Minerva (1773 ship)

United Kingdom
Name: Minerva
Namesake: Minerva
  • Robert Charnock[1]
  • 1802: James Pycroft[2]
Builder: Bombay
Launched: 1773[3][4]
Fate: Last listed in Lloyd's Register in 1808
General characteristics
Tons burthen:

1802: 118 ft 3 14 in (36.049 m) (overall);

93 ft 0 in (28.35 m) (keel)
Beam: 1802: 33 ft 18 in (10.52 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 0 in (4.57 m)

Minerva was a merchantman launched in 1773 in the East Indies. She made three voyages for the British East India Company (EIC). The first EIC voyage was from 1796 to 1798. In 1799 she transported convicts from Ireland to Australia. On this voyage she was under charter to the (EIC). From Australia she sailed to Bengal, and then back to Britain. She underwent repairs in 1802 and then traveled to St Helena and Bengal for the EIC.

EIC voyage #1 (1796-98)

Captain Thomas Blany (or Blamey[5]) sailed Minerva from Southampton on 22 May 1796, bound for Bengal. She reached Gibraltar on 14 June, Santa Cruz de Tenerife on 8 July, and the Cape on 19 September. She arrived at Diamond Harbour on 10 February 1797. Homeward bound, she left Calcutta on 25 April, passed Diamond Harbour on 3 May, reached the Cape on 29 August, and reached St Helena on 29 September. She arrived at the Downs on 30 January.[10]

Lloyd's List for 2 February reported that Minerva, Blaney, master, had run afoul of Castor, Salkeld, master, from Bengal, in The Downs. Castor was on shore at Ramsgate, and the cargo was expected to be saved.[11]

Convict transport and EIC voyage #2 (1799-1801)

Under the command of Joseph Salkeld (or Stalkeld),[3] Minerva left the Downs, on 6 August 1799.[1] She sailed from Cork, Ireland on 24 August with 165 male and 26 female convicts, plus three children belonging to convicts. She also had a detachment of 20 men from the New South Wales Marine Corps to guard the prisoners, and several passengers. One passenger was Joseph Holt, was had been general for the United Irish, and who had led a large guerrilla force that had fought against British troops in County Wicklow from June–October 1798. A second passenger was Henry Fulton, who was a clergyman in the Diocese of Killaloe, and who also had been involved in the Irish Rebellion of 1798. Both men travelled to Australia with their families, all sharing a cabin. They were not convicts per se. Holt was among seven transportees who had agreed to self-exile in lieu of punishment.[12] Fulton may have been numbered the 70 men classified as political prisoners. A third notable passenger was Captain William Cox, who had been appointed paymaster of the New South Wales Corps.

Minerva sailed in company with Friendship and some other vessels.[4] On 14 September, Minerva parted from Friendship, and their escort, HMS Dryad, left them to return to Ireland.[13] Two weeks later, on 30 September. Minerva exchanged shots at some distance with two strange vessels that sported Portuguese colors, but both sides did not pursue the matter. Three days after that Minerva encountered two Spanish vessels, a galleon and what appeared to be a prison ship. The British made ready to fight as Spain was an enemy of Britain's. The British also permitted Holt to form a gun crew from among the political prisoners, they having agreed to fight.[8] As Minerva approached, the supposed prison ship fired a broadside. At that, Salkeld sailed away, and so did the Spaniards. Later, Holt admitted that had the Spanish boarded, he and his men would have mutinied.[13][8]

Minerva reached Rio de Janeiro on 10 October and arrived at Port Jackson on 11 January 1800. She arrived there a month before Friendhip. Three male convicts died on the voyage; this was a particularly low rate for such a long voyage. Salkeld had a liberal attitude with respect to restrictions on the conduct of the female convicts and a number of marriages eventuated.[4] Holt later credited Cox with fostering the humane treatment of the prisoners that had resulted in the low death rate, and ended up managing Cox's farm.[8]

Minerva left Port Jackson for Bengal in April 1800. She arrived at Calcutta on 7 June. Homeward bound, she passed Kedgeree on 27 October, reached St Helena on 24 February 1801 and Ascension Island on 22 March, and arrived at the Downs on 26 May.[1] She had travelled with several other extra ships of the EIC, viz Varuna, William Ward Farrer, master, Highland Chief, Scott, master, and Friendship. HMS Buffalo, a 12-gun storeship, had been their escort.[14]

In 1802 Minerva changed hands,[15] and underwent extensive repairs by Perry and at this time had her measurements taken.[2] Her new owner was James Pycroft, and her new master became George Weltden.[6]

Lloyd's Register
Year Master Owner Trade Notes
1801 J. Stalkeld Charrock Cork - Botany Bay 441 tons (bm)
1802 J. Stalkeld
G. Wilsden
J. Pycroft
Cork - Botany Bay
London - India
440 tons (bm)
567 tons (bm)
1803 G. Wilsden J. Pycroft London - India 558 tons (bm)

EIC voyage #3 (1802-03

Weltden left the Downs on 14 June 1802, bound for St Helena and Bengal, and in company with the East Indiaman Lord Eldon.[16] One of the passengers on board was Henry Salt, who would later go on to become consul general in Egypt and a noted Egyptologist; he was travelling as secretary to Viscount Lord Valentia. Minerva reached Madeira around 29 June and St Helena on 20 August.[17] From there she reached the Cape on 20 October. At the Cape she picked up the future General Vandeleur and a portion of the 8th Light Dragoons.[18] She separated from the Lord Eldon at the Cape and reached the Nicobar Islands on 5 January 1803; she arrived at Calcutta on 29 January. On her homeward bound trip she passed Saugor on 10 March, reached the Nicobars again on 13 April, Colombo on 10 May, St Helena on 2 August, and Cork on 29 November, and arrived at the Downs on 12 December.[6]

Minerva had left Britain during the Peace of Amiens, which broke down in March 1803. Weltden received a letter of marque dated 6 July 1803, i.e., after he had left.[7]

Later career

The 1803 Lloyd's Register notes that Minerva had a new master, one Dodds by name. The letter of marque issued on 11 October 1804 to "Dods", shows her armament as two 9-pounder guns and twelve 24-pounder carronades.[7]

In the 1806 Lloyd's Register she is shown as travelling between London and Barbados, and armed with fourteen 24-pounder carronades. The entries continue relatively unchanged through the 1808 Lloyd's Register, and then end.

Citations and references

  1. 1 2 3 National Archives: Minerva (3), - accessed 28 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 Hackman (2001), pp.157-8.
  3. 1 2 Lloyd's Register (1800).
  4. 1 2 3 4 Cox (2012).
  5. 1 2 Hackman (2001), p.239.
  6. 1 2 3 National Archives:Minerva (5) - accessed 28 November 2014.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Letter of Marque, 1793-1815; p.78
  8. 1 2 3 4 Holt (1838), pp.487-50.
  9. Lloyd's Register.
  10. National Archives: Minerva (2).
  11. Lloyd's List, n°2982.
  12. Whittaker (1994), pp.24-25.
  13. 1 2 Whittaker (1994), p.44-5.
  14. Naval Chronicle, Vol. 5, p.457.
  15. Lloyd's Register (1802).
  16. Hardy & Hardy (1811), p.221.
  17. Halls (2014), pp.69-72.
  18. Halls (2014), p.77.
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