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Minerva (1773 ship)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Great Britain
Name: Minerva
Namesake: Minerva
  • Robert Charnock[1]
  • 1802: James Pycroft[2][3]
Builder: Bombay
Launched: 1773[4][2][5]
Fate: Lost c.1806
General characteristics
Tons burthen:

1802: 118 ft 3 14 in (36.0 m) (overall);

93 ft 0 in (28.3 m) (keel)
Beam: 1802: 33 ft 18 in (10.5 m)
Depth of hold: 15 ft 0 in (4.6 m)

Minerva was a merchantman launched in 1773 in the East Indies. She traded there for more than 20 years before 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 while 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. She was lost in 1805 or 1806 under circumstances that are currently unclear.

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EIC voyage #1 (1796-98)

Captain Thomas Blany (or Blamey[6] 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.[11]

The British government planned an expedition 1797-8 against Manila. The EIC held eight regular ships, and three "dismantled ships" in India to support the expedition, and hired some others. Minerva, one of the hired vessels, left Calcutta on 25 April, and passed Diamond Harbour on 3 May. However, a peace treaty with Spain resulted in the British cancelling the planned expedition. Minerva's owners claimed demurrage; the amount they claimed was £2,508 6s 8d for 106 days.[12]

Homeward bound, Minerva, reached the Cape on 29 August, and St Helena on 29 September. She arrived at the Downs on 30 January 1798.[11]

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.[13]

Minerva was admitted to the Registry of Great Britain on 14 April 1798.[14]

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

Under the command of Joseph Salkeld (or Stalkeld),[4] 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, who as a general for the United Irish 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.[15] Fulton may have been numbered among 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.[5] On 14 September, Minerva parted from Friendship, and their escort, HMS Dryad, left them to return to Ireland.[16] 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.[9] 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.[16][9]

Minerva reached Rio de Janeiro on 10 October and arrived at Port Jackson on 11 January 1800. She arrived there a month before Friendship. 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.[5] 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.[9]

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.[17]

In 1802 Minerva changed hands,[2] and underwent extensive repairs by Perry. At this time she had her measurements taken, and her burthen was reported as changing from 440 tons to 560 tons.[2] Her new owner was James Pycroft, and her new master became George Weltden.[2][7][3]

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 (1802-1803)

Weltden left the Downs on 14 June 1802, bound for St Helena and Bengal, and in company with the East Indiaman Lord Eldon.[18] 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.[19] 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.[20] She separated from 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.[7]

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.[8]

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.[8]

The 1806 Lloyd's Register shows Minerva 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. However, the Register of Shipping for 1806 has a voyage of London—Jamaica, and the notation "LOST".[21]

Citations and references


  1. ^ a b c British Library: Minerva (3).
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Lloyd's Register (1802), seq.№726.
  3. ^ a b c Hackman (2001), pp. 157-8.
  4. ^ a b Lloyd's Register (1800).
  5. ^ a b c d Cox (2012).
  6. ^ a b Hackman (2001), p. 239.
  7. ^ a b c British Library: Minerva (5).
  8. ^ a b c d e f g Letter of Marque, 1793-1815; p.78 Archived 2015-07-09 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ a b c d Holt (1838), pp.487-50.
  10. ^ Lloyd's Register.
  11. ^ a b British Library: Minerva (2).
  12. ^ Asiatic Annual Register for the Year 1805 (1807), p.53.
  13. ^ Lloyd's List, n°2982.
  14. ^ House (1814), p.86.
  15. ^ Whittaker (1994), pp. 24-25.
  16. ^ a b Whittaker (1994), pp. 44-5.
  17. ^ Naval Chronicle, Vol. 5, p.457.
  18. ^ Hardy & Hardy (1811), p. 221.
  19. ^ Halls (2014), pp. 69-72.
  20. ^ Halls (2014), p. 77.
  21. ^ Register of Shipping (1806), Seq. №M860.


  • Bateson, Charles, The Convict Ships, 1787-1868, Sydney, 1974. ISBN 0-85174-195-9
  • Cox, Richard (2012) William Cox: Blue Mountains Road Builder and Pastoralist. (Rosenberg Publishing). ISBN 9781922013637
  • Hackman, Rowan (2001) Ships of the East India Company. (Gravesend, Kent: World Ship Society). ISBN 0-905617-96-7
  • Halls, John James (2014) The Life and Correspondence of Henry Salt, Esq. (Cambridge University Press). ISBN 9781108074674
  • Hardy, Charles and Horatio Charles Hardy (1811) A register of ships, employed in the service of the Honorable the United East India Company, from the year 1760 to 1810: with an appendix, containing a variety of particulars, and useful information interesting to those concerned with East India commerce. (London: Black, Parry, and Kingsbury).
  • Holt, Joseph(1838) Memoirs of Joseph Holt, General of the Irish Rebels, in 1798: In Two Volumes, Volume 2. (Colburn).
  • House of Commons, Parliament, Great Britain (1814), Minutes of the Evidence Taken Before the Select Committee on Petitions Relating to East-India-Built Shipping. (H.M. Stationery Office)
  • Whittaker, Anne-Maree (1994) Unfinished Revolution: United Irishmen in New South Wales, 1800-1810. (Crossing Press). ISBN 978-0646179513
This page was last edited on 19 July 2019, at 18:39
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