The Times/1852/News/RMS Amazon
|←The Times||THE TIMES, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 7, 1852
DESTRUCTION OF THE STEAM SHIP AMAZON BY FIRE.
GREAT LOSS OF LIFE
|London Times, details the loss of the steamship RMS AmazonThis January 7th, 1852 article from the|
PLYMOUTH, JAN. 6.
The new Royal Mail steam ship Amazon, Captain Symons, which left Southampton on Friday for the West Indies and the Gulf of Mexico, has been totally consumed by fire, and of 153 persons who were on board her when she left, it is feared only 21 have been saved.
The Amazon left Southampton at half-past 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon, and in the Channel experienced strong head winds and rain. At a quarter before 1 on Sunday morning, when the ship was about 110 miles west-south-west of Scilly, a fire broke out suddenly, forward on the starboard side, between the steam chest and the under part of the galley, and shortly after the flames rushed up the gangway which is in front of the foremost funnel. The alarm bell was rung, and Captain Symons rushed on deck in his shirt and trousers. Wet swabs and other loose things were placed on the gratings of the spar deck hatch, and a hose was brought to play on the main deck, but quickly abandoned in consequence of the excessive heat. The deck pump was also kept at work until the men were forced to retire. The wind was blowing half a gale from south-west, and the vessel was going 8½ knots, which was her average rate from the time of departure. Captain Symons ordered some hay, between the engine-room crank gratings, to be thrown overboard; two trusses were hove over the ship’s side, but the fire soon ignited the main body, the hen coops on each side and the paddleboxes, the men were obliged to abandon the deck, and those who could leave were all finely driven from the ship. Many were burnt in their births, others suffocated, and a great number were drowned in the lowering of the boats.
This account was brought into port this morning by the brig Marsden, Captain Evens, of London, from Cardiff, with iron, for South Carolina, which picked up from the lifeboat the following persons― vix., Mr. R. Neilson, for Demerara; Mr. T. Sisely, for Chagres; John Hawke, second class passenger, Vera Cruz; Mr. Vincent, jun., midshipman; James Williamson, chief steward; Mr. John Dunford, quartermaster; W. Foster, AB.; Thomas Carney, AB.; James Mayline, AB.; James Mowatt, AB.; William Stears, AB.; J.H. Passmore, AB.; H. Williams, AB.; William Stevenson, AB.; John Nerink, AB.; William Nutman, water tender; James White, fireman; Charles Thorn, fireman; W. Drummer, George King, Coulterman. Mr. Neilson, and Mr. Vincent, proceed by train to-day to London, and the crew will be forwarded to the Sailors’ Home, Well Street, by the Shipwrecked Mariners Society.
Since the foregoing account reached us the secretary of the company has informed us that the crew and engine people on board the Amazon were about 112 in number, and that there were 50 passengers on board. He has also supplied us with the following list of the ship’s officers, who are missing: - Captain Symons; Mr. Roberts, chief officer; Mr. Treweeke, second officer; Mr. Lewis, third officer; Mr. Goodridge, forth officer; Mr. Stuart, midshipman; Mr. Angus, chief engineer; Mr. Angus, jun., second engineer. Mr. Vincent (son of Captain Vincent of the Severn), the midshipman in the Amazon, who was saved, has been so good as to furnish us with the following narrative: - “We left Southampton with the West Indian and Mexican mails on board on Friday, the 2d inst. On the 3d, at noon, we were in latitude 49.12 north, longitude 4.5 west, steering west by south half-south, with an increasing fresh breeze. At 9.30 p.m. we stopped with half bearings. At 11.20 we proceeded, wind still increasing. At about 20 minutes to 1 on Sunday morning fire was observed bursting through the hatchway foreside of the fore funnel. Every possible exertion was made to put out the fire, but all was ineffectual. The mail boat was lowered, with 20 or 25 persons in it, but was immediately swamped and went astern, the people clinging to one another. They were all lost. The pinnacle was next lowered, but she hung by the fore tackle, and being swamped the people were all washed out of her. In lowering the second cutter the sea raised her and unhooked the fore tackle, so that she fell down perpendicularly, and all but two of the persons in her were washed out. “Captain Symons was all this time using his utmost exertions to save his passengers and crew. Sixteen men, including two passengers, succeeded in lowering the lifeboat, and about the same time, I (Mr. Vincent), with two men, the steward and a passenger, got into and lowered the dinghy. In about half an hour the lifeboat took the dinghy’s people into her, and bore down for the ship with the dinghy in tow, but the sea increasing, and being nearly swamped, they were obliged to cast the dinghy off and bring the boat head to sea. The masts went – first the foremast, and then the mizenmast. “About this time a bark passed astern of the lifeboat; we hailed her with our united 21 voices and thought she answered us, but she wore and stood under the stern of the burning vessel, and immediately hauled her wind and stood away again. “The gig with five hands was at this time some little way from us, but the sea was running so high that we could render her no assistance, and shortly afterwards lost sight of her. “About 4 a.m. (Sunday) it was raining heavily, and the wind shifted to the northward; sea confused, but decreasing; put the boat before the sea. At 5 o’clock the ship’s magazine exploded, and about half an hour afterwards the funnels went over the side and she sank. At noon we were picked up by the Marsden, of London, Captain Evans, by whom we were treated in the kindest manner possible. “We were picked up in latitude 48.5 north, longitude 5.30 west; wind north to north-east. The captain stood in to the coast of France, but the wind shifting to the southward he bore up for Plymouth, where we arrived at 10.50 p.m. on the 5th, and were most hospitably and kindly received by the landlord of the Globe Hotel.” ― Mr. Neilson, one of the only two passengers saved, has sent the following communication: - “I have to report the total loss of the West Indian Mail steam packet Amazon on Saturday night, the 3d inst., off the Bay of Biscay. “At 12.40 the fire broke out. In less than 10 minutes it was bursting up the fore and main hatchways. Out of 156 people on board only 21 are, I believe, saved, for I was on the last boat that left the ship, and one of the two last men who got in after lowering her, by springing from the ship’s side and sliding down the tackle fall. The fire caught the other man and burnt the hair off his face before he sprang off. “We were picked up the next day by the brig Marsden, Captain Evans, who treated us with the greatest kindness and attention, and landed us about 1 this morning. We were received at the Globe by Mr. Radmore with the greatest kindness.”
THE TIMES, THURSDAY, JANUARY 8, 1852. THE LOSS OF THE AMAZON ― The destruction of this splendid steamer, and the dreadful loss of life with which there is every reason to apprehend that it has been accompanied, have erected, as might have been expected, a most painful impression in the public mind. We regret to say that no tidings have been yet received of any more of the passengers and crew being saved, and a day or two will probably elapse before all doubts and uncertainties are removed upon that terrible subject. It is possible that other boats besides those seen may have got away from the burning wreck, for there were nine altogether, three of which were swamped, three getting off with their cargoes, and three still remaining unaccounted for. The darkness of night might have by chance prevented those in the life-boat from observing all that took place, yet the strong impression among them seems to be that they are the only survivors. The list of passengers believed to have been lost is as follows: - (50, including) … Mr. Glennie, Vera Cruz… The fearful account of life and death, therefore, by the loss of the Amazon stands thus at present – Ship’s company … 110 Admiralty agent … 1 Passengers … 161 Saved … 21 Missing ... 141
Of the causes which led to this terrible catastrophe nothing is yet known with certainty, but they will, no doubt, form the subject of immediate inquiry by the directors of the company. The only conjecture that can at present be hazarded is that which connects with the outbreak of the fire the heated state of the bearings. All new ships suffer more or less in the same way until their engines get into working trim, and, as will be seen from the subjoined narratives, the Amazon was twice stopped in her course from this very cause. The gale of wind which was blowing, the heavy sea, and the full pressure of steam, all tended to increase the danger likely thus to arise, and the point at which the flames were first seem certainly appears to prove that they originated in the engine-room. Some of the survivors will probably be able to give important evidence on this point. The loss of life, the swamping of the boats, and all the other horrors of this afflicting event are too easily accounted for. The position of the fire rendered it impossible to get at the engines, in order to stop them. When the ship’s head was to windward the flames swept the afterdecks, where the passengers chiefly were. Before the wind, she was going at a tremendous speed, and it is marvelous how any of the boats were launched under such circumstances and in such a sea. The escape of the little dinghy is in no doubt due to the calmness and intrepidity of young Mr. Vincent, who though a mere boy in years, proved himself a thorough man and sailor on the occasion. He not only guided his small boat to safety till he joined the life-boat, but there he took immediate command as superior officer, and did every thing in his power to sustain the courage of the crew throughout that dreadful night. The following written statement was laid by him before the directors of the company: - “ The Amazon was at noon of the 3d of January, 1852, in lat. 49.12 N., and long. 4.57 W., from which time she steered W. by S. ½ S., till 9.30 p.m. of the same day, when she was stopped to cool bearings. At 11.20 p.m. she proceeded, still steering the same course, streaming about 8½ knots per hour, wind and sea increasing from the windward. At 40 minutes a.m. on the 4th smoke was observed coming through the hatchway, on the foreside of the foremost funnel. Immediately afterwards the flames burst through. The alarm was immediately given, and the captain and chief officer came on deck. The fire-hose and buckets of water were bought to play on the fire, but that together with the attempt to stop the engines was ineffectual. The helm was put hard to starboard to put her before the wind, but it was some time before she paid off. The small boat, when lowered, was immediately swamped, with about 25 people in her, all of whom were lost. The pinnace, when lowered, sheered across the sea before the people in her could unhook the fore-tackle. They were thereby washed out, and the boat remained hanging by the bow. While clearing away the second cutter a sea struck her and raised her off the cranes and unhooked the bow-tackle. The fore-end immediately fell down, and the people in her, with the exception of two, who hung doubled over the thwarts, were propelled into the sea and drowned. Sixteen men (including two passengers) succeeded in clearing away and lowering the lifeboat on the starboard side. They used every endeavour to save those in the water, but were swept out so rapidly that their exertions were with-out avail. At about the same time I (Mr. Vincent) with the chief steward, one passenger, and two seamen, got into and lowered the dinghy, and were picked up by the life-boat about half an hour afterward, when we immediately took the small boat in tow, and stood down for the ship, but the wind and sea increasing, and the dinghy being upset, and ourselves being nearly swamped, we were obliged to let the small boat go, and keep the life-boat with her head to the sea. Whilst lying-to a bark passed to the astern of us, and was accordingly hailed, and did, I believe, answer, but did nothing of any kind to assist us, but stood down to leeward of the ship, hauled on a wind, and went away. There was now on our quarter a boat with five men in her (appeared to be the gig), but we could not from the severity of the weather render her any assistance. About half an hour afterwards we suddenly lost sight of her. About 4 a.m. it rained heavily, wind shifted to northward, decreasing sea, confused but going down; put the boat about and kept before it. At 5 the magazine exploded, and about half an hour afterward the funnels went over the side, soon after which the ship went down bodily. At noon we were picked up by Marsden, of London, stood in for the coast of France, and afterwards (wind shifting to the southward) for Falmouth, and lastly for Plymouth, at which we arrived on Monday, 11 p.m. “48.5 N. lat., when picked up; 5.30 W. long., ditto. “WILLIAM VINCENT. “To the Secretary R.M.S.P. Company, Jan. 6, 1852”
The Court have already taken steps to supply the gap in our communications with the West Indies and Central America caused by the loss of the Amazon, and on Sunday or Monday next the Avon will start from Southampton.
PLYMOUTH, Tuesday The cause of the destruction of the Amazon is unknown; she was under steam from the time of her departure to the period of the accident. As is usual with new machinery, water was kept almost continually playng on the bearings of the engines. On account of the heat of these bearings the ship was stopped off the Bill of Portland on Friday night, between the hours of 8 and 12, and about the same period on Saturday night she was stopped for two hours and a half; however, the necessity for the operation for wetting those parts was decreasing as the main center bearings were getting more sweet and the engines in altogether better order. John Sheering, an intelligent fireman, states that in playing the water on the cranks a quantity fell upon the wood and felt of the boilers, and he conceives that these substances, when water was dried from them, would ignite the quicker for the operation, and hence the accident.
The boats of the Amazon were fitted with iron cranes or crutches on which their keels rested; these fitting obstructed their clearance from the ship, and but for this fatal arrangement the serious loss of life would have been lessened. Captain Symons ordered no one to get into the boats. This order was obeyed until the people saw the flames overpowering the ship. He was last seen with the man at the wheel, ordering the helm to be put up, so as to keep the ship before the wind. His last words were – “It is all over with her”. The officer of the watch, Mr. Treweeke (second officer), was walking the bridge when the accident was discovered. Mr. Henry Roberts, chief officer, in his shirt only, was actively assisting the captain; he was last seen going through the companion down to the main deck, and is supposed to have perished there. Mr. Lewis (third officer), Mr. Goodridge (fourth officer), and the two midshipmen, some of whose berths were forward, on the port side of the main deck, were probably suffocated, as were also the chief engineer, Mr. George Angus, and Mr. Allen, superintending engineer under Mr. Seward, as they were seen in the engine room ten minutes before the fire broke out going forward, there being no possibility of their return through the flames. The second engineer, Mr. William Angus, was on the spar deck, between the funnel and the crank gratings, pulling oars, and throwing them out of the way of the fire on the deck, near the boats. The two best boats were stowed on top of the sponsons, where the flames prevented approach. After the Amazon was put about she went at the rate of 12 or 13 knots, dead before the wind. One boat on the starboard side, the second cutter, was full of people when the wash of the sea unhooked the foremost tackle; she held on by the stern tackle, and her stern falling in to the sea, all except two were drowned in consequence of the ship’s speed. The pinnace was observed on the port side, towing by the fore tackle, behind the burning ship, and as no one cut the towrope the miserable passengers, who were all huddled together, were, one after another, washed into the sea. The mail-boat, which was also full of people, having shipped a quantity of water, went down along side.
The scene on deck is described as dreadful in the extreme. When the flames had approached the after companion, two male passengers came up from the saloon, all in flames, and running aft, fell on the deck. A tall lady, supposed to be Mrs. Maclaren, entreated some one to tale care of her child, but she would not enter either of the boats (see Per The Medical Directory 1853). Dinsford, the quartermaster, placed one lady passenger in a boat, but she being extremely agitated, got out again, and although Henry Williams and another used some force and begged her to go in, she persisted in remaining on board. The stewardess, Mrs. Scot, with her bonnet and shawl on, first asked Steer to put her in the dinghy and then left for a larger boat. At the time of leaving some of those who yet lived were kneeling on the deck praying to God for mercy, while others, almost in a state of nudity, were running about screaming with horror.
The survivors escaped in the after starboard second life-boat, in which was Mr. Neilson. One of her occupants (Maylin), in leaving, pressed his foot through the burning deck and injured it; two others (Williams and Passmore) had to climb the starboard paddle-box through the flames and smoke. They succeeded after three attempts, and then slid down hands and face over the paddle-box into the boat; several went down by the tackles. Two of the watch below (Williams and Foster) had their hair burnt while coming on deck. When the life-boat left there were 16 on board; they heard some one shouting in the water, and threw over a keg and some oars, they endeavored to approach, but a sea carried the boat off. They then took Mr. Vincent, Mr. Williamson, Mr. Sisley, and two sailors from the dinghy, and, making her fast to the stern, towed after the burning wreck, thinking to save more lives, but the dinghy having filled, they were obliged to cut her adrift, and, fearing they themselves should be swamped, their boat’s head was put to face the sea. Twelve oars were at work, the wind was increasing, and heavy squalls coming on. They saw the ship’s gig full of people, shouting as if for assistance, and at the same time descried a sail standing apparently to the southward. The vessel appeared to pass between the two boats, and after this the gig was not seen; whether she was swamped or was taken up by the stranger is unknown. The strange vessel came pretty close under the life-boat’s stern, when all shouted together, and thought they were answered on board; she was a bark under closereefed top sails, foresail, and foretopmast staysail; her spanker was hanging in the brails as if she was in the act of wearing. Soon after her helm was put up, and she bore right down towards the wreck behind which she disappeared. The masts of the steamer went over before 4 o’clock in the morning, the foremast on the port and the mainmast on the starboard side. One poor fellow appeared at the jibboom end; the jib was cut loose and was blowing away. Her mizenmast was still standing while she was in flames stem to stern. About 5 o’clock, when the lifeboat was passing the ship in a leewardly direction, the gunpowder in her two magazines aft exploded, and in about 20 minutes, the mizen having gone by the board, she made a heavy lurch and went down, her funnels being red hot and still standing. Those in the boat pulled before the sea and wind, thinking to make the French coast, which was, as they thought, the nearest. Mr Vincent’s monkey jacket, being mounted on an oar, was their only sail, and the boat was kept dry by bailing her with his boots. At half past 10 on Sunday morning they saw a brig, and, taking down the jacket, they hoisted handkerchiefs, fore and aft, for signals of distress; and at 12 o’clock in lat. 48.5 N., long 5.30 W., they boarded the Marsden, of London, Captain Evans, from Cardiff, with railway iron, for North Carolina. The brig took the boat in-tow with a new 7-inch hawser, but this having got chaffed, it broke at 4 p.m. on Monday during half a gale of wind, and the boat was lost. On board this brig every human attention was exhibited, and after giving the ship-wrecked crew as much clothing and comfort as could be produced, Captain Evans landed them safely at Plymouth, whence they were sent to their homes by the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society.
The Amazon is described as having been a splendid vessel; her machinery is also spoken of in high terms. From the main deck up she is said to have been built of pine fir, which, when once ignited, speedily carried the flames in all directions, and thus lead the more quickly to her destruction, and the fearful loss of life among her passengers and crew.
SOUTHAMPTON, JAN. 7. The sudden and appalling account of the total destruction by fire of the Royal Mail steam ship Amazon at the entrance of the Bay of Biscay, and the loss of the majority of her passengers, officers, and crew, has caused the most wide spread sorrow in Southampton among the numerous persons having friends or relatives on board the ill-fated ship. The Amazon was commanded by Captain William Symonds, a gentleman of known and tried courage and abilities. He was only provisionally appointed to the Amazon in consequence of the absence from England of Captain Chapman, of this coy., who was designated to be the permanent commander, the directors having Captain Symons to assume the command of the new steamer Orinoco, now in the Thames and nearly ready to take her station on the main line on the West Indian mail service. Captain Symons has recently distinguished himself by great bravery in the Isthmus of Panama, where, by his intrepidity and coolness, he prevented the slaughter of a great number of American passengers by the infuriated natives, and where, under a heavy fire of musketry and cannon, he succeeded in conveying gold dust in the value of upwards of $2,000,000 in the boats of the Medway on board the United States mail steam ship Cherokee; and, further, in removing the passengers under circumstances of imminent danger, and placing them safely on board the steamer. Just prior to the sailing of the Amazon, Captain Symons received the subjoined letter from the United States Mail Steam Ship Company, of New York, accompanied by a magnificent silver speaking trumpet:- “Office of the United States Mail “Steam Ship Company, New York, Nov. 4, 1851. “To Captain Symons, commanding the Royal Mail Packet “Company’s steam ship Medway. “Sir,-Captain Windle, of the Cherokee, one of this company’s steamers, has reported to us the prompt and efficient aid rendered by yourself, and the officers under your command, in the recent affray at Chagres, by which the mails, treasure, and passengers, were promptly and securely placed on board the Cherokee. “I beg you to accept, in behalf of this company, my best acknowledgments for this high act of courtesy, characteristic alike of British honour and humanity, and honourable to your flag, your self, your officers, and men. “Allow me also the pleasure to tender you the accompanying speaking trumpet, as a slight testimonial of the company’s appreciation of your character and services. “I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, “M. O. ROBERTS” Lieutenant Brady, R.N., the Admiralty agent of the Amazon, was sent on board to take charge of the mails at the last moment, in the place of Lieutenant Wilkinson, R.N., who was prevented from embarking by a sudden indisposition, and whose life has thus been providentially preserved at the expense of that of Lieutenant Brady, who is an officer well known and highly respected here. It may be added that all the officers, engineers, and crew of the Amazon were picked men, and were selected for appointment to the new ship from their previously known abilities and intelligence.
The value of the Amazon when ready for sea was about 100,000l., and she is understood to have cost the Royal Mail Steam Ship Packet Company fully that sum. We are informed that she is not insured, and the loss will consequently fall entirely upon the insurance fund of the company— a fund exclusively devoted from the profits of the company towards casualties of shipwrecks and loss of their vessels. The value of the specie, quicksilver, cargo, &c., when added to the value of the ship, will give a total loss of property by this melancholy occurrence of little less than 200,000l. sterling.
The destruction of the Amazon following so quickly upon the stranding of the Demerara at Bristol will be seriously detrimental to the interests of the company, as two out of the five new ships are thus withdrawn, leaving only three — vis, the Orinoco, Magdalina, and Parana — with which to perform the direct mail service between Southampton and the Isthmus of Panama. Several of the old ships will now have to be retained on the mail line till other vessels to replace the missing ships can be constructed, and in the meantime much inconvenience will be experienced by the disorganization into which the general mail service will necessarily be thrown by the non-employment of steamers of sufficient power and speed with which to maintain the chain of communication between this country and the West Indies, Central America, The Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, &c. We have no doubt the directors will make every effort to remedy this state of things with out delay, but a considerable time must elapse before so great a blow can be recovered, and the traffic will necessarily suffer to some extent by the competition of the New York route, which is found to be more speedy for the transmission of mails, passengers, and treasure from the Pacific and some other points, than can be provided by the old West India packets, which are, when compared with other ocean steamers, so deficient in speed. The West Indian Mail Company has been the most unfortunate of all the great steam packet associations in the loss of their steam ships. Since the establishment of the company in 1841 no less than eight of their fleet of steamers have been destroyed by calamities at sea. We recapitulate their names — the Medina, wrecked on the 12th of May, 1844, on a coral reef, near Turk’s Island; the Isis, on the 8th of October, 1842, sunk off Bermuda, having previously struck on a reef; the Solway, wrecked off Curunna, on the 8th of April, 1843; the Tweed, on the 12th of February, 1847, on the Alacranes rocks, Gulf of Mexico; the Forth, likewise lost on the same rocks, on the 15th of January, 1849; the Actheon, lost in 1844 in the Negrellos, near Carthagena; and the new steamer Demerara, stranded in the river Avon, near Bristol, not long since. The wrecks of the Tweed and Solway were attended with particularly distressing circumstances, involving the loss of nearly 120 lives, and in the case of the survivors of the Tweed with an extent of hardship and suffering which has rarely found a parallel in the records of disasters of sea. The catalog is closed by the burning of the Amazon on Sunday morning last, and by the harrowing occurrences which it has been our painful duty to recount in connection with her destruction.
THE TIMES, SATURDAY, JANUARY 10, 1852. THE LOSS OF THE AMAZON
Official information, dated the 5th inst., has been received at the foreign-office from Her Majesty’s Consul at Brest, that the undermentioned passengers and seamen belonging to the Royal Mail Steam-packet Amazon have been brought into that port, having been picked up at sea by the Dutch galliot Gertruida, Captain Teinelaer: — “Mrs. Anna Maria Smith, Mrs. Elenor Roper Maclaren and child (see Per The Medical Directory 1853), Mr. Bernardo Barrieos, Mr. Frederick Glennie, Mr. John Stryburn, and Mr. William Evans, passengers; Mr. William Stone, engineer; George Deal and Alexander Laing, quartermasters; Jacob Allen, foreman at Messers. Seaward’s; Michael Gould, second steward; John Rodgers, James Berryman, Daniel Brown, and Joseph Welsman, seamen; Thomas Attwood, Charles Laing, William Lucas, George Tucker, George Harding, Charles Lany, William Goodman, and Henry Carter, firemen; Frederick Wads, sailor-boy.”
(From the Morning Chronicle.) BREST, JAN. 5. The Dutch vessel Gertruida, Captain Teinelaer, entered the roads here to-day with 25 shipwrecked persons who escaped from a terrible catastrophe, of which it is a miracle that they are not the victims. The Royal mail steam-packet Amazon, going to the West Indies, with a crew of about 120 men and 70 passengers, caught fire at the entry to the Bay of Biscay during the night of the 3d of January in consequence of the imprudence, it is believed, of a domestic, and after a very short time the vessel was nothing but a burning furnace. It appears that, in the middle of the confusion occasioned by the efforts of the passengers to launch the ordinary boats (the two lifeboats having been immediately burnt), a great number of these unfortunate people lost their lives. Nevertheless seven boats were saved, and, it is believed, received the greatest portion of the passengers; but of the seven two only reached the Dutch ship which has arrived here. She picked up the first boat yesterday (Sunday, the 4th of January) at half-past 6o’clock in the evening, and the second this morning at 7 o’clock. It is, unhappily, to be feared that the captain and officers, who showed great though unavailing courage, perished in the steamer when she blew up—for such was her fate, as an envoy of the French Government, who was going to California for the purpose of sending home accounts of the emigrants in that country, assures me. In the presence of such a catastrophe, the British Vice-Consul (In the absence of Sir Anthony Perrier, the Consul, who is detained in Paris by his duties as a member of the International Sanitary Commission) lost no time in endeavoring to save the lives of those who, according to the accounts given by the passengers who arrived here, were saved in the four or five other boats which escaped from the wreck, and which, from all appearances, must still be struggling against the waves. The Maritime Prefect was immediately applied to, and he at once agreed to give every assistance, and the Souffleur steamer, which was in the harbour, was immediately ordered out. Captain Caberet, the worthy captain of the Souffleur, prepared for sea with a promptitude that does him much credit. He will, however, have great difficulty in discovering the precise position in which the melancholy accident happened, for the information given by the crew and passengers rescued by the Gertruida is so vague and unsatisfactory that he must be guided a good deal by his own intelligence and circumstances. The Souffleur, notwithstanding all the efforts made to dispatch her, was not able to leave the Goulet till nightfall, but, as there is moonlight, it may be able to be of efficient service, and the zeal of the captain is such as inspires great confidence.
The whole of the shipwrecked passengers and crew who arrived by the Gertruida have been brought ashore in boats, and a more melancholy spectacle than they presented could not be pictured. Among them are two ladies and a child, and their suffering may be conceived from the fact that, besides all the other horrors they had gone through, they were exposed to all the inclemency of the weather during nearly 48 hours, almost in a state of nudity; for, as the fire broke out after the passengers had retired for the night, and the raging element spread through the devoted ship with desolating rapidity, they had no time to save anything, or even to dress. Immediately on the news of their arrival here, several ladies hastened to send them the clothing which they so much wanted. The family of Sir Anthony Perrier also hurried to the assistance of their distressed countrywomen, and, with their ordinary humanity, had the two ladies and their child removed to their house, where they are now receiving the care and attention which they so much require. One of the ladies, Mrs. Elenor Roper MacLean (see Per The Medical Directory 1853) is severely burnt, but not to the danger of her life. During the whole of the period between the alarm of the fire and the time she left the ship she clung with maternal devotion to her child (a boy 18 months old), and, when so many others perished, contrived to save the lives of both. Her husband, who was in the employment of the Government at Demerara, was also on board. She is still ignorant of his death, believing that he has escaped in one of the other boats; but her companions in misfortune declare that they think he was blown up in the steamer when the magazine blew up. The other lady passenger who has arrived here, Miss. Anna Maria Smith, comes from Dublin, and, I understand, was on her way to Porto Rico, to join a family in which she was to be governess. The male passengers are all comfortably lodged at an hotel here, by directions of the Vice-Consul. They are also completely destitute both of money and clothing, but have been amply provided with shoes, hats, and wearing apparel by the Vice-Consul, who has also secured means to convey them with the least possible delay to Morlaix, where they will be shipped for England. It is almost unnecessary to say that the mailbags, as well as every thing else on board the unfortunate Amazon, have been totally lost.
I have only to add that the captain of the Gertruida has acted with the most praiseworthy humanity. He not only placed every thing on board his vessel at the disposal of our shipwrecked countrymen, but had gone out of his track to carry them to the nearest harbour.
The following is a list of the persons saved in the two boats rescued by the Gertruida, and landed at Brest:— First boat. — Elenor Roper Maclaren (or Maclean) and child (see Per The Medical Directory 1853), passengers; Frederick Glennie, passenger; Bernardo Barricoa; ditto; Jacob Allen, foreman at Messrs. Seaward’s; John Lamont, fireman; William Stone, ditto; William Goodman, ditto; Henry Carter, ditto; Charles Laing, ditto; George Harding, ditto; George Tucker, ditto; John Rodgers, seaman; James Berryman, ditto; Frederick Wall (or Wade), sailor-boy; Michael Gould, second steward. Second boat. — Anna Maria Smith, passenger; William Evans, ditto; Jean Stryburn, ditto; George Deal, quartermaster; Alexander Laing, ditto; Daniel Brown, seaman; Joseph Welchman, ditto; Thomas Attwood, fireman.
This work was published before January 1, 1923, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.