANGE packet is taken after a smart action, and carried into Dunkirk. She had nearly £30,000 on board.
SM 18/9/1779: The LURCHER has taken into Port-Royal, after a chase of 47 hours and a running fight of 13 glatles (sic), the PALLAS, a French packet of 16 guns with dispatches from France to the Governor of Cape Francois. The dispatches are taken.
SM 8/11/1779: Harwich Oct. 29. This day se'night arrived PRINCE OF WALES packet, with a mail and a Hannovarian messenger. In her care are 16 of the people who belonged to the PRINCE OF ORANGE packet which was carried into Dunkirk last March.
SM 8/11/1779: The Spanish packet, captured by the LORD DUNMORE 16th Sept., lat.... 30.38, long 75, left the Havannah the 13th Sept. & was bound for Cadiz with dispatches. Her people declared Jamaica had surrendered to the French & Spanish. The LORD HYDE packet was to have sailed from Jamaica for England the 23rd of August, and as this ship is not arrived, the above account seems to have too much the appearance of authority. (Arrived late)
SM 13/12/1779: Letter from Harwich Dec. 3rd. Friday last arr. the EARL of BESSBOROUGH packet, with a mail.
SM 7/2/1780: Plymouth Fe. 4th. Since my last, arr. the EAGLE packet, Capt. Maxwell, from London bound to Madras, and a Spanish prize, name unknown last from Falmouth, being one of the fleet taken by Admiral Rodney.
SM 10/4/1780: Letter from Helston, April 5th. Vessel brought into Mounts Bay on 7th April, taken by a Guernsey privateer, she proves to be a French packet bound to the West Indies with dispatches for Mons La Motte Picquet. Mail was thrown overboard but not sufficient weight, saved by the action of one of the sailors on board the privateer. Several Government letters of consequence, others "written in characters" (Code?), commissions for officers, a stone set in diamonds, and a very handsome sword as a present for Mon. Picquet. The prizemaster as he landed, set off for London
SM 14/2/1780: Harwich Feb. 3rd, arr. PRINCE OF ORANGE packet with 2 mails from Holland. Sir James Wallace has come home in the Ostend packet. (To Dover?)
SM 29/5/1780: Harwich May 19th. By the DOLPHIN packet, with a mail, .......
SM 31/7/1780: Yesterday an express arrived at East India House, brought by the Purser of the SWALLOW packet from Bengal, which put into Limerick in Ireland. The SWALLOW left Bengal in February last, touched at St. Helena the beginning of May. (Hove under Cape of Good Hope 24 April - 14 May, due to violent north-west winds). Governor Barwell and his family are come home in the above ship, and paid a thousand Guineas for the passage. About 50 leagues from the coast of Ireland, the SWALLOW fell in with the DART privateer, of Dartmouth, and offered the Captain £2,000 if he would convoy her to the first port in that Kingdom, but the Captain told them he could not without a breach of orders, quit that on which he had been placed by the proprietors.
[NOTE: To be an officer in the East India Company's service was about the equivalent of a commission in the R.N., so well paid and so many handsome emoluments besides were attached to their posts. The Captain was allowed 56 1/2 tons of space for carrying cargo on his own account. (Rates were then @ £35 - £40 per ton.) Crew worked two watches, officers three, four hours on, eight off. ]
(Quoting "Ships & Ways of Other Days, E. Keble Chatterton. Sidgwick & Jackson (1913).
SM 28/8/1780: London Aug. 26th. Yesterday the Captain of the CARTERET packet arrived at the Admiralty with dispatches from Vice-Admiral Arbuthot at New York. Safe arrival of Admiral Graves and the fleet under his command. It is said that an English privateer has taken a (French) packet-boat with dispatches from Chevalier de Ternay, whose squadron arrived at Rhode Island the 2nd of July.
SM 18/9/1780: Extract from a letter from Harwich, dated September 8th. Arrived DOLPHIN packet with a mail, by her we learn that 22 German recruits were ordered to embark on board her, but were prevented by the commander of a Dutch man of war of 60 guns, who acquainted the commander of the packet, that if he took them on board he would fire upon them as they passed by his ship. (Ref: Hessian troops fighting for the British in America.)
SM 2/10/1780: Glasgow 21 September. Privateer BELONA, James McLean, Master, belonging to this place, brought into Port Glasgow, the Spanish packet COLOGO, Juan Antonio de la Bodega, master, from Buenos Ayres to Corunna with Government dispatches. Fell in lat. 40 N. long. 3 W., after a running engagement of one and a quarter hours. COLOGO mounted 12 guns and had 65 men. One man was killed on board BELLONA and one wounded. On board the COLOGO, one killed and the Captain and three men wounded. This packet was coming on account of a rebellion in several Provinces in South America, but the publick (sic) mail was thrown overboard when she struck. However there has been found several letters and papers on board which make particular mention of it.... (Crew perks?). Mob in the city of Arequifa (Peru) on 6th March, 1780, plundered the Custom House and scattered money therof about the streets. Ditto at Cuzco, Bishop ordered out of town, Ditto Lapaz, 25th March, mob arose against the Custom House. Holy Thursday & Good Friday, forced the Bishop to declare suspension of al taxes!
(In) Potozi, Pasquins drained the mines.
Monte Video, June 30th, 1780, "on 22nd inst. this packet, the COLOG(N)O, was ordered to be detained on account of the Revolutions in the interior about the establishment of the (Spanish) Royal Custom-House. As the vice-roy of Lima acquaints the Commander-in-Chief in Buenos Ayres, the riot originated in Arequeipa and has got down as far as Paraguay, which borders upon the province of Buenos Ayres. They have dragged and trampled upon the picture of our Catholic Monarch, Charles the third. "I hope God, our Monarch will take off those branches of revenue. If he does not, he will lose America which has cost so much blood."
There are some passengers who had charge of the dispatches. The person who gives the most distinct account is a Priest who happened to be engaged in the rebellion for which he was taken up and sent on board the ship to be carried to Spain and tried. He now expects his liberty. He says there are 15 ships loading at Monte Video, and to sail in December next, and thinks they may have Four Million Dollars .. etc.
SM 30/10/1780: Letter from Mr. Robert Carson, Postmaster of Dunaghadee (Ireland) to Dvid Carlisle, Post-Master of Newry, October 17th, 1780. "Sorry to acquaint you of the loss of the NANCY packet-boat, sailed from Donaghadee on Saturday evening last, with 12 passengers besides the crew, two of whom only are saved by taking to the small boat. The packet carried mails of the 13th and 14th inst. You will be pleased to give the most early intelligence of this melancholy affair to the Merchants of Newry.
SM: 6/11/1780: Falmouth 2 November, arrived LIVELY packet boat from London for the East Indies.
SM 25/12/1780: The NEVIS packet is arrived at Bristol from St. Kitts (left 26th October) with a melancholy account of a most dreadful hurricane in the West Indies (11th Oct)..." boats lost... all the goods in the warehouses and cellars are destroyed." The NEVIS packet not having left until the 26th October .... at St. Eustatia, immense damage.... this tremendous hurricane lasted 8 days (Note:Bermuda caught the end of same hurricane.)
SM 23/4/1781: Harwich April 12th. By the PRINCE OF WALES packet, we are informed that a Dutch 64 gun ship lying in the Texal, wanting a repair in her bottom was hove down, keel out of the water, but the tackle by some means giving way, she suddenly fell again, which forced the floats through her bottom, and killed and wounded 100 workmen. Thereupon the ship instantly filled and sunk in deep water and was entirely lost.
SM 23/4/1781: The TRIAL (East India) packet, Captain Dempster, left Madras 4th December last. (Arrived Kinsale 10-15 April)
SM: Plymouth 20/6/1781: For Sale by Candle, the ROTTERDAM Packet, good brigantine, square-sterned, British Plantation built, burthen 120 tons, more or less, known to be a prime sailer, is perfectly suited for the fruit or Newfoundland trades and for a packet or privateer, was taken after a long chase on her passage from Marseilles to Rotterdam, by H. M. frigate DAPHNE, the Rt. Hon. Lord Harvey commander.
SM 14/1/1782: Plymouth January 11th. The brig ELIZABETH packet, Captain Sumister on her passage from Cork to Bristol, struck on the Culver sands near Steep Holms and bulged. The consternation of the affrighted passengers can only be conceived, expecting death every moment; till 10 o'clock a young gent from Canada got the boat out into which 13 men and women ventured themselves, entreating the captain and the other 24 passengers to come also, which they refused. The boat got ashore near Uphill at 6.30 a.m. (remaining all died) including the wife of Mr. Robert Lovell, in Cattle Green.
SM 8/7/1782: Advice from Gibraltar, that a packet-boat bound from Cadiz to Marseilles, is taken by the LEVANT frigate and carried in there. On board papers, plan for the siege of Gibraltar, drawn by some French engineers, now at Cadiz, in the service of Spain.
SM 17/9/1798: Plymouth, September 15.
Arrived LORD HAWKE, letter of Marque, commanded by Captain Pendock Neale, from a cruise, with a Spanish Packet called LA EOAD DENO, which she captured near Corunna, having on board the mail from Havanah, which was thrown over board, with a swivel gun lashed fast in order to sink it, but one of the crew of the LORD HAWKE jumped overboard, and was lucky to secure it, at the imminent hazard of his life. The mail has since been forwarded to London by express.
SM 7/1/1779: London January 5.
Last night, an Officer was dispatched from the Post-Office to Yarmouth, from whence he is to take a sloop, a lugger and 3 Packets to the port in East Friesland, where the German mails are in future to be landed. He will of course return with the 6 mails that are now due from Hamburgh.
SM 14/1/1799: London, January 12.
The packet in which Gen. Kochler and the other officers appointed to serve in the Turkish army sailed from Yarmouth, was, we understand, seen frozen in off the mouth of the River Elbe. There are in all, 18 people aboard her.
SM 21/1/1799: London, January 16.
Post Office announced H.M. Sloop CRUIZER, at sea 10th January, arrived Borkum on Tuesday 8th, found ice in such great quantity, unable to see land, the ship's way perfectly impeded, and the impracticality of landing the mails fully ascertained, they had judged it prudent to return, and were on their passage home.
SM 21/1/1799: London, January 19.
Yesterday afternoon, three of the Hamburgh Mails so long due (those of the 11th, 18th and 25th ult. (Dec.)) arrived at the General Post-Office; and this morning six more (those of 14th, 21st, 28th Ult., and 1st, 4th and 8th inst.) reached town (London), leaving only one now due.
SM 25/2/1799: London February 23.
It is with great concern we mention the general anxiety respecting the fate of the PROSERPINE frigate, in which the Hon. Thomas Grenville and his suite embarked from Yarmouth on the 28th ult., bound for the Elbe. We offer no comment but . a copy of a letter written (Yarmouth Roads, Feb. 20.) by Captain Hearne , of the PRINCE OF WALES Packet, to Mr. Warmington, Agent for the packets at Yarmouth.
"Please inform their Lordships, the Postmasters-General, that on the 14th ult., the day after I sailed from Yarmouth, I was chaced by a frigate from eight o'clock in the morning until one in the afternoon, before she answered any private signal; the Texal island bearing S.S.E. distant 5 leagues. The packet was then beset with ice the whole day, and at night was obliged to lower all sails until seven next morning. On the 15th int. set sail again, and endeavoured to return, the ice being 3 leagues distance without (around) us, the packet making little way until eight at night.
When the ice cleared away, I resolved, if possible, to make Heligoland, and at six in the morning of the 19th (misprint, should read 16th) instant, saw it's light bearing E. by N. the packet then beset with ice, until ten in the forenoon, when I got the mails, and landed with very great difficulty. At four o'clock the boat returned on board, when we endeavoured to return, but there was so much ice (I) was obliged to come to an anchor close under the shore at Heligoland, where we expected to have lost the packet and all our lives during the whole night. Next morning, on the 17th instant, I went on shore, as no pilot would come on board to assist us, and to get all the information possible of the PROSERPINE frigate, which the day before , hay had informed me was lost. The information was as follows."
"The PROSERPINE frigate arrived at Heligoland on 2nd instant, and took on board a pilot, named John Boack, proceeded to the Elbe, and came to an anchor within the entrance. Two days after she was seen on shore, from Heligoland, in great distress, and the three days and nights following was constantly firing signals of distress, with he top-mast struck. The Director of the Post Office at Heligoland, Mr. Broder Frederick, told me that no boat or vessel could go to her assistance, and on the 9th instant, the ice being 3 leagues without Heligoland, she could no longer be seen."
The PRINCE OF WALES packet, Captain Anthony Deane, that sailed with her from Yarmouth, went into the Elbe in the 2nd instant, but they knew nothing more about her. I remain, Sir, your most obedient servant. Thomas Hearne." The PROSPERINE was commanded by Captain Wallace.
Other private letters state, the ice extended 15 miles from the land, and was 30 feet thick. The PRINCE OF WALES packet brought no mail, and it is very uncertain when any will arrive, as the coast about the Elbe is so full of ice.
The Hon. Thomas Grenville is junior brother to the Marquis of Buckingham, and senior to Lord Buckingham. His suite consisted of his nephew, Mr. Williams Wynne; Mr. Fisher; his Secretary; Messrs. Mason and Shaw, King's messengers; and Mr. Daintry, interpreter of the Prussian language, besides his valet and other servants.
The PRINCE OF WALES packet, which was seen going into the Elbe on the 2nd inst., had on board two King's Messengers, Hunter and East.
"We have great satisfaction in stating that a very general belief prevails that all on board the PROSPERINE are saved. We shall be most truly happy in confirming this belief upon the arrival of the Hamburgh mails, eleven of which still remained due this morning." [qf. SUN].
" A vessel was certainly seen to go down in the mouth of the Elbe, and it was supposed, but not known, to be the PROSPERINE. There is a chance remaining, that she may have made her way to Gottenburgh, the only sure way of landing in such weather, and that she may be safe,... [Qf.. St. James's Chronicle.] [Ref. Sources]
SM 4/3/1799: London March 2. Thirteen Hamburgh mails remain due. Tomorrow a fourteenth ill become due - the greatest number ever known arrears. During the winter, in the course of the Seven Years War, 13 German mails were at one time due. The following notice was yesterday put up at the General Post Office. (Extract of a letter from Mr. Warmington to Mr. Francis Freeling Esq., Secretary to the Post Office.)
"Sir, Yarmouth February 28th, 1799.
As the wind still continues as west by south-west, and no packets having yet arrived, it is the general opinion of several foreign Captains here, that the thaw could not begin so soon on the other side as it did with us." The same painful suspense regarding the fate of Mr. Grenville still continues, until the arrival of the Hamburgh packets. A vessel recently arrived from the coast of Holland was 9 days beating against the weather, after being disengaged from the ice, which extended 6 miles from the shore. The packets must have found it difficult to get to sea, even after the thaw set in.
SM 11/3/1799: London March 6.
It is with great satisfaction we announce the safety of the Right Hon. Thomas Grenville and his suite. Captain Bridge, of the PRINCE OF ORANGE packet, who was, a few days since, dispatched to Heligoland to obtain all possible information on this subject, arrived in town (London) on Sunday (3 March), and accompanied by Lord Auckland the Postmaster General, immediately waited on Lord Grenville with the above agreeable intelligence.
He received his information from the (Heligoland) pilot who went on board the PROSERPINE (sic). About 4 hours after her departure, she was driven by a violent gale of wind into the midst of immense shoals of ice; for two days she experienced the utmost distress, and on the 30th January, unfortunately foundered. Mr. Grenville and his suite, with all the crew except 12 men, a woman and a child, were saved, and arrived at Cuxhaven on the 3rd ult. after walking near 15 miles on the ice.
The late pilot of the PROSERPINE, Jan Brausch, states upon oath, that on 30th January that frigate sailed up the Elbe, and in the course of the following day proceeded up the river at high water, as far as Kettle Buoy, but finding it impossible to pass through the ice, Captain Wallis (sic) endeavoured to return, where the frigate struck on the Scharhorn. survivors landed at New Weich and proceeded to Heligoland.)
SM 18/2/1799: London, February 16.
Nine Hamburgh mails remain due. (Sea frozen 20 leagues)
SM 4/3/1799: London, March 2.
Thirteen Hamburgh mails remain due. Tomorrow the 14th will be due, the greatest known in the memory of man. In the Seven Years War, 13 German mails were at one time due.
SM 11/3/1799: Letter from a gentleman passenger on the frigate, dated February 4th, at Neuenwark island, near where the ship was lost.
"On the 29th of January we sailed from Yarmouth, with a fair wind, under Captain Wallis (sic). On the 31st we were close up with Heligoland where we got off a pilot. The same night we lay at anchor at the mouth of the river Elbe. On the following morning we weighed and proceeded a little way up the river, when we touched ground, but after a short time she had the good fortune to get of, and proceeded a little further, when it fell dead calm, and we came to anchor ahead of this island. Much ice was coming down the river and it was considered prudent to put to sea, we again struck on the sand abreast of the Scarhorn Beacon, about two miles from land. Every exercise was made to get off at high water, All her guns, shot, stores of every kind were thrown over board, but all endeavours failed. On Saturday morning (Feb. 1) it was resolved that all hands should leave the ship, and endeavour to reach this island. It was half past one when we quitted her, and we all set of on our march together, but it was so intensely cold that about 12 men and boys and a woman and child died on the way. One marine reached the light-house, but died soon after, owing to his unfortunately drinking too much liquor. Two of the marines which are missing are thought to have returned to the ship where they will certainly perish. They were both men of bad character, and went back for the purpose of plunder.
We reached this island in about two hours and a half. ... we have lost everything, but Mr. Grenville saved his dispatches.... we mustered 173 persons, including Officers, passengers and men. The people of Neuenwark were so exceedingly kind to us that we wanted for nothing. ..Mr. Grenville and the gentlemen of his suite , with the officers of the ship, are all quartered in the best houses, and mess together."
Mr. Wright, First Lieutenant off PROSERPINE (came from Cuxhaven in one of his Majesty's packets, and wrote from Yarmouth on March 6th....)
SM 15/4/1799: London, April 13.
Yesterday the arrival of the EURODYCE packet from Bengal was announced at the East India House. Private letters from Madras dated 2 Nov. stated that on 28th Oct. Lt. Col. Roberts attacked the French camp at Hyderabad (taking 13,000 prisoners). Qf, Morning Herald.
SM 3/6/1799: Falmouth, May 30.
Passed by (Falmouth) the ARETHUSA frigate, with a ship, supposed to be a West-India packet, with the mail for this place, recaptured; they are gone to the eastward. (CHECK)
SM 23/9/1799:London, September 21.
Wednesday sailed from Dover, the KING GEORGE a fine fast-sailing commissioned packet, for Helder, with the clerks and suite of Captain Popham; a numerous company saluted them on passing the Pier Head with three cheers. The Emperor of Russia has created Captain Popham a Knight of Malt, which has the agreeable appendage of £600 Sterling a year.
SM 28/10/1799:London October 25.
Lady Augusta Murray returned to England in the last packet from Hamburgh. Her son came with her. Some letters from high authority, sent to Berlin, are said to have occasioned her return.
SM 25/11/1799: Yarmouth, Nov. 17.
Arrived the PRINCE OF ORANGE packet with mails and upwards of 30 passengers from Cuxhaven. The Hamburgh mails bring the treaty between the Courts of St. Petersburg and Naples, and the last of these Courts and our own. In this it is stipulated, upon the part of Great Britain, that she shall maintain a fleet in the Mediterranean superior to the French; and on that of Naples, that all her ports on the continent and in Sicily shall be open to the English, who should also be supplied with seamen to the number of 3,000.
A treaty of commerce is to be negotiated hereafter.
SM 30/12/1799: London December 21.
Two Hamburgh mails still remain due.
The PRINCE OF WALES, Captain Sutton, that sailed from Yarmouth on the 13th inst. with the mail of the 3rd. Put back into Harwich on the 19th, in the afternoon, the wind having been several days contrary, and blowing strong from the eastward. It is to be feared that the other four packets that sailed at the same time will also be obliged to put back.
SM 13/1/1800: Ten Hamburgh mails are now due, their arrival is expected daily.
Circa 1800: Autobiography of James Silk Buckingham (pp 177-79)
"The husband of my eldest sister, Mr. Samuel Steele (ex Falmouth station & son of a Falmouth packet captain) resided here and commanded one of the packets sailing between Milford and Waterford. Among the captains of the packets running between Milford and Waterford was one whose acquaintance I was fortunate in making, Captain Pocock, a grandson of the famous marine painter of that name, who inherited his ancestor's talent in this art. From him I received daily lessons. This career of continual pleasure was cut short by the sudden and sad intelligence of my dear mother's death." (CHECK date, Mylor parish records.)
RCG 6/2/1808: Included in the list of prizes taken by French privateers during the period 1 Dec 1807 - 10 Jan 1808, was : The NORWICH packet, 180 tons, taken into Dunkirk.
BOASE (p. 1099)
L. S. Buckingham, Dramatic critic for 'The Morning Star' married 5 April 1844, Caroline Sarah WHITE, 4th daughter of Captain Fred. White of H. M. packet service, Weymouth. [cf. N. & Q. 5 S. xi, 244, 295 (1879)]
11/7/1848:Rules for Navigation lights (Side Lights)
To be fitted by the British and North American Royal Mail Company, the British General Steam Packet Company, Glasgow & Liverpool Steam Packet Co., Chester & Holyhead Co., P & O Steam Packet Co., West India Royal Mail Steam Packet Co. (No reference to Cunard Steam Navigation Company, although they no doubt implemented the new rules regarding coloured lights.)
team Packet Co. (No reference to Cunard Steam Navigation Company, although they no doubt implemented the new rules regarding coloured lights.)