Brig "Florida", William Hastings - FHC microfilm 1494330 FO 446/3 folio 43-47, pages 56-64 - Printer Friendly Version

Capture by Privateer and Recovery - Grounding and wreck on the Outer Roads - The Brig "Triton" wrecked on the anchor of the "Florida"

By this Public Instrument of Declaration and Protest be it known to all whom it may concern that on the twenty eighth day of July in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and twenty seven personally came and appeared in the British Consulate in the City of Buenos Ayres in South America William Lumsden Hastings Master of the British Brig or vessel called the "Florida" of the burthen of 204 42/94 tons belonging to William Bennett Esqr. of London Merchant

who made Oath and declared that the said Brig Florida having been duly cleared out on the second day of December last at the Custom House in London to proceed on a Sealing and Whaling Voyage to the Southern Ocean and elsewhere arrived off the coast of Brazil on or about the twenty fifth day of February and commenced sealing on and about the Castillos rocks near Cape St. Mary's at the entrance of the River Plate.

The Deponent states that the said sealing was continued upon and about the said rocks without any warning hindrance or interruption whatever from any person or persons by Sea or Land from the said date until the twenty ninth day of March.

The said Appearer and Deponent further states that on that day his Chief Mate William Rodgers being absent from the said vessel with a Boat's crew about twenty miles to the Northward of the rocks for the purpose of catching seals and his Second Mate James Reynoldson being also away with another boat & crew on the Castillos Rocks and Isle







the said Appearer having only four men and two boys with him on board the brig "Florida" being then distant about twelve miles from the Castillos rocks the said Brig was boarded by about twenty men in two whale boats the greater part of whom appeared to be English who forcibly took possession of the Brig and declared her to be their Prize assigning as a reason for the said act that the Appearer and his crew were fishing on the private property of a Citizen of Buenos Ayres

the said individuals then sent one of the boats ashore for their Commander Captain Fournier a Frenchman and the said Fournier on coming on board asked the Appearer and Deponent what he meant by sealing in that place to which the Deponent replied he was not aware that he was doing anything wrong.

Fournier then stated to him that he had fitted out for the express purpose of taking his the said Appearer's vessel, the Castillos Rocks being the private property of a native of Buenos Ayres who paid a considerable sum of money to the Government for the same and he shortly afterwards ordered the Deponent to go into a Boat which was alongside to take him and his crew on shore but after repeated supplications on the part of the Deponent the said Fournier permitted them to remain on board that night intending to land them on the following morning.
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In the evening however, a gale of wind coming on, the "Florida" was blown off shore and was not able to get in again until early on the first of April. On that day a Launch came alongside having on board about twenty armed men and the second mate of the "Florida" James Reynoldson with them. The Deponent was then told to embark himself and his crew in the boat which was waiting for them.

The said Appearer and Deponent in vain entreated Fournier to allow him to remain on board his vessel with one of his Crew till the "Florida" should be declared a lawful Prize as he supposed she was to be sent to some Port for adjudication, this entreaty was positively refused by Fournier who told the Deponent that the Government of Buenos Ayres would pay all damages if he was acting wrong in detaining the Brig and the said Fournier further stated to the said Deponent that he should take some Prizes with the Florida before he returned to Port.

He then gave the Deponent a Bill for the Slops which he had on board to supply the crew during the voyage on a Mr. Trelles? of Buenos Ayres which Bill however was not to be payable until an account was rendered to that person by the Deponent for the boat in which he and his crew were to be sent to Buenos [Aires]

the said Fournier also obliged the said Appearer and Deponent to give to him (the said Fournier) the ship's Register and Log Book after which it being about 12 am on the same day the Deponent with his Crew who were only allowed to take with them their clothes and a small stock of Provisions, were obliged to go into the boat which was prepared for them and in which Fournier directed them to make the best of their way to Buenos Ayres but the boat being found very leaky the Deponent found it necessary to make for the nearest shore






and he landed about sun set of the same day about two miles to the Northward of the Castillos Rocks from whence the Deponent and his Crew were obliged to travel over land to Maldonado a distance of about 130 miles where they arrived about 2 pm on the seventh of April.

On the arrival of the Deponent at Maldonado he saw the Brig "Florida" lying off that place but about 5 pm the same evening she got under way and put to sea .
The Deponent then learnt from a Seaman who had been left on shore from the said Brig at Maldonado that Fournier had thrown overboard a number of casks to make room for his men, that he had pulled down the Tryworks and had fitted the Brig out to cruize as a Privateer.

The Deponent thinks it here necessary to set forth what was declared to him by his second Mate James Reynoldson who as he has above stated was absent at the time of the seizure of the "Florida" with a boat and crew sealing in the Castillos rocks the said Reynoldson has since stated to the said Deponent that whilst sealing with his boat's crew on the said rocks on the twenty seventh day of March he saw a Brig standing in which at first believing to be the Florida he put ?? off to go on board that on nearing her he found she was not the Florida and therefore put about to return to the Rocks when two whaleboats rowed after him and fired several musket shots which induced him to lay to.

On the Boat's coming up the people told him he must go with them on board their Brig, he did so and found she was a vessel under Buenos Ayrean flag commanded by Captain Cesar Fournier.
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The said Fournier then asked the said Reynoldson to what Country they belonged on being told they were Englishmen Fournier invited them to stop and take a glass of rum first, whilst they were drinking a Frenchman, one of the officers, observed toFournier that the "Dove" a British vessel had been taken and made a Prize of for sealing there and that the Florida might be made a Prize of too.

On this Fournier said to the said Reynoldson that he must stop on board till he saw further into the business he then made sail and ran the Brig between the Castillos Rocks and the Main where he anchored to clean her bottom.

On the following day (the 28th) they took in water and Fournier stated to the said Reynoldson his intention to take some spars out of the Florida and then let her go but in the evening of the same day it came on to blow very hard and and about midnight the Brig parted from her anchors and went onshore and in the morning of the twenty ninth Fournier declared to the said Reynoldson that he should take possession of the Florida as he had lost his own brig in looking after her.

On the same day the "Florida" was boarded by Fournier's whale boats as above set forth by this Deponent.

The Said Appearer and Deponent further declares that on the eighth day of April his Majesty's Ship Ranger Captain Lord Henry Thynne having received intelligence of the seizure of the "Florida" arrived at Maldonado and having taken the Deponent on board put to sea on the ninth of April in pursuit of Fournier.

But after cruizing till the eighteenth without hearing of the Florida HMS "Ranger" returned to Maldonado. In this cruize the whale boat of the Florida which had been under the charge of the Chief Mate William Rodgers as set forth in the first part of this Protest was retaken by the boats of His Majesty's said Ship "Ranger"







without resistance from some of Fournier's people (and who had taken her from the said William Rodgers) who had been left behind by him when he put to sea in the "Florida" telling him, the said Rodgers, at the time that the Florida had been wrecked .

The Said Rodgers after the seizure of his boat, with the four men who were with him belonging to the Florida, traveled over land to Maldonado where the said Deponent found them on his return on HMS"Ranger" on the 18th of April.

On the twentieth of the same month the "Ranger" sailed for Monte Video where on the twenty second Lord Henry Thynne disembarked the Deponent and his crew excepting the Chief Mate William Rodgers and two men with whom Lord Thynne again sailed in the "Ranger" in search of the "Florida" on the fifth of May.

On the eleventh of the same month His Lordship returned again without success to Monte Video.

On or about the 13th of July this Appearer and Deponent learnt from His Majesty's Consul at Monte Video Mr. Hood that the Brig "Florida" was at Buenos Ayres and had been given up by the Government to His Majesty's Consul General Mr. Parish, and the deponent was sent for by the said Mr. Hood who further acquainted him that he had received a letter form His Majesty;s said Consul General at Buenos Ayres requesting him to send up the Master of the "Florida" immediately to retake possession of his the said Deponent's vessel the said vessel having been given up by the Buenos Ayrean Government on the demand of His Majesty's Minister and under a Protest by the said Minister against the restoration of the vessel being held to bar the claims of the parties interested to redress.
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And His said Majesty's Consul, Mr. Hood informed the Deponent that a passage would be provided for him on board His Majesty's Ship "Cadmus". On the following day the Deponent in consequence thereof embarked in the said Ship of War "Cadmus" from which he landed at Buenos Ayres on the eighteenth of July.

The Deponent further states that on the nineteenth of the same month His Majesty's Consul General at Buenos Ayres did deliver over to him (the said Appearer) possession of the Brig "Florida" together with a report of Survey which had been held by His desire upon the said Brig, her Tackle Furniture Stores etc. on the tenth day of July upon the Government delivering her over to the charge of the said Consul General and a Certified Copy of which report of Survey is annexed to this Protest.

To the truth of the aforegoing circumstances the said Appearer and deponent has solemnly made Oath. He further declares that previously to his sailing from England he was informed by the owner of the "Florida" that her fitting out had cost nearly four thousand pounds sterling that she was fitted with all and everything in point of stores provisions etc. as is customary and necessary for a sealing and whaling voyage calculated for eighteen months that he had met with no damage since leaving England to the time of his seizure by Fournier and deducting the necessary consumption for that period the said stores and provisions etc. were complete and undamaged when the "Florida" was taken form him as aforestated.

The said Appearer further declares that having now obtained repossession of the brig he finds that her Hull is much damaged, that she is without boats






and that the stores have been all taken out excepting nine hundred weight of bread or biscuit and a few coals that most of the oil casks have been thrown overboard or removed from the vessel that the Tryworks have been destroyed and that the Whaling Harpoons and Lances are spoilt by rust and further that about eight hundred prime seal skins which were on board at the time of the seizure of the said Brig have also been taken out under all these circumstances considering the great expense if not the impossibility of refitting the vessel in this Port for a continuation of his intended voyage the Deponent declares that he considers the voyage as totally lost and it is therefore his intention to return with the Brig as quickly as possible to England.

And Wherefore the said Appearer and Deponent William Lumsden Hastings Master of the said British Brig "Florida" in and on behalf of the Owner or Owners of the said vessel and cargo hereby doth by these presents doth most solemnly protest against the Government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata for all the Acts and Deeds of Major Caesar Fournier who was and is acting under their Commission and Authority for his seizure of the brig "Florida" as aforesaid to the end that all losses costs charges detriments delays and expenses already suffered and sustained or which may hereinafter be sustained and suffered on account of the same shall be borne and paid by those whom of right it may concern. thus done and concluded at the British Consulate in this City of Buenos Ayres the day and the date before written.
/signed/ William Lumsden Hastings
Master of the Brig Florida
In testimonium veritatis
Charles Griffiths
HBM V Consul
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Protest extended by W. L. Hastings , Master if the Brig "Florida" - FO 446/3,FHC microfilm 1494330, pp.90-92

By this Public Instrument of Protest and Declaration Be it known to all whom it may concern that on the twentieth day of November in the Year of Our Lord One Thousand eight hundred and twenty seven, before me Charles Griffiths Esqre. His Majesty's Vice Consul personally came and appeared William Lumsden Hastings Master of the Brig or vessel called the "Florida" of the burthen of 204 tons 42/94 belonging to the Port of London

who declared that on the sixth of October the said vessel was in the Inner roads of Buenos Ayres being fully laden with a Cargo bound for the port of London and ready for Sea the Hatches properly secured and battened down

That on the eighth of the same month notice was given to John Lee a Pilot of this Port to take the vessel into the Outer road, the Charterers Messrs. Thwaites having engaged Mr. Brill a river Pilot to conduct the said Brig afterwards down the River

but on the evening of the same day a most violent Pampero came on from the land and the tide being then unusually low the "Florida" struck the ground several times the water Casks were immediately started to lighten the vessel but without effect as the tide fell so fast that at 10 P. M. the Brig grounded.

On the ninth the Gale continued from the same quarter and the water became so unusually shallow that all the vessels in the Harbour were aground and the Brig fell on her beam ends. At this time there was not more than three feet water in most parts of the channel in the Inner roads.







Every exertion was made to hire carts and horses with people to go off to the relief of the Brig but the ground being so full of holes and muddy none could be induced to venture. On the tenth the current shifted, the wind blowing very strong from the SE and the river rose so suddenly that some of the crew had not time to get their clothes from the Forecastle as within a few minutes the Brig was full of water.

At daylight hoisted a signel of distress and as soon as the water had sufficiently risen for the Balandras to float several were sent by order of the Charterers to assist in saving the Cargo if possible and the Captain of the Port also sent assistance.

A survey was this day ordered to be held upon the state of the vessel and cargo and at three pm the Master of the "Zephyr" Packet and Mr. James McGraw shipwright being appointed for that duty came on aboard who gave it as their opinion that the "Florida" was a complete wreck vide Report of Survey annexed.

On the eleventh got a large Ketch alongside with many people to save what part of the Cargo and Stores they could.

On the twelfth people employed gettting onboard the Ketch some rigging, sails and a few bales of skins. On the 13th of October this day agreeably to public advertisement the Brig and cargo were sold as they then lay by Public Auction.
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And the said Appearer further declared that the said Brig at the time of taking her Cargo on board in the Inner Roads of this Port was tight staunch and strong and was well and sufficiently manned provided and furnished with all things needful and necessary for the said voyage and that during the time of the said disaster the said Appearer and the rest of the said Ship's company used their utmost endeavours to preserve the said Brig and the goods???? her loading from damage.
















Whereupon the said William Lumsden Hastings Master of the same Brig entered his protest in this office to the end that all loss or damage as the said vessel her Cargo Tackle or Furniture have suffered and sustained by the accidents aforesaid and all costs charges and expenses attending the same shall be borne and paid by those whom of right it may concern as being occasioned by the reasons aforesaid and not by and through any insufficiency or neglect to the said vessel her Tackle Furniture or Crew
This done and protested He the said Appearer hath hereunto subscribed his name at Buenos Ayres the twentieth day of November in the Year of Our Lord One thousand eight hundred and twenty seven.
/signed/ W Hastings, Master

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Survey on Brig "Triton" John Doyle Master- FO 446/3,FHC microfilm 1494330, page 150

The undersigned at the request of Messrs Heyworth Carlisle & Co. agents for the British Brig "Triton" of Liverpool and Messrs. Brown Buchanan and Co. Agents for Lloyds residing here have been this day on board the said brig now a Wreck in the Inner roads of Buenos Ayres to ascertain her damage sustained in the night of 11th of October and report the Brig laying on her larboard side Bilged and full of Water and are of opinion that the Triton struck on an Anchor supposed to belong to the wreck of the Florida that was lost near the same place and are of opinion that to raise this vessel would be attended with an immense expense owing to the uncertainty of the tides and weather and her having an immense weight of Ballast & Coals etc. in her. We therefore recommend her rigging, spars, anchors cables etc that are saved, the hull as it now lies to be sold for the good of those it might concern. Given under our hands at Buenos Ayres this 14th day of October 1828
J Strong Master HMS Sapphire
Thomas Barnes , Brig Comet
Wm Garrett, Master "Julian", L'pool
James McGaw, shipwright







We Brown Buchannan & Co. Agents for the underwriters at Lloyds London Do hereby Certify that the foregoing signatures of L Strong Master of HMS Sapphire, Thomas Barnes Master of the English Brig "Comet", Wm. Garrett Master of the English Brig "Julian" and James McGaw ship carpenter are their true handwriting and that we consider them fit and proper people for the survey which they have held on board the English Brig "Triton" stranded in this Port
Buenos Ayres 11th November 1828
pp Brown Buchanan & Co
Richard B.Lyne

These are to Certify that the aforegoing has been entered in the Official Register of this Consulate and that the above is the true signature and proper hand writing of Mr. Richard B. Lyne who is at present residing in this City and acting as Agent for the Underwriters at Lloyds
British Consulate, Buenos Ayres 11th November 1828
/signed/ C G Hunmrl?


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Published in The British Packet and Argentine News - 13 October 1827

The British brig Florida (whose loss we have mentioned in another part of our paper) was taken from the Spaniards during the last war with England off the Bahamas; it is not known if she was built in Bermuda or in Spain, or when built; she has proved latterly a most unfortunate vessel, first as it regards Fournier's seizure of her, and her present misfortune. We sincerely regret the anxiety and trouble to which her captain (Hastings) has been exposed, and which no exertions on his part could have prevented. The Florida belonged to Mr. Bennett, of London, who it is said, is the owner of more than 60 vessels, the greater part of them engaged in the South Sea trade.

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