St. Helena timeline: 1841

Sources are provided [within square brackets] at the end of each timeline entry, except for those sources which repeat. Recurring sources are (indicated by round parentheses), with the source citation abbreviated as shown in the following key:

  • BNA: The British Newspaper Archive, britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed 2015-05-16, 2015-06-27ff, by subscription); transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.
  • Emigration: Great Britain. House of Commons. Accounts and Papers: Twenty Volumes. (6.) Emigration. Session 3 February – 12 August 1842. Vol. XXXI (1842). House of Commons, United Kingdom.
  • Lords 1849: Great Britain. House of Lords. Report of the Select Committee of the House of Lords, appointed to consider the best Means which Great Britain can adopt for the Final Extinction of the African Slave Trade, Session 1849, ordered by the House of Commons to be Printed, 15 Feb 1850.

Please cite your sources.

1841-01-17: Capture of Luiza, 93 tons, with 444 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-01-18: Capture of schooner, unknown, about 100 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-02-01: Capture of Faisca, 8 tons, with one slave on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-02-08: Capture of Marciana, 64 tons, with 341 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-02-13: Capture of Dous d'Avril, 134-14/65 tons, with one slave on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena.
(Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-02-18: Governor Major-General Middlemore, C.B., wrote a despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to report that "on the 7th instant a Portuguese schooner, the Louise, prize to Her Majesty's brig Brisk, [arrived at St. Helena] with 420 slaves on board, of whom 82 died on the passage from small-pox and dysentery." For want of sufficient, habitable accommodation, the new arrivals would have to reside on the three prize vessels then lying at Lemon Valley. The Governor supplied a report and estimate—prepared by Captain C.C. Alexander, Royal Engineers, and co-signed by W.H. Seale, Esq., Colonial Secretary—to render small tenements in Rupert's Valley habitable, at the cost of £148. Because he was "apprehensive that the present number, 470, is greater than can be employed amongst the inhabitants as apprentices," the Governor requested direction as to their future disposal. Pending such direction, he "deemed it necessary to address a letter to the senior naval officer of the station, requesting that he will order any prizes taken with Africans on board, to be despatched to some other destination." (Emigration, pp. 473-4)

1841-02-24: Capture of Oito de Decembro, 107-11/26 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured.
(Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-02-24: Capture of Minerva, 154 foreign tons, with 321 slaves on board; vesssel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-03-04: Governor Major-General Middlemore, C.B., wrote a despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to report "that on the 1st instant a Portuguese schooner, the Merzianna, arrived at this port, prize to Her Majesty's brig Brisk, with 280 slaves on board, having lost 61 by deaths, from small-pox and dysentery, during her passage in 13 days from Benguela." Taking a Medical Board's report into consideration, the Governor deemed it necessary that they should remain at St. Helena.
    The Governor enclosed a return, prepared by John Young, Collector Customs, of the number of Africans who had arrived from the Commencement, i.e., 11th June 1840 to 1st March 1841. A total of 737 Africans remained at St. Helena: 24 had been apprenticed out; 1 unapprenticed; 163 remained on the prize vessel, name unknown, prize to H.M.'s brig Water Witch, arrived 16th December; 293 remained on the prize vessel Luiza, prize to H.M.'s brig Brisk, arrived 6th February 1841; and, 256 remained on the prize vessel Merzianna, prize to H.M.'s brig Brisk, arrived 1st March 1841. (Emigration, pp. 475-6)

1841-03-29: Capture of Vinte-Quatro de Julho, 132-1993/3300 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-04-03: Capture of Animo Grande, 211 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-04-14: Capture of Euro, 69 tons, with 314 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-05-02: Capture of brigantine, unknown, 116-1/2 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 361)

1841-05-04 to 1841-05-26: Capture of Four Launches, with 13 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-05-08: Lord John Russell wrote a despatch to Governor Middlemore, "With regard to the difficulty which you apprehend may be experienced in providing in the island for the Africans who are now there, you will understand that you are authorized to avail yourself of any opportunity which may offer for sending them to the Cape of Good Hope, or to any other British colony from which offers may be made to you to pay the expense of their passage thither; assuming always that due precautions are taken for the health and comfort of the people, and that they shall consent to their removal from St. Helena." (Emigration, pg. 477)

1841-05-11: Capture of Margarita, 61 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-06-01: Capture of Constante, 137 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-06-13: Capture of Boa Nova, 120 tons, with 441 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-06-27: Capture of brigantine, unknown, 65 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-06-30: Capture of Astrae, 135 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-06: The captain of a merchant vessel arrived at Bordeaux from the South Seas, mentions that when he was at St. Helena, in June, from 8 to 10 Portuguese slave ships were brought in there and condemned. (BNA: London Standard, 21 Aug. 1841)

1841-07-04: Capture of Triumfo, 20 tons, with 105 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-07-06: Capture of Gabriel, 248 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-07-10: Capture of brig, unknown, 59 tons, with 392 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena.
(Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-08-04: Capture of Carisco, 20 tons, with 105 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-08-17:
Capture of a Slave Ship.
  The following is an extract of a letter from a young gentleman, a native of Ayr, surgeon on board H.M.S. Acorn, dated St. Helena, Sept. 1st, 1841:——

  We sailed from Rio de Janeiro, for St. Helena, on the 6th August, and arrived to-day, from whence we depart again on a six months' cruize. In a former letter, I think, I mentioned our capturing the noted brigantine Gabriel, with her cargo of slaves. I have it now in my power to apprise you of another capture which we made on the 17th August, viz.:——the Anna, with 500 slaves on board. Apart from the satisfaction which the emancipation from slavery of such a great number of our fellow-creatures produces, it is gratifying to think that we will have an additional L.50 each of prize money, to receive for our trouble when we arrive at Devonport.
  I was ordered aboard the Anna to take a list of the number of the captives, and to classify them under the following heads, viz.:——Males, females, sick, and healthy. As soon as I set foot on her deck, the tokens of the miserable condition of the poor creatures on board met my eye in every quarter. Filth of all descriptions was strewed about the deck, and the stench arising therefrom was almost overpowering. I have never encountered any thing like the miasmatic and unwholesome vapours which arose from the dens, where the slaves were huddled together so close as scarcely to leave breathing room. In the after part of the vessel, called the cabin, a place measuring about 16 feet by 9, and which was allotted to the females, no fewer than 217 of these miserable beings were packed. When I looked down into the crowded mass, and saw the manner they were wedged together, it put me in mind of the celebrated black hole at Calcutta, and the miseries endured by the poor prisoners there, on a particular occasion. To suppose that such a number of human beings could be squeezed into such a narrow space, almost exceeds belief, but it was indeed the case. The women and children wore ornaments composed of beads, on the neck, wrists, and other parts of their bodies. Several of the females in this stye had infants in their arms, which they tended and soothed with a maternal affection, which was exemplary, considering their situation, and the privations they were compelled to suffer; indeed, few civilized mothers could have done the same, if placed in a similar situation.
  In the fore part of the vessel——reaching from the mainmast to the forecastle——about 300 males were confined. This part of the vessel was called the jail, and is about 50 feet in length by 27 in breadth, the roof being about 3-1/2 feet in height; in this place, which was in a most filthy and impure state, the above number of human beings were huddled together, without as much room as lay themselves at length; and forced to keep in a sitting position from the lowness of the deck above. In this situation they spent the days and nights that were to give place, not to freedom, but the slavery which the fiends their masters should find opportunity to entail upon them, for life. It struck me, however, that their general appearance, even in the more than uncomfortable circumstances in which they were placed, betokened the greatest contentment; some of them were even quite cheerful and happy looking. They were fed twice a day——at nine o'clock morning, and again at three o'clock afternoon. Their food in the morning consisted of boiled beans, in which a little flour had been mixed. A vessel containing a quantity of this stuff was placed among them, and every one might eat as much as he pleased. The afternoon meal consisted of flour and warm water mixed together in the form of a thin gruel, which was also served ad libitum, with an allowance of two ounces of beef to each. The males, who were from four to 20 years of age, were what would be called in the market a splendid lot. The females, whose ages might run from three to 20, with the exception of three infants, were also well looking, and equally marketable as the men. Notwithstanding of their being cooped up in the manner described, only 26 out of the whole were reported sick. We ran the vessel and her human cargo into Rio de Janeiro, where the latter would be taken aboard the slave ship there, and find good treatment. The Government allows L.50 for each slave captured, and a certain sum per ton for the vessels, which, in many cases, are run ashore and cut up and sold. As they are generally good sea boats, the Admiralty occasionally purchase them for her Majesty's service. * * *
  The bay of St. Helena, in which we have just now anchored, comes up close to the town. The island appears very barren; indeed, we can see nothing but precipitous masses of rock, rising almost perpendicularly from the sea. The heights are all ornamented with fortifications, and the rocks surrounding the bay are covered with batteries.
  Sept. 18.——To-day I rode a good distance into the interior of the island, and found it exceedingly well cultivated. I noticed several farms in a high state of improvement. The great object of attraction to an idler, particularly if he be a stranger, is Napoleon's Tomb. Thither, accordingly, I went, and satisifed myself with standing in the vault in which once reposed the ashes of the Gallic hero. The tomb stands at the bottom of a valley, which he used to take delight——if his curbed spirit could entertain any such sensation——in walking through, and is built at the root of a willow, under which he often sat. This tree, and another which grew at the side of the grave, were carried away by the French, as was almost every particle of grass that grew over the resting place of the mighty hero. The railing that enclosed it is still standing. From the tomb I went to Longwood, the residence of Napoleon during his exile. It is now converted into a granary, and fast falling into ruins. It made me sorry to see it, when I reflected on the almost idolatrous anxiety that prompted many to visit, and converse with, the 'caged lion,' while he lived in it. Now that he has passed away, those in power ought to preseve the long low house, as a monument of what ambition, misdirected, may bring its votaries to suffer.

Source: "Capture of a Slave Ship," in the 20th December 1841 edition of the Caledonian Mercury newspaper; online at the British Newspaper Archive, www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk (accessed 2015-06-28, by subscription); transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.

1841-08-25: Capture of Bella Sociedade, 119 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-09-01: Slavers at St. Helena.——The ship Howard,——at Boston, from Calcutta, via St. Helena, reports the arrival at the latter place of the brig Gabriel, a slaver, which had been captured when fifteen days from Havanna, by her Majesty's brig of war Acorn. She had a cargo of bale goods, lumber, and rice. In one of the bags of rice were found papers which gave information that twenty-three slave-vessels were fitting out at Havanna. The Gabriel's crew were put on board the Acorn, which sailed for the coast of Africa to land them on a desolate and uninhabited part of the coast. Seven other slavers, previously captured, were breaking up at St. Helena. No less than 1,600 slaves, taken from captured slave-ships, were at St. Helena when the Howard left. (BNA: Dublin Evening Mail, 1 Dec. 1841)

1841-10-03: Capture of Conceiçao de Maria, 150 tons, with 457 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-10-15: Capture of Dous de Fevreiro, 162 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-10-20: Capture of Donna Francisca, 22 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-11: Formation of the St. Helena Regiment.
 Source: Great Britain. Reports from Commissioners: Nine Volumes. (3.) Army. Purchase and Sale of Commissions; Pathology of Diseases of the Army in the East. Session 30 April – 28 August 1857. Vol. XVIII, pg. 387.

1841-11-13: Capture of two boats, 11 tons each; vessels restored by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-11-18: Capture of schooner, unknown, 99-3/30 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured.
(Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-12-23: Governor Middlemore wrote a despatch to the Secretary of State for the Colonies, reporting that some of the liberated Africans had been sent to British Guiana upon the application of Captain James Webb, commanding the British ship Mary Hartley, on the part of the Colonists of that country. Captain Webb signed articles of agreement "to provide the said liberated African negroes with sufficient space for each negro, and good and wholesome food, medicines, and other things necessary for medical treatment." He furnished each with "two suits of proper clothing and a blanket" for the voyage. One hundred and eleven males and twenty-nine females were embarked from the Liberated African Station at Rupert's.
    A typical day's diet for each passenger over the age of eight years included 1/2 lb. biscuit, 1/2 lb. rice, 1/2 lb. salt beef, 1/2 lb. vegetables, 1 oz. coffee, 2 oz. sugar, and 3 quarts water; children under the age of eight received half these portions. George M'Henry, M.D.C.M., Surgeon, Liberated African Establishment, Lemon Valley, stowed the following medicines on board: balsam of copaiba, calomel, cubebs, adhesive plaster, blistering plater, powdered specacuanha, soap liniment, linseed meal, epsom salts, powdered rhubarb, castor oil, olive oil, sugar of lead, tincture of rhubarb, tincture of opium, simple ointment, surgeon's lint, spatula, flannel, calico, and brandy.
    Enclosures of Reports of the Collector of Customs on the steps taken to render them comfortable on their passage. Each passenger was to have fifteen clear superficial feet of space, and there was a height of five feet between decks.
    John Young, Collector of Customs, Henry R. Solomon, Inspector of Rupert's Station, S.F. Pritchard, 1st Clerk and Warehouse-keeper, H.M. Customs, and Surgeon Henry certified that the passengers embarked with their free will and consent. (Emigration, pp. 477-80)

1841-12-28: Capture of Dous Amigos, 22 tons, with 150 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-12-30: Capture of boat, unknown, — tons; vessel restored by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-12-31: Capture of Minverva, 110 tons, with 505 slaves on board; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

1841-12-31: Capture of Felix Triumvirato, 123 tons; vessel condemned by the Vice-Admiralty Court of St. Helena; — slaves captured. (Lords 1849, pg. 362)

Please cite your sources.

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